• A email I got from Bernie

    Mark my words, Lawrence: Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have a plan.

    It is an extraordinarily cynical “two-step” plan. Step one, they looted the treasury and passed massive […]

    • http://www.mlive.com/business/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2018/02/ann_arbor_restaurant_ordered_t.html

      ANN ARBOR, MI – An Ann Arbor restaurant has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in back wages as a result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.

      Min & Kim Inc. must pay $112,212 in back wages to 27 employees as part of an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division, according to a Feb. 14 statement from the Department of Labor. The investigation revealed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    • https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-humanity-ready-for-the-discovery-of-alien-life/ Most Americans would probably be thrilled to learn extraterrestrials (intelligent or not) exist. Other nationalities beg to differ

      • I believe primitive and intelligent life exists out their as too many earth like planets have been discovered. I figure that any contact with us has been banned. The latest intel report planet Earth. Avoid at all costs, Indigent lifeforms highly warlike with conflicts all over the planet. They are destroying their planets ecology and if trend continues planet will not be fit for humans to live on. The planets natural resources are being depleted faster than they are renewed and they are not being used the benefit the planets population and ecosystem. Planets tribal political structures benefit only a fraction of its populace. Mankind has the technology to cure most of disease’s and planetary food shortages and environmental issues but focus on primitive obsession monetary profit and political power at the expense of its inhabitants. Mankind has achieved primitive nuclear weapons and chemical rocket propulsion and is starting to explore surrounding solar system. At this point any manned missions from earth should not be allowed outside its solar system. Continue to monitor planet with our long range surveillance capability as planet is not ready for first contact.
        If their interested in conquest, well look at the Inca,Maya and American Indian for what probably would happen to us.

        • No kidding. In a similar vein, I’m always amazed when they do new Star Trek, either movies or episodes on TV, they go back to a more Kirkian time. But STTNG was the most popular, long-lived of all of them. They had one episode that was all about someone who held negotiations between warring groups. Good stuff like that now and then. I know a war can give you lots of FX, but there are ways that you can blend in a lot of good moral lessons and explore things other than war. I don’t get CBS, so i don’t know, but friends say it’s very Kirkian. Why not go further into the future? I find comfort in STTNG.

          • ST has a few episodes dealing with “First Contact” senarios which is some of the post but some movie and book thoughts as well its a common theme that man has to “Grow Up” and evolve in its thought process.

            • Especially TNG, tho, no? or are you talking the new series?

              • TNG First Contact season 4 ep 15- to me was a classic of how some politicians and some of the general populace would react on this planet.

                • oh yeah, that one where Riker was hurt on the planet….

                  • IMO, one of the best movies made was “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” All the originals were still alive so they starred in it. The subject was ecology and the extinction of the whales. A whale-like space ship shows up in earth’s atmosphere signalling its organic brethren. When there is no response, it gets very upset. So, Kirk and the krewe swipe a Vulcan spaceship cos of its cloaking ability. They go back to our time to get a couple of whales so they can communicate with the alien ship. The whole story dealt with environmental themes in an (shock) intelligent way. I own a copy. It’s also great entertainment FWIW. 🙂

    • http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/20900/international-womens-strike-march-8

      Welcome to Interviews for Resistance. We’re now into the second year of the Trump administration, and the last year has been filled with ups and downs, important victories, successful holding campaigns, and painful defeats. We’ve learned a lot, but there is always more to learn, more to be done. In this now-weekly series, we talk with organizers, agitators, and educators, not only about how to resist, but how to build a better world.

      Cinzia Arruzza: I am Cinzia Arruzza. I am one of the national organizers of the International Women’s Strike.

      Tithi Bhattacharya: This is Tithi Bhattacharya. I teach at Purdue University. I was one of the national organizers for the International Women’s Strike last year and I am doing the same this year.

      Sarah Jaffe: Let’s start off talking a little bit about this year’s strike. What is being planned and why did you decide to do it again this year?

    • One of the photos I took at the RTW for less Protest in Lansing

    • thanks, la! just got home. looking forward (i think) to meeting the aliens. :O)

    • With all of the peace, love, and understanding we need today, I’m posting a pic of a new family member, Charlotte, who arrived about 10 days ago. My nephew and his wife are the proud parents.

      May she always be safe anywhere, anytime.

    • Have fun birdies. :O)

    • T and R, la58! 🙂

    • Are Dead Children the Price of Freedom?

      Let’s put that number into perspective. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 took 3,000 lives. At an average of 12,500 deaths a year, 200,000 people in the United States have been murdered with the use of a firearm since those attacks 16 years ago. That’s equal to 67 September 11 attacks. That’s equal to filling New York’s Madison Square Garden to capacity, killing everyone inside, and then repeating that process 9 more times. That’s equal to killing every single person in Salt Lake City.

      200,000 people.

      The most common question asked on this side of the Atlantic is: “Why can’t they see what these weapons are doing to their country?”

    • The Free Market Threat to Democracy

      Interview with John Weeks. Interestingly, he brings up Warren along with Sanders.

      la, i’m using this as 2/18 Open Thread, too. thanks. :O)

    • The revolving door is spinning with Obama energy people.

      The Vogtle project has benefited significantly from federal government actions, such as major Energy Department loan guarantees announced last year and Congress’s decision this month to extend the eligibility dates for tax credits for newly-built nuclear plants. …

      …At least five of these Obama officials now work for natural gas export companies, four of them for Cheniere and another for Tellurian.

      Though pitched as the “cleaner fossil fuel” by many of these former Obama officials, the high levels of methane in natural gas carry a climate punch….

      Heather Zichal

      One of those Obama alums, former top White House climate and energy staffer Heather Zichal, now sits on the Board of Directors for Cheniere. She also recently was named managing director of corporate engagement for the environmental group The Nature Conservancy….

      Keep those names in mind — The Nature Conservancy and methane giant Cheniere.

      About The Nature Conservancy, Naomi Klein had this to say:

      In her book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Naomi Klein reveals that The Nature Conservancy actually owns an oil well in Texas and uses the financial earnings which come from it as part of its funding stream. Further, both BP and Chevron sit on The Nature Conservancy’s Business Council.

      the article ends:

      It’s really hard not to see these actions as venal. Mainstream Democrats — feathering their nest by boiling yours.

      It’s also hard not to see these actions as risky. Do mainstream Democrats think they won’t take a hit in 2018 when they do stuff like this? Do they even care? Or do they imagine the blue wave (if it comes) will sweep them to power no matter what they do? (One could argue that Hillary Clinton risked her own election for money: Did she not know, when she gave all those Wall Street speeches, that she’d start running for president two years later — and that they’d make a difference?)

      I’m amazed at what we’re witnessing. As low as the Republicans have sink — and they’ve reached a decades-long Party bottom in their attempts to “win absolutely” for big money donors — mainstream Democrats are giving them a run for their money, a downhill run, looking for their own Party bottom.

      This story has “national tragedy” written all over it.

  • AndrewintoxOX became a registered member 2 days, 4 hours ago

  • Sanders will hit Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin to slam tax cuts

    Sen. Bernie Sanders will join progressive groups in Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan next week as part of a nationwide campaign to drum up grassroots […]

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Etc!

    • Bernie Sanders adds Cedar Rapids stop to Iowa trip

      U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a rally in Cedar Rapids next Friday in addition to an already announced appearance in Des Moines earlier that day.

      The Vermont independent and 2016 Democratic candidate for president will headline a “Trump tax rally” sponsored by the Not One Penny advocacy group, which opposes the Republican-led tax reform package passed by Congress late last year.

      The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Cedar Rapids. Earlier that day, Sanders will attend a rally with 3rd District congressional candidate Pete D’Alessandro in Des Moines.

      The Cedar Rapids rally follows the release of Not One Penny TV ads criticizing Republican U.S. Reps. Rod Blum and David Young for their votes on the tax bill, which largely benefits wealthy taxpayers. The ads feature an Iowa baker calling for Blum and Young to repeal the law.

      The six-figure buy will run in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets during the Olympics, according to a statement from Not One Penny.

      The event will mark Sanders’ second appearance in the state in 2018, and his fourth since the end of the 2016 campaign.

    • <a href="Bernie Sanders to campaign with Paul Ryan challenger Randy Bryce in Wisconsin’s 1st District“>

      U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is heading to Wisconsin to rally with Randy Bryce, a Democrat hoping to take on House Speaker Paul Ryan this fall.

      The Independent senator from Vermont will be in Racine on Feb. 24 to join Bryce and local elected officials for a campaign event. Others expected to speak include Racine Ald. John Tate II and state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee).

      The rally is set for Memorial Hall in Racine at 10:15 a.m.; doors open at 9:45 a.m

      • has anyone been following the dem party in this race?

        would like an update if you have one

        • I don’t recall running across to many specifics other than various fundraising he’s done on the coasts (which is in part due to his large number of celebrity supporters). I know he was drafted to run by the WFP, and that the various Dem organizations passed his video around as a ‘model’, but overall have seemed to stay ‘hands off’ and let him do his thing. Ultimately I think he is very much a ‘dem party’ candidate, though one of the better ones. Still wish Myers was given a fair shot, but that’s pretty much long gone.

          • me too. i don’t like what appears to be his support for “union jobs,” even if they are bad for the earth and all beings.

            Maybe if Cathy had entered and been more visible earlier….

        • I read that if you look at the states where Bryce’s donors live you’d think he was running as a coastal candidate.

          Myers’ donors are much more living in Wisconsin and other Midwest states.

    • Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn Lead Organizers See Opportunity For Change Ripe in Canada; Speaking in Ottawa on Eve of NDP Convention

      The main architects behind the Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn breakthrough campaigns in the US and UK will be speaking to an overflow crowd in Ottawa today, on the eve of the NDP federal convention, about the opportunities in Canada for a new transformative politics.

      “We think of Canada as a progressive country, but in fact it seems the same conditions exist for a people-powered movement,” said Adam Klug, co-founder of the Momentum UK movement, who is speaking at the event. “People, especially young people, soon to be the largest voting block in Canada, want real change on issues like climate and inequality, but in Canada it’s clear to us they are getting politics-as-usual.”

      The ‘Courage the Leap’ event is co-hosted by two groups: Courage and The Leap. Many of the speakers were directly influenced by The Leap’s vision released two years ago, and by Courage’s sustained work to shift the NDP to more progressive policies. Both groups demand real action on climate change and income inequality among their top priorities.

      Another speaker at the event, Becky Bond, senior adviser to Bernie Sanders and co-author of Rules for Revolutionaries, said political change can happen fast and decisively, something she and other organizers keep an eye on.

      “I see a lot of Clinton in Trudeau, a nominally progressive leader who sells himself as actually progressive. We know from experience that the people, the voters, become dissatisfied when policy promises fall flat and they want more. They want honesty,” she said, adding that The Leap’s vision influenced how the Sanders campaign created a mass movement that appealed to workers and young people.

      • what is going on here?

        two socialists speaking and saying these things

        don’t they know that the second nature is MONEY

        and don’t they know about TINA

        you don’t know her?

        There Is No Alternative

        so there

      • what i’m talkin’ bout. love this. may it spread, spread, spread! may we connect all over this world in number so big, so in the streets, that they cannot ignore us anymore.

    • Emotional Student Victims Lash Out at ‘Piece of Shit’ Trump in Wake of Latest School Massacre

      Students who survived Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida unequivocally rejected the “prayers and condolences” offered by President Donald Trump—calling on him to enact strict gun control laws instead.

      One student, identified as Sarah on her Twitter account, angrily called the president a “fucking piece of shit” and said of the deaths of her classmates, “Prayers won’t fix this. But gun control will prevent it from happening again.”

      • Florida students recall terror and heroism as they urge action on guns

        A day after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school, students describe saving lives as others condemn easy access to firearms

      • https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/16/latest-schoolhouse-slaughter-shows-we-have-been-defeated

        Regular mass gun violence is a particularly American phenomenon, and it’s dissolving society in a particularly American way. With every mass shooting and every utter failure of public policy to respond, the American notion of liberty looks more and more suicidal, a Faustian bargain exchanging sensible restrictions for a nihilistic, diabolical freedom. After the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, which happened in Las Vegas only last year, conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly articulated this grim view most clearly: “Once again, the big downside of American freedom is on gruesome display,” he wrote. “This is the price of freedom.” Liberty stands now in opposition to life and the pursuit of happiness; no longer do all three seem concurrently possible, and it’s clear which of them we’ve chosen.

        More acutely, each mass shooting calls into question the logic of the American project itself: Each time this happens, each time children turn up massacred on the evening news, the provision adduced to explain why we just can’t do anything to stop it is none other than the Constitution itself, the closest thing we have to civil holy scripture. Perhaps not the day of, but typically shortly after, ghouls will emerge to claim the whole thing is a fake, that it’s a ploy by the malevolent state to steal your constitutional rights. If any legislation is called for — if anyone even bothers at this point — industry advocates hired by the gun lobby will appear on television and in print, making their ardent case for an unqualified Second Amendment. And if any measure aimed at reducing these incidents actually makes it to Congress, the same approach will be reflected in so much demurral. Nobody will say the exact words “the foundational document of our government essentially requires that we suffer mass murder again and again with no recourse,” but that is what they will be telling you.

        Faith in freedom, faith in the Constitution, and lastly, faith in God — that, too, is compromised by these bloody rituals. There is perhaps no other social or political occasion in which the pat response to one’s offer of prayers is instant righteous fury and open, bitter disbelief. It’s a subgenre of public discussion of religion that is unique to mass shootings, and one can see why. Every time this happens, the same politicians offer their thoughts and prayers; every time it happens again, they offer more of the same, and never anything more. One conclusion is that they must not be praying very ardently; another is that the prayers simply aren’t heard. For this shooting, the cycle has already begun. Either way, prayer itself winds up looking like a sham, and such promises sound cheaper every time.

    • Senators fume after immigration bill failure

      It was supposed to be a raucous, week-long, open floor debate on immigration — the President’s signature issue and such a contentious topic that Democrats shut the government down over it just a month ago.

      Instead, it was the incredible shrinking immigration debate, which lasted roughly one hour on the floor and ended without a single amendment passing to protect DACA recipients or send a cent of funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

      “I’m ready to move on,” said Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy. “We wasted a whole week here. And I’m ready to move on. There are other issues in front of us.”

      Fingers were pointed in all directions as members retreated from the floor, defeated, frustrated and downright mad that after weeks of negotiations, the best chance they had to broker a deal ended without any resolution for a population everyone agreed they had wanted to help.

      A group of bipartisan lawmakers — the same group responsible for helping end a government shutdown weeks before — fumed at the White House’s treatment of their proposal, which they argued could have inched toward passage, had the White House stayed on the sidelines rather than actively lobbied against them.

    • I received this as a press release, so no link handy:

      McFadden blasts opponent Kopser over comments comparing undocumented immigrants to Al Qaeda

      TX-21 Democratic Congressional candidate Elliott McFadden called out his Democratic opponent Joseph Kopser today for using inflammatory language and backtracking on his stances on the Dreamers in a recent appearance at the Texas Ranchers’ and Landowners’ Association of Texas on Saturday.

      “I think it is disgusting to use an analogy comparing undocumented immigrants from Mexico to Al Qaeda, and it’s totally out of place in the Democratic Primary,” McFadden said. “I also find it disturbing that Kopser is changing his tune on standing with the Dreamers, after saying for months he would fight for a clean Dream Act.”

      In front of the largely Republican audience, Kopser compared U.S. border security to fighting Al Qaeda.

      “I want to secure our borders because when I spent my time in Iraq, when we were fighting Al Qaeda, the border between Iraq and Iran was not secure, and those fighters came over with Iran and that didn’t do us any good in that fight,” Kopser said.

      A member of the audience responded by saying, “Are you sure you’re on the right ticket?”

      In a later interview with The Intercept, Kopser, a former Republican and admirer of Ronald Reagan, said he would compromise by giving in to Republican demands on border security to get some sort of Dream Act.

      “This is becoming classic Kopser, telling Democratic audiences one thing, and then when he gets with a more conservative audience, he tells them another,” McFadden said. “He says he’ll fight for working families but serves on the board of the Texas Association of Business, which fights increasing the minimum wage and paid family leave. He says he’s for the environment, but supports fracking. He says he wants corporate money out of politics, but supported Uber/Lyft’s attempt to pass corporate re-writes of our local public safety laws for ride share drivers. ”

      “We just can’t trust Kopser to fight for us,” McFadden concluded.

      The video of Kopser’s statements at the Texas Ranchers’ and Landowners’ Association of Texas is available online here

      • “In a later interview with The Intercept, Kopser, a former Republican and admirer of Ronald Reagan, said he would compromise by giving in to Republican demands on border security to get some sort of Dream Act.”
        This defines the DNC/modern Democratic Party. These YUPPIE/GOPuke types migrated into the Democratic Party as the GOPukes went FRightwingnut haywire. They brought all their crooked, backwards thinking with them. The Democratic Party of my childhood wasn’t perfect, but it sure wasn’t GOPuke Lite either! T and R to the usual TPW suspects!! 🙂

    • ‘Shame’: 12 Democrats Join With House GOP to Attack Americans With Disabilities Act

      In a “shameful” move that disability rights advocates say “further marginalizes one of the most excluded communities in society,” a dozen Democrats joined with House Republicans on Thursday to pass a bill that would erode key protections for Americans with disabilities.

      The legislation, which now advances to the Senate, would create a “notice and cure” requirement before any legal action could be taken against a business on the grounds that it has failed to comply with federal standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nearly three decades ago.

      In other words, before filing a lawsuit, people with disabilities would have to notify a business in writing of an accessibility violation, then wait six months to see if it had made “substantial progress” toward becoming compliant.

      The measure was fiercely opposed by disability rights advocates. The grassroots group ADAPT said at least 17 protesters were arrested in the House today. Many other opponents turned to Twitter to denounce the bill and shame the “lobbyists for shopping malls and hotels” who have pushed for it, as well as House lawmakers who voted in favor of it

    • Decrying Failure of For-Profit System, 1 Million Demand Senators Back Medicare for All

      Medicare for All advocacy groups visited the offices of several Democratic senators on Thursday to deliver a total of one million petition signatures of Americans who support a universal healthcare system.

      The petitions asked senators who have not yet signed on to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill (S. 1804) to join 16 of their Democratic colleagues—including several who are considered top contenders to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election—in backing the proposal.

      The signatures were gathered by progressive groups including Our Revolution, Public Citizen, National Nurses United, Students for a National Health Program, and MoveOn.org.

      “In the wealthiest country in the world, it is outrageous that nearly 30 million Americans are without health insurance, leading tens of thousands to die each year because of unmet medical needs,” said Eagan Kemp, healthcare policy advocate for Public Citizen, who led coalition members around to offices of nine Democratic senators. “Tens of millions more have such high out-of-pocket costs that they can’t afford to use the insurance they have. We need Medicare-for-All to finally ensure that all Americans are able to access the care they need.”

    • Florida shooting: focus shifts to NRA and gun lobby cash to lawmakers

      In the minutes and hours after a teenage gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, politicians began what has become something of a grim ritual following mass shootings: they offered “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families.

      The response, as it has in the past, drew fierce criticism from Democrats and supporters of stricter gun control legislation, who view the condolences as woefully inadequate as mass shootings become more frequent and more lethal.

      Partisanship and the power of the gun lobby has helped derail several recent attempts in Congress to pass measures that would impose restrictions on the sale of firearms. And on Wednesday, in the wake of yet another mass shooting, Republican congressman who oppose gun control legislation while accepting millions from the gun lobby found themselves in the glare of the public eye.

    • Nina Turner visits TSU during Black History Month

      Nina Turner, president of the newly formed Our Revolution, Nashville/Mid-TN, will be coming to Tennessee State University, February 24, 2018.
      Founded by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders during the contentious 2016 presidential election, Our Revolution is centered on the goals of revitalizing American democracy, empowering progressive leaders, and elevating the overall political consciousness of our citizens.

      Our Revolution has over 500 chapters across the U.S. with hopes of doubling that number throughout the year. With this appearance, Turner is making good on her promise to travel to all 50 states spreading the group’s message.

      “Establishing a local chapter of Our Revolution is a necessary step to empowering voters disenfranchised by our current political environment by educating them on critical issues and offering bold actions and candidates who better represent the concerns of our working families,” said Jim Wohlgemuth, founding member. “We’ve seen what the power of the people can do, most recently in deep red southern Alabama. Now it’s Tennessee’s turn.”

      Most recently a national surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during the turbulent 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, Nina Turner is an insightful advocate and agent for social change.

    • US wasting billions on nuclear bombs that serve no purpose and are security liability – experts

      The US is to spend billions of dollars upgrading 150 nuclear bombs positioned in Europe, although the weapons may be useless as a deterrent and a potentially catastrophic security liability, according to a new report by arms experts.

      A third of the B61 bombs in Europe under joint US and Nato control are thought to be kept at Incirlik base in Turkey, 70 miles from the Syrian border, which has been the subject of serious concerns.

      The threat to the base posed by Islamic State militants was considered serious enough in March 2016 to evacuate the families of military officers.

      During a coup attempt four months later, Turkish authorities locked down the base and cut its electricity. The Turkish commanding officer at Incirlik was arrested for his alleged role in the plot.

      A report on the future of the B61 bombs by arms control advocacy group the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) , made available to the Guardian, said the 2016 events show “just how quickly assumptions about the safety and security of US nuclear weapons stored abroad can change”.

    • #FreeDennis: 300+ Students Stage Walkout After Texas Teen Detained by ICE

      More than 300 students from Stephen F. Austin High School in Houston, Texas walked out during their lunch break on Wednesday to protest the detention of an undocumented peer by federal immigration authorities.

      Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, a 19-year-old from Honduras, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials after getting into a fight at the school with another student, who immigrant rights advocates say was bullying him for being undocumented.

      Andrea Gonzalez, a 15-year-old sophomore who helped organize the protest, told The Houston Chronicle that his detention and pending deportation has made other students afraid to attend school.

      “We don’t want anything like this to happen to anyone else,” Gonzalez said. “Today it could be Dennis, tomorrow it could be us.”

      In response to the protest, the Houston Independent School Disctrict (HISD) said in a statement that it “has not used district resources to assist in deportation actions and we do not report students to ICE,” emphasizing “the district’s commitment to educating every student regardless of their immigration status.”

    • Full texts of the Remarks delivered on the Senate floor Feb. 14, 2018 by Bernie Sanders. (video is in yesterdays post)

      The Great Moral Issue of Our Time

    • Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional religious discrimination, US court rules

      Donald Trump’s latest travel ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries is unconstitutional because it discriminates against people based on their religion, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

      In a 9-4 vote, the fourth US circuit court of appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said it examined statements made by Trump and other administration officials, as well as the ban itself, and concluded that it was “unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam”.

      The court upheld a ruling by a federal judge in Maryland who issued an injunction barring enforcement of the ban against people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen who have bona fide relationships with people in the US.

      The US supreme court has already agreed to hear the travel ban case in April. In December, the high court said the ban could be fully enforced while appeals made their way through the courts.

      In its ruling, the fourth circuit used soaring language to criticize the ban, saying it had a “much broader deleterious effect” than banning certain foreign nationals. The court said the ban “denies the possibility of a complete, intact family to tens of thousands of Americans”.

      “On a fundamental level, the proclamation second-guesses our nation’s dedication to religious freedom and tolerance,” the chief justice, Roger Gregory, wrote for the court in the majority opinion.

    • The Sackler family’s blood money disgraces museums around the world

      There is no Pablo Escobar Wing at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and no El Chapo Guzman Museum at the Smithsonian. Columbia University doesn’t host a Sinaloa Drug Cartel Center of Developmental Psychobiology. Oxford would no longer be Oxford if its library were named in honor of the Cali drug cartel.

      Our most revered institutions hold themselves to an ethical standard that does not allow accepting money from wealthy drug dealers – however tempting the prospect or worthwhile the project. They refuse to become philanthropic money launderers, cleansing dirty reputations by selling prestigious naming rights.

      There is one notable exception to this institutional honor code: the Sackler family. The Sacklers have made a fortune from OxyContin, the painkiller blamed for sparking the deadly opioid crisis. They are world renowned donors – despite also being world class drug pushers, responsible for almost as many deaths last year as the drug cartels in Mexico.

      The Sackler name is emblazoned on, and disgraces, dozens of the world’s greatest museums, universities, and performing arts centers. So far, none has turned down their donations, none has returned their money already given. We agree to aggressively prohibit the sale of blood diamonds, but we allow the Sacklers’ clever use of blood money to cloak their drug shame under philanthropic fame.

      This despite the fact that the Sacklers and the cartels both make money off highly addictive drugs that destroy countless lives

    • PHOTOS: Since Standing Rock, 56 Bills Have Been Introduced in 30 States to Restrict Protests

      In the year since the last activists were evicted, the crackdown on journalists and activists has only intensified.

    • The Man Behind the Flint Water Prosecutions Wants to Be the Next Governor of Michigan

      Two years ago, at the height of the Flint water crisis, residents of this impoverished, majority-black city were demanding accountability. Thousands of children had been exposed to dangerous levels of lead, and activists placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and his administration. There were calls for Snyder’s resignation, for a federal investigation, and for criminal prosecutions.

      Snyder never resigned, but in the months that followed, multiple members of his administration were criminally charged for their roles in the disaster. Now, the man who filed those charges—Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette—is campaigning to replace Snyder as the state’s chief executive. Schuette isn’t the type of politician many people would think of as a crusader for environmental rights. He’s a conservative Republican and vocal ally of President Donald Trump. And he’s locked in a high-profile GOP primary fight with a member of the same administration that he’s been battling in court.


      A former member of Congress, state senator, and judge, Schuette was elected attorney general in 2010 and reelected in 2014. During those campaigns, he shied away from tying himself too closely to divisive issues. “His ads in the past were not particularly partisan,” says Matt Grossmann, the director of Michigan State’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. Instead, Schuette promised to crack down on corruption and sex trafficking.

      Once in the attorney general’s office, however, Schuette used his position to weigh in on national politics, frequently joining fellow Republicans in filing lawsuits against Obama administration policies on everything from contraception to climate change. “He’s been part of the national group of [attorneys general] who sued Obama for everything they could think of,” Grossmann says. Schuette is also no fan of marijuana, believes the gay marriage battle in Michigan was really about states’ rights, and opposes affirmative action. Still, Schuette has managed to build something of an “independent candidate reputation,” according to Grossmann.

      Last September, three months after filing the manslaughter charges, Schuette announced his bid to replace the term-limited Snyder. He’s now the GOP frontrunner in a crowded 2018 primary field that includes current Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley.

      • If it’s this GOPuke yahoo vs. Al-Sayed (sp), the Democrat will win in a cakewalk. There will be a very heavy voter turnout, too.

    • How Industry Has Taken Over Scott Pruitt’s EPA

      First came the smoke. The explosion hit 20 minutes later—so massive it killed 15, injured 260, damaged or destroyed 150 buildings, shattered glass a mile out and set trees ablaze. Under stadium lights, the West, Texas, high school football field, home of the Trojans, was transformed into a makeshift triage center.

      The 2013 disaster in West, a town of just 2,800, began with a fire at the local fertilizer plant, highlighting safety gaps at thousands of facilities nationwide that use or store high-risk chemicals. It took the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nearly four years after that to issue a rule intended to prevent such accidents—a move strenuously opposed by industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute.

      Just a week after the rule was issued, Donald Trump was sworn in as president. Businesses tried again, asking for a delay of the requirements. This time, they got what they asked for.

      The EPA has granted more than a few private-sector wishes lately under the guise of regulatory reform. Roughly 62 percent of the agency’s “deregulatory” actions completed in Administrator Scott Pruitt’s first year and 85 percent of its planned initiatives match up with specific industry requests, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis. These changes targeted requirements ranging from air-pollution limits for oil and gas operations to water-pollution restrictions on coal-fired power plants.

      Many of these steps followed entreaties from a small number of powerful lobbying groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Manufacturers.


        WANHUA CHEMICAL, A $10 billion chemical company controlled by the Chinese government, now has an avenue to influence American elections.

        On Monday, Wanhua joined the American Chemistry Council, a lobby organization for chemical manufacturers that is unusually aggressive in intervening in U.S. politics.

        The ACC is a prominent recipient of so-called dark money — that is, unlimited amounts of cash from corporations or individuals the origins of which are only disclosed to the IRS, not the public. During the 2012, 2014, and 2016 election cycles, the ACC took this dark money and spent over $40 million of it on contributions to super PACs, lobbying, and direct expenditures

      • The $79 million plan to gut EPA staff

        Donald Trump and EPA chief Scott Pruitt believe they are on track to eliminate half the scientists and engineers working at The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 2020. And, they’re going to endanger our public health in the most tedious, non-controversial way possible by using a little known bureaucratic device called “workforce reshaping.”

        Earlier this week, EPA announced that its National Exposure Research Laboratory in Las Vegas would close. Fifty employees will have to either relocate to another EPA office in Cincinnati, Ohio or Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, or leave EPA altogether by Sept. 30, 2018.

        The closing could lead to many more scientists’ departures, none of which will be replaced. But Pruitt is not planning dramatic shuttering of big offices to reduce EPA. Rather, this administration will embark on “workforce reshaping” to weaken and reform EPA to rubble.

    • Whitmer campaign manager resigns after allegations surface

      The campaign manager for Democratic candidate for governor Gretchen Whitmer has left his post amid an allegation of “inappropriate behavior” involving former co-workers.

      Whitmer, a former lawmaker who also has served as the Ingham County prosecutor, announced Keenan Pontoni’s resignation in a one-paragraph statement Thursday evening.

      “Yesterday, I received a credible report that a number of years ago, my campaign manager engaged in inappropriate behavior with people in the workplace and for that reason I have asked for and received his resignation effective immediately,” the statement said.

      Pontoni was Whitmer’s second campaign manager. He took over for Jerid Kurtz, who lasted only four months as Whitmer’s campaign manager before being let go in August 2017.

    • A Kansas candidate for Congress is continuing his AR-15 giveaway, despite backlash

      A Leavenworth Republican looking to replace U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins in Kansas’ second congressional district is giving away an AR-15 rifle for his campaign — and he has no plans to stop it despite social media pushback in light of Wednesday’s Florida mass school shooting.

      Tyler Tannahill, a Marine veteran, on Tuesday posted on his campaign Facebook and Twitter pages: “As an avid sportsman, I’m excited to announce our first AR-15 Giveaway! You can earn multiple entries and no purchase is necessary to win!


      Another Kansas congressional candidate, Brent Welder, called for a ban on assault weapons in the wake of the shooting.

      “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s time for action. I demand that Congress reinstate the ban on assault weapons… Hunters don’t use assault weapons — mass murderers do. They must be illegal,” said Welder, a Democrat running to unseat U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District.

      This is the second local congressional candidate who has used an AR-15 giveaway as part of a campaign. In September, Austin Petersen, running for U.S. Senate in Missouri, got himself barred from Facebook for 30 days after livestreaming a raffle to give away the popular rifle to his fans.

    • JoCo lawyer hopes to be first Native American woman in Congress, first gay Kansas rep

      A Johnson County resident hopes to be first Native American woman elected to Congress if she can win the Democratic primary to take on U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder in the fall.

      Sharice Davids, a 37-year-old Shawnee attorney and member of the Ho-Chunk nation, served as a White House fellow during the final year of President Barack Obama’s administration.

      Davids, who grew up in Leavenworth and holds a degree from Cornell Law School, spent time working as a legal counsel for a development corporation on a reservation in South Dakota before her stint at the White House.

      Her campaign announcement noted that if elected she would be the first female Native American to serve in Congress and the first openly gay member of the Kansas delegation.

      “Until it got pointed out to me it wasn’t necessarily part of my thinking, but the gravity of it really hit me recently,” Davids said. “It’s amazing how long we’ve been in a country, but we’re still having firsts.”

      She said her mother became teary-eyed upon finding out she could be the first Native American woman representative.

      “It wasn’t part of my decision. … but I’m definitely proud to be part of this time in history. I think there will be a lot of historical things happening in the 2018,” she said.

    • Who won the Woodstock Democratic debate?

      There was good news and bad for Jeff Beals when the results of the straw poll taken at the end of the Democratic debate February 4 at Woodstock’s Community Center were released this week.

      The Woodstock Democrat, one of six candidates seeking to vie for the party’s nomination to oppose Republican Congressman John Faso in November, received the most first place votes of the 185 ballots tallied with 50 (27%). But he also received the second most last place votes, 44 (24%) according to a release by the Campaign Committee of the Ulster County Democratic Women, one of the prime sponsors of the proceedings, and the entity that conducted the poll.

      In fact, many of the candidates, which included David Clegg, Antonio Delgado, Brian Flynn, Gareth Rhodes and Pat Ryan, found themselves ranked simultaneously near the top and the bottom at the same time, apparently lending credence to theories that each had a sizeable number of adherents.

      • Until ranked voting appears in NY, first place votes are the only important measure in a winner-take-all crowded primary.

    • Beto O’Rourke raises $2.2 million in first 45 days of 2018

      U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, announced Friday that he raised over $2.2 million for his U.S. Senate campaign in the first 45 days of 2018.

      The massive haul is almost as much as O’Rourke raked in during the previous, twice-as-long period — the fourth quarter of 2017. O’Rourke easily outraised U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during that 92-day stretch, $2.4 million to $1.9 million.

      Cruz has maintained an advantage over O’Rourke in money in the bank, though the gap has been narrowing. O’Rourke did not release his latest cash-on-hand figure Friday, but after the fourth quarter, it was $4.6 million to Cruz’s $7.3 million.

      O’Rourke, who is not accepting contributions from political action committees, said Friday that the $2.2 million total came from over 43,000 donations.


      Rebecca Nagle is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who works on domestic violence issues as well as other activism. Last year, she wrote an op-ed for ThinkProgress critical of the Massachusetts senator. “She is not a hero because, despite claiming to be the only Native woman in the U.S. Senate, she has done nothing to advance our rights,” she wrote.

      In an interview with The Intercept, Nagle gave Warren credit for addressing issues important to Native Americans. “I would say overall I think that this speech was a step in the right direction,” she said. “And I hope that she continues to walk in that direction. I also hope that people [will] hold her accountable in that direction.”

      The activist appreciated how Warren focused on the underlying issues in the community rather than simply focusing on herself. “I think her re-framing the conversation and instead of centering herself, centering Native people was a really good step in the right direction. I also think that the other thing she did that was positive was making a clear commitment to prioritize Native issues,” she said. “I think we’ll have to watch and see if she makes good on that promise. But I think that commitment is a good step in the right direction. And also clearly building relationships with Native leaders.”

      • Did Warren actually claim that she was the only Native American woman in the US. Senate? The controversy erupted when she was first running for Senate, and it was based on actions she took years before that

        • I see no need for Warren to ‘take back claims of heritage’ anymore than I should have to take back mine. Unfortunately people who have no interest or care at all for Native Americans will continue to exploit the issue, driving wedges where they can. It’s been quite effective so far.

    • Amid protest of Potomac River gas pipeline, Maryland seeks delay of federal review

      The same day protesters circled the governor’s mansion in opposition to a gas pipeline proposed to run beneath the Potomac River, Maryland officials asked the Army Corps of Engineers not to give the project a permit until a state review is completed.

      Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles told the Corps in a letter that the state “has identified potential water quality and public interest factors” that could warrant special conditions being placed on the TransCanada Corp. project.

      “The state is completing a robust review of the pipeline application and over the coming weeks we will be developing provisions, conditions and safeguards,” Grumbles told The Baltimore Sun. “MDE is absolutely committed to ensuring any pipeline is subject to stringent environmental standards and requirements.”

      The request came as environmental groups ramped up protests calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to order a more thorough review of the project’s potential impact on Potomac waters, the Chesapeake Bay and the region’s air. Hogan has so far waived the state’s right to conduct such an official study, but Grumbles said state officials are nonetheless looking closely at the project and plan to wrap up their review “in the coming weeks.”

    • Democrats request info on ‘repeated environmental concerns’ at Ohio pipeline

      Ranking members on the House and Senate energy committees sent a joint letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this week asking to be updated on the potential environmental safety risks related to construction of the Rover Pipeline in Ohio.

      It is the second time that the commission has raised concerns about the pipeline’s construction techniques, according to a Senate energy committee press release.

      The letter, dated Wednesday, was sent in response to news that in January, FERC put a halt to the use of horizontal directional drilling techniques near the Tuscarawas River by the pipeline’s parent company Energy Transfer Partners.

      Ohio officials had previously raised concerns that drilling from the project was spilling waste — including diesel fuel — at the pipeline site.


      “We remain concerned with Rover’s apparent lack of urgency in addressing repeated environmental concerns during the construction of the pipeline,” wrote Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    • Did 4 activists need to shut down an oil pipeline? Minn. court will decide

      Nobody’s disputing the facts of this case.

      Four activists — three from Seattle, one from New York — tried to shut off an Enbridge Energy oil pipeline in northwestern Minnesota’s Clearwater County. They even filmed the action.

      Then they were arrested.

      Depending on how you look at it, these four people were either vandals trespassing on private property, or activists who needed to protect people from climate change.

      More than 100 law professors have weighed in on the case via a brief arguing the activists should be able to use a “necessity defense” at trial. That’s when someone accused of a crime can say they needed to act as they did, or risk putting themselves or others in harm’s way.

      The Minnesota Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Thursday and will rule within 90 days whether the activists may use the necessity defense. Observers on both sides of the case say it could have broad implications in Minnesota and beyond.

    • The Alberta-B.C. pipeline fight will test Trudeau’s promises to Indigenous peoples

      The outcome of the first electoral engagement to take place against the backdrop of the B.C./Alberta trade war was non-conclusive. That is not to say it was meaningless.

      On Wednesday the voters in the provincial riding of West Kelowna had the somewhat dubious honour to be the first to have the opportunity to use the ballot box to send a message to the politicians in Victoria and Edmonton who have been feuding over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. They took a bit of a pass.

      West Kelowna is located in B.C.’s wine country. That places it right in the line of fire of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s retaliatory salvo against the province’s New Democrat government over the possibility that the latter might cap the amount of bitumen oil that transits through B.C.

      In this region the competing soliloquies of the two governments potentially add up to more than just a war of angry words.


      Earlier this week, the prime minister delivered what he meant to be a landmark speech designed to reinforce his commitment to change the terms of the relationship between his government and the country’s Indigenous peoples.

      Much has been said about the federal Liberal seats that could be in play in B.C. in 2019 as a result of Trudeau’s vocal support for the Trans Mountain expansion. But it is the depth of his resolve to change the paradigm between Canada and its Indigenous peoples that may be the most severely tested by this pipeline war.

      • Trudeau ratchets up pipeline pressure on British Columbia

        Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has increased the pressure on British Columbia in the dispute over the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, saying the province’s proposal to block the project risks alienating Alberta and derailing any consensus on Canada’s climate-change plan.

        Just two weeks ago, Mr. Trudeau said he was “not going to opine on disagreements between the provinces.” Earlier this week, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told the House of Commons that Ottawa will not allow B.C. to “stall or stop” the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

        In an interview with the National Observer published on Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau made it clear that Alberta’s willing participation in a national carbon-pricing scheme is also at stake. With its resource extraction economic base, Alberta plays a pivotal role in any national plan for reducing Canada’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Alberta has the highest emissions among the provinces and the oil sands are Canada’s fastest-growing source of GHGs.

        In the Observer interview, Mr. Trudeau compared B.C. Premier John Horgan’s opposition to expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline with former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall’s long battle against Ottawa’s plan for a national price on carbon.

        The Prime Minister said Mr. Horgan’s opposition to the pipeline expansion project – which is rooted in B.C. residents’ concerns about oil spills in ocean waters – could just as easily derail a national accord on climate policy and pricing.

    • Sad day here. Our oldest dog left us this morning after a slow decline over the last three months. She was a good good girl and I, my partner Richard, and her two young canine siblings, Nico and Jade, will miss her a lot.

      • Aww, sorry to hear that jcity.

      • Very sorry to hear this news jcitybone.

        She looks like she was a very good girl, on top of being beautiful.

        {{{hugs}}} and lots of doggie kisses from Nico and Jade to you.

      • I’m so sorry jcitybone. i know you’ll carry her love with you but it is so hard to lose member of our family. i don’t know that I really believe, but I love the image of the rainbow bridge…. warmth to you and yours.

    • Romney makes Utah Senate bid official

      Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has launched his long-awaited bid for a Utah Senate seat.

      He made the announcement Friday in an online video and has a seemingly clear path to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

      Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee who has emerged as a vocal critic of President Trump’s, extolled the virtues of the Beehive State and talked about his connections to the state.

      “I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington. Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah,” he says in the ad.

      • I find it depressing to think that we will now be subjected to his smug mug….again.

        His holier-than-thou, fake persona is a real turn-off for me.

        And why is he even doing this? Is he bored? Does he think he’s being called ‘by God’? I wish he’d take his millions and go away!

    • World’s First Floating Wind Farm Exceeds Expectations

      The world’s first floating wind farm only switched on three months ago but it’s already performing better than expected—and that’s despite a hurricane, a powerful winter storm and waves as high as 8.2 meters (27 feet).

      The 30-megawatt Hywind Scotland, located about 15 miles off the Aberdeenshire coast, churned out 65 percent of its maximum theoretical capacity during November, December and January, according to its operator, Statoil.

    • Air Pollution From Industrial Shutdowns and Startups a Grave Danger to Public Health

      When Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast in August 2017, many industrial facilities had to shut down their operations before the storm arrived and restart once rainfall and flooding had subsided.

      These shutdowns and startups, as well as accidents caused by the hurricane, led to a significant release of air pollutants. Over a period of about two weeks, data we compiled from the Texas’ Air Emission Event Report Database indicates these sites released 2,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants.

      • 2,000 tons?????!!!

        For some perspective, that equates to 4 million pounds!

        • If you’re rich enough, you don’t live anywhere near there, and we all know that only the wealthy are deserving of life and Gawd’s love.

    • Valentine’s march calls attention to dangers posed by pipeline workers

      A group of protesters organized by the group Nlaka’pamux Grassroots was at Spirit Square on Valentines Day protesting the proposed Kinder Morgan worker camp for Merritt. (Photo by Julie Van Koll)
      A group of First Nations women marked Valentines Day by marching through Merritt, calling attention to missing and murdered indigenous women and the threats an influx of pipeline workers may pose to vulnerable populations.

      Organized by the Nlaka’pamux Grassroots, the protest opposed the camp Kinder Morgan intends to set up on the Chutter Ranch in Quilchena to accommodate hundreds of workers if and when its Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion is permitted to begin.

      The peaceful protest began at 5:30 p.m. on Coutlee Avenue before ending at Spirit Square where about 30 participants gathered.

      The concern, protest organizer Billie Pierre told the Herald, is the potential for this large gathering of workers with disposable income to increase the likelihood of violence against indigenous women and children.

      According to a press release from the group, industrialized projects such as mines, oil extraction projects and highway developments have historically increased violence, alcohol, drug use, crime and sexual assaults in the nearby communities.

    • Forget Trump; Republicans Are The Problem Now

      I’m not suggesting, or think it’s a good idea, to “forget Trump” altogether (and how in the world could you anyway?!), but it would seem that I’m not the only one that thinks that putting almost all of the focus on Trump allows Republicans to hide behind him and work their destructive ways relatively unseen.

      It’s Political Messaging 101: You can’t beat Trump by talking about him all the time.

      We should be talking about our economic future, but all we’re talking about our 45th president. Look at this chart, which shows the top story on social media accounts by social category for the first year (more or less) of Trump’s presidency:

      (chart showing that all anyone is talking about is Trump)

      Stunning, isn’t it? Trump dominates the media landscape like some paint-and-plaster Colossus, his conquering limbs striding from news cycle to news cycle.

      I agree with Ezra Klein on at least one crucial point about this chart. (It’s from Klein’s piece, “Trump is winning.”) The president is “setting both the terms and tone of the debate.”

      When everyone is focused on our 45th president, how can Democrats hold your attention long enough to make the case that they will make people’s lives better? Here’s what that chart looks like if you take Trump coverage out of the picture:

      (chart showing people talking about other topics, mainly Russia and healthcare)

      Democrats have devoted a lot more attention to the first story, Russia, than they have to the issue of healthcare.

      Is all the talk of Trump giving cover to Dems as well? I’d like to think not, but..

      A Democratic email blast sent last month included the rather plaintive subject line, “Let’s get into Trump’s Twitter feed.” Is that as high as the party now dares to dream?

      • Matt Taibbi, too.

        It’s a fatal mind loop worthy of an early Twilight Zone episode, and if you think about it (although the next presidential tweet will likely pre-empt that possibility), we’ve been riding in this same moronic circle for more than two and a half years. Cycling through the Twitter opinions about the president’s latest brain belch has become an irresistibly shallow national ritual. It’s clearly a monster distraction from something. But what, exactly?

        At the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, several crises seem to have quietly worsened under the cover of Trump’s insanity. A big one is the continuing collapse of the two major political parties – particularly the Republicans, whose dysfunction now seems beyond terminal. With characteristic myopia, the GOP establishment spent most of the past year trying to rid Washington of alt-right icon and former chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon, instead of worrying about the larger problem, i.e., the voter rage that put Trump in the White House.

        Great illustration as always by Juhasz.

    • Marijuana Criminal Cases Dropped En Masse by Philadelphia District Attorney

      The new DA’s message to police who arrest people for simple pot possession: We’re going to drop the charges.


      Go Larry Krasner!!

      “I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do,” Krasner said. “We could use those resources to solve homicides.”

    • Sports as a unifying force?

      ‘I’ll be Muslim too’: Fans embrace Liverpool’s Mo Salah

      Liverpool Football Club fans have embraced Mohamed Salah, an Egyptian player, with a new chant that celebrates the 25-year-old forward’s faith.

      “Mo Sa-la-la-la-lah, Mo Sa-la-la-la-lah, if he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too,” fans have been filmed chanting from the stadiums to the pubs as they watch Salah’s footwork at play.

      The rhyme continues: “He’s sitting in the mosque, that’s where I want to be.”

      Saleh, who also plays for Egypt’s national team, is quickly becoming a darling of the English football community.

    • “Giant militarized countries,” he said, “breed violent populations.”

      Bukhanovsky at the time was treating a pre-teen who had begun killing animals. He told me this young boy would almost certainly move on to killing people eventually. He was seeing more and more of these cases, he said.

      Nicholas Cruz, the 19 year-old just arrested for shooting and killing 17 people in Parkland, Florida, supposedly bragged about killing animals. He reportedly even posted photos of his work on Instagram.

      another Taibbi.

      • I read a very good thread from someone living overseas who brought up the fact that the U.S. is killing people all over the planet. This is a very violent country, a violent culture.

        Also, the killer is said to have ‘aspired’ to be in the military.

        His public offender, Melisa McNeill, had her right arm around him during the short hearing and did not object to the judge’s no bond order.

        She described him as a “broken human being”.

        • I wouldn’t demonize a defense lawyer doing her job.

          While Taibbi’s article is far more dismissive of gun control than I care for (and utterly fails to connect the arms industry’s role in both supplying the military and feeding America’s gun fetish), it raises good points. Namely, how can we glorify the troops and the military with one hand and on the other hand credibly condemn the violence of this society on the other?

    • A little happy hour treat in case la58 happens to do another excellent labor post tomorrow.

  • Варна, Компаньонки, Ескорт.. Здравейте казвам се ели на 19г Бонуси от one.01.2018 до twenty.one.2018г. За едно пътуване момичето средно печели по 7-eight хилади долара, но сумата може да стигне и до проститутки twenty хиляди и нагоре. По принцип обаче елитните компаньонки получават само thirty на сто от хонорара, другите пари отиват при агента ил…

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  • На 05.03.т.г. около 23.ten ч. в Четвърто Районно управление «Полиция» – Бургас е получено съобщение от 31-годишен бургазлия, за това че на същата дата около 18.компаньонки thirty ч. в интернет, посредством сайта «Ало, БГ» – графа «Компаньонки»,се запознал с момиче, представило се за елитна платена компаньонка с псевдоним «Кучката». Всъщност страни…

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  • Taking on Trump’s Racist ‘Pocahontas’ Slur, Warren Vows to ‘Lift Up’ Stories, Struggles of Native Americans

    With a speech delivered at the National Congress of American Indians on Wednesday morning, Sen. […]

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Etc!

    • Bernie Sanders Sends a Special Message to Millionaires on Valentine’s Day

      Bernie Sanders has a special Valentine’s Day message for the 1 percent. On Wednesday, Sanders tweeted “Happy Valentine’s day to all the millionaires who will not have to pay into Social Security for the rest of the year. Let’s lift the cap and end this absurdity.” Accompanying the tweet was a video educating the public about “Millionaires Valentine’s Day,” which this year falls on February 16.

      Because of an arbitrary cap, Americans earning million-dollar salaries or higher only have to pay Social Security taxes up to $128,000, which they’re able to pay off just a few weeks into each new year—47 days after January 1 to be precise, otherwise known as Millionaires Valentine’s Day.

      The taxable amount in 2018 is actually $128,400, but most individuals won’t earn this amount, as the Center for Economic and Policy Research reported. CEPR’s Kevin Cashman wrote of the present system that, “the burden of Social Security taxes falls more heavily on those who make less money.”

      “What is it, some weird Valentine’s Day gift to rich people?” Lawrence Benenson, principal of the Benenson Capital Company and progressive advocate, asks in the video.

      • 17 Dead in Florida School Shooting: ‘We Should Never Accept These Horrific Acts of Violence as Routine’

        At least seventeen people were killed, and more than fifteen left wounded, after the latest U.S. mass shooting took place at high school in south Florida on Wednesday.

        While police say they have a single suspect in custody—identified as Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the school where the massacre took place—gun control advocates reacted to the latest horrific incident by declaring once more that only legislative action, backed by a popular demand by those sick and tired of such violence, will put an end to the carnage that has now become so numbingly common in American society.

        “We should never accept these horrific acts of violence as routine,” declared Giffords Courage to End Gun Violence, the advocacy group founded by former Democratic congresswoman Gabbie Giffords. “And we must never stop demanding that our leaders not only acknowledge this devastating problem, but take long overdue action to keep our children safe.”

      • Don’t look to Trump for leadership after the Florida school shooting

        This is no time to talk politics, we’re told by gun-loving conservatives.

        This is a time for prayers, we’re told by Donald Trump.

        “There really are no words,” we’re told by the local sheriff.

        So it’s OK, everyone. We can get back to the latest blather about tax cuts for corporations or billions for a border wall. Those are the things that politics, and presidents, and words, can handle.

        But if we can’t talk about saving the lives of our children, if our politics can’t keep our schools safe, if we can’t talk about the mass murder of innocence, then what on earth are we talking about? What’s the point of any politician if they can’t do this one simple thing: protect our youngest citizens?

        • Actually she labeled him a f******* piece of sh*t—much more appropriate


          Donald Trump has been labelled a “sh*t” on Twitter by a user who is believed to be a student at the Florida school where 17 students were shot dead.

          The reply by “Sarah” to the US president’s public comment on the mass killing went viral after she urged him to introduce gun control measures instead of platitudes.

          Mr Trump had tweeted his “prayers and condolences” to the families of the dead, adding: “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.

          The account @chaddiedabaddie, which says it belongs to the girl attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near Fort Lauderdale, replied: “I don’t want your condolences you f****** price (sic) of sh*t, my friends and teachers were shot.

          “Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers.

          “Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happening again.

          • Fla. student who survived shooting pleads for action on guns: ‘We are children, you guys are the adults’

            A student who survived the Florida high school shooting is pleading with Congress to take action to prevent another mass shooting.

            “Please, this is the 18th one this year. That’s unacceptable. We are children. You guys are the adults,” David Hogg said during an interview on CNN.

            “You need to take some action and play a role. Work together, come over your politics and get something done.”

            Hogg said that the fact that there have been so many school shootings “is a testament to where this country has come.”
            “We need to dig out of this hole. We need to step out of it and take a look back and realize there’s something seriously wrong here,” he said.

          • tocino replied 3 days ago

            So right on the mark, so deeply true,so straight from the true heart, so exposing Trump as (uggh) nakedly fake and foul.
            I would love to follow this young woman’s trajectory into the swamp off American political “discourse” just to see the liars, and the lies they tell, flee the room when she shows up. That’s you and all your kind Trump! .All best wishes to her and her friends and familes for finding the roots of healing from this horrific rootless act.

        • F*****g piece oh hypocritical sh*t


          In a tweet Thursday morning, the president framed the tragedy as indicative of a mental health issue, rather than a gun-control problem.

          “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed,” Trump wrote, “even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

          The president’s message fits a pattern in post-shooting remarks from his White House and Republicans more broadly.

          A year ago


          President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.

          The rule, which was finalized in December, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database.

          Had the rule fully taken effect, the Obama administration predicted it would have added about 75,000 names to that database.

          President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. The measure sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns.

          The original rule was hotly contested by gun rights advocates who said it infringed on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Gun control advocates, however, praised the rule for curbing the availability of firearms to those who may not use them with the right intentions.

          • http://thehill.com/homenews/house/374012-ryan-florida-school-shooting-shouldnt-take-away-right-to-own-guns

            Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) early Thursday warned against rolling the conversation around the deadly shooting at a Florida high school into “taking away citizens’ rights” to own guns.

            “There’s more questions than answers at this stage,” Ryan told Indiana radio host Tony Katz.

            “I don’t think that means you then roll the conversation into taking away citizens’ rights – taking away a law-abiding citizen’s rights. Obviously this conversation typically goes there,” he added.

            “Right now, I think we need to take a breath and collect the facts.”


            “I think we need to pray, and our hearts go out to these victims,” Ryan said. “And I think, as public policymakers, we don’t just knee-jerk before we even have all the facts and the data.”

            Imagine the knee-jerking that would be going on if the shooter was Muslim or an ‘Illegal Immigrant’ (aka: a human being born on the other side of an imaginary line).

    • Urging Peace Talks, Open Letter From Taliban Asks American People to Recognize Total Failure of 16-Year War

      Two and half weeks after President Donald Trump rejected the idea of peace talks with Taliban, the militant group published an open letter to the American people urging them to pressure their government to end the occupation of Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, and engage in peace talks.

      The letter, published on the group’s website, denounces the Bush administration’s justification for launching the invasion, as well as the Trump administration, which “again ordered the perpetuation of the same illegitimate occupation and war against the Afghan people.”

      “No matter what title or justification is presented by your undiscerning authorities for the war in Afghanistan, the reality is that tens of thousands of helpless Afghans including women and children were martyred by your forces, hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands more were incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram, and various other secret jails and treated in such a humiliating way that has not only brought shame upon humanity but is also a violation of all claims of American culture and civilization,” the letter states.

      It goes on to illustrate in numerous ways how the occupation has failed. For example, “3546 American and foreign soldiers have been killed,” it states, and “this war has cost you trillions of dollars thus making it one of the bloodiest, longest and costliest war in the contemporary history of your country.”

      It also references United Nations statistics finding that there was an 87 percent increase in drug production in Afghanistan in 2017 and, despite the uptick in airstrikes, the U.S. watchdog the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) acknowledged that the Taliban is gaining, not losing territory.

      • Trump’s Military Parade Could Cost $30 Million

        President Trump’s military parade will not come cheap.

        Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, estimated on Wednesday that the public display of America’s military might that Mr. Trump has called for could cost between $10 million and $30 million, and said the government would have to come up with a way to cover the cost.

        Funding for the parade was not included in the White House’s 2019 budget request, which was released on Monday, because it was a relatively new idea, Mr. Mulvaney said at a House Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday. He explained that the final cost would be determined by the size, scope and length of the parade.

        “We will continue to work with you folks if we decide to continue forward with this initiative,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “Of course, you’d have to appropriate funds for it or we would have to find funds that we’ve already appropriated.”

        Stan Collender, a former staff member on the House and Senate budget committees, said that the funding for the parade could be found without a formal budget request by using existing money already in the Department of Defense budget or possibly from the Department of Homeland Security or the National Park Service.

      • ‘An Administration By and For the Powerful’: Merkley Nails Mulvaney Over Trump Budget

        “Everything we see in this budget is about help to the powerful and an assault on working Americans.”

        That was how Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) characterized President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled 2019 spending plan during a fiery exchange with White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who appeared before the Senate on Tuesday to take questions on the details of the administration’s fiscal blueprint.

        “Let’s give $1.5 trillion in a tax bill to the wealthiest Americans and proceed to cut our health, our commitment to our seniors on health as well, cut the affordability of college, because the rich are okay, they can pay for their college, don’t worry about the rest of Americans,” Merkley said, summarizing the priorities expressed by the White House budget.

        “Oh and by the way, the hungry in America? Too bad. Let those children go hungry,” Merkley added. “They’re from poor families, they don’t matter. What kind of message does this send about this administration?”

      • Goldman Sachs boss on Trump tax plan: ‘Odds of a bad outcome have gone up’

        The Goldman Sachs boss, Lloyd Blankfein, has added his voice to the chorus warning that Donald Trump’s $1.5tn tax cut and spending plans could lead to an overheated US economy.

        “The odds of a bad outcome have gone up,” Blankfein told CNN on Wednesday.

        Trump outlined a budget this week that could add $7tn to the nation’s debt over the next decade. Blankfein warned that over-stimulating an already healthy economy could prove “too much of a good thing”.

        “Don’t forget, all of these deficits have to be paid for,” he said.

        Blankfein said the current upbeat mood reminded him of the optimism that preceded the global financial crisis of 2007-8.

        • This monied white collared criminal yahoo can stick it where the ‘sun doan shine’! I’m sure the next Depression won’t hurt him and the rest of his worthless ‘get.’ T and T to the usual TPW suspects!! 🙂

        • Nomi Prinz, Ellen Brown and others have been warning about this for some time.

      • That two screen snapshot says a lot. Mulvaney has been to mass to honor the history of Jesus soon-to-be-crucifixion (murder essentially for no crime committed and was a strong advocate for the poor) and he’s defending a budget that slashes social services that low income people need.

        The following list is one of proposed eliminations of programs (I got from the American Library Association), it is not the entire list, just selective:

        While lawmakers are unlikely to enact most of Trump’s proposal, here’s a look at some of the centers and agencies the White House wants to abolish.

        1. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education, which donates agricultural commodities and financial assistance to carry out school feeding programs in foreign countries.

        2. The Rural Business and Cooperative Service, which provides loans, grants and payments intended to increase opportunities in rural communities.

        3. The Economic Development Administration, which provides federal grants to communities in support of locally-developed economic plans.

        4. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which subsidizes advisory and consulting services for small and medium-size manufacturers.

        5. 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which helps communities establish or expand centers to provide before- and after-school programs and summer school programs.

        6. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, an Education Department program that provides grants to support college preparation for low-income students.

        7. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which researches ways to enhance the effectiveness of health services.

        8. The Advanced Research Projects Agency, which provides support for Energy Department projects.

        9. The National Wildlife Refuge Fund, which compensates communities for lost tax revenue when the federal government acquires their land.

        10. The Global Climate Change Initiative, a proposal that reflects Trump’s decision last year to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

        11. The NASA Office of Education, which provides grants to colleges and universities, museums and science centers. The funding would be redirected within NASA.

        12. The Chemical Safety Board, which is tasked with investigating accidents at chemical facilities.

        13. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds service opportunities, promotes volunteering and helps nonprofit organizations find volunteers. (this was something Eleanor Roosevelt strongly supported)

        14. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds public television and radio stations including Public Broadcasting Service and NPR.

        15. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, which funds museums and libraries nationwide with grants. See http://www.ala.org/advocacy/fund-libraries

        16. The Legal Services Corporation, a nonprofit that provides civil legal assistance for low-income individuals.

        17. The National Endowment for the Arts, which funds American artists and projects with grants. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton” was one of those recipients.

        18. The National Endowment for the Humanities, which provides grants to American humanities scholars. (Universities depend on these to fund research in the humanities)

        19. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, which funds community development projects nationwide.

        20. The Denali Commission, the Delta Regional Authority and the Northern Border Regional Commission, which fund infrastructure and economic projects in specified areas.

        21. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, which provides U.S. goods and services for foreign projects.

        22. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank focused on international affairs and foreign policy. This is one that I think we can do without. Even Princeton students don’t want his statue up anymore, given his racists stances.

        • Yes Christian in ashes only

          • i honestly don’t know how they do it. They must have been taught about a very different version of Jesus than I got in my 12 years of Catholic school.

        • I was floored when I read the complete list.

          Legal Services Corporation
          Proposed cuts: The agency’s budget would fall from $385 million to $18 million.

          Programs cut: The LSC helps poor Americans afford legal services. In its 2018 budget request, the agency called for increased funding, stating almost 20 percent of the U.S. population qualifies for aid from the LSC, and that there is “dire” need for more help.

          They asked for MORE money but, you know, the military needs to buy more drones or something, so BZZZZZT, you lose all of you who need help!

          $385 million ——> $18 million

          • plus they’d be defending people against the corpses, often. I got to help with a defense where CapitalOne took advantage of a mentally challenged person. we won.

        • This one really pissed me off too:

          There’s less money for flood-hazard mapping — which drops from $178 million to $100 million — on the premise that money needs to be directed to the Department of Homeland Security’s “core missions.”

        • And this one:

          3) Scientific programs to help monitor climate change:

          Nature reports that the budget blueprint cancels $133 million for five NASA Earth science missions that the White House failed to cut last year, including the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) Earth-observing mission, among others. These missions give the United States situational awareness of climate processes.

    • Corbyn’s Labour Party Unveils Plan to Make UK ‘World Leader on Animal Welfare’

      Animal welfare advocates are celebrating a new detailed plan unveiled Wednesday by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the UK that aims to improve the lives of domesticated pets, laboratory and farm animals, and those in the wild.

      “We wholeheartedly welcome the proposals in the animal welfare strategy announced today by Labour. These are developments for which we have campaigned tirelessly for years,” said Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International. “It shows great progress that one of the major political parties is now committed to a positive plan for ending the suffering of animals in laboratories.”

      “We particularly welcome commitments to stop live exports, empower consumers with mandatory meat labeling, stop routine preventative use of antibiotics, and use post-Brexit subsidies to move away from intensive factory farming and bad environmental practices,” said Emma Slawinski, director of campaigns at Compassion in World Farming. “This could be the beginning of the end of cruel factory farming.”

      “No animal should be treated cruelly or made to suffer unnecessary pain,” tweeted Corbyn, adding that the goal of the plan is to “make the UK a world leader on animal welfare.”

    • https://theintercept.com/2018/02/14/ice-denaturalization-naturalized-citizen-immigration

      FOR 10 YEARS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s investigative office has worked to keep its internal handbook out of American courts. The handbook could have been used in court to show how ICE’s push to lead on denaturalization cases stands in contrast to the language of federal law governing the process, an immigration lawyer said. “We could have used it as an exhibit in a motion to dismiss” in previous denaturalization cases, said Philip Smith, an immigration attorney from Portland, Oregon, noting the contrast.

      The handbook, which was issued on January 15, 2008, and published Wednesday by the independent media outlet Unicorn Riot, makes clear that the priority for ICE’s investigative division, Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, in denaturalization proceedings is to use the most efficient means possible to fulfill a single-minded goal: leveraging the bureaucratic process to strip citizenship from naturalized Americans.

      • Meanwhile, we may very well need those immigrants in the very near future.

        Bad title alert (I very much doubt Trump has ever really been pro-social security).

        Trump needs immigrants: The pro-Social Security Republican represents a big threat to its future

        America’s native-born population is aging. Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 4 million a year.

        And there just aren’t enough working people to fund their benefits and the benefits of future retirees. If trends hold, the projected population of citizens born to U.S.-born parents will decline by 8% over the next 20 years.

        Legal immigration provides what amounts to an emergency blood transfusion into funds that already have unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions, yes trillions, of dollars.

        But Trump would slash it by 40% or more, inflicting near-fatal demographic damage on the payroll-tax funds.

    • The South is rising again By Jim Hightower

      In the past year, we’ve seen a burst of audacious political assertiveness coming out of Old Dixie, and I’m not talking about those Trumpeteering, tiki-torch-brandishing, tinhorn KKKers the media focuses on.

      The real story is that a fresh, “Reclaim the South” movement of young African-American populists is emerging, kindling long-suppressed hope in the racially scarred Deep South and offering the possibility of real economic and cultural progress.


      The nationwide progressive offensive in 2017 produced other ground shifting results such as many victories by millennials (five elected to the State House in Virginia alone); victories by immigrant candidates, including in Somerville (Massachusetts), Helena (Montana), and Minneapolis; a rebellion in previously red suburbs; and (4) several wins by openly transgender men and women including House of Delegate (Virginia), several City Council seats and even a few seats on local school boards. Victories like these are proliferating because immigrant populations are growing, the LGBTQ community has become more readily excepted, Trumpism and GOP extremism are turning voters off, a rapid and relentless downsizing of the middle class is altering attitudes, and serious grassroots political organizing by Our Revolution, Democratic Socialists of America, Working Families Party, and other progressive groups is making a difference.

      We can draw two big lessons from these wins in the “red” South and victories by others previously counted out of the by the status quo: progressives with a full-throated populist message (Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, corporate money out of politics, etc.) can win nearly anywhere; and the assertion by establishment Dems (echoed by corporate media) that progressive populism is not a winner is — in two words — bovine excrement.

    • Mormons want to save the Republican party’s soul. But is it too late?

      This Thursday Mitt Romney is expected to announce his candidacy for US Senate from Utah – to the likely displeasure of President Trump, who reportedly worked the phones to try to block Romney, a frequent Trump foil, from running.

      One thing that Romney has in common with other conservative critics of the president? His religion. Mormon politicians have been some of Trump’s most voracious detractors – from the right.

      • There’s no soul to save. These Mormon politicians would still be voting with the rest of the Republicans for stuff like the obscene tax cuts. They just find Trump’s racism and misogyny counterproductive. Though I’m all for Republican intraparty battles.

    • Burlington City Employees Union Endorses Driscoll for Mayor

      A union representing Burlington city employees endorsed mayoral candidate Carina Driscoll, saying that incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger isn’t representing workers from city hall.

      It’s the first time “in a very long time” that the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees has endorsed a candidate for mayor, union president Karl LaBounty said at a press conference Wednesday.

      “This year we felt that it was a time to stand up again,” LaBounty said.

      The AFSCME Local 1343, Council 93 union includes more than 200 workers from the Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department; the Department of Public Works; the library; the airport; the city clerk and treasurer’s office; the Community and Economic Development Office; as well as staff from the Burlington school district.

    • I think people like Sanders and Corbyn have proven themselves to be ‘The Anti-Trump’s’. While Ardern certainly seems to have potential to do good… I remember all the fawning over Trudeau. Also… Vogue.. yuck.

      ‘The anti-Trump’: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern earns nickname from Vogue

      The prime minister of New Zealand may have a new nickname on the international stage – “the anti-Trump”.

      That’s according to the fashion bible Vogue, which profiled 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern for its March issue, shooting the prime minister on a windswept North Island beach wearing clothes by New Zealand designers in a picture that is being described as “beautiful” and high fashion.

      “New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, Is Young, Forward-Looking, and Unabashedly Liberal,” the magazine’s headline read. “Call Her the Anti-Trump.”

      “She’s the real deal,” tweeted the writer of the piece, Amelia Lester, who interviewed Ardern in her modest Auckland home, which she prefers over the cavernous Premier House in Wellington.

      “We’re small,” Ardern says of New Zealand’s standing on the global stage. “But we do our bit by standing up for what we believe in.”

      Describing Ardern’s political style as “a blend of Bernie Sanders’s bluntness and Elizabeth Warren’s fearlessness”, the interview touches on a number of issues close to Ardern’s heart, including climate change (“We’re surrounded by island nations who will feel the brunt of climate change. So I see us as having a responsibility.”)

    • A few months back I posted about ‘loot boxes’ in video games these days, and Hawaii rep. Chris Lee’s seizing the opportunity to highlight corporate America’s introduction of predatory, ‘casino style’ gambling being introduced to intentionally exploit the addictive behavior or children. I remarked on just how massive of an issue this is to gamers, youtubers, etc. and how anyone else who seized on it would be smart politically (chris lee is pretty much a household name to gamers now, his original vbideo on the issue has 338k views, compare that to say Sander’s state of the union response at 450k view). Well more and more Dems seem to be listening:

      US Senator demands review of loot box policies, citing potential harm

      Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) sent an open letter to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) today urging the industry’s self-regulatory body to “review the completeness of the board’s ratings process and policies as they relate to loot boxes and to take into account the potential harm these types of micro-transactions may have on children.”

      Loot boxes—which offer randomized in-game rewards, often in exchange for real money—concern Hassan for the “psychological principles and enticing mechanics that closely mirror those often found in casinos and games of chance,” as the letter reads. While acknowledging “robust debate over whether loot boxes should be considered gambling,” Hassan argues that “they are both expensive habits and use similar psychological principles” and thus deserve extra scrutiny. “The potential harm is real.”

      Hassan urged the ESRB in the letter to examine whether loot boxes are being marketed “in an ethical and transparent way that adequately protects the developing minds of young children from predatory practices.” She also asked the board to “collect and publish data” on how developers and players use loot boxes.

      So far, Hassan has stopped short of urging any government intervention on the loot box issue or even specific industry moves to self-regulate their use. But alongside the letter, Hassan offered some pointed questions to nominees for the Federal Trade Commission at a Commerce Committee hearing today. When asked whether games that “allow in-game purchases for surprise winnings” deserved attention from the FTC, all four nominees agreed that it was something worth looking into.

      Hassan, who said she heard about loot boxes from a constituent, took time during the hearing to highlight the FTC’s previous finding that the ESRB is “one of the most effective voluntary enforcement boards” in entertainment.

    • Elizabeth Warren: The New Monopolies Are Destroying Our Economy and Democracy (audio @ link)

      Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to make the fight against monopoly power in America a key part of the Democrats’ agenda; George Zornick reports on his interview with her for the magazine’s special issue on the topic.

      • Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Big Fight’ Against Monopolies

        In 2015, the seventh year of Barack Obama’s presidency, the United States saw $4.7 trillion worth of corporate mergers and acquisitions—an all-time high. Though Obama did pick some high-profile fights with mega-companies that were trying to merge, his administration barely surpassed the number of antitrust cases brought to trial under George W. Bush, who set a record for bringing the fewest of any president.
        But when congressional Democrats unveiled their “Better Deal” platform last summer, it contained a whole chapter on “cracking down on corporate monopolies and the abuse of economic and political power.” The document, which Democrats aim to use as a blueprint for the 2018 midterm elections, calls for tougher treatment of corporate mergers and a new government “Trust Buster” position that will look closely at existing concentrations of economic power and demand that regulators take action or explain why they won’t. “In recent years,” the platform declares, “antitrust regulators have been unable or unwilling to pursue complaints about anticompetitive conduct.” It was a rare rebuke to Obama’s record, reflecting a shift in Democratic thinking on monopolization.

    • Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market

      The company is a radically new kind of monopoly with ambitions that dwarf those of earlier empires.

    • A Climate Caucus Has Turned Into a Magnet for House Republicans. Wait, What?

      Matt Gaetz, a freshman congressman from Florida, would like to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. Known for attacking the FBI’s Russia probe and inviting a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union, the House Republican earlier last year introduced a one-sentence bill to terminate the EPA. He’s also heralded Trump’s “strong leadership” for the withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate agreement. So it came as a surprise in November when the House Climate Solutions Caucus welcomed him as a member.

      Gaetz may have said two years ago that global warming could also be naturally caused, but when asked recently about his views, he explained, “I think history will judge very harshly those who are climate deniers.” Yet even now, having admitted humans play a significant role in climate change, he stops short of backing action that science shows is needed to contain the process. And that includes policies favored by some Republicans, like a revenue-neutral tax on carbon pollution, which he says “will merely export our pollution to other countries.”

      It turns out, despite its name, the Climate Solutions Caucus is a hospitable place for many members who, like Gaetz, do not seem especially concerned about global warming. The two-year-old caucus has expanded to 70 members, half of whom are Republican—and many of them have brought controversial records and a questionable commitment to advancing legislation in Congress that would protect the environment.

    • “The Water Stinks.” For Many Rural Americans the Only Choice Is Toxic.

      “I’ll be honest with you,” said Gary Michael Hunt. “You never know when you go in there and turn on the faucet if you have water, or if you ain’t going to have no water.” Hunt, a former coal miner who lives in Martin County, Kentucky, said he has had reliability and safety issues with his drinking water for about 25 years—including water permeated by excessive amounts of disinfectant chemicals. “The water stinks. It’s cloudy-looking,” he explained. Hunt’s not alone: More than a thousand of his neighbors in Martin County regularly have to deal with creaky faucets that sometimes spew liquids of various scents and hues.

      The county water board says these issues stem from old, busted-up water infrastructure and a “bleak” financial situation. To solve it, the board proposed raising water bills. That did not go well. At a fiscal-court meeting on January 11, Hunt stood up, used profanity, and shook a finger in the board’s direction. A state trooper approached Hunt, pushed him backward by the neck, and escorted him from the courtroom. Hunt was cited for disorderly conduct and has a February 26 court date

      “I would just like for him to say he’s sorry for choking me,” Hunt said. He’d like clean drinking water, too, but neither seem likely for now. A Kentucky State Police spokesperson confirmed that Hunt faces charges; when asked if it was common for officers to place hands on the necks of individuals during arrest, he refused to discuss the matter and hung up.

      • Non-Stick Chemicals Used in Pans, Food Wrappers Linked to Weight Gain

        Perfluorinated chemicals, also known as PFASs or PFCs, are used to make everyday items—such as food wrappers, textiles, pots and pans—repel water and grease. But these chemicals have been linked to a host of health problems, including high cholesterol, hormone disruption and even kidney and testicular cancer.

        Now, researchers at Harvard University found evidence that the environmentally persistent chemicals—found in the drinking water of more than six million Americans—may play a role in weight gain, especially for women.

        • Ultra-processed foods may be linked to cancer, says study

          “Ultra-processed” foods, made in factories with ingredients unknown to the domestic kitchen, may be linked to cancer, according to a large and groundbreaking study.

          Ultra-processed foods include pot noodles, shelf-stable ready meals, cakes and confectionery which contain long lists of additives, preservatives, flavourings and colourings – as well as often high levels of sugar, fat and salt. They now account for half of all the food bought by families eating at home in the UK, as the Guardian recently revealed.

          A team, led by researchers based at the Sorbonne in Paris, looked at the medical records and eating habits of nearly 105,000 adults who are part of the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study, registering their usual intake of 3,300 different food items.

          They found that a 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in the diet was linked to a 12% increase in cancers of some kind.

          • I saw some doubters on social media on this (the idea that processed foods can cause cancer) so I had to break it to them that yes, it’s true.

            Processed foods (and, of course, sugar) cause inflammation. Inflammation contributes to everything from wrinkles to joint pain, type 2 diabetes, crohn’s disease, heart problems, and yes, cancer.

            I do my best to limit added sugar, and do pretty well on that score, but I need to do more to add fiber to my diet. I’ve been training my hubby for years, and have recently made some progress, to eat sweet potato ‘fries’ with me. So good and quite good for you.

            (cut sweet potatoes into wedges, sprinkle with a small amount of canola oil, a little cayenne pepper and salt, toss together, and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until browning appears and they’re tender. The browning is a good thing. Yum)

            • yum. if you have paypal credit, you can get a certified refurbished VitaMix for $18.50/mo. (might be more now), the countertop squat version. Took me quite a few months, but at the time it was affordable and i can’t live without it with my teeth. Plus some of the juices are really delish. Although sometimes you need the juice without all that fiber….

      • More Action Needed to Ensure Safe Water for First Nations

        All nine community water systems on Lytton First Nation land in BC have been under boil water advisories at one time or another. Now the First Nation is taking an innovative approach to resolving its drinking water problems. It’s working with public and private organizations and universities in a “circle of trust” to identify challenges and test solutions in real-world conditions. The approach came about as the result of a partnership with RES’EAU-WaterNET, a strategic research network under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

        Because problems with drinking water systems vary, RES’EAU-WaterNET works with communities like Lytton First Nation to gain insights early on in the process. With Lytton First Nation’s water treatment operators at the center of an “innovation circle,” they and experts from government, universities, consulting firms, water companies and contractors identified and piloted several options for providing affordable, sustainable water treatment solutions. Community members, including elders and youth, were also included in discussions.

    • Wikileaks has its own leaks


      Still, Twitter messages obtained by The Intercept provide an unfiltered window into WikiLeaks’ political goals before it dove into the white-hot center of the presidential election. The messages also reveal a running theme of sexism and misogyny, contain hints of anti-Semitism, and underline Assange’s well-documented obsession with his public image.

      “We believe it would be much better for GOP to win,” he typed into a private Twitter direct message group to an assortment of WikiLeaks’ most loyal supporters on Twitter. “Dems+Media+liberals woudl then form a block to reign in their worst qualities,” he wrote. “With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities., dems+media+neoliberals will be mute.” He paused for two minutes before adding, “She’s a bright, well connected, sadistic sociopath.”

      The direct messages from Assange also include an attack with anti-Semitic undertones against an Associated Press journalist.

      In August 2016, AP reporter Raphael Satter tweeted a story he helped write about the harm caused when WikiLeaks publishes private information about individuals. “He’s always ben a rat,” Assange posted in the Twitter group in response. “But he’s jewish and engaged with the ((()))) issue.”

      The parentheses refer to a neo-Nazi meme called “echoes,” which identifies Jews online by surrounding their names with three parentheses. In response to the meme, many Jewish people and some allies began to bracket their names on Twitter in a show of solidarity.

    • Statement from Bernie yesterday evening

      The president’s own director of national intelligence has indicated that Russia meddled in 2016, and he worries about 2018. But we have a president who is accepting what Russian President Vladimir Putin told him. Well, I don’t believe Putin. The evidence is overwhelming that the Russians did meddle significantly in 2016, and we have zero reason to believe that they’re not going to do it again in 2018.

      There’s no question that we are not prepared, at the state level, at the local level and at the federal level, and the president has got to understand what’s going on and help us address this very, very serious attack on our democracy.

      • House Russia investigation has ‘abundance’ of evidence against Trump, says top Democrat

        Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Wednesday that the panel had seen an “abundance” of evidence of collusion with Russia and obstruction by Donald Trump’s campaign and administration that is not yet public.

        Speaking to reporters in Washington, Schiff said a lot of information was already in the public domain that pointed to extensive contacts between the Trump campaign team and the Kremlin, and later efforts by the Trump entourage to cover up those contacts. But Schiff said there was much more to come out.

        He said: “There is certainly an abundance of non-public information that we’ve gathered in the investigation. And I think some of that non-public evidence is evidence on the issue of collusion and some … on the issue of obstruction.”

    • Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Refusal to Release Records on Pesticide Harms to Endangered Wildlife

      The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration today for illegally withholding public records documenting the widespread harm to endangered species posed by chlorpyrifos and two other pesticides, diazinon and malathion.

      In response to the Center’s June 2017 request for the public records, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have failed to release any of the likely thousands of pages of crucial analysis conducted by the two agencies.

      “The public has every right to know how these pesticides put wildlife in danger, and it’s disturbing to see the Trump administration stonewalling the release of that information,” said Stephanie Parent, a senior attorney at the Center. “We’ll fight every step of their efforts to cover their tracks.”

      The Fish and Wildlife Service had committed to releasing its analysis of that research for public comment by May 2017 and to finalize the documents by December 2017. But last year, shortly after donating $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, Dow Chemical asked federal agencies not to finalize the legally required assessments that are crucial to establishing common-sense measures to reduce the pesticides’ harm to endangered species.

    • EPA Head Scott Pruitt Has a ‘Blanket Waiver’ to Fly First Class

      Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has a “blanket waiver” to take taxpayer-funded first-class flights due to unspecified security reasons.

      “Due to security concerns he has a blanket waiver to fly in first or business class,” an EPA spokesman told CBS News. When he travels, the agency follows “the recommendations of security personnel.”

      The Washington Post reported earlier this week that during a two-week stretch in June, President Trump’s EPA head racked up at least $90,000 in taxpayer-funded travel. One of Pruitt’s short domestic trips from Washington, DC to New York was booked first class for $1,600—six times the amount spent on the two media aides who came along and sat in coach.

      Pruitt regularly flies first class and brings his infamous 24/7 security detail along with him. While the costs of their travel have not been made available, their salaries alone cost at least $2 million per year. No other administrator has needed ’round-the-clock security but Pruitt has reportedly received more death threats than any other EPA chief.

      Federal regulations call for government travelers to “consider the least expensive class of travel that meets their needs” but can use first class for security or medical reasons.

      • Trump Veterans Affairs Chief Took His Wife on a Taxpayer-Funded Vacation

        He’s the fifth Trump Cabinet secretary to be accused of abusing travel privileges.

      • EPA Head Says He Needs to Fly First Class Because People Are Mean to Him in Coach

        Pruitt told the New Hampshire Union Leader he had some “incidents” on flights shortly after his appointment by President Donald Trump last year.

        “We live in a very toxic environment politically, particularly around issues of the environment,” said Pruitt, who confirmed to the newspaper that he had flown first class from Washington to Boston before continuing on to New Hampshire. “We’ve reached the point where there’s not much civility in the marketplace and it’s created, you know, it’s created some issues and the (security) detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat.”

        “toxic environment” yah, maybe people would be more civil towards you if you weren’t helping to make our environment “toxic”!

        I don’t really care that much about how much money he’s wasting flying first class, but I care very much about his contributions towards blocking needed actions related to improving our physical environment. And why in the world did he use the word “marketplace” in that context?

        • good catch. the world is a marketplace to neolibcons and we are basically units and consumers. praise the lord.

        • From the article on Amazon linked somewhere in this thread:

          But today, in the absence of a flush of new businesses creating new opportunities, work for many people has become increasingly precarious—and, in the case of Amazon workers, punishing. People who work inside the company’s warehouses describe the pace as grueling, with “unit-per-hour” rates set so high that failure and exhaustion are routine. Amazon’s approach to work is at once futuristic and a throwback to labor’s distant past. Robots zip around, laden with products, while many of the people they interface with are temporary employees. Amazon calls these workers “seasonal,” but, in fact, it relies on them year-round.

    • DNC hires new top fundraiser

      Three and a half months after firing its top fundraiser, the Democratic National Committee has hired a replacement.

      Clayton Cox, who has been serving as a senior adviser, will get the job, a DNC official confirmed Wednesday evening.

      Cox comes in as the DNC finished 2017 having raised half as much money as the Republican National Committee, and entered the midterms year with $6.5 million cash on hand and $6.2 million in debt.

      The DNC official explained the time it took to hire a new finance director by saying that chair Tom Perez and other leaders conducted a nationwide search interviewing several candidates, but Cox stood out from among them. He served as the DNC’s Midwest, Florida & Georgia finance director during the 2016 cycle.

      “Thanks to Clayton’s help, we’ve been outperforming recent off-year fundraising efforts and turning those resources into wins in Republican strongholds. I’m more than confident in Clayton’s leadership and his ability to raise the resources we need to win elections this year, next year, and beyond,” Perez said, in a statement.

    • Lawsuit: US tribe fights use of treated sewage to make snow on holy peaks

      To the Hopi tribe, the San Francisco Peaks are sacred. The cluster of mountains rise dramatically from grasslands and ponderosa forests in northern Arizona, and the Hopi say they are home to spiritual beings called kachinas that are believed to bring the rain and snow to their reservation.

      But the tribe has been allowed to move forward with a lawsuit against a local ski resort over what the tribe deems to be a desecration of the holy mountains: spraying artificial snow made from treated sewage.

      “People compare it to baptizing a baby with reclaimed water,” said Ed Kabotie, a Hopi tribal member and artist. “Nobody would think about something like that.”

      Signs around the Arizona Snowbowl resort, about 15 miles from Flagstaff, warn skiers not to drink the water used in making snow, but state regulations allow for its use in irrigating crops and watering parks. It has been found to contain trace amounts of substances such as Prozac, Deet and ibuprofen. They occur on the order of a few dozen to a few hundred parts per trillion, which, for comparison, is far less than a grain of salt in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

      In its complaint, the tribe contends that the purity of sacred sites and natural resources will be compromised by artificial snow that gets blown outside the ski resort boundaries or seeps into the surrounding forest as it melts

      • yee gods, literally. too much trouble to take steps to avoid climate change. much better to put old pee and poop on our lawns and our sacred spaces. when baby puts grass in her mouth-yum yum! the mountain gods are surely not happy.

    • Does America believe in public infrastructure anymore?

      This week, President Trump released his much-anticipated plan to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure. From providing too little government funding, to resting on unrealistic expectations for private investment, to threatening key environmental protections, the plan is rife with problems. And yet most troubling is the Trump administration’s total disregard for public goods, public voice, and the public interest.

      Instead of prioritizing our most pressing needs, Trump wants to let wealth dictate who will benefit from infrastructure improvements. According to the rules laid out in his plan, proposed projects will be judged overwhelmingly by the amount of outside funding they can attract.

      The amount of non-federal funding supplied for a given project will count for 70% of its score, while “evidence supporting how the project will spur economic and social returns on investment” will be weighted at just 5%. In other words, projects will live or die based on the resources they can attract, rather than the number of people they would serve or how urgently they are needed.

    • ‘Declaration of war’: liberals divided as California mulls housing push

      Amid a desperate housing crisis, legislators in the Golden State have prompted an outcry with new proposals that threaten to take the rulebook that governs American city planning and throw it out the window.

      Their proposition: reducing cities’ power to decide what gets built and putting more control into state hands.

      To keep up with population growth, California needs to build 180,000 new homes each year. But for the last 10 years, it has constructed less than half that figure.

      This scarcity has driven up rents and the prices of homes to the point where half of the state’s current residents can no longer afford them and homelessness has surged. In San Francisco, the state’s most expensive housing market, the median sales price of homes was $1.25m in 2016 and the median rent was $4,500.

      Liberals have found themselves pitted against liberals, with urban environmentalists who want to build “smart cities” with dense housing around transit lines facing off against minority groups fighting to protect inner-city neighborhoods and suburbanites wanting to slow growth. It has divided renting millennials from their homeowning parents and created a passionate breed of housing activists calling themselves Yimbys.

      • Wiener is the absolute worst of the San Francisco corporatists. Anyone in favor of inclusive housing policy should oppose his bill, a blank check to developers.

    • Bill to tax oil in pipelines, update state oil spill contingency plans advances in state Senate

      A bill that would tax oil in pipelines to fund oil spill prevention planning passed out of a state Senate committee —but only after a proposed tax hike was dropped.

      The legislation, SB 6269, would levy taxes on oil transported in Washington state, including oil that travels by pipeline, to fund oil spill prevention and response programs.

      But moving the bill out of committee on Jan. 31, came at a cost: In addition to expanding the tax to oil pipelines, the original legislation would have also hiked the fee rate from four cents per barrel—oil is typically measured in 42 gallon barrels—to six cents. The amended bill removed the increased tax rate, but maintained the expansion of the tax to oil pipelines.

      Additionally, the bill would mandate that the state Department of Ecology update its oil spill contingency plans to deal with heavier oil from tar sands, study past incidents and make recommendations on how to reduce spill risk with new regulations, and conduct drills.

      Lastly, SB 6269 would require that Ecology create a forum to coordinate state, local, and Canadian spill prevention efforts.

      “Right now, we have no ability to respond to a tar sands oil spill,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker, D–Orcas Island, the primary sponsor of the legislation. “This year is about securing the money, updating the plans.”

    • Bill robs public of pipeline spill cleanup fund

      What are our governor and legislative leaders doing? Now they have thrown the school systems into the miry mix of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline nightmare!

      On Jan. 26, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that Dominion and Duke Energy is giving North Carolina a $57.8 million environmental mitigation fund. Shortly before that announcement, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality issued the water permit Dominion needed to begin pipeline construction in North Carolina.

      WRAL News reported that “the money will be held in escrow by a third party the governor picks and the money will be spent on environment mitigation, economic development and renewable energy projects along the pipeline route.”

      Now we read that our legislators are working on a bill that will distribute the money to schools in the eight counties affected by the pipeline.

      I am not opposed to our school system receiving money. I’m opposed to the tainted money being used to buy the general public’s approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. If the money in this fund that is intended for cleanup of the devastating mess (mitigation) that the construction and operation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will create is given to the schools, who will pay for the environmental cleanup?

      • Roy Cooper won’t block GOP from diverting pipeline fund amid ethics questions

        The new head of a conservative, Raleigh-based think tank says he has asked the state’s ethics commission to look into whether Gov. Roy Cooper accepted an illegal gift tied to his administration’s approval of a key Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit.

        The ethics complaint came Wednesday, hours before Cooper announced he won’t block a bill that would divert money from the fund that is at the center of the complaint.

        Donald Bryson, who recently became president of The Civitas Institute, on Wednesday announced that he filed the complaint against Cooper with the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The complaint questions whether Cooper’s administration might have violated state laws when it approved a permit for the pipeline to run through Eastern North Carolina and set up a mitigation fund, to which companies building the pipeline agreed to donate $57.8 million.

        “This is a serious matter of public trust and transparency,” Bryson said in a statement.

      • we have a similar problem with timber and rural schools in Oregon.

    • Pipeline foes urge Baker to ‘break up’ with natural gas industry

      Clean energy advocates on Wednesday delivered a Valentine’s Day message to Gov. Charlie Baker, handing one of his aides a bouquet of roses and a stack of red construction-paper hearts with the handwritten message, “Break up with gas pipelines.”

      Addressing the group gathered outside Baker’s office, Cathy Kristofferson of Ashby said the governor has not ruled out natural gas as part of the state’s energy mix, and called on him to do so.

      “We need the state agencies to hold these gas companies for what we need for emissions reductions and all that, so we would like to have them actually now take gas off the table, break up with gas pipelines and bring on the solar, and the wind and the storage,” she said.

    • NEXUS neighbors worried over gas pipeline

      For the better part of an hour on the night of Feb. 7, citizens of the northeast Ohio city of Green walked to the podium and spoke, some of their voices shaking with fear and frustration.

      They wrestled with what they were hearing from their elected officials: There was no stopping the construction of the NEXUS natural-gas pipeline through their community of 26,000.

      “My biggest fear is my kids, my wife, myself,” said Mark Loveland, who said the pipeline will pass within 100 feet of his house and 60 feet of his well. “Are we just going to give in?”

      The council did in the end, voting 4-3 to accept a $7.5 million settlement from the pipeline developers in exchange for dropping a legal battle that Mayor Gerard Neugebauer said the city was bound to lose.

      Similar discussions are happening across Ohio these days, and they all seem to be breaking the same way.

      Also running out of options is Oberlin, another community in the pipeline’s path that also must decide whether to drop its costly, and likely futile, legal battle.

      “I’m angry,” Oberlin Councilwoman Linda Slocum said in a Feb. 5 meeting. “I’m angry that a behemoth industry can chip away at local community and landowner opposition, dictating their ‘take it or leave it or else’ agreements and offering money to force its will on the people.”

    • This sounds like a proposal that came straight from a ‘bad idea contest’.

      Local group has been influential in fight against pipeline plan

      A group of Boyle County residents have been fighting for years a plan to use a World War II-era pipeline to carry fracking byproducts through the county. Now, that group has a name: Citizens Opposed to the Pipeline Conversion.

    • Sen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats

      Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and other Senate Democrats are jockeying for potential White House runs, but her unabashed style is drawing friendly fire that could hamper a 2020 bid.

      She scored an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, which billed her as one of the “most prominent political faces of the #MeToo movement.”

      The high-profile media appearance, coupled with her public rebukes of former President Clinton and ex-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), has stirred some ill will among Senate Democrats — who sense a whiff of political opportunism.

      Her willingness to call out fellow Democrats has made her controversial within the Washington power establishment, which could be an asset on the campaign trail.

      Sunday’s “60 Minutes” piece described Gillibrand as a “lightning rod” for criticizing Clinton over his White House sex scandal and for leading the charge to push Franken out of Congress following multiple sexual harassment allegations.

      Some Democratic strategists predict Gillibrand’s statement last fall that Clinton should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky affair will come back to haunt her.

      The comment caused so much agitation in Democratic circles that Alida Black, the co-founder of the Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary who was married by Gillibrand, canceled a fundraiser for the senator.

    • Gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed hosting live stream watch parties Feb. 18

      Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed is inviting you to a party on Sunday, Feb. 18.

      El-Sayed will be in Lansing hosting an event but you can join him by attending one of the many livestream watch parties scheduled across Michigan, including a few right here in Oakland County. You can also create your own watch party.

      The goal of the event is to build a grassroots organizing network. Watch parties are being held at private residences and public places beginning at 7 p.m.

      Claire Sandberg, El-Sayed’s deputy campaign manager, is modeling the event after something she developed for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, during his 2016 presidential campaign, when she served as his digital organizing director.

    • Progressives are truly in a war with establishment Democrats. You’ve got to read this piece. Incredible.

      After Annie Rice’s Victory, Democrats Weigh Punishing Her Supporters

      Last night, Annie Rice won a resounding victory, with nearly 60 percent of 8th ward voters choosing her to represent them on the city’s Board of Aldermen.

      But later this month, the Democratic Central Committee will weigh a bylaw change directly aimed at punishing Rice’s supporters. If members approve the proposed amendments, anyone who “supports or endorses” candidates like Rice “shall be subject to censure.” Committee members who follow in Rice’s footsteps and run for office without the party’s blessing could face removal.

      But censure could have real consequences for committee members who supported her. If the proposals are approved, members who backed Rice would be forced to defend themselves at an “administrative hearing.” If found in violation, they could lose the right to vote on the committee or even address it. “The majority vote of the officers will determine the severity and duration of the censure,” the proposed bylaw warns ominously, “but in no case shall the duration exceed six months.”

      That committee members — who are, after all, voted in by the Democratic primary voters, not party bosses — must defend themselves against charges of impurity has drawn pushback. Marie Ceselski, the committeewoman for the 7th Ward and a Rice supporter, calls it the “great activist purge.”

    • Ben Jealous Reminds Us to ‘Agitate!’ on Frederick Douglass’ 200th Birthday

      A few weeks before his death, 77-year-old Frederick Douglass was asked what advice he would give to a young black American.

      “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!” was his reply.

      This pioneer of civil rights lived long enough to die of a heart attack in his old age, a heroic feat in and of itself for a former slave. Douglass was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore 200 years ago today, Feb. 14, and it is my belief that he went on to become the greatest Marylander to ever live. His accomplishments would stand out in any era, but when put in the context of Douglass’ having been a former slave, he was the epitome of what we call “black excellence” today.

    • The Millennials Shaking Up New York Politics

      Democratic candidates in New York City’s primaries this year are energized and growing in numbers. Their targets aren’t Republican adversaries, they’re veteran Democratic incumbents.

      In Brooklyn, 30 year-old Adem Bunkeddeko, a recent Harvard Business School graduate, is taking on Rep. Yvette Clarke, who has held her House seat for 11 years. In Queens, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders volunteer, is challenging Rep. Joseph Crowley, who is 55 years old and chair of the House Democratic Caucus. And in Manhattan, Suraj Patel, a 34-year-old lawyer and former Barack Obama aide, is running against Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 71, who has held her seat for 25 years.

      Ms. Ocasio-Cortez drew a comparison to the Tea Party Republicans who ousted established conservatives in the wake of Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential victory.

      “We have a chance to do here in New York what happened to Eric Cantor, ” she said, referring to the Republican House Majority Leader’s defeat in Virginia by a right-wing insurgent in the 2014 primary.

    • 6th Congressional District Democratic candidate: Amanda Howland

      On Jan. 30, Amanda Howland appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. We asked her why she’s running for the Democratic seat in the 6th Congressional District of Illinois in the March 2018 primary:

      My name’s Amanda Howland and I’m running for the 6th Congressional District. I’m an elected trustee of the College of Lake County. I’ve been board chairman there for two years. I’m in my ninth year. I was elected countywide twice. I’ve also worked on a number of campaigns, including the Carrie Edwards campaign when I was an election protection attorney, and I went to Toledo and monitored the polls. Saw some things there that were very upsetting, which is why I got involved in politics, because I saw what was going on and voter disenfranchisement.

    • It’s been decades since Idaho elected a Democratic governor; can Paulette Jordan change that?

      Paulette Jordan would be the first Democrat to govern Idaho since 1995, the first woman ever to hold the state’s highest elected office, and the first Native American governor in the country.

      But while she knows the possibility of shattering glass ceilings is important, and she’s proud to have the chance to make history, she says her motivation goes beyond that.

      “It’s not about men, about women,” Jordan says. “It’s about bringing back the good leadership that we need in this state, that we’ve been missing for too long.”

      At a time when national politics seem to be drawing deeper divisions between those on the left and right, Jordan says she wants to focus less on labels and more on making sure everyone feels heard. Especially those who don’t feel the government works for them anymore.

    • Gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont talks 2018 election

      Campus correspondent Andrew Miano interviewed Democratic candidate for the governor of Connecticut Ned Lamont over the phone on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Lamont addressed the 2018 Election, infrastructure spending and his vision for Connecticut. The full transcript of the interview follows.

    • 5th Congressional District Democratic candidate: Sameena Mustafa

      On Feb. 8, Sameena Mustafa appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. We asked her why she’s running for the Democratic seat in the 5th Congressional District of Illinois in the March 2018 primary:

      I’m Sameen Mustafa. My background is I’ve worked in business, non-profit and the arts. Most recently I was a commercial real estate tenant advocate for 13 years representing groups, non-profits, small business that represent the most marginalized in our community, so women and girls, the LBT community, immigrants and refugees, and that has been my life’s work. I’ve been on boards, I’ve been a volunteer for domestic violence shelters, it is my passion to work for the community, and this is a continuation of that.

      My top priorities are medicare for all, as someone who has worked in a federally funded healthcare clinic I feel like healthcare is the most important issue to transform not only our wellbeing and it could also transform our economy. It will be a major game changer and will also require a change in our tax system.

      To me economic justice is what is driving me to run for this office, we have a representative right now who does not stand for these principals and does not support medicare for all. The other thing that’s really driving me is getting money out of politics, our current representative gets almost half of his money from corporate PACs and special interest and I think it’s had a corrosive effect on our democracy. It’s time to have uncompromised progressive leadership for the 5th district.

    • In ‘Paradigm Shift,’ Trudeau Announces Talks on Indigenous People’s Rights

      In the midst of a growing and sometimes angry debate over how the judicial system treats Canada’s Indigenous people, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that his government would ask them in a series of formal meetings how to fundamentally change the laws to better protect their rights.

      The exact nature of the measures will be worked out through talks with all of Canada’s Indigenous groups, Mr. Trudeau told the House of Commons, rather than be determined by his government.

      “We need to get to a place where Indigenous peoples in Canada are in control of their own destiny, making their own decisions about their future,” he said. Based on the outcome of the talks, the government would enact legislative and regulatory changes, he added.

      Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada’s largest Indigenous group, called the announcement “a paradigm shift because previous governments have not acted as if our rights existed.”

    • 3 Indigenous Activists Killed in Oaxaca, Mexico

      Three young members of the Indigenous Rights Defense Committee, Codedi-Xanic, were killed Monday night as they returned home from a meeting with local authorities in Oaxaca City.

      Abraham Ramirez Vasquez was driving the van back home in the southern mountains of the state of Oaxaca when armed men suddenly started shooting at them. Abraham was the only survivor and the names of those murdered have not been made public for respect to mourning families.

      The attack happened near the Metate Mountain, in Miahuatlan, around 10:30 p.m. local time.

      A press release by Codedi-Xanica said the activists attended a meeting with the governor of Oaxaca, Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, who called them to discuss issues regarding internal political processes in Santiago Xanica, where Ramirez is from. They left the city at 7 p.m. local time heading toward Oaxaca’s coastline when they were ambushed by armed men near the Metate Mountain over three hours later.

      The survivor said the hitmen were driving a green truck, were heavily armed and looked like ministerial police force.

    • Guatemala: Indigenous Women Lead Community Radio Stations

      Women in an Indigenous Guatemalan city are defying the government and maintaining their cultural roots using the airwaves.

      Ixchel Radio, based out of the mainly Indigenous Guatemalan city of Sumpango Sacatepequez, was launched in 2003 by three Indigenous men, who “felt the need to reach out to [the] community,” according to its founder Anselmo Xunic.

      Since then, the station, which operates in Spanish but provides information in the dying Kaqchikel language, is run mainly by women.

      “One of our priorities was to involve more women in media because we realized they are not really present,” Xunic tells Al Jazeera. Ixchel Radio now has one of the highest number of female reporters among the country’s community radio stations.

      Of the station’s 16 volunteers, who keep the station running from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., half of them are women, including 25-year-old reporter and host, Amanda Chiquito.

      “There is no media that represents our community,” Chiquito says. Ixchel helps fill that void and addresses topics important to the 50,000 mainly Indigenous people of Sumpango such as education, social justice, health and government corruption.

    • Texas AG warns 3 districts, including Lewisville ISD, against ‘unlawful electioneering’

      Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday issued cease and desist letters to three school districts alleging “unlawful electioneering” in the run up to the March 6 primary.

      Lewisville ISD was the only North Texas district to receive a letter.

      The letter marks the latest battle in how much school districts, superintendents and teachers can get involved in the primary and general election set for November.

      In the three page letter to Lewisville ISD, which included an additional five pages of attachments with alleged examples of electioneering, Paxton says the district advocated for a particular candidate through a tweet on February 6.

      Lewisville ISD responded Wednesday saying the tweet referenced in the letter was taken down the following day “when we became aware our intent may have been misinterpreted”.

      “We dispute any characterization of the district’s get out the vote campaign as anything other than an effort to engage the LISD staff and community in their constitutional right to vote and advocate for themselves.

      The offending tweet…

      We are asking for support from our state Legislature. We’re not getting it. It’s time for a change. #TXTeacherVoice

      Will Fisher for TX-26!

    • Not that the Commission did much anyway, but still….

      House Republicans Just Voted to Eliminate the Only Federal Agency That Makes Sure Voting Machines Can’t Be Hacked

      Republicans would make it easier to steal an election by killing the Election Assistance Commission.

    • https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/15/bernie-sanders-campaign-paul-ryan-challenger-randy-bryce-wisconsins-1st-district/340678002/

      U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is heading to Wisconsin to rally with Randy Bryce, a Democrat hoping to take on House Speaker Paul Ryan this fall.

      The Independent senator from Vermont will be in Racine on Feb. 24 to join Bryce and local elected officials at a campaign event.The rally is set for Memorial Hall in Racine at 10:15 a.m.; doors open at 9:45 a.m.

    • Caitlin’s take on the Intercept’s article on Assange:

      “Throughout this article,” the latest establishment effort at undermining public opinion of WikiLeaks states, “The Intercept assumes that the WikiLeaks account is controlled by Julian Assange himself, as is widely understood, and that he is the author of the messages, referring to himself in the third person majestic plural, as he often does.”

      There is no basis whatsoever for The Intercept to assume this. In addition to the obvious implications of the WikiLeaks account continuing to tweet despite Assange’s lack of internet, WikiLeaks has made repeated public statements that it is a shared staff Twitter account. There is absolutely no excuse for such a spectacular journalistic failure to be interwoven without apology throughout an entire article of a widely esteemed publication. Even if The Intercept does end up retracting this grotesque embarrassment and extensively editing the article to reflect fact instead of fiction, there will be no reason to believe that this was due to anything other than public outcry, and the damage is already irreparable.

    • umair haque again on “democracy” and the young:

      Think about that for a second. How desperate does the situation young people face have to be for simply having a family to become a luxury?

      Now put yourself in the shoes of such a person. Along comes some pollster, and asks you if you “believe in democracy”.

      Democracy? What is that, anyways? Well, today, it’s what neoliberalism’s made of it, more or less. Under its tenets, markets replace governance. Governments don’t really need to exist. Hence, a great global movement towards austerity — whether in America, Britain, Europe, or Australia. Nobody outside Scandinavia (and even in many parts of it) is really standing for more generous, expansive, nurturing social contracts — only slightly different flavours of austerity and stagnation.

    • A Billion Dollars??!! Nice round number at least? How about everyone gets paper ballots first? Oh, and same-day voter registration while we’re at it, for the primaries too.

      U.S. Democrats push $1 billion bill for election

    • ‘Socialist’ Judge, Refusing To Evict Tenants, Rankles City Landlords

      “We have a crisis in housing in this city. Poor people are being forced out of the city,” said Mel Packer, an affordable housing advocate.

      Recently-elected District Justice Mik Pappas ran on a platform of stemming that tide by making landlords more accountable in court.

      “There are good actors on the side of lessors and there are bad actors on the side of lessors, and what I promise to do is give great defense to the rights of all parties involved in each case,” Pappas said.

      But those lessors, or landlords, are crying foul. They are filing complaints the Court Administrator’s Office saying Pappas has come down squarely on the side of the tenants — continuing or postponing cases, not granting evictions, and when he does evict, not requiring the tenant to pay the back rent owed.

      The landlords are upset of course, they cite “dozens” of cases they feel Pappas is being unfair with (dozens!):

      According to Neighborhood Legal Services, evictions topped 13,000 in Allegheny County in 2016 and were on a pace last year to be the most in a decade.

      Pappas says he’s merely demanding that landlords provide his court rental agreements, accurate property records and demonstrate cleanliness of their units.

      “There’s a lot of opportunity to covert some of these possibly bad actors into good actors,” says Pappas.

      • Right on, Pappas. A lot of LLs are evicting b/c rents and leases are going up. And outright selling the property.

    • I like that this interview talks about the Republican/Trump

      (I get the feeling that Repubs hide behind Trump, “He made me do it!”, so that’s why I put Republican first there)

      infrastructure plan and the way it makes state and local governments pony up 80% of the cost AND that the author brings up public/private ‘partnerships’.

      Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Will Lead to More Harm: We Need Broad-Based Public Investment

      Today we bring you a conversation with Hunter Blair, the budget analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. Blair discusses Trump’s newly released infrastructure plan and explains why unloading the burden of majority of funding to states and localities is the wrong approach.

      EPI is criticized from the right as being pro-labor. I don’t know about that (still learning) but Hunter did bring up one of the downsides to those aforementioned public-private partnerships:

      As far as the public/private partnership type of things go, what we are looking at is, historically [public/private partnerships] have avoided … prevailing wage laws. It is very probable that if, let’s say there was a significant increase in infrastructure, if a lot of that came from public/private partnerships, it would not be surprising if these were much worse jobs than they should have been.

      Private companies do not build our infrastructure for free and they don’t manage or maintain anything of the sort for free and they expect to earn a return. They will earn that return through partnerships that allow them to collect tolls or pay them through state and local taxes. Leveraging the private sector, it gets thrown around a lot, but it certainly doesn’t bring any new money to the table.

      Yes, “it” does get thrown around a lot, by both parties, as though it’d be some kind of magical solution.

      they would have the incentives to hike prices or deteriorate the service quality, which means even if a private sector entity is providing the infrastructure or managing the infrastructure, you still need a strong role for the public sector in regulating it to ensure efficient pricing or good service quality. Again, you are not really getting around needing a strong public role by introducing public/private partnerships.

    • Trump health chief supports CDC research on gun violence

      Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Thursday that he would allow his department to conduct research into the causes of gun violence, a major Democratic priority.

      Democrats on Thursday pushed for lifting a provision that restricts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from conducting research into gun violence as part of their response to the mass shooting at a Florida school on Wednesday.

      Azar, appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he thought the CDC already has the ability to conduct gun violence research and indicated that this research will occur.

      “We believe we’ve got a very important mission with our work with serious mental illness as well as our ability to do research on the causes of violence and the causes behind tragedies like this so that is a priority for us especially at the Centers for Disease Control,” Azar said.

      I do not like or trust this emphasis on “serious mental illness”, but this looks somewhat promising?

      “Our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we’re in the science business and the evidence-generating business and so I will have our agency certainly be working in this field as they do across the whole broad spectrum,” Azar said.

      Why is everything a “business” for these guys?? So frustrating. I hope to see more pressure being exerted on Azar going forward.

      • I’m more cynical than you, mags. A Trump admin report on gun violence.? Circular file. Same place the infrastructure plan and almost everything else will go. He’ll get some votes from the corpses that get the contracts and probably a good percentage of the workkers who will be glad for anything. And if the MSM puts a good spin on all this, who knows?

    • A Progressive Revolt Is Brewing in West Virginia

      A leftwing candidate was ejected from the capitol for calling out corporate influence – is this the start of something big for the state’s democrats?

      There is a revolt brewing in West Virginia politics. Last Friday Lissa Lucas, an author and celebrated backyard chicken farmer from Cairo, in the northwestern part of the state, brought the fight to the floor of the state capitol. The House of Delegates Judiciary Committee was hearing comments on House Bill 4268, legislation that would enable oil and gas companies to drill on private property as long as three-quarters of the mineral rights owners okayed the operation. The bill, which critics like Lucas have called an effort by “our government…to allow corporations to steal our property and trespass on it without our permission,” also grants the oil and gas industry a number of other measures its lobbyists have long sought from the legislature.

      “I’d…like to point out that the people who are going to be speaking in favor of this bill are all going to be paid by the industry, and the people who are going to be voting on this bill are also often paid by the industry,” Lucas said from the podium on the house floor last Friday. “I have to keep it short simply because the public only gets a minute 45 [seconds] while lobbyists can throw a gala at the Marriott with whiskey and wine and talk for hours to the delegates.”

      Lucas then listed the publicly-available oil and gas-related campaign contributions for Representative Charlotte Lane and Judiciary Committee Chair John Shott: “First Energy, $2,000, Appalachian Power, $2,000, Steptoe & Johnson – that’s a gas and oil law firm – $2,000, Consol Energy, $1,000, EQT, $1,000, and I could go on…” As Lucas began to list campaign contributions to Jason Harshbarger, a Republican delegate, Shott interrupted her and asked that “no personal comments be made.” She attempted to finish her remarks, as a pair of security guards approached the podium and explained that she could not continue talking. “Drag me out, then,” said Lucas. As the men hauled her from the chamber, she cried “Montani Semper Liberi!” – Mountaineers are always free.

      I’ve been following Lissa on twitter for a long time. I like the way she writes.

      The episode is all the more significant because Lissa Lucas is running for West Virginia House of Delegate’s in the state’s seventh district, which is currently held by Harshbarger, and lists property rights and getting money out of politics as two pillars of her campaign. While national pundits continuously play on the state’s historic shift from blue to red, the populist call of the Bernie Sanders’ movement – that concerned citizens can and should get more involved in politics – has struck a major nerve. The goal for many of West Virginia’s progressives is not even beating Republicans like Harshbarger; it is to reform a Democratic Party they see as corrupt and out-of-touch.

      The Bernie Effect:

      We’ve ended up with politicians like Joe Manchin in West Virginia because we’ve been told that’s the best Democrat we can have, and we vote for them out of fear,” says Chris Pennington, a father of three from Oak Hill, West Virginia, who also campaigned for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and is presently running for the state’s Democratic Executive Committee. “People here in West Virginia just didn’t have the inspiration to run before,” says Pennington. “Now a lot of them do.

      Bernie retweeted this, btw. 🙂

  • ‘Some May Freeze To Death’: Sanders Confronts Mulvaney Over Trump Budget That Would Kill ‘Tens of Thousands’

    Just 24 hours after denouncing President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled budget as “morally bankrupt,” […]

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Etc!

    • Bernie Sanders calls Trump budget the Koch brothers budget

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called President Trump’s budget the budget of the Koch brothers and the billionaire class at a Senate Budget Committee hearing Tuesday morning.

      “This budget is the budget of the Koch brothers, it is the budget of the billionaire class, and the American people understand it,” Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said, referring to the billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch.

      “You don’t help working people when your budget would eliminate financial aid to hundreds of thousands of low-income college students,” Sanders said on Tuesday.

      • How Trump’s budget would cut the safety net for the poorest Americans

        Donald Trump’s budget proposal, unveiled on Monday, revived his calls for big cuts to domestic programs that benefit the poor and middle class, such as food stamps, as well as plans to entirely eliminate several arts and earth sciences funding.

        The president, who is looking for large increases in military spending, is also proposing work requirements for several federal programs including housing subsidies and Medicaid. The budget plan won’t be taken up by Congress unchanged but is being seen as the latest snapshot of his priorities.

        Democrats swiftly criticized the plan. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said: “The Trump budget proposal makes clear his desire to enact massive cuts to health care, anti-poverty programs and investments in economic growth to blunt the deficit-exploding impact of his tax cuts for millionaires and corporations.”

        Trump’s plan involves a 2019 deficit of $984bn, though White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has admitted $1.2tn is a more plausible estimate. The plan is estimated to add $7tn to the national deficit. On Tuesday, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, told Congress the ballooning deficit was one of the gravest threats facing US national and economic security.

        Many of the Trump administration’s proposals stand no chance of passage in Congress, where lawmakers have already defied him over last year’s budget. But the plans signal his intent for the direction of the US.

    • Vermont delegation skeptical of Trump budget proposal

      White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney took questions from the Senate Budget Committee about the proposal.

      Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the ranking member on the committee, panned the administration’s spending proposal as a budget “of the Koch brothers” and “of the billionaire class” at a committee hearing.

      The initiatives the administration proposed, Sanders charged, would result in children losing access to after-school programs, a reduction in the availability of affordable housing, and other cuts that would negatively impact Americans’ lives.

      Sanders asked Mulvaney about the proposed elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, noting that the program offers important help to households that struggle with heating costs in places with cold climates like Vermont.

      Mulvaney said the administration has concerns about the integrity of the program. He told Sanders that 11,000 dead people were found to be LIHEAP recipients. The statistic is cited in a 2010 General Accounting Office report.

      “That’s not moral,” Mulvaney said.

      Sanders cut him off mid-sentence: “11,000 people got it who shouldn’t have, correct that, but 7 million people get the program,” he said.

    • Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion

      The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said that Mick Mulvaney would vote for President Trump’s budget proposal if he were still in Congress after the OMB director suggested he would not during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

      Mulvaney, who was on Capitol Hill to defend the proposal, said he “probably would have found enough shortcomings” in the document to vote against it if he were still a congressman. But the OMB said Mulvaney was referring to a spending cap deal reached last week, not the actual Trump budget.


      During the Senate Budget Committee’s hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked Mulvaney if he would have voted for “this budget that you’re presenting.” She noted that Mulvaney said over the weekend that he wouldn’t have voted for the deal Trump signed last week to increase spending caps by about $300 billion over two years.

      “I can give the same answer I gave on Sunday, which is that as a member of Congress representing the 5th District of South Carolina, I probably would have found enough shortcomings in this to vote against it, as did many members of this committee,” Mulvaney replied. “But I’m the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and my job is to try and fund the president’s priorities, which is exactly what we did.”

      • Kirsten Gillibrand Will No Longer Accept Money From Corporate PACs

        New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will no longer accept money from political action committees linked with corporations for her reelection campaign, she announced on Tuesday, citing the “corrosive” effect of corporate money in politics.

        “We have a system where corporations can spend unlimited money that isn’t even disclosed, so there’s no transparency,” Gillibrand said in a video announcing her decision. “We really need to make every effort we can to get rid of the corporate money and dark money that is flowing into politics, and my effort to ban corporate PAC checks is just a step in that direction.”

        I will no longer accept donations from corporate PACs, and I wanted to share why I’ve made that decision. I hope you’ll join me in doing everything we can to fight to reform our broken campaign finance system.

        Gillibrand is often deemed a contender for the presidential election in 2020, although she said last year she is ruling out the possibility and focusing on her Senate reelection campaign. But this announcement could heighten her popularity among progressives.

        In her announcement, Gillibrand criticized the 2010 Supreme Court case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which ruled that the government should not regulate the amount of money corporations and unions can spend on campaigns.

        • if it comes down to it, i’ll likely still go Warren before Gillibrand. Hopefully we’ll have someone who can ignite the fire, like last time.

      • LOL. Here comes me too. I expect Kamala Harris to not be far behind. But it’s a good thing these potential candidates are being driven in this direction.


        Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said Tuesday night he will no longer accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs, joining several other Democratic lawmakers.

        “I heard from constituents today asking about corporate PAC contributions. I’m joining several of my colleagues & no longer accepting these contributions,” Booker tweeted. “Our campaign finance system is broken. I thank @StopBigMoney for their work — it’s time to pass campaign finance reform.”

        The New Jersey senator’s announcement comes hours after an aide for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) confirmed she stopped accepting donations from corporate PACs as of Jan. 1.

        Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Maria Cantwell (Wash.), along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have also pledged not to accept corporate PAC donations.

      • “I will no longer accept donations from corporate PACs,….”
        Call me cynical, but I’ll believe it when she actually does it. That goes for Booker, Harris, Biden, and the rest of the DNC bunch. P on them! Something is definitely rising politically in both WV and OK. The reasons are environmental. Those 2 states have been horribly damaged by Big Oil and Mining. Bernie won the Democratic Primaries in both. The FRightwingnuts are starting to notice. Hope this means a peaceful backlash is building. T and R to the usual TPW suspects!! 🙂

        • wi59 replied 4 days ago

          To use a Reagan quote “Trust but Verify” their are many ways to funnel dollars into campaigns with out accepting them .

    • Upcoming Sanders Event in Iowa Keeps Eyebrows Raised for 2020 Prospects

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) doesn’t much want to talk about whether or not he’ll run again for president in 2020, but word of a trip to Iowa next week will do little to muffle speculation.

      Heading to the key early-voting midwest state for an event in support of former aide Pete D’Alessandro, now running for Congress, the news is just the latest breadcrumb that Sanders—who surveys reveal is the nation’s most popular active politician and seen as a top contender to claim the Democratic nomination if he runs—is seriously considering a bid.

      D’Alessandro, the Des Moines Register reports, “was a top adviser to Sanders’ near-miss Iowa caucuses campaign in 2016 and received his endorsement late last month. He’s also been endorsed by Our Revolution, the organization that succeeded Sanders’ presidential campaign.”

      D’Alessandro said he looked forward to the upcoming event—which is free and open to the public—as well as Sanders’ support.

      “Bernie knows that we need bold, progressive leaders in Congress if we’re going to change the direction of our country,” he told the Register. “That’s why I’m proudly supporting Medicare for All, a $15/hour living wage, and free college tuition for those who work hard. We can take our country back and continue the movement Bernie started here in 2016.”

    • For Georgia Democrats, the Governor’s Mansion Is in Reach. But Are They Selling the Platform Voters Want?

      Abrams and Evans, both former state representatives, are heading into the Democratic primary in a state where the GOP is notoriously far-right, even among other Republicans in the country. Georgia Republicans, who have held a governing trifecta since 2005, have refused to raise the minimum wage, expand Medicaid, or invest in decent transit infrastructure (Atlanta consistently makes the rankings for worst traffic in the country).

      But the Republican Party’s days of an iron grip on the state may be numbered. Democrats performed well in special elections for state legislative seats last year, and the combination of an unpopular GOP president and an energized Democratic electorate is making it increasingly likely that a Democrat will move into the governor’s mansion next year.

      The incoming governor has a chance to embrace the wave of populism sweeping the country and get the ball rolling on policies that would alleviate the problems, such as income inequality, troubling many Georgia voters. But so far, neither Abrams nor Evans has developed a platform that would do much to move the needle on these issues.

      “I find both of them to be broadly disappointing,” said Mark Paul, a postdoctoral associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, who studies wealth and racial inequality. “Even if Stacey Abrams or her opponent Stacey Evans, for that matter, passed everything they talked about in their platform, I don’t see that leading to a fundamental shift in the fact that the economy chooses to leave millions of workers behind.”

      • I saw this article and could not understand why Abrams who supports a lot of progressive positions like M4A was not supporting the $15 minimum wage. Seems like a no-brainer popular position.

      • Nope. If they don’t run on democratic issues, GOPukes win.

      • wi59 replied 4 days ago

        The demographic is changing in GA but the Dems running have to target them.

    • While ‘Not the Worst’ of His Crimes, Israeli Police Call for Indicting Netanyahu on Corruption Charges

      While it has nothing to do with violating international law and the human rights of Palestinians, Israeli police on Tuesday recommended that the state indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and corruption.

      The recommendation comes as part of ongoing probes into allegations that Netanyahu “improperly accepted expensive gifts from different businessmen” and “negotiated with publisher Arnon ‘Noni’ Mozes for favorable coverage of himself in Yediot Aharonot in exchange for support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom, the largest circulation Hebrew-language paper and Yediot’s biggest competitor,” as the Jerusalem Post explained.

      Police also recommended that the state indict Mozes as well as billionaire Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and former Israeli intelligence operative who allegedly gave Netanyahu gifts with the intention of bribing him. Haaretz published a graphic outlining the investigations. Case 1000 refers to claims that the prime minister accepted “lavish gifts,” and Case 2000 refers to the purported deal with the newspaper publisher.

      • Israeli prime minister defiant in face of possible indictment, but opposition says his time is up

        Benjamin Netanyahu has described a police report on allegations of bribery and fraud against him as “full of holes, like Swiss cheese”, as he fights for his political life.

        Following a 14-month investigation into two cases of alleged corruption, police recommended on Tuesday evening that the Israeli prime minister be indicted on charges of bribery and breach of trust.

        Israel’s attorney general will examine the evidence and then – possibly in several months’ time – decide whether to issue an indictment.


        Israeli politicians have scrambled to try to exploit the police, which many believe could deal a fatal blow to his latest four-term tenure whether in court, at the polls or because of political backlash.

        “The Netanyahu era is over,” said the leader of the opposition Labour party, Avi Gabby. “It is the duty of every decent public figure to strengthen the police and the law and to act to end the path of the government headed by Netanyahu.”

        • This is very good international news. Netanyaboob is a slimemold similar to Tricky Dick Nixon. FRightwing, crooked, already kicked out of office once for corruption, gets re-elected, and caught again. Hopefully, this will finish him.

      • Is someone better ready to take his place? It would be hard to be worse.

    • Health care documentary in Flat Rock looks to heal a broken system

      Dr. Marsha Fretwell addressed a crowd of 25 in blunt terms Monday in Flat Rock: “We need to get for-profit health insurance out of the marketplace.”

      Fretwell, a former geriatric physician and a member of Healthcare for All Western North Carolina, crystallized the thesis of the documentary Fix It: Health Care at the Tipping Point, which had finished a double feature at Flat Rock Cinema. The film, sponsored by the Henderson County chapter of Our Revolution, the progressive political organization spun off from Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, made a businesscentric case for single-payer health care.

      With dark musical undertones thrumming, the documentary opened with the story of Richard Master, the increasingly distressed owner of a framing business. He described watching his employees’ premiums double over 10 years, even as his margins thinned, and worried what that price tag meant for the business.

      Master was not alone. The documentary bounced among academics, economists and business executives who trotted out a series of grim and disturbing statistics about the cost and effectiveness of health care in the United States. More than 60 percent of bankruptcies in the United States are connected to medical bills, the documentary warned, before showcasing a man whose hemophilia medications cost him $50,000 a month. At that number, the audience let out an audible gasp.

      The numbers piled up: In 1971, health care in the United States accounted for 7 percent of the country’s total economic activity; now, it accounts for 18 percent. (In other industrialized countries, that number hovers around 10 percent.) The increase, we learn, corresponds with the rise of for-profit health insurance companies’ control of the marketplace. Those health insurance companies, said Michael Lighty, director of public policy for National Nurses United, act like “an invisible force in the room,” directing health care decisions for patients instead of health care professionals doing so, inevitably worsening care.

    • Citing Willingness to Challenge Corporate Interests, Nurses Endorse De Leon’s Primary Challenge Against Feinstein

      Citing his leadership on progressive issues like single-payer healthcare and a willingness to take on powerful corporate interests, National Nurses United (NNU) this week announced its endorsement of Democratic state Sen. Kevin De León in his attempt to unseat longtime incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

      “With escalating attacks on existing healthcare programs, evidenced just today in the disgraceful Trump administration proposed budget cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other critical safety net programs, we need a fighter in the Senate,” said Malinda Markowitz, co-president of NNU and its partner organization, the California Nurses Association. “We know Kevin de León will not only stand up to these attacks, but be a strong advocate for a permanent solution to our broken healthcare system through an improved and expanded Medicare for all.”

      De León, the president pro tempore of the California state Senate, was instrumental in passing the Healthy California Act (S.B. 562), which called to expand an improved Medicare system to all residents of the state.

      De León announced his candidacy in the 2018 Senate race last October, signaling that the fight for Medicare for All would play a major role in his campaign.

      “I believe that every family, it doesn’t make a difference who you are or where you come from, deserves to have quality healthcare. It is a universal right,” De León said at the time. “It’s not the exclusive privilege of the elite and the wealthy.”

    • BuzzFeed suing DNC over info tied to Trump dossier

      BuzzFeed is suing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to get the committee to turn over information related to the so-called Steele dossier in an effort to bolster its defense in a lawsuit related to the dossier.

      The news outlet is facing a lawsuit from Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman who claims he was libeled when the news outlet published the dossier last year.

      The document, funded partly by the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, contains explosive and in some cases unverified allegations about President Trump’s ties to Russia.

      BuzzFeed is arguing that the DNC has information that could link Gubarev to the 2016 Russian hack into the committee’s servers, which would undermine his libel complaint.

      “As part of the discovery process, BuzzFeed is attempting to verify claims in the dossier that relate to the hacking of the DNC — which, the dossier alleges, was done with the support of Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman,” BuzzFeed News spokesman Matt Mittenthal told The Hill in a statement.

      “We’re asking a federal court to force the DNC to follow the law and allow BuzzFeed to fully defend its First Amendment rights.”

    • Rob Porter Is My Ex-Husband. Here’s What You Should Know About Abuse.

      White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that she has no reason not to believe statements that Jennifer Willoughby and I have made about our ex-husband, former White House aide Rob Porter. I actually appreciated her saying that she at least did not not believe us.

      But I was dismayed when Conway, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” went on to say that she does not fear for White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who has reportedly been dating Porter. “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.”

      Borrowing Conway’s words, I have no reason not to believe her when she says that Hicks is a strong woman. But her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong.

      I beg to differ.

      Recognizing and surviving in an abusive relationship take strength. The abuse can be terrifying, life-threatening and almost constant. Or it can ebb and flow, with no violence for long periods. It’s often the subtler forms of abuse that inflict serious, persistent damage while making it hard for the victim to see the situation clearly.

    • For Immigrants in Trump’s America, the Dystopian Future Has Already Arrived

      Documented and undocumented, young and old, immigrants are being swept up throughout the country.

      • Once Upon a Time There Was a Girl Whose Mother Was About to Be Deported

        Dulce Carvajal is a lot like most 10-year-olds. She likes reading and writing, drawing and horses, and playing with her younger siblings. Too much attention embarrasses her. Candy makes her giddy. But unlike most other kids her age, Dulce has spent the last six months living far from home, in a strange building filled with pews and crosses, candles and an organ. Dulce lives inside a church.

        Dulce moved into Holyrood Church with her mother and two siblings last August, after Dulce’s mother, Amanda Morales, was told she was going to be deported to Guatemala. All three children—Dulce, Daniela, and David—are US citizens. But rather than leave them at home while fighting the Trump administration’s deportation efforts, Amanda, who did not want to be separated from her children, decided to bring them into sanctuary with her.

        Dulce is an aspiring writer and storyteller. So, as she has grappled with her new and complex world, she has begun writing her own story. In the evenings, sitting at the small dinner table or at the edge of her shared bunk bed, she peers at her family’s laptop and types in bursts of concentrated energy, pausing occasionally to ponder her next thought amid the din of her new life—her mother talking with her new church-member friends; her sister whirling across the single, cramped bedroom; and her baby brother’s tablet streaming his favorite cartoons.

        What follows is Dulce’s story as told by her through photos, written text, and a video narration. It is the second installment of “Finding Sanctuary,” a Nation series chronicling Amanda and her children’s daily lives as they seek refuge from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.

    • Somewhere in Between -The rise and fall of Clintonism

      In 1993, Vice President Al Gore took part in an unusual debate about trade: He went on Larry King’s CNN show to spar with Ross Perot—the third-party candidate President Bill Clinton had beaten in the previous year’s election—over the impending North American Free Trade Agreement. During the campaign, Perot had warned that NAFTA would create a “giant sucking sound” as high-paying manufacturing jobs drained out of the country. About a year later, Clinton was trying to push it through, and so Gore was dispatched to debate NAFTA’s most high-profile opponent.

      Most observers concluded that Gore won handily. But he didn’t convincingly put away Perot’s arguments; instead, he took his opponent down with a lot of cheap rhetorical tricks—most especially, baiting Perot’s notorious temper by constantly interrupting him. Perot’s peevish “Could I finish?” was turned into a punch line by comedian Dana Carvey, and that was that. It was a tactical success for Clinton, who wanted to build a new base for his party among the executive and financier class and high-income voters. NAFTA was eventually approved by the Senate and signed into law by Clinton on December 8, 1993.

      In the end, however, Perot turned out to be more right than wrong about NAFTA—and not only on economic but on political terms. While NAFTA’s overall effects weren’t that large, there were far bigger losses after Clinton signed another trade deal, this time with China, in 2000, and the wreckage left by the outsourcing and deindustrialization that followed would come back to haunt his wife in the 2016 election. The Democrats’ embrace of free-market policies, which reached its apex under Clinton, may have helped rejuvenate the party in the 1990s and early 2000s, but that embrace has now crippled it. Hillary Clinton’s shocking loss to Donald Trump—whose signature economic pledge was to reverse the “bad deals” of the past few decades—simply highlights a generation of Democratic Party politics that has now come crashing to an end.

    • ‘A Big Scare Tactic’: ExxonMobil Files ‘Conspiracy’ Counter Suits Against Climate Defenders

      In response to a series of lawsuits aimed at holding the oil giant to account for its climate crimes, ExxonMobil is taking “a bare-knuckle approach rarely seen in legal disputes” by threatening and filing counter suits against those who have sued them.

      ExxonMobil “has targeted at least 30 people and organizations, including the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, hitting them with suits, threats of suits, or demands for sworn depositions,” based upon claims that “the lawyers, public officials, and environmental activists are ‘conspiring’ against it in a coordinated legal and public relations campaign,” Bloomberg .”reports.


      ExxonMobil has named the supposed “coordinated” campaign against them “The La Jolla playbook,” inspired by a 2012 meeting of a couple dozen people in La Jolla, California, to explore legal strategies that could be taken to address climate change—a meeting which the company, as Bloomberg notes, is framing “as ground zero for its conspiracy claim.”

      “It’s crazy that people are subpoenaed for attending a meeting,” Sharon Eubanks, an attorney who attended the La Jolla event, told Bloomberg. She sees the actions as “a big scare tactic: reframe the debate, use it as a diversionary tactic, and scare the heck out of everybody.”,/blockquote>>

    • The U.S. Is Permanently Occupying Northern Syria, and That’s Trouble

      When President Barack Obama started bombing Syria in 2014, he enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington, D.C. Americans were appalled by the atrocities of the Islamic State, which had massacred Yazidis, and seized swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.

      At the time I warned that, far from being a humanitarian intervention, this action threatened to precipitate yet another Middle East war: “Once again, the United States is waging an open-ended war with no concern for the long-term well-being of the people in the region.”

      And sure enough, with the Islamic State on the ropes, the Trump Administration has announced that some 2,000 U.S. troops will stay permanently in the Kurdish region of northern Syria.

    • Trump Snuck These Anti-Environment Measures Into His Infrastructure Plan

      The fact that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt sat several seats to the right of President Trump during his announcement of a $200 billion infrastructure plan on Monday was one clue that it was actually jam-packed with policies taking aim at environmental regulations. For instance, a substantial portion of the proposal eases the environmental reviews for infrastructure projects, which may not ensure that roads and bridges are being repaired, but does help industry snake new natural gas pipelines through federal lands.

      In many different ways, this infrastructure plan seeks to privatize some public lands and ensures that the fossil fuel infrastructure remains on them. Natural Resources Defense Council’s legislative director Scott Slesinger says Trump is “using the infrastructure bill as another attack on the environment.”

      Here are four of the ways that he does:

    • Opioid Makers Funneled Millions to Patient Advocacy Groups

      Opioid manufacturers funneled nearly $9 million to leading pain treatment advocacy organizations and industry groups that in turn promoted the painkillers, according to a report released Monday by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) as part of an ongoing investigation into opioid makers.

      The report examines payments between 2012 and 2017 from five pharmaceutical companies, including the makers of OxyContin and prescription fentanyl, to 14 organizations that help shape the policy and public opinion around opioids. The groups that received pharmaceutical funding—like the US Pain Foundation and the Academy of Integrative Pain Management—in turn issued guidelines minimizing the risks of opioid addiction, lobbied to change laws aimed at curbing opioid abuse, and sought to protect doctors sued for overprescribing painkillers, according to the report.

      • Meet the Sacklers: the family feuding over blame for the opioid crisis

        The Sackler Drug Rehab Facility, unlike the prestigious Sackler art galleries of New York and London does not exist. Yet.

        If lawyers have their way, however, or public opinion pricks a few consciences, it may soon.

        The Sackler family, a sprawling and now feuding transatlantic dynasty, is famous in cultural and academic circles for decades of generous philanthropy towards some of the world’s leading institutions, from Yale University to the Guggenheim Museum in the US and the Serpentine Gallery to the Royal Academy in Britain.

        But what’s less well known, though increasingly being exposed, is that much of their wealth comes from one product – OxyContin, the blockbuster prescription painkiller first launched in 1996.

        The pill is stronger than morphine and sparked the opioid crisis that’s now killing more than 100 people a day in America and has spawned millions of addicts. It’s also attracted a wave of lawsuits alleging ongoing deception about the safety of OxyContin, which the company had previously admitted misbranding in a 2007 criminal case.

        Two branches of the family control Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin but, unlike their company, none of the Sacklers are personally being sued over it.

    • Dreamers deadlock: Congress at impasse as pressure mounts to act

      US lawmakers remained at loggerheads on Tuesday over an immigration overhaul as pressure mounted for Congress to act before the expiration of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants from deportation.

      The Senate was poised this week to begin a highly-anticipated debate on the issue, with Donald Trump seeking enhanced border security measures and other drastic changes to the immigration system in exchange for providing a pathway to citizenship to the so-called “Dreamers” – undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.

      But even as varying proposals were floated by members of both parties, senators voiced doubts that any of the plans put forward had sufficient votes to pass. The skepticism over the prospect of a deal came as Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said he wished to move on from immigration legislation this week.

      “There’s no reason not to come together and get a solution this week,” McConnell said. “This has been going on endlessly.”

    • Where is the resentment against robots – the ultimate job stealers?

      All across America, one hears the story of the weary white, male worker waiting in line for the American dream. This worker sees the federal government giving special help to people he perceives as line cutters. Some who benefit from this help are citizens (black people, women, public sector workers), and others are not (immigrants, refugees, recipients of American foreign aid).

      We can well understand the worn patience of the one waiting in line, because in truth, for most middle- and lower-income Americans, the line has indeed stalled or moved back. For the most part, though, the real line cutters are not people one can blame or politicians can thunder against. That’s because they’re not people. They’re robots.

      Nothing is changing the face of American industry faster than automation, and nowhere is that change more stark than in the cornerstone of Louisiana’s industrial wealth: oil.

      According to a 2017 Bloomberg report, Robots Are Taking Over Oil Rigs, Nabors Industries, the world’s largest onshore driller, expects to cut the average number of workers at each oil well site from 20 to five. “To me, it’s not just about automating the rig, it’s about automating everything upstream of the rig,” said BP’s head of upstream technology.

    • Kenya’s ‘Erin Brockovich’ defies harassment to bring anti-pollution case to courts

      Eight years after her baby was lead-poisoned through breast milk, Kenya’s most prominent anti-pollution campaigner is set to finally get her day in court in a case that the UN hopes will prove a landmark for environmental defenders across Africa.

      Phyllis Omido has been threatened by thugs, arrested by police and forced into hiding for organising opposition to a lead-smelting factory in Mombasa, which allegedly poisoned residents in the neighbouring shantytown of Owino Uhuru.

      But the NGO she founded, the Centre for Justice, Governance, and Environmental Action, has already forced the closure of the plant and is now pushing the courts to secure compensation for the victims and a clean-up of the community.

      They have gathered thousands of local residents in a class action against the government and two companies – Metal Refinery EPZ Ltd and Penguin Paper and Book Company (no connection with the global publishing company) for 1.6bn Kenyan shillings (£11.5m) compensation and a clean-up of contaminated land.

      Two years after the suit was launched, the plaintiffs will be called as witness for the first time on 19 March in the environment and land court.

    • Atlantic Coast Pipeline Sues Land Owners on Its Way

      The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) has filed two eminent-domain lawsuits in Nelson County, Virginia, against landowners that are in the way of a planned pipeline.

      The 600 miles ACP was proposed by Dominion Transmission to export gas into India and Japan and will cross through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. It was initially approved during Obama’s administration in 2013 and has since then faced protest and criticism from landowners and environmental activists especially in Virginia.

    • Democrat Margaret Good Flips Seat in Florida, the 36th Democratic Flip Since Trump’s Inauguration

      Margaret Good won a special election for state representative in Florida’s 72nd district on Tuesday night, the Democratic party’s 36th legislative flip since President Donald Trump’s inauguration last year.

      The closely watched race pitted Good against Libertarian Alison Foxall and Republican James Buchanan, whose father Vern represents the area in Congress.

      The seat opened up after Republican Alex Miller resigned last year, citing her family and business as reasons. Trump won the district by just five points, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by some 13,000 voters.

      Good’s final margin was nearly eight points and over 3,000 votes.

    • Pipeline-backed ‘sabotage’ bill will lead to abuse of eminent domain

      The “critical infrastructure sabotage” legislation before the Iowa Legislature is not what it seems. It’s backed by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the corporation behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, and is offered in response to arson and vandalism against the pipeline in 2016 and 2017.

      This legislation has nothing to do with sabotage. It’s about silencing nonviolent dissent and influencing a historic Iowa court case.

    • Community unites to protest pipeline

      PROTESTERS will gather at Wentworth tomorrow morning to voice their opposition to the NSW Government’s $467 million pipeline from the Murray River to Broken Hill.

      Concerns about the project have mounted in Sunraysia and far west NSW for the past two years, amid fears it is part of a plan to allow the lower Darling River to run dry more frequently.

      Fewer small flows in the Darling River system have reached the Menindee Lakes in dry years since 2012, when NSW allowed water sharing rules to change after lobbying from irrigators in the Barwon-Darling.

      Lower Darling landholders, Wentworth and Mildura councillors, traditional owners and local environmentalists are all expected to attend today’s protest at Fotherby Park.

      Wentworth councillor Jane MacAllister said she doubted any business case for the pipeline existed, the government having so far made public only a summary.

      Cr MacAllister said the government had failed to properly assess environmental impacts and warned the pipeline would make it easier for the government to isolate the lower Darling, by shoring up Broken Hill’s supply with Murray water.

      “It’s tearing our community apart,” she said.

    • Iron Eyes trial moved to August

      The felony jury trial for Chase Iron Eyes has been moved to Aug. 13-24 in Morton County.

      Iron Eyes was charged a year ago with felony inciting riot and misdemeanor criminal trespass related to Dakota Access Pipeline protest activities on Feb. 1, 2017.

      He was set to be tried earlier this month but his attorneys said last fall they plan to gather evidence to allow use of a “necessity defense,” claiming Iron Eyes had no recourse but civil disobedience due to the perceived threat of the oil pipeline.

      Another protest defendant, HolyElk Lafferty, is also seeking the allowance of a “necessity defense.” Her trial remains set for May 31 for two misdemeanors.

    • Natural-gas pipeline foes target Maryland governor

      Ahead of a protest Thursday, opponents of a proposed natural-gas pipeline criticized the Hogan administration Tuesday.

      “There are significant hazards” to the pipeline plan, Brent Walls, an upper Potomac riverkeeper with a river protection group, said during a telephone news conference. He said the Maryland Department of the Environment “has done a deplorable job in reviewing and assessing” the pipeline application.

      However, Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles disputed that characterization Tuesday evening in a separate phone interview. He said the state is doing a “robust” review of the project application and is committed to “stringent safeguards.”

      Grumbles said he will send a letter this week to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking it to hold off on its review until Maryland gets to weigh in with the conditions it wants.

    • Panel rejects Native American boarding school victims’ bill

      A state Senate panel has rejected a bill aimed at allowing victims of childhood sexual abuse at Native American boarding schools to file lawsuits against organizations like schools and churches.

      The Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 Tuesday against the bill.

      An amendment to the measure would have created a three-year period for victims to file claims that otherwise would have been barred and repealed a provision banning victims 40 and older from recovering damages from people or entities other than the abuser.

      Barbara Charbonneau Dahlen is among nine sisters who unsuccessfully sued over alleged sexual abuse at a boarding school. She says they “will not be silenced.”

    • This Native American tribe is reviving rural Oklahoma’s economy

      son Reeves knows what a good cut of steak looks like before it hits your dinner plate. Standing in the middle of a 50-foot-wide cooler, he points out different parts of a freshly slaughtered cow hanging from the hooks while a fan roars in the background.

      “That’s the kidney heart. Fat on the inside. You’re probably looking at a 2.0 [on a meat-grading scale between 1 and 5, with 1 being the best]. … You can tell it’s good cattle.”

      Reeves is showing me around a new meat-processing facility owned and operated by the Quapaw Tribe in northeastern Oklahoma. It’s about 5 miles outside the town of Miami, off a two-lane road that’s surrounded by fields of hay and an open, blue sky. This is the first beef-processing plant owned and operated by a Native American tribe, according to information from the state’s secretary of agriculture, and Reeves has become the first Native American USDA-certified meat grader.


      The Quapaw Cattle Company is the latest in a string of tribally owned and operated businesses that provide jobs to both tribal and nontribal citizens in Oklahoma. All total, tribes contribute more than $10 billion to the state’s economy. Oklahoma is home to 39 federally recognized tribes, most of which own casinos and a range of other businesses that provide benefits, stable employment, and better-than-average pay for tribal and non-tribal citizens. Larger tribes like the Cherokee Nation have contributed millions of dollars to the state’s ailing education system and have helped build roads and bridges.

    • As if ICE’s regular activities weren’t bad enough


      An attorney for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft after being accused of stealing immigrants’ identities.

      Raphael A. Sanchez, ICE’s chief counsel in Seattle, was charged with one count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, The Associated Press reported, citing a charging document filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

      He resigned from his position earlier this week.

      Sanchez allegedly stole seven identities of peoples “in various stages of immigration proceedings,” prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section say.

    • This Scientist Stands Between Scott Pruitt and the Destruction of the EPA’s Advisory Boards

      Wilson, a behavioral decision scientist of 12 years, occupied a seat on the nearly 50-member Science Advisory Board. She was informed shortly after Pruitt’s policy change that she would have to choose between her own EPA grant, funding a study on Lake Erie farmers’ decisions around conservation and water quality, or serving on the board. Wilson chose her grant in November and was officially fired in January.

      The Science Advisory Board has been transformed by Pruitt from a committee stacked with some of the top environmental experts in the nation to a panel of many representatives from industries the EPA regulates. Pruitt has installed 16 new committee members, 14 of whom consult or work for the fossil fuel or chemical industries, according to Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

      Now, Wilson is pushing back against the rule that cost her the board position. She joined a lawsuit brought by advocacy groups like Physicians for Social Responsibility and National Hispanic Medical Association and two other scientists that argues the directive violates federal ethics requirements. A month later, nonprofit science advocacy organization Union of Concerned Scientists also filed a complaint that says Pruitt’s new policy fails to explain the conflict posed by EPA grant funding, and states that “no such evidence exists” to back it up.

    • Gillibrand is getting a lot of push back from Clinton fans because she was the one to explicitly point this out about Bill. You can definitely see it on DK when she is mentioned.


      Democrats are looking to embrace the #MeToo moment and rally women to push back on President Donald Trump in the midterms—and they don’t want Bill Clinton anywhere near it.

      In a year when the party is deploying all their other big guns and trying to appeal to precisely the kind of voters Clinton has consistently won over, an array of Democrats told POLITICO they’re keeping him on the bench. They don’t want to be seen anywhere near a man with a history of harassment allegations, as guilty as their party loyalty to him makes them feel about it.

      “I think it’s pretty tough,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), vice chair of the House Progressive Caucus and one of the leading voices in
      Congress demanding changes in Washington’s approach to sexual harassment. His presence “just brings up a lot of issues that will be very tough for Democrats. And I think we all have to be clear about what the #MeToo movement was.”

    • Good!


      Getting escorted out of a public hearing while yelling West Virginia’s state motto might have been a best-case scenario for Lissa Lucas’ political future.

      On Friday, Lucas, who is running as a Democrat for the House of Delegates in the 7th District, spoke at a House Judiciary Committee public hearing in opposition to co-tenancy legislation, which would allow companies to lease a tract of land for natural gas drilling with the permission of 75 percent of the land owners.

      During her speech, Lucas rattled off the names of committee members who have taken campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, prompting House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, to summon guards to kick her off the floor.

      As they did, she yelled the state motto, “Montani Semper Liberi,” or Mountaineers are always free.

      As of Tuesday afternoon, her campaign has received $45,000 through ActBlue, an online, small-dollar fundraising tool to connect progressive candidates to small donors across the country.

      In a twist of fate, rallying against corporate money in politics might have made Lucas the most effective political fundraiser in the House of Delegates so far this election cycle.

    • TV station in Seattle buys $1M worth of debt viewers owe to medical providers

      A Seattle TV station bought $1 million in medical debt forgiveness for people in its coverage area.

      Poynter reported that the station — KIRO — spent $12,000 for the $1 million in debt owed to medical providers.

      The move comes after a KIRO’s Jesse Jones reported about a woman who had cancer and was struggling to pay her medical bills. She needed treatment to survive, but could not afford it.

      According to the station, debt is sold to a collection agency when providers are not able to get the payment owed on medical bills. The debt is sold for about 1 cent for each dollar, according to the station.

      KIRO-TV bought $1 million worth of debt, which will help 1,000 viewers.

      • awesome? I bet this could happen all over. Groups could form with small donations, even and afford that much. Wonder how you become eligible to buy it.

    • Duckworth says she can’t ‘technically take maternity leave’

      Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) — who recently announced she is expecting her second child in April — said in a new interview that she can’t “technically take maternity leave.”

      “Because if I take maternity leave, then I won’t be allowed to sponsor legislation or vote during that time period,” she said in the latest episode of Politico’s “Women Rule” podcast.

      Duckworth, who would become the first woman to give birth while serving in the Senate, said during the interview she wants to figure out with leadership how she can still vote during her planned 12 weeks of paid leave.

      “It’s going to change some Senate rules,” Duckworth said.

      She also noted that people aren’t allowed to bring children onto the floor of the Senate.

      “If I have to vote, and I’m breastfeeding my child, especially during my maternity leave period, what do I do? Leave her sitting outside?” she asked.

    • A Progressive Revolt Is Brewing in West Virginia

      There is a revolt brewing in West Virginia politics. Last Friday Lissa Lucas, an author and celebrated backyard chicken farmer from Cairo, in the northwestern part of the state, brought the fight to the floor of the state capitol. The House of Delegates Judiciary Committee was hearing comments on House Bill 4268, legislation that would enable oil and gas companies to drill on private property as long as three-quarters of the mineral rights owners okayed the operation. The bill, which critics like Lucas have called an effort by “our government…to allow corporations to steal our property and trespass on it without our permission,” also grants the oil and gas industry a number of other measures its lobbyists have long sought from the legislature.

      ..The episode is all the more significant because Lissa Lucas is running for West Virginia House of Delegate’s in the state’s seventh district, which is currently held by Harshbarger, and lists property rights and getting money out of politics as two pillars of her campaign. While national pundits continuously play on the state’s historic shift from blue to red, the populist call of the Bernie Sanders’ movement – that concerned citizens can and should get more involved in politics – has struck a major nerve. The goal for many of West Virginia’s progressives is not even beating Republicans like Harshbarger; it is to reform a Democratic Party they see as corrupt and out-of-touch.

      “I remember knowing for a long time that the underlying problem to everything is how money in politics is used to manipulate people,” said Selena Vickers, a West Virginia educator and social worker who is running for the West Virginia House of Delegates in District 32. “Lissa is a friend of mine,” she added. “We are both committed to fixing the [Democratic National Committee], which we know is broken.”

      Vickers says she was electrified by the Bernie Sanders movement, and spent much of 2016 organizing for his campaign. “Bernie invited me to a revolution, and I showed up,” said Vickers, in a video she made about the experience.

    • https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-refugees-exclusive/exclusive-dozens-of-refugee-resettlement-offices-to-close-as-trump-downsizes-program-idUSKCN1FY1EJI

      Refugee resettlement agencies are preparing to shutter more than 20 offices across the United States and cut back operations in more than 40 others after the State Department told them to pare their operations, according to plans seen by Reuters.

      The slated closures, which are being reviewed by the State Department for final approval, follow President Donald Trump’s decision to dramatically reduce the number of refugees that will be allowed into the United States in 2018.

    • Just a quick shoutout to you all on this sad night. 🙁

      Thinking of you all.. (heart)

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  • ‘Morally Bankrupt’ Budget: After $1.5 Trillion Gift to Rich, Trump Demands $1.7 Trillion in Safety Net Cuts

    Those wondering how President Donald Trump plans to pay for the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich […]

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Etc!

    • Trump’s Nasa budget: flying ‘Jetson cars’ and a return to the moon

      The Trump administration unveiled its 2019 budget for Nasa on Monday, promising an outpost on the moon, “Jetson cars” and new attempts to cut funding for the international space station, earth science and astrophysics.

      Robert Lightfoot, Nasa’s acting administrator, said on Monday that Nasa will move forward with plans to create a new space station around the moon, a base long called the Deep Space Gateway, but renamed the Lunar Orbit Platform-Gateway.

      He said that Nasa aims to launch a power and propulsion module for the space station in 2022, as part of an ambitious return to the moon and to build a way station for deep space.

      Lightfoot said Nasa was aiming to establish this new orbital foothold by 2030. “People from all walks of life,” he claimed, would be working on the moon and in space by that time.


      But most of those goals, if realized, would come long after the end of the Trump administration, which has allocated little of its budget for what Nasa needs to get into deep space. Only about $889m of the nearly $20bn budget is slated for a category called Advanced Exploration Systems.

      Lightfoot instead stressed private-public partnerships, using hardware developed by companies like SpaceX. He congratulated SpaceX on its successful launch of a new, massive heavy rocket last week, saying that the agency is excited to use the new rocket even as it develops its own.

      • Trump budget would privatize US space station operations

        Under the administration’s budget proposal, released Monday, NASA would stop paying for the space station by 2025.

        The proposal also calls for spending $150 million in 2019 to “encourage commercial development” and tee up companies to take over. It would be dubbed the Commercial LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) Development program.


        The space station is an international partnership, and it’s not clear what privatizing the U.S. portion would mean for the other countries.

        Plus, it’s up to Congress to pass a budget, not the president. So the White House’s proposal is more a statement of priorities — and not everyone is happy with it.

      • The Case for Nationalizing Elon Musk

        Scientific American gawked, “Elon Musk Does It Again,” praising the “bold technological innovations and newfound operational efficiencies that allow SpaceX to not only build its rockets for less money, but also reuse them.” That view—shared by several other outlets—fits comfortably with the Tony Stark-like image Musk has crafted for himself over the years: a quirky and slightly off-kilter playboy genius inventor capable of conquering everything from outer space to the climate crisis with the sheer force of his imagination.

        One of Musk’s long-term goals is to create a self-sustaining colony on Mars, and make humanity an interplanetary species. He hopes to shoot two very wealthy people around the moon at some point this year. Musk has invested an awful lot of public money into making those dreams a reality. But why should Americans keep footing the bill for projects where only Musk and his wealthy friends can reap the rewards? Enter: the case for nationalizing Elon Musk, and making the U.S. government a major stakeholder in his companies.

        The common logic now holds that the private sector—and prodigies like Musk, in particular—are better at coming up with world-changing ideas than the public sector, which is allegedly bloated and allergic to new, outside-the-box thinking. Corporations’ hunt for profits and lack of bureaucratic constraints, it’s said, compel cutting-edge research and development in a way that the government is simply incapable of. With any hope, more of these billionaires’ breakthroughs than not will be in the public interest.

        The reality, as economist Mariana Mazzucato argues in her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, is very different. Many of the companies that are today considered to be headed by brilliant savants—people like Steve Jobs and, yes, Elon Musk—owe much of their success to decades of public sector innovation, through repackaging technologies developed over the course of several decades into new products.

      • Trump’s budget wants the US to stop watching the planet

        NSF and NIH see huge cuts restored, but anything environmental is in trouble.

    • Trump proposes eliminating federal funding for PBS, NPR

      President Trump’s newly proposed budget includes a proposal to end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), part of a package that includes $300 billion in new spending overall.

      CPB provides federal funding for PBS and National Public Radio stations.

      “The Budget proposes to eliminate Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over a two year period,” according to the proposal.


      Responding to Trump’s budget, the CPB’s head said the cuts would hurt emergency alert systems and childhood programming, among other things.

      PBS CEO Paula Kerger said at a TV critics meeting last July that a number of PBS stations across the country are dependent on federal funding in order to survive.

      “PBS will not go away, but a number of our stations will,” Kerger said on July 30. “There is no Plan B for that.”

    • Israel’s decision to put a Palestinian teen on trial could come back to bite it

      Slouching in her chair and mouthing messages to her friends and family from under a cascade of strawberry-blond curls, Ahed Tamimi in many ways appears to be an everyday teenager.

      But the tussle of television cameras and photographers that crowded in for a shot of her in the dock of a small Israeli military court in Ofer for a bail hearing last month was a reminder that she is far from it.

      Ahed, who recently turned 17, was arrested after a video of her slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers who had entered her front yard went viral last year. On Tuesday, after nearly two months in detention, she went on trial on 12 charges, including assault of a soldier and incitement.

      Although no one was seriously hurt, the Israeli military, her lawyer says, is keen to make an example of her to deter other young Palestinians from fighting back against the Israeli occupation. However, a lengthy public trial looked set to only raise her profile and highlight human rights concerns surrounding the detention of minors in Israel.

      In what rights groups and her lawyer said they suspected was a deliberate effort to try to prevent that, the military judge ejected all journalists and observers from the first trial hearing on Tuesday.

      The judge ruled that it was in Ahed’s interests, even though her lawyer argued that it was not.

    • Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte orders soldiers to shoot female rebels ‘in the vagina’

      President Rodrigo Duterte has been branded a misogynist and “macho-fascist” after he ordered soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina.

      In a speech to over 200 former communist soldiers in Malacañang last week, the Philippines president gave a directive of what to do with female guerrilla fighters.

      “‘There’s a new order coming from the mayor, ‘We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina,’ ” said Duterte. He went on to say that without their vaginas, women would be “useless”.


      The crude orders drew anger from human rights organisations and women’s groups in the region.

      “It is just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women,” said Carlos H Conde, the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch.

      “It encourages state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict, which is a violation of international humanitarian law.”

      • Not surprising that he is one of Trump’s favorite dictators


        President Rodrigo Duterte crooned a hit Filipino love song at a dinner in Manila for leaders from across Asia, explaining later that it was “on the orders of Donald Trump.

        The US president and Duterte were among 19 leaders at a gala in the Philippines capital on Sunday before the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit. At one point Duterte took the microphone to sing Ikaw (You), in a duet with local pop diva Pilita Corrales.

        One of the song’s verses, translated from Filipino, begins: “You are the light in my world, a half of this heart of mine.”

        “Ladies and gentlemen, I sang uninvited, upon the orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States,” Duterte said later, according to the ABS-CBN news channel.

        • “upon the orders.” wow. wonder how many of his countrymen will even hear that he takes orders from Trump.

      • Beyond horrific.

    • Bernie Sanders returns to Iowa Feb. 23 for rally with Pete D’Alessandro

      U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will return to Iowa next week for a rally with a former campaign aide who’s now running for Congress.

      Sanders, the Vermont independent who ran for president in 2016, will headline an event for 3rd District Democratic candidate Pete D’Alessandro on Feb. 23 in Des Moines. It’ll be the senator’s first visit to Iowa this year and his third since the end of the 2016 campaign.

      D’Alessandro was a top adviser to Sanders’ near-miss Iowa caucuses campaign in 2016 and received his endorsement late last month. He’s also been endorsed by Our Revolution, the organization that succeeded Sanders’ presidential campaign.

      “Bernie knows that we need bold, progressive leaders in Congress if we’re going to change the direction of our country,” D’Alessandro said in a statement. “That’s why I’m proudly supporting Medicare for All, a $15/hour living wage, and free college tuition for those who work hard. We can take our country back and continue the movement Bernie started here in 2016.”

      The Feb. 23 rally is free and open to the public, although the campaign is asking attendees to RSVP. It’ll be held at Curate, located at 322 E. Court Ave. in Des Moines’ East Village neighborhood. Doors open at 11 a.m. for the noon event.

    • While Exploding Military Spending, Trump Budget Eviscerates Funding for Education, Healthcare, and More

      Nearly two dozen federal programs and agencies are in danger of losing funding under President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal, released Monday. The proposed cuts will potentially result in drastic changes to social welfare programs and other government efforts to improve the lives of working people across the country as well as those in impoverished nations.

      While programs heralded by progressives may be in peril, the budget calls for a 13 percent increase in spending by the military, up from the Pentagon’s 2017 level of spending. The president is asking for $686 billion in defense spending—$80 billion more than the Pentagon currently receives for its bloated and unaccountable budget.

      “When our nation can’t manage to turn the lights on for the people of Puerto Rico, when we can’t help those suffering from opioid addiction get treatment, and when we can’t ensure education and healthcare to all of our citizens, how is it possible we can justify spending billions more on weapons that don’t work to fight enemies that don’t exist?” said Stephen Miles, head of the peace group Win Without War in a statement last week, ahead of the budget release.

      Below are some of the initiatives that the president is asking Americans to sacrifice while ramping up military spending.

        • Bernie Sanders Explodes After Trump Proposes Massive Cuts To Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability

          Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, exploded with rage after Trump released a budget that slashes trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security disability after he gave a massive tax cut to the wealthy and corporations.

          In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Sen. Sanders said:

          The Trump budget introduced today is morally bankrupt and bad economic policy. During the campaign, Donald Trump promised that the wealthy would not get a tax break and that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would not be cut. But his budget does the exact opposite of what Trump pledged to the American people. Trump’s budget pays for his huge tax breaks for the rich and large corporations by slashing Medicaid by $1.3 trillion, cutting Medicare by $554 billion and slicing $10 billion from the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. This budget is nothing less than a major transfer of wealth from the middle class and working families to the top 1 percent and large corporations.

          Meanwhile, at a time when the U.S. spends more on defense than the next 12 countries combined, the Trump budget calls for a massive increase in military spending paid for by cutting $57 billion in domestic spending from the bipartisan budget agreement that was signed into law just a few days ago.

          This is a budget for the billionaire class, for Wall Street, for corporate CEOs, for defense contractors and for the wealthiest people in this country. It must be defeated.

      • Trump wants to overhaul America’s safety net with giant cuts to housing, food stamps and health care

        The budget that President Trump proposed Monday takes a hard whack at the poorest Americans, slashing billions of dollars from food stamps, public health insurance and federal housing vouchers, while trying to tilt the programs in more conservative directions.

        The spending plan reaches beyond the White House’s own power over the government social safety net and presumes lawmakers will overhaul long-standing entitlement programs for the poor in ways beyond what Congress so far has been willing to do.

        The changes call on lawmakers to eliminate the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and transform the rest of that program into a system of capped payments to states; convert food assistance into a hybrid of commodity deliveries and traditional cash benefits; and expand requirements that low-income people work to qualify for federal assistance.

        • https://newrepublic.com/minutes/147058/white-house-believes-poor-people-dont-deserve-choose-eat

          The White House believes poor people don’t deserve to choose what they eat. Trump’s budget, released on Monday, proposes drastic cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program in addition to a change in the way food aid is delivered to low-income families. The administration’s innovation: Blue Apron, but for poor people.

          Blue Apron, as The Washington Post points out, costs about $10 per serving, while food stamps provide roughly $1.37 in food per person. Blue Apron also allows customers to choose their meals for the week; the American poor, however, will not enjoy such liberties. Though there are already restrictions on how food stamps may be used, the so-called America’s Harvest Box represents a significantly more restrictive approach to food aid. The SNAP boxes would contain peanut butter, shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, and canned beans and meat. No word on what SNAP recipients should do if they have dietary restrictions for medical reasons, or if they keep a religious diet. The boxes also will not contain any fresh fruit or vegetables.

          But the White House is less concerned with nutrition than saving money—and in the process, they’ve revealed the truth behind Republican rhetoric about choice and personal liberty. On food stamps, two conservative beliefs combine: The first is that the average poor person is poor because they don’t work, and the second is that personal liberty is a privilege. The America’s Harvest Box proposal implies that SNAP recipients haven’t earned the right to choose their own meals. Talk about a nanny state.

          • This will affect plenty of Trump voters. Keep it up, Trump. Pretty soon we’ll have all but the most die hard. That and any vote rigging/discrimination you manage to pull off.

      • http://fortune.com/2018/02/13/trump-budget-national-weather-service-layoffs/

        After a year that saw over $300 million in damages from hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, the Trump administration is proposing significant cuts to the National Weather Service (NWS) and hopes to eliminate the jobs of 248 weather forecasters.

        The idea, which is part of the 2019 fiscal budget proposal and caught the agency by surprise, is being derided by the NWS’s labor union, which says the cuts will impact the reliability of future weather forecasts and warnings.

        “We can’t take any more cuts and still do the job that the American public needs us to do—there simply will not be the staff available on duty to issue the forecasts and warnings upon which the country depends,” said Dan Sobien, the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.

    • Reps. Gabbard and Turner Tour Hawai‘i

      Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and The Honorable Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution, traveled around the state of Hawaiʻi this past weekend to promote citizen engagement, grassroots organizing, and efforts to reform and strengthen democracy and the Democratic Party. They responded to questions from the audience and encouraged residents in each county to stay involved in local issues, testify and share their stories, volunteer or run for elected office, and become agents of change for equality and justice for all. The four events on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, and Kauaʻi were sponsored by the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi.

      Nina Turner spoke about her work to reform the Democratic National Committee as a member of the Unity Reform Commission, including getting rid of superdelegates, incentivizing open primaries and same-day registration for more accessible elections, and financial transparency. They also discussed Medicare for All, water rights, protecting the environment, criminal justice reform, and many other issues that affect the people of Hawaiʻi and this country.

      On visiting Hawaiʻi for the first time, Nina Turner said, “It was a spiritual experience for me to be in Hawaiʻi this weekend, welcomed with the aloha spirit on each island, and meeting with so many people who are eager for reform and passionate about being agents of change for all people and our planet. I listened to people from all walks of life share their stories and tell me how they believe it is their kuleana to do what’s pono, and that’s why they are working to be a part of this revolution, unifying around issues, and organizing to build a transformative grassroots movement to advance the public interest and revitalize our democracy.”

    • Tim Burns: We need a high court that stands up for regular people

      I’m running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court for four reasons.

      First, I’m running because in the span of my adulthood, equal opportunity for the children of people who struggle has disappeared in our country. It has been replaced by a system where most new income and wealth goes to the top 1 percent and everyone else works longer and harder for less and less. The inequity is astounding, and our rubber-stamp Wisconsin Supreme Court is part of the problem. The courts are the final authority in this country, and ours has been looking out for special interests, instead of standing up for regular people.

      Second, I’m running because this is the court that upheld a photo ID law that cost Hillary Clinton Wisconsin’s electoral votes. As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the 1830s, every major political decision in this country sooner or later finds its way into the courts. If we don’t take back the courts, we will never truly take back our state.

      Third, I’m running because President Trump has nominated and has had confirmed extreme right-wing judges on the federal courts. We can no longer count on the federal courts to protect our basic rights, such as the right to vote, workers’ rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights. Increasingly, we will need to turn to state courts, like the Wisconsin Supreme Court, for such protections.

      Finally, I’m running because I’m a progressive and I think that is what our court needs at this moment in time. Before being appointed to the bench by Gov. Scott Walker in 2015, Judge Michael Screnock worked as an attorney to create the current gerrymandered legislative maps, he helped defend Act 10 in court, and was twice arrested for protesting outside an abortion clinic. He proudly touts his conservative judicial philosophy and admiration of the late Justice Antonin Scalia at every campaign stop.

        • well done

          recall the sing in demonstrations in WI

          I wrote to puddycat several times as she lives in WI and posted a lot on DK/TOP. I asked over and over again about press coverage of what was going on in WI. She replied the same every time. The press has been bought out.

          • puddy was spot on about the WI press, owned by Walker and the R’s. the only time they(press) grew a spine was when Walker wanted to eliminate the open records law. Then the press actually reported it. Now that’s it an election year Walker’s bragging about Foxconned, nominal raises for state workers, more funding for schools and so on. I call it buying votes and the sad a lot of R voters will swallow it hook, line and sinker. Wi is a R state as far as the state govt goes as its been gerrymandered beyond belief. The USSC ruling is the only chance Wi has for fair elections in the future. The only say we have is for Governor and the US senate seats as the vote are counted state wide.

    • ‘This Needs to Happen All Over America’: Applause for Candidate Who Called Out Big Oil Donors

      When West Virginia House of Delegates candidate Lissa Lucas decided to take a stand against Big Oil’s pernicious political influence last week by rattling off the names of state lawmakers receiving massive campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry, she was swiftly and forcefully silenced.

      Now, her story—first reported by journalist Russell Mokhiber in a piece for Common Dreams on Sunday—has become a viral sensation and a model for those looking to challenge the stranglehold corporate cash has on the American political system.

      • Love these meetings with international leaders. And the applause. :O) Listening now. Although I wish the crowd would have clapped for the German ambassador’s introduction, too.

        Apprenticeship programs. yes. And then bring the jobs home to employ the graduates. That and build a green economy.

        And social investments. Almost funny coming on the heels of Trump’s recent budget proposals.

      • Just listening to what Germany provides should shame every elected person into action.

      • Well, it’a another stellar posting by LD, and so renewed thanks to him for all two hours of this town hall! That said, what Bernie is doing is totally awesome–perhaps part of his intent is to forge an American version of a shadow government, similar to Corbyn? Just a guess, but any way you see it, this forum to spread the word about how another large industrial society configures its social responsibilities and its fiscal household is so needed and so good to hear/watch.
        As well as the information on Germany from Ambassador Wittig (and Bernie’s additional, occasionally quite humorous, comments) I was also impressed by the knowledge and insights of the questioners from the audience. They know a thing or two about Germany–both good and bad–and it showed. The person who asked about Germany’s apprentice-schooling program and wondered if their education system doesn’t underscore class divisions in Germany was right on. German children are tracked at a very early age (it used to be age 10) and separated into those going into work and those going to the university. There are separate schools for each track (basically 3 tracks) and the students in each track tend to be from the same social and economic class. The Germans have been trying to overcome this type of class-division-via-education problem by making it somewhat easier for some students to switch from one track into another, but often the damage is already in place. At the same time Germans are trying to maintain a traditionally very high and intellectually strenuous level of education at the university-prep schools–much better than anything ever available in the US. Yes, the German university is free to relatively low-cost, but not that high a percentage of German students go to university. They never have. I worry, though, that a deeper emphasis on what Wittig called the “pragmatic rather than the academic” educational career would not be a good thing, because it bends education too much in the direction of jobs and demands conditioned by the economy, while bypassing the education needed to develop a deep critical understanding of the economy, which is needed in order to produce a cogent and valid criticism of the economy. (Just to add that “economy” is not a separate sector of our total existence, which brings up “intersectionality” but that’s another subject. . . .)
        Enough rant for today! I am hopeful that these discussions will continue and deepen. Lots of other important topics were broached in the Bernie-Wittig town hall, surely the first of many yet to come. Thank you again to LD! Thanks also to all the good PWers!

        • I agree. A good college education will open up new vistas, not only in critical thinking so necessary to a true democracy, but also to jobs that make a huge difference in lives and/or enrich society immeasurably. What TPTB don’t take into account is how much healthier a society is when more people are happy or at least content in their work and are being rewarded for it.

          We don’t want to just churn out lawyers and other apparatchik to rise in the corpse ranks.

    • Trump Infrastructure Plan Decried as ‘Scam’ Designed to Keep US Stuck in ‘Dirty and Destructive Past’

      Green groups were among the first to declare fierce opposition to the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan released on Monday, citing concerns over the proposal’s lack of regard for the environmental implications of building projects.

      The plan is “nothing more than a scam to roll back environmental and health protections,” said Ben Schreiber of Friends of the Earth.

      An outline of the plan to streamline federal permitting processes for infrastructure projects was released last week, detailing plans for a “one agency, one decision” system. Under the plan, firm permit deadlines would be imposed as a way to hamstring environmental impact reviews and safety assessments.

      Climate campaigners say the plan will serve as a giveaway to corporations looking to bypass environmental reviews to quickly complete projects—including those that involve fossil-fuel carrying pipelines. The proposal, critics say, ignores mounting evidence that shifting the nation’s focus away from oil and gas and towards renewable energy would create jobs and strengthen the economy as well as protect the environment.

    • Dems call for more action on Equifax hack

      The Capitol Hill outrage over the massive Equifax data breach has returned, with Democrats suspicious that Republicans are delaying efforts to crack down on the credit reporting industry and secure consumer data.

      The fresh outcry kicked off last Sunday, when Reuters reported that Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), had slowed the agency’s investigation into Equifax.

      The 2017 breach exposed sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, of 143 million Americans.

      A group of 32 Senate Democrats responded to the Reuters report by demanding answers from the agency about the progress of its investigation.

      The CFPB declined to comment on the letter

    • Government spying on immigrants in America is now fair game. What next?

      Earlier last week, the existence of a draft Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report came to light, which calls for long-term surveillance of Sunni Muslim immigrants.

      Internal documents obtained from the FBI and DHS last year also showed how the agencies are surveilling the Movement for Black Lives, bringing into mind tactics of Cointelpro, an FBI program which secretly and illegally conducted surveillance on the civil rights movement in order to disrupt Americans’ ability to organize politically.

      But these are not the only types of surveillance this administration is engaged in.

      On 18 October, DHS implemented a new rule to track the internet activity of all visa applicants, visa holders and legal permanent residents. The rule would also apply to naturalized US citizens.

      The new rule would track and store social media account information and other highly sensitive data as part of individuals’ immigration files. The policy would allow DHS to collect and track immigrants’ social media accounts handles as well as aliases, and search results from both public search engines as well as commercial databases.

    • Melting ice sheets are hastening sea level rise, satellite data confirms

      Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite data shows.

      At the current rate, the world’s oceans will be on average at least 60cm (2ft) higher by the end of the century, according to research published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

      Based on 25 years of satellite data, however, the research shows that the pace has quickened. It confirms scientists’ computer simulations and is in line with predictions from the UN, which releases regular climate change reports.

      “It’s a big deal” because the projected sea level rise is a conservative estimate and it is likely to be higher, said the lead author, Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado.

    • Canada: indigenous groups urge reform after shock of white farmer’s acquittal

      Indigenous activists have called for urgent changes to Canada’s legal system after an all-white jury acquitted a white farmer of murdering a young Cree man in a case that has exposed deep racial divisions.

      Gerald Stanley, 56, was found not guilty of second-degree murder over the death of Colten Boushie, 22, from Red Pheasant First Nation in the province of Saskatchewan.

      Boushie’s family and aboriginal activists say the racial makeup of the jury underscored a weakness in the country’s court system, which allows defence teams to manipulate jury lineups in their favour.

      Activists now hope to convert disappointment over Friday’s verdict into action to reform what they believe is a broken system.

      “Today, we saw no justice,” Jade Tootoosis, Boushie’s cousin, said after the verdict. “We are angry, we are upset, and we are hurt. But we will continue to speak out for the injustices indigenous people face in this society. This is unacceptable.”

      • Trudeau promises family of slain Indigenous man to ‘fix the system’

        The family of a slain young Cree man met with Trudeau government ministers on Monday and afterward issued a quiet but forceful call for change, saying reforms to jury-selection rules in the wake of his killer’s acquittal are one “quick fix.”

        Hours later, it appeared their voices and the voices of hundreds of supporters had been heard at the highest level.

        “We have a problem. We have much we need to do together to fix the system in the spirit of reconciliation. That’s exactly what we’re going to be doing,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons.

        I believe we all know what Trudeau’s word is worth these days…

    • .christinaprejean.com

      Health care should be a right — not a privilege just for the wealthy. That’s why in Congress I will work to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act and expand health care coverage by advancing a Medicare for All system to ensure that everyone receives the care they need. I lost my aunt to breast cancer while I was deployed to Afghanistan, and know first-hand of the need to ensure that patients don’t have to choose between getting the medical care they need in order to live, and being able to pay their bills and get by each day. I’ll also work to lower the skyrocketing price of prescription drug costs so that patients can afford the life-saving medicine they need. I will defend Medicare and Medicaid, so that young Americans can remain on their parents’ insurance plans, and so that being a woman is not considered a “pre-existing condition.”

    • Randy Bryce’s Campaign Is Not Just Pro-Union—It’s Unionized

      Wisconsin congressional candidate Randy Bryce is a union man. He’s a proud member of Ironworkers Local 8 in southeastern Wisconsin. He has organized with workers, marched picket lines, and rallied against Republican assaults on labor rights. Bryce maintains a heart-and-soul faith that working men and women have a right to representation.

      Including, he says, the working men and women who staff congressional campaigns.

      So when Nate Rifkin, the digital director for the Democratic challenger to House Speaker Paul Ryan, brought up the idea of organizing workers on the campaign, Bryce recalls that his immediate response was: “Let’s do this.”

      Rifken and other Bryce campaign staffers contacted the Campaign Workers Guild, a new national union that organizes non-management campaign staff. “We met with the unit and negotiated our first collectively bargained contract on a political campaign,” recalls Meg Reilly, a national student organizer for the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, who serves as vice president of the guild.

      Under the groundbreaking contract, the eight members of the Bryce campaign staff secured a 1 percent pay raise and reimbursements for health-insurance premiums. In addition, the contract provides for a formal grievance process and a third-party reporting system for sexual harassment.

    • Julian Assange saga: judge to rule on arrest warrant

      It is nearly six years since Julian Assange disguised himself as a motorcycle courier and entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London to seek political asylum. His subsequent legal battle, so vast and protracted a CPS lawyer once deemed it “like an industry in itself”, comes to a pivotal moment on Tuesday, when a judge will rule on whether the warrant for his arrest has become disproportionate.

      • I am watching live outside the court house for them to come out with a statement. It was supposed to happen at 9AM EST but now after 10 and no word. Have to run so will find out later

        • Judge refuses to withdraw Julian Assange arrest warrant

          Julian Assange will continue to face detention if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a British judge upheld a warrant for his arrest.

          Handing down her judgment before a packed courtroom at Westminster magistrates court, senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for skipping bail.

          She said: “I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years.

          “Defendants on bail up and down the country, and requested persons facing extradition, come to court to face the consequences of their own choices. He should have the courage to do the same. It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed.”

          • “the courage to do the same.” Sorry, judge, this is nowhere near the same, and if you don’t know that you probably aren’t qualified to be a judge. This is political detention by any other name.

            Dam. We’re still here, Julian. Keep up the good fight.

    • Trump infrastructure plan would speed up pipelines, cut environmental reviews

      The Trump administration’s infrastructure proposal released on Monday would speed up the permitting of U.S. natural gas pipelines, including by cutting Congress out of the process for allowing them to cross national parks.

      The proposal fits into President Donald Trump’s broader plan to boost U.S. oil and gas development by slashing red tape, something that has cheered industry but raised concerns among environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers.

      “At its core the proposal plans to steamroll as many projects to get to yes as fast as possible whether or not there is a robust environmental review,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

      The $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal would give the interior secretary the authority to approve natural gas pipelines that cross the country’s national parks, changing the requirement that Congress authorize such projects.

      The plan also aims to speed up the time that a state has to issue water permits – “section 401” certificates required under the federal Clean Water Act – needed for the construction of interstate natural gas pipelines.

      • Donald Trump’s Extract-Everything Energy Policy Dooms Us All

        The new US energy policy of the Trump era is, in some ways, the oldest energy policy on Earth. Every great power has sought to mobilize the energy resources at its command, whether those be slaves, wind-power, coal, or oil, to further its hegemonic ambitions. What makes the Trumpian variant—the unfettered exploitation of America’s fossil-fuel reserves—unique lies only in the moment it’s being applied and the likely devastation that will result, thanks not only to the 1950s-style polluting of America’s air, waters, and urban environment, but to the devastating hand it will lend to a globally warming world.

      • Trump’s budget proposal is out and he really wants to kill ARPA-E

        On Monday afternoon, the Trump Administration released a budget proposal (PDF), including new figures for the Department of Energy (DOE). This budget proposal is just an opening salvo—Congress must approve the budget before it takes effect, and without a doubt there will be negotiations over the details. This year’s suggested changes to the DOE budget track the ones found in the president’s first budget proposal in 2017. Notably, the proposed budget yet again eliminates the popular Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (or ARPA-E) program, which has funded early-stage energy research through a federal grant program for years.

        The main text of budget proposal says the DOE ought to receive $29 billion, down from about $30.1 billion, but an addendum text adds another $1.533 billion to the DOE budget, which would reflect a budget increase of about $500 million over what the DOE received in 2017.

        However, despite a relatively stagnant budget for the DOE, renewable energy programs will be cut dramatically beyond the elimination of ARPA-E. Under the plan, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy sees its budget cut from around $2 billion to $696 million.

        • “Notably, the proposed budget yet again eliminates the popular Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (or ARPA-E) program, which has funded early-stage energy research through a federal grant program for years.”
          Scientific, fact-based R and D scares the bejesus out of the fundy, Christian creeps like Pence and DeVos. It threatens the Rapture. Cuts/threats like this one are their handiwork. Hopefully, it will finally backfire on them. That would be true justice which is sorely lacking now.
          The WVA candidate who embarrassed the bribed-to-death state officials is going viral like crazy. It was a very smart, astute, honest move which has probably won her her race. Also, Beto’s campaign against Cruz is now scaring the GOPukes/Religious Right jerks. November is still 9 months away. Hmmmm. T and R to the usual TPW suspects!! 🙂

      • What a surprise


        Major transportation projects in blue states may be in jeopardy in President Donald Trump’s 10-year infrastructure plan, which critics say favors little-populated rural areas to the detriment of urban America.

        The White House isn’t being coy about where its priorities lie in the $1.5 trillion proposal, released Monday: Of the $200 billion in actual federal investment called for in the 10-year plan, one-quarter would go to rural areas for purposes as diverse as sewers, highways, airports and broadband. But only 14 percent of people in the U.S. live in non-metropolitan areas.

        That leaves major transit projects — ranging from a long-planned rail tunnel linking New York and New Jersey to a nascent passenger rail system in California — fighting for the remaining money, $20 billion of which is dedicated to lightly defined “transformative” proposals that will “lift the American spirit.”

        “That’s a very clear message that urban America is not of very much consequence, and, ironically, it’s urban America that needs most of the infrastructure money,” said Martin Robins, the founding director of Rutgers University’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center in New Jersey.

    • Second Nelson party sued by Atlantic Coast Pipeline under eminent domain

      Late last week, the Wintergreen Property Owners Association became the second Nelson County party to be sued by Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC under the power of eminent domain. But rather than wait for the legal process to continue in court, WPOA said it has agreed to a “formal mediated process” with project officials.

      ACP LLC filed suit against WPOA on Friday in the United States District Court’s Western District of Virginia seeking temporary and permanent easements for about 7½ acres of open land close to the Augusta County border.

      ACP is seeking easements from WPOA because it plans to start construction of the project — which would go through 600 miles in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, including about 27 miles in Nelson County — on the land this year, according to Aaron Ruby, spokesman for lead developer Dominion Energy. Construction in the area focuses on horizontal directional drilling that will be used to bore beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway.


      WPOA said it chose to pursue mediation over the easements because based on “the history of these cases in Federal Court, we expect that a court of law will grant the access necessary for the project to proceed.”

      The only other eminent domain case against Nelson landowners that has been filed will move forward in court with a hearing scheduled for the end of the month.

      • How Ben Jealous Turns Anger Into Action

        Ben Jealous was born to a black mother and a white father who lived in Maryland at a time when interracial marriage was still illegal there. Now he’s hoping to become the state’s first African-American governor.

        This is Jealous’s first run at elected office, but he’s been in the political spotlight since 2008, when he was selected as the youngest-ever president of the NAACP. While running the Baltimore-based civil-rights organization, Jealous wasn’t just focused on national issues—he also helped push Maryland to legalize same-sex marriage and ban the death penalty. Those progressive credentials—and an endorsement from Bernie Sanders—are part of what differentiates him from the six other Democrats looking to unseat incumbent Larry Hogan. Maryland is a famously blue state, but can someone from the left wing of the Democratic Party beat a Republican who has won surprising cross-party support? We sat down with the candidate to discuss his roots as an activist and his move into politics.

    • Why People Across the Country Are Raising Money to Bail Strangers Out of Jail

      The premise of Mariame Kaba’s idea, which she tweeted on New Year’s Eve with the hashtag #FreeThePeople, was simple — donate the price of one drink to a local bail fund, organizations that raise money and post bail for people who would otherwise languish in jail until their day in court.

      Organizers took up the call to #FreethePeople. Chicago organizer Kelly Hayes reached out to others to create memes to circulate and keep momentum going. She and Kaba also compiled fact sheets about cash bail and its consequences. “We wanted to use this as an opportunity for education, not just to raise money,” Kaba explained.

      Their efforts took off and, in one day, raised over $233,000 for at least 14 local bail funds across the country. Hundreds of people participated, tweeting and retweeting the calls, creating graphics for the event or tweeting the amount they donated as a way to encourage others to do the same. Some used the hashtag to educate about how cash bail works — and its devastating consequences. Those thousands of dollars are now enabling them to post bail for hundreds of people.

    • Can the Democratic Party’s Left Flank Win in 2018? This Illinois Primary Could Be a Bellwether

      Progressive challenger Marie Newman is hoping to shock the political establishment by unseating House Rep. Dan Lipinski, a conservative Democrat and longtime incumbent.

      • Hope she’s getting the support she needs. Otherwise they are setting her up to be the opposite.

        Go Marie!

    • Jeremy Corbyn: Nationalize, Democratize Electricity Grid to Avert Climate Crisis

      UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said making the nation’s electricity grid publicly-owned is the best course to “put tackling climate change at the heart of our energy system.”

      Speaking Saturday at a conference in London, Corbyn decried the failure of privatization of public services and laid out an economic vision that addresses the climate crisis while narrowing inequality.

      “The challenge of climate change requires us to radically shift the way we organize our economy,” he said.

      The Attlee administration that presided over Britain following World War II and created the welfare state, he said, “knew that the only way to rebuild our economy was through a decisive turn to collective action.”

      “Necessary action to help avert climate catastrophe requires us to be at least as radical,” he said.

    • Trump’s Controversial Pick to Run the 2020 Census Withdraws

      The Trump administration’s controversial pick to run the 2020 census has withdrawn from consideration to be deputy director of the US Census Bureau, according to sources close to the bureau.

      In November, Politico reported that the administration planned to put Thomas Brunell, a political science professor who has defended Republican redistricting efforts in more than a dozen states, in charge of the decennial census count. He was supposed to begin in late November, according to documents from the Census Bureau released by the watchdog group Protect Democracy as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. But civil rights advocates and Democratic members of Congress pushed back against the appointment.

      Now Brunell has withdrawn from consideration, according to two sources who were informed of his decision. A spokesperson for the Commerce Department, which houses the Census Bureau, confirmed that Brunell is “not under consideration.” Brunell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    • GOP Law Enforcement Chiefs Invited Donors to Help Set Policy Via Secret Bulletin Board

      An association of top Republican law enforcement officials has created a secret online bulletin board called the “Briefing Room” that’s allowing big donors to help shape legal policy, according to records reviewed by MapLight and The Intercept.

      The Republican Attorneys General Association frequently directs officials working for GOP attorneys general to review files posted on the file-sharing website before participating in conference calls hosted by RAGA’s nonprofit policy arm, the Rule of Law Defense Fund. The association works to get Republicans elected to the top law enforcement job at the state level. The Briefing Room is hosted by RLDF on the virtual cloud website, box.com.

      Republican law enforcement officials in more than a dozen states denied having records of the bulletin board or argued that documents kept on the Briefing Room shouldn’t be made public. Nine offices said they have no records of communications with RAGA or RLDF. While communications between elected officials and RAGA and RLDF should be subject to disclosure under open records laws, the secret bulletin board can shield the correspondence from public reach.

    • After Gains in Virginia, Democrats’ First Big Move Is a Fat Giveaway to the State’s Energy Monopoly

      The historic wins in Virginia’s legislative elections last November were supposed to herald a brighter future for progressives in the state. But one of the first major initiatives out of the capitol, which faces a key vote in the House of Delegates tomorrow, could well be a gift to electric utility Dominion Energy, which was partially responsible for getting Democrat Ralph Northam into the governor’s mansion.

      HB 1558 and its identical Senate version SB 966 are on the verge of passing both houses of the legislature. The legislation began as an effort to reverse a disastrous 2015 law that froze utility rates at exceedingly high levels, creating between $400 million to $800 million in overcharges just in 2015 and 2016. However, Dominion Energy, which has near-monopoly power in Virginia and substantial sway over its politics due to being the state’s largest corporate donor, was able to shape the bill to its liking.

      Instead of rebating all overcharges back to customers, the bill would allow utilities to divert that money to investments in infrastructure, like modernizing the energy grid and increasing renewable power generation. Supporters are effectively dangling the promise of more renewable energy so that utilities can avoid having to use their own funds to build it, winning support from a few environmental groups in the process.

      Lee Carter, a democratic socialist elected to the House of Delegates last year, denounced both the legislation itself and the process used to move it through the legislature. “As written, the bill is a steaming pile of garbage. You can quote me on that,” he told The Intercept in a phone interview.

    • Metals known to have harmful health effects found in indigenous exposed to oil spills

      People from two indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon who live close to the country’s longest oil pipeline have mercury, cadmium and lead in their bodies at concentrations harmful to their health. This was the conclusion of a study carried out jointly by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and the Peruvian National Center for Occupational Health and Environmental Health Protection, with the support of the Peruvian Ministry of Health.

      The objective of the study, which has been published in the journal Environmental Health, was to determine the concentrations of four metals (mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic) in people living in two indigenous Kukama communities—San Pedro and Cuninico—in the Loreto region of Peru. In 2014, the area was affected by two major oil spills from the North Peruvian pipeline.

      “In spite of the fact that many people in the area have been exposed to contamination caused by extractive activities, there are almost no studies assessing the effects of the contamination on the health of the people living close to the extraction zones, who are frequently exposed to oil spills,” explains ISGlobal researcher Cristina O’Callaghan Gordo, the lead author of the study.

      The samples studied were collected 13 and 16 months after the spills from a group of 130 people. Subsequent analysis showed that 50 percent of the population studied had urine concentrations of mercury higher than the threshold limit value set by the country’s Ministry of Health. This percentage increased to 64 percent in children under 10 years of age.

    • Local Native American tribes and environmentalists are ‘Turning the Tide’ to join forces in contemporary activism

      Although it’s been 200-plus years since the Acjachemen’s land was acquired by European settlers, local tribes have joined together to continue the battle to preserve Southern California’s lands and ocean.

      Angela Mooney D’Arcy, Acjachemen and executive director of Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous People, is on a mission to protect sacred places and native culture. On Feb. 3, D’Arcy was one of the main speakers at a Laguna Beach protest that drew hundreds from the region to oppose a proposal from the Trump administration’s Department of Interior (DOI) to open offshore drilling in U.S. waters.

      “We as the Acjachemen people, along with all of our relatives up and down the coast, have been protecting these coastlands and keeping them beautiful and sustainable for all of you for thousands of years,” D’Arcy said to the crowd, brandishing multicolored protest signs. “So thank you now for getting on board with sustainability.”

      D’Arcy was one of several Native American activists at the Laguna Beach protest, an example of a growing pattern of the “turning of the tide” for activist groups such as environmentalists banding together with the Native American community, said Dina Gilio-Whitaker, policy director and senior research associate at the Center for World Indigenous studies. In South Orange County, the members of the Acjachemen, along with other neighboring tribes such as the Tongva, are making themselves heard in current, local politics.

      • i was lucky enough to help the Winnemem Wintu, twice, to hold a sacred ceremony in their traditional spot on a river (made by the Shasta dam that has almost drowned the sacred rock in the river). We (legal observers) helped keep (many drinking) boaters out of the ceremony path, and of course helped cook and feed, etc. Awesome times. I miss it. Our leader is a civil rights lawyer with a keen environmental bent and she helped with meetings between the local law enforcement and the tribe, too.

        Was not always pretty and they unsuccessfully tried to jail the tribal leader. I wonder if I will ever get back to the kind of gritty, on the street activism that Occupy and the tribal cooperation provided. I miss it.

    • State completes amended environmental review of proposed Enbridge oil pipeline

      The Minnesota Department of Commerce Monday released an amended environmental review of Enbridge’s controversial new Line 3 oil pipeline, though it includes no major changes.

      In December, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission rejected the commerce department’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a handful of narrow concerns. The PUC gave the department 60 days to make clarifications.

      Calgary-based Enbridge wants to build a new pipeline across northern Minnesota to transport Canadian oil to its terminal in Superior, Wis. The new pipeline would replace Enbridge’s aging and corroding Line 3, which is running at just over half of its capacity due to safety concerns.

      The new Line 3 would follow the path of the current pipeline to Clearbrook, Minn., but it would then jog south to Park Rapids before heading east to Superior. Environmental groups and Indian tribes oppose new Line 3, saying it would open a new region of lakes and rivers to possible degradation from oil spills.

    • The Fight Against a Pipeline Along the Appalachian Trail

      A lawsuit hasn’t been enough to stop construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a proposed 300-mile natural gas pipeline that would cross the Appalachian Trail and some of the region’s largest national forests on its way, from starting as soon as this month.

      The Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Wild Virginia filed a lawsuit in January challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the pipeline. The case argues that the pipeline is unnecessary and its environmental reviews inadequate.

      “These pipelines are dirty and they’re dangerous and they exacerbate climate change, so because they’re bad for people, because they’re bad for our planet and because they’re bad for our communities, Sierra Club opposes them,” says Doug Jackson, deputy press secretary for the Sierra Club. “With clean renewable energy abundant right now, we really should be using that for our energy needs and not these relics of our past.”

      The Mountain Valley Pipeline would cut through 3.5 miles of the Jefferson National Forest, crossing waterways more than a thousand times and the Appalachian Trail once.

    • School board votes down Native American charter school

      Oklahoma City Public Schools board members have voted 7-1 to shelve the creation of a Native American charter school on Monday night.

      Board members said they are not opposed to the premise of having an indigenous-focused school but thy are concerned the financials are not right at this time.

      “We’ve got a great set of charters schools in this district,” said board member Mark Mann. “We’ve had a lot of success with them, and we want to make sure we continue with that success.”

      Native American leaders want to create Sovereign Community School, a 6-12 grade charter school that would incorporate native themes in all aspects of learning.

      “This stuff is stuff that everyone should know. It’s not just important for indigenous communities to care about things like tribal sovereignty and the role our tribes played not just in shaping our history but in shaping the sciences, in shaping math, in shaping literature,” said Phil Gover, head of Sovereign. “We can create an educational curriculum that does all of those things.”


      Opponents said schools like Sovereign would actually segregates the students.

      “’If we give this, then the Latino students are going to want their own school and the black kids are going to want their own school. Aren’t you just segregating schools?’ I’ve heard that word, segregated schools. Segregation is a system of oppression, and this is a system of choice,” Gover said. “This is a system where parents get to opt in to hopefully give their kids an education that they want.”

      I’m not a fan of charter schools but seems to be a slight case of ‘for we not thee’ going on..

      • If there is a reason anywhere for one of those charter schools this is it.

        • Agree 100%!

        • Yes. I have a young, good friend that was able to really excel in life after going to an arts-oriented charter school. She was a dancer.

          But because of the way they now draw from public funding without much accountability, and are used to further the right’s fundie views, I am pretty much opposed to them, now.

    • https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/13/16902454/daca-democrats-2020-immigration-shutdown

      The past few months have seen a fierce debate on the left — with progressives and immigrant rights groups saying Democrats “caved” by voting to reopen the government twice in two weeks — and others saying Senate Democrats managed to preserve their leverage.

      But among some high-profile rumored 2020 contenders, there has been no debate. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) all voted against every recent spending bill because they have not seen a vote on an immigration fix. They did it again on Thursday night, joining a handful of other Democrats voting against a long-term spending bill.

      The intraparty debate about whether or not to vote against government spending bills over DACA says a lot about where the Democratic party’s base is at — and how much influence that base has among the party’s rising stars.

      • https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/02/13/us/tukwila-police-ice-detain-trnd/index.html

        Wilson Rodriguez Macarreno and his family heard an intruder so he called police for help. About an hour later, he was in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

        Rodriguez’s detention Thursday sent shockwaves through the Seattle suburb of Tukwila and is now garnering national attention from immigration advocates, warning that the way authorities handled the case could make immigrants scared to call police to report crimes.

        Early Thursday morning, Rodriguez saw someone trespassing on his property in Tukwila. In the last few weeks, someone had been repeatedly trying to break in to his home and car.

        Police arriving on the scene apprehended a trespasser, according to Rodriguez’s attorney, Luis Cortes.

        Officers then put Rodriguez in handcuffs after he gave them his ID for what he thought was “report purposes,” the lawyer said. Officers saw he had an outstanding warrant when they ran his information through the National Crime Information Center database.

        Less than an hour after making the trespassing call, Rodriguez faced an uncertain future as he was driven to an ICE field office in Seattle for processing. His attorney said ICE never arrived to pick up his client, so Tukwila police volunteered to take him to the ICE field office.

        Jorge Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said the ICE warrants are a big problem.

        “When people think of a warrant, (they think) a judge has signed off on it. An independent fact finder has said whatever the police officer or law enforcement said appears to meet a threshold,” Barón said. “That’s the thing with these ICE ‘warrants,’ they’re not approved by an immigration judge. They’re not approved by a federal judge. Nobody independently reviews them.”

    • (Totally unrelated to the content of the video itself but hen I first watched this the ad that played before the start was a pro-pipeline one, full of ‘falsities’ and outright lies. I wasn’t able to catch the website of the makers… but will keep an eye out in the future and see if the campaign is willing to do something about it.)

      • That would be a real shame. Unions are just starting to come around and realize that “jobs” is not a reason for any and all projects.

    • Hey fellow TPWers! 🙂

      Here’s a very interesting article on how cities can scare off extremist rallies without threatening the First Amendment.


      McClatchy is one of the best news sources around. Highly recommend it.

    • Trump’s Budget Would Partly Replace Food Stamp Benefits With Canned Goods

      Facing a trillion-dollar deficit because of his just-passed tax cuts, President Donald Trump has an idea for how to get some of that money back: making poor people eat beans and rice.

      In a symbolic budget proposal unveiled Monday, the Trump administration called for sharp spending reductions in a variety of anti-poverty programs. In addition to a steep 25 percent cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, Trump would fundamentally alter how the program works.

      Currently, SNAP gives 42 million Americans a food voucher worth $125 per person that can be redeemed for almost any food product in a grocery store. It’s one of the most important safety net programs in the U.S.

      “Under the proposal,” Monday’s budget document says, “households receiving $90 or more per month in SNAP benefits will receive a portion of their benefits in the form of a USDA Foods package, which would include items such as shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish.”

      White House budget director Mick Mulvaney on Monday likened the proposal to a “Blue Apron-type program where you actually receive the food instead of receive the cash.”

      But Blue Apron delivers ingredients for gourmet meals, not boxes of canned goods and shelf-stable milk. And the food would not necessarily be delivered to people’s homes, according to a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees food stamps.


      Having the government buy people’s food would be less efficient than letting them buy it themselves, said Stacy Dean, a nutrition assistance expert at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

      “We put money in the pocket of individuals to spend at their local grocery store,” Dean said. “The idea that a government bureaucracy could improve on that is a huge mistake.”

    • Seems the Dore/TYT split has grown even wider. Quite a few videos on youtube being made about it but nothing concise enough (that I’ve found) to post here explaining it. I’m sure it won’t be long though.

    • ‘A Big Scare Tactic’: ExxonMobil Files ‘Conspiracy’ Counter Suits Against Climate Defenders

      ExxonMobil has named the supposed “coordinated” campaign against them “The La Jolla playbook,” inspired by a 2012 meeting of a couple dozen people in La Jolla, California, to explore legal strategies that could be taken to address climate change—a meeting which the company, as Bloomberg notes, is framing “as ground zero for its conspiracy claim.”

      “It’s crazy that people are subpoenaed for attending a meeting,” Sharon Eubanks, an attorney who attended the La Jolla event, told Bloomberg. She sees the actions as “a big scare tactic: reframe the debate, use it as a diversionary tactic, and scare the heck out of everybody.”

      When ExxonMobil made moves indicating potential counter suits in California last month, Peter Frumhoff, chief climate scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, declared that its strategy “to intimidate these communities by threatening lawsuits is just another effort to evade accountability for its decades-long campaign to deceive the public about climate science, and block policies that could have limited the climate impacts that California residents are now facing.”


  • Sen. Sanders learns from concerned Vermont high schoolers

    Senator Bernie Sanders learned what concerns young people in Vermont from the finalists of his annual essay competition.

    The Statehouse Meeting Hall was […]

    • Tips, Comments, Complaints, Etc!

    • Bernie Sanders gives high school students the microphone

      Montpelier, Vt. – Senator Bernie Sanders learned what concerns young people in Vermont from the finalists of his annual essay competition.

      The Statehouse Meeting Hall was filled with intelligent high schoolers on Saturday morning.

      “For eight years now, we’ve gotten kids from all over the state to write essays about what they would do… what kind of speech they would give if they were President of the United States,” Sen. Sanders said.

      Young minds raised concerns to the Senator such as discrimination, cost of higher education and climate change. Other topics included dreamers, marijuana and sexism.

      “It amazes me to hear what these young people are thinking about,” Sen. Sanders said.

      • Hopefully, all our “little” wars and funding and training of same are also high on their list.

        • I hope so to but during their short life they’ve not known a time that the US wasn’t in a war.

          • i guess that “normalizes” it, huh. too bad. If the msm spent half the time really covering all of our wars with objective filming and reporting, i bet they’d be aghast.

    • In this Texas Democratic primary, the Clinton/Sanders divide still lingers

      Two years ago, Beverly Powell and Allison Campolo found themselves on opposite sides of a question dividing Democrats across the country: What kind of Democrat do you want?

      Powell, a real estate developer, backed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be the party’s nominee for president. Campolo, a research scientist, supported U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who gained momentum vowing to shake up the status quo and challenge corporate interests in politics.

      Now both women are running in the Democratic primary to run against state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, and are finding themselves again falling into similar camps.

      “I think for sure more like a Hillary-type candidate,” said Powell, a former trustee of the Burleson Independent School District. “I’ve lived a life of public service. I’ve given back in ways that are important to the community.”

      Of the 31 senate districts in Texas, Senate District 10, which covers about half of Tarrant County in North Texas, is the closest to a swing district. Democrat Wendy Davis won the seat in 2008 and held onto it in 2012. After Davis ran for governor in 2014, the seat flipped to Republicans with Burton’s election. In 2016, Donald Trump defeated Clinton in the district by less than 1 percentage point.

      • International Bernie. Love it. Progressive leaders of the world need to coalesce and bring a larger presence so the media cannot forever ignore and/or denigrate them.

    • Bernie Sanders Launches Marijuana Petition

      U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is asking his supporters to pressure Congress to legalize marijuana and end the broader “war on drugs.”

      In an email sent to the former (and possibly future) presidential candidate’s campaign e-mail list on Wednesday night, the senator wrote that the federal government’s anti-cannabis approach is “an issue of grave consequence.”

      Citing racial disparities in enforcement, Sanders said that “marijuana prohibition is part of a larger failed war on drugs that has led to the great national crisis of mass incarceration.”

      He’s asking supporters to sign an online petition calling on federal lawmakers to treat drugs as a health issue instead of a crime and “invest in programs that focus on treatment and prevention.”

      Calling the rescheduling of cannabis a “a first step,” he said that marijuana’s current classification in a more restrictive category than cocaine “doesn’t make any sense.”

      “Let’s have states decide the issue of marijuana for themselves like they do with alcohol,” he wrote. “More and more states are moving in the direction of decriminalization. Let them make those decisions without federal interference.”

    • The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

      Last week, a Las Vegas news station interviewed Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. The interviewer brought up the topic of climate change, and virtually everything Pruitt said in response was wrong, and was often refuted on his own agency’s website, until he started deleting it.

    • Wisconsin Supreme Court primary will leave just 2

      e latest battle over the ideological balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court plays out in the Feb. 20 primary, where one of three candidates will be eliminated ahead of a spring election.

      Partisan politics have weighed heavy over weeks of campaigning. Madison attorney Tim Burns has most embraced his liberal beliefs, while Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet sought to appear as a moderate. Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock, an appointee of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, has the backing of conservatives.

      The primary is the first statewide race this year, and while officially nonpartisan, it could be a bellwether for how Republicans and Democrats stand heading into the fall. Turnout is expected to be low, likely less than 10 percent.


      Burns is the most vocal about his Democratic beliefs and political leanings, saying that the nonpartisan race is a charade and candidates should be honest about who they are. He introduces himself as an “unshakable champion for progressive values” and has called President Donald Trump an “unhinged billionaire.”

      Burns, who represents clients nationwide in lawsuits against insurance companies, is the only non-judge in the race.

      Burns argues his experience outside of Wisconsin is a strength that will help him fix what he views as a broken system. And, he argues a victory for him will energize liberals across the state headed into the fall.

    • In race for Congress, 4 Austin Democrats echo national party debate

      The race for the party’s nomination in the 21st Congressional District has emerged as a microcosm of the sharp division among Democrats across the nation in how to respond to Trump — do they nominate a candidate like Joseph Kopser, a former Army Ranger turned tech entrepreneur who the smart party money says can appeal to folks in the middle who rarely if ever vote Democratic but are offended by Trump, or go with a candidate who taps the outraged passions on the left, like Derrick Crowe, Elliott McFadden or Mary Wilson?

      The outcome matters not just to voters in the 21st Congressional District, which stretches from West Campus in Central Austin to Alamo Heights, just north of downtown San Antonio, to Camp Wood, not far from the headwaters of the Nueces River, 200 miles west of Austin. It also could figure in Democrats’ chances of taking over the House.


      “What we’re seeing is the national Democratic Party trying to dictate who our nominee is,” said McFadden, a former executive director of the Travis County Democratic Party who is CEO of Austin B-cycle, a nonprofit bike-sharing program. “They shouldn’t be bringing in national donors to influence this race. It should be up to the Democratic voters in this district to decide.”

      The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, McFadden said, “needs to butt out of this election.”

    • Trump unveils infrastructure plan involving only $200bn of federal money

      Donald Trump on Monday will unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan.

      It is a $1.5tn proposal that fulfills a number of campaign goals but relies heavily on state and local governments to produce much of the funding.

      The administration’s plan is centered on using $200bn in federal money to leverage local and state tax dollars to fix America’s infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports.

      “Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and where appropriate tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” Trump said at last month’s State of the Union address.


      Administration officials previewing the plan said it would feature two key components: an injection of funding for new investments and help speed up repairs of crumbling roads and airports, as well as a streamlined permitting process that would truncate the wait time to get projects underway. Officials said the $200bn in federal support would come from cuts to existing programs


      About $50bn would go toward rural projects transportation, broadband, water, waste, power, flood management and ports. That is intended to address criticism from some Republican senators that the administration’s initial emphasis on public-private partnerships would do little to help rural, GOP-leaning states.

    • Disconnect between US and South Korea grows amid rapprochement with North

      South Korea has announced it will press ahead with improving ties with North Korea, arranging family reunions between those divided by the Korean war and seeking to cool military tensions, despite the US committing to a policy of “maximum pressure” on Kim Jong-un.

      The announcement from Seoul’s unification ministry comes a day after a high-level North Korean delegation – including Kim’s sister – concluded a visit to the South that culminated in an invitation from Kim Jong-un for his counterpart Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang.

      The deepening rapprochement between the two neighbours – still technically at war – has exposed a disconnect in policy between Seoul and Washington, a split Pyongyang has been trying to encourage since the end of the 1950-53 Korean conflict.

      It became plain after US vice president Mike Pence visited South Korea for the opening of the Winter Olympics at the weekend, experts said.

      “There’s a definite fissure in the alliance, you can see it in Pence’s face if nothing else,” said Van Jackson, a former policy adviser to the US secretary of defence. “The US and South Korea want to present a united front, but they have completely different priorities: South Korea doesn’t want war, and the US doesn’t want North Korea to have nuclear weapons.”

      • Ignoring Calls for Peace Effort, Pence Refused to Engage With North Koreans at Olympic Games

        Amid rising tensions, the global community urged the vice president to “give peace a chance” and “make the Olympic truce permanent.”

      • Amid Olympic Détente, Pence Snubs North Koreans In Visit To Pyeongchang

        Vice President Mike Pence is facing backlash for his staunch efforts to ignore North Korean officials at the Winter Olympic Games, even as the two Koreas continued their temporary truce, marching and competing as one team.

        Pence’s cold demeanor toward the North Koreans at the Pyeongchang games was overshadowed by friendly cooperation between the North and South.

        Not to mention that Pence doesn’t fancy working with women.

        Prior to the opening ceremony on Friday night, Pence arrived late to a dinner reception between the two Koreas and greeted everyone at a main table except for Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state, Reuters reports. He left the reception five minutes later.

        What a jerk Pence is.

        The attached pic is almost scary – Pence has the look (those eyes!) of a zealot who will not be moved from his deeply held beliefs.

        In a rare public moment, President Moon shook hands with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong Un, at start of the opening ceremony. Pence, who was seated just a few feet away from Kim, did not appear acknowledge her. Then when the Korean team entered the stadium under a unified flag, Pence sat stone-faced while Moon and North Korean officials stood together in applause.

        A senior White House official said Pence was not trying to avoid the delegation from North Korea but rather ignore them, according to the AP. Asia experts said Pence’s sour conduct toward the North Koreans could be seen as disrespectful to the South Korean hosts, who were demonstrating a moment of harmony with the North.

        • Whatever you think of the North Korean leaders (yes they are bad people), Pence’s actions were politically stupid.

          • Pence and the dimwitted, prehistoric, fundy Christian mindset he has is a past that is fading. The growing friendship between the 2 Koreas is the future. The FRightwing fascist religious nuts don’t represent me as an American. I look at them as a bad insult!

        • What a jerk Pence is.
          The attached pic is almost scary – Pence has the look (those eyes!) of a zealot who will not be moved from his deeply held beliefs.

          Couldn’t agree more what an ass. I doubt the leaders of the Korea’s want a war. I still believe that NK wants to preserve his dictatorship and having nukes would do that, SK has to much to lose in a war period economically. The US corporate war lord’s are drooling about the profits if a war does breakout over their. For once the adults in the room are the leaders of N & S Korea that actually want to have a dialogue. It may lead to zilch but I like the effort

    • Woman Dragged Out of West Virginia House Hearing For Listing Oil and Gas Contributions to Members

      Lissa Lucas traveled the 100 miles from her home in Cairo, West Virginia to the state capitol in Charleston Friday to testify against an oil and gas industry sponsored bill (HB 4268) that would allow companies to drill on minority mineral owners’ land without their consent.

      Lucas began to testify to the House Judiciary Committee, but a few minutes in, her microphone was turned off.

      And Lucas was dragged out of the room.

      Lucas is running for the House of Delegates from Ritchie County, which has been overrun by the fracking industry.

      “As I tried to give my remarks at the public hearing this morning on HB 4268 in defense of our constitutional property rights, I got dragged out of House chambers,” Lucas said. “Why? Because I was listing out who has been donating to Delegates on the Judiciary Committee.”

    • Calls to Ramp Up Global Fights for Human Rights After Death of Pakistani Advocate Asma Jahangir

      The death of renowned Pakistani human rights advocate Asma Jahangir on Sunday elicited an outpouring of condolences and calls to action, with fellow advocates and political figures from across the globe calling for a wave of renewed energy in fights for freedom, to honor her memory.

      Jahangir, a lawyer by training, was jailed during the 1980s for her pro-democracy work, served for years as a United Nations special rapporteur, and helped found the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She died Sunday, after suffering a heart attack, at the age of 66.

      “In Pakistan, she campaigned tirelessly for democracy and free speech, frequently receiving death threats for taking up causes such as criticizing the strict blasphemy laws of the conservative Muslim-majority country,” Reuters notes. “She also represented several civil society organizations that were threatened with shutdown as well as families of several ‘disappeared’ activists over the past few years.”

      In 2014, Jahangir—along with whistleblower Edward Snowden, climate crusader Bill McKibben, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridge, and Sri Lankan human rights activist Basil Fernando—received The Right Livelihood Award, which is often called the Alternative Nobel Prize.

    • Peruvian Subsistence Farmer Asks Court to Continue Case Against U.S. Company in Delaware

      – EarthRights International (ERI), with plaintiff Máxima Acuña Atalaya de Chaupe in attendance, argued to a U.S. Federal Court today that it should keep their case against Newmont Mining Corporation (which is incorporated in Delaware) in the United States.

      For over six years, Newmont has led a campaign of harassment and abuse against the family intended to force them off their land and pave the way for a new open pit gold mine in Peru, which would be one of the largest in Latin America. The Chaupes filed a civil lawsuit in September. The lawsuit seeks to stop the physical and psychological abuse that the Chaupe family has suffered at the hands of security personnel working for Newmont and its corporate affiliates. Newmont is a U.S. mining company and one of the world’s largest gold producers.

      In the fall of 2017, Newmont filed a Forum Non Conveniens motion, stating that the case should be heard in Peru, not the United States, claiming it is inconvenient for them to litigate the case in Delaware even though that is where they are incorporated. The family and their lawyers oppose transfer, because the Chaupes are unlikely to get a fair trial in Peru, given Newmont’s corruption of local courts.

      • “corruption of local courts” may exist in both countries. But I hope he wins. If only we had the global corpses’/governements’ actions reported on in the MSM.

        It would shock people, the murder, theft, ruining of the environment (and sometimes on purpose so they can say they either have to save it or there is nothing to save) and harassment that the corpses pay to have done so that they continue to ravage the earth.

        These are the things that should be on our nightly news. Sure, good news is great and it has its place. But these issue oriented diversions/squabbles are nothing but seeding discord instead of truly informing us about where all this money we don’t have is going.

        Much less how awful it is without even factoring in the money.

    • Koch-backed group fights paid sick leave laws as flu sweeps US

      This week marks 25 years since Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, which gives US workers the right to unpaid time off to care for themselves and close family members.

      It took another decade for some to win paid sick leave, when San Franciscans approved a ballot initiative in 2006 for private employees to earn an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Similar measures now benefit 14 million workers in 32 municipalities and nine states.

      Paid sick leave advocates cite studies showing flu infection rates decrease in cities where workers earn sick days, and that parents who cannot take leave are two times more likely to send their sick children to school. They also point to a 2012 poll of restaurant servers and cooks that revealed two-thirds had served or cooked food while ill, threatening the health of their co-workers, customers and the companies that employ them.

      But with a flu epidemic currently raging across the US, potential new sick leave measures are facing opposition from the same Koch Brothers-backed lobbying group that led the legal assault on Obamacare.

      • I would love to arrange that all the Koch’s personal staff that cooks their food, cleans their mansions and anyone else that has daily contact with them show up sick for work.

    • Tomgram: Michael Klare, Militarizing America’s Energy Policy

      the exploitation of fossil fuels in North America is now officially the heart and soul of the global policy-making of President Trump and his generals

      Tom prefaces Michael Klare’s piece which is titled:
      The Strategy of Maximal Extraction
      How Donald Trump Plans to Enlist Fossil Fuels in the Struggle for Global Dominance

      Donald Trump and his generals are making fossil fuels a crucial ingredient for bulking up our national security. In that way, they will turn anything (or any group) standing in the way of the extraction and exploitation of oil, coal, and natural gas into obstructers of the national interest and, quite literally, of American national security.

    • Shoved Aside Again, DACA Activists Keep Fighting

      To undocumented youth activists, public gestures by Democrats ring hollow.

    • ‘Short-Term Folly’: U.S. Adds 38 Percent More Oil and Gas Rigs

      The number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. has increased an astonishing 38 percent over the past year. That’s according to S&P; Global Platts Analytics, which reported this week that the country had 1,070 rigs at the end of January, up from just 773 a year earlier.

      Experts expressed fear that all of this new development does not bode well for the planet. “This will have a very significant climate impact,” said Romany Webb, climate law fellow with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “The oil and gas industry is a huge source of methane, which is a really potent greenhouse gas. And then on top of that you also have the carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of this oil and gas. So this is very concerning from a climate perspective.”

      Webb links the increase in drilling, in part, to the recent rise in prices for crude oil and natural gas. “Oil is now above $60 a barrel, which is what the industry always said that they needed to ramp up production,” she said.

      Experts also connect the boom to the policies of the Trump administration, which has prioritized the extraction of oil, natural gas and coal over the development of renewable energies even as the planet continues to warm. “That the hottest years in human history coincide with a dramatic increase in U.S. drilling for oil and gas is a reminder of what a rogue nation we now live in,” said noted environmentalist Bill McKibben.

    • Microplastics pollute most remote and uncharted areas of the ocean

      Microplastics have been found in some of the most remote and uncharted regions of the oceans raising more concerns over the global scale of plastic pollution.

      Samples taken from the middle of the South Indian Ocean – at latitude 45.5 degrees south – show microplastic particles detected at relatively high volumes. Sören Gutekunst, from the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, who analysed the samples, said the data showed 42 particles per cubic metre, which was surprising given the remoteness of the area.

      “Data on microplastics has not been taken from this extremely remote area before and what we found was relatively high levels,” he said. “There are places in the ocean which are not being observed and that is why it is so special for us to be doing this. It is amazing that we have the opportunity and this could lead to much further knowledge about what is happening with microplastics in the ocean.”

    • Irish Parliament Votes to Ban New Fossil Fuel Exploration

      Ireland’s Dáil Éireann, the country’s lower house of parliament, voted 78-48 Thursday to advance a bill to stop the government from issuing new contracts for both on and offshore oil and gas exploration.

      Despite strong opposition from the Irish government, the legislation was backed by thousands of activists, campaigners, parliamentarians as well as a surprising supporter who believes in life after oil: Cher.

      The “Climate Emergency Measures Bill,” introduced by Solidarity-People Before Profit deputy Bríd Smith, underscores how fossil fuels are major contributors to climate change and how keeping them in the ground will prevent further damage to the environment.

      “If we take the Paris climate agreement seriously the Oireachtas (parliament) will support this bill,” Smith said during the vote.

    • Larry Hogan would put Maryland in danger by not opposing the Potomac Pipeline

      TransCanada, the same company that wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline for tar sands oil, is proposing a pipeline that would run through Maryland. The “Potomac pipeline,” officially known as the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project, would transport natural gas beneath 3.5 miles of sensitive farmland and mountains in Maryland, the C&O Canal and the Potomac River and its tributaries. Environmental impact studies show that the Potomac pipeline has the potential to contaminate the drinking water of the millions of people in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia whose water comes from the Potomac River.

      TransCanada wants an easy way to transport its cheap gas from Pennsylvania to West Virginia, but its “solution” comes with too many health and environmental risks. While those of us who live and work in Maryland would love to have cheap energy powering our homes, we must understand that this cannot be the way we attain it.

      The bigger picture is that burning fossil fuels — in this case, blowing through rock deep in the earth to transport gas via pipeline — is a proven way to deepen the detrimental effects of climate change across the planet. We must find another way. We must focus on other sources of energy wherever possible.

      That said, even the short-term risks threatening the drinking water of Maryland residents should be enough for Gov. Hogan to realize the necessity of standing against the construction of this pipeline — preferably sooner rather than later.

    • Cumberland County couple claims Mariner East 2 Pipeline construction is contaminating their water

      Rolph and Dorris Blume have 60 acres of farmland where the Mariner East 2 Pipeline is currently under construction in Cumberland County.

      He and his wife have been fighting the project for over a year and now their worst fears have come true.

      He says the well on his property is contaminated due to pipeline construction.

      “Its just terrible stuff and you cant imagine what its like until you actually try it," said Rolph Blume of Frankford Township. "I was using it to take pills at night and my wife was telling me not to drink the water it didnt taste right,” he added.

      “Sonoco claims they didn`t cause any trouble,” said Blume.

      So Blume took it upon himself to hire a hydrologist who confirmed his suspicions.

      The report states in part –QUOTE — “Contamination of the Blume well by turbid water generated by disturbance during construction along the Sunoco LP Pipeline is consistent with the full set of observed circumstances.”

    • Placitas group frets over nearby pipeline

      A maze of yellow pipeline placards swerve in and out of the natural landscape that surrounds a Placitas neighborhood overlooking the Las Huertas Creek.

      A quick view from the road reveals a pipeline pattern that runs through this usually dormant creek and up and down a few hills before leading westward beyond I-25.

      Although it is not unusual for pipelines to run under structures and different terrain throughout the state, a group of Placitans are concerned about what may happen when the water in the creek flows at full force.

      David Haigh, vice president of the community safety group Las Placitas Association, said he has been aware of the pipeline running in and around the creek since he was given his plat four years ago after purchasing his home. As the hill declines behind Haigh’s home, it descends into the Las Huertas Creek less than 200 yards from his back door.

      According to Haigh, there are over 3,000 homes that surround Las Huertas Creek, making a possible rupture to one of the pipelines a potential catastrophe.

    • Progressives storm Democratic primaries

      Progressive insurgents are launching challenges to Democratic members of Congress in some of the country’s bluest districts, sparked by deep frustration with the party establishment and anti-Trump anger.

      Most of the challengers are long shots at the moment. But some are putting a scare into entrenched incumbents, thanks to their muscular fundraising and a message of liberal disaffection on issues including Wall Street, criminal justice reform and single-payer health care

      Six veteran incumbents already face energetic primary challenges from younger candidates in New York and Massachusetts. In Illinois, two Chicago-based members are being targeted from the left.

      “I think Donald Trump getting elected president is part of it — the old institutional political knowledge we had about the way things works clearly just doesn’t work. And now people are knocking down the door,” said Bill Hyers, a political consultant and campaign strategist for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “There’s a new energy and excitement out there in a new way, and it’s palpable.”

      In New York, Adem Bunkeddeko is one of three young Democrats taking on longtime incumbents. Bunkeddeko, who is challenging Rep. Yvette Clarke in the Brooklyn-based 9th Congressional District, points out that Clarke hasn’t been able to pass a bill in Congress since she arrived there. He’s running on a platform to bring new subsidized housing to his district and enact criminal justice reforms — ending cash bail, changing sentencing laws and legalizing marijuana.

    • House Departures Give Democrats Hope of Winning GOP Strongholds

      After a quarter century of easily winning re-election, California Republican Ed Royce was facing an unusually competitive contest this year in a U.S. House district that has swung from solidly conservative to increasingly Democratic.

      Royce, 66, decided last month to retire from Congress without specifying why, giving new hope to nine Democrats vying for the seat — a dynamic seen in a growing number of Republican-held districts nationally. The Democrats are campaigning against President Donald Trump and GOP policies, including the tax cuts Congress passed in December and Trump’s policies on immigration.

      “Whether it’s the middle class, whether it’s the immigrants, whether it’s the women and children, these are all people who are still being attacked — whether it’s Ed Royce or the Republican Party,” said Democratic candidate Mai Khanh Tran, a pediatrician who is running for the first time.

      Winning competitive open Republican districts, like Royce’s outside Los Angeles, is a crucial component of the Democratic strategy for taking control of the House in November, when all 435 seats will be up for election. A surge of GOP departures — 33 House Republicans have announced they won’t run for re-election — is helping increase the odds for Democrats, who need to win a net total of 24 seats to gain the majority in the House.

    • Packed House Hears Kansas 3rd District Congressional Candidates Challenging Yoder

      If you want to know how much interest there is in the race for Rep. Kevin Yoder’s congressional seat, you got a pretty good idea at a candidate forum Sunday afternoon.

      Some 500 people packed the sanctuary at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park to hear the five Democrats and one Libertarian running for Yoder’s seat.

      Yoder, a Republican, was invited but didn’t attend.

      His campaign spokesman, C.J. Grover, said the forum was hosted by “progressive activists” and that Yoder looks forward to debating the issues this fall with the winner of the Democratic primary.

      Clearly, Democrats think Yoder is vulnerable in the district that encompasses Wyandotte and Johnson counties, including Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, Spring Hill, DeSoto and Olathe.

    • IN Focus: Watson gearing up for primary in bid to unseat Hollingsworth (video @ link)

      Congressional candidate Liz Watson is one of two Democrats making waves in Indiana’s 9th district, raising money and hitting the trail in hopes of unseating freshman Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN).

      Watson appeared on this week’s edition of IN Focus to discuss her candidacy, and her hopes for this year’s campaign.

      In the video above, she also responds to questions about her recent move to Indiana, and her background in DC working with progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

      Watson and fellow Democrat Dan Canon have each been raising six-digit figures for this year’s campaign, with Watson outraising Hollingsworth in each of the last two fundraising cycles.


      In the video below, Watson is asked about her competition in the Democratic primary and her hopes for a ‘blue wave’ in 2018.

    • For the 7th Congressional District: Jason Westin or Lizzie Pannill Fletcher

      So many people flocked to the Faith Lutheran Church one evening last month, you’d think they were previewing a new Star Wars movie.

      The parking lots overflowed and traffic backed up into the adjacent neighborhood. Inside the gymnasium, every chair was occupied, standing-room only spectators lined the walls and people who couldn’t find seats just plopped down on the floor and sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the aisles. Organizers of the event in Bellaire estimated it attracted more than 500 people including dozens who couldn’t get into the doors. All of them came out on a weeknight to hear the Democratic candidates for Texas’ 7th Congressional District.

      If every neighborhood political debate attracted a crowd like this, our country would be a better place. Then again, if every congressional race attracted a field of candidates as inspiring and diverse as this campaign, Congress just might work again.

    • NYC Taxi Driver Kills Himself at City Hall After Condemning Uber & Politicians for Financial Ruin

      AMY GOODMAN: What is that reality?

      BHAIRAVI DESAI: It’s a race to the bottom. Every day, people are going deeper and deeper into poverty. And this is the reality of the so-called gig economy. It’s about destroying what has been a full-time profession, turning it into part-time, poverty-pay work. Uber and company—Uber and Lyft—and, by the way, they are absolutely the same. It’s all one same business model. They use their political might. In 2016, Uber and Lyft combined spent more on lobbying than Amazon and Walmart combined, and Microsoft, as well. And so, they use their political might to win deregulation bills.

      And so-called liberals are a big part of the problem.

      BHAIRAVI DESAI: That’s right. This is the third—Douglas was the third suicide we know of in—within these just two to three months. And there is a crisis. There’s a human crisis as a result of the political failures, you know, that have given these Wall Street companies a free hand. And, you know, most of their lobbyists, by the way, come out of the Democratic Party. Many of them went straight from the Obama White House to work for Uber, you know.

    • Anti-pipeline activist announces run for Congress

      Jennifer Lewis , who’s made a name for herself as a prominent anti-pipeline activist, announced Friday her plan to run for the 6th congressional seat currently held by Bob Goodlatte.

      “It almost got to the point where I couldn’t do anymore as an activist, as a grass roots organizer that I want to take the passion that I have to change my community to help my community and take that to Washington,” said Lewis.

    • El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke holding town halls in SA this week

      El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke is continuing his campaign for the U.S. Senate with a visit to San Antonio on Monday and Tuesday.

      The congressman is holding public town halls in both San Antonio and Edinburg. The stops are part of O’Rourke’s visits to 220 counties as he travels across Texas to engage in dialogues with families from every part of the state.

      The following events are free and open to the public. The locations are listed below:
      •Southside San Antonio Town Hall Monday, February 12 at 6:00 p.m. CT 650 E White in San Antonio
      •Eastside San Antonio Town Hall Tuesday, February 13 at 10:30 a.m. CT Ella Austin Community Center Auditorium 1023 N Pine St. in San Antonio

    • Running Women Q&A: Deb Haaland on Bringing a Native American Voice to Congress

      Debra Haaland, New Mexico’s former Democratic Party chairwoman, aims to become the first Native American woman to have a voice in Congress.

      She’s running for an open seat in the U.S. House representing District 1, which includes Albuquerque. It’s considered safely Democratic, but with no incumbent on the ballot — Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is running for governor — a half dozen hopefuls are competing in the Democratic primary set for June 5.

      Haaland stands out, though, having served as Party chairwoman and in leadership positions within the Native community. She also gained a crucial network and important campaign experience by working for a host of candidates, including former President Barack Obama, and running an earlier (albeit unsuccessful) race for lieutenant governor.

      We spoke with Haaland, an alumna of the Emerge America candidate training program, about why she’s running and why it’s important to have a Native voice in Washington. Excerpts from our conversation, below, have been edited for length and clarity.

    • As midterms near, more women plunging into campaigns

      Nearly a year after her hopes for the first female president were dashed, Beth Vercolio-Osmund contemplated her own political debut.

      Last fall, increasingly frustrated with lawmakers and the direction of politics in Washington, the 49-year-old Ottawa mother of three who runs a farm with her husband had been trying to expand her community involvement and make a difference locally. When it became clear to her that volunteerism was no longer enough, she considered a friend’s suggestion to run for Congress.

      “I mulled it over for a while and had just about talked myself out of it,” Vercolio-Osmund said. She even told her husband he should be the one to run, but he pointed out it was “time for women.” After much thought, she said, “I decided. I’m going to try.”

      Vercolio-Osmund is one of three women with no political experience running in the March 20 Democratic primary in Illinois’ 16th Congressional District. Her run is part of a national trend of more women vying for offices at all levels of government. A majority of these women are challenging incumbents, and many of them are first-time candidates

      “While I absolutely respect experience … I do think that in a broader sense, all the women stepping up and running have experiences similar to mine,” said Vercolio-Osmund, 49. “We know how to run our businesses, our families, our lives. We are finally realizing, there is no special sauce that makes it possible to run for office. It’s a willingness to try, a willingness to make things better.”

    • Anti-Pipeline Activist Jennifer Lewis Kicks Off Campaign for Congress in Virginia’s 6th CD, Vows to “advocate for families, forests and farmland” (video @ link)

      Great to see a passionate progressive and environmental activist running for Congress in Virginia’s beautiful, but also deep-red, 6th CD. Jennifer Lewis, “a mental health worker, community advocate, and a leader in the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” kicked off her campaign yesterday, vowing to “advocate for families, forests and farmland” and “for a rapid transformation to a green energy economy,” as well as “to stand with our immigrant friends, our family in the LGBTQ community” and to “ensure our government and economy works for everyone.” I’m very much looking forward to Jennifer Lewis’ campaign.

    • N.Y. Teamsters form ‘sanctuary union’ to fight ICE agents

      Worried about federal immigration policies, a New York labor organization is taking steps to protect its own.

      Across Long Island and throughout the city, some 120,000 Teamsters are getting prepped to become a “sanctuary union.”

      In 27 shops, business agents, supervisors and front-line workers are getting schooled on their rights under U.S. law — and when and how to challenge federal immigration agents who show up to search their work sites.

      The training is complex and technical — hinging on specific types of warrants and the definition of a raid.

      But in fundamental labor terms, it follows one simple rule: Union solidarity first, immigration status second.

      The Teamsters’ decision to openly challenge immigration enforcement under President Trump is rooted in the loss of one of its own members.

      On Aug. 24, Teamster Eber Garcia Vasquez, 54, a married father of three U.S.-born children, was detained by immigration agents when he showed up for a routine annual appointment.

      Shipped first to a Bergen County jail in New Jersey, then to Louisiana, Garcia was whisked back to his home country of Guatemala roughly 10 days later — despite a clean criminal record and two pending green card applications for him, one from his U.S. citizen wife and another from his son.

    • http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/373402-adam-rippon-says-he-would-boycott-white-house-visit

      U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon said he would boycott a visit to the White House.

      Rippon — the first openly gay athlete selected to a U.S. Winter Olympic team — told The Daily Mail that he would not go to the White House in an effort “to support my community.”

      “No, I have no desire to go to the White House,” he told The Daily Mail.

      “But I would like to do something to help my community.”

      Rippon added he would want to do “something positive and not just stay at home” during the White House visit, such as planning his own event in support of gay rights.

      Last month, Rippon said last month he disagreed with the Trump administration’s values. He added that Pence “doesn’t really stand for anything I believe in,” asserting that the vice president supported “gay conversion therapy.”

      Pence’s office has denied he believes in “gay conversion therapy.”

      Pence has long been seen as a top adversary to LGBTQ rights.

    • ****NOTICE****

      The Florida Meetup scheduled for 2/17/2018 (Saturday) in Titusville, FL has been cancelled due to host’s illness. It will be re-scheduled. Contact orlbucfan with any questions.