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."

September 9, 2017

The Post-Paris Path Forward

Miami Must Deal With Climate Change "Reality"

Barbuda, Destroyed By Irma, Faces Jose Next

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, 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

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."

Donald Trump Wants Alfa Bank Trump Tower Clean-Up Lawyer In Key DoJ Role

Trump’s economic illiteracy isn’t getting any better
"It’s tempting to do a detailed fact-check of Donald Trump’s speech in Phoenix last night, but the very idea is exhausting. The president’s lies were so frequent, and so brazen, that’s it would be easier to do a fact-check in reverse and highlight the claims he made that were true. It’d be a short list. But there was one line that jumped out at me because it dovetails with a rhetorical line I’ve been keeping an eye on in recent months. Trump was eager to argue that he’s produced amazing economic gains – the president touted the million-job figure again, though I don’t think he appreciates why that tally is so underwhelming – which led him to this gem: “[E]conomic growth has surged to 2.6 percent. Remember, everybody said, ‘You won’t bring it up to 1 percent. You won’t bring it up to 1.2 percent.’” Everybody didn’t say that. In fact, literally no one said that because this rhetoric doesn’t make any sense. The president seemed lost trying to talk about this a month ago, and his economic illiteracy doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’m trying to think of a way to explain this in a way Trump wouldn’t find confusing. The strength of the economy is generally measured by GDP, or gross domestic product. Four times a year, we get a quarterly GDP report, showing the strength of the economy from the previous three months. (That report is revised twice more after an initial release, but let’s keep things simple.) Eventually, we get a GDP report for the entire calendar year. Trump’s correct that the most recent quarterly report – reflecting the economy in April, May, and June – showed growth of 2.6%, which reflects a relatively healthy economy. But the president is under the impression that 2.6% growth is somehow an extraordinary accomplishment – he recently called it an “unbelievable number” – which isn’t even close to being true."

Harvard Study Confirms: #ExxonKnew and Misled Public About Climate Threat for Decades
"The study confirmed findings from 2015 reports by InsideClimate News and The Los Angeles Times, which claimed the company had long known about the risks of climate change but publicly denied them, and triggered probes by the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission."

August 31, 2017

New Evidence About Russia Hotel Deal Raises Stakes In Probe

The More Things Change, the More They Stay Rigged
"Under no circumstances can this plan be called "populist" unless the definition of that word has been changed to "whatever we can get the rubes to believe." The first round will come from the House, where zombie-eyed granny starver Speaker Paul Ryan is putatively in charge, and nobody believes in the supply-side fairy more fervently than he does. That bill will be a horror in many levels. The president* might even call it mean."

Trump Tries to Make Tax Cuts for Rich People Sound Populist
"To pass their tax plan, the GOP is relying on an unpopular president to mobilize public support for an unpopular policy. Selling supply-side snake oil — in this economy — might be the most difficult con of Trump’s illustrious career. On Wednesday, he didn’t seem up to the challenge. But his party’s “special interests” just might be."

President Donald Trump Steps Into The Hurricane Harvey Tragedy

Jeff Sessions Is Bringing Back Civil Forfeiture with a Bang
"In mid-July Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a policy rollback that’s getting criticism from both sides of the aisle, and the center, too. As The Washington Post notes undoing this Obama-administration policy is a big deal — and means big money. Known as “adoptive forfeiture,” the program — which gives police departments greater leeway to seize property of those suspected of a crime, even if they’re never charged with or convicted of one — was a significant source of revenue for local law enforcement. In the 12 months before Attorney General Eric Holder shut down the program in 2015, state and local authorities took in $65 million that they shared with federal agencies, according to an analysis of federal data by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that represents forfeiture defendants. President Trump even mentioned the process in a now somewhat infamous exchange with Texas law enforcement officials when he vowed to “destroy” a state lawmaker that stood in the way of asset seizures. Civil asset forfeiture has become increasingly controversial, especially because of the extremely limited chance to appeal the proceedings. And then there’s the fact that you don’t have to be convicted of a crime to be subject to civil forfeiture — it’s the property that is at issue. The Institute for Justice found in a 2015 report that between 1997 and 2013, 87 percent of the Department of Justice’s forfeitures did not require any criminal charge or conviction."

Follow the Money: They Say It Was About Russian Orphans. They’re Lying.
"Trump’s latest cover-up ended on July 31, 2017, when The Washington Post’s headline proclaimed: “Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer.” Even press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted that Trump “weighed in” on Don Jr.’s statement before it went out. The revelation was just another of the presidential lies permeating the Trump-Russia story. For months, Trump and his minions insisted that there had been no contact with Russians during the campaign. They were lying. Trump’s second defense admitted to such contacts, but asserted there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. A related talking point was that Russia actually wanted Hillary Clinton to win because Putin feared that Trump would be tougher on Russia. Don Jr.’s email chain obliterated those positions. While trying to explain away Don Jr.’s emails, Trump tried a third defense: Anyone would have taken the June 9 meeting. “It’s called opposition research,” Trump said. That defense quickly became counterproductive because accepting help from a foreign adversary is illegal. Trump and his minions then moved to defenses four and five: The Russians didn’t offer anything helpful, and whatever they did to help Trump hadn’t made a difference. Those “believe me,” “trust me” assertions from a serial liar aren’t working. We’re now at defense number six: Ignore whatever happened. Trump is still a legitimately elected president. But the evaporation of defenses one through five is making that a tough sell. As the facts seep out, Trump uses every available obstacle — even prevarication from his son’s mouth — to block pathways to the truth. The inference is unavoidable: That truth must be worth hiding."

Will President Donald Trump Be Called To Testify In Russia Investigation?

The Village Voice did a profile on Donald Trump back in 1979—nothing's changed, he's always lied
"The story had taken Barrett months to research and put together. At the time Barrett was 33. He’s now 70, and the Village Voice is revisiting this past profile or our current unpopular president. Barrett’s series was the first to take a fine-tooth comb to Trump’s business practices. The reporter focused on two prominent development projects — the Hyatt Hotel in midtown and a proposed convention center on the West Side — and plumbed them in meticulous detail. As the article points out, Trump has boasted of these old successes since he began campaigning in 2015, even though he hasn’t built anything but a name brand since. And as Barrett explains—he didn’t really build those buildings the way he said he did either. But Barrett’s reporting paints a picture of Trump’s background that’s somewhat at odds with the one he paints for himself. Far from that of a self-made billionaire, the image of Trump that emerges from Barrett’s reporting is that of a scion of a wealthy family who got ahead, in large part, thanks to family connections — many of them political. Far from an independent capitalist, Barrett showed, Trump was a businessman who relied heavily on government largesse. “This is a guy whose wealth has been created by political connections,” Barrett says today. And at the time the story was published, even Trump’s political connections came secondhand, through his father. The idea that Trump is a business-world antidote to the world of political entanglement, as he often implies, is “ludicrous,” as Barrett puts it. Trump would go on to be a business failure by 1991, when Trump filed his first of six bankruptcies that he would file through 2009."

I Have No More Patience for Trump Supporters
"He's frightened of the responsibilities of his office, of the mounting unpopularity of both himself and his policies, and of the hounds baying at the frontiers of his shady past and shadier present. He's terrified, and he should be. He's desperately shoring up the bubble that his ovine followers helped him build to insulate him from the truth and from empirical reality."

Trump wanted McConnell to ‘protect him’ from Russia scandal probe
"At face value, the fact that the Republican president and the Republican leader in the Senate engaged in “a profane shouting match” is itself a dramatic development, to the extent that intra-party warfare may affect GOP policymakers’ ability to govern in the Trump era. But there’s another angle to this that warrants scrutiny: if Trump pressured McConnell to intervene in senators’ investigation into the Russia affair, that may bolster allegations that the president obstructed justice. To be sure, there’s already reason to suspect Trump obstructed justice when the president fired the director of the FBI to, in Trump’s words, relieve the “pressure” of the investigation into the scandal. But under federal law, the president cannot attempt to “impede” any congressional investigation, either."

Donald Trump Sought Moscow Business Deal While Campaigning For President

Exxon researched climate science. Understood it. And misled the public.
"The world’s largest oil company has been under some scrutiny lately. Back in 2015, Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times published a pair of matching exposes on Exxon, using internal documents to show that the company was well aware of the threat of climate change as far back as the 1970s, but consistently misled the public and investors about it. Now ExxonMobil is under siege from even more directions. Seventeen state attorneys general have said they will begin cooperating on investigations into whether Exxon broke racketeering, consumer protection, or investor protection laws in its climate communications."

State Department Science Envoy Quits With Not-So-Secret Message For Trump: ‘IMPEACH’
"the first letter of each paragraph spelling out a word — that sends a blunter message to Trump: IMPEACH."

Exxon Knew

Conservatives Don’t Want to Admit this Painful Reality About the Republican Party
"Conservative voters are often some of the most angry, unhappy, paranoid, and distrustful people I encounter. Whether it’s blaming Democrats, minorities, trade agreements, “the establishment,” or the media, conservative voters never have any issues finding someone or something to blame for whatever problems they’re having in their lives. That’s rather ironic considering these are people who often proclaim themselves believers in “taking personal responsibility” for yourself and your own actions. The truth is, the reason why conservatives are this way is because the one group of people they do trust, Republicans, are the ones lying to them. Donald Trump’s rise is a perfect example of what I mean. The current “president” ran a campaign based on nothing more than pandering to what conservatives wanted to hear, no matter how dishonest or unrealistic it was. He made it seem like all these bold, usually vague, promises were easily obtainable — all that was needed was “competent leadership.” So, of course, millions of conservatives believed him. Though it’s not just Trump, Republicans have spent decades conning conservative voters into blaming everyone else but the GOP for their problems, all while pushing the cult-like idea that “we’re the only ones you can trust.” Conservative voters are never going to get what they want because they’re supporting people who pass legislation that’s never going to make life any better for the vast majority of conservatives (or the country as a whole). Republicans know this, which is why they zeroed in on social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and religious beliefs to manipulate large groups of people into voting against their own best interests. We’ve had ten recessions since 1953, nine occurred while a Republican was in office. Meanwhile, two of the strongest and longest periods of economic and job growth during that same time occurred during the 16 combined years of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s presidencies."

James Clapper Admits He's Terrified Trump Has Access to the Nuclear Codes @alternet

James Clapper Admits He's Terrified Trump Has Access to the Nuclear Codes @alternet: The former Director of National Intelligence questions Trump's 'fitness for office.' CNN anchor Don Lemon was disgusted by Tuesday night's rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper took it one step further, admitting that he's terrified that Trump has access to the nuclear codes.Clapper is a nonpartisan voice who has served in both the Obama and the George W. Bush administrations.'I really question his ability to be—his fitness to be—in this office, and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it,' Clapper told Lemon.

Former intel boss questions Trump’s ‘fitness to be in office,’ suggests he’s ‘looking for a way out’
"Trump's former favorite intelligence official admits he's worried about him having the nuclear codes."

Trump Thinks Clean Coal Means That Workers Literally Hand Wash Pieces Of Coal

Arizona GOP busted for using Margaret Cho sit-com picture to show support for ‘Asian Americans’

Arizona GOP busted for using Margaret Cho sit-com picture to show support for ‘Asian Americans’

"The Arizona Republican Party is using a promotional photograph for the 1994 sitcom, “All American Girl” with the caption, “Asian Americans,” Vice News reports."

‘Who thought Phoenix had that much green?’ Trump fans used fake photo to wildly inflate rally size

‘Who thought Phoenix had that much green?’ Trump fans used fake photo to wildly inflate rally size

"According to AZ Central, a popular photo meme that purports to compare the size of the crowd of protesters versus the crowd of supporters in Phoenix, AZ on Tuesday night is actually a Getty Images shot of a 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers victory parade. “And frankly, anyone who is at all familiar with Phoenix should have known better. It’s a desert people,” wrote AZ Central’s Kellie Hwang and Garrett Mitchell. “Who really thought Phoenix had that much green?” The photo was spread as a new image by @TEN_GOP, an unofficial account for Republicans in Tennessee"

Paid Actors, a Fake Publicist, and Retweeted Bots: How Trump Creates His Own Reality @alternet

Paid Actors, a Fake Publicist, and Retweeted Bots: How Trump Creates His Own Reality @alternet:

"Trump’s history of using deceit to manipulate the media and project self-advantageous messages indicates that there’s perhaps nothing accidental about his tendency to retweet bots. For three decades, starting in the 1970s, Trump infamously pretended to be a fictional publicist named John Miller and used that pseudonym to plant pro-Trump stories in the media. In June 2015, Trump paid actors to cheer for him during his announcement that he would run for president, during which he called Mexican immigrants rapists. Trump has said that he retweets for a reason and that the retweets are an endorsement “to a certain extent.” This doesn’t leave much room to question the intentionality behind his insidious strategy. Automated social media accounts are said to have played a role in the 2016 presidential election, an issue that the Senate is still investigating. During Trump’s campaign, his digital operations -- many aspects of which were manned by the recently reinstated head of Steve Bannon’s Cambridge Analytica and Jared Kushner’s and Brad Parscale's Project Alamo -- focused on building a loyal audience that was mostly isolated from anti-Trump narratives and was predisposed to distrusting the press and any unfavorable media coverage. For this loyal audience, Trump’s retweets of praiseful bot or sock-puppet accounts reinforce what they already feel; it's like reading the positive blurbs of a book they know they like. So they enthusiastically endorse him by retweeting them, thus becoming important magnifiers in the propaganda loop."

EPA Chief Says That Science Shouldn’t Dictate Policy In America

August 28, 2017

Trump Associate Tried To Broker Moscow Deal So That ‘Our Boy Can Become President’
"And Trump’s personal lawyer reportedly asked a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin for help."

‘All Putin’s team will buy in on this’: Trump partner promised Russian help so ‘our boy can become president’

‘All Putin’s team will buy in on this’: Trump partner promised Russian help so ‘our boy can become president’

"One of President Donald Trump’s business partners, Felix Sater, reportedly agreed in 2015 to manage a relationship with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, that would guarantee the U.S. presidency for Trump."

FLASHBACK: Trump abruptly walked out of interview after being asked about Felix Sater connections

FLASHBACK: Trump abruptly walked out of interview after being asked about Felix Sater connections

"Felix Sater, a Trump-linked Russian-born businessman who in 1998 pleaded guilty to taking part in a mafia-related stock fraud scheme, is at the center of the latest revelations surrounding the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russian government officials to influence the 2016 presidential election."

Who is Felix Sater?

Who is Felix Sater?

"The New York Times reported Monday that businessman Felix Sater told then-candidate Donald Trump's lawyer in 2015 that he was working on a real estate deal that could help "get Donald elected." Sater was emailing Michael Cohen about building a Trump Tower in Moscow, as was reported Sunday night by The Washington Post."

REVEALED: Trump’s longtime lawyer reached out directly to the Kremlin amid 2016 campaign

REVEALED: Trump’s longtime lawyer reached out directly to the Kremlin amid 2016 campaign

"In other emails turned over to Congressional investigators, Sater boasted to Cohen that he could get Putin and the entire Russian government to help Trump’s presidential campaign if Cohen could help him get the Trump Tower Moscow deal back on track."

This Story About Ben Carson's Role in the Trump Administration Is Damning
"This is a shrewd observation by MacGillis of the general approach to government that conservatives have followed ever since Ronald Reagan gave them the green light in his 1981 Inaugural Address. Hell, it's what they've been doing to the Affordable Care Act ever since it passed. You sabotage a law, or a policy, or an entire department and, when it breaks down, you point and say, "See, government doesn't work"."

Pattern Of Hacking Preceded Attendee Of Donald Trump's Camp Russia Meeting

Follow the Money: They Say It Was About Russian Orphans. They’re Lying.
"Trump’s latest cover-up ended on July 31, 2017, when The Washington Post’s headline proclaimed: “Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer.” Even press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted that Trump “weighed in” on Don Jr.’s statement before it went out. The revelation was just another of the presidential lies permeating the Trump-Russia story. For months, Trump and his minions insisted that there had been no contact with Russians during the campaign. They were lying. Trump’s second defense admitted to such contacts, but asserted there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. A related talking point was that Russia actually wanted Hillary Clinton to win because Putin feared that Trump would be tougher on Russia. Don Jr.’s email chain obliterated those positions. While trying to explain away Don Jr.’s emails, Trump tried a third defense: Anyone would have taken the June 9 meeting. “It’s called opposition research,” Trump said. That defense quickly became counterproductive because accepting help from a foreign adversary is illegal. Trump and his minions then moved to defenses four and five: The Russians didn’t offer anything helpful, and whatever they did to help Trump hadn’t made a difference. Those “believe me,” “trust me” assertions from a serial liar aren’t working. We’re now at defense number six: Ignore whatever happened. Trump is still a legitimately elected president. But the evaporation of defenses one through five is making that a tough sell. As the facts seep out, Trump uses every available obstacle — even prevarication from his son’s mouth — to block pathways to the truth. The inference is unavoidable: That truth must be worth hiding."

Trump’s relationship with McConnell deteriorating over his refusal to defend against Russia investigation: report

Trump’s relationship with McConnell deteriorating over his refusal to defend against Russia investigation: report

 "The Times is reporting that McConnell was distressed after an August 9th phone call with the president where Trump accused McConnell of failing him on his health care plan. Additionally Trump expressed his frustration with the Senate leader for not leading his defense against investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election."

Donald Trump Dossier Testimony From Senate Judiciary Could Be Published

Analysis | President Trump’s list of false and misleading claims tops 1,000
"In seven months, President Trump has made 1,057 false or misleading claims."

1,000 Lies in 200 Days: A Detailed Look at Trump's Catalog of Falsehoods
"A new video produced by the Washington Post asserts that President Donald Trump has mislead or blatantly lied to the public more than 1,000 times since taking office in January. The newspaper counted a total of 1,057 lies, with the president averaging nearly five falsehoods per day since his inauguration. The video catalogues just a few of President Donald Trump's most frequent lies about his influence on the economy, the negative impact of the Obama administration, and his ongoing battle with the news media. Trump's lies frequently involve the promotion of his status as a "deal-maker." As the Post notes, he has repeatedly taken credit for cutting the cost of the F-35 fighter jet, an increase in defense spending by NATO member countries, and Ford's decision to build a plant in Michigan instead of Mexico—though the president had nothing to do with any of these developments. The video also shows that Trump's supporters are so familiar with his frequent characterization of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a "disaster" that many are able to finish his sentences about the law. (The ACA has actually been deemed stable by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and following the passage of the law the uninsured rate dropped to a historic low of nine percent.) Readers, journalists, and politicians took to Twitter to react to the Post's new tally of Trump's habitual lying, the frequency of which has been called "pathological" by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)"

President Trump has made more than 1,000 false or misleading statements

Trump plans major tax cut for the rich but Americans want the exact opposite
"President Trump’s plans to give a massive tax break to the rich but a polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans favor raising taxes on the wealthy. The disconnect could complicate Republican efforts to pass tax legislation this year."

Trump Pick to Oversee Worker Protections Promoted Sweatshops
"There’s lobbying, and then there’s working with Jack Abramoff to promote the sweatshop economy on remote Pacific islands. If you want to know about that kind of lobbying, you can ask Patrick Pizzella, President Donald Trump’s pick to be deputy labor secretary. Or maybe you can’t. At a July Senate confirmation hearing, Pizzella said he didn’t remember much about the work he did in the late 1990s to help the Northern Mariana Islands—a US commonwealth 1,500 miles from Japan—defeat a bipartisan effort to rein in a guest worker program that the Labor Department found relied on indentured workers. When Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) asked Pizzella whether he knew about reports of forced abortions and routine beatings at the time, Pizzella replied, “I was not aware of any such thing.” Pressed further, he said reports of abuse by multiple government agencies and newspapers were mere “allegations.” What Pizzella didn’t say was that he helped lead a public relations campaign to rebrand the islands as a paragon of free-market principles."

Lawrence: President Donald Trump's Most Important Lie Is About Himself

How Trump’s team changed his mind about the war in Afghanistan
"The Washington Post’s account of how this unfolded – the president “pinballed between his militaristic and anti-interventionist impulses” – included an important detail. President Trump was frustrated and fuming. Again and again, in the windowless Situation Room at the White House, he lashed out at his national security team over the Afghanistan war, and the paucity of appealing options gnawed at him. […] Trump’s private deliberations – detailed in interviews with more than a dozen senior administration officials and outside allies – revealed a president un­attached to any particular foreign-policy doctrine, but willing to be persuaded as long as he could be seen as a strong and decisive leader. This sounds familiar, which is part of the problem with Trump’s failing presidency. On practically every issue, the president is “un­attached to any particular” policy or substantive preference. Throughout the health care debate, for example, Trump said he simply wanted to sign a piece of legislation, regardless of its contents or outcomes. What’s more, the president clashed bitterly with Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull over refugees, not because Trump had any particular substantive concerns, but because, as the American president told his Australian counterpart, “it makes me look so bad.” This is how Trump seems to evaluate every decision of consequence: as an extension of his personal public-relations branding campaign. And so it comes as no surprise that, as the Washington Post reported, the post-policy president was “willing to be persuaded as long as he could be seen as a strong and decisive leader.” Because as far as Trump is concerned, what else matters?"

Trump wants credit for mission he opposed, had nothing to do with
"As far as Donald Trump is concerned, seven months into his presidency, he’s already implementing national security policies that are having a positive effect. This line from his speech last night on the war in Afghanistan was rather jarring: “As we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field, we are already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq.” In Trump’s mind, drawing connections between unrelated developments is a little too easy. Mosul has been freed of ISIS control, he’s “lifted restrictions” in the field, ergo Mosul has been liberated because of the changes he’s implemented. Except that’s not how reality works. In this case, the mission in Mosul began before Trump was elected: Iraq’s second-largest city was liberated because of a mission launched by Barack Obama. Indeed, what Trump didn’t mention – and may not remember – is that he opposed the mission he now wants credit for."

Donald Trump Attacked Mitch McConnell On Russia Investigation: NYT

The Absurdity of Corporate Tax Cuts During the Corporate Pillaging of the Middle Class
"American corporations benefit the most from our nation's security, public infrastructure, legal system and tax laws. Yet rather than support public education and job creation, they use much of their money for buybacks and foreign hoarding. As a result, our schools and infrastructure are crumbling, and the tax avoiders use this to justify their "government doesn't work" mantra while clamoring for even more tax breaks to 'stimulate' the economy."

Paul Ryan went on national television and told a big lie about the state of Obamacare
"Ryan’s wrong. His comments Monday are part of a consistent pattern by Republicans in Congress and in the Trump administration to misrepresent Obamacare as broken."

Sore losers: Nevada Republicans can't win regularly scheduled elections, so they're forcing recalls
"triggering new elections just to undo the results of the most recent election simply because you don’t like them is a lousy way to do democracy, and it effectively demonstrates why Republicans deserve their minority status. They can’t sell their candidates or their ideas to the electorate, so they’re attempting to trigger (historically) lower-turnout special elections in the hope it will give them more control over who shows up at the ballot box (although recent special election results suggest Republicans are screwed in that regard, too).  We won’t know until late October or early November whether these efforts to trigger recalls will be successful, but the mere fact that Republicans are attempting this farce is both troubling and an insult to these districts’ voters, who sent the candidates of their choice to Carson City as recently as last fall."

For Facts Sake: Ruhle Fact Checks Donald Trump's Arizona Rally

A Catholic Nun Schooled Paul Ryan in Humility Last Night
"This guy is still fighting for a policy that the Congressional Budget Office says would kick 30 million Americans off their health insurance."

Paul Ryan Just Flat Out Lied About Obamacare
"Ryan's flagrant dishonesty is part of the reason why Trumpcare in all its guises failed to pass. The constant lying about Obamacare and the farcical boasts about plans that would leave millions of Americans uninsured meant that no Democrat and enough Republicans rejected it over and over and over again.  History will not look kindly upon Paul Ryan. His major contribution to American society appears to be a steadfast commitment to enabling the worst president in history, and spending an inordinate amount of political energy trying to take people's health care away. Thankfully Ryan's spineless behavior hasn't worked to his advantage in recent times, but he remains a dangerous operator, always willing to lie and always ready to back president Trump no matter how insane he gets."

Moms' Group Sounds Alarm Over Worst GOP Bill "You've Never Heard Of"
"The environmental group Clean Air Moms Action released a new ad campaign Monday urging voters to fight back against two pending  Republican anti-regulation laws."

Donald Trump Advisor Brad Thomas Defends POTUS Amid CEO Backlash

The Trump administration doesn’t want to find out how bad mountaintop removal is for human health
"A study on the health impacts of mountaintop removal by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has been suspended after the Department of the Interior told the group it was reviewing grants in advance of budget cuts."

Trump’s large family and frequent travels are blowing through the Secret Service’s budget
"On Monday, USA Today published an exclusive report on the state of the Secret Service just seven months into the Trump presidency: Facing astronomical costs for protecting multiple properties and the members of a large family, the Secret Service is essentially running out of money for the overtime required to protect the president. The Secret Service is required by law to safeguard the president and his family at all times — but it also has a federally capped budget, and according to USA Today’s Kevin Johnson, “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.” The fact that the Trumps are uniquely expensive to keep safe is not exactly new. Back in December, Trump was estimated to be the priciest president-elect to protect, at up to $1 million a day. Trump also likes to get away from Washington on weekends, which adds to the cost. He’s gone so far as to dub Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, the “winter White House” and his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, the “summer White House.” Despite criticizing Obama for going golfing as president, Trump has hit the greens more times than his recent predecessors at the same point in their presidencies. And those 53 trips and counting to Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster add up quickly — a single trip to Mar-a-Lago costs the Secret Service more than $3 million. Making matters worse, the number of protectees in the Trump administration is also greater than it was in Obama’s administration. Trump’s children, other family members, and close associates mean that 42 people require Secret Service protection, compared to 31 in the Obama administration. The USA Today report includes some startling details on the Secret Service’s budget woes, including: The compensation crunch is so serious that the director has begun discussions with key lawmakers to raise the combined salary and overtime cap for agents, from $160,000 per year to $187,000 for at least the duration of Trump's first term."

Meet the State Dept. Science Envoy Who Spelled Out "Impeach" in His Resignation Letter to Trump

The Secret Service confronts unique challenges in the Trump era
"USA Today goes a step further this morning, highlighting a different kind of problem. The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President Trump’s family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast. 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. The agency has faced a crushing workload since the height of the contentious election season, and it has not relented in the first seven months of the administration. Agents must protect Trump – who has traveled almost every weekend to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia – and his adult children whose business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas. There are currently 42 protectees – up from 31 in the Obama era – including 18 members of the Trump family. USA Today’s report added that even if Congress intervenes with additional funds, “about 130 veteran agents would not be fully compensated for hundreds of hours already amassed.” And while the agency hoped the burdens would ease after Inauguration Day, “the president’s frequent weekend trips” have contributed to a situation in which the Secret Service has been overwhelmed."