Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Marijuana Is Now a Driving Engine of the American Economy @alternet

Marijuana Is Now a Driving Engine of the American Economy @alternet:

"The legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is having a positive impact on states’ economies in ways that go well beyond tax revenue. From job creation to increased tourism, marijuana legalization is driving economic markets. Here’s how."

Amazing Graphic Shows Why Cannabis Is a Medication Worth Legalizing @alternet

Amazing Graphic Shows Why Cannabis Is a Medication Worth Legalizing @alternet:

"According to clinical studies, the chemical compounds found in cannabis (CBD and THC) can successfully treat chronic pain and many other health ailments. This was evidenced in the largest ever study on cannabis which examined over 10,000 studies on the drug. The results found that, not only is cannabis an effective defense to chronic pain, but also a wide range of other health problems such as: muscles spasms in those suffering from multiple sclerosis, nausea in those undergoing chemotherapy, inflammation, arthritis, fibromyalgia, anxiety, stress, and PTSD."


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cancer Patient Who Trump Blocked On Twitter Speaks Out

Don't Let These Other Stories Get Lost in the News

"I reckon Lost In The News is going to be a regular feature for a while hereabouts, what with our third killer hurricane in a month and the continuing adventures of The Volga Bagmen in the executive branch."

Trump’s Pick for Ambassador to Russia Says Trump Is Wrong About Russia

"During his confirmation hearing today for the post of ambassador to Russia, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman made clear that, unlike President Trump, he believes that Russia interfered in the US election. “There is no question, underline no question, that the Russian government interfered in the US election last year, and Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies,” Huntsman said in his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

Following The Path From Paul Manafort To Robert Mueller

Trump campaign chair offered 'private briefings' on state of Trump campaign to Russian billionaire

"Under what circumstances a fabulously wealthy Putin-allied Russian billionaire might "need private briefings" about the state of an American presidential race, as detailed to him by none other than the campaign chairman of the Republican presidential candidate, is unclear. Very unclear. Manafort's spokesman claims the effort was because the Russian owed Manafort for past work. Again, though, how being owed money by a Russian businessman might translate into the Russian businessman getting "private briefings" on the state of the presidential campaign Paul Manafort was running is unexplained."

Manafort offered Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin ‘private briefings’ on status of Trump campaign: report

Manafort offered Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin ‘private briefings’ on status of Trump campaign: report

"Former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort offered to give “private briefings” on the status of the election to a Russian billionaire with ties to the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports. Manafort, who’s home was raided earlier this summer by federal investigators probing the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russian operatives, reportedly offered to brief Basic Element founder Oleg Deripaska through an intermediary less than two weeks before Trump accepted the Republican nomination. “If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote on July 7, 2016."

Newly Revealed Russia Interactions At Top Of Donald Trump's Campaign

Robert Reich: Trump's Tax Plan Is a Cruel Farce @alternet

Robert Reich: Trump's Tax Plan Is a Cruel Farce @alternet:

"Corporate and Wall Street Republicans – along with Donald Trump – are most interested in cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy. They have the backing the GOP’s big business donors who stand to make a bundle off tax cuts."

U.S. and Syria are now the only nations that don’t support the Paris climate agreement

"Nicaragua announced Wednesday its intention to join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the United States and Syria as the only two countries that do not support the accord."

WSJ: Robert Mueller Office Interviewed Rod Rosenstein On James Comey Firing

The problem with anonymous gifts to White House legal defense funds

"In a reversal of internal policy, the Office of Government Ethics says funds benefiting aides caught up in Russia probes may accept anonymous gifts from lobbyists. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has quietly reversed its own internal policy prohibiting anonymous donations from lobbyists to White House staffers who have legal defense funds. The little-noticed change could help President Donald Trump’s aides raise the money they need to pay attorneys as the Russia probe expands – but raises the potential for hidden conflicts of interest or other ethics trouble. Ya think? White House aides, desperate to pay crushing legal bills, may have a conflict of interest when lobbyists quietly help pick up the tab with anonymous donations?"

Trump pretends his tax plan won’t be a giveaway to the wealthy

"Trump has already called for a massive tax break for those at the very top. Indeed, this isn’t just part of the plan; it’s the point of the plan. The entire endeavor is based on a trickle-down model that serves as the foundation of Republican ideas on the economy: make sure those at the top have more money, and in time, wealth will trickle down to everyone else."

New Revelations Deepen NSA Mike Flynn Legal Jeopardy

Senate Republicans Aren't Just Aiming to Destroy Obamacare and Medicaid; They Want to Provide a Death Blow to Any Future Health Care Reform @alternet

Senate Republicans Aren't Just Aiming to Destroy Obamacare and Medicaid; They Want to Provide a Death Blow to Any Future Health Care Reform @alternet:

"The Senate Republicans’ latest anti-Obamacare bill has bigger goals than destroying the Affordable Care Act and dismantling Medicaid. This bill aims to blow up the very foundation upon which a national health care system could be built—even if it roils private insurance markets via massive premium hikes for 2018."

Trump’s presidency provides a model for a new high-tech authoritarianism

Trump’s presidency provides a model for a new high-tech authoritarianism

"the first six months of the Trump presidency provide a model for a new authoritarianism, one that seeks to make information about the public more transparent while extending secrecy for leaders. Consider, for example, the president’s efforts to go after journalists and leakers. It is his privacy and the privacy of information about him that he is seeking to protect. Or consider the president’s instinct to make the private matters of others public. Trump did this often during the campaign and continues the tactic in tweets about political opponents, journalists, and others he does not like. His communications are intended to embarrass or shame based on the release of private facts. It is a technique favored by the notorious human rights opponent Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Long before the Presidential Commission thought it had the authority to collect the voter records of registered voters across the country, Trump had picked for attorney general one of the few members of the U.S. Senate who had opposed the USA Freedom Act, which reined in the mass surveillance of domestic communications revealed by Edward Snowden. He chose for director of the CIA a former House member who also suggested that the powers for mass surveillance should be restored. And his executive order on immigration included provisions to expand the use of biometrics at the border. Meanwhile, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a key agency established to check the powers of the presidency after September 11, remains without enough members to exercise legal authority. And the Federal Trade Commission, also crucial to the protection of the privacy interests of the American public, is barely functioning. If it is correct that the modern democratic state is sustained by privacy protections for citizens and transparency obligations for officials, then future actions by this administration on these issues require close attention."

Donald Trump Exposed For Lie About Sketchy Business Partner, Russia Deal

Entire health care industry fights to kill Republican repeal bill

"Next week, the Senate is poised to vote on overhauling the American health care system, and at this point, the bill’s Republican supporters have managed to persuade no one but themselves. Medical professionals hate the Graham-Cassidy plan, as do hospital administrators and every major patient-advocacy organization in the country. To a very real extent, GOP lawmakers are going up against literally everyone who has a stake in the American health care industry."

Kimmel showed a ‘better grasp of health policy’ than GOP’s Cassidy

"In reality, more people won’t have coverage, Cassidy isn’t protecting those with pre-existing conditions, and Politico published a piece quoting health care analysts who concluded that between the host and the senator, “the late-night host has the better grasp of health policy"."

Jimmy Kimmel: These Guys Won’t Tell The Truth So I Have To

Why is the GOP desperate to pass this terrible healthcare bill? The Koch brothers threatened them

"Graham and Cassidy are pulling out all the stops in their attempt to sway votes ahead of this deadline. They’ve even gone so far as to promise key swing vote Sen. Lisa Murkowski that Alaska can keep Obamacare! You cannot make that up. So why are Republicans so laser-focused on gutting health care and tackling “tax reform,” which is nothing more than cutting taxes for the wealthy? Because The Swamp ordered them to do it and Republicans are beholden to their swamp masters above all others. The Koch brothers went to a Republican retreat in June and ordered them to gut health care and cut taxes—or else: At a weekend donor retreat attended by at least 18 elected officials, the Koch brothers warned that time is running out to push their agenda, most notably healthcare and tax reform, through Congress. One Texas-based donor warned Republican lawmakers that his “Dallas piggy bank” was now closed, until he saw legislative progress. “Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” said Doug Deason. “Get it done and we’ll open it back up.” Republicans are terrified the “Dallas piggy bank” won’t be ponying up to prop them up and buy elections like they’ve so reliably done in the past. The Koch brothers and their allies want these things, and they want them right now. There is urgency,” said Tim Phillips, who leads Koch network’s political arm, Americans for Prosperity, at the industrialist brothers’ retreat in Colorado Springs. “We believe we have a window of about 12 months to get as much of it accomplished as possible before the 2018 elections grind policy to a halt.” The window for action may be even smaller, some Koch allies warned at the weekend retreat that drew roughly 400 participants to the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The price for admission for most was a pledge to give at least $100,000 this year to the Kochs’ broad policy and political network. So, we’re at a crossroads here. Will the American people win, or will The Swamp win?"

Trump isn’t the only one fibbing about the GOP’s health care plan

"If the Graham-Cassidy plan were a good idea, why can’t its supporters simply tell the truth about it?"

Will You Vote To Hurt Your State, Congressman?

If Jimmy Kimmel is so wrong about Graham-Cassidy, how come the AARP, AMA, and everyone else agrees?

"After comedian Jimmy Kimmel called the GOP's bluff on the fantasy that their new healthcare repeal bill protects people with pre-existing conditions, conservatives were quick to jump all over Kimmel, noting he wasn't a policy expert. "Comedians are not public intellectuals," charged a National Review article.  Okay, let's check in with some organizations that presumably know a little something about health policy. First, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)."

Basically The Entire Health Care System Hates The New Obamacare Repeal Bill

American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Council for Behavioral Health, American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, Children’s Hospital Association, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Association of American Medical Colleges, America’s Essential Hospitals, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, National Association of Medicaid Directors, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Alliance of Community Health Plans, ALS Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Family Voices, JDRF, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, National Health Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization for Rare Diseases, Volunteers of America, WomenHeart, AARP, The Arc, Consumers Union

Jimmy Kimmel: Bill Cassidy Lied Right To My Face About Healthcare

What Trump Calls "Great," All 50 State Directors of Medicaid Say Is Terrible

"With nearly unheard of consensus, and despite assurances from serial liar President Donald Trump that the bill is actually "great" and would "help people," all 50 state Medicaid directors have signed on to a letter denouncing Republicans' latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)."

Nevada’s Dean Heller is at war with himself over health care

"As a candidate, he endorsed ACA repeal, like nearly every other Republican. But when push came to shove, he announced his opposition to his party’s repeal plan, then he supported a different repeal plan, then he was happy about the failure of the bill he voted in favor of, then he co-authored a different plan that does the one thing he said he’s against."

Senator Elizabeth Warren Speaks on the Cassidy-Graham Repeal Proposal

Graham-Cassidy now guts Obamacare even more

"Senate Republicans, seemingly short on votes for their last-ditch plan to repeal Obamacare, are desperately tweaking the bill in hopes of winning over both their moderate and conservative wings. The result is a plan from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-SC) that would go even further in rolling back Obamacare’s protections for people with preexisting conditions, while adding hundreds of millions of dollars meant to sweeten the deal for senators from key states. Graham-Cassidy would now, according to health policy experts, effectively end to Obamacare’s insurance protections. People with preexisting conditions could face higher premiums, insurers could choose which services to cover, and plans could also require people to pay more money out of pocket than Obamacare allows."

AMA, American Hospital Association and other groups blast GOP healthcare bill in joint statement

"Senators Cassidy and Graham took to the Sunday shows today to continue selling their bill, and the Republican leadership is pressing hard to see which holdout senators can still be bought. Out in the rest of the country, however, medical groups are nearly unanimous in their condemnation of the bill. The latest is a joint statement from the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, the American Academy of Family Physicians, AHIP and Blue Cross/Blue Shield—some of the most prominent healthcare groups in the nation—that blasts the bill and urges the Senate to vote against it."

Senators Lindsey Graham & Bill Cassidy Lie Their A$$es Off In Debate Against Sanders, Klobuchar

What Republicans get wrong about the cost of single-payer

"By any fair metric, this change would save an enormous amount of money. Republicans may balk for other reasons, but the cost argument is nonsense."

Trump administration abandons subtlety in ACA sabotage campaign

"If the Affordable Care Act were as dreadful as the right claims, shouldn’t the sabotage campaign be unnecessary?"

Republicans Make Their Healthcare Bill Even Worse To Win Over Senate Holdouts

'Mind-bogglingly Dangerous': Trump EPA Rolls Back Water Pollution Limits for Coal Plants

"In 2015 the Obama administration developed new limits on metals including lead, mercury, and arsenic in coal-fired plants' wastewater, set to go into effect in 2018. The pollutants in question "can cause severe health problems, including cancer and lowered I.Q. among children, as well as deformities and reproductive harm in fish and wildlife," according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which fought against the rollback of the limits."

Trump’s ethics office is OK with lobbyists paying staffers’ legal bills

"The Office of Government Ethics may have just given President Donald Trump and his administration a huge gift — namely, the ability to receive anonymous donations from lobbyists to help with their legal funds as they address the Russia scandal."

Jimmy Kimmel Tears Apart Trump, Republicans, And Fox News In Healthcare Bill Showdown

The Trump Administration Will Always Side with Corporations Over Labor

"It’s no secret that the Trump administration is corporation-friendly to a fault. For all the talk of the underserved coal miners and workers whose jobs have been stolen by free trade agreements or China, the Oval Office has not been a friendly — or even safe — place for workers in the past eight months. We’ve already reported on the discontinuation of a number of worker safety programs and regulations but there’s much more to Trump’s undercutting of the fundamental rights of American workers going on."

Ryan abandons deficit reduction rhetoric

"Do you remember the days when Republicans claimed to be deficit hawks, opposing President Barack Obama’s economic agenda solely because of their unwavering devotion to fiscal rectitude? Now one of the hawk-iest hawks in the GOP aviary, House Speaker Paul Ryan, has flat-out admitted he cares less about deficit reduction than providing large tax cuts to the wealthy."

Trump Blocks Cancer Patient On Twitter After She Criticizes Healthcare Bill

The New, More Conservative Supreme Court Is Wreaking Havoc

"The new Supreme Court term hasn't even begun, but that hasn't stopped the Court's newly minted conservative majority from wreaking havoc on the country. In two actions this week, the justices toed a far-right line by thumbing their noses at refugees and telling voters in Texas that they can be divvied up based on race. This is, in shining clarity, your new Trump Supreme Court."

McConnell: Democrats shouldn't be able to use procedure to block judges that GOP used against Obama

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is endorsing a move on the federal judiciary that Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has hinted at: ending one of the procedures that Republicans regularly used to block President Obama's judicial nominees so that Democrats can't use it to block Trump's."

Pence Confirms Trump Lied About Pre-Existing Conditions

Trump’s voting commission descends further into farce

"So, what are we left with? A commission that exists for no reason, featuring some Democratic members who are outraged by the co-chair’s brazen dishonesty, a Republican member who pushed for the panel to be more partisan and lied about it, and witnesses who have nothing constructive to add to the conversation."

Trump admin. changed ethics rules so they can accept anonymous donations for legal defense funds

"Nearly everyone on Donald Trump’s staff has lawyered up in recent months as Special Counsel Robert Mueller creeps closer and closer to the oval office. No doubt those legal defense bills are rolling in and starting to add up. Who’s going to pay those bills? It seems Donald Trump and company are turning directly to The Swamp to pay the tab. The kicker? They don’t even want you to know who’s paying their bills. They changed the White House ethics rules to allow for anonymous donations to their legal defense fund. For all we know, the Russians are picking up the tab."

Jimmy Kimmel DESTROYS Republican Healthcare Lies

Trump’s ethics watchdog quietly moves to allow anonymous donations to legal defense funds

Trump’s ethics watchdog quietly moves to allow anonymous donations to legal defense funds

"While the rest of the country was digesting their dinners, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics “quietly reversed its own internal policy prohibiting anonymous donations from lobbyists to White House staffers who have legal defense funds,” Politico reports. The reversal comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller and both houses of Congress intensify their investigations into possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign."

Michael Flynn's racist, sexist, conspiracy theory-spouting son is new focus of Russia investigation

"Mueller’s team has already locked in on Paul Manafort’s son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai. And of course, Mueller is solidly focused on both Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner over their meeting with Russian representatives at Trump Tower, as well as their involvement in multiple Russian-financed real estate deals. But Flynn the younger has a special reason to be worried, as Robert Mueller’s team put a new focus on social media and how it was used to spread Russian propaganda. Because no one was more engaged in spreading false narratives than Michael G. Flynn."

Naomi Klein: We Are Seeing the Shock Doctrine in Effect After Hurricanes Harvey & Irma

‘They are dumb enough to believe him’: GOP strategist compares Trump’s base to snakehandling preachers

‘They are dumb enough to believe him’: GOP strategist compares Trump’s base to snakehandling preachers

"Republican strategist Steve Schmidt urged President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to fight back against the “Breitbart wing” of the GOP before they lose their legislative majority — and their jobs."

Trump Promised to Hire the Best People. He Keeps Hiring the Worst @alternet

Trump Promised to Hire the Best People. He Keeps Hiring the Worst @alternet:

"In many cases he’s hired some of the worst people imaginable. Who worse to lead the EPA than a man whose primary qualification is having sued the agency 14 times on behalf of polluting industries? Who worse to lead the Midwestern states EPA than a woman who the EPA cited for failure to control air pollution in Wisconsin and who deleted all mention of human-caused climate change from her department website? Who worse to lead the Department of Energy than a man who wanted to eliminate the department (until he forgot - oops)? Who worse to be the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist than a right-wing birther radio host with no scientific background? And these are only the administration officials in positions related to energy and the environment. There are of course exceptions where Trump nominated people who are at least qualified for the job, but in many cases it’s hard to imagine worse choices. And now we can add Trump’s selection to lead NASA to the list - Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma."

Local News Outlets Forced To Air Pro-Trump Propaganda

Robert Mueller Is 'Going for the Kill' in Trump Investigation: Report @alternet

Robert Mueller Is 'Going for the Kill' in Trump Investigation: Report @alternet:

"Members of the GOP are said to have come to that stark conclusion based on Mueller’s hiring of lawyers experienced in dealing with money laundering crimes and the Mafia, as well as the intensity of his pursuit of both witnesses and evidence."

Piling On: DeVos, Trump Make Student Loan Crisis Worse

"Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, lacks the most basic knowledge of, expertise in, and commitment to public education. What she does have is a personal fortune she’s used to underwrite propaganda and fatten the campaign accounts of Republican politicians. In Wisconsin alone, the DeVos family doled out more than $400,000 to state legislators and Governor Scott Walker. Her shadow campaign operation, American Federation for Children, has spent at least $4.5 million to elect and solidify a Republican majority in the Wisconsin state legislature. Another $50,000 of DeVos largesse went to re-elect U.S. Senator and Ayn Rand acolyte Ron Johnson. DeVos has been a prominent proponent of failed school voucher experiments. She has long promoted policies that helped bankrupt public schools, resegregate students, and punish teachers. And now she has turned her attention to higher education, targeting the 43 million Americans carrying more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt."

Donald Trump Keeps Getting Manipulated By Twitter Bots

Republicans Protecting Equifax: We Saw This Coming | Crooks and Liars

Republicans Protecting Equifax: We Saw This Coming | Crooks and Liars

"Equifax knew about the data breach for three damn months before they made it public. During those three months, all their executives unloaded their stock. They should go to prison."

Axios: Trump's Centers for Disease Control staff under a gag order

"According to an email obtained by Axios, staff at the Centers for Disease Control—an organization that’s vital to protecting public health—has been directed to not communicate with the public via the press. The message—sent by public affairs officer Jeffrey Lancashire and dated Aug. 31—instructs all CDC employees not to speak to reporters, "even for a simple data-related question." What it said: Effective immediately and until further notice, any and all correspondence with any member of the news media, regardless of the nature of the inquiry, must be cleared through CDC's Atlanta Communications Office," Lancashire wrote. "This correspondence includes everything from formal interview requests to the most basic of data requests." So the CDC's mission is "to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S." And to accomplish that mission, the CDC's website says, it "conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise."  Except now, under the Trump administration, it can only provide that health information if the bosses say so. So a local reporter writing about an outbreak of say, a Zika virus outbreak in the community can't get information directly from local or regional CDC sources. That's not good."

Trump Has Killed More Than 800 Regulations, Putting Your Life In Danger

'Groundbreaking': Democratic Co-Sponsors Rush Aboard Bernie's Medicare for All Train

"A quarter of Democratic Caucus members in the U.S. Senate have now signed on as co-sponsors of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All bill, which he plans to introduce Wednesday, signaling a shift among party lawmakers, who may be swayed by recent polling that has indicated a majority of Americans and more than two-thirds of Democrats favor a single-payer national healthcare system."

New Documentary Reveals Koch Brother Company Devastated Arkansas Community for Easy Profits @alternet

New Documentary Reveals Koch Brother Company Devastated Arkansas Community for Easy Profits @alternet: A Koch brothers-owned paper mill was blamed for dumping cancer-causing chemicals. The documentary Company Town opened in New York City on Friday night, for a short run at Cinema Village on East 12th Street. Introducing a sold-out screening, New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman said co-directors Natalie Kottke-Masocco and Erica Sardarian had captured one of the “quiet tragedies that are taking place all across America all the time”.

Republicans Vote To Keep Trump’s Tax Returns Hidden From The World

Foreign leaders don’t want to work with Trump — so they’re forming alliances without him

Foreign leaders don’t want to work with Trump — so they’re forming alliances without him

"Eliot A. Cohen is the director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a former senior State Department official and contributing editor at The Atlantic. Writing in the October issue, he says President Trump is “ending the American Era.” Cohen notes, “one defense of Trump is that his deeds are less alarming than his words. But diplomacy is about words, and many of Trump’s words are profoundly toxic.” “Foreign governments have adapted,” Cohen explained. “They flatter Trump outrageously. Their emissaries stay at his hotels and offer the Trump Organization abundant concessions (39 trademarks approved by China alone since Trump took office, including one for an escort service). They take him to military parades; they talk tough-guy-to-tough-guy; they show him the kind of deference that only someone without a center can crave.” Foreign leaders “have begun to reshape alliances and reconfigure the networks that make up the global economy, bypassing the United States and diminishing its standing.” “In almost every region of the world, the administration has already left a mark, by blunder, inattention, miscomprehension, or willfulness.,” Cohen explains. “On issues that are truly global in scope, Trump has abdicated leadership and the moral high ground"."

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa ordered to pay opponent $45,000 in legal fees after losing ridiculous lawsuit

"The ultra-wealthy Republican congressman from Southern California barely survived a challenge last year from Marine veteran Doug Applegate, who got under Issa's skin with a TV ad arguing (quite accurately) that Issa had used his many years in office to make himself even richer. Issa prepared a legal complaint about the ad during the peak of the 2016 campaign, but bizarrely, he waited to file it until the day before the election. He should have waited forever. Earlier this year, a state court judge dismissed the case, finding that Applegate had said nothing inaccurate, and he further ruled that Issa had violated a California law against lawsuits designed to intimidate the exercise of free speech (known as an "anti-SLAPP" law). That latter ruling allowed Applegate to recover his attorneys' fees from Issa (something not usually awarded in American legal proceedings), and now the judge has ordered Issa to pay Applegate and his campaign $45,000."

Another Day, Another Study Showing Trump Fans Are Racist…

Harvard psychiatrist Lance Dodes: Donald Trump is a “sociopath” and “a very sick individual”

"Trump’s case of narcissism is particularly severe because he also is out of touch with reality whenever he becomes upset. When he says, “I had the largest crowd at an inauguration in history,” it does not matter that you can tell him that it is not true, he still insists on it. Well, that is very troublesome because what it means is that he needs to believe it. He is able to give up reality in exchange for his wished-for belief. Sometimes we call that a delusion. We have not used that word much with Donald Trump because that does get confused with people who think that they are Napoleon. But Trump has a fluid sense of reality, which is a sign of a very sick individual. Sociopathy itself is a sign of a very sick individual, someone with a lying, cheating and emotional disorder. The intersection of those two occurs in sociopathy. It is not just bad behavior that people have to lie and cheat the way he does, it is an incapacity to treat other people as full human beings. That is why his focus is on humiliating others to aggrandize himself, as he did in the Republican primaries when he was debating and calling people names. The same thing applies to Hispanic immigrants and separating the children from their parents. That is a very, very serious mental and emotional problem. Normal people have normal empathy. It is part of being a human being. Lying and cheating and humiliating others and grinding them into dust in order to triumph is not just bad behavior. It is a serious mental illness."

How Donald Trump Lied to Conceal His Moscow Business Partner

"Donald Trump has told many lies and falsehoods. He’s lied about the Russia scandal. He’s lied about his ties to organized crime. Perhaps he’s lied so much that freshly excavated prevarications don’t register greatly. Yet recent news reports revealing that Trump was pursuing a huge development deal in Moscow in late 2015 and early 2016 show that during the campaign Trump committed a tremendous act of deception."

Bernie Sanders' Medicare-For-All Bill EXPLAINED

Former Sputnik employee reveals how the Kremlin-backed site became ‘part of the right-wing media ecosystem’

Former Sputnik employee reveals how the Kremlin-backed site became ‘part of the right-wing media ecosystem’

"Those stories were then picked up by right-wing outlets like Infowars, Breitbart and the Gateway Pundit, he continued."

Thanks, Obama! Number of uninsured drops again in census count

"The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the uninsured rate dropped again in 2016."

Miss Texas Has Harsh Words For Trump...

Well, well ... out of Trump's 42 U.S. attorney nominees, only one is a woman

"At a time when women now make up the majority of America's law students, Trump is doing his level best to stifle their advancement in the field. Again, we'd expect nothing less from a man of exceedingly feeble intellect, with the flagging ego to match."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Let's Take a Moment to Remember Trump's Monstrous Response to the 9/11 Attacks @alternet

Let's Take a Moment to Remember Trump's Monstrous Response to the 9/11 Attacks @alternet:

"Donald Trump has never been one to let empathy or human decency get in the way of self-aggrandizement and self-interest—even in the face of tragedy. On September 11, 2001, as the world was trying to make sense of the World Trade Center attacks, Trump spoke live via phone with the anchors from local television station WWOR. When asked if his property at 40 Wall Street had been damaged, Trump used the moment to revel in the fact that the collapse of the Twin Towers meant his building was now the tallest in downtown Manhattan. “Forty Wall street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually before the World Trade Center the tallest, and then when they built the World Trade Center it became known as the second-tallest, and now it’s the tallest,” Trump said, apropos of nothing. “And I just spoke to my people, and they said it’s the most unbelievable sight, it’s probably seven or eight blocks away from the World Trade Center, and yet Wall Street is littered with two feet of stone and brick and mortar and steel.” Snopes points out that the perverse boast wasn’t even true, but if the last five years have taught us anything, it's that Trump has never had much use for objective reality."

Donald Trump White House Aides Lawyer-Up In Face Of Robert Mueller Query

FBI investigating Russian news agency Sputnik

"The probe into Russia's effort to infiltrate and influence the U.S. political system has deepened, Yahoo News reports with the FBI now investigating the Russian news agency Sputnik, to determine if it is "acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)." As part of the probe, Yahoo News has learned, the bureau has obtained a thumb drive containing thousands of internal Sputnik emails and documents — material that could potentially help prosecutors build a case that the news agency played a role in the Russian government “influence campaign” that was waged during last year’s presidential election and, in the view of U.S. intelligence officials, is still ongoing. The emails were turned over by Andrew Feinberg, the news agency’s former White House correspondent, who had downloaded the material onto his laptop before he was fired in May. He confirmed to Yahoo News that he was questioned for more than two hours on Sept. 1 by an FBI agent and a Justice Department national security lawyer at the bureau’s Washington field office."

Trump’s White House Lawyer Has Lawyered Up As Obstruction Of Justice Investigation Gets Hot

"Donald Trump’s White House legal counsel has hired a lawyer as Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to know what he knew about why Trump fired James Comey."

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Post-Paris Path Forward

Miami Must Deal With Climate Change "Reality"

Texas will—and should—get its federal disaster aid. And then it will keep posturing about secession.

"After Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey, more than 20 Texas Republicans in Congress voted against aid. That’s after Texas has benefited again and again—as it will benefit this time—from federal disaster funding and from federal money in general: Despite the pervasive anti-Washington rhetoric, Texas relies heavily on the federal government. About 32 percent of the state government’s revenue is federal money, according to an analysis of data from fiscal year 2014 performed by the Tax Foundation. From 1953 to 2011, Texas received 86 major-disaster declarations, the most of any state, according to a 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service. Robert M. Stein, a political science professor at Rice University, said that “most Texans believe they send more tax dollars to Washington than they receive back,” though, in fact, the reverse is true. But here’s the thing: Texas will keep getting federal aid because the United States as a nation is better and more generous than Texas. And that’s the way it should be. The way we should be."

Relentless wildfires threaten supplies of drinking water in western U.S.

"Wildfires fueled by dry weather and scorching temperatures have smothered parts of the western United States in smoky, ashy air, forcing communities to take measures to protect their drinking water supplies. Earlier this week, at least 81 large fires were raging across 1.5 million acres of the West, from Colorado to California and north to Washington. North of the border in Canada, British Columbia has already had an “unprecedented” fire season."

Robert Mueller Turns Attention To White House Staff

This state’s GOP doesn’t want you to have hurricane aid — but took $123M from tax payers for crop insurance

This state’s GOP doesn’t want you to have hurricane aid — but took $123M from tax payers for crop insurance

"Indiana Republicans said no. Not if it will add to the deficit. But when it comes to what those same Republicans are willing to authorize for their own state, they couldn’t care less about the deficit. According to the 2014 budgets, Indiana scores $10 billion in federal aid each year. Of that, $123 million goes to pay for farmers to have crop insurance, in case natural disasters kill their corn. Approximately, one-third of Indiana’s budget comes from the federal government, contributing to the overall U.S. deficit. Indiana is one of the top 10 states in the country that make more money from the federal government than they give back. Those Republican leaders seem willing to accept the money when it’s for them."

Scott Pruitt Has EPA Ignoring Its Mission When We Need It Most

"At a time when we’re all still thinking of Hurricane Harvey’s survivors (and donating to their recovery efforts), Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt continues to steer his agency off a cliff by ignoring its mission and putting people at risk: An Associated Press story broke over the weekend demonstrating that the agency hadn’t been on site at the many toxic sites affected by Harvey around Houston. Pruitt and an EPA spokesperson’s response? They attacked the reporter who wrote the story, instead of responding to the real issue of actually showing up to the toxic sites for monitoring. Striking a similar tone, when asked to comment on how climate change is making these storms worse, his EPA attacked climate scientists - the very people we’re all counting on to help us understand these disasters - accusing them of “an attempt to politicize an ongoing tragedy.” Pruitt’s latest bad moves add to an unfortunately already long list of steps he’s taken that make me fear for the “protection” part of the Environmental Protection Agency. We also learned last week that there are now some political strings attached to receiving any grants from the EPA. From a Washington Post story: The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience. On top of that, Pruitt is now under investigation for his frequent travels on the taxpayer’s dime back to his home state of Oklahoma: In late July, the watchdog group Environmental Integrity Project said travel records from a Freedom of Information Act request show that Pruitt spent 48 of 92 days in March, April and May traveling -- including 43 days on trips that included stops in his home state of Oklahoma."

Irma: The Best And Worst Case Scenario

GOP again moves to help keep Trump’s tax returns secret

"congressional Republicans are still taking steps to keep the president’s tax returns hidden, even from Congress. Polls show strong public support for Trump disclosing the materials, a related White House petition on the “We the People” website generated over 1 million signatures – making it the most successful petition in the history of the online project. Team Trump, to date, has not responded to the petition."

Maddow's breakdown on Facebook revelations and their ramifications for Jared Kushner are a must-see

"In July it was being reported that Jared Kushner was being investigated in connection to his work during the Trump campaign when Kushner headed the Trump “digital team.” The reason? Russia’s fake news infiltration seemed to benefit greatly from really precise targeting into districts and important areas of the electorate. Information that someone running a digital campaign team would have in spades."

Robert Mueller's Russia Investigation Targets Donald Trump Inner Circle

Maddow: Mike Pence’s long list of Russia lies lands him in Mueller’s crosshairs

Maddow: Mike Pence’s long list of Russia lies lands him in Mueller’s crosshairs

"Pence even said that Trump fired the FBI director because of the Justice Department recommendation, which we now also know is false because Pence was in the room when Trump read his letter explaining that he wanted to fire James Comey because of the Russia investigation."

The latest evolution in Trump Jr’s Russia scandal story

"We know he was lying when he said he never met with Russians, just as we know he was lying when he said the meeting was about adoptions. Trump Jr’s latest pitch, however, is that he arranged a private meeting with Russians in the hopes of obtaining secret dirt on an American presidential candidate – which we’re all supposed to consider kosher since he was unimpressed with the quality of the dirt. In his mind, welcoming the campaign assistance of a foreign adversary, in secret, doesn’t really count as problematic."

New Russia Contact Revelations In Donald Trump Jr. Senate Interview

Donald Trump Jr.’s statement to Senate investigators is bad news for his dad

"Thursday’s statement underlines the fact that his initial statement, which was reportedly dictated by the president in July, was misleading and false. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, who are tasked with investigating any potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, are “keenly interested” in the president’s involvement in crafting the statement. This is of interest to the Mueller because Trump may have tried to “corruptly persuade” a witness into giving false testimony, which is a crime."

Mueller reportedly seeking to interview Trump's inner circle, family members included

"Each of the six advisers was privy to important internal discussions that have drawn the interest of Mueller’s investigators, including his decision in May to fire FBI Director James B. Comey and the White House’s initial inaction following warnings that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had withheld information from the public about his private discussions in December with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, according to people familiar with the probe."

Amidst Hurricane, Donald Trump Jr. Puts Admin In Its Own Crisis

How Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump Have Restarted the War on Drugs @alternet

How Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump Have Restarted the War on Drugs @alternet:

"Appointing Sessions as attorney general “was like hosting a Confederate flag above the Department of Justice,” says Eugene Jarecki, a filmmaker who directed The House I Live In, an award-winning 2012 documentary about mass incarceration."

Plastic Water Bottles for Our National Parks; No Bikeshare Station at the White House: For Trump, No Obama-Era Environmental Innovation Is Too Small to Obliterate @alternet

Plastic Water Bottles for Our National Parks; No Bikeshare Station at the White House: For Trump, No Obama-Era Environmental Innovation Is Too Small to Obliterate @alternet:

"President Trump has made sweeping efforts to scrap Obama-era environmental protections, but the current administration's latest moves are oddly specific. The National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday that it has rescinded the 2011 "Water Bottle Ban" that allowed parks to prohibit the sale of disposable plastic water bottles. That same day, news emerged that the Trump administration removed a nine-slot Capital Bikeshare station at the White House that was requested and installed during the Obama years and used by staffers. The NPS said that the bottled water ban "removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks." Revocation of the 2011 memorandum is effective immediately. "While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods," acting NPS director Michael T. Reynolds explained. According to the Wilderness Society, 23 national parks had adopted the policy, including Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Zion National Park. The group said the Water Bottle Ban—an effort under President Obama's Green Parks Plan to promote the use of tap water and refillable bottles on federal lands—helped parks "simultaneously reduce park waste and carbon emissions." But as the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the water bottle ban was opposed by the beverage industry that had long lobbied to change the policy."

Reversing Denials, Facebook Admits Russia-Tied Election Ad Buy

Trump admin cancels local hiring plan for public works projects

"The Trump administration is abandoning an Obama-era plan to ensure local hiring for public works projects, according to a new report. The New York Times reported on Friday that the Department of Transportation will withdraw the plan, which was proposed in 2015 and was supposed to take effect Friday. The initiative would have allowed cities to ensure local residents get to work on federally funded public works projects. The move appears to be part of the White House’s ongoing push to slash federal regulations."

Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality has no members at all

"Though Trump ran on a platform of climate science denial, as a candidate he promised that he would “conserve our beautiful natural habitats” and “ensure clean air and clean water for all of our people.” To date, his environmental policy has been almost entirely one of deregulation. And by not having any council at all to recommend environmentally sound policies, the administration continues to display its profound lack of concern for environmental issues."

Lawrence: Hurricanes Show Government Is Critical In Times Of Crisis

The US coal industry is going out, not with a whimper, but with a burst of rent-seeking

"The US coal industry is dying — but not with any dignity. As the end approaches, its sense of aggrieved entitlement is increasingly naked, its demands for government handouts increasingly frantic. As dread builds, shame has left the building. The story of coal’s decline has been told many times now (see this post for more), but at root, it’s not complicated: The industry’s product is outmoded. Natural gas and wind power are cheaper than coal power in most places, and solar power is heading the same direction. What’s more, wind and solar (variable renewable energy, or VRE) and natural gas complement each other. VRE is completely clean but variable. Natural gas is moderately clean but flexible. Variable and flexible work well together; they are the basis for the modern grid. (Whether we can find equally flexible but entirely clean alternatives to natural gas in the coming decades is the most pressing issue facing the grid.) Giant, slow, inflexible, dirty coal plants simply don’t fit in that picture. Coal still represents 30 percent of the US electricity mix, but as natural gas and renewables grow and the grid evolves toward a flexible, distributed model, its role will inevitably shrink. There’s no big conspiracy, no “war on coal,” just the creative destruction of capitalism at work, as technological advances and evolving social preferences transform industries. Without creative destruction, capitalism doesn’t work — productivity and wages don’t grow. But there is no creative destruction without pain for the workers and communities on the losing end. That’s why capitalist societies need a foundation of public services (upon Matt Bruenig’s sage advice, I’m no longer using the term “safety net”). It cushions the turbulence of creative destruction. Many members of the US business community, particularly those of a more conservative bent, like to talk about the virtues of meritocratic free markets. So do their allies in elected office."

Why Patagonia is Fighting for Public Lands

Trump’s big mistake on health care was not realizing Republicans were lying

"the larger issue here is that Republican leaders — both Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, as well as Ryan’s predecessor John Boehner, and the chairs of all the relevant committees — spent years and years lying to everyone in sight about Republican health plans. Ryan’s “A Better Way for Health Care” document promises as its very first chapter heading that it will offer “High-Quality Health Care for All.” And congressional Republicans claimed — over and over again — that they had ideas on the shelf to replace the Affordable Care Act with a new program that would address the public’s main concerns with the law. In GOPtopia, premiums and deductibles would be lower, with more competition and lower copayments. Narrow networks would be a thing of the past too. All thanks to the magic of tax cuts and deregulation. If that were true — or even vaguely in the neighborhood of being true — then it would have been really easy for concurrent Republican majorities to pass a law and for President Trump to sign it. And while of course it’s easy for a political sophisticate to mock Trump for his naiveté on this point, at the end of the day his view that Republicans wouldn’t spend years claiming to have such a plan unless they actually had one wasn’t all that crazy. McConnell and Ryan don’t go around advertising themselves as huge liars, after all. In my experience, their staffers tend to get pretty angry if you assert that they are huge liars. Consequently, they’ve done a pretty good job of getting most media outlets to report on their health care assertions as if those assertions are not huge lies. Not everybody believes them, of course. But there are certainly some demographic groups — white male senior citizens who watch Fox News are constantly high on the list — that are very prone to believing them. Trump, of course, very much falls into that core audience for Republican Party spin."

The Secret Service had to pay thousands for portable toilets at Trump’s New Jersey golf club

"Apparently the Secret Service had to sign a contract with Imperial Restrooms to provide their agents with trailers so they could relieve themselves. While this expenditure may seem bad enough, it is made worse when you consider that the Secret Service also had to spend $13,500 on golf cart rentals for the same August trip. According to USA Today, the Secret Service is legally required to pay for resources like portable toilets because they are prohibited from accepting funding or other resources that were not specifically appropriated by Congress. The report about the portable toilet expenses come at the end of a bad week for Trump when it comes to his reputation with the Secret Service. Earlier this week, USA Today reported that the Trump family’s excessive demands on the Secret Service had caused over 1,000 agents to reach their federal salary and overtime caps. While Congress has proposed raising the salary-plus-overtime cap from $160,000 annually to $187,000 annually, Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles still predicts that more than 130 agents will remain inadequately compensated for hundreds of hours of work because of Trump. Remember when Trump criticized Obama for taking too many vacations?"

Toxic Floodwaters Pose Health Risk After Hurricane Harvey

Trump Companies Earn Millions While Bankrupting Secret Service

"Trump's travel is so extensive that it appears he actually managed to bankrupt the Secret Service -- his protection detail -- just eight months into the year. According to one agent, the Secret Service has already reached max caps on salary and overtime for agents all in an attempt to cover the president, his children and their various houses, vacations and business trips all over the world. "Secret Service Director Randolph 'Tex' Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year," reports USA Today."

Exclusive: Trump team goes to bat for NRA-backed bill, deleting Park Service concerns

"Under the bill, the National Park Service would be prevented from regulating the hunting of bears and wolves in Alaska wildlife preserves, including the practice of killing bear cubs in their dens. It also would be prevented from regulating commercial and recreational fishing within park boundaries and from commenting on development projects outside park boundaries that could affect the parks."

Republican Party's Racism Problem Predates President Donald Trump

Tax-cut advocates stop pretending to care about the deficit

"It was a political dynamic so absurd, it’s still hard to believe Republicans pulled it off. During George W. Bush’s presidency, GOP policymakers decided, as Dick Cheney once declared, that “deficits don’t matter.” Republicans put two wars, two tax cuts, Medicare expansion, and a Wall Street bailout on the national credit card – and made no effort to pay for any of it. Reflecting on the era, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who’s been in Congress since the start of the Carter administration, told the Associated Press in 2009 that “it was standard practice not to pay for things” during Bush’s presidency. A year later, the Utah Republican told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell “a lot of things weren’t paid for” before Barack Obama became president. And then GOP officials decided everything they’d said and done no longer mattered, and that any attempt to add so much as a penny to the debt was a crime against the American way of life. It was a transparent and ridiculous sham, which much of the political world accepted at face value. After all, voters were told, Republicans were the party of “deficit hawks.” Now GOP policymakers control the levers of power again, and right on cue, many of the folks who pretended to be concerned about the deficit in the Obama era have decided to drop the facade. Bloomberg Politics reported yesterday: It was only about five years ago that powerful people in finance loved talking about the horrendous consequences for the U.S. if it didn’t get its finances under control. They warned that the federal debt – and the interest payments – could eventually get high enough to drag down the economy, burden future generations, and even threaten national security. Chief executive officers of five of the biggest U.S. banks joined a campaign called Fix the Debt, signing on with hedge fund billionaires, asset managers, and private equity executives, as well as former lawmakers and others. The conversation on Wall Street changed after November’s election."

The GOP’s latest tax plan is a disaster for the middle class

"President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans seem to be on the same page about tax reform. Unfortunately for middle-class Americans, that means they both support a plan that is widely expected to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the rest of the country."

The EPA’s Bizarre Response To Report On Houston Contaminants

How Marijuana Can Disrupt Leukemia Cells @alternet

How Marijuana Can Disrupt Leukemia Cells @alternet: New scientific research shows that marijuana's cannabinoids have the ability to “target and switch off pathways” that allow cancers to grow. Leukemia is the blanket term for the four different types of cancer found in bone marrow and blood cells. There are roughly 200,000 U.S. cases per year and typically found in adults over the age of 55, but also found in children under the age of 15.

The Cutting Edge of Marijuana Medical Research Will Leave You Wondering What It Can't Help Cure @alternet

The Cutting Edge of Marijuana Medical Research Will Leave You Wondering What It Can't Help Cure @alternet: New findings highlight CBD’s therapeutic potential for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, and other disorders. During the last week of June, more than 400 scientists from 25 countries met in Montreal for the 27th annual symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS).

More than half the states’ medical marijuana protections could be in jeopardy

"The Trump administration and GOP legislators seem hell-bent on halting any initiative to legalize marijuana, be it medical or recreational. The House Rules Committee on Thursday blocked an amendment that prevents the Department of Justice from using federal money to enforce prohibition measures against states that approved medical marijuana consumption."

Trump Overturns Obama Guidelines On Sexual Assault On Campuses

How Marijuana May Treat Aggressive Brain Cancer @alternet

How Marijuana May Treat Aggressive Brain Cancer @alternet: Successful treatment 'reinforces the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology.' In what is being heralded as a breakthrough for cancer research, GW Pharmaceuticals announced on Tuesday positive results from a study using a combination of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol to treat an aggressive form of brain cancer.

What We Know About Medical Marijuana’s Effect On Heart Disease @alternet

What We Know About Medical Marijuana’s Effect On Heart Disease @alternet:

"CBD has various theoretical medical applications for heart disease. To begin with, CBD “has been shown to cause blood vessels to vasodilate, improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure”. Point being, CBD can possibly be utilized as a preventative medicine for heart attacks, as it has the potential to help blood vessels restrict and move more efficiently. Doctors also feel that CBD can be used as an “anti-arrhythmic” which can reestablish normality in one’s heart beat post heart attack."

Limbaugh: What Hurricane? I'm Just Evacuating For "Security" Issues!

EPA listened to Agriculture Department, not scientists, in decision not to ban dangerous pesticide

"After rejecting a ban on chlorpyrifos, a widely-used insecticide that acts by paralyzing the nervous system of insects, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a Senate panel the decision was “based on the USDA communication to the EPA that the scientific basis that was being used by the agency was very questionable.” The new documents show that USDA officials attended meetings between the EPA and chemical agribusiness executives and strongly pushed for the EPA to set aside other scientific evidence of the pesticide’s danger to human health."

Freedom Means Shooting Bear Cubs While They're Hibernating

"What kind of bloodthirsty moron shoots bear cubs, or hibernating animals? Don't tell me that's sporting. I'll laugh myself silly. What kind of useless bureaucrat goes out of their way to make it easier to do so, and on land that belongs to all of us?"

The Trick To Being A Paid Liar: Zero Empathy

DeVos continues carrying out ALEC’s agenda by dismantling for-profit college accountability

"In a little-noticed action, on August 18, the Department of Education announced a rule change that will further loosen accountability of for-profit colleges. The move signals a continuation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired agenda: favoring the interests of fraudulent for-profit colleges over victimized students, and dismantling higher education accountability structures. In 2010, the administration of then-President Barack Obama announced new rules designed to ensure that for-profit career preparatory colleges yielded appropriate levels of “gainful employment” for their graduates. According to The Washington Post, the rule “effectively would shut down for-profit programs that repeatedly fail to show, through certain measures, that graduates are earning enough to pay down the loans taken out to attend those programs.” After a series of court challenges, and a process of negotiated rulemaking, the final guidelines were set to be instituted on July 1, 2017. Even before the rules were implemented, evidence indicated that the pending gainful employment regulations were already having an impact, with many colleges proactively shutting down programs that might have been noncompliant. Back in 2010, right-wing media were up in arms over Obama’s efforts to make changes to gainful employment rules. For instance, Breitbart.com claimed it was a sign that “for-profit education” was “under assault” and that Obama was “intentionally targeting job-creating schools.” The Daily Caller asserted that the Department of Education couldn’t be trusted to fairly renegotiate these rules. On July 20, DeVos spoke before the annual convention of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate bill mill that shares model right-wing legislation with sympathetic state legislators. In her speech, she outlined a vision of higher education that includes changes to the gainful employment rule."

Federal Court Finds Texas Political Map Discriminated Against Minorities, Again

"The state of Texas is on an impressive losing streak in court. On Thursday evening, a three-judge panel of a federal district court in San Antonio found that the state House district map purposefully undercut the voting power of African American and Latino voters—the ninth racial discrimination case the state has lost since 2011 and the fourth in just over a week."

Republicans Refuse Vote On Legislation To Stop Federal Spending At Trump Properties

‘People have to watch him’: CIA agents fear director Pompeo will squash damaging Trump intel

‘People have to watch him’: CIA agents fear director Pompeo will squash damaging Trump intel

"President Donald Trump’s relationship with his own intelligence agencies has been strained from the start, and a new report claims that several CIA agents are particularly wary of their own director."

Trump Administration ethics entanglements: 9 officials getting lobbied by previous employers

Trump Administration ethics entanglements: 9 officials getting lobbied by previous employers

"under Obama’s ethics rules, lobbyists weren’t able to join an executive agency they lobbied for two years. The Trump administration has no such rule, and the administration is taking advantage of that omission: one watchdog group determined a quarter of ex-lobbyists in the administration lobbied on issues they worked on in the prior two years."

Billionaires Who Own Republican Party Are Stopping Action On Climate Change

Operation “Obama Eclipse”: Trump tweet confirms his singleminded obsession with that other president

"Trump’s racist obsession with delegitimizing Obama has now lasted longer than at least one of his marriages. In 2011, he started flogging the “birther” conspiracy theory, using his status as a reality TV show star to inject insinuations into the mainstream media that Obama was not a native-born American. A month after Trump started pushing this idea, which is rooted in the racist refusal to accept black Americans as full citizens, Obama released his long-form birth certificate. This didn’t slow Trump down, however, because birtherism was never about facts. It was just an excuse to push the narrative that is dear to Trump’s heart: A black president cannot, by definition, be a real president. Now he’s in the White House, but Trump’s obsession with un-making Obama’s presidency hasn’t let up one bit. Earlier this month, Alberto Nardelli of BuzzFeed reported that European diplomats understand Trump’s hatred of Obama as the central organizing feature, and perhaps the only relevant aspect, of his foreign policy decision-making. “It’s his only real position,” one of the diplomats told BuzzFeed. “He will ask: ‘Did Obama approve this?’ And if the answer is affirmative, he will say: ‘We don’t.’ He won’t even want to listen to the arguments or have a debate. He is obsessed with Obama.” As Jack Moore at GQ observed, a view of Trump’s presidency proves this diplomat’s assertions right. The Paris climate agreement, various trade deals, the Clean Power Plan, transgender people in the military — the list goes on. Some of these items were priorities for the Republican Party; some, such as the transgender ban, were not. What they all have in common is that Trump’s decisions attempt to undo whatever Obama, and the current president’s only important goal is to erase from history the fact that we ever had a black man in the Oval Office. He will fail, of course. Trump doesn’t have a time machine and even more to the point, every day he is in office, the country longs for Obama more and more."

What Donald Trump’s tweets reveal about his mental health

"To make sense of his aberrant behavior, you need to understand, specifically, what is psychologically wrong with Donald Trump. His diagnosis is the Rosetta Stone to cracking the Trump Twitter code, revealing its underlying structure, and unfortunately, how much ­danger all the rest of us are in as a result. He is a malignant narcissist who is also on the bipolar spectrum. From a psychiatric perspective, the prognosis could not be more dire—for us."

After repeatedly lying about Hillary Clinton’s health, Sean Hannity attacks critics for questioning Trump’s mental fitness

"Fox News host Sean Hannity blasted the media for questioning President Donald Trump’s fitness for office as some outlets are discussing the president’s mental health. During the 2016 presidential campaign, however, Hannity repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton's health and attempted to diagnose her with a slew of medical conditions."

Trump’s EPA Attacks Reporter For Covering Environmental Damage Of Hurricane Harvey

It’s time to start punishing public officials who disenfranchise voters

"The costs are much too low for public officials."

How today’s unions help working people: Giving workers the power to improve their jobs and unrig the economy

How today’s unions help working people: Giving workers the power to improve their jobs and unrig the economy:

"Unions are a dynamic and ever-evolving institution of the American economy that exist to give working people a voice and leverage over their working conditions and the economic policy decisions that shape these conditions. Collective bargaining is indispensable if we want to achieve shared prosperity. But it is precisely because they are effective and necessary for shared prosperity that unions are under attack by employers who want to maintain excessive leverage over workers and by policymakers representing the interests of the top 1 percent. These attacks have succeeded in increasing the gap between the number of workers who would like to be represented by a union and the number who are represented by a union. And these threats to the freedom to join together in unions haven’t been met with a policy response sufficient to keep the playing field level between organizing workers and the employers looking to thwart them. Giving workers a real voice and leverage is essential for democracy."

Why We Must Talk About Trump’s Mental Health | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

House Speaker Paul Ryan gets innovative in spreading misleading international tax comparisons

House Speaker Paul Ryan gets innovative in spreading misleading international tax comparisons

"As debate over tax cuts heats up in coming weeks, we really need to start policing clear falsehoods more effectively."

Secret Service spent $7,100 renting luxury portable toilets for Trump's Bedminster trip

"The financial strains on the Secret Service under the Trump administration are now well-known. And you can add luxury portable restrooms to their mounting bills.  The agency spent thousands of dollars to rent the restrooms during the president's August "working vacation" at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., according to a review of purchase orders flagged by the progressive PAC American Bridge and verified by USA TODAY.  The agency signed a contract with Imperial Restrooms to provide trailers on Aug. 3. That contract was updated a week later, bringing the total spent on the restrooms to $7,100 from Aug. 3 to Aug. 21. "Leave it to Donald Trump to find a way to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on a port-a-potty, " American Bridge spokesperson Brad Bainum said. "This man is literally flushing our money down the toilet." It's one of many purchases the Secret Service has needed to make in order to protect Trump, who has spent almost every weekend as president at properties he owns on the East Coast, in particular, the Bedminster golf club and Florida's Mar-a-Lago. The agency also spent $13,500 on golf cart rentals for Trump's August trip. Since the president maintains a semi-regular presence at each resort, these trips are more expensive for the agency than quick pop-ins. The Secret Service is required to pay their own way, even at Trump Organization properties, because the agency is forbidden from accepting funding or resources that have not been appropriated by Congress, including hotel rooms. The regulations are meant to guard the agency from any possible compromise of its protective mission. Yet even as the agency spends money on portable toilets and rented golf carts, the Secret Service can no longer pay overtime to hundreds of agents who have already reached federally mandated caps on salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year, USA TODAY reported earlier this week."

For Whom Has Trump Made America Great? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Robert Mueller is slowly building his case using traditional tactics for dealing with mob bosses

"it’s not just Manafort who has been a target of Mueller’s growing team of powerhouse lawyers and investigators. Donald Trump Jr. is reported to be a focus of the special counsel’s efforts, with particular attention to the circumstances surrounding the meeting that Trump Jr. hosted at Trump Tower in June of 2016, where the Trump campaign was offered material attacking Hillary Clinton by representatives of the Russian government. And those are just the start. Jay Sekulow, part of Trump’s legal team, denies that Mueller is putting together a racketeering case against Trump. Sekulow also said it’s “fundamentally incorrect” to assume that Mueller is conducting a mob-style investigation when it comes to Trump and his family members, at least based on what he’s seen to date. But Sekulow appears to have seen something quite different from everyone else. "Mueller is no dummy," said William Mateja, a former federal prosecutor who investigated white-collar crime and served at the Justice Department when Mueller was director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "You use crimes like money laundering and tax evasion to get cooperation from people who might be in the know." In addition to Manafort and Trump Jr., Mueller is known to be looking into the activities of Jared Kushner, including how his family has used connections to Trump to convince Chinese investors to buy into his properties."

We Are Now All Dumber for Having Listened to Trump's Definition of Clean Coal

"In all the hubbub over the public manic episode that overcame the president* in Phoenix Tuesday night, I missed this little gem. We've ended the war on beautiful, clean coal, and it's just been announced that a second, brand-new coal mine, where they're going to take out clean coal -- meaning, they're taking out coal. They're going to clean it -- is opening in the state of Pennsylvania... I mean, he knows, right? "Clean coal" is an industry myth, but I don't expect him to know that. But he does know that it doesn't mean they bring the coal up from beneath the earth's surface and then run it through a car wash or something. He knows that, right? Right? Hello?"

What Trump’s Trip to Texas Revealed | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Republican establishment still stands behind—and owns—Trump's endless parade of moral depravity

"this embrace of Trump's deplorable behavior isn't new. Republican officials have broadly stood with Trump after he bragged about being a "pu**y" grabber, after he slandered an Indiana-born judge with Mexican lineage, even after he repeatedly and viciously targeted the parents of a Gold Star family that dared to question Trump’s fitness to be the commander in chief of our country and our troops. (Man, were they ever right.) Through it all, most Republicans have either defended or stood silent, so perhaps their support of him lauding the "very fine people" who made common cause with white supremacists and neo-Nazis shouldn't be a surprise. Republicans are all in and they own every piece of Trump's complete and total moral bankruptcy."

Wisconsin paid $4 million for tiny airport for Republican mega-donor’s golf course

Wisconsin paid $4 million for tiny airport for Republican mega-donor’s golf course

"While the rest of Wisconsin’s road infrastructure “crumbled,” state Republicans quietly approved $4 million in repairs to a tiny airport near a golf course owned by a Republican “mega-donor"."

Republicans Want To Cut $1 Billion From Disaster Relief To Pay For Trump’s Border Wall

Friday, September 1, 2017

Corporate Tax Cuts Don’t Create Jobs, They Enrich CEOs

"More than half of the firms in the study, 48 in all, cut jobs, affecting 483,000 workers. AT&T shed 79,450 positions, the most in the study, and Verizon cut 78,450, despite having 8.1 percent and 9.1 percent corporate tax rates, respectively. 21st Century Fox, with a low 15.6 percent tax burden, eliminated almost half of its workforce over the 2008–16 period. Incredibly, the main tax credit it took was for “domestic production activities,” which was intended to keep jobs in the United States. General Electric represents perhaps the most devastating example in the study. Its corporate tax rate over the sample was -3.4 percent—thanks to multiple deductions, the government was paying GE money to exist—but it still cut 14,700 jobs. Where did the money go? Into the CEOs’ pockets, for starters. Fox’s Rupert Murdoch’s compensation increased by 74 percent at the same time that he was drastically cutting jobs. CEO compensation at AT&T rose 146 percent. Rex Tillerson, the current secretary of state, enjoyed $27 million as CEO of ExxonMobil in 2016 and a $180 million stock payout for entering government service. By contrast, ExxonMobil, which paid a 13.6 percent US tax rate, got rid of over one-third of its total jobs worldwide. (The company only releases global jobs figures.) Overall, the 92 low-tax firms surveyed raised CEO pay at a faster clip than the US average. The 10 biggest job cutters in the study also spent an average of $45.5 billion in stock buybacks, more than six times the amount of companies in the S&P 500 over this time frame. With buybacks, corporations use profits to repurchase stock, artificially increasing demand and inflating the market price. This benefits not only shareholders with a short-term price boost but also top executives, who typically have large amounts of their compensation tied up in corporate stock. But the trade-off between buybacks and jobs is pretty clear: Profits used to goose the stock price aren’t put to work to invest in facilities or research, or to raise wages or hiring levels."

Potential Bombshell In Paul Manafort Notes On Donald Trump Jr. Meeting

Trump says Finland is buying U.S. fighter jets; Finland disagrees

"It turns out, Finland is in the market for some new jets, and it’s begun the process of getting quotes from international manufacturers. But despite Trump’s boasts, Finland hasn’t “purchased” jets and military equipment from the United States, at least not recently, and a final decision is still years away. I’m beginning to think Trump should avoid this subject altogether, because he’s been caught repeating plane-related falsehoods a few too many times. Earlier this year, for example, the president was caught falsely boasting about lowering the price of a new Air Force One. Trump also claimed he saved taxpayers millions on F-35 fighter jets, and it wasn’t long before we learned that wasn’t true, either. Or put another way, when Trump starts making plane-related claims, be wary."

Corporate Tax Cuts Don't Mean More Jobs

Corporate Tax Cuts Don't Mean More Jobs:

"America’s 92 most consistently profitable tax-dodging firms registered median jobgrowth of negative 1 percent between 2008 and 2016. The job growth rate over those same years among U.S. private sector firms as a whole: 6 percent. More than half of the 92 tax-avoiders, 48 firms in all, eliminated jobs between 2008 and 2016, downsizing by a combined total of 483,000 positions Average CEO pay among the 92 firms rose 18 percent, to $13.4 million in real terms, between 2008 and 2016, compared to a 13 percent increase among S&P 500 CEOs. U.S. private sector worker pay increased by only 4 percent during this period. CEOs at the 48 job-slashing companies within our 92-firm sample pocketed even larger paychecks. In 2016 they made $14.9 million on average, 14 percent more than the $13.1 million for typical S&P 500 CEOs. The report goes on to provide much more evidence debunking the tantalizing claim that more tax cuts for business translate into more jobs. Take Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for example, who, during his tenure at ExxonMobil, received a sizeable raise just as the corporation dodged its taxes and reduced jobs: The oil giant paid an effective tax rate of only 13.6 percent during the 2008-2015 period, at the same time cutting more than a third of its global workforce (the company does not reveal U.S. jobs data). After pumping nearly $146 billion into stock buybacks, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, now the U.S. secretary of state, took home $27.4 million in total compensation in 2016, 22 percent more than he collected in 2008."

IRS 'Specialized, Secretive Investigative' Unit Aiding Robert Mueller

‘He’s always focused on Russia’: Aides say Trump is sidetracked by Kremlin as legislative agenda stalls

‘He’s always focused on Russia’: Aides say Trump is sidetracked by Kremlin as legislative agenda stalls

"According to Politico, Trump called Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Bob Corker (R-TN) to admonish them for their support of two bills related to the Russia investigation. Tillis introduced and passed a bill that adds protections to special counsel Robert Mueller, and Corker supported bipartisan sanctions against Russia. Three sources close to Corker told Politico that Trump called the senator earlier this month to express his displeasure with the Russia sanctions bill, claiming it was bad policy. Corker, in turn, was “unrelenting,” and sources familiar with the conversation said the president sounded “frustrated” with the senator’s assertion that the bill would pass with bipartisan support. On August 7, the report continues, Trump called Tillis on August 7 and reportedly brought up a bill he co-sponsored that will mandate a judicial review when and if special counsel Robert Mueller is fired. Paired with Trump’s attacks on McConnell, which reportedly stem from the Senate majority leader’s unwillingness to defend the president against the Russia probe, these calls are yet another example of the many Russia-related scandals coming out of the White House."

Everyone’s a Socialist After a Natural Disaster

"You know the old saying: There are no atheists in foxholes. I’ve got a new one: We’re all socialists after a natural disaster. Even Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The hypocrite who tried to block Hurricane Sandy aid to the East Coast in 2012 is now demanding the federal government expedite emergency funds for the survivors of Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast of Texas, and in Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city. East Coast Democrats are happy to help, though New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tried to renew his relevance by beefing with his party mate over his Sandy selfishness. The Washington Post gave Cruz three Pinocchios for claiming on Monday that he blocked Sandy aid only because it was larded with pork. It was not. But even in a disaster, Cruz can’t help lying."