• Good morning everyone! A big thank you to Benny and everyone else who was involved in the roundup yesterday while I was out sick. In-fact I am still pretty sick so not quite sure how long I’ll be around this […]

    • In preemptive strike, Sanders, Cummings demand PTC chief Peltz spell out his price for controversial Duchenne MD treatment

      It’s time for Stuart Peltz to take the Congressional hot seat on drug pricing.

      The CEO of PTC Therapeutics acquired Marathon’s steroid deflazacort for $140 million up front a few days ago with an eye to sell it to a small population of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. And that comes with as much of a glaring spotlight as Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings can bring to it.

      In a new letter directed to Peltz, the two activist lawmakers noted in a preemptive strike that the CEO has been in touch with the Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy to talk price. And they have a retail number in mind that PTC $PTCT won’t likely cotton to: The UK net price of $1,000 to $1,200 a month, which is what many parents are paying today.

      “We urge you to keep the price of this relatively common steroid at its current importation cost,” the two lawmakers note. They also are asking what Peltz’s plans are in pursuing another orphan approval for juvenile arthritis.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Latest Fight is About CEO Pay and Wall Street Reform

      A group of lawmakers including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) are dismayed by the delay of a Dodd-Frank rule that would require CEO’s to disclose how their pay compares to that of their workers. The senators wrote a letter this week to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) acting chairman Michael Piwowar, a Republican, to say they were “extremely troubled” and “opposed any delay” in the rule that was supposed to go into effect this year

      The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act put in place by the administration of President Barack Obama required companies to disclose a ratio comparing CEO pay to worker pay, but the SEC delayed the requirement last month because of “unanticipated compliance difficulties.”

      That delay prompted the letter from Democratic senators Bob Menendez (New Jersey), Jack Reed (Rhode Island), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Chris Van Hollen (Maryland), Dick Durbin (Illinois), Jeff Merkley (Oregon), Al Franken (Minnesota) and independent Sanders, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 before losing to nominee Hillary Clinton.

      letter said that the rule would be an important tool for investors, while noting that in 2015 the average S&P 500 CEO made $335 for every dollar a typical worker earned, a statistic pulled from the AFL-CIO.

      “Pay ratio disclosure helps investors evaluate the relative value a CEO creates, which facilitates better checks and balances against insiders paying themselves runaway compensation,” wrote the senators.

    • Hello again! Just a quick apology in advance if I repeat anything from yesterday!

    • Sanders: Block Trump’s SEC pick

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday called for his Senate colleagues to block President Trump’s pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

      Sanders said Jay Clayton, a partner at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, was “the embodiment of the greed that nearly destroyed the economy” and unfit to lead Wall Street’s watchdog.

      “We need somebody who is prepared to confront the system, not someone who is part of the system,” said Sanders.

      Clayton will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday during his confirmation hearing. Democrats have consistently attacked Clayton’s Wall Street career, but are powerless to stop his confirmation without Republicans on their side. No Republicans have expressed opposition to Clayton.

      Clayton has represented corporate giants in business mergers and acquisitions, as well as public offerings. He’s also helped corporations and Wall Street firms settle or fight cases brought against them by the federal government.

    • Standing Rock and the lessons of Andrew Jackson

      Democracies don’t usually wage war on their own citizens, and, in particular, on peaceful demonstrators. Yet what images were evoked when you saw news photos of police attacking the “water protectors” at Standing Rock with dogs, tear gas, Mace, rubber bullets, water cannons? The beating, tear-gassing and fire-hosing of peaceful demonstrators during the civil-rights marches of the 1960s.

      During nearly a year of peaceful protests, Native Americans and their supporters were met continually by armed police and raw power. Protesters were under constant surveillance, subjected to floodlights at night and aircraft flying overhead. Open land became a militarized landscape, patrolled by police outfitted in full riot gear.

      ..

      What the Trump administration is doing is shameful, an act whose roots extend back to an American holocaust. Trump almost seems to be channeling President Andrew Jackson, whose portrait he has displayed in the Oval Office. Jackson orchestrated what we would now call an ethnic cleansing—the removal of Indian tribes from their lands in the East to the newly established Indian Territory of Oklahoma. Jackson’s removal order meant that thousands of Indians were sent to their deaths on a forced march to Oklahoma, now known to history as the Trail of Tears. It is estimated that one-quarter of the 16,000 Indians who were uprooted died on the way.

      This past informs our present: Standing Rock was, in part, spawned by the various forms of genocide perpetrated on Indian tribes, a truth that Western historians have long recounted. Indian hopes for the future, whatever they were in the 1800s, were destroyed and foreclosed upon. We will never know in what ways the many individual tribal societies would have emerged and grown, had we let them do so.

      Will we once again, as in the past, destroy the ability of tribal people to live as they wish, to create their own future? Recently, a group of Indians arrived in Washington, D.C., and gathered on the mall to protest the pipeline. Meanwhile, at least one U.S. senator has asked the FBI why “anti-terrorism” specialists visited some of the Standing Rock activists. Are we now going to start classifying nonviolent water protectors as terrorists?

      • Trumpism on Climate and Bruno Latour’s symmetric anthropology

        Bruno for many years has been doing an anthropology of the Moderns

        He makes the point often about the difference between a police action and a war. Most of the conflicts since WW II, including terrorism are police actions because there is a third party who can be an arbitrator.

        I heard on the radio yesterday, the local leftist station, that there were resource wars between CA Indians and casualties were as high as 7% of the population, on the order of the loss of life in WW II.

        Bruno in a series tweets, starting with this NY Times article, makes the claim that the US backing off reducing pollution is in fact war on other countries.

        Here is the NY Times article.

        NYT article
        Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy

        Bruno uses the term Gaiapolitics in contrast to geopolitics to put the Earth, Gaia, in the center, not the globe of globalization. The globe that we can hold in our hands like a cantaloupe, and have a view from no where – —

        AIME‏ @AIMEproject Mar 22

        In terms of (Gaia)politics, http://nyti.ms/2mNUxfj amounts to a declaration of war since other countries will be ‘invaded’ by reckless US.

        Coal ash from China comes to the US and toxic nuclear materials from Japan travel around the earth. Bruno has a lot to say about borders elsewhere, and sovereignty, and the need for a Gaia politics for earthbounds to configure a new way

        AIME‏ @AIMEproject Mar 22

        Geopolitics had borders, but Gaiapolitics ignore borders so that the (in)action of US weighs on everyone else just as much as an invastion.

        I do not fully understand “symmetric anthropology” but in general it relates to Bruno’s story of people in a French museum looking at artifacts from a long gone and forgotten people and today, unlike 10 years ago, they linger longer as they wonder if their own “civilization” will also disappear.

        AIME‏ @AIMEproject Mar 22

        Generalized invasion by some countries of other countries gives a new sense to “symmetric anthropology” as argued in http://www.bruno-latour.fr/node/67

        I stand corrected. Here is an abstract of a 2016 article that I may have read, but now reading the Abstract I see the point. Namely, colonization wiped out indigenous people and now The New Climate Regime could wipe out humans so the moderns are facing colonization from Gaia.

        This is the abstract for the article linked above. It is an interview of Bruno by CL

        Abstract

        CM: still I am infinitely far from granting any symmetry between poor and rich, the victims and the profiteers of the capitalistic land grab!

        BL: But would you really disagree that it would be possible to detect a sort of inverse history at work here? At the beginning of Middle Ground, remember, we are in the 16th century, you see how weak are the envoys of the Kings of England and France, they have to parley their ways through nations that are still powerful (whenever English and French think they are strong enough so that they don’t need to negotiate, they are roundly defeated!). Two centuries later, there is no need to discuss at all: the Indians have been literally pushed aside.

        CM: So?

        BL: So what I am hinting at with this new version of symmetric anthropology is that, because of the ecological mutation, three centuries later, we are now bound to observe a reversal that I take to be exactly symmetrical to White’s narrative: the Old Empires so to speak, are so much weakened, so much taken aback, that they have to negotiate anew, and are looking everywhere for cues on how to cope! Those who were doing the colonization now exclaim: “Ah that’s what you meant by having your culture broken down” and those on the receiving end of the colonization sigh back: “Ah! may be, finally you will now understand”.

        CM: Bruno, Bruno nothing of what you say works here. Where have you seen a negotiation going on? What chance had, for instance, the Fuegans to negotiate? In 50 years they have been wiped out. All of them. To the last canoe. Who is sent as a diplomat? Guns, microbes, greed, an abominable

        And here is the link to the article

        A Dialog About a New Meaning
        of Symmetric Anthropology
        Bruno Latour (interviewed by Carolina Miranda1
        )

      • Yes. America is becoming less free and less brave because of it.

    • Dakota Access pipeline: ING sells stake in major victory for divestment push

      The financial giant ING has sold its stake in the $2.5bn loan financing the Dakota Access pipeline, the latest victory for the anti-pipeline divestment campaign that comes as the project is set to begin transporting oil.

      The Dutch banking and financial services company is the first of a group of 17 banks to divest from the loan that financed the project. ING’s share in the loan was $120m.

      The buyer of the loan was not disclosed. Under the terms of the sale, ING will retain some of the risk in the event of default.

      ING’s decision followed a 10 February meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which argued that the pipeline’s route – crossing under the Missouri river just north of the tribe’s reservation – threatened its water source and violated its treaty rights.

      “We are heartened that ING has made the conscience decision to remove itself from a project that tramples on the rights of sovereign nations,” the Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman, Dave Archambault, said in a statement.

    • Injuries from gun violence cost the United States at least $734 million per year

      More than 33,000 people die from gunshot wounds every year in the United States — victims of suicide, assault, accidents, and even crossfire between armed citizens.

      Most of those struck by a bullet end up in the hospital (81,000 people were hospitalized with gun-related injuries in 2014).

      If you’re one of those people, that injury likely brings pain and a good deal of stress. There’s also a risk of disability, trauma, and further treatment required down the line.

      But gun-related injuries also come with significant financial costs, both for the victim and society overall. Like most other public health issues in the United States, gun violence is an insurance cost problem.

      A new study, published March 21 in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), found that between 2006 and 2014, hospitalizations due to firearm injuries cost the US $6.61 billion — an average of $734.1 million per year.

    • US electronics ban for Middle East flights endangers passengers for profit

      A new measure forcing passengers to store all their large electronics in the hold may have disastrous consequences, say airline experts – and the only security that measure will provide is financial security to American carriers.

      The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretly sent 10 foreign-owned carriers an “emergency amendment” via the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Monday, requiring flights inbound to the US from 10 Middle Eastern airports to ban any device larger than a cellphone from carry-on luggage. On Tuesday, the UK announced it was going even further than the US , banning in-cabin electronics on all direct flights from six Middle Eastern countries.

      Travelers have been told that they will have to pack such devices in baggage to be checked into the plane’s hold.

      But filling the hold of a commercial airliner with the lithium-ion batteries used to power most consumer electronics would create a hazard all its own, according to Robert W Mann Jr, president of the airline industry analysts RW Mann & Company.

      • Airlines Want Protectionism – U.S. Bans Laptops, Tablets On Competition’s Flights

        February 2017: CEOs of Delta, United and American Hope Trump Will Block Arab Competition

        The big three U.S. airlines maintain that Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways — airlines backed by governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — are unfairly subsidized and that their expansion into the U.S. market represents unfair competition that should be blocked by regulators.
        “The Gulf carriers have received over $50 billion in documented subsidies from their government owners since 2004,” the chief executives of the big three wrote in a recent letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “Mr. Secretary,” the letter continues, “we are confident that the Trump Administration shares our view on the importance of enforcing our Open Skies agreements, ensuring that U.S. airlines have a fair and equal opportunity to compete in the international market, and protecting American jobs.”

        March 2017: US bans laptops, tablets on flights from Turkey and Arab world

        Senior US officials told reporters that nine airlines from eight countries had been given 96 hours, beginning at 3:00 am (0700 GMT), to tell travelers to pack any device bigger than a smartphone in their checked luggage.
        Laptops, tablets and portable game consoles are affected by the ban — which only applies to direct flights to the United States from the blacklisted airports.

        No US carriers are affected by the ban, but passengers on approximately 50 flights per day from some of the busiest hubs in Turkey and the Arab world will be obliged to follow the new emergency ruling.

        The ban will hit flights operated by Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

        The U.S. move is certainly not about security. What now hinders anyone to fly from Dubai to Paris and on to New York with a laptop and tablet in her carry on luggage? Why would that be more secure than a direct flight with Emirates Airline? No. This is all about unwanted competition and an effort of the highly subsidized U.S. airlines to sell higher priced tickets with less service.

    • The Democratic Party Left After the Ellison DNC Campaign: Unite or Fight?

      One thing to keep in mind about the recent Thomas Perez–Keith Ellison race for Democratic National Committee chair is that it was pretty much an only-in-America sort of thing. Were we in any kind of parliamentary system – like most countries have – the two sides would probably be in different parties – the Bernie Sanders core of the Ellison campaign most likely in some type of socialist or labor-oriented party, with the Clinton people around Perez probably mostly in a more business-oriented liberal party. Instead, however, the American presidential system that we actually have pretty much keeps the two sides coexisting under one big Democratic Party tent.

      If all of this seems somewhat less than clear to us, though, we can probably be excused since this type of distinction within the party is pretty much a post-Sanders campaign thing. Sanders, after all, went further on the national level than any figure so clearly of-the-left since George McGovern won the nomination in 1972. And no self-identified socialist had made such a splash in a presidential race since Eugene Debs ran from his Atlanta Federal Penitentiary cell in 1920. So, the next thing to remember about the DNC chair’s race is that a year ago the wing of the Party that considers it overly influenced by corporate money and connections simply didn’t exist on a national level; the DNC only contained the Clinton/Obama wing.

      When Perez entered the race, his supporters argued that he was just as, or nearly as progressive as Ellison – which then raised the question of why, if the differences really were slight, he found it necessary to run against the already-declared Ellison. In a New Republic article, “Establishment Democrats Just Won a Needless Proxy War,” Alex Shephard posited a pretty simple and convincing answer – the party’s main liners simply “don’t believe a major course correction is in order and … are reluctant to make significant reforms.” Certainly Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi buttressed that conclusion when she told Face the Nation that, so far as possible post-election changes in the Democratic Party went, “I don’t think people want a new direction.”

    • The Democrats Should Stop Wishing on a “Star” and Start Helping to Build a Progressive Movement

      Only a few months after taking office, President Trump have confirmed all the worst fears of progressives and liberals. From his potential ties to Russia to his almost beyond belief retrogressive budget, the new administration is promoting an agenda that is as economically elitist as it is politically authoritarian. Even more worrying, has been Trump’s commitment while in power to in his rhetoric and actions contribute to the rising tide of white nationalism sweeping the country and potentially the world.

      Not surprisingly, the Democratic Party has sought to lead the mainstream charge to fight this agenda. Their goal is to win back the Senate and House in 2018 and the Presidency in 2020. Central to these hopes is the discovery of a new charismatic politician who can inspire the nation against Trump and for economic and social justice.

      However, these desires for a telegenic “star” are short sighted and even dangerous. It plays into the celebrity and demagogue style of Trump and the popular reaction that has fueled his victory. In doing so, it distracts from the real political task of building a sustainable and mass progressive movement from the bottom up.

      • LD: this site is in good hands when you can’t post. The usual suspects know who I’m talking about. 🙂 Hope you are feeling better and that JD is doing well. This whole celebrity BS cranked up with Raygun. Add in the Religious Right and the systemic dumbing down/destruction of our public education system. Voila–we’re enduring it now. The only way it’s going to change without the mass bloodshed of innocent people here is breaking away from the fossilized parties, getting informed, and backing true public servants. They are out there. They just need to have a light shining on them. With this kind of social media technology, that is doable! Y’know? Rec’d!!

    • Donald Trump Jr called ‘a disgrace’ for tweet goading London mayor Sadiq Khan

      Donald Trump Jr is facing a backlash for criticizing London mayor Sadiq Khan with a scornful tweet sent hours after an attack at the Houses of Parliament left four dead, including a police officer.

      The US president’s eldest son tweeted a link to a September 2016 story in the Independent, which quoted Khan saying terror attacks were “part and parcel of living in a big city”, and “I want to be reassured that every single agency and individual involved in protecting our city has the resources and expertise they need to respond in the event that London is attacked.”

      “You have to be kidding me?!” Trump Jr tweeted, quoting the headline: “Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan”.

      ..

      The tweet earned strong criticisms in the US and the UK, including from Wes Streeting, the MP for Ilford North and former president of the National Union of Students.

      “You use a terrorist attack on our city to attack London’s Mayor for your own political gain. You’re a disgrace,” Streeting wrote.

    • ‘Beyond Irregular’: GOP Intel Chair Under Fire for Bizarre Trump Briefing

      The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the “beyond irregular” behavior of the committee’s Republican chairman has “underscored the imperative of an independent investigation” into Russian interference in last year’s election—comments that capped off a series of explosive Capitol Hill developments surrounding a controversy that refuses to die.

      Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, came under fire later by congressional colleagues after he went outside normal protocols by briefing President Donald Trump earlier in the day on classified materials that had yet to be vetted by his own committee.

      As many noted, it is highly unusual for the chairman to take such actions of speak publicly on sensitive matters in the absence of the ranking member and the Intelligence Committee remains one of the few in congress where bipartisan decorum, at least in broad strokes, is both honored and expected.

      In both a written statement and subsequent press conference, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, called Nunes to account for briefing Trump and said he only learned of the new disclosures when the Chairman held a live press conference with reporters outside the White House.

      It was in those remarks to the press that Nunes revealed the U.S. intelligence community may have incidentally collected information on members of President Trump’s transition team, explaining that this information was contained in classified intelligence reports that were “widely disseminated” within the government

      • McCain: Nunes actions ‘very disturbing’

        Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday said House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) move to bypass his own committee to brief the president on information related to U.S. surveillance of his transition team was “very disturbing.”

        “No I have not seen anything like that,” McCain said on NBC’s “Today” show.

        “And I am happy to say that, in the Senate Intelligence Committee, there’s a very good working relationship between Sen. [Richard] Burr [R-N.C.] and Sen. [Mark] Warner [D-Va.] and no, I have not seen anything like it and it’s very disturbing.”

      • http://www.salon.com/2017/03/23/devin-nunes-tries-to-rescue-trump-and-may-have-made-the-deepening-scandal-worse/

        Devin Nunes should have recused himself from this investigation the moment Michael Flynn’s behavior during the transition came to light, since Nunes was also a member of that transition. (It’s mind-boggling that Republicans who were recently obsessed with the “possible appearance of the potential conflict of interest” of the former secretary of state in 2010 have now decided that demonstrable conflicts in recent months are no longer relevant.) Nunes did not do that, obviously. Instead he has basically been running interference for the Trump administration ever since — and, frankly, not doing a very good job of it.

        Neither is he a competent chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Earlier in the week Nunes pretended that he’d never heard of the Trump associates who have been widely reported to be under investigation, even though he’s on record talking about them. And he lamely led the GOP members of the Intelligence Committee at the hearing on Monday in a clumsy dance to try to change the subject from the investigation into Russian interference in the election campaign to the leaks to the press about the investigation. It didn’t work, and only served to make them look as partisan as possible.

        Yet after making a fetish out of leaked sensitive and classified information (an issue about which he and the other Republicans on the committee were not so fastidious when it came to the interminable Benghazi saga) Nunes apparently was so excited about finding out that some routine intercepts included Trump transition officials that he disclosed their existence without giving a thought to the national security implications. After all, it’s possible that the surveillance his source showed to him was pertinent to the investigation.

        Nunes’ mini-drama came on the heels of a startling AP report on Wednesday morning about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to a Russian oligarch known to be very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And late in the day on Wednesday, CNN reported the FBI had obtained information that some of Trump’s associates may have coordinated the release of information with Russian operatives to damage the Clinton campaign. That makes Nunes’ revelation about additional surveillance of Trump transition officials seem downright foolish if his intention was to vindicate the president. When you add it all up, the Trump administration looks guiltier than ever.

        • Emptyhweel:

          Devin Nunes Commits “Felonious Leaking”

          As I laid out here, Trey Gowdy spent much of Monday’s Russia hearing talking about how, if someone reveals details of FISA collection, that person has violated sacred trust and also committed felonious leaking. House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes was present for some, if not all of Gowdy’s tirade.

          Yet that didn’t stop Nunes from engaging in precisely the kind of felonious leaking that Gowdy claims violates that sacred trust.

      • From Bernie:

        On Monday, we learned a number of new things from FBI Director James Comey’s and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers’ testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. We learned that the FBI is currently investigating possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. We learned that this investigation began in July 2016.

        We learned that President Trump’s claim that the Obama administration had ordered the wiretapping of Trump’s phones was false. According to Comey and Rogers, there is no evidence whatsoever for this claim. It is a lie.

        These are very serious revelations. But today we learned even more, that Paul Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump presidential campaign, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire closely connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

        According to the Associated Press, Manafort “proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.” This is the latest piece of an enormous and growing body of evidence indicating close contact at multiple levels between the Trump campaign and Russian interests. The Trump administration’s preposterous claim that Manafort played only a “limited role” in the campaign when he was in fact the campaign’s chairman only raises more suspicions about what they are trying to hide.

        We must acknowledge that the existence of an ongoing FBI investigation is not itself evidence of wrongdoing. In the United States, people are innocent until proven guilty. However, the insistence of many in the Republican majority on focusing on alleged leaks from the Obama administration rather than on the actual issue at hand — Trump’s relationship with Russia — should make it clear that there needs to be an independent investigation into these questions. The American people are entitled to answers.

    • US Bombing Blamed for Killing Dozens of Civilians Sheltering in Syrian School

      The U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State (ISIS) is being blamed for an airstrike on a school where families had sought shelter near the northern Syrian town of Raqqa.

      The monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 33 people died as a result of the Tuesday strike.

      Those using the school in the village of Mansoura as shelter “were displaced civilians from Raqqa, Aleppo, and Homs,” Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman said to Agence France-Presse.

      “They’re still pulling bodies out of the rubble until now. Only two people were pulled out alive,” he said.

      The activist-run group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which also accused U.S.-led coalition jets of being behind the airstrike, said almost 50 families were seeking refuge at the school.

      • War Correspondents Describe Recent U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen (audio @ link)

        Sentiment in Washington may not reflect that the U.S. is at war, but two war correspondents described the astonishing extent and toll of recent U.S. military strikes in Iraq, Syria and Yemen on Intercepted, the weekly podcast by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill.

        In Iraq, U.S. forces are helping Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers in their months-long battle to drive ISIS out of western Mosul. As many as 600,000 civilians are trapped there, amid widespread hunger and destruction, and more than 1,000 civilians were killed or injured last month in Iraq.

        “There are American special forces on the ground but much more important than that is U.S. airpower, without which the Iraqi forces would not be able to get very far,” explained author and journalist Anand Gopal.

        “And they’ve been hitting pretty much everything in sight and there’s been an extraordinary number of civilian casualties — just kind of gone through the roof in the last couple of months especially coming into Mosul.”

    • Exxon Ordered to Recover ‘Wayne Tracker’ Emails It Claims Are Lost

      A New York State judge on Wednesday ordered ExxonMobil to turn over a year’s worth of emails it now admits it lost from an alias account used by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he was CEO of the company—a “bombshell” revelation, according to a lawyer for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’s investigating the oil giant’s climate cover-up.

      Schneiderman’s office discovered Tillerson’s 2008-2015 use of the email alias “Wayne Tracker” to discuss climate change and other matters as part of its ongoing probe.

      Exxon previously blamed the email loss on a technical glitch.

      “Exxon has failed to produce management documents from critical time periods when Exxon is known to have been formulating and publicizing key policies and related representations regarding the company’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and climate change regulations,” Schneiderman said in a letter to the court, according to Bloomberg.

      Justice Barry Ostrager of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan “ordered ExxonMobil Corp. to work with New York’s attorney general to recover lost emails” and gave the company until the end of the month to produce the documents, Reuters reports.

      • Tillerson: ‘I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job.’

        Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “didn’t want this job,” according to a profile published Wednesday in the Independent Journal Review, and only accepted it on the urging of his wife.

        The remarks, which Tillerson delivered during a multi-part interview that took place over the course of his recent trip to Asia, were a starker version of introductory ones he made upon his arrival at the State Department following his confirmation.

        I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” Tillerson told IJR’s Erin McPike, the lone reporter to accompany the secretary of state on his trip to Asia, who noted that the secretary does not appear to harbor regrets about accepting the job. “My wife told me I’m supposed to do this.”

        Tillerson said he was “stunned” when President Donald Trump asked him to be secretary of state but that his wife was not. The secretary had planned to retire from his previous job as CEO of Exxon Mobil this month, but when offered the job as America’s top diplomat, Tillerson’s wife said “I told you God’s not through with you.”

        Asked about criticism directed his way over the decision to bring just a single reporter on his first major trip to Asia, Tillerson said, “We’ve got a lot going on inside the State Department, and we’re not talking about it until we’re ready, and that’s driving a lot of people nuts.”

        • “Bombshell”? Yeah, how about actually indicting, trying him/them before a jury, convicting him/them, and sticking their worthless asses in a real prison? I read this with a disgusted snort.

      • US diplomacy in crisis amid cuts and confusion at state department

        The US state department is hosting a 68-nation meeting on Wednesday aimed at consolidating the international effort against Islamic State.

        But the foreign ministers are convening in Washington at a time when the state department itself is under siege, facing swingeing budget cuts by a hostile White House, and led by a former oil executive who has said he did not want the job in the first place.

        Rex Tillerson has billed the counter-Isis coalition meeting as a decisive moment “to set Isis on a lasting and irreversible path to defeat”. The secretary of state lambasted the Obama administration for its policy on Isis, claiming his predecessor never had a proper strategy to defeat the extremist movement.

        ..

        Antony Blinken, the deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, said the bid to boost military spending at the expense of funding diplomacy represented a “fundamental misunderstanding” of national security.

        “Diplomacy is national security,” Blinken said. He pointed out that without strong US diplomacy around the world, there would not be a coalition of more than 60 countries in the fight against Isis.

        The cuts, Blinken said: “have the potential to dramatically dilute our soft power, and that has done wonders for us over many years and many places”.

    • Rex Tillerson says US will set up safe zones for refugees from Isis

      Rex Tillerson has said the United States would set up “interim zones of stability” to help refugees return home in the next phase of the fight against Islamic State and al-Qaida in Syria and Iraq.

      The US secretary of state did not make clear where these zones were to be set up. He was addressing a meeting of 68 countries and organizations gathered in Washington to discuss accelerating the battle against Isis.

      “The United States will increase our pressure on Isis and al-Qaida and will work to establish interim zones of stability, through ceasefires, to allow refugees to return home,” Tillerson told the gathering at the state department, where the former oil executive was hosting his first major diplomatic event.

      Although it was unclear how the zones would work, creating any safe havens could ratchet up US military involvement in Syria and mark a major departure from President Barack Obama’s more cautious approach.

      ..

      Increased US or allied air power would be required if President Donald Trump chooses to enforce “no fly” restrictions, and ground forces might also be needed to protect civilians in those areas.

      • He should talk to Bernie,He’s got quite a few good ideas on that topic that would help ALL of us 🙂 But when your bought off and clueless what else can he do?

    • Fearing deportation, undocumented immigrants wary of reporting crimes

      Evidence is mounting that undocumented immigrants are increasingly wary of reporting crimes or testifying in court, for fear that they could be detained and deported, according to law enforcement officials and advocates.

      Since Donald Trump signed an executive order prioritising undocumented immigrants for deportation, activists and local police have warned that crimes will go unreported and witnesses will refuse to testify over fears that any interaction with law enforcement could be a prelude to removal from the country.

      “Sadly, it appears that [Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s] aggressive tactics, including arresting people at courthouses, are having a chilling effect. The result is that more victims will remain in the shadows and more immigrants will be vulnerable to abuse. No person should fear that reporting a crime or going to court will put them at risk of deportation,” said Michael Kaufman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

      Sexual assault reports from Hispanic people in Los Angeles have dropped by a quarter this year compared with the same period in 2016 and reports of domestic violence are down by almost 10%, city police chief Charlie Beck said at a press conference on Tuesday.

      Beck added that other ethnic groups did not see such glaring decreases. “Imagine, a young woman, imagine your daughter, your sister, your mother … not reporting a sexual assault, because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

      • US border agent sexually assaulted teen sisters in Texas, ACLU says

        Two teenage sisters fleeing violence in Guatemala were sexually assaulted by a US Customs and Border Protection officer in Texas after crossing the Mexican border, according to claims filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

        The sisters, aged 17 and 19 at the time of the incident in July 2016, were in a field office in Presidio when an agent took them into a “closet-like room” one at a time, told them to remove their clothes and sexually assaulted them, the ACLU reported on Wednesday.

        “We had fled Guatemala for fear, and then this happened to us,” the older sister, now 20, said in a phone call with reporters. In tears, she added: “The purpose and reason why we’re sharing our story today is to prevent this from happening to any women and to ask the agents to have sympathy.”

      • US immigrants make sub-zero trek for slim chance at asylum in Canada

        His wet clothes frozen stiff and feet sinking into the deep snow, Mamadou allowed himself a shred of hope when he glimpsed a faint light in the distance.

        Many hours earlier he had set out for the border just as the sun was setting, trudging through thick woods near Plattsburgh, New York, towards Canada.

        Temperatures plunged to -15 degrees below zero and a bitter wind whipped snow-laden tree branches into his face. Several times, he was forced to wade through rivers or lakes.

        “I was so cold. I was soaked. I didn’t think I was going to make it,” said the 46-year-old, choking back tears as he recalled his ordeal earlier this month. “I didn’t know where I was going – I had no map, no lamp, no light – nothing.”

        What he did know, he said, was that he had no other option. “Because I’m no longer safe in the United States and my country – I’m going to be killed.”

    • Hundreds join Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist for public lands rally

      Montana’s Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives Rob Quist was in Missoula Wednesday afternoon, rallying with supporters in favor of protecting public access to public lands.

      “We must unify,” said Quist. “We must stand up and hold our leaders accountable. And when you cannot stand, I will stand for you, and when you feel as if your voices are being drowned out by critics and bullies, I will stand behind the microphone and make sure your voices are heard in Washington DC. Stand with me, Montana, and I will stand up for you.”

      Hundreds of Quist supporters gathered in Missoula’s Caras Park to hear the cowboy-poet-turned-congressional-candidate speak.

      Quist pressed on the importance of keeping public lands open to public access. The democrat called into question his opponent Greg Gianforte’s commitment to Montana, accusing the New Jersey native of trying to buy the governor’s race last November.

      • Rob Quist Campaigns At ‘Rally For Public Lands’ In Missoula (audio @ link)

        About 150 people came to a campaign event in Missoula today for U.S. House Candidate Rob Quist. The Democrat called it a “rally for public lands.”

        Quist addressed the crowd on a warm, sunny afternoon, wearing his usual cowboy hat:

        “Our outdoor life is what makes us who we are. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the eastern side of Montana or the western side. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat, Independent or Libertarian. These are common values that are important to all of us.”

        In a ten-minute speech, Quist said, “when multi-millionaires look at mountains and streams, they probably think that would be good to own, but Montanans say this is our way of life.”

    • America’s Biggest Gainer: Dakota Access Pipeline Billionaire Nearly Triples Net Worth

      Kelcy Warren, chief executive of the firm behind the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline, has made plenty of enemies of late. Investors, apparently, are not among them.

      In the 12 months ending February 17, when rankings for the 2017 Forbes Billionaires list were finalized, Warren added $2.8 billion to his personal fortune, propelling it to $4.5 billion. The 165% increase was the biggest percentage gain of any American this year.

      The soft-spoken Texan owes much of the bump to the climbing stock price of Energy Transfer Equity, the Dallas-based oil and gas giant he cofounded and chairs. Company shares have nearly tripled since February 2016, and Warren is the business’ largest individual stockholder.

      Warren personally views his spiking net worth as nothing more than a rebound from a dreadful 2015, when Energy Transfer suffered from soft commodities prices and an investor-reviled proposed merger with Williams Companies, an Oklahoman rival. “The structure of that merger was very cash intensive, so the market began to treat us very poorly,” Warren explains. “Our stock traded very low; superficially low; just crazy low.”

      But Energy Transfer has undoubtedly also benefited from the election of Donald Trump. Shares rose 17% the day after his victory, and to date have soared more than 30% higher since November 8. Contributing to that surge was President Trump’s January 24 executive order calling for expedited approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      • Trump’s early policy moves benefit the industries he knows best — his own

        Donald Trump’s presidency has been good for business, with a soaring stock market, a freeze on new regulations and an Oval Office that appears to have an open door for CEOs. But Trump has been especially good news for the industries in which he has a personal interest: real estate, construction, entertainment, hospitality, gambling and, of course, golf.

        Since taking office in January, Trump has made moves — from rolling back water quality permits to signaling big changes on overtime pay and internet betting — that benefit the fields he knows best. And his former peers — partners and competitors alike — are finding familiar faces in Trump’s White House and Cabinet agencies, who have the power to make even more of their wish lists come true.

        High on Trump’s list of early executive orders was one signed in February that begins reversing an Obama-era rule that gave federal protection to rivers, streams and wetlands — a big win for golf course owners and superintendents who say the rule forced more paperwork and made them unfairly susceptible to environmental fines. The president owns a dozen U.S. courses and has spent considerable time on his links during his weekends away from the White House.

    • 25 Cities Now Committed to 100% Renewables

      Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana are transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy following respective city council votes on Tuesday.

      Madison and Abita Springs are the first cities in Wisconsin and Louisiana to make this commitment. They join 23 other cities across the United States—from large ones like San Diego, California and Salt Lake City, Utah to smaller ones like Georgetown, Texas and Greensburg, Kansas—that have declared similar goals.

      Madison is the biggest city in the Midwest to establish 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions. The Madison Common Council unanimously approved a resolution to allocate $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 that includes target dates for reaching these goals, interim milestones, budget estimates and estimated financial impacts.

      Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said that his city is determined to “lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment.”

      After a unanimous vote, Abita Springs is aiming to derive 100 percent of the town’s electricity from renewable energy sources by December 31, 2030.

    • Democrats weigh deal to let Gorsuch through

      A group of Senate Democrats is beginning to explore trying to extract concessions from Republicans in return for allowing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

      The lawmakers worry that Gorsuch could be confirmed whether Democrats try to block him or not — and Democrats would be left with nothing to show for it. That would be a bitter pill after the GOP blocked Merrick Garland for nearly a year.

      The deal Democrats would be most likely to pursue, the sources said, would be to allow confirmation of Gorsuch in exchange for a commitment from Republicans not to kill the filibuster for a subsequent vacancy during President Donald Trump’s term. The next high court opening could alter the balance of the court, and some Democrats privately argue that fight will be far more consequential than the current one.

      If Democrats move ahead with the plan — it’s still in the early discussion phase — it would require buy-in from some Republicans, but not necessarily Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or his top deputies. At least three rank-and-file GOP members would have to pledge not to vote to unilaterally change the Senate rules through a majority-only vote later in Trump’s term — the so-called nuclear option.

      • Lunacy As if the Republicans would honor any “deal”

      • Yeah, the asshole who puts profits over human life. Same garbage as Scalia. Need to jettison these fossilized fake Democrats!

      • Good news from Schumer and Casey

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/gorsuch-confirmation-hearing-to-focus-today-on-testimony-from-friends-foes/2017/03/23/14d21116-0fc7-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.9557156050ca

        As the Senate Judiciary Committee was hearing from witnesses for and against Judge Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nomination was delivered a critical blow: Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would join with other Democrats in filibustering Gorsuch — a move that would require at least 60 senators to vote to end debate on the nomination.

        Republicans have vowed to change Senate procedures if Democrats do so to quickly confirm Gorsuch — but Schumer suggested they should focus instead on Trump’s nominee.

        “If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees, and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee,” he said.

        Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump, Schumer said in a Senate floor speech.

        Gorsuch is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology,” Schumer added. “He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”

        Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) — one of 10 Democratic senators facing reelection next year in a state that Trump won — also announced on Thursday that he would oppose Gorsuch and join other Democrats in filibustering him.

        • And no surprise

          http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/325453-sanders-to-oppose-gorsuchs-nomination

          Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Thursday that he will oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination, joining a wing of progressive senators opposed to President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court.

          “After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch’s record, I have concluded that I will not vote to confirm him to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court,” Sanders, a member of Senate Democratic leadership, said in a statement.

          Sanders added on Thursday that he wouldn’t support changing Senate rules, though Republicans could be able to do that without Democratic support.

          “I will not support Republican efforts to change the rules to choke off debate and ram the nomination through the Senate,” he said.

      • To be kind Grothman 100% batshit crazy. He’s came up with crazier shit that this when he was “contained” to Wi’S assembly. During the protests over act 10 he called the protestors lazy bums who smelled and needed to get jobs. He’s hasn’t said much until now since he won his congressional seat. He was voted in by the Classic R behind the name and his previous RWNJ views didn’t matter to the voters

    • Federal staffers panicked by conservative media attacks

      Conservative news outlets, including one with links to a top White House official, are singling out individual career government employees for criticism, suggesting in articles that certain staffers will not be sufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump by virtue of their work under former President Barack Obama.

      The articles — which have appeared in Breitbart News, the Conservative Review and other outlets — have alarmed veteran officials in both parties as well as current executive branch staffers. They say the stories are adding to tensions between career staffers and political appointees as they begin to implement Trump’s agenda, and they worry that the stories could inspire Trump to try purging federal agencies of perceived enemies.

      The claims posted on the conservative sites include allegations of anti-Israel and pro-Iran bias against staffers at institutions such as the State Department and the National Security Council. Breitbart News, whose former executive chairman Steve Bannon is now Trump’s chief strategist, has even published lists of workers that the president should fire.

      Washington veterans say they can’t recall similar targeting of government employees, who are required to stay apolitical and generally shun the spotlight.

    • Perez, Ellison start multistate ‘turnaround tour’ for Dems

      Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez and Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison will hit the road Friday to kick off the reeling party’s “Democratic turnaround tour.”

      The newly minted party chairman and the Minnesota congressman will first head to Michigan — a state Democrats lost in the 2016 presidential race for the first time in almost 30 years — before stopping in New Jersey, Texas and Virginia over the next two weeks.

      Embarking on the joint trip is as much about expanding the party’s appeal in the Trump era as it is about rebuilding party infrastructure and mending intraparty wounds after the two men’s contentious chairmanship race.

      “This will be them talking about the need to get back to basics,” a DNC official told The Hill. “We need to invest in local organizing, listen to states and make sure we are doing what’s best for them, because they know their states and their races best. … There are opportunities if we invest in these states.

      “And we’ll be talking directly to voters about what the party stands for, [including] a message of economic opportunity — whether it’s the way ‘TrumpCare’ will impact the pocketbooks of workers or how the policies of the Trump administration will hurt workers.”

    • Hawaii state lawmaker resigns from GOP

      Hawaii state Rep. Beth Fukumoto says she’s leaving the Republican Party nearly two months after she was ousted as Hawaii’s House minority leader for criticizing President Trump.

      “This election, I saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women,” Rep. Beth Fukumoto wrote Wednesday in a letter announcing her decision. “So, when I listened as our now top office holder refused to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, speaking out didn’t seem like a choice.”

      Fukumoto accused the Republican Party of allowing “elements of racism and sexism within the base” and not addressing Trump’s “unabashed prejudices.”
      She said she plans to seek membership in the Democratic Party.

      The 33-year-old was elected to the Hawaii state legislature in 2012 and became the leader of the House Republican caucus in 2014. She was removed in February for her comments against the president during the Women’s March in Hawaii the day after his inauguration.

    • At Facial Recognition Databases Hearing, Congress Attacks FBI

      Democrats and Republicans alike hammered the FBI on Wednesday for its use of facial recognition software to identify potential suspects, saying the technology fosters racial bias, leads to arrests of innocent people and trashes Americans’ privacy.

      More than 400 million pictures of Americans’ faces are archived in local, state and federal law enforcement facial recognition networks, the federal Government Accountability Office reported last year. Those pictures include the faces of about half of all U.S. adults, experts estimate.

      “I have zero confidence in the FBI and the [Justice Department], frankly, to keep this in check,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, said at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation.

      “This is really Nazi Germany here, what we’re talking about,” Lynch said. “And I see little difference in the way people are being tracked under this, just getting one wide net and getting information on all American citizens.”

      At the very least, he said, warrants for face searches should be required “if we’re going to build these databases.”

      • Real-Time Face Recognition Threatens to Turn Cops’ Body Cameras Into Surveillance Machines

        Last year, a Russian startup announced that it could scan the faces of people passing by Moscow’s thousands of CCTV cameras and pick out wanted criminals or missing persons. Unlike much face recognition technology — which runs stills from videos or photographs after the fact — NTechLab’s FindFace algorithm has achieved a feat that once only seemed possible in the science fictional universe of “Minority Report”: It can determine not just who someone is, but where they’ve been, where they’re going, and whether they have an outstanding warrant, immigration detainer, or unpaid traffic ticket.

        For years, the development of real-time face recognition has been hampered by poor video resolution, the angles of bodies in motion, and limited computing power. But as systems begin to transcend these technical barriers, they are also outpacing the development of policies to constrain them. Civil liberties advocates fear that the rise of real-time face recognition alongside the growing number of police body cameras creates the conditions for a perfect storm of mass surveillance.

        “The main concern is that we’re already pretty far along in terms of having this real-time technology, and we already have the cameras,” said Jake Laperruque, a fellow at the Constitution Project. “These cameras are small, hard to notice, and all over the place. That’s a pretty lethal combination for privacy unless we have reasonable rules on how they can be used together.”

        This imminent reality has led several civil liberties groups to call on police departments and legislators to implement clear policies on camera footage retention, biometrics, and privacy.

        • Don’t walk into a casino as their all over the place. They can track just about every step you take once inside. The hardware is sophisticated enough to see thru most disguises. They have spent big bucks on the latest and greatest tech to catch the cheaters as its about the bottom line. But anyone that goes in can be looked at and cataloged especially if they win.

    • Hope you feel better LD

      Scum is too good a word for these people. At least these changes will doom the bill in the Senate.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/freedom-caucus-wins-major-rewrite-of-health-care-bill-at-11th-hour_us_58d31ae2e4b0b22b0d19c317?tzc1bj7m5wjx3fecdi

      Just hours before an expected Thursday vote in the House, congressional Republicans are considering massive changes to insurance coverage without even a basic idea of what those changes would mean.

      According to House Freedom Caucus members, the conservative group is negotiating directly with President Donald Trump and the White House on an amendment to the Republican health care bill, seemingly cutting out GOP leadership from the conversation as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his deputies work to corral votes for a bill that is, in these latest provisions, a mystery even to them.

      The re-opening of negotiations is an admission of what has been clear all along ― that the bill as constructed by Ryan does not have the votes to pass on Thursday. It also represents a major reorganization of a significant chunk of the American economy in a matter of hours.

      Conservatives are using their considerable leverage on the measure ― the Freedom Caucus has demonstrated it has the votes to sink the legislation ― to extract concessions on the Essential Health Benefits section of the bill, which mandates that insurers offer plans covering 10 services: outpatient care, emergency room visits, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and addiction treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, lab services, preventive care and pediatric services.

    • The old “I’m president and you’re not” excuse.

      http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/23/politics/trump-time-interview-wiretaps-falsehoods/index.html

      President Donald Trump defended some of the most controversial claims of his young political career in a wide-ranging interview with Time magazine published Thursday, in which he offered a simple and absolute defense of his method:

      “I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right. Hey, look, in the meantime, I guess I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not,” he told Time’s Washington bureau chief, Michael Scherer.

      The discussion for the cover story — titled “Is Truth Dead?” — covered subjects that ranged from Trump’s wiretap accusations to the 2016 campaign trail conspiracy theory in the National Enquirer falsely connecting Sen. Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination.

    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-felix-sater-ties_us_58d2b6cbe4b02d33b747cb8b?section=us_politics

      Felix Sater has stabbed a man in the face with a broken margarita glass, run a $40 million mob-linked stock scam out of a storage unit, and been an FBI informant.

      Sater’s name has also come up repeatedly in connection to President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and willingness to take funding from unsavory partners. The Huffington Post has found previously unreported connections between Sater and the Trump family through a company called Global Habitat Solutions. GHS claimed to manufacture a proprietary homebuilding material, but in fact took its photos of its purported product directly from Titan Atlas, a twice-defunct venture that Donald Trump Jr. co-founded and invested in.

      HuffPost found that GHS, along with two other Sater-owned entities, United Biofuels Company LLC and Sands Point Partners GP LLC, are dormant shelf corporations that sell no products and have no customers.

      Sater has a long-running association with the Trumps. He has worked in Trump’s towers on Fifth Avenue and Wall Street, and carried a Trump Organization business card identifying himself as a senior adviser to Trump. He financed Trump properties while working at Bayrock, a company with ties to an alleged money laundering scheme. He has even boasted about searching for new Trump-branded ventures in Russia with Ivanka and Donald Jr., and worked with Trump’s personal lawyer to backchannel a Russian-backed Ukraine peace plan to the White House.

      Despite these numerous connections, Trump said in 2013 that if Sater “were sitting in the room right now, I wouldn’t know what he looked like.” Trump Organization lawyer Allen Garten told the Financial Times last year that he “had no reason to question” where Bayrock got its money.

    • Which Came First, the Failed Ideology or the Spiking Mortality Rates? by Emptywheel

      One of the things that drives me nuts about the obsessive focus on Russia right now is the claim that Vladimir Putin is the biggest risk to America, to the EU, to western civilization. That claim ignores that — to the extent Putin is engaged in policies to maximize his advantage vis a vis American hegemony right now — the opportunity to do so has been created by the failure of American hegemony. The biggest threats to the EU, for example, stem from the idiotic policies “technocrats” enacted after America crashed the global economy and a refugee crisis caused, in part, by the chaos America has sown in the Middle East over the last 15 years (and to some degree manipulated by “allies” like Turkey). Sure, Putin is making the most of the American failures, but the underlying causes that make right wing populists popular, here and in Europe, can be significantly blamed on America. Significantly, that’s about a failure of the policies dictated by American ideology to deliver on what it promises — peace, democracy, prosperity.

    • Thanks, LD! Get well. 🙂

    • The Senate overturned a FCC Rule that says internet providers had to get permission first to share consumer individual data.

      https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/34/text

      Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

      Vote was 50-48. Bernie was the first to cast a “No” vote.

      Now they don’t. Thank you Congress for enacting more ways our internet providers have more control than we do over our own data.

    • http://www.salon.com/2017/03/23/bernie-sanders-has-become-the-most-popular-politician-in-america-with-no-help-from-the-inside/

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the most popular of his peers in America right now, and it’s not even close, according to a recent Fox News poll. He currently holds the highest approval rating of any politician in the country, at 61 percent. The senator has very low disapproval rating as well — only 32 percent.

      However, those numbers did not seem to impress Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi. During a CNN interview Tuesday, Anderson Cooper asked her who she feels the leader of the Democratic Party is right now. Her response? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

      The Democrats appear to be struggling to cope with their election loss in November, and hold an approval rating at 36 percent, just a few points higher than Sanders’ disapproval rating. While there may not be much love for Sanders from Democratic party leaders, there is plenty of love outside the beltway. Sanders’ consistency may have a large part to do with that, as he continues to address issues such as the wealth gap, including his recent criticism of the Securities Exchange Commission for delaying a Dodd-Frank rule requiring CEOs to disclose how much money they make in comparison to their employees.

    • Rep. Hunter under criminal investigation for alleged campaign finance violations

      Not much at that article other than whats already in the headline, but heres another that has some background:

      Hunter campaign finance gift keeps giving

      • At least he’s a pet lover!

        https://thinkprogress.org/duncan-hunter-rabbit-travel-7ab121f8103d#.nx1tqyk9r

        Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) used $600 in campaign funds for transport of a family rabbit on an airplane. His office called scrutiny of the expense as an example of overreach by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

        In an interview with the Associated Press, Hunter’s spokesperson Joe Kasper portrayed the Republican congressman as a victim of an investigative oversight office that pursued him too harshly for “mistakes.”

        Kasper said that the personal expenses and the trip for the rabbit on United Airlines were “nothing more than an oversight. In fact, it’s such an obvious example of a mistake being made but (the office) wants to view it through a lens of possible intent. The same goes for many other expenditures,” the Associated Press reported.

    • The Democratic Party Left After the Ellison DNC Campaign: Unite or Fight?

      Then there is the matter of foreign policy. As heartening as the immediate and dramatic negative response to Donald Trump’s ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries was, the fact is that we bombed five of those countries last year, along with two more predominantly Muslim countries. Relatively few commentators seem to have found this noteworthy, in large part because the presidency of Barack Obama basically anesthetized the American antiwar movement. We are in the sixteenth year of a war in Afghanistan – a war that virtually anyone who seriously thinks about it realizes we will never win – and yet we recently concluded a presidential campaign in which it was simply not an issue. And, unfortunately, right now there seems little reason to hope the current leadership of the Democratic Party will any time soon be bringing forth a national security policy that does not involve endless war.

    • Why Big Insurance Adores the American Health Care Act
      Make no mistake, health insurance lobbyists also helped shape the Affordable Care Act.

      But know this: They love it. Their fingerprints are all over what the Republicans are calling the American Health Care Act. Arguably the only thing they don’t like about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Ayn Randish creation is the way the plan would slash funding for the Medicaid program. That’s not because insurance executives are more compassionate for the poor than they’ve been in the past; it’s because a growing percentage of their profits now comes from Medicaid. In fact, more than half of the big insurers’ revenues is now coming from the government, not the private sector. And they’re fine with that.

      Make no mistake, health insurance lobbyists also helped shape the Affordable Care Act. Most notably, they were able to get a provision stripped from the bill that would have created a government-run insurance plan (the “public option”) to compete with private insurers. But they didn’t get everything they wanted.

      And I would add Medicare. much more in the article. I really like Potter.

      The ACA was really the Health Insurance Profit Protection and Enhancement Act

      I saw that coming. When I testified before a House committee during the health care reform debate in 2009, I warned that if Congress passed a reform law that did not create a public insurance plan, they might as well rename their bill the Health Insurance Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.

      And boy, have those profits been protected and enhanced. Here’s just one example: The share price of the biggest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, has increased more than 1,000 percent since the early days of the Obama administration.

      Obama himself had said that a public option was needed “to keep health insurers honest.” He was right. Insurance company executives cannot be trusted to put the interests of their customers first. The evidence before Obamacare was abundant, especially in the individual market, where people who can’t get health insurance through an employer must go to buy coverage.

    • Overseeing Nukes must be an easy job because Rick Perry has plenty of free time…

      Perry decries election of 1st gay Texas A&M student president

      Former Gov. Rick Perry, now the U.S. energy secretary, is questioning the legitimacy of the election that gave his alma mater its first openly gay student body president.

      In a Houston Chronicle op-ed published Wednesday that caught university officials by surprise, Perry said the administration at Texas A&M University owes students answers about Bobby Brooks’ victory, which came after the top vote-getter, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified amid accusations of voter intimidation and failure to report a campaign expense. The A&M student government’s Judicial Court later cleared McIntosh of the former charge but upheld the latter, according to the student newspaper, The Battalion.

      Perry wrote that the process at best “made a mockery of due process and transparency” and at worst “allowed an election to be stolen outright.”

      In his article, Perry raised the question of whether McIntosh’s punishment fit the alleged crime. And he suggested that the A&M administration wouldn’t have allowed the results to have been thrown out if the top vote winner were the potential first gay student body president.

      “Brooks’ presidency is being treated as a victory for ‘diversity,'” Perry wrote. “It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for ‘diversity’ is the real reason the election outcome was overturned. Does the principle of ‘diversity’ override and supersede all other values of our Aggie Honor Code?”

    • This is good news but we are stuck with an administrator who may employ more school choice as an avenue to comply rather than make schools more accountable.

      The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday in favor of higher educational standards for children with a disability in one of the most important education cases in decades.

      The case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, argued just how much educational benefit public schools must provide. While some lower courts had ruled the need for a “meaningful” educational benefit, others required only a bit more than de minimis – the bare minimum.

      During the hearing, the Supreme Court discussed nine different levels of standards of education. They ruled unanimously (8-0) that schools must do more than provide “merely more than de minimis” education for students with a disability and instead provide them with the opportunity to make “appropriately ambitious” progress.

      There are roughly 6.4 million students with disabilities between ages 3 to 21. Roughly 13 percent of all American students are students with disabilities, making this case important for a wide group of students.

      Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion, stating that a school must offer an individualized education program that is “reasonably calculated” for each child’s circumstance in order to meet its obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

      “It cannot be right that the IDEA generally contemplates grade-level advancement for children with disabilities who are fully integrated in the regular classroom, but is satisfied with barely more than de minimis progress for children who are not,” the opinion read.

      The “merely more than de minimis” language has been used in other special education cases in the lower courts, including by Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch answered questions on the new ruling during his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

      Supreme Court Rules Schools Must Provide More Opportunities for Students With Disabilities

    • Great to see these assholes lose at least the initial round

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-ryan-donald-trump-lose-the-battle-postpone-vote-on-aca-repeal_us_58d42251e4b02d33b749d494?

      Trump has come to own the American Health Care Act, even making a direct pitch during a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday. The continued opposition to the bill may be the first signal that Trump’s political capital doesn’t run very deep in the House GOP conference, and that Republicans, particularly conservative ones, aren’t afraid to cross the president.

      The president’s vaunted dealmaking skills have failed him so far, however. He didn’t pick up any new support by offering to eliminate Essential Health Benefits from the bill, but instead lost a wave of moderates and made the measure more politically toxic than it had been.

  • Good Morning, Birdies!

    Here’s a thread, starting with Bernie Sanders in front of a small crowd of protestors in front of the US Customs Office. As usual, other news and comments are welcome. Have a great […]

    • Al Franken scolds Gorsuch: ‘I had a career in identifying absurdity and I know it when I see it’

      The lead up:

      Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) called out Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, on Tuesday for what he said was an “absurd” ruling against a truck driver who was fired after nearly freezing due to malfunctioning equipment.

      At a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Franken reminded Gorsuch that he had ruled to uphold the firing of a truck driver who abandoned his malfunctioning trailer because he was freezing while waiting for hours for his company to provide assistance.

      Franken pointed out that Gorsuch had come to his conclusion using the “plain meaning rule” without considering another standard that said courts should depart from the rules when it created an “absurd result.”

      “It is absurd to say [the company] in its rights to fire him because he made the choice of possibly dying from freezing to death or cause other people to die possible by driving an unsafe vehicle,” Franken said. “That’s absurd. Now, I had a career in identifying absurdity. And I know it when I see it. And it makes me question your judgement.”

      Here’s the fuller exchange.

      I will post Democracy Now’s clip of a speech by the dismissed truck driver at a Senate event.

      • Thanks Benny!

        Too extreme even for the right wing justices

        https://thinkprogress.org/while-gorusch-was-testifying-the-supreme-court-unanimously-said-he-was-wrong-33b9ff7eca77#.hr3bvqm0q

        Under Gorsuch’s opinion in Luke P., a school district complies with the law so long as they provide educational benefits that “must merely be ‘more than de minimis.’”

        “De minimis” is a Latin phrase meaning “so minor as to merit disregard.” So Gorsuch essentially concluded that school districts comply with their obligation to disabled students so long as they provide those students with a little more than nothing.

        All eight justices rejected Gorsuch’s approach. IDEA, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is markedly more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit.” Indeed, Roberts added, Gorsuch’s approach would effectively strip many disabled students of their right to an education.

        To the contrary, the unanimous Supreme Court concluded, in most cases a student’s progress should be measured according to whether they are able to keep up with their non-disabled peers.

        In a classroom, “regular examinations are administered, grades are awarded, and yearly advancement to higher grade levels is permitted for those children who attain an adequate knowledge of the course material.” The ability to “progress through this system is what our society generally means by an “education.’ And access to an ‘education’ is what the IDEA promises,” the Court concluded.

        For this reason, a school district’s plan for a particular disabled student typically should be “reasonably calculated to enable the child to achieve passing marks and advance from grade to grade.”

        And even when the child’s disability prevent them from achieving these marks, the Court found the district must do more than the slightly-more-than-nothing standard announced by Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

        • I feel sorry for these guys–their childhood must have been awful–but I don’t want them anywhere near these positions of power.

        • tRump’s SCOTUS nominee: slightly above the level of stupid. Al Franken has really grown into his job as a public servant at the US Senate level. Wonder if he got a few tips from the Bernster when he first arrived in DC? 🙂 T and R to the usual suspects!!

    • A Driver Fled His Truck to Avoid Freezing to Death. Only One Judge Ruled Against Him: Neil Gorsuch

      From Democracy Now, Alphonse Maddin, the fired truck driver spoke at a Senate event last week:

      AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. On Tuesday, Gorsuch faced over 10 hours of questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gorsuch was tapped by President Trump to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death over a year ago. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia nearly a year ago, but Republicans refused to even hold hearings, fearing Garland would tip the ideological balance of the court to the left.

      One of the most riveting moments in the Gorsuch hearing occurred when Minnesota Senator Al Franken questioned Gorsuch about his ruling in a case involving a truck driver who got fired after he disobeyed a supervisor and abandoned his trailer that he was driving, because he was on the verge of freezing to death. The truck driver couldn’t drive off with the trailer, because the trailer’s brakes had frozen. In the case, Judge Gorsuch cast the sole dissent ruling in favor of the trucking company against the trucker. In a moment, we’ll hear Franken questioning Judge Gorsuch about the case, but first let’s turn to the truck driver himself, Alphonse Maddin, who spoke in Washington, D.C., a few days ago at an event organized by Senate Democrats.

      ALPHONSE MADDIN: In January of 2009, I was working as a commercial truck driver for TransAm Trucking Incorporated of Olathe, Kansas. I was hauling a load of meat through the state of Illinois. After stopping to resolve a discrepancy in the location to refuel, the brakes on the trailer froze. I contacted my employer, and they arranged for a repair unit to come to my location. I expected that help would arrive within an hour.

      I awoke three hours later to discover that I could not feel my feet, my skin was burning and cracking, my speech was slurred, and I was having trouble breathing. The temperature that night was roughly 27 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The heater in the cabin was not producing heat, and the temperature gauge in the truck was reading minus-7 degrees below zero. After informing my employer of my physical condition, they responded by telling me to simply hang in there.

      As I sat there physically suffering in the cold, I started having thoughts that I was going to die. My physical condition was fading rapidly. I decided to try to detach the trailer from the truck and drive to safety. When I stepped out of the truck, I was concerned that I may fall, because I was on the verge of passing out. I feared that if I fell, I would not have the strength to stand up, and would die. I walked to the back of the trailer to place a lock on the cargo doors. The distance that I walked to the back of the trailer seemed like an eternity, as my feet absolutely had no feeling at all.

      I eventually was able to detach the tractor from the trailer. Before I left, I called my employer to notify them that I had decided to head for shelter. And they ordered me to either drag the trailer or stay put. In my opinion, clearly, their cargo was more important than my life. My employer fired me for disobeying their orders. And I’d like to make it clear that although I detached the tractor from the trailer, I returned, and I completed my job. And I was still fired.

      OK, I disputed my termination from TransAm Trucking and ultimately won. This was a seven-year battle. Seven different judges heard my case. One of those judges found against me. That judge was Neil Gorsuch.

      AMY GOODMAN: That was Alphonse Maddin, the trucker, the driver, in the case involving Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. At Tuesday’s hearing, Senator Al Franken questioned Gorsuch about his dissent in the case.

      See the entire segment here, including Goodman’s interviews of civil rights lawyers more familiar with the case: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/3/22/a_driver_fled_his_truck_to

      • This makes the battle over Robert Bork’s nomination look like a walk in the park. Bork was the slick FRightwingnut nominated by Raygun in his first term of terror. Bork was defeated by the public outcry and hell-raising which the MSM had to report back then.

    • Thanks for carrying the torch. Now to see what I can find.

    • F.F.S. ! Did April Fools Day come early this year?

      http://thehill.com/homenews/media/325160-chelsea-clinton-to-get-lifetime-achievement-award

      Chelsea Clinton will be honored with a lifetime achievement award from Variety next month, the magazine announced Tuesday.

      The 37-year-old former first daughter, a vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, is rumored to be eyeing a run for a New York Senate seat in 2020 should Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) decide to run for president, the New York Daily News reported last month.

      Things are going from the ridiculous to the sublime!

      • As far as I can tell her biggest achievement was being born a Clinton!

      • hahahaha! on both counts–Gillibrand and Clinton. Kripes. It’s not what you know, it’s who…and how many fake awards you can gather.

      • Benjamin Dixon, a internet radio progressive, had the best response to this news:

        • Setting up the next generation of robber barons to pillage the middle class if theirs anything left to pillage after the parents are done with us

      • I would say Twilight zone.

      • She is uglier than a tick. I see her pictures at NYT functions and she photographs like something close an homely horse.

    • A day without reading Caitlin and you are missing something.

      I will have to take Caitlin’s word on this because I stopped watching Rachel long ago.

      http://www.newslogue.com/debate/407/CaitlinJohnstone

      I’m noticing a pattern here. It goes like this: First, some pro-establishment corporate media outlet publishes an unsubstantiated claim featuring a headline that is designed to make that unsubstantiated claim sound factual. The claim gets some traction but isn’t picked up by other mainstream outlets that want to preserve their appearance of journalistic integrity. Second, Rachel Maddow picks up the fact-free story, reports it as fact, and then proceeds to jack those unfounded claims as far out into the stratosphere as she can throw them, far beyond the original baseless claims’ wildest ambitions. Third, once Maddow has reported the false claim as fact, it is absorbed as doctrine by the rest of the mainstream media, who now feel comfortable reporting on the claim as though it is something factual and not a complete fabrication, and before long you’ve got Democratic leaders regurgitating the establishment lies on national television.

    • Oh Dear! I think that Trump has just been given a license to steal.

      How is he going to twist this occurrence?

    • This is not the type of competition that we should be having!

      Yet more money for the military. Go figure!

    • I like this response. TOUCHE!

      http://www.mlive.com/news/us-world/index.ssf/2017/03/kaepernick_donates_50k_to_meal.html#incart_river_index

      A day after President Donald Trump took credit for his status on the free-agent market, Colin Kaepernick donated $50,000 to a program facing cuts under the president’s proposed budget.

      Meals on Wheels confirmed, via the Associated Press, it received a $50,000 donation from Kaepernick Tuesday, March 22. The former San Francisco 49er also made a $50,000 donation to the Love Army for Somalia campaign, according to his website which keeps a public log of all his donations.

      Follow
      Meals on Wheels ✔ @_MealsOnWheels
      Thank you @Kaepernick7 for supporting seniors through your words and actions.https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/844234043201916928
      3:04 PM – 21 Mar 2017

      Trump’s proposed budget could mean major cuts for the group that delivers food and company to seniors in need.

    • Neil Gorsuch, Backed by $10 Million in Dark Money, Refuses to Weigh In on Citizens United

      From Democracy Now:

      AMY GOODMAN: Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is back on Capitol Hill for a second day of questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gorsuch tapped by President Trump to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death over a year ago. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia at nearly a year ago, but Republicans refused to even hold hearings, fearing Garland would tip the ideological balance. During Tuesday’s hearing, Neil Gorsuch faced questions about his views on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and the $10 million dark money campaign that is supporting his nomination. This is Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

      SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: How would you describe any differences that you may have in judicial philosophy with Chief Judge Garland?

      JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: I would leave that for others to characterize. I don’t like it when people characterize me, and I would not prefer to characterize him. He can characterize himself.

      SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: What’s interesting is that this group sees a huge difference between you that I don’t understand. The dark money group that is spending money on your elections spent at least $7 million against him getting a hearing and a confirmation here, and indeed produced that result by spending that money. And then, now, we have $10 million going the other way. That’s a $17 million delta. And for the life of me, I’m trying to figure out what they see in you that makes that $17 million delta worth their spending. Do you have any answer to that?

      JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: You’d have to ask them.

      SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: I can’t, because I don’t know who they are. It’s just a front group.

      AMY GOODMAN: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse went on to ask about billionaire Philip Anschutz, who has close ties to Judge Gorsuch.

      SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: If a question were to come up regarding recusal on the court, how would we know that the partiality question in a recusal matter had been adequately addressed if we did not know who was spending all of this money to get you confirmed? Hypothetically, it could be one individual. Hypothetically, it could be your friend, Mr. Anschutz. We don’t know, because it’s dark money. Is it any cause of concern to you that your nomination is the focus of a $10 million political spending effort and we don’t know who’s behind it?

      JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH: Senator, there’s a lot about the confirmation process today that I regret.

      AMY GOODMAN: Still with us is Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law—she’ll be testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee—and Elliot Mincberg, senior fellow at People for the American Way, former chief counsel for oversight and investigations of the House Judiciary Committee. Elliot Mincberg, what about this issue of dark money? It also goes to issues, for example, of Citizens United, but even the campaign—it might shock people to know what’s happening now—$10 million around Judge Gorsuch.

      ELLIOT MINCBERG: Well, I think Senator Whitehouse was asking those questions particularly to highlight the significance of Citizens United and, in part, of Gorsuch’s refusal to state what he thinks about that decision, just as he refused to state what he thinks about virtually any other decision by the Supreme Court. And what I think the main point is, is that as a result of Citizens United, we don’t know anything at all about who’s made these contributions, who’s made these expenditures, more importantly, because the Supreme Court has ruled that we can’t find out and that—and that congressional attempts at action to do that are unconstitutional. And his illustrations perfectly show what is so dangerous about the Citizens United decision. Judge Gorsuch basically just shrugged his shoulders at all that and said, “That’s not my problem. That’s not my concern.” And again, that’s not what we want on the United States Supreme Court.

      AMY GOODMAN: Kristen Clarke, what is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? And what is, do you know, Judge Gorsuch’s views on it?

      KRISTEN CLARKE: So, this is one of the most important federal laws that was passed during President Obama’s tenure. In fact, it was the very first federal law that he signed, in 2009. And it stands very simply for the principle of equal pay for equal work.

      In two thousand—shortly after the law went into effect, there was a case that came before Judge Gorsuch, Almond v. Unified School District, and here we saw evidence, yet again, of Judge Gorsuch really narrowly interpreting civil rights laws, in truly the most narrow way possible. In that case, you had a group of employees who brought discrimination claims. They were transferred and demoted to jobs that paid less, conduct that would appear to violate the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. And Mr. Gorsuch read the law very narrowly there and dismissed the claims, affirmed the decision to dismiss the claims as falling outside the scope of the text. In his view, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act only made unlawful discriminatory compensation claims, and so this transfer and demotion of employees to a job that paid less fell beyond the scope of the law.

      It’s emblematic of Judge Gorsuch’s view to civil rights generally. He is not somebody who brings a broad view of civil rights. He is not someone who appears to understand the scope of discrimination that we continue to wrestle with in our country today. And so, one of my hopes is that we see the Senate really probe deeply into Judge Gorsuch’s view on the enforcement powers of Congress under the 14th and 15th Amendment, for example. We need a justice on the Supreme Court who understands the reality that we face today, and that is one in which discrimination, sadly, is alive and well.

      https://www.democracynow.org/2017/3/22/neil_gorsuch_backed_by_10_of

      • I don’t think big business has anything to worry about if he’s confirmed to the bench, The rest of us were on our own

      • At least Robert Bork wasn’t as dumb as this Gorsuck is.

      • Will the REAL Gorsuch show up at his hearing? Doesn’t seem so!

        http://thehill.com/homenews/news/325343-gorsuch-rewrites-playbook-for-confirmation-hearings

        His strict adherence to a game plan of dodging questions on his personal views or legal philosophy on even the most accepted rulings that desegregated schools and established the right to use contraception allowed him to sidestep a variety of political landmines that could have given centrist Democrats a reason to oppose his nomination.

        In nearly 20 hours of grilling over the course of two days, Gorsuch declined to answer questions on issues ranging from the Second Amendment, to President Trump’s authority to defy congressional bans on warrantless wiretapping and enhanced interrogation, to whether the constitutional ban on accepting gifts from foreign powers would apply to the president’s real-estate empire.
        The strategy left Senate Democrats frustrated as they repeatedly failed to draw out answers on hot-button political issue

        But dribbles of his humanity have shown up.

        http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-supreme-court-rules-for-children-with-1490202454-htmlstory.html

        A unanimous Supreme Court strengthened the rights of nearly 7 million schoolchildren with disabilities Wednesday and did so by rejecting a lower standard set by Judge Neil M. Gorsuch.

        The ruling, one of the most important of this term, came as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is wrapping up his third day of testimony before a Senate committee.

    • Posted without comment.

    • That is what a Bully does. I am waiting for a scrawny weakling to punch him in the nose! ( At least that is what happens in the movies.)

    • Congress To Get More Money To Scrutinize Government Surveillance and Spies

      From the Intercept

      The budget for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence would rise 31 percent to $6.1 million under an omnibus resolution approved unanimously by members of the Committee on House Administration earlier this month. The resolution must still be approved by the full House, a process that typically occurs with little debate.

      While all permanent House committees are set to get budget boosts under the resolution, the intelligence panel will receive one of the four largest increases. The funding runs through the two-year duration of the 115th Congress.

      “Increasing resources for HPSCI is important given the number, complexity, and importance of intelligence issues,” Amy Zegart, the co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, wrote in an email. “Asking tough questions starts with great staff.”

      The committee is responsible for policing the U.S.’s 17 different intelligence agencies, giving them oversight over controversial surveillance practices, covert operations, and analysis of hot-button developments with national security implications. It had 33 staff members last year.

      In testimony before the House Administration Committee in February, intelligence committee chair Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, argued that the committee received fewer and fewer resources even as the intelligence agencies expanded in size and as global threats proliferated, including a “rise in global terrorism, increasing threats from ISIL, homegrown violent extremists, [and] cyber threats from our enemies.” According to Nunes, the committee lacks the resources it needs to “hire staff with specialized knowledge” as well as travel when necessary — and it wants to update its outdated technology infrastructure, “to reduce the risks of viruses, malware, and intrusion by foreign actors.”

      Why is this noteworthy?

      The Intercept in February reported on a dearth of technical expertise within the intelligence committee’s staff and on concerns that this could leave it and its Senate counterpart unqualified to investigate alleged Russian hacking during the presidential election.

      While committee funding “helps move them toward getting back in the game,” said Daniel Schuman, the policy director at Demand Progress, a liberal lobbying group, the panel will still likely struggle to fulfill its duties, given the sheer volume of spy-agency activity. The committee is “still fairly underfunded compared to the other committees,” he said. And because HPSCI can’t get much help from outside advisors, due to the nature of its classified work, it relies even more heavily on its own staff — most of whom are experts in law and policy, and not necessarily technical issues.

      “This could be a really important step,” agreed Travis Moore, founder of TechCongress, a program that brings technical experts to Capitol Hill to work in members’ offices and contribute their knowledge and skills. “A $1.4 million increase could allow the committee to bring on several staff with strong technical backgrounds. It should be a national security priority to have more of this kind of expertise in Congress.”

      JMO, I just don’t see the money going to investigate the Russian hack as much as it is to provide more funding on finding the leakers, given that Mr. Benghazi (Gowdy) was on a witch hunt to punish all leakers and those who reported the leaks (the investigative reporters). I also think if they are looking at the hacks, they will be examining the GOP’s servers to see if they were indeed compromised. There’s been no evidence of it brought out in public.

      • And then there is the GOP way of revealing intelligence by trying to provide cover for #45.

        During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers both said they know of no information supporting the president’s allegation. They also confirmed that President Trump’s connections with Russia are under investigation. On Wednesday, however, Nunes called a press conference and said he “recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

        He framed his claim as big news. “I’m actually alarmed by it,” he said, adding that the intelligence in question was gathered separately from the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties, which has been active since July.

        But incidental collection isn’t uncommon when American citizens are in touch with foreign agents. Leaks regarding Michael Flynn’s talks with the Russian ambassador were what led to Flynn’s ouster as Trump’s national security adviser, because they confirmed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding the substance of those talks.

        Any intelligence report detailing communications between Trump transition officials and foreign agents would be classified. But instead of bringing whatever information he has to the attention of the intelligence community, Nunes addressed reporters and then headed straight to the White House to inform the target of an ongoing FBI investigation. A journalist at the press briefing asked him why that doesn’t constitute obstruction of justice.

        The reply?

        Crickets.

        https://thinkprogress.org/nunes-trump-surveillance-obama-f170ad83e0e2#.xcuray75o

        Nunes didn’t tell Schiff first that he was going directly to Trump with this information.

        The problem is that with GOP controlling both Houses and Sessions in control of the DOJ, the GOP will weasel their way out of obstruction charges.

        Trump’s campaign even fundraised off of it.

        • http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/325298-schiff-i-have-grave-concerns-over-nunes-surveillance-claims

          The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday he has “grave concerns” over Chairman Devin Nunes’ (R-Calif.) handling of the Trump Tower wiretapping investigation.

          Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) criticized Nunes for his surprise announcement earlier in the day that he had seen intelligence intercepts that showed authorities had incidentally gather information on members of the Trump transition team during investigations that the chairman said were not related to Russia.

          Nunes made the announcement at a press conference, saying the information had been “widely disseminated” in an implicit criticism of intelligence community officials.

          He then briefed the White House about his findings and appeared on CNN — without talking to Schiff, who knocked the chairman for not sharing the information.

          “If accurate, this information should have been shared with members of the committee, but it has not been,” Schiff said in a statement that criticized Nunes for a “profound irregularity” in how he had handled the situation.

          “The Chairman also shared this information with the White House before providing it to the committee, another profound irregularity, given that the matter is currently under investigation. I have expressed my grave concerns with the Chairman that a credible investigation cannot be conducted this way,” he said.

          Schiff also said that it is “impossible” to evaluate the accuracy of Nunes’ claims while reiterating that they do not support the president’s wiretapping allegations.

          “Because the committee has still not been provided the intercepts in the possession of the chairman, it is impossible to evaluate the chairman’s claims. It certainly does not suggest — in any way — that the President was wiretapped by his predecessor.”

    • Quick hit: Wisniewski Qualifies for Matching Funds in NJ Gov Bid

      Assemblyman John Wisniewski has qualified for public matching funds in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

      Wisniewski has raised $450,000, his campaign said today. Under New Jersey’s Gubernatorial Public Financing law, candidates who qualify receive $2 for every $1 raised, with a maximum spending of $6.4 million on the primary election.

      Qualifying for public financing also assures Wisniewski a place in two Democratic gubernatorial debates.

      Breaking: Wisniewski Qualifies for Matching Funds in NJ Gov Bid

    • Elizabeth Warren Grills Labor Scy Nominee Over Safety Laws

      From today’s HuffPo:

      Warren wanted to know if Acosta planned to enforce what’s known as the silica rule, a major safety reform put in place by the Obama administration. The rule reduces the amount of cancer-causing silica dust that employers can legally expose their workers to. Safety experts expect it will save construction workers’ lungs and ultimately their lives.

      As The Huffington Post has previously explained, the silica rule has reams of medical evidence supporting it, and it’s been literally decades in the making as a matter of public health. But the Trump administration has launched a full-scale assault on the regulatory state, and it’s ordered all agencies to reevaluate federal rules for potential cutting, even those that are already in effect, like the silica one.

      “Will you promise not to weaken the silica rule?” Warren asked Acosta.

      Acosta responded by saying Trump had ordered agencies to reexamine rules like that.

      “I just want to make sure you’re not going to delay this rule any further,” Warren said.

      “The president has directed each cabinet officer to review all rules,” Acosta said again. “I cannot make a commitment because the Labor Department has an order to review all rules.”

      “Your name goes on the bottom line for enforcing the law,” Warren said. “Will you stand up? … You can’t give us your own sense of whether or not the silica rule is something that ought to be enforced?”

      snip

      “You’re hiding behind an executive order,” she said. “I’m not asking you how you will respond to Trump’s executive order. I’m asking you what your priorities will be if you’re confirmed as secretary of labor. You’ll be called on for your judgement. So far, you said you can’t commit to enforcing a rule to protect 2.3 million Americans from lethal cancer-causing silica.”

      As she gave up her time, Warren said, “I don’t have the confidence you’re the right person for the job.”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/elizabeth-warren-alexander-acosta-workplace-safety_us_58d29f04e4b02d33b7479ba8

      • I’ve worked construction most of my life. And you do not want to be around when they make silica dust, when it’s done the wrong way.

    • That’s our guy!

      I mean, really, he (unintentionally) makes the rest of the money grubbers look so shabby.

    • Thanks, Benny!

    • Oy Vey! I think Nancy is past her expiry date!

      Just watch the video to see why the Democrats are in trouble. So sad!

      • They are her leaderssssssssss. (Trying to sound like Gollum.)

        • Very sad, She’s like the aging sports star that believes they have one more great season left in them but everyone but the star knows she don’t.

    • Rolling Stone’s Matti Taibbi is one of my favorite writers who has an uncanny ability to find the ironies of the fallacies of the Democratic Party and the MSM. This piece, which is rather lengthy, is on Trump as the reality TV orbiter of creative destruction. I’m just posting a little of it here.

      The genius of Trump has always been his knack for transforming everyone in his orbit into a reality-TV character. As a candidate, he goaded Lindsey Graham into putting a cellphone in a blender, inspired pseudo-intellectual Rand Paul to put out a video of himself chain-sawing a tax code in half, and pushed Marco Rubio into making jokes about dong size during a debate. He even managed to get into a public spat with the pope. Whatever your lowest common denominator is, Trump will bring it out and make sport of it.

      The same phenomenon is now in play with the whole world. President Trump, following Bannon’s lead, describes the press as an “opposition party” out to get him, and before long, they basically are. Trump accuses the Democratic National Committee of rigging the game against Bernie Sanders; new DNC chair Tom Perez, in a tweet that could play in the Borscht Belt, says Trump’s weekly address was “translated from the original Russian and everything.” Even before Trump trolls Sweden, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin trolls him, running a photo of herself signing a law while surrounded by women – a parody of the already-infamous photo of Trump signing an anti-abortion executive order while surrounded entirely by men.

      And when Rachel Maddow finally gets hold of a tiny slice of Trump’s tax returns, instead of soberly reporting it as a small-but-intriguing piece of a larger picture, she hypes it on Twitter like the scoop of the century – exactly as Trump would have done. Social media blasted Maddow as the second coming of Geraldo Rivera opening up Al Capone’s vault. Everything connected with Trump becomes tabloidized. The show is unstoppable.

      Nearly two years into our relationship with Donald Trump, politician, his core schtick is no longer really a secret. The new president swings wildly between buffoon and strongman acts, creating confusion and disorder. While his enemies scramble to make sense of the outrages of a week before or yesterday or 10 minutes ago, and spend valuable energy wondering whether the man is crazy or stupid or cunning (or perhaps all three things at once), Trump continually presses forward.

      What Taibbi doesn’t point out, but probably is not lost on him or anyone, that Maddow is not likely to regret her program from last week as it coined the best MSDLC ratings in awhile.

      You can read the rest of the article: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-on-trump-the-destroyer-w473144

    • I’ll bet he was only doing his job. LOL.

    • I think that there is a bit of a problem with the laws in Oklahoma.

      https://twitter.com/APCentralRegion/status/844620711310299136.

      BUT!

      Oklahoma law allows Sen. Ralph Shortey to keep his state retirement even if convicted of prostitution with a minor

      There is a law that strips elected officials of their pension if convicted of a felony like bribery, corruption, or perjury, but it does not include prostitution with a minor.

    • Brought to you by the Clintonista wing of the Dem Party..in the land of Lincoln.

      A group of Chicago civil rights lawyers has filed a lawsuit alleging the city’s policy of destroying 911 recordings after 30 days violates state law.

      The Chicago Civil Rights Project filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, arguing that the city illegally deleted the recordings “for administrative convenience,” unless there was a notice to preserve specific recordings. The suit says the practice makes it difficult to obtain evidence because 30 days often isn’t enough time for attorneys to know if such records are relevant.

      The city’s 30-day system dates back to when calls were stored on tape and overwritten, instead of being electronically stored. The lawsuit seeks a court order to halt the destruction of recordings, arguing that a digital upgrade for up to 20 years of storage would cost the city less than $10,000.

      Chicago law department spokesman Bill McCaffrey declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the city hasn’t seen it. McCaffrey did say the city “has taken significant steps to improve transparency and access to public records during the past year, including increasing the time to store audio recordings from 30 to 90 days.”

      This is noteworthy:

      Missing or recorded-over recordings have long been an issue in lawsuits against the city and the Chicago Police Department, particularly in police shootings. The problem grew in prominence after video of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald was released — more than year after a white police officer shot the black teenager 16 times. The video sparked protests, cost the city’s top officer his job and led to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of police practices.

      http://www.bnd.com/news/state/illinois/article140080713.html

    • World Water Day: Ojibwe Grandmothers Prepare for New Water Walks

      Since 1993 with a declaration by the United Nations, World Water Day has been marked internationally on March 22 each year to acknowledge the many water crises around the world. Across Turtle Island, it portends the annual Mother Earth Water Walk that was founded by Ojibwe conservationist Josephine Mandamin.

      This year, once again, some Native grandmothers will take the lead in calling attention to the needs and gifts of the waters that flow around our lands and through our lives. A spring walk will travel west to east across the United States and Canada along the Great Lakes waterways, and a late summer journey will follow the length of the Missouri River, considered by many to be imperiled by the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) being dug beneath it.

      Starting out on April 19 from Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota, near the farthest western point of the great Lake Superior, Mandamin,Wikwemikong First Nation, will lead this year’s Mother Earth Water Walk, “For the Earth and Water Walk 2017: From West to East.” She and others plan to walk nearly 1,500 miles to Matane, Quebec, on the eastern part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. A corresponding canoe journey, Picking Up the Bundles, plans to paddle alongside the Nibi (Water) Walkers.

      Participants in the annual Mother Earth Water Walk wend their way around a different Great Lake each year and up the St. Lawrence River Seaway. The Anishinaabe walkers embrace the theme of the walks, which started in 2003: “Ni guh Izhi chigay Nibi onji.” (“I will do it for the water.”)

      snip

      To raise funds to cover the West to East walk, artists continue to donate items such as star quilts, birchbark medallions and special fine art prints and photography for a current Facebook auction that ends at 7 p.m. EST on April 7.

      Toward the end of summer, in August, another walk headed by Sharon Day, who took over the Water Walks when Mandamin ended her annual treks, will follow along the Missouri River for another Nibi Walk (Ojibwe for Water Walk).

      As with the spring Water Walk, those who join along the 2,341 miles of the Missouri River will carry water from the river’s source and pray along its pathway. They also will interact with residents as the walkers travel and do interviews and presentations calling for protection of the water.

      World Water Day: Ojibwe Grandmothers Prepare for New Water Walks

    • How timely. Just as Trump is cutting back on regulations.

      https://apnews.com/03711f1dc7074c0595caf9f424e5cf9e?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP

      BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A bird flu outbreak that has led officials to euthanize more than 200,000 animals in three Southern states already is the nation’s worst since 2015 and new cases are still popping up, an expert said Wednesday.

      Agriculture officials are trying to limit the damage, but it’s unclear whether quarantines, transportation bans and mass killings will stop the spread, said Joseph Hess, a poultry science professor at Auburn University.

      The disease was first confirmed in southern Tennessee earlier this month and has since been detected in northern Alabama and western Kentucky.

      Just imagine in no time we could be just like Brazil.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-corruption-food-china-idUSKBN16T0YX

      Some of China’s largest food suppliers have pulled Brazilian beef and poultry from their shelves in the first concrete sign that a deepening scandal over Brazil’s meat processing industry is hitting business in its top export market.

      The moves by Sun Art Retail Group (6808.HK), China’s biggest hypermarket chain, and the Chinese arms of global retail giants Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and Metro AG (MEOG.DE) come days after China temporarily suspended Brazilian meat imports.

      Safety fears over Brazilian meat have grown since police accused inspectors in the world’s biggest exporter of beef and poultry of taking bribes to allow sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats.

    • I guess that these are legal authorizations hard to keep track of.

      http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/22/15016984/nypd-video-surveillance-protests-occupy-black-lives-matter

      New York City Police Department documents obtained by The Verge show that police camera teams were deployed to hundreds of Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street protests from 2011–2013 and 2016. Originally acquired through a Freedom of Information Law request by New York attorney David Thompson of Stecklow, Cohen & Thompson, the records are job reports from the NYPD’s Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) that document over 400 instances in which the unit’s video team attended, and sometimes filmed, demonstrations. More important than the records the NYPD turned over, however, are those that it claims it cannot find: namely, any documents demonstrating that legal reviews and authorizations of these surveillance operations took place.

      Bolding done by me.

      • I guess that it a mere coincidence that these things seem to happen during police involvement.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/a-cop-fires-a-teen-dies-yet-six-police-body-cameras-somehow-miss-what-happens/2017/03/20/c7d801a8-0824-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html?utm_term=.519d362b8f32

        ALBUQUERQUE — The killing of Mary Hawkes, a troubled 19-year-old woman suspected of stealing a truck, should have been a case study in the value of police body cameras. The action was fast-moving, the decisions split-second. And all of the surviving witnesses — including the shooter — were police officers wearing small video cameras on their uniforms.
        But nearly three years after the 2014 shooting, it instead has become a cautionary tale about the potential of new technology to obscure rather than illuminate, especially in situations when police control what is recorded and shown to the public. Federal investigators said in December that they were probing allegations that police tampered with video evidence in the case, underscoring broader questions about whether a nationwide rollout of body cameras is fulfilling promises of greater accountability.

    • http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/325299-dem-senator-accuses-trump-of-dangerous-tilt-towards

      Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Wednesday compared President Trump rhetoric and tactics to those used by dictators. “We must resist President Trump’s dangerous tilt towards authoritarianism,” Merkley, a member of Senate Democratic leadership, said from the Senate floor.

      He said Trump’s attacks on the media and those who oppose his policies are out of line with the belief the government “derives its power and authority from the people,” and argued that the president has “inflamed people’s anger” toward immigrants and religious minorities.

      “There are core strategies used by authoritarian leaders … to consolidate power. There are strategies that are incompatible with our construction of government and we must call out these strategies and we must resist these strategies,” Merkley said.

      Merkley also pointed at the frequent chants of “lock her up” — referring to presidential campaign opponent Hillary Clinton — heard at Trump’s campaign rallies, adding: “Threatening to throw your opponent in jail … is a strategy usually seen only with dictators.”

      • Like you lots, Merkley, but the media was bought and paid for a long time ago, which might be even worse than being called an enemy.

        Now “lock her up”–that is bad.

        But it’s still weird how we’re supposed to believe that all the reigns before him and the campaigns (media pushing Trump non stop and Clinton) didn’t lead to this very thing.

    • https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-03-22/poll-trumps-support-among-core-constituencies-slipping-overall-approval-lowest-yet

      President Donald Trump’s approval among the core groups that make up his base has begun to erode, contributing to his overall approval rating hitting a new low in Quinnipiac University’s political tracking poll.

      While Trump’s support in his core constituencies – white voters, men and Republicans – had remained resilient throughout his lowest points on the campaign trail and into the first months of his presidency, Wednesday’s edition of the Quinnipiac poll registered significant drops in all three groups since the beginning of the month.

      “Although taking a beating, he keeps on tweeting to the point where even his fiercely loyal base appears to be eroding,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

      “Most alarming for President Donald Trump, the demographic underpinnings of his support, Republicans, white voters, especially men and those without a college degree, are starting to have doubts.”

      Overall, just 37 percent of Americans say they approve of how Trump is doing his job, and 56 percent disapprove, the worst result for him so far in his young presidency.

    • Why am I not the least bit surprised?

      http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/325313-senate-nixes-obama-era-workplace-rule

      The Senate voted on Wednesday to roll back an Obama-era safety regulation.

      Senators voted 50-48 to nix the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule extending the amount of time a company can be penalized for failing to report workplace injuries and illnesses to five years.

      Republicans are using the Congressional Review Act to take a hammer to rules instituted under the Obama White House; the law allows them to overturn recently published regulations with a simple majority.

    • I can hardly wait. Gotta get my popcorn ready.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-markets-trump-analysis-idUSKBN16T2YH?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

      The Trump Trade could start looking more like a Trump Tantrum if the new U.S. administration’s healthcare bill stalls in Congress, prompting worries on Wall Street about tax cuts and other measures aimed at promoting economic growth.

      Investors are dialing back hopes that U.S. President Donald Trump will swiftly enact his agenda, with a Thursday vote on a healthcare bill a litmus test which could give stock investors another reason to sell.

      “If the vote doesn’t pass, or is postponed, it will cast a lot of doubt on the Trump trades,” said the influential bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive at DoubleLine Capital.

    • This could prove to be very interesting

      http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/22/news/companies/exxon-mobil-climate-change-emails-schneiderman/index.html

      Among the documents the company must produce: Emails company executives allegedly sent using pseudonyms.
      Earlier this month, Attorney General Schneiderman accused former CEO Rex Tillerson — now U.S. secretary of state — of discussing environmental issues under the email name “Wayne Tracker.”
      According to Schneiderman, “Wayne Tracker” sent emails from at least 2008 through 2015 to discuss “important matters,” including climate change. Wayne is Tillerson’s middle name.

      I might add that I don’t consider Tillerson to be the worst of Trump’s cabinet. There are bigger fish to fry.

    • It is about high time that the Democrats start acting like the opposition rather than screaming Russia! Russia! Russia!

      .http://thehill.com/policy/finance/325324-sanders-block-trumps-sec-pick

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday called for his Senate colleagues to block President Trump’s pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

      Sanders said Jay Clayton, a partner at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, was “the embodiment of the greed that nearly destroyed the economy” and unfit to lead Wall Street’s watchdog.

      “We need somebody who is prepared to confront the system, not someone who is part of the system,” said Sanders.

      Gorsuch should be blocked FOR SURE!

      But I don’t see the wimpy Democrats doing so.

      • Benny replied 1 day ago

        It will be interesting to see how Schumer, Booker, Heitkamp, and Manchin view this nominee. Warren is with Bernie about this terrible pick.

    • I was trying to find some follow up on this tweet but so far no luck.

      It doesn’t surprise me that NBC news is taking a shot at the left and Bernie.

      • I believe the tweeter posted an excerpt from her highness’s chum Alex Seltz-Weld post from yesterday.

        • I found some more on it.

          http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/gorsuch-democrats-supreme-court-236384

          A group of Senate Democrats is beginning to explore trying to extract concessions from Republicans in return for allowing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

          The lawmakers worry that Gorsuch could be confirmed whether Democrats try to block him or not — and Democrats would be left with nothing to show for it. That would be a bitter pill after the GOP blocked Merrick Garland for nearly a year.

          The deal Democrats would be most likely to pursue, the sources said, would be to allow confirmation of Gorsuch in exchange for a commitment from Republicans not to kill the filibuster for a subsequent vacancy during President Donald Trump’s term. The next high court opening could alter the balance of the court, and some Democrats privately argue that fight will be far more consequential than the current one

          LOL! As if you could possibly trust the Republicans.

    • I recognize posting Will Bunch’s Opin Piece in Philly.com is preaching to the TPW choir, but sometimes, it’s good to hear more praise that Bernie richly deserves.

      He’s America’s Most Popular Politician, Why Won’t They Listen?

      This weekend, Paul Heideman, writing for the far-left Jacobin, published what I thought was one of the best political essays of 2017, arguing that Democrats will never get anywhere without a coherent platform for the working class and by merely offering themselves as Not Trump. It starts with a stunning quote from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, that, “We don’t have a party orthodoxy — they [the Republicans] are ideological.” Heideman argues that an orthodoxy is just what the Democrats need:

      And despite the resulting disaster, this desire to have a politics without politics — this strategy to build a coalition bereft of any clear values or principles — has continued to animate liberals’ opposition to Trump. Democrats really believe, it seems, that they can subdue the reactionary right without articulating any alternative political vision beyond prudent governance.

      The irony here is twofold. First, in clinging to an obviously failing strategy, elite liberalism reveals itself to be an ideology every bit as impervious to contradictory evidence as the reactionary Republicans it defines itself against. And second, for all of the Democrats’ paeans to pragmatism, they are just as committed to their own version of neoliberal capitalism as the Republicans, and just as unwilling to brook dissent with it. In fact, only a few days before declaring the Democrats free of orthodoxy, Pelosi responded to a student’s question about socialism by effusing, “We’re capitalists. That’s just the way it is.”

      When attacking the Right, the Democrats are non-ideological and pragmatic. As soon as a challenge from the Left is sighted, however, the party suddenly stops being coy, and declares itself forthrightly in favor of capitalism. The result is an ever-rightward-moving political landscape that ends up abetting the very forces and figures that Democrats oppose — including Trump.

      The author makes a strong case that leading Democrats and the progressive media — what’s left of that, anyway — are so convinced that Trump can be destroyed over a scandal or hypocrisy, or over his frequent lies, or not releasing his income taxes, that they’re shunning the hard work of pitching a real alternative vision to middle-class voters.

      I could not agree with this critique more — maybe because I lived through Watergate, the scandal that’s back in vogue these days (including a joint appearance last night on CNN by Carl Bernstein AND John Dean, thrilling this one-time teenage Watergate geek.) And yes, Watergate took down Richard Nixon, and there’s definitely a chance that Russiagate could be every bit as bad for Trump. But Watergate only briefly slowed the broader, backward forces of reaction that claimed victory, with destructive long-term effects, with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. And will the factors that gave us Trumpism in McDowell County, Youngstown and Erie — the working-class anger and the despair — won’t disappear even if Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn go to jail and Trump himself gets impeached.

      And stop framing this as about 2020 — that’s light years away. My sense is that Bernie has barely thought about the next presidential election (when he’ll be 79, if you’re curious). He’s out there listening to people and thinking about what can he do to sell people on a more progressive vision for America, right now. Today. If the national Democratic Party doesn’t jump on this train, and quickly, they could be standing on the platform, dazed and dumbfounded, for a long, long time. The only thing that’s worse than Trumpism is Trumpism without a real alternative.

      Read the rest here:

      http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Hes-Americas-most-popular-politicianWhy-wont-they-listen.html

  • Jason Clark became a registered member 2 days, 3 hours ago

  • Democrats Beware: Sanders ‘Movement’ Turns to Midterms

    With Democrats facing tough prospects in the midterm elections, will they also have to worry about primary challenges from their left flank?

    During his […]

    • Leahy, Sanders, Welch condemn ICE arrests

      The three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation are expressing “serious concerns” to Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the arrests of farm workers and farm worker advocates in Burlington last week.

      The offices of Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch released a joint statement Monday evening saying they are reaching out to ICE to express concerns about the potential impact of President Donald Trump’s executive order calling for increased immigration enforcement.

      “Instead of focusing on removing those people who pose a threat to public safety or national security, the Trump Administration is targeting all undocumented persons, including the people that help keep our dairy farms and rural economy afloat,” the joint statement said.

      • Federal Judge: ICE Conducted Austin Raids in Retaliation Against Sheriff’s New Policy

        A federal judge in Austin confirmed in open court Monday that federal agents conducted raids on dozens of undocumented immigrants last month in response to a new policy by Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez that limits cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

        In a back-and-forth between ICE agent Laron Bryant, Judge Andrew Austin said he and another federal magistrate were briefed by ICE in late January about the upcoming raids. They were told that the agency would be conducting operations in the Austin area as a “result of the sheriff’s new policy” and because a meeting between ICE and Hernandez in January “didn’t go very well,” according to an audio transcript obtained by the Observer. Bryant confirmed that was the case.

        In February, Hernandez implemented a policy limiting her department’s cooperation with detainer requests from ICE to undocumented immigrants charged with serious crimes, such as murder, aggravated sexual assault and human trafficking. Such policies have attracted opposition from the Trump administration, Governor Greg Abbott and other Republican lawmakers.

      • I wonder when Trump inc will remove all the illegals that either work for his hotels, or the mega corporate farms in California ?

    • For Democrats, no clear leader

      The Democratic Party has a leadership vacuum at the top, with many registered voters eager to see someone who is not currently on the scene become the party’s standard-bearer in 2020, according to a new Harvard-Harris Poll survey provided exclusively to The Hill.

      When registered voters were asked whom they view as the leader of the Democratic Party, 40 percent said it has no leader.

      Fifteen percent named former President Obama as the party’s leader. Twelve percent said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has gone out of his way not to join the Democratic Party despite running for the its presidential nomination last year.

      Eleven percent view Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as the party’s leader, and 10 percent answered with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

    • Why Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States

      What accounts for Sanders popularity and how can progressives build on it?

      Bernie Sanders has been saying the same things for nearly a half-century. He’s been a consistent democratic-socialist fighting in behalf of working people and against financial/corporate power. While his straightforward commitment to his ideals is refreshingly genuine, he did not make his mark on the national scene until last year at age 74.

      Sanders didn’t change but the world did.

      His message about the ravages and unfairness of runaway inequality hit home because it is true. He and his campaign became the next phase of the revolt against the one percent initiated by the remarkable, yet short-lived, Occupy Wall Street.

      Sanders took this discontent many steps forward by clearly articulating a social-democratic agenda for working people. He turned “We are the 99%” into a clear policy agenda. That agenda, not just his enormous integrity, is why he remains so popular.

      He stands for something and so should we.

      • Bernie Sanders’ Three Overdue Apologies

        But at the same time Brazile was apologizing for DNC misconduct under Wasserman-Schultz, promising neutrality going forward, she knew that just a few months earlier, she committed similarly egregious acts prior to the March 6 CNN debate. The public didn’t find out about it until just a few days before the general election, when in late October Wikileaks dumped proof of it.

        Right up until Election Day on November 8, Brazile refused to verify that the October Wikileaks emails were hers, even playing the victim card in a riveting live interview with then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly, with Brazile claiming that she is a persecuted Christian woman.

        The DNC and Clinton campaign were perplexed and frightened throughout the election cycle by the organic enthusiasm that imbued Sanders’ entire run. It was completely unanticipated by them for a man from the state with the second lowest population, and who was portrayed by Larry David on Saturday Night Live as a lovable, impossibly honest, curmudgeon.

        Clinton, for her part, also has yet to apologize for the misconduct of those on her campaign staff. Wasn’t the buck supposed to stop with her?

        • After watching Robby Mook on CNN and MSDLC yesterday, the elites have not learned their lesson, even after being exposed for their unethical behaviors.

        • It did stop with her and she pocketed everyone of them.

    • How the Left Is Using Tea Party Tactics To Take On Both the GOP and the Democratic Establishment

      If rumors about protesters being paid turn out to be true, this country might be closer to full employment than the most recent jobs report claims. Kicking off with the Women’s March, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, voters have been mobilizing against the GOP’s agenda, pressuring Republicans and Democrats alike to reject it. Increasingly, activists are also looking to put the representatives who do collaborate out of a job.

      During the Oscars, 30,000 people hopped on a phone call hosted by organizers from the Women’s March, MoveOn.org, the Center for Popular Democracy, the Working Families Party and People’s Action, all looking for ways to get or stay involved with anti-Trump resistance efforts. Indivisible, profiled here last month, has now swelled to more than 5,800 registered groups. Nearly 2 million people have downloaded its organizing guide.

      When Congressional representatives headed home for recess, many of those same constituents flocked to in-district events. In some cases, they demanded their representatives hold them in the first place. #ResistanceRecess, organized by many of the groups that hosted the Oscars night call, brought activists out to around 1,000 events around the country. As part of the week of action, Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin constituents sent him more than 80,000 postcards demanding he stand up to Trump. In rural Iowa Falls, Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, faced scores of anti-Trump protesters, many voicing concerns over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Voters in the Detroit suburbs brought a live chicken to a town hall meeting as a stand-in for no-show Rep. Dave Trott, also a Republican, after around a dozen people were turned away from his office earlier in the week.

      • These are good things but they need to be persuading the Trump voters that corporations get the most welfare and that government should be working for them.

    • The battle over Montana’s vacant Senate seat

      A banjo-playing Democrat and a tech-industry Republican are fighting to fill Ryan Zinke’s spot.

    • Trump-Russia collusion is being investigated by FBI, Comey confirms

      FBI director James Comey has said there was no basis for Donald Trump’s claims to have been wiretapped by Barack Obama, but confirmed for the first time that the agency is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

      Comey had previously refused to comment on the existence of any such investigation but addressing the House intelligence committee, Comey reversed course and said he had been authorised to depart from that policy and give some basic details.

      Comey’s appearance, flanked by the NSA director, Adm Michael Rogers, marked a remarkable and unprecedented threshold in US political history, putting beyond doubt that a sitting’s president’s entourage was under investigation for possibly conniving with a foreign adversary to put that president in power.

      What made the moment even more extraordinary was Trump’s tweeted commentary on – and misrepresenting of – the hearing as it was happening.

      • http://www.newyorker.com/news/ryan-lizza/how-the-white-house-got-james-comey-wrong?mbid=rss

        Manafort, a longtime political lobbyist, worked for years in Ukrainian politics as a paid adviser for a pro-Putin party, before surfacing back in the United States as a Trump campaign operative, and later, the campaign’s chairman. Stone, who has known Trump for decades, had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks would release e-mails, later determined to have been stolen by Russian hackers, from the account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. Page, an energy consultant and former Trump campaign adviser, travelled to Moscow last summer for a paid speech. Page, Manafort, and Stone, as well as Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national-security adviser, are reportedly part of an F.B.I. investigation.

        The White House official’s attempt to separate Trump from the “marginal” figures who once ran Trump’s campaign isn’t likely to work. Later in the day, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, echoed this spin publicly when he claimed that Manafort played a “limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the campaign. In fact, Manafort worked for Trump for six months last year, from March to August, the crucial period in which Trump secured the Republican nomination and fended off potential challenges at the G.O.P. Convention.

        But the larger takeaway from the White House’s spin is that the top people around Trump may have no idea how much exposure the President has on the issue of Russian collusion. Two hours after the White House official confidently predicted Comey would vindicate the Administration, Comey did the opposite.

        The large gap between what the White House believed about the F.B.I. investigation and the actual facts of that investigation reveals several things. First, Comey has been successful in concealing details from Trump’s closest advisers. One of the reasons that Trump and the White House have been exuding a smokescreen of misinformation is because they are as clueless about what Comey knows as everyone else is.

    • While Tribes Lose Courtroom Battles, #NoDAPL Divestment Campaign Takes Off

      A U.S. appeals court on Saturday shut down a last-ditch effort to put a stop to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), allowing oil to flow as early as Monday.

      The appeals court affirmed a lower court’s ruling last week that decided against an emergency injunction, sought by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, which would have temporarily halted the pipeline’s operation while the tribes’ lawsuit against the pipeline wends its way through the courts.

      As the tribes suffer the latest in a string of legal defeats, however, the fight against DAPL has been winning a series of major victories in different territory: the pipeline’s financial backing.

      Campaigns to divest from the pipeline and thus starve it of funding have been growing across the U.S. and around the world. Large cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have divested billions of dollars, and similar campaigns have emerged in New York, Albuquerque, N.M., and Raleigh, N.C., among other U.S. cities.

    • Race for Tom Price’s Vacant Seat Seen as Bellwether for Resistance

      The fight for Georgia’s sixth district, left vacant by the newly-installed Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price, is being seen as the first test of the resistance movement with Democrat Jon Ossof, riding a wave of frustration over President Donald Trump, emerging as the race’s leading contender.

      Monday marks the deadline to register for the April 18 special election, and the national organization Swing Left said it is focused on making sure every voter in the district is prepared.

      A documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide to Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)—who has endorsed him—Ossof is campaigning on an unabashed message of being a thorn in Trump’s side (his campaign slogan is “make Trump furious”) and the race is being seen as a bellwether if the Left can succeed in winning over traditionally conservative districts.

      Though Trump won the sixth district by a razor-thin margin of 1.5 percent, it hasn’t voted Democrat since Jimmy Carter was president, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which observed that a low-turnout special election “could hinge on whether [Trump’s] supporters return to the polls—or energized Democrats bent on handing the president an electoral defeat show up in force.”

      ..

      Ossof is campaigning on a platform that includes defending Medicare, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood; standing up for voting rights; protecting the right to privacy; and opposing “unnecessary military intervention.” He says he is dedicated to making the U.S. “a global leader against climate change” and reforming campaign finance laws.

      • The latest poll I saw had Ossof in the lead with 41% of the vote, but behind the combined Republicans for the runoff. In any case, he’s doing much better than Dems have done previously for this “safe” Republican seat.

      • Ossoff aims for knockout blow in Georgia special election

        His Republican rivals call him “Darth Vader,” a “lightweight liberal” and a “puppet of the left.” Fellow Democrats vow to block his “coronation” and paint him as an outsider. More than $1 million has already been spent to bog down his candidacy.

        Democrat Jon Ossoff has transformed the race for suburban Atlanta’s 6th Congressional District, and his soaring donations and groundswell of support from energized Democrats have fast painted a shiny target on his back as he scrambles to flip Tom Price’s ruby-red turf.

        Just about every candidate in the crowded April 18 special election to represent the district, which spans from east Cobb County to north DeKalb County, has assailed the 30-year-old former congressional aide. And Republicans determined to keep a GOP stronghold are readying more attacks.

        But even Ossoff’s Republican adversaries marvel about his campaign’s field operations and the more than $3 million he’s raised in 10 weeks — and worry about their own fractured field of 11 GOP candidates battling each other for their own slice of the electorate.

    • Caring for the Common Good Wins: Norway Ranks World’s Happiest Country

      Norway now holds the title of the world’s happiest country, according to a new report that also outlines how Republican proposals to gut safety nets, enact tax windfalls for the rich, and attack public education—as well as bipartisan failures in terms of the global war on terror and campaign finance—are making happiness further out of grasp for those in the United States.

      The finding comes via the fifth edition of the World Happiness Report, which ranks 155 countries on the variables of income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity. It was produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a United Nations initiative, and was released Monday, the International Day of Happiness.

      Norway now holds the number one spot, booting Denmark from the ranking it held for three of the past four years. Norway came in at number four last year.

      Joining Norway in the top ten slots are, in order, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. It’s the same group that made up the top ten countries last year.

      Like the other top four countries, Norway ranked high in caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income, and good governance.

    • Neil Gorsuch Does Not Belong on the Supreme Court by Elizabeth Warren

      When Justice Antonin Scalia died last year, giant corporations and their right-wing buddies spent millions of dollars to keep the Supreme Court seat open so that Donald Trump could fill the vacancy. It was only the latest step in their campaign to tilt our courts in favor of big corporations and the wealthy. Now, the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is their reward. Anyone who believes in a neutral Supreme Court guided by equal justice for all should oppose this nomination.

      Over the past three decades — as the rich have gotten richer and middle-class families have been left behind — the scales of justice have been weighted further and further in favor of the wealthy and the powerful. That tilt is not an accident. It’s the result of a deliberate strategy by powerful interests to turn our courts over to the highest bidder.

      Its effects have been devastating. Recent court decisions have let giant corporations that cheated their consumers off the hook, unleashed a flood of secret money into the political process, and made it easier for businesses to abuse and discriminate against their employees.

      At the core of this strategy is an all-out attack on fair-minded, mainstream judges. A prime example is the unprecedented blockade of Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court — a consensus nominee praised by Republicans and Democrats alike as a thoughtful, intelligent, and fair judge. None of that mattered for powerful right-wing groups that decided that Garland’s record did not reflect a sufficient willingness to bow down to the interests of the wealthy few. So they poured millions into a public smear campaign to stop his confirmation and leave the seat open.

      • I’m a skeptic about ex-Repukelicans. Warren supporting $hrill just fueled my doubts more.

        • Well actually Warren remained neutral and didn’t support Clinton over Sanders until it became clear Clinton had won. The problem was whether she should have supported Bernie from the start–especially before the Mass primary.

          • I agree with you. Warren could have been a little more critical of such Clinton actions as Bubba disrupting people standing in line to vote. Remember that one? Where was Liz?

      • I think all Dems and Indies should politely ask questions, don’t get riled up about this nominee and just vote no. He’s likely to be on the side of corporations, we know this. The next pick is the big concern.

      • Just imagine what can be found when actual research takes place.

        https://newrepublic.com/article/141471/reagans-epa-chief-paved-way-trumps-assault-agency

        How Reagan’s EPA Chief Paved the Way for Trump’s Assault on the Agency

        Anne Gorsuch Burford—the mother of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch—cut its budget by a quarter and its workforce by 20 percent.

        The EPA was only a decade old when Gorsuch, as she was then known—she married Bureau of Land Management Director Robert Burford in 1983—became its first female administrator. Gorsuch, a conservative state legislator from Colorado, promptly embroiled the agency in a political fight for its life. Even though Congress had recently expanded the EPA’s workload, Gorsuch and the Reagan White House cut its budget and staff. Gorsuch derided the agency’s approach to environmental protection as “bean counting,” saying it measured success by the number of enforcement actions it took or regulations it issued rather than by what they achieved. She claimed that the agency could do more for the environment with fewer resources by giving states broader autonomy to decide how to curb pollution.

        I doubt that the apple fell very far from the tree in this case.

      • I saw Cotton make the comment, his rationale not to vote for the skinny replacement bill.

        The safety nets are being yanked.

      • What Jordan describes in this situation is what infuriates progressives and the R’s don’t comprehend why. Here’s why it pisses me off: It’s a like giving some blood thinners to a patient with a congestive heart problem, thinking that will take care of it, and not prescribing a bypass along with other therapies to get the patient back on track.

        Not getting to the root issue first is of course not expeditious, but if you don’t fix it, it’s a waste of resources. Then the folks who are desperate but also suspicious cop an attitude “government doesn’t help” and they wish the money hadn’t been spent.

        One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Bernie is his ability to see the wholistic picture, get immediate treatment, then to the root of the problem, then have money for rehabilitation to follow. Jordan is doing a great job of laying out how it could work, and but it’s likely to play out.

    • New Zealand accused of cover-up over Afghan civilian deaths

      A botched raid by New Zealand special forces in Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of six civilians including a three-year-old girl, was the subject of a military and political cover-up, according to allegations contained in a book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

      Hit & Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the Meaning of Honour, co-authored by war correspondent Jon Stephenson, appears to contradict official statements that raids on two villages in Baghlan province in August 2010 killed “numerous insurgents” but no civilians.

      In the book, the authors say “there are reasonable grounds to suspect that New Zealanders and their United States allies were indeed involved in war crimes and other serious breaches of the laws of war”.

    • Rex Tillerson will miss Nato talks for China meeting and visit to Russia – reports

      US secretary of state Rex Tillerson plans to skip an April meeting of Nato foreign ministers for a visit by the Chinese president and will travel to Russia later in the month, US officials said on Monday, a step allies may see as putting Moscow’s concerns ahead of theirs.

      Reuters news agency reported that Tillerson intends to miss what would be his first meeting in Brussels, on 5-6 April, with the 28 Nato members to attend President Donald Trump’s expected 6-7 April talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, citing four current and former US officials.

      The decisions to skip the Nato meeting and to visit Moscow risked feeding a perception that Trump may be putting US dealings with big powers before those of smaller nations that depend on Washington for their security, two former US officials told Reuters.

      • Is Rex Tillerson the weakest secretary of state of all time?

        Tillerson, who had his choice for a deputy recently vetoed by Trump, and who has seemingly met with roughly the same number of heads of state over the last few months as Trump’s daughter (and Kushner’s wife) Ivanka, may be the weakest secretary of state America has ever seen.

        The weakness of the State Department, and of Tillerson, is problematic for two reasons. For one, it ignores the decades of institutional knowledge of the workings of other countries diplomacies, strategies, and norms that thousands of career diplomats have built up serving around the world.

        • I hope Tillerson holds a ground on not attacking North Korea or getting into a dispute with them.

    • Milestone 250th and 251st American Coal Plants Announce Retirement

      Today marked the 250th U.S. coal plant that has retired or committed to retire since the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign began in 2010, driving coal use down to its lowest level in history. The retirement of Ohio’s Killen and Stuart plants by June 2018 comes after months of conversations between Dayton Power & Light and stakeholders. DPL and other co-owners decided to announce the retirement because the plants are not economically viable. These plants are the 250th and 251st plants retired nationwide, respectively, since the Beyond Coal Campaign began.

      “This milestone is a testament to the commitment Americans have to cleaner air and water — and the power of grassroots action to create healthier communities” said Bruce Nilles, Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “These values and years of hard work in local communities have transformed the way we power our homes, businesses, and places of worship. Today’s announcement further underscores that the market has declared dirty coal economically unviable and its decline inevitable. This means a healthier future for all of us.”

    • No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California

      An annual African trade summit in California had no African attendees this year after at least 60 people were denied visas, according to event leaders.

      The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to organizer Mary Flowers.

      Some are now questioning whether the denials to the Los Angeles event could be tied to the anti-immigration policies of Donald Trump, who is pushing forward with a travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries despite ongoing legal challenges.

      Flowers said roughly 60 to 100 people from at least a dozen nations were denied entry to the summit, which went on as planned with a much smaller group last Thursday through Saturday.

      “I don’t know if it’s Trump or if it’s the fact that the embassies that have been discriminating for a long time see this as an opportunity, because of talk of the travel ban, to blatantly reject everyone,” Flowers said in an interview on Monday. “These trade links create jobs for both America and Africa. It’s unbelievable what’s going on.”

      • Trump is not a conference goer–and I bet his folks are not international in respecting cultures and working together. These events are planned years or months ahead. Yanking their visas is causing havoc for tourism and international economic cooperation.

    • Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings

      The Ganges river, considered sacred by more than 1 billion Indians, has become the first non-human entity in India to be granted the same legal rights as people.

      A court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand ordered on Monday that the Ganges and its main tributary, the Yamuna, be accorded the status of living human entities.

      The decision, which was welcomed by environmentalists, means that polluting or damaging the rivers will be legally equivalent to harming a person.

      The judges cited the example of the Whanganui river, revered by the indigenous Māori people, which was declared a living entity with full legal rights by the New Zealand government last week.

      Judges Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh said the Ganges and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries would be “legal and living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities”.

    • Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’

      The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

      The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.

      Global warming is largely being driven by emissions from human activities, but a strong El Niño – a natural climate cycle – added to the heat in 2016. The El Niño is now waning, but the extremes continue to be seen, with temperature records tumbling in the US in February and polar heatwaves pushing ice cover to new lows.

      Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” said David Carlson, director of the WMO’s world climate research programme.

    • Ivanka Trump set to get West Wing office as role expands

      Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington saying she would play no formal role in her father’s administration, is now officially setting up shop in the White House.

      The powerful first daughter has secured her own office on the West Wing’s second floor — a space next to senior adviser Dina Powell, who was recently promoted to a position on the National Security Council. She is also in the process of obtaining a security clearance and is set to receive government-issued communications devices this week.

      In everything but name, Trump is settling in as what appears to be a full-time staffer in her father’s administration, with a broad and growing portfolio — except she is not being sworn in, will hold no official position and is not pocketing a salary, her attorney said.

      Trump’s role, according to her attorney Jamie Gorelick, will be to serve as the president’s “eyes and ears” while providing broad-ranging advice, not just limited to women’s empowerment issues. Last week, for instance, Trump raised eyebrows when she was seated next to Angela Merkel for the German chancellor’s first official visit to Trump’s White House.

      • Can’t wait to see her commercials. T and R to the usual suspects!!

      • I don’t object to her hanging out in the West Wing, but the problem is that she has no government leadership experience nor a sense of protocol. Eleanor Roosevelt was first lady of New York state before becoming FLOTUS and their daughter, Anna, was sorta the personal secretary (who handled FDR’s schedule) during FDR’s last term.

    • Democratic Donors Gather in D.C. to Plot the Resistance

      The Democratic Party’s top officials will meet with some of their wealthiest donors in Washington, D.C., this week to plot the Trump resistance, according to documents obtained by The Daily Beast.

      The chairs of the Democratic National Committee and the party’s House and Senate campaign arms will huddle with activists, operatives, and deep-pocketed Democratic financiers at a biannual conference hosted by the Democracy Alliance, a leading left-wing donor collaborative at Washington’s ritzy Mandarin Oriental hotel.

      • Resistance but my concern is also with no plans on how to win back the Obama voters who voted for Trump. Sending Bernie everyone is one step, but the donors don’t want to mix with the regular Joe. Sigh.

        • Time for strict public campaign finance laws. We can’t all contribute as much as we did to Bernie to all the progressives we hope to run. Need equal time on media and strict limits to the amount so that we, the people, can fund our candidates’ campaigns.

          A mountain to climb, we have.

          • wi58 replied 2 days ago

            A YUGE one at that.I would rather run out of oxygen going to the top than not try a all– too much to lose

        • Meant to say, sending Bernie everywhere is one step in his new outreach post. Clinton sent Bernie to meet with the everyday Joe and students, but they couldn’t get excited about her highness. They need a game changer and Bernie knows this.

      • wi58 replied 2 days ago

        Basically a shit show to pat each other on the back and say everything is fine and talk their owners out of their “pocket change” so they have a write off or two and that thay can call in a favor or three should the Dems ever hold 1600 Penn. again. S O S different party.

    • And it’s past time! :O) One way or another, we’re all in the fight of our lives. A fight with a whole lotta love.

    • Hello All! And thank you LD!!

      The piece that you posted at the top of the thread, LD, pissed me off no end last night. 😉

      The tone is pompous and insulting, imo.

      Some of the parts that bugged me:

      If (Brand New Congress/Justice Democrats) are able to follow through, the result would likely be a mass of underfunded token candidates, not necessarily serious challengers.

      Democratic officials say they’re not too worried about primary challenges in next year’s midterm elections

      for Justice Democrats’ founder, liberal media personality Cenk Uygur, what seems to matter most is inflicting damage on the Democratic Party

      Critics say Uygur’s slash-and-burn approach to the Democratic Party is little more than an opportunist attempt to corner the media market for disaffected liberals, and that now he and his ilk are trying to do the same for politics.

      Grrrrrrr…

      • Maybe this will add to your understanding of the article’s author.

        https://medium.com/mtracey/how-msnbcs-alex-seitz-wald-colluded-with-the-failed-clinton-campaign-5e051f1ce9db#.3c7bd5xyn

        Here is a preface to the story.

        Note from MT: This is an installment in my ongoing “Pundit Accountability Initiative” series. I would like to reiterate that the aim of these efforts is not to inflict embarrassment or cause anyone distress. I’m sure Mr. Seitz-Wald is a perfectly fine chap. I bear no animus toward him individually. What I do bear animus toward is his role in facilitating one of the worst mass failures in the history of the United States’ elite media, thereby doing irreparable harm to the country.

      • I meant to add a disclaimer that the article was full of condescension but that the article exists is a testament to the strength/quick rise of the JD and such. The last line in the piece was especially funny, seeing as they left out a glaring example of a right wing media person who ascended to the WH (Bannon) and instead used Beck as an example of a ‘failure’.

      • wi58 replied 2 days ago

        I wonder if the NeoDems are getting worried otherwise why comment .

    • Got this from that fascinating young man, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who calls himself an Earth Guardian:

      Meet The Fixers

      The world feels pretty broken right now. That’s why we need Fixers — bold problem solvers working toward a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck. For our annual list of emerging green leaders, Grist brings you 50 innovators with fresh, forward-thinking solutions to some of humanity’s biggest challenges.

    • Rusty Democrats begin quest to wrestle state’s ‘Rust Belt’ from Trump

      At the weekly Drinking Liberally gathering on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, one loudmouth (Dem) party activist regularly expounds that if young people in Washington fishing and timber towns want jobs, they can always move to Seattle.

      Not so, said Port Angeles native Kilmer. “We don’t want our region’s largest export to be our kids,” the congressman told the crab feed.

      Talk is cheap, and Democrats must show an alienated base in Southwest Washington that they can listen and deliver. How so?

      A very good, and very feisty, piece!

  • Good morning all! Starting the day off with video of Bernie in Vermont this past Friday and will put all the rest that I am catching up on in the comments.

    Sanders Finds ‘Silver Lining’

    Sen. Bernie San […]

    • Sanders Draws Big Crowd At Springfield, Vt. Meeting

      Sen. Bernie Sanders was in Springfield, Vermont Thursday, where he spoke to more than 1,200 people who packed the Riverside Middle School gym.

      The town meeting was called to address attempts by Congressional Republicans to overturn the Affordable Care Act, but Sanders also talked about many of the themes he brought up during his run for the Presidency.

      The Independent senator decried the high cost of college, the income gap, the lack of affordable child care and the effects of the Citizens United decision on the political process.

      “What democracy is about is exactly what we are doing this evening,” Sanders said. “And that is bringing people in the community together, to talk about the problems facing the community, the state, the nation and perhaps the world. And to try to come up with ideas about how to go forward.”

      • Hope he talked about single payer. This is a rare opportunity to really galvanize the public behind single payer. We can start by lowering the age for Medicare, little by little, if they’re afraid to be full out for it.

        oh wait, the Dems don’t support single payer.

    • Sanders hears from veterans in Brattleboro

      U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he wants to strengthen Veterans Affairs health care services.

      “I think, in general and what I hear in Vermont, is most people think the VA is a pretty good place,” the Vermont independent said at the VA clinic in Brattleboro on Thursday. “It’s a welcoming place. They’ve got pretty good care.”

      There are exceptions to every rule, Sanders told a crowd of veterans after a couple attendees expressed some discontent with service.

      “If they’re going to do these things, and I’m glad they do do them, why do they keep hiring these guys that are older than dirt?” Carl Greenwood said. “Not meaning you Bernie. They don’t care. They just want to go home.”

      That’s true of any medical center, Sanders replied.

      “You hear a lot from politicians about how terrible the VA is, right?” Sanders said. “You turn on the television; the VA is having a crisis here, having a crisis there. Yet, I go out in not only Vermont — I’m the former chair of the VA committee so I’ve had the opportunity to meet veterans around the country. Yes, the VA has its problems. But you know what, so does every other medical facility in this country.”

    • Listen to Bernie Sanders Predict Our Current Situation 26 Years Ago at Harvard (Audio @ Link)

      Sen. Bernie Sanders is by far the most popular politician in America, at a time when our elected officials, especially those in Congress, are held in remarkably (and in some cases, deservedly) low esteem.

      As voters increasingly place a higher premium on authenticity, it’s hard to dispute the consistency of Sanders’ message over the years. Listen to his November 15, 1991 lecture at Harvard—recorded just a year after he first won his seat in Congress—and you’ll find few changes to his rhetoric.

      President Donald Trump has replaced George H. W. Bush, and Sanders’ frantic farrago of figures and percentages has been updated to reflect an even wider gap between the haves and have-nots. But overall, the song remains the same.

      “What is going on to a large degree in this country is the enormity of the problems are [sic] being swept underneath the rug, and there is not serious debate. And what are the ramifications of that?” Sanders said. “The ramifications of that process both by the Democratic and Republican Party and the mass media is that tens of millions of people in this country now have given up on politics, have very little belief that the government is capable of resolving the enormous problems facing this country.”

      • He didn’t need a speech writer. He just spoke.

        Matt Stroller, who worked for Senate Budget committee and I think I recall was on Bernie’s campaign team

        Writes about how the post watergate generation of dems went on the path to support business

        They got rid of Patman

        Over the years, Patman had upset these members by blocking bank mergers and going after financial power. As famed muckraking columnist Drew Pearson put it: Patman “committed one cardinal sin as chairman. … He wants to investigate the big bankers.” And so, it was the older bank allies who truly ensured that Patman would go down. In 1975, these bank-friendly Democrats spread the rumor that Patman was an autocratic chairman biased against junior congressmen. To new members eager to participate in policymaking, this was a searing indictment.

        The campaign to oust Patman was brief and savage. Michigan’s Bob Carr, a member of the 1975 class, told me the main charge against Patman was that he was an incompetent chairman (a charge with which the nonprofit Common Cause agreed). One of the revolt’s leaders, Edward Pattison, actually felt warmly toward Patman and his legendary populist career. But, “there was just a feeling that he had lost control of his committee.”

        How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul
        In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system

    • DNC Adds To Transition Team After Progressive Complaints

      The Democratic National Committee added six people to its transition advisory committee on Friday, following complaints from some progressive activists.

      Critics expressed frustration that the list of 29 people that DNC chair Tom Perez announced on Wednesday included only two supporters of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, of whom just one was an ally of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

      By Saturday morning, there were six more committee members, including DNC vice chair candidate and Sanders campaign veteran Melissa Byrne, Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb, an Our Revolution board member, and California Democratic National Committeeman Michael Kapp, all of whom backed Ellison in the DNC chair race. Liz Jaff, a young executive at the political crowdfunding site Crowdpac, who narrowly lost a bid for DNC vice chair after a campaign that earned the respect of diverse elements of the party, is also joining the advisory panel.

      ..

      Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for Tom Perez, said that the list of committee members was not final, since they are still adding more people.

      “We want the transition team to be as diverse as possible and reflect the big tent of our party,” she said in a statement. “Tom Perez believes that everyone has something to add towards rebuilding our party and that is why we will continue to involve various leaders and activists from coast to coast.”

      But in drafting the first list of committee members, Perez apparently did not realize just how closely the contingent of Sanders loyalists is watching the DNC for evidence that they, and their priorities, are being excluded from party decision-making

      • But in drafting the first list of committee members, Perez apparently did not realize just how closely the contingent of Sanders loyalists is watching the DNC for evidence that they, and their priorities, are being excluded from party decision-making

        Which is one of the many disappointing things about the election of Tom Perez. He is ill-suited to what needs to be done to bring the party together. I mean, c’mon, either he’s stupid (not good) or he deliberately excluded anyone not on the establishment list (also not good).

    • Next steps in the battle against the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines

      Last week in Washington, DC, members of American Indian tribes and their supporters demonstrated against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. The protest was led in part by members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who have been battling the US government for almost a year over the oil pipeline, which they say will contaminate their drinking water and has destroyed sacred sites in North Dakota.

      In this edited interview, Jaffe speaks with Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network about the march last week and what’s next in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline, as well as other pipeline projects. (The full interview is available in the audio above and online at TruthOut.org). Mossett is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, which has been active in the Standing Rock protests since August.

        • The uprising of Indigenous people around the world has been growing in recent years. Surprise, they occupy land. And now that the world is using more resources than can be produced each year, the land grab is more visible.

          Couple that with The New Climate Regime, which in Bruno Latour’s words has been the major political actor for the last 30 years

          Wild speculation: could the rise of Indigenous people be the tipping point when people of the earth realize there is a climate crisis?

          Trumpism and the rush to be a fascist state is front and center today

    • Western Mass pipeline fighters win legal battle over Clean Water Act

      Western Massachusetts residents fighting the Connecticut Expansion pipeline won a legal battle last week when a federal appeals court agreed that Clean Water Act challenges under the U.S. Natural Gas Act should be heard by the states, and not by a federal court.

      The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on March 15 that it has no jurisdiction to hear a Section 401 Water Quality Certification appeal related to the 14-mile, three-state project proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a Kinder Morgan subsidiary.

      The judgment affirms the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s right to conduct its own permitting process — from beginning to end — when it comes to applications from gas pipeline firms to alter streams, ponds, and other water resources under its jurisdiction.

      The ruling came as the result of a legal action by members of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, or BEAT.

      ..

      “We’ve won a battle, but the war continues,” said Kathryn R. Eiseman, a leading pipeline foe and one of 16 citizen petitioners in the jurisdictional challenge.

      “This case helps define the limits to the preemptive powers of the Natural Gas Act, and highlights the pivotal role that key state-decision-making processes play in interstate pipeline permitting,” Eiseman said.

    • With one Cook Inlet pipeline leaking, feds want Hilcorp to inspect another

      Federal pipeline regulators on Friday put Hilcorp Alaska on notice that a crude oil pipeline of the same vintage and size as the company’s leaking gas line in Cook Inlet could be threatened by the same forces that ruptured the gas line and cause a far more dangerous leak.

      The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration had already issued a proposed order that Hilcorp fix the gas leak by May 1 or shut down the leaking gas pipeline.

      On Friday, the agency sent a second proposed order to Hilcorp. Now, it also wants the company to conduct internal and external inspections of the “substantially similar” underwater pipeline that carries crude oil to shore from two offshore production platforms located in Cook Inlet northwest of Nikiski.

    • US Pressures G20 Into Dropping Climate Reference from Joint Statement

      Finance ministers for the Group of 20 (G20), which comprises the world’s biggest economies, dropped a joint statement mentioning funding for the fight against climate change after pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia.

      A G20 official taking part in the annual meeting told Reuters that efforts by this year’s German leadership to keep climate funding in the statement had hit a wall.

      “Climate change is out for the time being,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

      French Finance Minister Michel Sapin stressed that the move did not mark the end of the road for the statement. The G20 is scheduled to meet in full in July in Hamburg.

      “There can be a way to overcome disagreements today—that is, not writing about it in the communique,” Sapin told reporters on Friday. “But not writing about it doesn’t mean not talking about it. Not writing about it means that there are difficulties, that there is a disagreement and that we we must work on them in the coming months.”

      The statement does mention the need to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, but overall the language appears weaker than previous communiques, critics said.

    • Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council

      Confidential sources have told Politico that Bill Cooper — current congressional staffer and former fossil fuel industry lobbyist and attorney — is under consideration to head President Donald Trump’s White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

      CEQ works to coordinate various federal agencies dealing with environmental and energy public policy issues and oversees the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process for proposed infrastructure projects.

      Cooper served as legal counsel for the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on what is today known as the “Halliburton Loophole,” a clause which exempts hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Halliburton Loophole was slipped into the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and became law under President George W. Bush.

      A 2005 newsletter published by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) credits Cooper specifically for his work in getting the clause inserted into the bill.

      • Drain What Swamp? Trump Sends Coal Lobbyist to EPA and Boeing Exec to DoD

        A coal lobbyist and a Boeing executive are to be nominated to deputy positions at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), respectively, making President Donald Trump’s campaign promises to “drain the swamp” continue to look like a lot of hot air.

        Andrew Wheeler, the lobbyist to be nominated as deputy EPA administrator, works for an oil and gas industry-serving law firm and is a registered lobbyist for Murray Energy, the largest privately-owned coal company in the country, according to The Hill. He also served on the staff of climate change denier Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and will join several fellow former Inhofe staffers at Scott Pruitt’s EPA.

        Patrick Shanahan, meanwhile, is a top Boeing executive with no military or political experience. “He is, however, familiar with defense procurement from the business side,” reports the Seattle Times, which notes that Shanahan “ran Boeing’s military rotorcraft division in Philadelphia for two and a half years, where he was responsible for the Apache and Chinook helicopter programs as well as the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor airplane.” (On Friday, it was reported that an attack possibly from a U.S.-made Apache helicopter killed 31 Somali refugees off the coast of Yemen.)

        The coal lobbyist and Boeing executive join former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and a plethora of former Goldman Sachs executives in Trump’s cabinet. These latest hires continue to confirm suspicions that Trump’s policy isn’t so much to drain the swamp, as to fill it.

        • Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Said to Have Been Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price

          Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.

          Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.

    • ‘Belligerent,’ ‘Rude,’ ‘Damn Frustrating’: Dems Slam Meeting With DHS Chief

      Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly reportedly told House Democrats on Friday that he was “the best thing to happen” to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, in a closed-door meeting that lawmakers described as “damn frustrating” and “belligerent.”

      The meeting was called to get information on the Trump administration’s deportation policies after a number of Democratic lawmakers were kicked out of a meeting with immigration officials last month, but party leaders told Politico on Friday that Kelly showed up without answers to dozens of letters Democrats have been mailing to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which the agency has also ignored.

      “To not even get a response,” said House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sánchez (Calif.), “we feel like we are sending letters into a black hole.”

      Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), who said he left the meeting early because of Kelly’s attitude, said, “He’s literally talking in circles. It’s pretty damn frustrating.”

      • going along to get along started the coup decades ago

        being gentlemen was a cover for the destruction

        now they don’t have the power and they are suprised????

    • UN Praises Iran’s “Exemplary” Leadership in Hosting Refugees

      The United Nations praised Iran’s “exemplary” refugee resettlement program this week, saying the country’s decades-long effort to house approximately 3 million displaced Afghans was “a story that’s not told often enough.”

      Sivanka Dhanapala, head of the office for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Tehran, made the remarks on the same day that President Donald Trump sought to reinstate a controversial 90-day ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries, including Iran, and a 120-day ban on all refugees. The new executive order was blocked from going into effect by two courts.

      Roughly 6 million people were displaced from Afghanistan to neighboring countries amid the Soviet War in 1979. Nearly 40 years later, Tehran still shelters 1 million registered refugees, and another 2 million are thought to be living there, making it the world’s fourth-largest refugee population.

      “The leadership demonstrated by the Iranian government has been exemplary in hosting refugees and keeping borders open,” Dhanapala said on Wednesday.

      The U.N. also hailed a 2015 directive from Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei that called on education administrators to allow all Afghan children, documented or not, to attend Iranian schools.

    • University divests from 2 companies with ties to Dakota Access Pipeline

      UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher announced at the Tuesday meeting of the UC Investments Subcommittee the university’s decision to divest from Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, two companies that own part of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      The university’s investments in the two companies, which were previously worth $50 million, have since been cut down to $19 million. According to ASUC Senator Rigel Robinson, Bachher expects complete divestment from the two companies in the near future.

      “We also continue to look at how we can invest more … with a sustainable investment framework lens,” Bachher said at the UC Investments Subcommittee meeting. “In September of 2014, we … adopted a sustainable investing framework and said that we would pay particular attention to things like environmental social governance-type issues.”

      When President Donald Trump reauthorized the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, five students — Robinson, along with two students from the Students of Color Environmental Collective and two students from Fossil Free Cal — met with Bachher to make a case for divestment from these two companies. After the meeting, the five students launched a petition on Change.org, which garnered more than 1,000 signatures in 24 hours, according to Robinson.

      • Pipeline protesters march with their wallets in Teaneck

        Between 30 and 40 activists gathered Saturday at a Bank of America in Teaneck to protest the funding of an oil pipeline.

        Standing outside the bank branch on Palisade Avenue in front of Railroad Plaza they picketed, chanted and sang protest songs. They warned of oil tank cars they called “bomb trains” while they took aim at big banks.

        Specifically, three banks were in their crosshairs: Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase. These were banks that they said were tied through investments to the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL.

        The 1,100-mile pipeline that’s being built to transport fracked oil from North Dakota to locations across the country made headlines this winter when pipeline workers met resistance at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

        Matt Smith, senior organizer with Food and Water Watch, said the clashes in North Dakota inspired him to get involved in this environmental fight. Through research he found a list of publicly traded banks and went through their financial disclosure statements to find that these banks were supporting the DAP in various ways, including direct investments and credit lines issued to companies involved.

      • While I am glad to see the DAPL divestment, energy stocks have been down due to global overproduction. I’m guessing that the endowments were taking a hit, so they decided to divest–conveniently. It’s fine either way, but I don’t think it’s all about social responsible investing.

    • Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion

      When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.

      The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. And what had happened to Alaska?

      In an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, city authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical truth than that of traditional school maps, and hope it can serve an example to schools across the nation and even the world.

      For almost 500 years, the Mercator projection has been the norm for maps of the world, ubiquitous in atlases, pinned on peeling school walls.

      Gerardus Mercator, a renowned Flemish cartographer, devised his map in 1569, principally to aid navigation along colonial trade routes by drawing straight lines across the oceans. An exaggeration of the whole northern hemisphere, his depiction made North America and Europe bigger than South America and Africa. He also placed western Europe in the middle of his map.

    • Democrats will seek to tie Gorsuch to Trump as a judge soft on big business

      Senate Democrats will seek to tar Neil Gorsuch with the same brush as Donald Trump when his supreme court confirmation hearing begins on Monday, branding him a pro-big business judge who favours special interests over ordinary workers.

      The minority party has chosen to focus on this line of attack rather than where the conservative Gorsuch stands on touchtone issues such abortion, gay rights and gun ownership. Analysts say this is an indication that they will use the hearing to hammer Trump – and are ultimately resigned to his nominee’s confirmation.

      “Democrats need to figure out how they want to lose it,” said Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center, speaking on a panel at Georgetown University Law Center last week. “It’s actually a very important strategic decision and I think they’re struggling with this now.”

      When the hearing begins on Capitol Hill on Monday morning, Gorsuch, who at 49 is the youngest nominee for the supreme court in a quarter of a century, will be introduced by Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, senators from his home state of Colorado, and former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal. Between then and Thursday, he will face probing questions from 20 senators.

      • If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t recover by Russ Feingold

        While Russia’s involvement in our elections is unquestionably horrible, and it will likely take many more drip, drip, drips before we know the full extent of it, our democracy is facing an equally devastating threat much closer to home.

        On Monday, when Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin, the Republicans will attempt to complete their cynical political takeover of the US supreme court, launched last year when they failed to confirm or to even give a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland.

        Never before has Senate leadership so openly and intentionally played political games with our highest court. Already, the legitimacy of the supreme court has taken a severe blow because of it. But, if Gorsuch is confirmed, it would lock in a dangerous precedent from which the legitimacy of our highest court might never recover.

        Republican senators abandoned their constitutional responsibilities and blocked Judge Garland’s nomination last year, for 293 days, leaving the court without a deciding vote on critical issues. They offered no legal justification for their actions, fully admitting that their sole intention was to orchestrate a coup of the supreme court by betting that a Republican would win the White House.

        Some even pledged to keep the seat vacant for four more years in the event that a Democrat won the White House. The severity of this action and what it will mean for the court if Gorsuch is confirmed cannot be understated.

        • I seem to have forgotten!

          Exactly how many times Hillary was in Wisconsin campaigning for Feingold?

          • I don’t think it would have mattered as Wi turn out was at a 20 year low for a presidential election. Lousy candidate Hillary = lousy turn out. I strongly believe that if Bernie was the candidate for Prez Russ would have won that seat.

            • and now even the Dems have admitted that the machines are hackable.

              I wish some media would run with this and remind everyone that it’s NOT a conspiracy theory anymore–the Dems even push it–machines were hacked, they say. Then let’s get rid of ’em.

    • Germany rejects Trump claim it owes Nato and US ‘vast sums’ for defence

      The German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, on Sunday rejected Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes Nato and the US “vast sums” of money for defence.

      “There is no debt account at Nato,” Von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2% of their economic output on defence by 2024 solely to Nato.

      “Defence spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against [Isis] terrorism,” Von der Leyen said.

      Trump, who was spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, said on Twitter on Saturday – a day after meeting the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Washington – that Germany “owes vast sums of money to Nato & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

    • ‘Keep fighting’: Hillary Clinton searches for role in age of Democratic division

      Wherever she goes – a hike in the woods near her Chappaqua home, at the theater for a Broadway show, delivering a speech to a room of women and girls – Hillary Clinton causes a stir. Fans ask for photographs. Crowds stand for extended ovations.

      Such appearances have been rare. In the more than four months since her devastating election loss to Donald Trump, Clinton has largely resisted the spotlight. On Friday, however, she hinted that she is ready to return to public life.

      “I am ready to come out of the woods,” Clinton said at the Society of Irish Women’s annual St Patrick’s Day dinner, in an apparent reference to the chance encounters with supporters while hiking.

      She continued, saying she was ready “to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables, at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going”.

      For decades, Bill and Hillary Clinton have been central figures in Democratic politics. Since Hillary’s loss, Democrats have been divided over what her role in the party should be.

      Some argue that her time has passed, and that the party’s energy is with the wing of the party loyal to the man she beat in the primary, Bernie Sanders.

      • I read another article about the speech she gave last Friday. She kept talking about how she went on family trips to a lake nearby Scranton and how they didn’t have any indoor plumbing. It was supposed to be for comic relief, but I keep thinking she’s been reading Bernie’s book (he talked about being in Vermont as a young man and they had very little heat or other necessities in their apartment) and is trying to look as though her family was poor when she was growing up.

        Where I come from, we call stretching the truth, “tall tales”. Hillary is injecting “tall tales” again in her speeches.

    • Kellyanne Conway’s husband is Trump pick for justice department post – report

      Donald Trump has chosen the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to head the civil division of the Justice Department, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

      George Conway was chosen to lead the office that has responsibility for defending the administration’s proposed travel ban and defending lawsuits filed against the administration, the newspaper said.

      The White House and the justice department would not confirm the pick on Saturday. George Conway declined to comment.

      Conway is a partner at the New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The law firm’s website says Conway has extensive experience in litigation involving securities, mergers and acquisitions, contracts and antitrust cases.

      He graduated from Harvard and then Yale Law School. He joined the law firm in 1988, soon after his graduation from law school.

      He has been involved in numerous complex, high-profile cases with that firm, where he has been a partner since 1994. In the 1990s, Conway wrote the supreme court brief that cleared the way for Paula Jones’ civil suit against President Bill Clinton.

    • Green energy in a coal state: the struggle to bring solar jobs to West Virginia

      If solar energy were Dan Conant’s only passion, the West Virginia native could have stayed in Vermont, working for a fast-growing startup in a state friendly to renewables.

      Instead, Conant returned home to Shepherdstown, where he started an installation company, Solar Holler, in 2014. Now, with three employees and a crew under contract, Conant’s new passion comes with an audacious goal: bring solar jobs to communities hit hard by the decline of coal.

      “I really feel like we’re in a race against time, that it’s important we diversify quickly so young folks don’t have to move away,” says Conant. “It’s been really frustrating over the years to see all of my friends leave – pretty much everyone I went to high school with. The state is experiencing a serious brain drain.”

      Conant is part of a small group of entrepreneurs who believe in the possibility of replacing disappearing coal jobs with employment in solar in West Virginia. It’s a monumental challenge. The state lacks the mix of solar-friendly regulations, financial incentives and high electricity prices that have made solar affordable and created a booming market in states such as California and Massachusetts.

      Despite the odds, Conant and his allies are finding ways around some of the obstacles. They point to the falling cost of solar energy systems that will help to make renewable energy more attractive to West Virginians. Conant and other proponents of solar also believe that the market forces that have made coal a more expensive and less desirable commodity will eventually persuade the state’s politicians to abandon the idea of resurrecting the declining industry.

      • And how much would it cost us to go all out and start massively funding this type of industry in the South, as an example?

        Likely a trifling compared to what we throw at the MIC and the subsidies and favorable regulations for the fossil fuels.

    • Trump administration’s ‘anti-scientific statements’ alarm ex-energy secretary

      The former energy secretary Ernest Moniz said on Sunday that he finds “anti-scientific statements” coming from the Trump administration “disturbing”, warning that they disregard dangers to the US and undermine its democracy.

      In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Moniz discussed statements made by Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees dismissing the evidence and dangers of climate change.

      “Some of the statements being made about the science, I might say by non-scientists, are really disturbing,” he said, “because, as I said, the evidence is clearly there for taking prudent steps.”

      The nuclear physicist, who was appointed energy secretary by Barack Obama in 2013, noted that this was “not just me” but rather 97% of climate scientists around the world who agree that humans have driven global warming since the industrial revolution.

    • NY attorney general hires prosecutor likely to target Trump administration: report

      New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a vocal critic of President Trump, has hired a prosecutor who served under fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to focus on public corruption cases, including those involving the Trump administration, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

      Schneiderman’s decision to hire Howard Master reportedly signals that he plans to target Trump and his administration. Master previously served under Bharara, who was fired after refusing to resign at Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s request

      Master worked on high-profile cases at the Department of Justice, including the prosecution of New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

      Eric Soufer, a spokesman for Schneiderman, confirmed the hire to the Journal.

      “[He] will be working on a wide range of civil and criminal investigations and enforcement matters, including public corruption, complex civil litigation,” Soufer said.

    • Behind a Corporate Monster: How Monsanto Pushes Agricultural Domination

      Below are just a couple of the sub-topics that the article covers.

      Monsanto insists that GM technology and Roundup are safe, yet the independent studies that have been done point to the opposite.

      The widespread use of Roundup Ready GM crops since 1996 has corresponded with a dramatic rise in illnesses such as coeliac disease, gluten intolerance, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Cause is hard to prove, but the damage that Roundup does to intestinal microbiology has significantly decreased bodily and immune system function, according to Dr Don Huber, making it a likely factor in the disorders.

      Glyphosate is also patented as an antibiotic, not just a herbicide. In the US, almost all processed foods contain GM soy and/or corn products (80%). People living in areas of intensively cultivated GM soy in Argentina are twice as likely to die of cancer. Levels of glyphosate in urine in the US are 10 times the levels of people in Europe.

      The glowing promises of GM Bollgard cotton in India have had disastrous results. The crops did not perform well in the monsoon conditions of wet and dry, the fibre was shorter and brought a lower price, the seeds cost four times as much as non-GM, and pests proliferated. Non-GM seeds became unavailable as local suppliers only stocked Bollgard, with the support of state governments.

      The resulting indebtedness has caused many farmer suicides — 296,400 cotton farmers took their lives in 20 years (often by drinking Roundup). …

      Flooding the Market

      Monsanto promised that GM and non-GM crops could co-exist. The reality is that GM genes spread far and wide through cross pollination by bees and wind. All canola seeds in Canada, including non-GM seeds, have GM genes, which has eliminated organic canola growing.

      Indeed, this was the goal of Monsanto, as Don Westfall, a consultant to biotech companies, said in 2001: “The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender.”

    • I’m watching the Comey/Rogers hearing , re: Russia Hacking, Wiretapping claims. Opening statements, Ranking member Schiff got a longer one. If the chronology bears out that Schiff is laying out, Donna Brazile, John Podesta, and the DNC have to quit denying the hackers “changed” the documents and the messages were fake, and don’t absolve them of an abysmal campaign, not to mention putting their thumbs on the scale against the Sanders campaign. We’ll find out if Trump staffers were complicit with Russian intelligence (maybe).

      I’ll live blog here for awhile as time permits.

    • NSA director Rogers gets the first question. Did Russia hacked election machines and therefore the tallies in MI, PA, and WI. Rogers says NSA is not really the best source of this info as it is not domestic, but the intelligence he has seen doesn’t indicate it. Comey concurs.

      Now there are questions about FISA 702. It ensures that one has to go to a judge (specifically a FISA judge) to get permission for wiretapping certain individuals. Incidental collecting is when a US person is part of the conversation with a foreign target. “US person” is defined broadly and could be a ship, a corporation, a policy maker, etc. However, the US person is masked when reporting, so it is generalized, thus it is designated as “US person 1” etc. There are exceptions to this rule, however.

    • Comey makes it clear that FBI has authority from DOJ about the Russian hacking and most of the work is classified, thus he may not be able to comment publicly, as the investigation is still ongoing. He says he can’t offer a timetable when the investigation will be completed.

      Twitter seems to indicate that Comey is investigating Trump and his staff at the moment.

    • Rep Gowdy, “Mr. Bengazi”, is now going after Comey about possible leaks repeated in WaPo & NYT concerning wiretaps. Comey confirms that it is against the law to leak classified information. However, it doesn’t get too far. The R’s in general are not taking a lot of time for asking questions. The Dems are asking more of them.

      Rep Schiff is now asking about Trump’s tweets accusing Obama of wiretapping his residence. Comey says the FBI has no information that POTUS44 requested electronic surveillance or supports those tweets. Furthermore, it would have to go through a FISA judge. No POTUS could authorize those wiretaps without a judge.

      Director Rogers was asked if NSA was asked to wiretap Trump Tower? Rogers says no, nor did NSA ask the British to wiretap Trump.

      (I expect Trump’s tiny hands to be busy after those comments).

    • Questions about Podesta e-mail hacking and Roger Stone’s knowledge of it (related to Wikileaks)–the collusion or coordination between US persons (Trump campaign) and Russia. Comey says he cannot comment on it, which means it’s still under investigation.

    • https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/20/fbi-director-comey-confirms-investigation-trump-russia?CMP=twt_gu

      The ranking Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, used his 15-minute opening statement to outline a prosecutorial case laying out all the known or reported contacts between members of the Trump campaign team and Russian officials, most of which had been denied by the Trump camp.

      “Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence?” Schiff asked. “Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt US persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don’t know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out.”

      If Trump or his people cooperated with Russia’s so-called “active measures”, Schiff said, “It would represent one of the most shocking betrayals of democracy in history … The stakes are nothing less than the future of our democracy, and of liberal democracy.”

      • http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/03/20/republicans_what_about_michael_flynn_though.html

        The big headline from Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing is that FBI Director James Comey confirmed the existence of an ongoing investigation into potential connections between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence. This is a bad headline for the Republicans on the committee, because Donald Trump is a Republican. So they are earnestly trying to pretend that the hearing is actually about the inappropriateness of leaking classified information to the press, specifically the information that was leaked to the Washington Post about what U.S. surveillance had uncovered about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s pre-inauguration contact with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.

        What none of these gentlemen are mentioning, of course, is that the surveillance leaks revealed that Flynn had lied when he denied having discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak on the day that those sanctions were announced by the Obama administration. Such a conversation, having taken place while Flynn was still technically a private citizen, might have violated U.S. law, which could be why he’d lied about it in the first place, and he resigned. Since resigning, he’s become involved in a second foreign influence scandal, this one covering paid lobbying work he did on behalf of the Turkish government through a front company while he was advising Trump on matters of national security.

        So, yeah, Trey Gowdy and the other Republicans aren’t asking about that stuff.

    • Former Clinton campaign staffers feign frustration about Russia preferring Trump over Clinton.

      From Politico:

      Noting that Comey said it is “correct” to say that Russia preferred Trump to Clinton in the election, former Clinton communications staffer Tyrone Gayle, now the press secretary for California Sen. Kamala Harris, wrote, “That sound you just heard was every ex-Clinton staffer banging their heads on the wall from California to DC.”

      http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/james-comey-russia-hearing-clinton-campaign-reaction-236262

      Gee, whenever Berniecrats noted that the thumb was on the scale for Clinton and got proof of it thanks to wikileaks, denials still ensued:

      The following night, Clinton and primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. were asked questions about the lead poisoning in Flint, although that exact question was not asked.

      In another email, dated Mar. 12, she passed on to Palmieri a question on the death penalty set to be asked in a Mar. 13 town hall and said: “From time to time I get the questions in advance.” After Palmieri responded, Brazile wrote back: “I’ll send a few more.”

      However, in an interview with Fox News on Oct. 19, Brazile denied helping Clinton during the primaries. She said she was being persecuted and questioned the credibility of the hacked files.

      “As a Christian woman, I understand persecution, but I will not sit here and be persecuted,” Brazile said. “Your information is totally false.”

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/17/brazile-admits-forwarded-debate-questions-to-clinton-camp.html

      Then she admits she did forward the questions.

      Sigh.

      • If Donna had a Pinocchio type nose it would be quite lengthy!

        http://www.webcreationsbyjumpy.com/comics/comics_graphics/pinocchio/images/pinocchio014.gif

        Oh I almost forgot!

        ““As a Christian woman, I understand persecution, but I will not sit here and be persecuted,” Brazile said. “Your information is totally false.”

        That makes everything OK!

        • understanding various groups’ persecution makes everything the Dems do OK!

          we’re having an election for DPO chair (I can’t vote, b/c I’m not a chair of a district or other pcp elected at our county reorg, and several of our pcps that we elected specifically on the Berniecrat slate are voting for the establishment Dem. They foisted her on the party only after they knew our guy was running and somehow got Merkley to endorse. GRRRRRRRRRRR!

          Although of course I want them to vote their conscience, if they were going to go for the Hill side of the equation, they shouldn’t have run as a Berner. Disappointed that Merkley caved, too.

          • That is assuming that they have a conscience!

            Many will say whatever it takes to get elected. Once there it is a completely different story.

            • Some sell their soul pretty fast once their “in”

            • i still love ’em and think that they’re more those techno types that love “experience” over passion. and i think they hardened their positions more after several people got mad.

              hoping that next time they go for the passionate Berner over more experience. establishment will always have more “experience.”

              There’s a sort of split among the Berners–those that think that they agree with a lot of what Hill stands for, and those that are still mad at the whole Hill thing and are ready to Bern up the Party!!!! :O)

              I get that I want to be reasonable and friendly, b/c otherwise people just get more entrenched in their “side,” but I also want to stay strong in the reasons I’m even here still.

              Nice to have a place like this where I can vent, although I suppose I should invite more of this crowd on over and keep my local musings to myself after I do. :O)

      • Yes, and she said she’s not sorry about it, too.

    • Oh My! The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-airlines-electronics-idUSKBN16R2JN?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=58d0520e04d3012d7248950b&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

      U.S. authorities are planning to ban passengers traveling on certain U.S.-bound foreign airline flights from carrying on larger electronic devices in response to an unspecified terrorism threat, a U.S. government official told Reuters.

      The official said no American carriers are impacted by the ban, which would involve devices larger than a cell phone. The new rule is expected to be announced on Tuesday by the Homeland Security Department and cover about a dozen foreign carriers.

      I wonder if this will pass the Court test?

    • I came across this article and finally someone seems to get IT.

      https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/03/trump-pelosi-clinton-resistance-movement-russia-maddow/

      Democratic elites are delusional — you can’t subdue the reactionary right without a robust alternative political vision.

      For some time now, this view of the political divide — Democrats are consummate pragmatists, Republicans are rigid slaves to dogma — has predominated in elite liberal circles. Hillary Clinton, after all, centered her campaign on competence and experience far more than any actual conception of politics.

      And despite the resulting disaster, this desire to have a politics without politics — this strategy to build a coalition bereft of any clear values or principles — has continued to animate liberals’ opposition to Trump. Democrats really believe, it seems, that they can subdue the reactionary right without articulating any alternative political vision beyond prudent governance.

      I only included a few excerpts. The article is surely worth a read in its entirety

    • Sure is very kind of Big Oil. I am sure there is no alternative reasoning.

    • I have no idea how much it will help but it surely won’t hurt.

  • VX Explained

    Following the assassination of Kim Jung-Nam (half brother to North Korea’s current dictator Kim Jung-Un) last month at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport, I thought it might be worthwhile to expl […]

    • Time Chrystal

      A time crystal or space-time crystal is an open system in non-equilibrium with its environment that exhibits time translation symmetry breaking (TTSB). In March 2017, it was reported that the theoretical concept of time crystals had been proven, showing that, contrary to the expectation of the laws of thermodynamics, it has been shown to be impossible for these crystals to be in equilibrium with their environment over time.[1]

      The idea of a time crystal was first put forward by Nobel laureate and MIT professor Frank Wilczek in 2012.[a] Space-time crystals extend the ordinary three-dimensional symmetry seen in crystals to include the fourth dimension of time; a time crystal spontaneously breaks the symmetry of time translation. The crystal’s pattern repeats not in space, but in time, which allows for the crystal to be in perpetual motion.[3] Time crystals are closely related to the concepts of zero-point energy and the dynamical Casimir effect.

      this article form wiki gets into quantum physics and other weird stuff.

      One can get through the words but really deep. I was a math major all the way through so I saw a link to topological order so it sounded like topology classes I took in my graduate math classes. Here are the first two paragraph from the link (also a wiki article)

      In physics, topological order[1] is a kind of order in zero-temperature phase of matter (also known as quantum matter). Macroscopically, topological order is defined/described by robust ground state degeneracy[2] and quantized non-Abelian geometric phases of degenerate ground states.[1] Microscopically, topological order corresponds to patterns of long-range quantum entanglement.[3] States with different topological orders (or different patterns of long range entanglements) cannot change into each other without a phase transition.

      Topologically ordered states have some interesting properties, such as (1) topological degeneracy and fractional statistics/non-abelian statistics that can be used to realize topological quantum computer; (2) perfect conducting edge states that may have important device applications; (3) emergent gauge field and Fermi statistics that suggest a quantum information origin of elementary particles (it from qubit);[4] (4) topological entanglement entropy that reveals the entanglement origin of topological order, etc. Topological order is important in the study of several physical systems such as spin liquids,[5][6][7][8] the quantum Hall effect,[9][10] along with potential applications to fault-tolerant quantum computation.[11]

      I got my Ph. D. in math 44 years ago and there was nothing like physics in the abstract topological spaces we played around with. No point in giving the link because can find from the first article.

      A friend sent this article to me.

      Strange that about the same time I was reading an article on Bruno Latour and Charles Peguy. The latter was a poet, pamphleteer and an philosopher and was killed in WWI in 1914. Bruno looks to his work and his challenge to modernity (le monde moderene) as relevant to today. The article by Latour on Penguy has an introduction. Notice what it says about readers and then ends with space-time

      Latour celebrates Péguy as a reader of le monde moderne. He describes
      how, for Péguy, reading must always entail a collaboration between reader
      and text, a form of travailler avec,6 in which each must act reciprocally
      upon the other in order to synthesize a new reality out of what was
      present before. In this arrangement the reader is called—or “deployed,”
      as Péguy might say—to read in such a way as to create, literally, a new
      space-time, participating in the glorious reality of the Bergsonian élan
      vital. The reader who succeeds in this task will be lauded by Péguy as a
      revolutionary, as a hero or as a saint. The reader who fails in this task,
      however, will find himself castigated for succumbing to the spirit of the
      age, for passively rehashing ready-made concepts and ideas, for mutating
      and deforming a living tradition, and for applying a hermeneutic
      to the text that is valid for the natural sciences alone (hence, Péguy’s
      disdain for the old Sorbonnards such as Gustave Lanson). A true reading
      experience, then, is one that is constantly renewed by each successive
      generation. The reading experience we find in modernity, by contrast,
      is calcified and habituated: “Homer is new this morning,” Péguy tells
      us, “and there is nothing perhaps so old as today’s newspaper.”7 What
      results for those inhabiting le monde moderne, then, is nothing less than
      a deflation of space-time

      Latour’s work with 15 modes of existence is a project to unravel the many contradictory themes of modernity which get in the way of, for example, not realizing that The New Climate Regime is the emergency facing the world and it cuts across all institutions and all cultures and all non humans (at least those in the Earth/Gaia thin layer that we have only and always inhabited and have to return to rather than looking to some transcendent God or promise of technology to save us). This article does not address what was in parenthesis but that is covered many other places.

      Another comment from the introduction to the article. Notice that Latour leads us into a new understanding of space-time, and through his work on An Inquiry into the Modes of Existence to understand how we have been able to deny and deflect The New Climate Regime

      Latour’s own project, from day one, has been likewise concerned with
      tracing the mediations and translations that determine the reality we
      inhabit, a reality that is all-too-frequently obscured for us by a worldview—
      by a form of “reading,” we might say—that has been imposed upon
      us by le monde moderne.8 Moreover, in his most recent project, Latour
      invites us to join him in investigating how the space-time of modernity
      can be recaptured or thought anew by means of a plurality of modes
      of existence.9

      In Latour’s short article he notes that Penguy used poetry to express things that could not be expressed in other speech. That was a really important insight for me who only in recent years have been able to get into poetry a little bit. And of the 15 modes of existence, with major ones being Science, Religion, Law, Politics, another one is Fiction. Only in the last couple of years have I gotten into fiction.

      This article is behind a pay wall. I can send out a pdf. If you let me know your email address I will be glad to send it out to you.

      I seem to be a broken record on Latour….

      • OH MY God. Thw whole post ended up with no paragraph marks. Have to run off to church. Will fix it later and put in white spaces. and quotes

        don

        • no worries – when one clicks on “Read more” at the end of your comment, it opens to include your intended paragraphs.

      • Thanks Don. I thought about writing about time crystals, but I don’t fully understand them (yet!). I did find this video (one of many) that is illustrative:

        Regards

    • Thanks, beimbob

    • A real alien invasion would be more one sided than the Spanish Conquest of the Americas. Just imagine what advantages a species with a ten thousand year head start on us would have. They could most probably simply kill us off with a virus and mop up the survivors.

  • I am happily distracted from politics by NCAA basketball.

    In the comment section below I will insert a few things to get the conversation started.

    • Guess who is going to pay for it if it is fact ever built?

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-borderwall-idUSKBN16P0NX?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued requests for proposals for prototypes for a wall along the Mexican border, saying ideally it should be 30 feet (9 meters) high and the wall facing the U.S. side should be “aesthetically pleasing in color.”

      A wall to stem illegal immigration was one of Donald Trump’s main campaign promises and has been highly controversial. The president has vowed to make Mexico reimburse the United States for its cost but Mexico has repeatedly said it will not do so.

      Earlier this week, the White House requested $3 billion more for Homeland Security, with some of that intended for planning and building the border wall.

      According to one document posted online by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Friday night, the wall should be 30 feet high, built using concrete, and “physically imposing.” However, it says designs over 18 feet (5.5 meters) high could be acceptable.

    • Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • A disturbing fact!

    • Trump still has a few things to learn about diplomacy.

      He may have gotten away with statements like this on his reality show. But that is not how things work in the real world.

    • Thank for the thread Humphrey! I was busy replying to Don on the bottom of yesterday’s open thread.

      Happy Saturday everyone!!

      Are you rooting for anyone in particular in the tournament? I’m not really following it but I think I saw that there’s been a couple of upsets?

    • This is for polarbear4 and for all. Last night the subject of the NJ Governor Democratic primary race came up. Things seem murky and somewhat smelly over there.

      This may be a piece of the puzzle:

      And for dessert:

    • Not sure if this was previously posted But Caitlin will be at this for a long time. Sadly!

      I’ll Stop Bashing Hillary When The Dems Stop Being The Kind Of Party That Created Her.

      http://www.newslogue.com/debate/396/CaitlinJohnstone

      I’m fond of reminding Democrats that the ruling elites of their party just tried to install into the most powerful political office on the planet an unfathomably corrupt candidate who was trying to start a world war with a nuclear superpower. This invariably gets a lot of “Why are you still talking about Hillary? Focus on Trump!” pushback from Democratic party loyalists who haven’t yet reconciled themselves with the cognitive dissonance of having voted for the apocalypse, but I think there’s still a lot of value in bringing this up. After all, the Democratic party is still showing us precisely zero signs of turning away from the path that nearly inflicted that horror on us in the first place.

    • Caitlin tears into progressives favorite interim DNC chair. LOL.

      http://www.newslogue.com/debate/398/CaitlinJohnstone

      When WikiLeaks first revealed that DNC official and CNN pundit Donna Brazile had illicitly passed debate questions in advance to Hillary Clinton for the CNN town hall debate, she sang a very different tune than the one she’s singing in her recent op-ed for Time. When questioned about the October leak drops shortly after their release, Brazile insisted that the documents revealing her DNC Charter-violating behavior had been “altered”, “doctored”, “re-adapted”, and consisted of “falsified information”. Now, as though she’s been saying it this entire time, Brazile asserts in Time that she had been helping the Sanders campaign as much as she’d helped Clinton because it was her job to “make all our Democratic candidates look good,” but accuses WikiLeaks of “selectively releasing” only the emails that showed her helping Clinton cheat.

      • Speaking of tearing into, Colbert and Samantha Bee have had me LMAO of late. They have been on fire of late. But them again Trump Inc provides them with a boat load of material to work with.

    • Sports related.

      I am guessing that wi58 is a happy camper as Wisconsin just pulled off a big upset in the tournament.

      • 🙂 🙂 🙂 The main reason I didn’t check in yesterday, celebrating with friends.

    • Sam Ronan is still fighting the good fight.

    • Here is one online travel booking sight that I won’t be utilizing!

      • I will use the search engine to gauge the marketplace, but you’re right, there are plenty of other sites to make online travel bookings.

    • Why not? It is certainly worth a try.

      • Prairie Dogs are cute but they did cause some havoc when America was more rural. Horses broke their legs when walking accidentally into one of their potholes.

        They are funny when you can spot them though.

        Fact: Lubbock, TX has a dedicated space for prairie dogs. It’s called Prairie Dog Town.

        https://www.yelp.com/biz/prairie-dog-town-lubbock

    • 🙂

    • Benny replied 5 days ago

      Rock and Roll music lost another great legend. Chuck Berry passed away today. He was 90.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/chuck-berry-wild-man-of-rock-who-helped-define-its-rebellious-spirit-dies-at-90/2017/03/18/1f2038f6-0c29-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.cbb31e711428

      I didn’t tune into his music until my teens when he enjoyed a revival of sorts with a live & updated version of “Reelin & Rockin”.

      He fought against racism.

      RIP Chuck Berry.

    • Many of us can remember his tunes.

      • Benny replied 5 days ago

        I posted mine only a few min before yours!

        Viva “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven”!

        And the silly was still good, “My Ding-a-Ling”….

    • I guess that Trump is having some impact.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-g20-germany-trade-idUSKBN16P0FN?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=58cdc42604d3016787270146&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

      Financial leaders of the world’s biggest economies dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States after a two-day meeting failed to yield a compromise.

      Breaking a decade-long tradition of endorsing open trade, G20 finance ministers and central bankers made only a token reference to trade in their communique on Saturday, a clear defeat for host nation Germany, which fought the new U.S. government’s attempts to water down past commitments.

      The bad part is THIS:

      CLIMATE PLEDGE DROPPED

      The communique also dropped a reference, used by the G20 last year, on the readiness to finance measures against climate change as agreed in Paris in 2015, because of opposition from the United States and Saudi Arabia.

      He is a Asshole!

      • “He is a Asshole”!
        ————————-
        That’s fer sure!! Dumber than a rock, too. T and R and thanks for holding down the fort for LD/JD on these Weekend Updates. You guys are terrific!! 🙂

    • Same here as Bucky Badger busted a whole lot of brackets yesterday 🙂 A yuge win to distract me from the current disaster of my state’s and national politics.

  • Happy Friday everyone! I’ll put all the Bernie, Trump, Democratic party, pipeline/environmental, etc. news in the comments but kicking off with a music video as part of my quest to highlight Indigenous hip/hop […]

    • Bernie Sanders in town to kick off Windham Grows

      U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., showed his support of a new business accelerator by sharing a stage with representatives from local, state and federal groups behind the ambitious program.

      “Our job is to add value to the food that comes out of the earth to make it healthy and make jobs in the community,” Sanders said Thursday at the Latchis Theatre during an event billed as “the formal kick-off” for Windham Grows. “That’s exactly what Windham Grows does.”

      Windham Grows is described as a small business development program or “business hatchery” that seeks to build the food and agriculture business sector in Windham County by connecting businesses with services, resources and financing. More than $300,000 in funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U. S. Department of Agriculture and Windham County Economic Development Program will keep participation in the program free.

      ..

      Sanders called Brattleboro one of the most progressive places not only in Vermont but in the country. After campaigning for president, he said he’s learned that the American people support a progressive agenda. He blamed the weakness of the Democratic party and grassroots efforts for the election of President Donald Trump. He’s worried that wealth and income inequality will only widen under Trump.

      “Despite the wishes of the people of Brattleboro, Windham County and the state of Vermont, we have a president that most of us did not support,” he said.

      “This president is moving us in exactly the wrong direction in every major issue facing our country.”

    • Sen. Bernie Sanders Holds Court With Students In Academy Gym (unfortunately I cant read this article without a subscription, but sharing it just incase it works for someone else)

      • Just finally had a chance to watch that. It was very cathartic. 😉 Thank you!

    • Health care tops Sanders’ meet

      Absence definitely made the heart fonder.

      More than 1,500 men, women and children packed the gymnasium at Riverside Middle School on Thursday night to see Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who returned their enthusiasm and delivered one of his classic speeches about health care, economic opportunity and college affordability.

      The crowd, sitting on folding chairs and on bleachers, warmly cheered Sanders’ at almost every turn, and gave him standing ovations when he talked about fighting racism and cuts in health care. The crowd stomped their feet in approval when he called for “Medicare for all.”

      “This is a fantastic turnout,” Sanders said. “Democracy is alive and well in Springfield.”

      But if there was an issue people brought up again and again, it was health care: health care for single moms, mental health care for veterans, and treatment for people addicted to drugs and alcohol.

      Sanders said the cuts in the American Health Care Act proposed by President Donald Trump would mean thousands of Vermonters losing coverage and would shift the burden of paying for nursing homes onto middle-class families.

    • Bernie Sanders Rightfully Refers to Democratic Party as a Sinking Ship

      In a New York Times Magazine article about the future of the Democratic Party, Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked what he thinks the party stands for. “You’re asking a good question, and I can’t give you a definitive answer. Certainly there are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats,” Sanders said.

      Sanders is right that the Democratic Party is a sinking ship. It seems that the Democratic leadership would prefer to destroy the party in its entirety rather than concede political power to progressives in order to start recouping their losses. Since Hillary Clinton lost the presidency, every push for reform has been ignored by the Democratic establishment. Wall Street puppet Sen. Chuck Schumer was elected as Senate minority leader over more popular progressive options. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has presided over the Democrats losing over 60 seats in the house, was re-elected easily. The establishment selected their own DNC chair candidate, former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, who sabotaged Sanders’ candidacy. The DCCC and DSCC leadership has been virtually unchanged. The DNC has doubled down on the establishment’s failed politics by hiring staffers from Clinton’s poorly run presidential campaign, and it has granted Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Center for American Progress and Clinton propaganda hit man David Brock even more influence over the Democratic Party.

      The focus of the Democratic Party’s resistance to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party has primarily revolved around Russian election interference allegations and sensationalizing any links between Trump officials and Russian diplomats. The narrative has served as a useful marketing and fundraising tool to rally its loyal supporter base without taking meaningful actions on policy.

      The Democratic Party stands for its wealthy donors, their preferred candidates and centrist policies. It consistently fails to adopt bold, meaningful reforms to address the worsening issues facing individuals and communities across the country like lack of healthcare, poverty, increasing wealth inequality, stagnant wages, aging infrastructure and a disappearing middle class. This has been demonstrated by the Democratic Party’s refusal to take a stand against Wall Street, instead opting to court Wall Street bankers as donors and lobbyists.

    • DOJ Docs Raise Questions About Gorsuch’s Views on Torture and Executive Power

      With just days until Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a new trove of documents is raising additional questions about the federal judge’s time at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where he “played a key role in defending the torture and detention policies that have been rejected by the courts and by our country,” according to one group.

      From June 2005 to August 2006, Gorsuch served as the principal deputy to the associate attorney general under former President George W. Bush.

      Last week, the department turned over to the Judiciary Committee roughly 150,000 pages of documents related to Gorsuch’s tenure there—and as the New York Times reported Wednesday, they show Gorsuch was “at the center of both litigation and negotiations with Congress” over issues including detainee abuses, military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and the Bush administration’s broad claims of executive power. Read some examples here.

      “References to those efforts may offer clues to Judge Gorsuch’s approach to the sort of national-security and executive power issues that rarely come before his appeals court but can be crucial at the Supreme Court,” wrote Times reporter Charlie Savage.

      • Everything You Need to Know About Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch if You Care About Reproductive Rights

        Paul Ryan says he’s “phenomenal.” Anti-abortion activists say he’s “exceptional.” Here’s what we say: Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is a danger to our fundamental rights – and he must be stopped.

        Judge Gorsuch has an alarming history of interfering with reproductive rights and health, including women’s access to birth control and care at Planned Parenthood. That’s all the more frightening now that lawmakers in the House are forging ahead with their legislation to cut patients off from care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

        ..

        Judge Gorsuch has:

        *Argued in favor of letting bosses deny their employees birth control coverage: Gorsuch ruled against women’s access to contraception, and in favor of the idea that corporations are people. In fact, Gorsuch wants to go even further than the Hobby Lobby decision in blocking employees’ access to insurance coverage for birth control.

        *Sided with a politician who wanted to deny patients access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers in Utah: Gorsuch wanted to allow the state of Utah to block access to health care and education for thousands of Planned Parenthood’s patients. If this policy had gone into effect, it would have cut off access to an after-school sex education program for teens and chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and treatment for at-risk communities.

        *Been highly critical of LGBTQ advocates and others who turn to the courts to protect their constitutional rights: In fact, Gorsuch rejected a claim from a transgender woman incarcerated in Oklahoma that the state violated her rights by denying her hormone treatments and gender-appropriate clothing.

      • Gorsuch
        Gorka

        Coincidence? 😉 The way conspiracy theories fly around these days, who knows! Srsly tho, Gorka, Gorsuch, they’re both bad.

        Gorka is a top terrorism adviser to Trump

        Gorka was previously national-security editor at Breitbart, whose former CEO Steve Bannon is now President Trump’s top strategist. His views on Islam also closely align with those of the president and many of his top aides. They are, however, far outside the mainstream of scholarship of terrorism and Islam, and experts in the field view his qualifications as questionable.

        • Bannon does tRump’s thinking. That’s very scary. He’s unhealthy so hopefully he’ll drop dead suddenly like Breitbart did. And soon. 🙂

          • Hubby put his foot down, something he rarely does, years ago on my looking forward to anyone’s death (*cough* Cheney), says it’s bad karma, but Bannon doesn’t exactly look like a healthy man!

    • President Blowback: How the Invasion of Iraq Came Home

      If you want to know where President Donald Trump came from, if you want to trace the long winding road (or escalator) that brought him to the Oval Office, don’t look to reality TV or Twitter or even the rise of the alt-right. Look someplace far more improbable: Iraq.

      Donald Trump may have been born in New York City. He may have grown to manhood amid his hometown’s real estate wars. He may have gone no further than Atlantic City, New Jersey, to casino-ize the world and create those magical golden letters that would become the essence of his brand. He may have made an even more magical leap to television without leaving home, turning “You’re fired!” into a household phrase. Still, his presidency is another matter entirely. It’s an immigrant. It arrived, fully radicalized, with its bouffant over-comb and eternal tan, from Iraq.

      Despite his denials that he was ever in favor of the 2003 invasion of that country, Donald Trump is a president made by war. His elevation to the highest office in the land is inconceivable without that invasion, which began in glory and ended (if ended it ever did) in infamy. He’s the president of a land remade by war in ways its people have yet to absorb. Admittedly, he avoided war in his personal life entirely. He was, after all, a Vietnam no-show. And yet he’s the president that war brought home. Think of him not as President Blowhard but as President Blowback.

      • Excellent article about how US has become a military empire which cleared the path for demagogues like Trump

        Military empires fail. Maybe we are the last empire on Earth.

        • They always do fail, History says so. Its the arrogance of the military empire that thinks that they wont fall where the other empires did. They always believe that they can hold on to power.

    • Skinny Budget” Disregards Science, Placing Communities at Risk Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

      President Trump released his proposed “skinny budget” today. Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of UCS. Kimmell is also the former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative board chair.

      “President Trump’s budget doubles down on antiquated ideas and misguided science, which will hurt our economy, kill jobs, make us less safe and widen the equity gap, all to pay for military budget increases we don’t need.

      “Inhumanely cutting EPA’s budget by nearly one-third will assure that communities, especially low-income ones, will be at higher risks of exposure to toxics and pollutants that damage health and the environment.

      “Big cuts to budgets at FEMA, NOAA and NASA, including key satellite programs, will undermine our nation’s ability to forecast weather, prepare for and recover from disasters, and safeguard national security. These cuts will also limit our ability to monitor the impacts of ever-worsening global climate change. Such misguided changes will put the safety of Americans at risk, while costing taxpayers more in disaster assistance over the long haul.

      “This budget also gives more funds to DOE’s nuclear weapons programs while gutting its clean energy and efficiency programs, including federal support for clean energy innovation, by eliminating ARPA-E and putting a stranglehold on the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Investments in energy efficiency programs over the last 25 years have saved consumers money and avoided the need for the equivalent of more than 300 additional large power plants.

      • Trump Budget is Dirty and Dangerous for Americans and the Planet

        “President Trump’s budget is dirty and dangerous and fails to protect our health or our planet. This budget virtually eliminates funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways from the San Francisco Bay to the Puget Sound, from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay. This budget also fails to address the Flint water crisis or dozens of other lead in drinking water disasters. Slashing EPA’s overall budget by more than a third means the agency cannot adequately enforce our clean air and clean water safeguards. It is basically a “get out of jail free card” for polluters. In addition Trump’s proposed budget underfunds environmental issues that matter to millions of Americans—like climate action, clean energy, and our national parks.”

        • Dirty, Dangerous

          Add mean, sick, disastrous

          In an Op-Ed by Bruno Latour with the title “Who are the terrorists” — are they the small numbers who can be handled with police action, or are they the humans whose actions against Gaia will result in the deaths of millions if not billions and non humans as well.

          Bruno says we are under attack from Gaia and need to be on a war footing which will involve everyone, every institution, etc.

          It is a war of Humans vs Earthbounds

          Earthbounds are returning to the earth, Gaia

          This is harsh. It is saying that we are already past the tipping point. And the elites know it and are out to grab all they can and suppress the humans and extract resources like burning tropical forests.

        • Was anyone surprised ,a budget by the 1% for the 1%. The planet and the 99% be damned, I’ll also add destructive to LD’s and DM’s words.

    • Military action against North Korea ‘an option’, warns Rex Tillerson

      A pre-emptive US military strike against North Korea may be necessary if the threat posed by its nuclear weapons programme reaches a level that “requires action”, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has warned.

      Speaking in Seoul on the second day of a visit to the Asia-Pacific region, Tillerson said Washington’s policy of “strategic patience” towards the regime in Pyongyang had ended.

      In his strongest comments yet on concerns that North Korea is moving closer towards developing a nuclear strike capability that could threaten the US mainland, Tillerson said “all options are on the table”.

      “Certainly we do not want to, for things to get to military conflict,” he said at a joint press conference with South Korea’s foreign minister, Yun Byung-se.

      “If they elevate the threat of their weapons programme to a level that we believe requires action, then that option’s on the table.

      “Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures.”

      • Gotta use up that budget as an excuse to expand it next year…

        Trump’s Mideast surge has Pentagon debating ‘mission creep’

        President Donald Trump’s pressure on the military to “demolish and destroy” the Islamic State is raising anxiety inside the Pentagon that the United States could end up in another open-ended ground war, according to current and former military officials.

        The U.S. has quietly sent hundreds of additional troops to Iraq and Syria since Trump took office, and is considering dispatching thousands more to counter ISIS, fight militants in Yemen and stem a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. But the deliberations are testing Trump’s promise to steer clear of foreign entanglements, and has his military commanders questioning whether they can maintain their meticulously drawn line between supporting local forces and leading the fight.

        “How much more blood do we want to shed for Iraq?” asked one senior officer who recently returned from the war zone.

        The escalating risk of U.S. casualties is shadowing the Pentagon’s internal strategy sessions, the officials said in interviews. Trump’s demand for a more aggressive strategy also raises concerns among commanders about whether they can accomplish the mission without turning U.S. troops into a substitute for local fighters, which until now have depended only on U.S. military advisers, special operations forces and air strikes.

        “Some call this accelerating the campaign; some call it mission creep,” said one military officer involved in the discussions who was not authorized to speak publicly.

      • For Christ’s sake didn’t these dopes learn anything from the last time. Now a days China has more clout than back then. They carry a portion of the US’s debt and since US corporations have placed all their manufacturing eggs in China’s basket they could bring pressure to bear economically as well. Sabre rattling by Tillerson he wont do anything to hurt corporate profits.

    • GCHQ dismisses ‘utterly ridiculous’ claim it helped wiretap Trump

      British intelligence officials have denied an allegation that the UK helped former president Barack Obama “wiretap” Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

      The claim was repeated by the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, on Thursday and dismissed as “utterly ridiculous” by a GCHQ spokesperson.

      The spokesperson added in a statement: “Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”

      This week, Napolitano, Fox News judicial analyst, claimed during an interview on the network that three intelligence sources confirmed to him that the Obama administration used GCHQ to spy on Trump so that there would be “no American fingerprints on this”.

      Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, quoted Napolitano’s allegation in an effort to validate Trump’s unfounded claim that Obama tapped his phones last year.

      • U.S. Formally Apologizes to U.K. Over Trump’s Spying Claims

        According to a report in The Telegraph, U.S. officials have formally apologized to the U.K. for claiming that British intelligence agencies spied on President Trump during the election campaign at the behest of President Obama. The British newspaper reports that British intelligence sources say the apology came directly from White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Gen. H.R. McMaster, the U.S. national security adviser.

      • Congress’ wiretap slap leaves White House fuming

        President Donald Trump suffered the second bipartisan rebuke from Congress over his wiretapping claims in two days — and left it to his embattled spokesman, Sean Spicer, to explain that the president didn’t actually mean what he wrote.

        The Republican chairman and top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday shot down Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

        Their statement comes a day after the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee also cast doubt on Trump’s claim.

        The stunning rebukes from senior Republicans are the latest sign that many in the GOP are increasingly frustrated with a president who has made a habit of hurling inflammatory insults on Twitter at his political rivals — or even his reality-television rivals — often without evidence and sometimes based on conspiracy theories.

        • Hannah Arendt in an article at least 50 years ago — just looked it up it ws 46 years ago and behind a pay wall at NY Review of Books. I can get it because I subscribe.

          The Pentagon Papers, like so much else in history, tell different stories, teach different lessons to different readers. Some claim they have only now understood that Vietnam was the “logical” outcome of the cold war or the anticommunist ideology, others that this is a unique opportunity to learn about decision making processes in government. But most readers have by now agreed that the basic issue raised by the Papers is deception. At any rate, it is obvious that this issue was uppermost in the minds of those who compiled the Pentagon Papers for The New York Times, and it is at least probable that this was also an issue for the team of writers who prepared the forty-seven volumes of the original study.

          The famous credibility gap, which has been with us for six long years, has suddenly opened up into an abyss. The quicksand of lying statements of all sorts, deceptions as well as self-deceptions, is apt to engulf any reader who wishes to probe this material, which, unhappily, he must recognize as the infrastructure of nearly a decade of United States foreign and domestic policy.

          Lies are a house of cards that eventually collapse. I thought for years that the lies of the W Bush administration would collapse, but I am wrong. Now we have obvious lies every day from Trumpism.

          Worse that lies is not facing reality. Again reading another Latour book about how reality has been hidden behind Nature vs. Culture, Subject vs. Object, Fact vs Opinion/value dichotomies since the Enlightenment. Latour and Graham Harman are bringing realism back to the forefront. What has been going on is Idealism which puts the human subject in the drivers sear.

          Again, too much here and I don’t know enough to work through it, so I just dump it out.

          Here is the link to the Hannah Arendt Article

          Lying in Politics: Reflections on The Pentagon Papers

          You can find out more by searching for Hannah Arendt and get web pages from people keeping her message alive. And probably can find a copy of the article that is not behind a paywall. For sure, you can find summaries of her work

      • Juan Cole on this today

        Yep.

        US support of apartheid, like it did in South Africa

        Long Live Cherished US Values!!!

        The City on a Hill who can do no wrong!!!

        If we support Israel, Israel must be doing the right things!!!

        (Now for a typing error that is related to comments made other places today.

        Once I made a spelling error on this word and spelled it Isreal, Is – real. I then went on to make a comment on Juan Cole’s blog.

        But for Bruno Latour and Graham Harman, the bigger issue than Truth is Reality.

        Is unreal, Is real

        What the Zionists have done, starting with the Zionist project formulated before 1900, on the model of colonization, is an ongoing apartheid. Colonization is now much better understood and outbreaks by the formerly other, like Native Americans, and others through out the world, shows the colonization corruption. )

      • UN’s Rima Khalaf quits over report accusing Israel of apartheid

        A UN official has resigned after saying the UN had pressured her to withdraw a report accusing Israel of apartheid over its treatment of Palestinians.

        The report was published by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), led by Under Secretary General Rima Khalaf.

        As of Friday, it was no longer visible on the ESCWA’s website.

        Speaking in the Lebanese capital Beirut, Ms Khalaf, a Jordanian, said she had submitted her resignation to Mr Guterres after he insisted on the report’s withdrawal.

        “We expected of course that Israel and its allies would put huge pressure on the secretary general of the UN so that he would disavow the report, and that they would ask him to withdraw it,” she was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

        The report itself said it had established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid”.

    • Video @ link:

      White House calls climate change funding ‘a waste of your money’

      The administration has unveiled President Donald Trump’s first budget, including a proposed 31% cut in funding to the Environmental Protection Agency. The cuts would remove funding for the Clean Power Plan and scrap all climate change research programs and partnerships. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney confirmed on Thursday that the new administration had no interest in funding to combat climate change, saying: ‘We’re not spending money on that any more. We consider that to be a waste of your money’

      • No, Feeding Hungry Kids and Seniors Isn’t a Waste of Money

        According to the latest US Department of Agriculture figures, 3 million US households with children were food insecure in 2015—meaning that “these households were unable at times during the year to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children.”

        • An initiative called the Child and Adult Care Food Program serves meals and snacks to around 3.7 million children on average each day in day care facilities, at a cost of about $3 billion annually. Note that Trump is calling for an increase in military spending of $54 billion annually, equal to 18 times that budgetary outlay.

        • According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hunger takes a toll on student achievement, and alleviating it helps.

        Not content to advocate taking food out of the mouths of low-income kids, Mulvaney also took a poke at old people in need. “Meals on Wheels sounds great,” Mulvaney said during the same press conference. But he added, “We’re not going to spend [money] on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.”

        Yet research from Brown University’s Kali Thomas shows that Meals on Wheels helps keep elderly people safely in their homes and out of crushingly expensive institutions, resulting in significant savings for most state governments. Her latest study, from 2015, found that “seniors living alone who received meals showed statistically significant reductions in feelings of isolation” and “felt significantly less lonely, were less worried about staying in their homes,” and “experienced fewer falls and hospitalizations.”

      • Bruno Latour again

        I linked this before

        I begin with the simple idea that climate change and its denial have been organizing all of contemporary politics at least for the last three decades. Climate change plays the same role that social questions and the class struggle played over the two preceding centuries.

        Second and third paragraphs

        We can understand nothing about the way inequalities have exploded for forty years, and the accompanying movement towards massive deregulation, if we don’t admit that a good part of the globalized elite had perfectly understood what was going on with the bad news about the state of the planet, which, thanks to the work of scientists, began to crystallize at the beginning of the nineties.

        Since the threat was real, the elites drew the conclusion that it would be necessary to adopt two opposing courses of action. First, give up the post-war liberal dream of a common world created by the modernization of the planet—so, let’s cut ourselves off as quickly as possible, through deregulation at any price, from the rest of the inhabitants to whom we sold this dream of universality; secondly, systematically organize long-term denial of this ecological change, which nevertheless brings in not just the environment but what is called the Earth-system

        Title is Europe, Only Europe — because now that Trumpism, the US has gone rogue and Europe is on its own

        Europe alone—only Europe

        I will put in a stand alone comment from George Monbiot. He has a 2 minute statement on the evils of Neo Liberalism and the challenge of the environment. The whole 16 min segment is worth watching.

    • House recognizes tribes’ stance on pipeline

      The New Mexico House of Representatives passed a Senate Joint Memorial today that recognizes the support issued by 23 tribes for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s efforts to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      The measure was approved a vote of 34-30 and now moves to the Senate for action. A memorial does not have the force of law. Joint memorials are acted on by the House and Senate, according to the state Legislature website.

      Senators John Pinto, D-Gallup, and Benny Shendo Jr., D-Jemez Pueblo, sponsored the joint memorial. Neither respond to a request for comment by The Daily Times.

      The Navajo Nation is among the tribes supporting the effort by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to oppose the pipeline, which is noted in the joint memorial.
      pipeline’s final segment.

    • Standing Rock Tribal Leader Stresses Unity in DAPL Resistance

      While the battleground of the Dakota Access Pipeline has shifted from the plains of North Dakota to the courts of Washington, D.C., with the resistance camp dismantled thanks to U.S. President Donald Trump’s fast tracking of the project, leaders of the movement are far from giving up.

      In a release issued by the Standing Rock administration Thursday, the tribe’s chairman David Archambault II, talked at length of the divisions within the resistance against the pipeline. His underlying message, however, was to present a united front in the ongoing assault against Indigenous sovereignty and environmental land destruction.

      In that continued resistance, Native Americans from around the country held a four-day demonstration on the steps of Capitol Hill last week. For Archambault, that support was extraordinary.

      “It let the world know that people from around the world will stand together to resist attacks on our rights,” he said in the release. “We had an amazing lineup of speakers with a crowd of diverse supporters of Indigenous rights. I was proud to see so many people in DC, and I have always been thankful for everyone’s participation, even if some people disagree with my decisions.”

      • This. 2020 will be here before we know it.

        Sanders/Gabbard? Sanders/Turner? Sanders/Warren? Even though she’s been wishy-washy and I’m disappointed in her, a Sanders/Warren ticket might be the most unstoppable and she would bring a lot of experience and passion to the inequity in America (and globally). Plus she’d be popular with most of the Hill gang.

    • Syria mosque airstrike kills dozens of civilians near Aleppo

      At least 42 people were killed and dozens more wounded on Thursday in airstrikes on a village mosque in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

      “The raids by unidentified warplanes targeted a mosque in Aleppo province during evening prayers, killing 42 people, most of them civilians,” said the head of the Britain-based Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman.

      More than 100 people were wounded,” he said, adding that many were still trapped under the collapsed mosque in the village of Al-Jineh, just over 30km west of Aleppo.

      The village is held by rebel and Islamist groups, but no jihadist factions are present.

      There were reports the US had carried out the airstrike, which hit the mosque but there was no confirmation from either the Pentagon or Centcom.

      Instead Centcom sent out a press release saying the US had carried out a strike on al-Qaida targets in Idlib province in which “several terrorists” were killed. Despite repeated requests for clarification by the Guardian, none was forthcoming.

      • Syria: We Fired at Israeli Warplanes

        Syrian officials said Friday that the embattled nation’s military had fired at Israeli warplanes within Israeli-controlled territory in response to a series of Israeli strikes inside Syria. The violent exchange between the hostile neighbors was confirmed by both countries. The Israeli military said its airstrikes hit various targets in Syria, and that its jets had returned to Israeli airspace once missiles were fired from Syria

    • Sami people persuade Norway pension fund to divest from Dakota Access

      In an act of international solidarity between indigenous peoples, the Sami parliament in Norway has persuaded the country’s second largest pension fund to withdraw its money from companies linked to a controversial oil project backed by Donald Trump.

      The project to build the 1,900km Dakota Access oil pipeline across six US states has prompted massive protests from Native American activists at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

      This week, after lobbying by the Sami parliament, Norway’s local authority pension fund KLP announced it would sell of shares worth $58m in companies building the pipeline.

      Vibeke Larsen, president of the Sami parliament, said the pension fund announced the move when she arrived at a meeting in Oslo to discuss Dakota Access.

      “We feel a strong solidarity with other indigenous people in other parts of the world, so we are doing our part in Norway by putting pressure on the pension funds,” she told the Guardian.

      The Sami – sometimes called Lapps in English – are an indigenous people living in the Arctic area of Sápmi in the far north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola peninsula.

    • Entire homelessness agency could be eliminated by Trump’s budget cuts

      While much of the attention given to Donald Trump’s budget proposal has focused on dramatic cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency and the state department, amid the many cuts in the plan is the elimination of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (Usich).

      In addition, Trump’s budget would cut billions of dollars of funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which helps provide low-income housing.

      Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, warned in a statement that the proposal contained some of the deepest housing cuts since “President Reagan dramatically reduced funding in the early 1980s. Reagan’s deep spending cuts ushered in a new age of homelessness.”

      In an interview, she said the reductions might result in 200,000 low-income people no longer receiving rental assistance, putting them at risk of losing the roofs over their heads. About 550,000 people were experiencing homelessness on one night in 2016.

      “At a time when we have reached new heights of an affordable housing crisis, and lowest-income people are being impacted most severely, cutting resources is the wrong approach to ending homelessness,” she said.

    • Judge OKs warrant to reveal who searched a crime victim’s name on Google

      Police in a small suburban town of 50,000 people just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, have won a court order requiring Google to determine who has used its search engine to look up the name of a local financial fraud victim.

      The court order demanding such a massive search is perhaps the most expansive one we’ve seen unconnected to the US national security apparatus and, if carried out, could set an Orwellian precedent in a bid by the Edina Police Department to solve a wire-fraud crime worth less than $30,000.

      Investigators are focusing their probe on an online photo of someone with the same name of a local financial fraud victim. The image turned up on a fake passport used to trick a credit union to fraudulently transfer $28,500 out of an Edina man’s account, police said. The bogus passport was faxed to the credit union using a spoofed phone number to mimic the victim’s phone, according to the warrant application. (To

      The warrant demands Google to help police determine who searched for variations of the victim’s name between December 1 of last year through January 7, 2017. A Google search, the warrant application says, reveals the photo used on the bogus passport. The image was not rendered on Yahoo or Bing, according to the documents. The warrant commands Google to divulge “any/all user or subscriber information”—including e-mail addresses, payment information, MAC addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, and IP addresses—of anybody who conducted a search for the victim’s name


    • It’s official: Florida decides there’s more to sex than a man and a woman

      It took two years and three dictionaries, but the Florida supreme court finally determined on Thursday that “sexual intercourse” isn’t just between a man and a woman.

      The question arose during a case in which a man was charged with a third-degree felony for failing to reveal to his male partner that he was HIV-positive. His lawyer argued before the state’s high court in February 2015 that Florida laws were so narrowly defined that “sexual intercourse” did not apply to sexual activity between same-sex partners or any activity beyond traditional sex.

      The court rejected that argument, ruling that the legislature’s goal was clearly to reduce the spread of HIV when it enacted a 1986 law, even if it did not clearly spell out what it meant by “sexual intercourse”.

      “Because the Legislature did not define ‘sexual intercourse’ … we look to the dictionary in order to ascertain the plain and ordinary meaning of the term,” the court wrote in the unanimous decision before quoting three dictionaries

    • It’s time to talk about issues Americans care about most. Trump’s taxes aren’t it

      Working Americans are facing countless problems right now. Donald Trump’s tax returns don’t top the list – but you wouldn’t know that by listening to politicians or talking-heads. When will liberals start talking about issues that matter most to every day voters? You’d think that would be one obvious take away from this humiliating election.

      Hillary Clinton was notorious for systematically side-stepping the issues that mattered most to people. A recent study found that the proportion of policy-focused election ads – which amounted to 25% of all ads run by the Clinton campaign – were “by far the lowest percentage [the authors] have seen” since the data became available.

      The failure of this strategy needs no further explanation: Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States, and he has a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, yet it appears that Democrats and their liberal allies have not yet gotten the message.

      returns on Rachel Maddow’s nightly MSNBC broadcast. It showed that Trump wrote off about $100m in taxes, ultimately paying $38m on $150m of income, a rate of about 25%. As the New York Times reported, the revelation of Trump’s tax returns came after an opening monologue about his ties to Russia, a topic that Maddow seems fond of bringing up lately.

      But are these the burning issues animating the politics of most Americans? According to a January CNN/ORC poll, 58% of Americans do not believe that alleged Russian interference gave a decisive edge to Donald Trump in the presidential election, and 56% stated that the United States and Russia should continue with diplomatic relations regardless.

      • I think the Dems can do both–it’s not an either/or. I’m certainly very interested in finding out what ties Trump and his campaign had with Russia.

        Here’s some more recent (March) polling than a poll from January

        New Poll: 61% of Americans Want to See Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

        While Donald Trump often says that Americans are not interested in his tax returns, a new poll is suggesting otherwise.

        According to a newly released Public Policy Polling analysis, a full 61% of Americans want the president to disclose his tax returns. The same number would also support a law requiring presidential candidates to release at least five years of returns in order to appear on the ballot. Only 32% of those surveyed supported letting Trump keep his returns private.

        http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/06/politics/trump-approval-rating-russia-poll/

        About two-thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate contacts between Russians and Trump campaign associates, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, and 55% say they are at least somewhat concerned by reports that some connected to the Trump campaign had contact with suspected Russian operatives.

        • I was lectured to by a pompous person yesterday who was hammering me on my saying that Trump’s taxes not exactly my first priority considering that I’m about to lose the little bit of health insurance that I have. Then tweeted to me:

          “(Trump) is vacationing at a private club he owns offering access at $200k/yr. Focus.”

          So I tweeted back:

          “Hmm, ppl paying big $ for access, gee, that’s never happened before.”

          Because the guy was really annoying me. One of those had to have the last word people who sound like they think they know all.

          I told him to go back to Trump!Trump!Trump!Russia!Russia!Russia!, as I mentioned he was very annoying 😉

    • If Trump were a clever populist, he’d demand universal healthcare for America

      Few rational people think Ryan’s American Health Care Act is anything but a disaster-in-waiting. Swapping a mandate for ungenerous tax credits and eventually killing the Medicaid expansion while preserving the most expensive and popular aspects of Obamacare (not discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and letting everyone under 26 remain on their parents’ health plans), the AHCA will strip coverage from 24 million people by 2026, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

      Were Trump a cannier tactician – or just a very different man – he would try to co-opt a beleaguered Democrat party by actually bolstering Obamacare, triangulating to save his party’s historic majority. Imagine if Trump’s team seriously considered the flaws of the ACA and tore a page from the playbook of the most populist Democrats to address them.

      We already know there’s an overlap between the people who voted for Obama and Bernie Sanders and those who eventually chose Trump. The desperate working class of this country, white and black and brown alike, are seeking answers as automation and globalization threatens to sideline more and more laborers forever. Trump can gratify his own galactic ego and do some good by actually saving them.

    •  Can Obama Live Up to Carter’s Gold Standard as Ex-President?

       arack and Michelle Obama’s reported $65 million book deal with Penguin Random House is only part of their lucrative post-White House trajectory. Also included: a lavishly funded foundation, a $1.5 billion library and museum, and a speakers bureau contract with the firm that brokered Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches.

      For more than 35 years, Jimmy Carter has set the standard for what a former president might do upon leaving office, working with Habitat for Humanity, establishing the peace-and justice-oriented Carter Center, and lining up alongside Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, and Desmond Tutu in The Elders. He’s made mistakes, such as getting funding from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a criminal enterprise. And, from time to time, he’s weighed in on politics, writing a book called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid—which drew brickbats from the Israel lobby, with some denouncing Carter as anti-Semitic—criticizing the war in Iraq, and criticizing President Obama for targeted assassinations and “abandoning [America’s] role as the global champion of human rights.”

      It remains to be seen whether Obama, who wants to keep his hand in politics, can live up to Carter’s standard. So far, it’s not auguring well, as the following survey of Obama’s post-presidency activities reveals.

      • The only one that might of met President Carters gold standard would have been a former President Sanders, No I don’t think Obama will either.

      • Nope. He was a neo liberal champion selected to be a puppet. Here he is in 2006 as an errand boy for Bob Rubin (whoops! if I said this on DK/TOP – I would have been run off the site because used the racial putdown “boy)

        Obama at the Hamilton Project, 2006: “This is not a bloodless process.”

        Like Hillary said in 1992 or 1993, have to attack our friends to bring about unstoppable force of history, Globalization. In other words, neo liberal economics over all!!

        This is another example how establishment democrats kissed ass to money and the oligarchy and the corporations and still are hooked on power

      • Nope, Obummer won’t even get close.

    •  Democrats Need to Understand Why the Rust Belt’s White Workers Still Support Trump
      Audio @ Link

      Why do many white workers who voted for Trump still support him? The Nation sent D.D. Guttenplan to Ohio to find out—he’s returned now with his report.

    • How the Supreme Court Saved Bill de Blasio From Himself

      The Supreme Court let ex-Virginia GOP governor Bob McDonnell skate, and funny thing—it’s Democrats who are trying to exploit the ruling.

    • And Then They Came for Big Bird: Public Broadcasting Reels From Trump’s Plan to Destroy It

      Donald Trump is hardly the first Republican president to propose defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—the tax-supported entity that underwrites PBS and NPR—but he could be the first to actually get it done.

      Although the $445 million budget item that Trump wishes to zero out is a mere speck of dust in the $4.6 trillion scheme of things—a line item that represents $1.35 out of each citizen’s pocket—the cut would likely bring about the dismantling of radio and television networks that have survived for five decades through periodic belt-tightening and political intimidation.

      Thus, in the budget plans released Thursday, Trump and his minions are flipping the Big Bird at a popular American institution.

      “Today has been very disappointing,” PBS President Paula Kerger told The Daily Beast, noting that an individual’s annual outlay for public broadcasting is barely enough for a cup of coffee.

    • California Judge to ICE: Stop ‘Stalking’ Courthouses

      The chief justice of California’s Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Thursday accusing federal immigration authorities of “stalking” local courthouses. She asked that the federal government immediately stop detaining undocumented immigrants at courthouses in California. “Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair,” she wrote. “They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice.”

      • This is a really big deal.

        The “democratic” party so called, not interested in democracy but in power, has gone along with the wars and military empire and surveillance, and NOW to play the cold war game at a time when Trumpism is under way is risky and shows who they really are.

        If their case falls flat, then it makes Trump more powerful.

        In the mean time the dems fall in the polls when they should be riding high

        As Thom Hartmann says over and over, the dems need to take a stand for single payer health care

        why not?

        because they are bought politicians- trying to run on social issues, on the other side of the republicans, and with the result that I first heard when Glenn was here in Columbus OH about 4 years ago

        the parties are actually in agreement on the major issues and play with the surface issues

        • Exactly. Everyone’s like, unify, unify. over wars? over Obamacare when we could be fighting for single payer–for our lives?

      • GG

        A formal, credible investigation into all these questions, where the evidence is publicly disclosed, is still urgently needed. That’s true primarily so that conspiracies no longer linger and these questions are resolved by facts rather than agenda-driven anonymous leaks from the CIA and cable news hosts required to feed a partisan mob.

        It’s certainly possible to envision an indictment of a low-level operative like Carter Page, or the prosecution of someone like Paul Manafort on matters unrelated to hacking, but the silver bullet that Democrats have been led to expect will sink Trump appears further away than ever.

        But given the way these Russia conspiracies have drowned out other critical issues being virtually ignored under the Trump presidency, it’s vital that everything be done now to make clear what is based in evidence and what is based in partisan delusions. And most of what the Democratic base has been fed for the last six months by their unhinged stable of media, online, and party leaders has decisively fallen into the latter category, as even their own officials are now desperately trying to warn.

        • We just have to have an investigation. Our media gets really wild and wound up by this sort of story. I think an investigation with a report is the option that would be serve the entire country at this point.

    • Judge: Pipeline project can seize land without owners’ blessings

      Energy Transfer Rover Pipeline can immediately seize land along the route of a future natural-gas pipeline, a federal judge ordered.

      At issue are 116 tracts of land in Livingston, Washtenaw and Lenawee counties that ET Rover had not been able to reach right-of-way agreements with owners on, including private property owners, county drain commissions and other utility companies such as Michigan Bell Telephone Company, Enbridge Pipelines, Consumers Energy and others.

      Contractors have already started clearing trees to prepare for pipeline construction. ET Rover is also allowed to temporarily access some adjacent properties during construction, even if the property owners are against it.

      U.S. District Court Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ordered ET Rover deposit over $2.5 million with the court clerk that is available for property owners to withdraw and said he will work to determine fair compensation for property owners losing their lands through eminent domain.

      ..

      “Absent immediate possession of the property rights it seeks, Rover will suffer irreparable harm,” due to construction delays and added costs, Goldsmith wrote in an order filed Friday. He wrote that a delay would “jeopardize Rover’s compliance with binding contracts with gas shippers, thus causing substantial monetary losses.”

    • Great article–I especially liked this

      As Politico reported on the Democrats’ post-Trump strategy in February “Democratic aides say they will eventually shift to a positive economic message that Rust Belt Democrats can run on.” However: “for now, aides say, the focus is on slaying the giant and proving to the voters who sent Trump into the White House why his policies will fail.”

      In other words, they’re doubling down on the exact same failing strategy that Clinton used in the final months of the campaign. Sanders himself put it this way in his usual blunt style in an interview with New York Magazine this week when asked about whether the Democrats can adapt to the political reality said “there are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats.”

    • George Monbiot – journalist and environmental activist –

      George Monbiot on Neoliberalism: “A Self-Serving Racket”

      Starts out with a 2 min smash of neo liberalism. A second short video. Then on the third page a 16 min video. If you like this, suggest watch the longer video.

      This is part of the launch of his new book

      How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature

      George Monbiot is one of the most vocal, and eloquent, critics of the current consensus. How Did We Get into this Mess?, based on his powerful journalism, assesses the state we are now in: the devastation of the natural world, the crisis of inequality, the corporate takeover of nature, our obsessions with growth and profit and the decline of the political debate over what to do.

      While his diagnosis of the problems in front of us is clear-sighted and reasonable, he also develops solutions to challenge the politics of fear. How do we stand up to the powerful when they seem to have all the weapons? What can we do to prepare our children for an uncertain future? Controversial, clear but always rigorously argued, How Did We Get into this Mess? makes a persuasive case for change in our everyday lives, our politics and economics, the ways we treat each other and the natural world.

      At the end he says that he is already well into his next book which is about solutions.

      He is less radical than Bruno Latour. Bruno puts us on a war footing, all hands on deck, building collectives, a massive job, a war of Earthbounds vs Humans. Monbiot in the interview says that there are estimates that we only have 60 more years of soil left to feed people. Latour notes that the word humans comes from humus, soil. In one of his works Bruno quotes the Australian thinker saying that one of the problems is hope. We hope for the best but the Earth, Gaia, is the agent that is on its own and we can only cope with the damage already done. Living in the ruins – title of a book by another author

    • Everyone loves Bernie Sanders. Except, it seems, the Democratic party

      If you look at the numbers, Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America – and it’s not even close. Yet bizarrely, the Democratic party – out of power across the country and increasingly irrelevant – still refuses to embrace him and his message. It’s increasingly clear they do so at their own peril.

      A new Fox News poll out this week shows Sanders has a +28 net favorability rating among the US population, dwarfing all other elected politicians on both ends of the political spectrum. And he’s even more popular among the vaunted “independents,” where he is at a mind boggling +41.

      This poll is not just an aberration. Look at this Huffington Post chart that has tracked Sanders’s favorability rating over time, ever since he gained national prominence in 2015 when he started running for the Democratic nomination. The more people got to know him, they more they liked him – the exact opposite of what his critics said would happen when he was running against Clinton.

      One would think with numbers like that, Democratic politicians would be falling all over themselves to be associated with Sanders, especially considering the party as a whole is more unpopular than the Republicans and even Donald Trump right now. Yet instead of embracing his message, the establishment wing of the party continues to resist him at almost every turn, and they seem insistent that they don’t have to change their ways to gain back the support of huge swaths of the country.

    • Winning friends throughout the world. At the photo op the press asked them to do a handshake. Merkel then asks him, and stony faced he ignores her. What an asshole

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2017/mar/17/donald-trump-angela-merkel-no-handshake-video?CMP=twt_gu

      Donald Trump appeared to deny the German chancellor Angela Merkel a handshake during a photo opportunity with the press at the White House on Friday. Trump and Merkel met earlier for a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office where they were expected to talk about strengthening Nato, fighting the Islamic State group and resolving Ukraine’s conflict.

    • Hello LD and all! I hope all is well with everyone who is reading this!!!!!

      That song you posted, LD, really grew on me, loved the lyrics, but hip hop not my usual thing. But it’s high time I get more open-minded about it. 😉 But I’ll never give up my rock ‘n roll!! Plus, I love to dance. Love high energy stuff. Cheers!

    • Bernie makes people smile:

    • It is Time For the Democrats to Drop the Trump-Russia Connection

      One key fact is important to remember. While the narrative’s framing is that Trump winning would require a vast international conspiracy, it also implicitly makes the claim that for the Democratic Party to lose would necessitate such a conspiracy. In a move that would make William of Ockham turn over in his grave, the Democratic Party has subtly declared that their defeat did not come at the hands of decades of Neoliberal policies, their refusal to prosecute banks, their poor ground game in key states, or the nomination of the most unlikable politician in history, but a conspiracy that stretches back decades.

      It is uncertain if the Democratic Party will be able to de-emphasize the Trump-Russia connection in their #Resistance strategy. For many in the resistance, Russia has become symbolic of the very idea that Trump’s presidency is somehow Un-American, and does not represent the country’s values. A symbol to the rest of us that they are still struggling to cope with the social and material realities that led to his election and therefore lack the ability to construct policy to change them.

      What is certain is that the Democratic Party is going to take a hit for this ill-advised and reckless Russia narrative, if they have not already. However, slowly abandoning it now and switching to a more proactive, policy-based strategy might still allow them to pick up key seats during mid-term and special elections. The alternative might mean a prolonged, highly publicized investigation. One that, if it turns up nothing, would only lead to further losses in 2018.

      • I don’t feel that I’m a victim of “paranoid derangement” to want answers to the Trump/Russia connection. I don’t understand why investigating this connection and at the same time pursuing a proactive, policy-based strategy is impossible. Bernie certainly thinks it’s possible.

        • My main beef with the whole Russia thing is that I don’t think there is much, if any, ‘there’ there. In the meantime it saps the strength of those who might otherwise be focusing their attention to what I consider more important issues at the moment. This is obviously just my opinion. I care more about the current threats to the EPA, USDA, FDA, NOAA, etc. etc. and the need to push forward progressive candidates in time for 2018 and the need to push for better health care.

          But if everyone can see the investigation through to some kind of closure AND adequately address all of the other issues, great!

          Then there’s this:

          Furthermore, it is uncertain if there is any evidence that can disprove this Trump-Russia connection in the minds of those who believe it most passionately. Conspiracy theories are very rarely based on coherent facts and evidence. For example, in late December, a YouGov poll showed that 52% of Democrats believed that Russia literally changed the vote tallies of the election. This position existed, despite President Obama publicly saying that this was not the case.

          A lot of damage has already been done over this. I hope it can end someday soon.

    • Come on, Berners! Get it out for Wisniewski! This is exactly the kind of race we have to join in on and beat this guy. If we don’t, Lord help us and all the generations to come.

      • I SO agree!

        Do we want a Governor who worked for Goldman Sachs for 20 years (Dem party choice, rich establishment Murphy)? Or do we want someone who was brave enough, perhaps even principled enough, to stand up to bully Chris Christie?!

        Wisniewski is the reason the world knows about the political disaster that is Bridgegate. As chair of the state assembly’s transportation committee, he was the one who unearthed the smoking gun email from Governor Chris Christie’s fired Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Kelly—“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”—to Christie’s Port Authority appointee David Wildstein. It was a discovery that would turn lives upside down, Wisniewski’s among them. The formerly obscure state lawmaker has made Christie seem scattered and frantic, and as the scandal continues to unfold, it threatens to knock the once seemingly invincible governor out of contention in the 2016 presidential race, or worse.

        I like this part:

        As Wisniewski snakes through the streets of his hometown, he tells me about his political beginnings, managing his father’s campaigns for mayor and town council in Sayreville. He recalls attending the 1976 Democratic Convention, where Warren Beatty saved Wisniewski’s mother from being kicked off the convention floor for not having proper credentials. “He put his arm around her and said [to the guards], ‘You’re not going to kick my mother out, are you?’” Wisniewski says. “And so she got to stay.”

      • Phil Murphy got the backing of the NJ Working Families group, I’m not clear why, exactly at this point. And then there’s this! What the heck?

        The Murphy campaign currently has the endorsement of Sanders’s son, Levi Sanders. The Wisniewski campaign currently has the endorsement of Jeff Weaver, the former national campaign manager for Bernie Sanders.

        Murphy is a former Goldman Sachs executive who, despite his ties to the financial world, has said he will take on special interests and Wall Street if elected. Wisniewski and other primary rivals including state Senator Ray Lesniak and former Undersecretary to the U.S. Treasury Jim Johnson have been critical of Murphy for these ties and the candidates $10 million loan to his campaign. However, as with Working Families, many of New Jersey’s labor unions are falling in step with Murphy’s campaign. Murphy has endorsements from unions, including the Laborers’ International Union of North America, local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, the New Jersey Education Association and the Communication Workers of America. Wisniewski has the support of National Nurses United.

        The gubernatorial primary will be held in June. Despite Wisniewski’s endorsements, Murphy has the support of the Democratic establishment in New Jersey, making him the favorite to win the June primary.

        This one feels odd to me. The only thing I know right now is that I still trust the National Nurses United. And they prefer Wisniewski.

        • I’m in NJ. And there’s another candidate who I get emails from who attacks Wisniewski for being an entrenched politician who’s faking progressive. Confusing race

    • I didn’t believe her before and I don’t believe her now!

      In a November interview on Sirius XM, Brazile appeared not to regret sharing the questions in advance.

      “My conscience — as an activist, a strategist — is very clear,” Brazile said in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison, adding, “If I had to do it all over again, I would know a hell of a lot more about cybersecurity.”

      Brazile, who was the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) interim chairwoman this summer and is a former CNN contributor, opened up about last year’s election in a Time magazine essay.

      “My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen,” she wrote. “But sending those emails was a mistake I will forever regret.”

      It just shows the corruption of the DNC that she remained interim leader

      • She regrets sending the emails because she got caught favoring Clinton. She does not regret favoring Clinton over Sanders.

    • The Justice Department in action.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-judges-exclusive-idUSKBN16O2S6?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

      The U.S. Justice Department is developing plans to temporarily reassign immigration judges from around the country to 12 cities to speed up deportations of illegal immigrants who have been charged with crimes, according to two administration officials.

      How many judges will be reassigned and when they will be sent is still under review, according to the officials, but the Justice Department has begun soliciting volunteers for deployment.

      The targeted cities are New York; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; San Francisco; Baltimore, Bloomington, Minnesota; El Paso, Texas; Harlingen, Texas; Imperial, California; Omaha, Nebraska and Phoenix, Arizona. They were chosen because they are cities which have high populations of illegal immigrants with criminal charges, the officials said.

    • An anecdotal tidbit to share. Anecdotal, but first hand.

      I grabbed a quick side gig, very boring, but quick, was hired to create some mailing lists for properties in Florida for marketing purposes. Finished it up last night.

      Well…I just saw an article on yahoo, from Reuters, about how we should all be very, VERY, concerned about the fact that Russians have been buying up condos in Trump properties in S. Florida.

      DISCLAIMER: I do not like Trump, I do not support Trump, my aim is to divert attention from stupid things like this to important things like the way Trump is trying to do away with the EPA!

      In the course of my mailing list creation I actually was surprised by how many Russian-sounding names I saw in the S FL area. But, the thing is, many other properties that have nothing to do with Trump also have many owners with Russian-sounding names.

      For example, another Sunny Isles complex, La Perla. Developed by Corner Stone Group. As far as I can tell, they have nothing to do with Trump. Yet, they too have many Russian names amongst their owners.

      Why this is, who knows? Not me. But it doesn’t seem to have much to do with Trump other than the fact that he is a developer.

      Be careful with what you hear, my friends. And lets all try to keep an eye on what I thing are more important things with regards to Trump, like how he’s trying to privatize schools, do away with the EPA etc.

      • Well I know that the wealthy Russians went on a big real estate buying spree in the UK. Often their London properties sit vacant most of the year. There was also a big buying spree in other places with Mediterranean climates and a nice seaside.

      • Magsview – please respond to this comment to make sure that you see this message

        David Dayen – an incredible journalist who wrote an outstanding book

        “Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud”

        It is a truly shocking story of how institutions colluded to steal houses. Much of the story takes place in FL.

        He has been at several news places and now is at The Intercept, The Nation, the New republic and others. (he may have dropped out of some of these because he was getting more money from some of the newer places and was changing to focus on more long form articles)

        He is for the most part focused on finance, but he has other interests as well.

        He has come to NetRoots nation almost every time I have been there and last year I bought his book above and he signed it. I bought it our of concern for writers and was totally impressed with his work. (I probably won’t go to any more netroot nation conferences — they like DK/TOP are too close to the democrats.

        I have to confess, I hugged a woman there with tears in my eyes. I thanked her for being in politics. It was Zephyr Teachout. Why in the fuck didn’t the DNC and the whole party get behind such an outstanding candidate????

        Back to David

        He sends out a weekly email which links his articles and other topics as well. Now that he is doing more long form pieces, he is not working at the pace of 3 or 4 articles per week. Down to 2 or so.

        Here is the link for last week’s email. He sends an email with a link

        https://mg.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.partner=sbc&.rand=b83293bhcaq6r

        And for those in FL, here is an article in his post

        Freshman lawmaker linked to company accused of million-dollar marketing scam

        Further confession – in the flood of info I seldom follow up on David Dayen’s links

        As an aside, I was raised to be an atheist and here in this one comment I “confess” 2 times

        Such is life

        • Florida has one of most corrupt state/local governments in the country. The governor, Vomit/Retch Scott, is an indicted Medicare crook. Both state houses are solid Repuke. Things are beginning to change maybe for the better. The corruption has lasted so long that it’s practically institutionized. Scams are like kudzu; you’ll never get rid of them.

  • Good morning everyone! Starting off with just one of the many articles written on Sanders being the most popular politician in America

    A Fox News Poll released Wednesday shows that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), […]

    • Schatz, Sanders target big moneymaking companies in their new bill

      You are getting ripped off,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said.

      Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz teamed with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in calling out big money-making businesses.

      A report by the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy shows 100 large corporations paid zero or less federal income taxes at least once in the past eight years. 258 of them paid an average tax rate of 21.2%, that’s well below corporate tax rate of 35%.

      The senators are introducing a bill to stop it.

      “If there’s one message from the last election cycle, left right and center from the coast to the mid west all the way to Hawaii and Alaska and every where in between is that this system is not fair,” Schatz said.

      Schatz and Sanders said their bill would close loopholes and make corporations pay back the taxes they already owe on offshore profits.

    • US Sen. Bernie Sanders to Hold Town Meetings Across Vermont

      Vermont’s independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is going to be holding a series of town meetings across the state.

      The first two meetings will be held Thursday in St. Johnsbury.

      Sanders, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year, is expected to focus his meetings on attempts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

      He will also talk about veterans’ issues while meeting with administrators and staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, announce funding in Brattleboro for an economic development project and hold a meeting in Springfield.

      • Bernie Sanders: A Vermont Senator With A National Constituency

        Sen. Bernie Sanders has a packed two-day schedule Thursday and Friday as he travels around his home state to meet-and-greet with Vermonters and hold two town hall sessions. This kind of face-time with citizens in Vermont has become rarer in the last two years since Sanders ramped up a run for president and rose to prominence in national politics.

        Sanders may not have won the Democratic presidential primary in 2016, but he did emerge as an influential and powerful force in the Democratic Party, an impressive feat for a politician who is actually an independent, not a Democrat.

        Now, with an official leadership position in the Senate Democratic caucus and a travel schedule that has him visiting communities around the country, Sanders’ national profile is unquestionably high. We look at how Sanders is wielding his new influence, and whether that squares with the expectations that Vermonters have of their senator.

    • The latest test of the Bernie Sanders movement may be in this L.A. race for Congress

      In the heart of Los Angeles, the race among nearly two dozen candidates for the congressional seat left open by Xavier Becerra is being heavily influenced by a man who lives more than 2,900 miles away.

      Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ progressive ideas, which won him a national following and helped him capture the district from Hillary Clinton in the primary last year, have given the race a decidedly leftward tilt in the heavily Democratic enclave.

      At least three candidates in the 34th District say Sanders, in part, inspired them to run. Candidate forums and campaign events ahead of the April 4 primary abound with references to ridding politics of money and fighting the Democratic establishment, in addition to opposing President Trump.

      With 19 Democrats running and no anointed standard-bearer for the Sanders wing of the party, it’s unclear whether voters will advance a Sanders-style candidate into what is expected to be a runoff between the top two finishers June 6.

      Still, the first congressional primary since Trump was elected could demonstrate how “Berniecrats” can affect future Democratic races across the country.

      If any contest this year might reflect the staying power of Sanders’ movement, it’s this one: In an early poll of likely voters, a majority believed Sanders would have beaten Trump had he been the Democratic nominee, and nearly half agreed that the Democratic Party “has been taken over by corporate interests.”

      • I will bet the Clinton wing isn’t remaining silent in this race.

    • Bernie Sanders Blasts Sanofi Zika Vaccine Deal

      Senator Bernie Sanders opposes the U.S. Army’s planned deal for a Zika vaccine with French drug maker Sanofi AG, saying Americans are being made to pay “twice” for a vaccine that they first helped develop by funding development work with taxpayer money. Sanders says they may now be asked to pay a high price as the deal will effectively allow Sanofi to have a monopoly on the drug.

      Sanders’ opposition to the proposal, made public through a letter he wrote to the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Army, comes a couple of weeks after some Democrats criticized the deal in the House of Representatives.

      In his letter to the Army Secretary, Sanders cites a similar example of prostate cancer drug Xtandi, which was developed with U.S. financial assistance and later licensed to the industry. Today, Xtandi is owned by U.S.-based Pfizer Inc nd Japan-based Astellas Pharma, and costs around $130,000 per year in the United States, versus only $30,000 in neighboring Canada.

    • Gianforte and Quist focus campaign on heathcare

      “This report confirms that D.C. Republican’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will take away health insurance from hard-working Montanans, to give tax breaks to millionaires like Greg Gianforte,” Quist said. “Montanans deserve better.”

      Quist says he’ll stand up for Montana values and work to find a solution that benefits all Montanans.

      As for the short two and half month campaign, Montanans should brace themselves for a barrage of TV attack ads, many of which have already hit the airwaves.

      The Congressional Leadership Fund (LCF) a super PAC aligned with the House GOP leadership, is spending $700,000 attacking Quist.

      The ad knocks the musician for being “out of tune” and “too liberal” for Montana, and was on the air the day after Quist secured the democratic nomination.

      • Quist has lived ‘life on the ground’ {op-ed)

        A phrase in Rob Quist’s website where he spells out his position on important issues caught my attention. In addressing Social Security and Medicare he says: “I have lived life on the ground and experienced the same hardships.”

        That sums it up for me. Montana is a state defined by vast lands, and much of it that land is federal public land available to everybody. Whether making a living on the land or hunting and fishing on them, it’s about being on the land and it isn’t always easy. Even if you work in an office, that land-based mentality can’t be escaped.

        Quist understands this because he’s lived it. Which may explain why his opponent, Greg Gianforte, doesn’t. He’s never had to “live life on the ground and experience hardships.”

      • Mr. Quist Goes to Washington?

        To launch his campaign, Quist hit the road in earnest, visiting more than 40 Montana counties to curry Democratic support while earning a strong endorsement from former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the bombastic rancher who first met Quist in 2004 while running for governor as a political outsider, having lost his bid for the U.S. Senate in 2000.

        At the time, Quist offered to perform at a few of Schweitzer’s campaign events, and while the former governor was a fan of his music, he was more struck by the singer-songwriter’s caliber as a devoted Montanan, and has high-listed Quist’s Washington-outsider status as a feather in his cowboy hat.

        “Rob Quist cares deeply about this state and the people who live here,” Schweitzer said in an interview. “He is a man of conviction.”

        When Quist was contemplating a congressional run, Schweitzer encouraged him to jump into the race, praising his ability to connect with voters of many stripes.

        “It’s about time we have someone from outside of politics that can go to Washington, D.C., and not just tell the story of Montana, but stand up for Montana,” Schweitzer said. “Rob Quist has not spent the last 30 years preparing a run for Congress. He is a political outsider. Rob has told Montana’s story through song for 30 years and has been in every little and big town in Montana.”

      • An “out of tune” attack on a popular musician should help if played right.

    • George Monbiot on neo liberalism. A racket

      George Monbiot on Neoliberalism: “A self-serving racket”

      The link above is for one 2 min interview. Here is a link that has several parts and a total of 16 min. It includes the one above

      An interview covering neoliberalism, migration, Brexit, Trump, community-building, climate change, democracy, power, globalization, and lots more.

      His new book just came out

      How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature

      Leading political and environmental commentator on where we have gone wrong, and what to do about it

      “Without countervailing voices, naming and challenging power, political freedom withers and dies. Without countervailing voices, a better world can never materialise. Without countervailing voices, wells will still be dug and bridges will still be built, but only for the few. Food will still be grown, but it will not reach the mouths of the poor. New medicines will be developed, but they will be inaccessible to many of those in need.”

      George Monbiot is one of the most vocal, and eloquent, critics of the current consensus. How Did We Get into this Mess?, based on his powerful journalism, assesses the state we are now in: the devastation of the natural world, the crisis of inequality, the corporate takeover of nature, our obsessions with growth and profit and the decline of the political debate over what to do.

      While his diagnosis of the problems in front of us is clear-sighted and reasonable, he also develops solutions to challenge the politics of fear. How do we stand up to the powerful when they seem to have all the weapons? What can we do to prepare our children for an uncertain future? Controversial, clear but always rigorously argued, How Did We Get into this Mess? makes a persuasive case for change in our everyday lives, our politics and economics, the ways we treat each other and the natural world.

    • Hawaii judge halts Trump’s new travel ban, setting stage for epic legal battle

      President Trump appears set on a collision course with federal judges, vowing to fight them to the end after a district court in Hawaii issued the second block in as many months on his proposed travel ban on visitors from majority-Muslim countries.

      The dramatic clashes between Trump and the judiciary came just hours before the president’s revised executive order was due to come into effect at midnight. Had it stood, the travel ban would have put a complete stop to arrivals of refugees from anywhere in the world as well as newcomers from six predominantly Muslim countries.

      But in a ruling that mirrored the restraining order issued by a Washington state judge just a month ago, Judge Derrick Watson of the federal district court in Honolulu delivered another stinging blow to the Trump administration’s contentious ambitions. Watson imposed a nationwide temporary stay on the travel ban that he found to be in violation of the establishment clause of the US constitution that prohibits discrimination against any religion.

      As a result of the Hawaii action, the midnight deadline for the implementation of the travel ban came and went without any visible impact at US airports.

      Early on Thursday, a district judge in a similar case in Maryland also issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the ban.

      • woo hoo! all these groups–we’ll want to coalesce around a candidate, and down-ticket candidates, soon. we’ll want to start raising money so that we have it to give ALL the good candidates and not just the Prez.

    • Going After the Opioid Profiteers

      Travis Bornstein never told his friends about his son Tyler’s drug problem. He was too embarrassed.

      Then, on September 28, 2014, Tyler’s body was found in a vacant lot in Akron, Ohio. The 23-year-old had become addicted to opioid pain killers after several sports-related injuries and surgeries. Unable to afford long-term treatment, he ultimately turned to a cheaper drug — the heroin that killed him.

      “Now I have no choice but to speak out,” the elder Bornstein, president of Teamsters Local 24 in Akron, told a crowd of thousands at the union’s convention in 2016. As he shared the unvarnished tale of how a middle-class, star athlete wound up in that vacant lot, Bornstein lit a fire under the 1.4-million-member organization.

      The Teamsters pledged $1.4 million for a nonprofit organization the Bornstein family set up to expand treatment for addicts in Ohio. They’re also going after the drug industry CEOs who’ve been profiting off a national opioid
      problem of epidemic proportions.

      ..

      The labor union is targeting the three largest U.S. prescription drug wholesalers — McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen — for flooding hard-hit areas with the highly addictive pills.

      The Teamsters are using their clout as pension fund investors to demand that drug wholesalers take responsibility for their role in the epidemic, conduct full investigations of their distribution practices, and hold CEOs accountable.

    • Trump Readies ‘One of the Biggest Corporate Handouts to the Fossil Fuel Industry’

      President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Wednesday plans that could roll back fuel efficiency standards set by his predecessor—a move climate groups say would be “cruel” and “myopic” and amount to “one of the biggest corporate handouts to the fossil fuel industry.”

      Trump is set to make the announcement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reopening rules on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions at an event in Detroit with automakers.

      The Washington Post explains: “In 2012, automakers and federal regulators agreed to achieve an average 54.4 mpg across its entire fleet by the year 2025.” The agreement came with “the condition that, by April 2018, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would perform a thorough review of rules and tweak them if they were too expensive or impossible to meet,” the Huffington Post adds.

      The EPA finalized the rules this January (a year ahead of schedule, as Wired noted) in its midterm review, with the agency saying that “automakers are well positioned to meet the standards at lower costs than previously estimated.”

      The Union of Concerned Scientists has also noted (pdf) that that the standards “will reduce America’s oil consumption, save consumers money at the gas pump, and protect public health and the environment by curbing global warming pollution. They will also help spur investments in new automotive technology, creating jobs and helping sustain the recovery of the American auto industry.”

    • Senators Daines, Tester Introduce Bill Weakening Protections for Endangered Species

      A proposed bill in Congress would reverse a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision from 2015 that required agency re-consultation for federal management plans regarding endangered species. The bill was introduced Monday by Montana senators Steve Daines, a Republican, and Jon Tester, a Democrat, joined by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)

      The ‘‘Litigation Relief for Forest Management Projects Act’’ would exempt the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management from consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service over already approved land-management plans when new species are protected as endangered or new critical habitat is designated. Such consultations help ensure that newly protected species are not jeopardized by ongoing management. A study from 2015 showed that not a single industry project was halted as a result of Section 7 Consultation.

      “This bill is just another cynical attack to weaken a key provision of the Endangered Species Act,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re deeply disappointed to see Senator Tester and Representative Peterson once again joining Republican efforts to undermine the Endangered Species Act. Federal land-management agencies can — and should — make needed updates to plans when new species are protected.”

      • Bald eagle population threatened by lead poisoning, US scientists warn

        His head twisted almost upside down and his body all but paralyzed, the bald eagle sat on its haunches, talons clenching, while two humans neared to put him in a cage. They could not save the bird from lead.

        The eagle was the third this year to die from lead poisoning at the Blue Mountain Wildlife center, in north-east Oregon, where Lynn Tompkins has helped rehabilitate sick and injured birds for 30 years. “They eat things that have been shot,” Tompkins said, “whether it’s big game like deer or elk or coyotes or ground squirrels.”

        The poisoned birds suffer paralysis, don’t eat and struggle to stand. As with mammals, lead causes blindness, brain damage and organ failure.

        One of the recent eagles, Tompkins said, had 622 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in its body, and a second had 385. The Centers for Disease Control recommends immediate medical intervention for children whose blood tests at 45. Many birds, Tompkins said, test at 5-10 micrograms, “too low to show symptoms, but the same level of lead seen in the kids in Flint, Michigan”.

        “The short answer is that no level of lead is acceptable for living things – eagles, condors and people,” said raptor biologist Glenn Stewart.

      • so puzzling. makes me think they are afraid to be in the wild with just a tent and perhaps some bear spray. why else would they sentence their children and grandchildren to a life without wild things, the free beauty in this world, the power.

    • Dutch PM Mark Rutte sees off election threat of Geert Wilders

      The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has seen off a challenge from the anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders to claim a resounding victory in parliamentary elections widely seen as a test for resurgent nationalism before other key European polls.

      With nearly 95% of votes counted and no further significant changes expected, Rutte’s centre-right, liberal VVD was assured of 33 MPs, by far the largest party in the 150-seat Dutch parliament, the national news agency ANP said.

      Wilders’ Freedom party (PVV) looked certain to finish second, but a long way behind on 20 seats, just ahead of the Christian Democrat CDA and liberal-progressive D66, which both ended third with 19 seats.

      “Our message to the Netherlands – that we will hold our course, and keep this country safe, stable and prosperous – got through,” Rutte told a cheering crowd of supporters at the VVD’s election night party.

      After Britain’s shock Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory in the US, he added, the eyes of the world had been on the vote: “This was an evening when … the Netherlands said ‘Stop’ to the wrong sort of populism.”

      • I don’t see my first attempt at posting this, looks like it disappeared. Apologies if you see it twice!

        GreenLeft proves to be big winner in Dutch election

        The big winner of Wednesday’s election – and now the largest party of the Dutch left for the first time – was GreenLeft, headed by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, hailed by his enthusiastic supporters as the “Jessiah”.

        With more than 95% of votes counted, the party – formed 25 years ago by a merger of communists, pacifists, evangelicals and self-styled radicals – boosted its MPs from four to 14 after a storming campaign by Klaver.

        “This is a fantastic result for us, a historic victory,” said the party chairwoman, Marjolein Meijer.

        The result showed there was “very fertile ground in the Netherlands for change and a positive and hopeful story”, she said. “For us this is just the beginning.”

        The party celebrated its historic advance with a tweet showing a gif of Kermit the Frog dancing for joy.

    • Trump budget: president to ask Congress for deep cuts to domestic programs

      Donald Trump will ask Congress for dramatic cuts to many federal programs, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of State stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions.

      Under his federal budget proposal, funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia. Meanhile, he will seek to increase defense spending, start building a wall on the border with Mexico and spend more deporting undocumented immigrants.

      Trump’s budget outline is a bare-bones plan covering just “discretionary” spending for the 2018 fiscal year starting on 1 October. It is the first volley in what is expected to be an intense battle over spending in the coming months in Congress, which holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents’ budget plans.

      Congress, controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, may reject some or many of his proposed cuts. Some of the proposed changes, which Democrats will broadly oppose, have been targeted for decades by conservative Republicans.

      • Trump’s budget ripped from Bannon’s nationalistic playbook

        The “deconstruction of the administrative state” now comes with line items.

        President Donald Trump released his blueprint for reshaping the American government on Thursday, a budget plan that slashes deeply into the State Department, redirects funds toward the military, guts environmental and housing programs—and continues to run a nearly half-trillion-dollar deficit.

        Every dollar of proposed cutbacks to domestic, diplomatic and international aid programs that Trump makes in the spending plan will go to boost defense and law enforcement funding.

        “There’s no question this is a hard-power budget,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. “It is not a soft-power budget.”

        The document, posted online at 7 a.m. Thursday, represents the most concrete translation of Trump’s nationalistic and populist rhetoric on the campaign trail into dollars and cents.

        Mulvaney said his team literally pored over Trump’s speeches to prepare the plan. “We wrote it using the president’s own words,” he said. “We turned those policies into numbers.”

      • Mulvaney justifies budget: We can’t ask a coal miner to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

        As they fleshed out the budget blueprint released Thursday morning by the White House, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said officials from the administration of President Donald Trump asked themselves: Can we ask the taxpayer to pay for this?

        For a dramatic uptick in military funding, Mulvaney said, the answer was yes. For a wide array of domestic programs, it turns out, the answer was no.

        Trump’s budget, which Mulvaney said was assembled in part by examining excerpts from the president’s speeches and media interviews, delivers on his campaign promise to build up the military, designating an additional $54 billion in defense spending. The budget pays for that additional spending by cutting funding to nearly every other department, including 21 percent budget cuts at the departments of Labor and Agriculture, 28 percent at the State Department and 31 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.

        “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no,” Mulvaney said Thursday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

        Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be cut entirely under Trump’s budget blueprint, which also reduces spending on the Coast Guard by 14 percent and FEMA by 11 percent.

        • Public Broadcasting slams Trump budget for scrapping ‘essential national service’

          The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) on Thursday morning criticized President Trump’s proposed budget, saying its elimination of funding for CPB would have “devastating” effects on education and culture.

          “There is no viable substitute for federal funding that ensures Americans have universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services,” the CPB said in a statement, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter.

          “The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions — all for Americans in both rural and urban communities.”
          Trump’s proposed budget would scrap CPB, which provides funding for PBS and National Public Radio stations.

          The budget would also completely eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities as part of a budget package that would boost defense spending by $54 billion.

          • well, gee, CPB, maybe you shouldn’t have subtly campaigned against the people’s candidate, against taxing corpses, so many things. it’s a shame that even Repub lite is considered a threat, but if you hadn’t turned your back on us, we’d still be funding you and you wouldn’t need much govt. money.

            • tocino replied 1 week ago

              Hi pb4. I think that you’re thinking of NPR. CPB helps fund a number of small, listener supported, public radio stations that are not part of the NPR “network”. I co-host a weekly show on one of these stations in Santa Fe,NM. Here at KSFR, we have to devote 2 weeks or more per year to raising money from our listeners. CPB pays in about 20% of our operating budget, which is very, very helpful. We are an independent station airing Democracy Now! twice a day, along with excellent local news, and great talk shows.Trump’s hatchet job will hurt many stations like ours across America.

              • oh. sorry, tocino. i surely don’t want your station hurt–sounds like a good one==what a fun place to work/play! i was a part-time DJ for a while. loved it.

        • They shouldn’t have to pay for them–if the wealthy weren’t getting their tax breaks, coal miners and single moms could enjoy the benefits of a civilized nation, including arts programming.

      • Trump budget proposes 13 percent cut to Transportation Dept.

        The Department of Transportation (DOT) faces a $2.4 billion cut under President Trump’s proposed federal budget blueprint — a surprising figure given Trump’s pledges to improve U.S. infrastructure.

        The department’s funding would be cut by 13 percent to $16.2 billion, according to the proposal.

        “The Budget request reflects a streamlined DOT that is focused on performing vital Federal safety oversight functions and investing in nationally and regionally significant transportation infrastructure projects,” the budget document says.

        “The Budget reduces or eliminates programs that are either inefficient, duplicative of other Federal efforts, or that involve activities that are better delivered by States, localities, or the private sector.”

      • Tillerson: State Department funding ‘simply not sustainable’

        Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday defended the President Trump’s proposal to cut funding to the State Department.

        When speaking in Tokyo, Tillerson said the cuts to the department are important to fix the “historically high” budget, Reuters reported.

        “Clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in this past year, is simply not sustainable,” he said.

        As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the U.S. will be directly engaged in.”
        There will be a “comprehensive examination” of how the department is run, Tillerson said. He added he is ready to take on the challenge of cutting the department’s funding.

        • Trump budget proposes $65B for war fund

          President Trump’s first federal budget proposal includes $65 billion for a war fund, giving the Pentagon a total of $639 billion.

          Combined with defense dollars outside the Pentagon, the budget would provide $668 billion total for defense for fiscal 2018.

          The numbers released Thursday are unlikely to mollify defense hawks who fumed when the Trump administration announced what the base defense budget request would be last month.

          Defense hawks, led by Armed Services Chairmen Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), have advocated for a $640 billion base defense budget. Combined with the $60 billion for the war fund projected by the Obama administration, that would have meant a $700 billion defense budget.

      • Trumpsters are true monsters–no more funding for meals on wheels

        https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/us/politics/budget-epa-state-department-cuts.html?_r=0&referer=https://t.co/tRqpL8Sx7L

        In addition to the cuts at the E.P.A. and the State Department, Mr. Trump’s team is expected to propose a wide array of cuts to public education, to transportation programs like Amtrak and to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including the complete elimination of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds popular programs like Meals on Wheels, housing assistance and other community assistance efforts.

        • Absolutely awful. Starving people to death so their buddies can get tax breaks or contracts to build bombs.

          • “morally obscene”

            https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sanders-statement-on-trumps-budget

            Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Thursday after President Donald Trump released his budget:

            “President Trump’s budget is morally obscene and bad economic policy. It will cause devastating pain to the very people Trump promised to help during the campaign. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, when 43 million Americans are living in poverty and half of older Americans have no retirement savings, we should not slash programs that senior citizens, children and working people rely on in order to provide a massive increase in spending to the military industrial complex. Trump’s priorities are exactly opposite of where we should be heading as a nation.”

    • Documents support fears of Muslim surveillance by Obama-era program

      Internal US law enforcement documents describe a highly controversial community initiative aimed at identifying potential terrorists before they “radicalize” as being intimately related to intelligence gathering.

      Despite years of official denials, American Muslim civil rights groups have claimed that Barack Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative was a euphemistic approach that targeted Muslims for surveillance.

      The FBI described the CVE program as designed to “strengthen our investigative, intelligence gathering and collaborative abilities to be proactive in countering violent extremism”.

      The description was made in an August 2016 document about an upcoming CVE training conference which has been revealed by a freedom of information request.

      Under Donald Trump’s administration, the Department of Homeland Security is reviewing the effort with a mind to rebrand it “Countering Radical Islam” or “Countering Violent Jihad”.

    • Group meets on fracking, pipeline threats to Tri-State

      An environmental and social justice group had an informational meeting Wednesday evening in Huntington regarding the fracking and pipeline proposals for the Tri-State area.

      “We want to make people aware of the fracking and pipeline threats to the Tri-State,” said Natalie Thompson, executive director of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC). “We have staff who have been working on researching all the various pipelines and their routes, which change daily, and trying to become educated so we can educate those who would be affected by them.”

      OVEC, based in Huntington, wants Tri-State area residents to know about fracked gas pipelines close to the Ohio River.

      “They will be following the Ohio River and come into confluence just a few miles away at a compressor station in Ceredo, near Camden Park,” Thompson said.

      Thompson says most people don’t know the possibilities of the side effects, health effects and environmental effects from fracked gas pipelines.

      “The Huntington area could suffer very high costs to our air, water and quality of life if the fracking and pipeline industries have their way,” Thompson said.

    • Operator Lowers Pressure, Slows Gas Leak in Alaska Pipeline

      The owner of an underwater pipeline spewing processed natural gas into Alaska’s Cook Inlet has lowered pressure in the line to reduce the leak.

      Repairs will continue to wait for ice in the inlet to clear because it’s too dangerous to immediately start work, according to Hilcorp Alaska, LLC.

      The 8-inch leaking pipe sends natural gas from shore to four petroleum platforms in the inlet, home to a population of endangered beluga whales.

      An analysis of gas flow indicated the pipeline probably started leaking in mid-December. Hilcorp started looking for a leak in January, and on Feb. 7, a helicopter crew spotted gas bubbling to the surface about 4 miles off shore in 80 feet of water.

      ..

      Environmental groups have called for an immediate shutdown. Two groups have given required 60-days’ notice that they intend to sue. Processed natural gas is almost 99 percent methane that will create a low-oxygen dead zone threatening beluga whales, other marine mammals and fish, according to the groups.

      The pipeline once carried crude oil and Hilcorp said shutting off pressure could allow residual crude to escape.

      • Benny replied 1 week ago

        A friend of mine in MD says the Dems recently voted down fracking in the state.

    • Berkeley Is First City in America to Divest From Companies that Work on Trump’s Border Wall

      If you want to build The Wall, then you won’t be building in Berkeley.

      At last night’s city council meeting, Berkeley officials voted unanimously to divest of any company that involves itself with President Trump’s border wall. This includes not just contractors who construct the proposed divider, but any company that designs, finances, or works in any way on the project.

      Berkeley is the first city in the country to pass such a law.

      “Our city is one that is known for breaking down walls, not building them,” Mayor Jesse Arreguin said. “We will continue in that tradition regardless of what happens at the federal level.”

    • Columbia University to divest from some coal companies

      Columbia University, New York, will divest certain coal industry investments in support of addressing climate change, Lee Bollinger, the university president, said in a message posted on the university’s website.

      University trustees have agreed to divest from companies deriving more than 35% of their revenue from thermal coal production, he said.

      “Divestment of this type is an action the university takes only rarely and in service of our highest values,” Mr. Bollinger said in a statement Monday. “That is why there is a very careful and deliberative process leading up to any decision such as this. Clearly, we must do all we can as an institution to set a responsible course in this urgent area.”

      ..

      The university’s divestment decision “is intended to help mobilize a broader public constituency for addressing climate change,” according a statement accompanying Mr. Bollinger’s comments.

    • New Zealand river granted same legal rights as human being

      In a world-first a New Zealand river has been granted the same legal rights as a human being.

      The local Māori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island has fought for the recognition of their river – the third-largest in New Zealand – as an ancestor for 140 years.

      On Wednesday, hundreds of tribal representatives wept with joy when their bid to have their kin awarded legal status as a living entity was passed into law.

      “The reason we have taken this approach is because we consider the river an ancestor and always have,” said Gerrard Albert, the lead negotiator for the Whanganui iwi [tribe].

      “We have fought to find an approximation in law so that all others can understand that from our perspective treating the river as a living entity is the correct way to approach it, as in indivisible whole, instead of the traditional model for the last 100 years of treating it from a perspective of ownership and management.”

      The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same.

      • Woo hoo!!!!! I used to keep up on this, so was surprised to see that until now, it was not a done deal. Thanks, LD!

      • Wow!!!!! Way beyond way cool!! 🙂

      • wi58 replied 1 week ago

        Hey if corporations are people why not a river? Personally i’ll go with the river it wont pollute anything or want an obscene golden parachute

    • McCain: Rand Paul ‘is now working for Vladimir Putin’

      Sen. John McCain on Wednesday accused fellow Sen. Rand Paul of doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding after Paul blocked an attempt to vote on a treaty for NATO membership for Montenegro.

      “The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin,” McCain bluntly said of Paul on the Senate floor following the dust-up.

      The Arizona Republican, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, was joined on the Senate floor by Democrats Ben Cardin of Maryland and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire to push for debate and a vote on the treaty. But Paul, who has opposed further expansion of NATO, objected to McCain’s request to consider the measure.

      Russia has sought to prevent the small Balkan nation from coming under Western influence, and McCain warned about Russian attempts to destabilize Montenegro’s government.

      The treaty is expected to garner wide support in the Senate. Twenty-three of the 28 NATO member nations have voted in favor of Montenegro joining the alliance.

      • McCain and a lot of others are jumping the shark on Russia, but since the MSM is in on it, many don’t realize it. Caitlin is great on this.

    • Now that image of Bernie hugging the woman is something beautiful. thanks!

      Listened to opening call of draft Bernie for the people’s party, and decided I agree with Josh Fox–let’s maybe not start another Party, but keep it a movement. I was a little surprised that they didn’t open up the lines for comments and questions, so I sent this opinion to them in a reply. Encouraging, though, to have another large group pushing for Bernie, keeping his name in there, etc.

      They may be connected in some way to Indivisible.

      Josh Fox said that what made him turn to this was the Tom Perez election. He was on fire, about all the people around the country, from so many walks of life, for so many reasons.

    • Press corps blasts Tillerson for cherry-picking reporters

      The Trump administration’s efforts to rewrite the rules for media coverage reached a furious peak on Wednesday as veteran State Department reporters expressed outrage over Secretary Rex Tillerson’s decision to take only a reporter from a conservative website on his first trip to Asia.

      “The State Department is the beacon of press freedom around the world. The message now to China in particular when he gets to Beijing is that press freedom doesn’t matter,” MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who is following Tillerson’s trip and broadcasting from Tokyo, said in a recent appearance on air. “Up until now, secretaries of state have made it a key demand that our press corps gets into meetings … that there be access for the media … A key component of foreign policy is being undercut by this.”

      Tillerson’s move caught most of the media off guard, in part because he has more to gain than lose by courting the diplomatic press corps, which has enjoyed generally good relations with all secretaries of state going back to the Reagan administration. Indeed, of all the branches of the Washington press corps, the State Department’s is widely considered the most staid and serious, the type who actually care about policy versus palace intrigue.

      But those same reporters are now furious, frustrated and, in some cases, disgusted by what’s been deemed a violation of tradition and a public trust, with Tillerson’s decision to bring only Erin McPike of Independent Journal Review, a conservative news outlet which made its name with lighthearted videos featuring politicians and viral stories.

    • Just what we need…

      Top Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight

      As Democrats try to recover from devastating 2016 election losses, some of the party’s rising stars are out of the national spotlight.

      The party’s most prominent members — former President Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — all hold no elected office but are expected to play major roles in the party’s rebuilding efforts.

      But while the party’s bench includes a handful of lawmakers already in Congress or governors’ mansions, others are carving out spaces of their own despite not holding prominent elected positions.
      Here are five Democratic politicians who could soon sit at the center of Democratic politics — and how they’re biding their time until then.

      • wi58 replied 1 week ago

        Since their economy is one of the largest in the world on its own, the revenues may be there along with some federal help to support it. It would be great for them to take the lead.

    • Donald Trump Isn’t Even Pretending to Oppose Goldman Sachs Anymore

      The continuity of Wall Street’s dominant role in American politics — regardless of what party sits in power or how reviled the financial industry finds itself across the country — was perhaps never more evident than when Jake Siewert, now a Goldman Sachs spokesperson, on Tuesday praised the selection of Jim Donovan, a Goldman Sachs managing director, for the No. 2 position in the Treasury Department under Steve Mnuchin, himself a former Goldman Sachs partner.

      “Jim is smart, extraordinarily versatile, and as hard-working as they come,” Siewert gushed. “He’ll be an invaluable addition to the economic team.”

      The punch line? Siewert was counselor at the Treasury Department to Timothy Geithner, as well as a White House press secretary under Bill Clinton.

      The ubiquity of Goldman Sachs veterans across numerous presidencies throughout history, both Republican and Democratic, has been well documented. But Donald Trump sold himself as something different, an economic nationalist determined to rankle Wall Street. He even ran campaign ads savaging bankers like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein for their role in a “global power structure.”

      That populist smokescreen is long gone now.

    • US consumer protection agency, says man expected to lead it

      Donald Trump is facing mounting pressure to completely scrap America’s consumer protection agency, the man lined up by the President to head the watchdog has revealed.

      Loan sharks, payday lenders and rogue debt collectors could be given carte blanche to rip off American customers as part of a touted shake up of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

      Randy Neugebauer, considered the favourite to replace the current director of the CFPB, said Mr Trump was facing pressure from inside the Republican Party to dismantle the agency entirely.

      Following Mr Trump’s election last November, he emerged as the frontrunner to take charge of the watchdog. The former Texan Congressman, who retired in January, held talks with the then-President-Elect in Trump Tower shortly before his inauguration.

      Speaking exclusively to The Independent in his first interview since the new administration was installed in the White House, Mr Neugebauer said his meeting with Mr Trump included discussions about deregulating financial markets and gutting the CFPB.

    • It is so hard to pick who’s the worse of all the Trumpsters

      https://thinkprogress.org/sessions-cannabis-heroin-same-e619459efc74#.p6r44nizo

      Marijuana users and heroin addicts are basically the same, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.

      “I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” said Sessions. He went on to call for a revival of hardline ’80s- and ‘90s-style “educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs.”

      “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life,” Sessions said.

      For someone on a bar stool arguing with his friends, this would be a stupid but harmless “hot take.” But for the top law enforcement official in a nation of 320 million people, it’s a malicious string of lies intended to justify dangerous policies.

      Sessions’ mockery of the idea that marijuana could help people struggling with opiate addiction is especially frustrating to Steve Miller, who retired as a sergeant after 18 years on a suburban Detroit police force and now works as a private investigator at a lawfirm specializing in medical marijuana cases.

      “He’s out of reality in that statement. Marijuana has proven to be very beneficial medically for people. And there are studies coming out now showing it is helping people get off their opiate and heroin addictions, and showing it helps kick alcohol addiction as well,” Miller, one of many law enforcement professionals who advocates to end marijuana prohibition, told ThinkProgress. “I don’t know where his medical training comes from that he makes these statements.”
      Sessions: Legal pot drives violent crime, statistics be damned

      The idea that routine marijuana use is a “life-wrecking dependency…only slightly less awful” than heroin addiction is also medically absurd. Once chemically dependent upon heroin, the human body will tear itself apart if forcibly deprived of the drug. A heroin addict pursuing her next hit or pill is fleeing hours and hours of vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle pain. Someone deprived of their nightly joint might be a little cranky, a little on edge, a little less hungry the next day when they get up and go to work.

      • I swear to god, this is almost an actual repeat of 1980-81 when the Raygun Regime took control. Only difference is the FRightwingnuts have wrecked the protective buffers we had at the federal, state and local political/legislative levels. They didn’t have the media control like they do now. Sessions is so stupid, he’s incapable of pulling his head out of his arse. He still thinks it’s 1981. Man, is that yahoo in for s surprise!!

    • T and R to the usual suspects!! You know, I am getting real sick and tired of certain so-called “liberal” “progressive” bloggers insulting the Bernster. Not on here, thank gawd!! He’s been called an “imperialist” and a “sociopath.” These are actual quotes. If these people aren’t paid trolls then they are just plain stupid!! End of rant. 🙂

    • Who knows where the DNC will go and what “advice” they will take, but it’s good to see Jayapal on the advisory team

      http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/324193-perez-creates-advisory-team-for-dnc-transition

      It also includes activists like DeRay McKesson and Astrid Silva, along with freshman Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), a progressive endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). McKesson is a key civil rights figure who played a major role in the Black Lives Matter movement, and Silva is an undocumented immigrant who recently gave a Spanish-language response to President Trump’s state of the union.

    • Chelsea Clinton to release children’s book: ‘She Persisted’

      Chelsea Clinton has borrowed a line from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the title of her upcoming children’s book, “She Persisted.”

      The title of Clinton’s book is a reference to McConnell’s explanation of a Senate vote last month to force Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to stop speaking because her criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at that point a senator awaiting confirmation to President Donald Trump’s cabinet, violated a Senate rule that prohibits impugning another senator.

      ..

      The former first daughter’s book, the details of which were first reported by Entertainment Weekly, will include stories of 13 women who accomplished goals despite opposition. The women highlighted will include Harriet Tubman, Hellen Keller, Ruby Bridges, Oprah Winfrey and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

      “I wrote this book for everyone who’s ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who’s ever been made to feel less than,” Chelsea Clinton said in a statement provided to EW. “With this book, I want to send a message to young readers around the country—and the world—that persistence is power.”

      • Chelsea Clinton fuels speculation of political run

        When rumors started swirling after the election that Chelsea Clinton was considering her own foray into politics, it was met with eye rolls even from staunch supporters of the family.

        “Think we can let the dust settle a bit before we start talking about another Clinton race?” one former adviser to Hillary Clinton said after the New York Post reported in November that the former first daughter was being “groomed” to run for Congress, possibly replacing 79-year-old congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) “It’s exhausting.”

        But that skepticism is starting to fade.
        Last month, a separate report in the New York Daily News said that Clinton could potentially run for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) seat, should the senator decide to run for president in 2020.

        Clinton has only stoked the rumors further, particularly on Twitter, where she has repeatedly gone after President Trump and his associates since Inauguration Day. On Sunday, she also took the opportunity to rail against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for racially charged comments about immigrant babies.

    • Just for those wondering I’ll start putting the site back together one widget at a time this weekend so hopefully you have your comment notifications, trending topics, ability to upload pics/vid directly, etc. I had though we would be ok with the rec system coming back in, but obviously was quite wrong about that!

      • No problemas, LD. The “Weekend Update” is in very capable hands. Just heard that cities in CA are following the voters regarding pot legalization. Sessions has no clue. He thinks it’s 1981, not 2017. What an imbecile. “Just say no” won’t cut it in this day and age.

    • To show where Trump’s soul is!

      http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/324316-trump-proposed-budget-nixes-funds-for-meals-on-wheels

      President Trump’s proposed budget blueprint includes nixing Meals on Wheels, a program that provides meals for the poor, elderly and veterans.

      Trump’s proposed cuts include $3 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which includes Meals on wheels among other housing and community programs.

      But tax cuts for the rich is just peachy keen

    • This is how a PERVERTED Republican mind works!

      http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/324311-found-40-billion-for-the-federal-budget

      Discussions about the federal budget take center stage this week, sparking conversations about where to cut and where to increase funding. One important issue to consider is how we might reduce waste and improper payments in order to infuse more resources into vital programs that are struggling financially.

      Medicare wastes more taxpayer dollars than any other program government-wide, with more than $40 billion lost annually. It’s outrageous that the federal government allows such rampant wasteful spending to persist while it is in dire need of funding to bolster important healthcare programs — whether to extend full Medicare coverage, improve health services for veterans or extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

      But a big increase in military spending is just what the doctor ordered.

      For sure there isn’t one iota of waste ate the Pentagon!

    • A happy story for a change!

    • Finally somebody actually gets it and speaks the truth.

      http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/rand-paul-john-mccain-unhinged-putin-236128

      Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday called Sen. John McCain “unhinged” for accusing him of supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      “I think he makes a really, really strong case for term limits,” Paul (R-Ky.) said Thursday morning on MSNBC. “I think maybe he’s past his prime. I think maybe he’s gotten a little bit unhinged.”

      Anyone who would consider Sarah Palin for VP needs some help!

    • wi58 replied 1 week ago

      Who woulda thunk, Bernie +29 in a FOX POLL!!!!

    • I am hoping that the hatching is successful.

    • Are the Democrats going to blame the Russians for hacking McDonalds?

      If you can make out the tweet it is kind of funny.

  • Good morning everyone! If you are having issues commenting/logging in please send me an email (my username @ gmail, or tpwhelpdesk at gmail) so I can try and figure things out. I’m super swamped with the […]

    • How Democrats Can Win Back the Working Class by Katrina vanden Heuvel

      Of all the promises Donald Trump made as a candidate, perhaps none was more important than his pledge to the working-class voters who flocked to his campaign. “Under a Trump presidency,” he said, “the American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.”

      But since his election, Trump has made a mockery of that promise. He put Goldman Sachs bankers in charge of the economy. He blocked a plan to reduce mortgage premiums for millions of families. He issued a budget blueprint that slashes funding for vital social programs. And he put his weight behind an Affordable Care Act “replacement” bill that guts health coverage for working people while providing tax cuts for the wealthy and health insurance executives.

      In response, Democrats, riding a wave of grass-roots energy fueling the progressive resistance to Trump nationwide, have adopted a strategy of fierce opposition to the president’s agenda. A tireless commitment to fighting Trump’s disastrous policies and support for the activists marching in the streets are important. But there is also a natural danger of falling into the default mode of opposing Trump, and merely defending existing policies, without offering the serious solutions that people so desperately need. Rebuilding the party requires Democrats to speak boldly about what they are for and not just what they are against. Otherwise, they risk replicating the failed campaign strategy of 2016, when the Clinton campaign hammered away at Trump without appealing to working Americans with a clear and bold alternative vision of its own.

      • Katrina vanden Heuvel lost cred with me when she backed $hrill. She opposed Bernie’s issues by her actions. This reads hypocritical IMO.

      • For some reason, I really do not really understand, I do not like this lady. To me, she tries to look very liberal but ends up being more conservative. Like the above, she fails to mention that Trump canceled the trade agreement and is making a point, whether real or not, of bring jobs back to the USA. He is still talking about tariffs to punish companies like Apple who have their work done in China. These are the policies hi supporters care about. They still love him. Many do not follow politics everyday (in both parties) so his appointments are not that meaningful. If she thinks people having marches every month or so, will bring people back to the Democratic party, she is either dreaming or covering up their corporate buy out.

    • Is the Vault 7 Source a Whistleblower? Jesselyn Radack

      Already, the information in the Vault 7 documents revealed that the Intelligence Community has misled the American people. In the wake of Snowden’s revelations, the Intelligence Community committed to avoid the stockpiling of technological vulnerabilities, publicly claiming that its bias was toward “disclosing them” so as to better protect everyone’s privacy. However, the Vault 7 documents reveal just the opposite: not only has the CIA been stockpiling exploits, it has been aggressively working to undermine our Internet security. Even assuming the CIA is using its hacking tools against the right targets, a pause-worthy presumption given the agency’s checkered history, the CIA has empowered the rest of the hacker world and foreign adversaries by hoarding vulnerabilities, and thereby undermined the privacy rights of all Americans and millions of innocent people around the world. Democracy depends on an informed citizenry, and journalistic sources—whether they call themselves whistleblowers or not—are a critical component when the government uses national security as justification to keep so much of its activities hidden from public view.

      As we learn more about the Vault 7 source and the disclosures, our focus should be on the substance of the disclosures. Historically, the government’s reflexive instinct is to shoot the messenger, pathologize the whistleblower, and drill down on his or her motives, while the transparency community holds its breath that he or she will turn out to be pure as the driven snow. But that’s all deflection from plumbing the much more difficult questions, which are: Should the CIA be allowed to conduct these activities, and should it be doing so in secret without any public oversight?

      These are questions we would not even be asking without the Vault 7 source.

      • Snowden: If Trump So Concerned About Government Spying, He Should Fix It

        If President Donald Trump really cares about government spying, he should reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance program, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden suggested on Tuesday.

        Speaking by video link to The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, Snowden would not validate Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama had “tapped” the wires at Trump Towers, but said the claim—which sent the White House backpedaling—shows Trump knows how serious mass surveillance is.

        “If Donald Trump or anyone else wants us to take this seriously, they have to show evidence,” Snowden said. “And the fact that they have not despite the severity of this allegation, means that they’re trying to make political hay—I suspect—out of something that effects all of us, which is that mass surveillance is making all of us vulnerable.”

        He continued:

        If Donald Trump wants to take this seriously, he needs to fix the problem that everyone in America’s communications are being collected right now, without a warrant, and they’re going into the bucket, and they’re protected by very lax internal policy regulations, and this simply is not enough.

        The problem is not, ‘Oh, you know, poor Donald Trump.’ You’re the president. You should be asking questions about, ‘Why was this possible in the first place,’ and, ‘Why haven’t I fixed it?'”

    • Top Trump Aide Accused of Breaking Criminal Conflict of Interest Law

      Another member of President Donald Trump’s inner circle may have blurred ethical lines, this time by breaking criminal conflict of interest laws.

      Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint Tuesday with White House counsel Don McGhan, accusing assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives Christopher Liddell of improperly participating in meetings that took place between Trump and companies in which Liddell held millions of dollars in stock.

    • As Climate Alarm Bells Ring, Trump Poised to Decimate Regulations

      President Donald Trump is poised to unleash a sweeping anti-climate executive order to repeal major regulations enacted by the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

      “The directive will instruct members of the Cabinet to rewrite regulation restricting carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants, lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing, and revise the way climate change is factored into federal decision-making—all key elements of the Obama administration’s effort to address climate change,” the Post writes.

      The Post reports that the administration is under pressure to release the order soon, as a lawsuit challenging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon emissions limits is currently pending. The suit was launched by conservative attorneys general—including now-EPA chief Scott Pruitt, although he’s no longer a plaintiff. The EPA rule was intended to cut emissions by a third by 2030.

      And climate change action is needed more urgently than ever, as measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing at a record-breaking pace. Carbon dioxide levels now rest at 405 parts per million (ppm). The latest measurements fulfill scientists’ prediction last year that atmospheric levels of CO2 would soon permanently exceed the symbolic threshold of 400ppm.

      • Mother Nature silently sheds a tear!

      • I’ll bet that the climate deniers will say that this is their favorite shade of green.

        https://apnews.com/39cdba54f35548ffb0914094343bb0c6?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP

        The swarms of microscopic creatures beneath the surface of the Gulf of Oman were all but invisible 30 years ago — now they form giant, murky shapes that can be seen from satellites.

        Across the planet, blooms have wrecked local ecosystems. Algae can paralyze fish, clog their gills, and absorb enough oxygen to suffocate them. Whales, turtles, dolphins and manatees have died, poisoned by algal toxins, in the Atlantic and Pacific. These toxins have infiltrated whole marine food chains and have, in rare cases, killed people, according to the U.N. science agency

        NASA uses satellites and floating robots to monitor the blooms, said Paula Bontempi, the manager for ocean carbon and biology projects at the U.S. space agency. “It’s like a Van Gogh painting,” she said, referring to satellite images of swirls of chlorophyll spiraling across the world’s oceans. “Absolutely beautiful.”

    • 🙁

      2.7 Million Animals Killed by Federal Wildlife-destruction Program in 2016

      The highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 2.7 million animals during 2016, according to new data from the agency.

      The multimillion-dollar federal program targets wolves, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction — primarily to benefit the agriculture industry. Of the 2.7 million animals killed last year, nearly 1.6 million were native wildlife species.

      According to the latest kill report, the program last year destroyed 415 gray wolves; 76,963 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 430 destroyed dens; 407 black bears; 334 mountain lions; 997 bobcats; 535 river otters, including 415 killed “unintentionally”; 3,791 foxes, plus an unknown number of fox pups in 128 dens; and 21,184 beavers.

      The program also killed 14,654 prairie dogs outright, as well as an unknown number killed in more than 68,000 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated. These figures almost certainly underestimate the actual number of animals killed, as program insiders have revealed that Wildlife Services kills many more animals than it reports.

      “Despite mounting public outcry to reform these barbaric, outdated tactics, Wildlife Services continues its taxpayer-funded slaughter of America’s wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, a biologist and attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s simply no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle millions of animals every year. These cruel practices not only fail to effectively manage targeted wildlife but also pose ongoing threats to other animals, including endangered species and pets.”

      • DISGUSTING is the only comment that I can come up with.

        • sickening came up for me….river otters for gwds sake…how could they????!!!

          • But the river otters was ‘unintentional’! well 415 of them. Im assuming the other 120 were selectively targeted based on solid evidence of their terrorist activities and the rest were just casualties of war?

            In just 2016. Under a democratic administration.

            In west TX they had the yearly ‘rattlesnake roundup’ this past week which I was forced to witness pictures of all over news/the facebook and it was pretty damn sickening as well, despite it being just ‘evil snakes’.

            • Sadly this reminds me of the Wild Horses being rounded up for slaughter on government controlled land.

              • …yah, well we wouldn’t want them eating a single blade of grass that might have went to the scattered and untended herds of Bundy/other rich ranchers cattle that run all over that government land without paying a cent….native wildlife and plants trample, trample.

                truly disgusting 🙁

                • I’m for the horses, too!

                  I do know some enviros, tho, that say the horses trample too much that is important to other species. There’s a divide among us, but we respect each other’s positions.

                  • The horses don’t do even a fraction of the damage that grazing cattle do. I’m for the horses as well. 🙂

            • …perhaps they thought the River Otters were Water Protectors in disguise and were trying to sabotage pipelines that crossed under rivers. s/

          • It’s timber and Big Ag. They kill black bears all over the place here b/c they “hurt” timbers trees by rubbing up against them and I suppose they break a few. It is sickening and there’s nothin’ we can do about it b/c corporations write our laws.

    • New Story Map Shows What’s Really at Stake With Trump’s Border Wall

      The Center for Biological Diversity joined the Borderlands Project and other organizations today in launching “Embattled Borderlands,” a new story map project that details the various places, people and wildlife put in harm’s way by border walls and militarization. The immersive web platform combines a decade of photo documentation and scientific data to highlight a region at the crossroads of destructive border security policies.

      “The U.S.-Mexico borderlands are breathtakingly beautiful, richly diverse and highly threatened by walls and militarization,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center. “Many people don’t understand how special this region is, or the destructive disaster that Trump’s proposals would cause. The Embattled Borderlands project will help change that.”

      The interactive resource weaves together cutting-edge mapping by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), compelling narrative and stunning professional photography by the International League of Conservation Photographers to create a vivid portrait of a place at the center of one of our nation’s biggest conflicts.

      “Thousands of species contribute to a complex web of life in the borderlands, many of which — such as jaguar and ocelot — are found nowhere else in the United States,” said Serraglio. “The border region is fragile and vulnerable, and Trump’s wall would do irreparable harm.”

    • Rex Tillerson used email alias at Exxon to discuss climate, says New York AG

      The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of ExxonMobil Corp, used an alias email address while at the oil company to send and receive information related to climate change and other matters, according to the New York attorney general.

      Eric Schneiderman’s office said in a letter on Monday that it found Tillerson had used an alias email address under the pseudonym “Wayne Tracker” from at least 2008 through 2015. Wayne is Tillerson’s middle name.

      The letter was sent to a New York state judge overseeing Schneiderman’s investigation into whether Exxon misled shareholders and the public about climate change.

      • Schneiderman was voted into office by NY, right? He’s the state AG, not fed. Good thing, too. Once in a blue moon, a state will get something right! T and R to the usual suspects. Hope everyone is taking care and staying warm. 🙂

        • Now if Schneiderman investigated Cuomo he would probably come out with a boatload of goodies!

    • Trump travel ban: opposition rallies as new order set to take effect

      Lawyers and anti-Trump protesters are preparing for renewed confrontation at US airports over the president’s revised travel ban on visitors from six majority-Muslim countries that is scheduled to come into effect at midnight.

      Trump’s travel ban has been revised in the wake of judicial opposition to remove some its most glaringly anti-constitutional provisions. But it remains highly contentious, and in the eyes of many civil rights experts openly discriminatory against Muslims.

      Volunteers will be out in force at many of the major international airports across the country to mark its arrival at 12.01am Thursday. “This second ban is just as unconstitutional as the first as it is motivated by the same religious animus,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, legal director of the Immigrant Advocacy Program which has been involved in litigation against the new rules.

      He added that the call had gone out to volunteers to provide extra legal advice at Dulles international airport at midnight and through Thursday as part of Dulles Justice Coalition, a spontaneous network of activists that has been holding a daily vigil at the arrivals area since the first ban struck in January.

    • Trump tax returns: president had to pay millions due to tax law he aims to scrap

      Donald Trump’s leaked tax return reveals that the businessman had to pay tens of millions of dollars in a single year because of a tax rule that he has specifically promised to abolish as president.

      A two-page section of Trump’s tax return for 2005, which was published by MSNBC late on Tuesday, revealed that the president paid $38m in federal taxes on more than $150m in income in 2005.

      But the documents also showed that about 82% of the total paid to the Internal Revenue Service that year by Trump and his wife, Melania, was incurred due to a tax that Trump has said should be abolished.

      The “alternative minimum tax” (AMT), which was introduced to ensure the mega wealthy pay a fairer share of tax, comprised $31m of Trump’s tax bill compared with $5.3m in regular federal income tax. In the run-up to November’s election, Trump pledged to eliminate the AMT altogether, meaning the president campaigned for a change in the tax law that would have benefited him.

      • DNC: Trump’s ‘audit excuse is a sham’

        The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Tuesday slammed President Trump for long claiming that he can’t release his tax returns due to an audit after the White House made some tax info public to undercut an MSNBC report.

        “The White House’s willingness to release some tax information when it suits them proves Donald Trump’s audit excuse is a sham,” DNC senior adviser Zac Petkanas said in a statement.

        “If they can release some of his information, they can release all of the information. The only reason not to release his returns is to hide what’s in them such as financial connections with Russian oligarchs and the Kremlin.”

        The White House said late Tuesday Trump reported $150 million in income and paid $38 million in federal taxes in 2005, releasing a statement before MSNBC could reveal the documents on air.
        DCReport.org obtained two pages of Trump’s 2005 Form 1040 that MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” dedicated its hourlong program to.

    • Elderly Americans would pay more for healthcare under new bill – and get less

      Early retirement could be a dangerous time for some Americans if Republicans pass a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

      The Republican bill, called the American Health Care Act, would allow insurers to charge older adults five times more than the young, leading to especially astronomical spikes for less affluent Americans who retire early – $12,900 on average, according to Monday’s analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

      “Because I’m low-income, I only pay about $8 a month,” said Aimee Desroches, a retired victims’ advocate who lives outside a “tiny little village” in the Maine countryside. Because she is 63-years-old, and eligibility for America’s public health insurance program for the elderly, Medicare, begins at 65, she buys insurance and the ACA subsidizes it. Currently, she receives a $9,000 subsidy.

      If the Republican plan passed, she would not only be charged more, she would also receive less help: just $4,900 per year.

      For an average person earning $26,500 per year, out-of-pocket health insurance costs could rise to $14,600 per year, the Congressional Budget Office reported. By contrast, an average 21-year-old earning the same would see a $250 reduction in insurance costs.

      “I would absolutely be unable to be able to have any health insurance,” Desroches said. The increase insurance costs alone would be “well more than my income”.

    • Canadian church group denied entry to US over fears they would ‘steal’ jobs

      A group of Canadian church volunteers hoping to carry out relief work in New Jersey said they were denied entry to the US over fears that they would be “stealing” American jobs.

      The Rehoboth United Reformed church, based in Hamilton, Ontario, had spent months organising its March break trip. The plan was to spend the week helping a central New Jersey church in its ongoing efforts to rebuild homes hit by Hurricane Sandy.

      “This trip falls in the ‘love your neighbour’ category,” said Erik Hoeksema of the group. “We typically send groups down every two or three years to do similar projects.”

    • Seems like an attempt to pass the buck on properly trained poll workers while at the same time being a smear against enthusiastic voters and Bernie, despite the eventual admission way into things that there was no evidence Bernie’s campaign misled anyone in Wisconsin:

      Official: Sanders shares blame for minors voting in primary

      Wisconsin election officials on Tuesday blamed undertrained poll workers and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ social media posts for dozens of instances in which 17-year-olds managed to vote in last year’s state presidential primary.

      A commission report found that as many as 70 teenagers in nearly 30 Wisconsin counties voted illegally in the April election. Sanders won the Democratic side of the primary; Ted Cruz won the Republican side.

      Many states allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by Election Day to vote in their primaries, but Wisconsin requires voters to be 18 to vote in its.

      In its report, the commission determined that “some political campaigns” provided false information about 17-year-olds being able to vote in primaries and it circulated on social media, creating confusion and driving the Wisconsin teens to the polls.

      The report doesn’t name a specific candidate or provide examples of the alleged false information. But commission officials on Tuesday said it was primarily Sanders’ campaign, though commission spokesman Reid Magney acknowledged that staff didn’t see anything misleading from Sanders about Wisconsin laws, specifically. Magney said the report was based on “anecdotal” information the commission received from multiple sources.

      • Definitely a smear. Notice the scarcity of details about the source.

      • wi58 replied 1 week ago

        Personally I like the idea 17 year olds being able to vote in the primaries as long as their 18 by election day. Since most of them are still in HS at that age maybe tie into a class about their responsibility and RIGHT to vote. Try to get them in the habbit of voting early in life. Funny how Walker and his cronies touted that his voter id law would prevent so called voter fraud. Hell it couldn’t even stop 70 17 year old from voting by mistake. To be clear:) I don’t think it was malicious by these kids- just the wrong info. I certainty hope that they are not fined for this,they could by law though

    • Sanders, Manchin find common ground in opposition to ACA replacement

      Monday night, after the Congressional Budget Office’s score of the American Health Care Act was released, senators walked on and off the floor for their only votes of the day — confirming Seema Verma as the Medicare and Medicaid chief. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., walked into a throng of reporters to condemn the AHCA.

      “I think that legislation is disgusting,” he said. “It is immoral. And it should not see the light of day. Let’s be clear — and I have no hesitation in saying this — if this legislation is passed, millions of people are thrown off of health insurance, not able to get to a doctor when they must. Thousands of Americans will die. That’s what this legislation is about.”

      A few minutes later, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. — another member of the Senate Democratic leadership, representing the right as Sanders represents the left — ambled into the same group of reporters.

      “I got an older population, I got a poorer population, and I got an opiate issue we need to clean up,” Manchin said. “And now, talk about insult to injury. You’ve got to have a moral compass inside of you. You can’t do that. Look at the elderly, look at the poor, look at the sick. How can you look at yourself and say, ‘Okay, I’ll help the person who needs help the least, the wealthiest people, with more tax cuts, because I’m going to be taking away from the elderly population?’ ”

      Not 10 days after progressive activists demanded that Manchin be expelled from Senate leadership, the AHCA has brought him back in line with Democrats, fully opposed to Republican repeal efforts. It brought into relief a problem with the Republicans’ three-phase repeal strategy — the third phase, of getting eight Democrats on board with bills to pass the Senate through normal rules, counts on support that does not exist.

      Seems silly to keep him in Leadership and consider all forgiven just because he had the slightest bit of decency in deciding to oppose a Trump policy despite everything else…

      • Bernster holds a tremendous amount of power cos of the young folks. He knows what he’s doing which a lot of dimwitted so-called “progressive/liberals” don’t get. That includes quite a few bloggers who aren’t trolls.

      • Just wait to the Gorsuch confirmation hearings! I do get that he will vote for and against some things that the Dems want, while a Republican would not, but he votes against the Dems on important issues a lot, and I don’t think his leadership position makes him toe the Dem line–so why put him there?

    • US Judge Denies Tribe’s Request to Stop Oil Flow in Dakota Access Pipeline

      A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by a Native American tribe for an emergency injunction to prevent oil from flowing through part of the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying such a move would be against the public interest.

      The ruling, issued in court documents ahead of plans to start pumping oil through the pipeline next week, follows months of demonstrations in a remote part of North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux tribe demonstrated in an attempt to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing upstream from their reservation.

      Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued his decision denying the request by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, saying the court “acknowledges that the tribe is likely to suffer irreparable harm to its members’ religious exercise if oil is introduced into the pipeline, but Dakota Access would also be substantially harmed by an injunction, given the financial and logistical injuries that would ensue.”

    • Chevron cleaning up 4,800-gallon oil pipeline spill in Colorado

      About 4,800 gallons of oil spilled from a broken Chevron Corporation pipeline and flowed into an intermittent stream on public land in northwestern Colorado, company representatives and industry regulators said Tuesday.

      Disclosure of the accident earlier this month in Rio Blanco County came as a conservation group reported spills from oil and gas development fell for the second straight year in 2016 amid a slowdown in drilling.

      In the Chevron breach, crude from a failed 6-inch pipeline travelled about 2 miles downstream along an unnamed tributary of Stinking Water Creek near the town of Rangely, state and federal officials said.

      ..

      Colorado Department of Natural Resources spokesman Todd Hartman says the failed section of pipeline is being analyzed to determine a cause.

      An examination of industry accident data by the conservation group Center for Western Priorities found 509 spills reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission last year, down from 615 the year before, the Daily Sentinel reported on Tuesday. There were 712 spills reported in 2014.

    • SF Supervisors Vote in Favor of Pipeline Divestment Efforts

      The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted in support of efforts to divest from banks financing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      The board approved a resolution introduced by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer urging City Treasurer Jose Cisneros to add the Dakota Access Pipeline to the list of screening factors he considers when making city investment decisions.

      Nearly 14 percent of the city’s portfolio, or about $1.2 billion, is currently invested with issuers that provide financing to the project, according to Fewer.

      • Walkers Crossing State To Stop Pipeline

        Opponents of a proposed multi-million dollar pipeline is taking their cause to the people — and they’re doing it one step at a time.

        Duke Energy and Dominion Resources want to build a 550mile pipeline to bring natural gas from fracking fields in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to power plants in North Carolina.

        ..

        The protesters, who began carrying their message along a route that included areas that would affect parts of Johnston, Sampson and Cumberland counties, started their 205-mile trek March 4. They intend to march along the intended route of the pipeline that would traverse the State of North Carolina.

        Along the way they are carrying signs, replica windmills and a desire to make sure the pipeline is never a reality.

        “There are eight counties along the proposed pipeline’s route and we’re walking all eight of those counties,” Mr. Yost said.

      • ‘Water is life’: Protesters demonstrate outside Valero

        Protesters shouted “You can’t drink oil” while demonstrating against the Diamond Pipeline on Tuesday in front of Valero.

        About 10 protesters and 11 law enforcement vehicles were present outside the refinery in South Memphis during the protest of the Diamond Pipeline. Construction of the 20-inch crude oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to Memphis began last year and is scheduled to be completed this year.

        A dozen people were arrested at a demonstration earlier this year at the refinery, and a group of officers observed Tuesday’s protest. Two officers appeared to take footage of the protesters.
        With temperatures in the 30s, protesters held signs of “Boycott Valero,” “Save our water,” “People over profit,” “Water is life” and “Stop Diamond Pipeline. Pipelines spill. Protect our water.” They declared in another poster, “We are in compliance with Memphis Assembly Codes.”

        “Our message is to protect clean water,” said 30-year-old Dominic Van Horn.

        After the protest, an officer read a printed statement that the leadership of the Memphis Police Department welcomes and respects the expression of First Amendment rights. He read the statement to protester Keedran “TNT” Franklin who filmed him. Franklin is one of the well-known protesters who was previously placed on the city’s list of people requiring an escort at City Hall and later removed from the list after it was made public.

      • Norway’s KLP pension fund divests from 4 Dakota Access Pipeline companies

        Kommunal Landspensjonskasse, Oslo, divested from four North American companies involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline, said a news release from the pension fund

        The 589 billion Norwegian kroner ($69.9 billion) KLP decided to divest 580 million kroner in fixed-income and equity investments in Energy Transfer Partners, Phillips 66, Enbridge Inc. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. due to an unacceptable risk of contributing to human rights violations, said the release.

        “We have had a long and thorough process on this case. It has been complicated, but I am confident that we have now reached the right conclusion,” KLP’s CEO Sverre Thornes said in the release.

    • How come it’s POX “News”? Where’s ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, etc.?

    • When politicians hate foreign babies, racism is reaching a fever pitch

      We live in an era that has unleashed all manner of odious, racist rhetoric. The bar for what retains the power to shock us is being raised daily. But some comments still cut deep. “Culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies” said Iowa state representative Steve King over the weekend. It is rare to encounter such blatant bigotry – even today.

      ‘Other people’s babies’ may be the clearest three-word expression, the most concentrated distillation of racism that we have heard so far. It so obviously demonstrates the belief that people of some races are not equal to other human beings. Those three words explain so much of what has been happening in this country.

    • How the Democratic Establishment Beat Back Keith Ellison’s DNC Bid

      Under normal circumstances, the accession of someone like former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) might be cheered by the U.S. Left. But not in 2017—and not like this. In the aftermath of the catastrophic 2016 elections, progressives rallied behind the candidacy of Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), a Bernie Sanders ally and former civil rights lawyer who vowed to shake up the Democratic Party. The DNC balked: At its meeting in Atlanta in February, members opted for Perez over Ellison 235–200 in a second vote after neither secured a first-round majority.

      In his victory speech, Perez named Ellison as his deputy chair, though the newly created position remains undefined. The outcome has progressives feeling uneasy at best and downright disgusted at worst. By all accounts, Perez appears both capable and politically palatable—and yet, the dynamics that propelled him to victory seems to reveal hostility from the Democratic Party establishment toward its growing leftwing faction. That tension looms large at the very moment the Democrats must reckon with the most dangerous GOP in history.

    • The moment Varney/Fox News report that Socialism is no longer a dirty word. Can someone please send the message to the DNC now?

      Varney: Sanders is Dems’ ‘intellectual, ideological, driving force’

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has become the Democratic Party’s driving force, Fox Business host Stuart Varney said Tuesday.

      Appearing on “Fox & Friends,” Varney said he’d seen a poll finding that 40 percent of people 30 years old or younger have a “favorable view of socialism.”

      “It’s hard to say where it comes from, but suffice it to say that I think that Bernie Sanders is now the intellectual, ideological, driving force of the Democratic Party,” said Varney, host of “Varney and Company” on Fox Business.

      “His people have taken over the party.”

      Asked the fact that Sanders is an Independent and not in the Democratic Party, Varney said: “No, he’s a democratic socialist.”
      “And people are not worried about the use of the word socialist,” Varney said.

      “I mean, that’s poison to someone like me. But to a young generation, it’s not.”

    • LD: the link didn’t work. I had to call up the source. GREAT read though!