Saturday, March 25, 2017
Brackets is harder than I thought
The monkey in the middle
Devin Nunes, Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee show clearly the disadvantage of selecting the least capable people for to serve on the various House and Senate committees. Instead if quietly and efficiently steering the investigation of our Potemkin President away from his Russian master. his evey step this week has led to a bigger disaster and earned him the enmity of everybody.
Even on Fox News, Representative Devin Nunes, the beleaguered Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, could not escape the venom from his left.Having covered for Trump, the question becomes, does Nunes really think that Trump will have his back when he needs it? If Trump's history is any indication, and the many repetitions would indicate so, the answer is a big fat NO.
Mr. Nunes, the California lawmaker, stood inside the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Thursday evening, assuming a familiar set of positions: in front of a camera, giving cover to President Trump and defending himself.
The subject this time was his decision on Wednesday to brief Mr. Trump, whose campaign his committee is investigating, about possible “incidental” surveillance of the president or his associates. “I still think it’s the right call,” Mr. Nunes said of his decision not to tell members of his committee about his trip to the White House.
But as he spoke inside the Capitol, a committee colleague, Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut, peered into a different camera, belonging to CNN, a few feet to the left. “It is almost inconceivable,” Mr. Himes said of his chairman’s behavior, more than loud enough to hear nearby. “Lo and behold, a couple of hours later, Donald Trump gets to put the barest of fig leaves on the outrageous tweet about Barack Obama wiretapping him.”
Since Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Nunes has proved an eager purveyor of executive fig leaves. As the leader of an investigation involving the campaign of a man he cheered vocally and served directly as a transition team official, the congressman has often appeared almost incurious about the chief subject of the inquiry.
Of greater concern in the intelligence sphere is his recent burst of media exposure, with a public speaking style that can at times seem cavalier while discussing sensitive information. This has led to misgivings about sharing national security details with him, a senior American intelligence official said.
Many lawmakers crave attention, racing to microphones and pounding lecterns in search of cable news glory. But Mr. Nunes, who can seem by turns earnest and reticent in person, is something different: After over a decade in the House, he has appeared to lurch haphazardly into the spotlight, like Kramer entering a room on “Seinfeld,” straining to keep his balance as a human shield in Washington’s daily Trump wars.
Mr. Nunes said on Fox News that he felt he “had a duty and obligation” to tell Mr. Trump about the possible surveillance. “Because as you know, he’s taking a lot of heat in the news media.”
Now the president has company in that regard: Mr. Nunes, a former dairy farmer, elected to Congress in 2002 at age 29, from a deep-red section of a deep-blue state. The Democratic National Committee has even adopted a new label for him: “White House stooge.”
It was always "Bait and Switch"
Bill Maher explains The Great Con that Orange Don is running.
When opportunity presents itself
Friday, March 24, 2017
Long Dark Hallelujah
Beth Bombara from her album Raise Your Flag
Trump Shit Is Always Biglyer
R.I.P. Chuck Barris
Your creation of The Gong Show offset all the other shows you created
After seven years of practice
With every Republican member who requested being allowed to introduce their very own Repeal Obamacare bill, when it came time to shit or get off the pot, the Republicans in Congress failed to drop their favorite dookie.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, facing a revolt among conservative and moderate Republicans, rushed to the White House Friday afternoon to inform President Trump he did not have the votes to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to decide whether to pull the bill from consideration.And the irony of its defeat is that it failed to be painful enough to poors and others to satisfy the most cruel and reactionary elements of the GOP. But if it had pleased that group it would have offended that small remaining group that still have a breath of humanity in them. So in the end it is like our Potemkin President, it looks good on the face of it but has nothing to back it up.
The president and the speaker faced the humiliating prospect of a major defeat on legislation promised for seven years, since the landmark health legislation was signed into law. President Trump had demanded a vote regardless, which has been scheduled for Friday afternoon. But House leaders were leaning against such a public loss.
The Republican legislation, called the American Health Care Act, would end the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that almost everyone have health care, replacing it with a system of age-based tax credits to purchase health insurance — a shift that would save the government hundreds of billions of dollars and would cut taxes, but could leave 24 million more Americans without coverage in a decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said.
Republicans said President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the 2010 health care law, had been a failure, disrupting coverage for millions of people and fueling big increases in health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical costs. Insurers in many states, they said, were losing hundreds of millions of dollars under the health law and have dropped out of the public marketplaces.
“For seven years, Americans have been hurt by Obamacare,” said Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “They have pleaded with Congress to get the government out of the examining room and give them health care they can afford. This failed Obamacare experiment is over. It’s time to act.”
But Republican divisions were still on public display. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced Friday that he would oppose the Republican bill, joining other moderates from Northeastern states.
“Seven years after enactment of Obamacare, I wanted to support legislation that made positive changes to rescue health care in America,” he wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey.”
With experts like this
The terrorists have nothing to worry from our Potemkin President, as Samantha Bee explains to us.
A man of many promises
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Poor Man's Melody
What? You wanted a ride?
Schumer moves in the right direction
As of now, it looks like the Senate Democrats will filibuster the nomination of notorious torture enabler and all around asshole Neil Gorsuch.
Democrats signaled on Thursday that they would filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, setting up a showdown with Republicans who may be forced to change longstanding rules to seat him on the nation’s highest court.Mitch The Turtle has said he would employ the rule change option if necessary, but as with all other moves, that is only if he has the votes to do so. It remains to be seen if Gorsuch is sufficiently attractive a candidate to allow that.
“He will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor Thursday morning, citing the threshold for breaking a filibuster on the selection. “My vote will be no.”
The announcement came one day after Judge Gorsuch completed his second day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, emerging largely unscathed amid a series of bland deflections and folksy digressions.
Many Democrats are facing dual pressures as they make their decisions: The party’s progressive base has pressed them to oppose Mr. Trump at every turn, and many are still seething over the treatment last year of Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Obama’s nominee, whom Republicans refused to consider in an election year.
But several lawmakers face re-election races next year in states that Mr. Trump won, compelling some to weigh supporting Judge Gorsuch. Still, based on interviews and internal discussions, Judge Gorsuch appears to be short — at least for now — of the eight Senate votes he must earn from the Democratic caucus to reach 60 votes. (Republicans hold a majority with 52 seats.)
Also on Thursday, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, who is up for re-election next year, said he would vote against Judge Gorsuch.
“I have serious concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s rigid and restrictive judicial philosophy,” he said, suggesting that the nominee “employs the narrowest possible reading of federal law and exercises extreme skepticism, even hostility, toward executive branch agencies.”
Both Mr. Schumer and Mr. Casey echoed longstanding Democratic attacks on Judge Gorsuch: that his decisions tend to favor the powerful.
“His career and judicial record suggest not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology,” Mr. Schumer said.
Republican leaders have signaled an openness to changing longstanding rules regarding the filibuster and confirming Judge Gorsuch on a simple majority vote. And Mr. Trump has urged them to pursue this so-called nuclear option if necessary.
As Trump slashes environmental regulations
Oil and gas companies are telling their shareholders, the important people in their world, that the regulations have little or no effect on their bottom lines.
In annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 13 of the 15 biggest U.S. oil and gas producers said that compliance with current regulations is not impacting their operations or their financial condition.So a few individuals are jonesing for return to smog filled filthy air but the companies affected repeatedly say, No big deal. A normal president would say Meh! but a Tangerine Shitgibbon is guaranteed to attack. And we have to breathe that shit.
The other two made no comment about whether their businesses were materially affected by regulation, but reported spending on compliance with environmental regulations at less than 3 percent of revenue.
The dissonance raises questions about whether Trump’s war on regulation can increase domestic oil and gas output, as he has promised, or boost profits and share prices of oil and gas companies, as some investors have hoped.
According to the SEC, a publicly traded company must deem a matter "material" and report it to the agency if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider it important.
"Materiality is a fairly low bar," said Cary Coglianese, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who runs the university’s research program on regulation. "Despite exaggerated claims, regulatory costs are usually a very small portion of many companies’ cost of doing business."
Continental Resources (CLR.N) CEO, Harold Hamm, who advised Trump on energy issues during his campaign for the White House, told the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July that stripping regulation could allow the country to double its production of oil and gas, triggering a new "American energy renaissance."
Yet Continental's annual report, filed last month with the SEC, says environmental regulation - after eight years under the Obama administration - does not have a "material adverse effect on our operations to any greater degree than other similarly situated competitors."
Continental's competitors who reported actual spending on environmental compliance told investors that such expenses amount to a small percentage of operating revenues.
Samantha Bee and the Trump "Budget"
There will be a hot time in the old town tonight.
Impeach The Motherfucker Already!
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Hence the need of a Special Prosecutor
GOP Governors Hate Trumps Budget
Ever since the advent of St Ronald of Reagan, Republicans in Congress have been beavering away at the funding provided to people and states to save their corporate masters from paying taxes. As a result states have had to either raise taxes and fees to provide what the citizens want or submit underfunded programs to the Death of a Thousand GOP Cuts. And now with the first budget of Cheeto Mussolini, this process has reached its ultimate end, slashing everything except defense and corporate welfare.
In private, Mr. Bevin has been blunter about the party’s disagreements. Just days before appearing with Mr. Trump in Louisville, he joined a conference call with the president’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to protest a White House proposal to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development agency that spans 13 states and steers millions of dollars in federal money to Kentucky.And none of this includes the anticipated decimation of Medicaid which is guaranteed to make any governor feel like a sack of corn in a gristmill. Maybe Trump will be the end of the Republican dominance in the South. He certainly will leave destruction in his wake worthy of the biggest hurricane.
Mr. Bevin was not alone in his dismay.
As Mr. Trump and his advisers press for bone-deep cuts to the federal budget, Republican governors have rapidly emerged as an influential bloc of opposition. They have complained to the White House about reductions they see as harmful or arbitrary, and they plan to pressure members of Congress from their states to oppose them.
Of acute concern to Republicans are a handful of low-profile programs aimed at job training and economic revitalization, including regional development agencies like the Appalachian commission and the Delta Regional Authority, which serves eight Southern and Midwestern states, seven of them with Republican governors. They are also protective of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $3.4 billion job-training program funded through the Labor Department.
Mr. Trump’s budget office has proposed to eliminate or deeply slash funding for all of those programs, along with dozens of others.
Kim S. Rueben, a budget expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, said the retrenchment in Mr. Trump’s spending plan appeared to be significantly out of step with his campaign promises to use the federal government as a machine for creating jobs, especially in distressed Midwestern and rural areas.
“It just seems like you’re going after places that are so pivotal to what you are arguing you wanted to do for your base,” Ms. Rueben said of Mr. Trump’s budget. “They’re cutting all sorts of infrastructure projects and economic development projects at the same time that the president is still talking about how much of an investment he’s going to put into infrastructure.”
The White House’s proposed cuts would be felt in matters well beyond economic development: A budget briefing circulated last week by the National Governors Association, a nonpartisan group, identified a long list of Trump-backed cuts to programs that support states. They include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a $3 billion project in the Department of Health and Human Services that helps people pay for heating and air conditioning, and the Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that funds local projects from affordable housing to Meals on Wheels.
Gorsuch grilled on Torture
Which is only fair as he was one of the Bush administration lawyers involved in torturing the law tofind a way to legitimize torture and extend Dick Cheney's life.
Senator Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, pressed Judge Gorsuch about a torture-related document from his time as a senior Justice Department official in 2005-6. It was a set of questions about the C.I.A. program, including: “Have the aggressive interrogation techniques employed by the administration yielded any valuable intelligence? Have they ever stopped a terrorist incident? Examples?” In the margin next to this, Judge Gorsuch had scribbled, “Yes.”Gorsuch did so well at his legal justifications that he was appointed to his current position. Imagine that! An unindicted felon sitting in judgement of others.
Ms. Feinstein, who was the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when it conducted an investigation into the Bush-era torture program that concluded otherwise — asked Judge Gorsuch what information he had received that led him to write “yes.”
He replied: “My recollection of 12 years ago is that that was the position that the clients were telling us. I was a lawyer. My job was as an advocate, and we were dealing with detainee litigation. That was my job.”
Senator Leahy, of Vermont, also returned to the question of whether Judge Gorsuch believed in the Bush administration’s theory that the president, as commander-in-chief, could override torture and surveillance laws.
Asked about that on Tuesday, Judge Gorsuch had repeatedly said the president was not “above the law.” Mr. Leahy pointed out that Mr. Bush’s legal team did not argue that he was “above the law,” but rather that “the law” meant the Constitution gave presidents inherent authority to lawfully bypass such statutes.
The senator pressed Judge Gorsuch to be more specific. He replied that “presidents make all sorts of arguments about inherent authority — they do — and that is why we have courts, to decide.”
Mr. Leahy followed up, asking whether Judge Gorsuch could think of a case in which a court decided that a president could override a statute. Judge Gorsuch said he could not think of one, and Mr. Leahy agreed.
Some news bits you may have missed
In all the excitement as The Gilded Dumbass moves ever closer to impeachment.
Send him up the river
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
That's his story and he's sticking to it
The legislation may suck bigly
But The Gilded Dumbass wants the repeal and maybe replace of The Affordable Care Act to happen or some of these Republicans may lose their seats next election. The fact that it is an irreparable piece of shit doesn't matter when you have an agenda to push.
President Trump offered a closing argument on Tuesday to on-the-fence lawmakers, warning House Republicans that they risked losing re-election next year if they failed to get behind legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.So Trump says they lose if they don't pass it. And they all know they will lose if they do pass it. And in the end it all comes down to how much lipstick needs to be put on this pig.
Mr. Trump’s warning, delivered in a closed-door meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday morning, came as House leaders were trying to pin down a majority to pass their repeal legislation, which is set for a floor vote on Thursday.
Mr. Trump told lawmakers that many of them would lose their seats in next year’s midterm elections if the repeal effort failed.
“He warned us that there are consequences if we don’t come together, for us as a party and also for individuals,” said Representative Richard Hudson, Republican of North Carolina. “He wasn’t threatening in any way. He was just giving us a pretty clear warning.”
Republican leaders have pointed to Mr. Trump’s advocacy for the House bill — though less than rock-solid at times — as they have struggled to gain enough support to push their measure through the House. But conservative lawmakers who are skeptical of the House bill could be hesitant to vote against it if such a vote might prompt a public shaming from the president.
“He made it very clear he’s all-in on this legislation,” said Representative Kevin Brady, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “This is a historic moment and a historic promise for Republicans to deliver on this Thursday.”
Speaker Paul D. Ryan was upbeat. “The president just came here and knocked the ball out of the park,” Mr. Ryan said. “He knocked the cover off the ball.”
On the eve of Mr. Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill, House leaders released a set of revisions to their bill, including a provision sought by Republicans from upstate New York that would shift Medicaid costs from counties to the state government.
Following the Comey Hearing
Seth Meyer had a closer look
Which way to the Dumpster
Monday, March 20, 2017
Enjoy this tune from a few years back
"Why Baby Why" While The Secret Sisters work on their new album being produced by Brandi Carlile & The Twins.
The Circle of Life
In Washington DC can become just another string of distractions, as Tom Tomorrow shows us.
Cold, hungry, sick, ill-housed but safe
Knowing nothing about the military
And caring nothing for diplomacy, Precedent Shit-For Brains is ceding more control of military actions back to the military. This puts the authority to blow up other countries in the hands of people who are constantly looking for a reason to blow up something.
President Trump is shifting more authority over military operations to the Pentagon, according to White House officials, reversing what his aides and some generals say was a tendency by the Obama White House to micromanage issues better left to military commanders.When you spend most of your time playing golf, watching Fux Nooz or whining on Twitter, it is safe to say Shit-For-Brains is not exercising sufficient oversight and does raise questions about the intelligence of those who thought he ever could.
The change is at the heart of a re-engineering of the National Security Council’s role under its new leader, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and reflects Mr. Trump’s belief that the N.S.C. should focus less on military operations and tactics and more on strategic issues. A guiding precept for the president and his team is that the balance of power in the world has shifted against American interests, and that General McMaster should focus on developing foreign and economic policy options in concert with the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies to respond to that challenge.
The new approach to managing military operations was evident this month when a Marine artillery battery and a team of Army Rangers — some 400 troops in all — arrived in northern Syria. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed off on the deployments and notified the White House. But General McMaster neither convened a meeting at the White House to discuss whether to send the forces nor presented the Pentagon with questions about where, precisely, the troops would operate or what risks they might confront.
Though the streamlined decision-making has been welcomed by many in the military, it could raise questions about whether Mr. Trump, who has drawn heavily from current and former generals to fill key jobs in his administration, is exercising sufficient oversight.
How much is an Afghani worth
Not the currency of the country but the life of your average Abdul in the street? After 15 years of blowing up anything of value that we don't control and killing anyone who gets in the way, the US military uses a situational system for determining how much, if any, blood money the survivors will get.
In March 2014, the U.S. military paid an Afghan man just over $1,000 to compensate for killing his civilian son in an operation near the border with Iran, according to U.S. military records released to Reuters.Who you are, where you are, who do you know all determine how little the local commader can get away with paying for your dead family. And we want to keep on doing this with no end in sight.
Six months later, another Afghan father was given $10,000 by the U.S. military after his child, also a civilian, was killed in an American-led military operation in the same province.
And 68-year-old Haji Allah Dad lost 20 relatives, including his brother and sister-in-law, in a U.S. and Afghan special forces operation near the northern city of Kunduz last November.
Allah Dad said he received no money from the U.S. military, though he did get compensation from the Afghan government.
Nearly 16 years since invading Afghanistan, the United States has no standardized process for making compensation payments to the families of thousands of Afghan civilians killed or injured in U.S.-led military operations.
It first started paying the families of Afghan victims as a way to counter Taliban militants who were doing the same.
America's approach to compensation is arbitrary by design as it tries to negotiate Afghanistan's cultural and regional sensitivities as a foreign military force.
But civil activists say the system is unfair and confusing for often poor and uneducated Afghans.
A Pentagon spokesman said the military leaves the decision on how much to pay to commanders on the ground because they are best positioned to judge the incidents.
"Condolence payments in Afghanistan are based on cultural norms of the local area, advice from Afghan partners, and the circumstances of the event," said spokesman Adam Stump.
"U.S. commanders in theater are therefore empowered to make decisions regarding payments as they have the greatest understanding of these factors," Stump said.
"A man in Kandahar may get $4,000 for his damaged car while a woman in Gardez gets $1,000 for her dead child. Civilians deserve better,”
Trump is the stopped clock of assholes
John Oliver reduces Trump's budget request to ashes
So many things to investigate
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Ryan's health care baseline
R.I.P. James Earle Breslin
A life of writing that touched so many, from the New York Mets to Crazy Joe Gallo's crew that couldn't shoot straight and Son of Sam who did and so many more. Your typewriter is stilled but your voice will echo through the City for a long time.
Can Tillerson play the bad cop?
And probably more importantly, can North Korea's only friend China bring them around to a sensible course of nuclear policy. And the unmentioned elephant in the room, can Donald Trump keep his mouth and Twitter quiet long enough to pull it off.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson ruled out on Friday opening any negotiation with North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programs and said for the first time that the Trump administration might be forced to take pre-emptive action “if they elevate the threat of their weapons program” to an unacceptable level.Having a mad man in the White House may have a much needed influence on North Korean bullyboy Kim Jong Pudge. And denuclearizing Norh Korea is a worthy goal. But it's a thin tightrope to walk when the Mad Man is truly unhinged and the Secretary of State doesn't do nuance and has let go most of the people who could help him. And since the last 64 years have relied on an armistice to stop the shooting, it wouldn't take much to start it again.
Mr. Tillerson’s comments in Seoul, a day before he travels to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders, explicitly rejected any return to the bargaining table in an effort to buy time by halting North Korea’s accelerating testing program. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said on New Year’s Day that North Korea was in the “final stage” of preparation for the first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States.
The secretary of state’s comments were the Trump administration’s first public hint at the options being considered, and they made clear that none involved a negotiated settlement or waiting for the North Korean government to collapse.
“The policy of strategic patience has ended,” Mr. Tillerson said, a reference to the term used by the Obama administration to describe a policy of waiting out the North Koreans, while gradually ratcheting up sanctions and covert action.
Negotiations “can only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction,” he said — a step to which the North committed in 1992, and again in subsequent accords, but has always violated. “Only then will we be prepared to engage them in talks.”
His warning on Friday about new ways to pressure the North was far more specific and martial sounding than during the first stop of his three-country tour, in Tokyo on Thursday. His inconsistency of tone may have been intended to signal a tougher line to the Chinese before he lands in Beijing on Saturday. It could also reflect an effort by Mr. Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to issue the right diplomatic signals in a region where American commitment is in doubt.
Almost exactly a year ago, when Donald J. Trump was still a presidential candidate, he threatened in an interview with The New York Times to pull troops back from the Pacific region unless South Korea and Japan paid a greater share of the cost of keeping them there. During Mr. Tillerson’s stops in South Korea and Japan, there was no public talk of that demand.
On Friday afternoon, after visiting the Demilitarized Zone and peering into North Korean territory in what has become a ritual for American officials making a first visit to the South, Mr. Tillerson explicitly rejected a Chinese proposal to get the North Koreans to freeze their testing in return for the United States and South Korea suspending all annual joint military exercises, which are now underway.
Mr. Tillerson argued that a freeze would essentially enshrine “a comprehensive set of capabilities” North Korea possesses that already pose too great a threat to the United States and its allies, and he said there would be no negotiation until the North agreed to dismantle its programs.
R.I.P. Charles Edward Anderson Berry
It's a shame your only #1 song was a piece of shit because every other song you wrote has withstood the test of time and the depredations of white music leeches.
Tapper Trashes Twitler
With some help from Bill Maher
Comforting the Comfortable
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Just to hear your voice
Serena Ryder performs "Call Me"
Smiling and Lying
Wanted: Judges Who Will Overturn The Constitution
Most Americans don't really want that sort of judge, but the small anarchic cell of the Republican power structure in Congress are creaming their jeans at the thought of filling the court vacancies they saved from President Obama with just such 'jurists'.
Most Americans have probably never heard of Leonard A. Leo, who has long served as executive vice president of the Federalist Society, an organization of conservatives and libertarians who “place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values and the rule of law.” But as Mr. Trump begins the process of filling what could be the most federal court vacancies left to any president in nearly a half-century, Mr. Leo is playing a critical role in reshaping the judiciary.The Tangerine Shitgibbon is in a position to fuck up the judicial system for decades. While he is going to fuck up everything else in government as well, the judiciary is where we turn for surcease from the trouble everything else in government gives us. WASF
He sits at the nexus of an immensely influential but largely unseen network of conservative organizations, donors and lawyers who all share a common goal: Fill the federal courts with scores of judges who are committed to the narrow interpretation of the Constitution that they believe the founders intended.
“The Supreme Court needs to be an institution that helps to undergird limited constitutional government,” said Mr. Leo, 51, whose cerebral, unassuming demeanor belies the enormous clout he has developed in Washington.
It is a worldview that has brought Mr. Leo and his allies together with a range of conservative players. In addition to major corporate backers such as Google and Chevron, the Federalist Society’s supporters include well-known industry-oriented and libertarian-minded business leaders like Charles G. and David H. Koch; the family foundation of Richard Mellon Scaife; and the Mercer family, which gave significantly to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and helped start Breitbart News.
This judicial reformation is being coordinated from Washington by a relatively small team closely aligned around Mr. Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society while he helps the White House shepherd the Gorsuch nomination. The network includes John G. Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation and Ann Corkery, a Washington lawyer who along with her husband, Neil, oversees the Judicial Crisis Network and related dark-money groups that also support the cause.
While a free-market agenda and the desire to place judges who will be more skeptical of federal and state regulations is a driving force, several central players in the group are also motivated by intense religious beliefs.
Mr. Trump already has 124 judgeships to fill — a backlog created by Senate Republicans who blocked the confirmation of many of President Barack Obama’s nominees. That includes 19 vacancies on the federal appeals courts.
Because of the age of many judges today, the White House expects between 70 to 90 appeals court positions to open up over the next four years. That would give Mr. Trump the opportunity to fill anywhere from one-third to half of all appellate seats — a profound impact considering that those courts are often the final word on thousands of cases that never reach the Supreme Court.
The most important task of The Resistance
Voting. And Samantha Bee explains it to those who may have forgotten.
Too bad your name isn't Everybody
Friday, March 17, 2017
All the people who voted for Trump
"Faithful Son" by Patty Griffin from her album American Kid
Please welcome our new sponsor
If you suffer from Trump Induced Anxiety Disorder T.I.A.D. Ask your Doctor
The Purges have begun
R.I.P. James Henry Cotton
I hope Heaven is ready for your harp playing.
Trump Press Sec bleats out some fake news
And really, truly pisses off one of the few countries that has not distanced itself from Precedent Beetlefart.
The White House has tried to soothe an angry Britain after suggesting that President Barack Obama used London’s spy agency to conduct secret surveillance on President Trump while he was a candidate last year but offered no public apology on Friday.The Press Secretary is fully capable of determining if such an act truly happened and, hopefully, keeping his yap shut if it did. But Spicy Sphincter is part of an administration so untrustworthy that the intelligence agencies would never give them an answer to that question so its denizens get their inside info from Fux Nooz. WATF!
A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that the White House had backed off the allegation. “We’ve made clear to the administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored,” the spokesman said on condition of anonymity in keeping with British protocol. “We’ve received assurances these allegations won’t be repeated.”
The reassurances came after British officials complained to Trump administration officials. Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Washington, spoke with Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, at a St. Patrick’s Day reception in Washington on Thursday night just hours after Mr. Spicer aired the assertion at his daily briefing. Mark Lyall Grant, the prime minister’s national security adviser, spoke separately with his American counterpart, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
“Ambassador Kim Darroch and Sir Mark Lyall expressed their concerns to Sean Spicer and General McMaster,” a White House official said on condition of anonymity to confirm private conversations. “Mr. Spicer and General McMaster explained that Mr. Spicer was simply pointing to public reports, not endorsing any specific story.”
Other White House officials, who also would not be named, said Mr. Spicer offered no regret to the ambassador. “He didn’t apologize, no way, no how,” said a senior West Wing official. The officials said they did not know whether General McMaster had apologized.
The GOP obstacle to Trump's Yuge Defense builup
Precedent Beetlefart wants to build a yuge navy like he saw in Victory At Sea as a kid. Sure it will cost $Billions but the real obstacle will be the steady Republican elimination of skilled workers going back to St. Ronny, which leaves shipbuilders with a lack of trained employees to achieve the numbers Beetlefart wants.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he wants to build dozens of new warships in one of the biggest peace-time expansions of the U.S. Navy. But interviews with ship-builders, unions and a review of public and internal documents show major obstacles to that plan.Assuming Beetlefart gets his funding, the trained people with security clearances in facilities capable of building his fleet won't happen until long after he is gone. And his replacement probably won't be such a douchebag.
The initiative could cost nearly $700 billion in government funding, take 30 years to complete and require hiring tens of thousands of skilled shipyard workers - many of whom don't exist yet because they still need to be hired and trained, according to the interviews and the documents reviewed.
Trump has vowed a huge build-up of the U.S. military to project American power in the face of an emboldened China and Russia. That includes expanding the Navy to 350 warships from 275 today. He has provided no specifics, including how soon he wants the larger fleet. (For graphics on projected strength of U.S. Navy, shipyard employment see: tmsnrt.rs/2n3vOr0)
The Navy has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis a report that explores how the country's industrial base could support higher ship production, Admiral Bill Moran, the vice chief of Naval Operations with oversight of the Navy’s shipbuilding outlook, told Reuters.
He declined to give further details. But those interviewed for this story say there are clearly two big issues - there are not enough skilled workers in the market, from electricians to welders, and after years of historically low production, shipyards and their suppliers, including nuclear fuel producers, will struggle to ramp up for years.
Seth Meyers looks at Trumps dumps
Are you sick of winning yet?
The Price of a Senator
Thursday, March 16, 2017
And when Trump starts to fill the camps
The menfolk may be brave but it is the women who are the support. Los Centzonles made this 5 years ago and it stands as straight today.
Be hard to adjust this
Trump's Muslim ban blocked
Just in time to distract from his horrendous first budget. Indeed, the construction of both Muslim bans was so sloppy and cocooned in a wreath of Trump's own words guaranteed to reflect badly on them that one is tempted to believe they were meant to be blocked.
A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, dealing a stinging blow to the White House and signaling that Mr. Trump will have to account in court for his heated rhetoric about Islam.No doubt the ruling makes Trump look weak and ignorant and incompetent, which by the way he is. But these Imperial Decrees are issued to excite the followers and realistically could never be expected to hold water in all but the most totalitarian countries. Which is probably what he hopes we will become.
A second federal judge in Maryland ruled against Mr. Trump overnight, with a separate order forbidding the core provision of the travel ban from going into effect.
The rulings were a second major setback for Mr. Trump in his pursuit of a policy that he has trumpeted as critical for national security. His first attempt to sharply limit travel from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries ended in a courtroom fiasco last month, when a federal court in Seattle halted it.
Mr. Trump issued a new and narrower travel ban, affecting six countries, on March 6, trying to satisfy the courts by removing some of the most contentious elements of the original version.
But in a pointed decision that repeatedly invoked Mr. Trump’s public comments, Judge Derrick K. Watson, of Federal District Court in Honolulu, wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would view even the new order as “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”
Mr. Trump lashed out at Judge Watson during a campaign-style rally in Nashville late on Wednesday. Raising his voice to a hoarse shout, Mr. Trump accused the judge of ruling “for political reasons” and criticized the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which upheld the earlier decision against his administration and will hear any appeal to the Hawaii ruling.
“This ruling makes us look weak, which by the way we no longer are, believe me,” Mr. Trump said, to mounting cheers from a loyal crowd.
Mr. Trump even said he might reissue the initial version of the order, rather than the one blocked on Wednesday, which he described as “a watered-down version of the first one.”
After he signed the revised ban, Democratic attorneys general and nonprofit groups that work with immigrants and refugees raced back into court, claiming that Mr. Trump’s updated decree was still a thinly veiled version of the ban on Muslim migration that he proposed last year.
Trump needs $2.6B to start his fence
O, that great big beautiful fence to keep out the unwanted other people from crossing into the US. Precedent Beetlefart's first budget has come down and he is asking for $2.6 Billion to start construction on this monument to his ignorance and stupidity.
President Donald Trump will ask Congress for $2.6 billion to start construction on a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, another significant step toward carrying out his signature – and most controversial – campaign promise.Precedent Beetlefart is obviously planning to build the Trump Tower of border walls, minus the gold painted bathroom fixtures. I would suggest something simpler, a line of concrete block wall with a 10 ft tall picture of Precedent Beetlefart every 100 yards to beautify it.
The money is part of a $44 billion request for the Department of Homeland Security that includes $4.5 billion in additional spending for the wall, 1,500 new immigration agents, immigration judges and expanded detention capacity.
“We’re going to keep our citizens safe,” Trump said during a campaign-style rally in Nashville, Tennessee, Wednesday night.
The multi-billion-dollar request for the border wall is expected to kick off a major congressional showdown later this month or next about whether such a plan is a good use of taxpayer resources. Democrats largely oppose the building of the wall and so do some Republicans. It’s unclear whether a wall proposal can get the needed 60 votes in the Senate needed to overcome a likely Democratic filibuster.
Building the wall was hugely popular among Trump’s base, with supporters chanting “Build the Wall” regularly at rallies, and Trump has made it clear he intends to carry out promises to crack down on illegal immigration and bolster national security.
Today’s budget proposal outlines how he’d pay for those promises – by cutting foreign aid, environmental protection and the arts, among other programs.
But less than $3 billion is far from enough to carry out all the initiatives that he has promised supporters. Experts estimate that he would have to more than triple that amount to fund the wall, let alone expand detention and hire thousands more border patrol and immigration agents.
The wall will cost $8 billion to $10 billion or perhaps much more. Hiring new immigration agents will cost more billions. For comparison, the DHS’s 2017 budget request sought $7 billion to pay more than 40,000 officers.
What does a white dude have to say to get fired?
A question that Sam Bee is asking about Steve King this week.
Easy to see why
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
A hard working woman
Lori McKenna was married with 3 children when she started writing songs professionally. Two more kids and a whole lot of songs later "Wreck You" is from her latest album The Bird And The Rifle.
Trumpcare failing? Get louder
As the United States sinks back into the good old days of thick, filthy air, before you heap blame upon Precedent Trump and the Republicans, try a bottle of fresh, clean TrumpAir guaranteed to taste crisp and smooth all the way down.
President Trump will travel to Detroit on Wednesday to announce a rollback of stringent fuel economy standards for cars and trucks that were put in place by the Obama administration — a welcome message to American automakers but one that could slow the push for a new generation of efficient vehicles.If it puts shit in the air you know Precedent Trump is 100% for it. Clean air, like clean water is way overrated.
The fuel-economy rules, aimed at cutting heat-trapping carbon dioxide, were one of the two main pillars of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy. Put forth in 2012, they would have required automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, forcing automakers to speed development of highly fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrid and electric cars.
The rules have been widely praised by environmentalists and energy economists for reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and its greenhouse pollution. If put fully into effect, the fuel efficiency standards would have cut oil consumption by about 12 billion barrels and reduced carbon dioxide pollution by about six billion tons over the lifetime of all the cars affected by the regulations.
That would have been a little more than the amount of oil consumed and carbon pollution produced by the United States in a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
In their first Oval Office meeting with Mr. Trump, executives from the three Detroit car companies — General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler — asked him to revisit and revise his predecessor’s rules.
Mr. Trump will use his Detroit trip to tell the executives that he will oblige their request — and to tell autoworkers that the loosened rules will stimulate the growth of manufacturing jobs.
The president’s announcement alone will not be enough to roll back the standards; that will take more than a year of legal and regulatory reviews by the E.P.A. and the Transportation Department. The Trump administration will then propose its replacement fuel-economy standards by April of next year, according to a senior White House official.
The Motor City announcement is the first of an expected one-two punch from Mr. Trump aimed at undercutting Mr. Obama’s climate change policies. Mr. Trump is also expected to announce in the coming weeks that he intends to direct the E.P.A. to dismantle Mr. Obama’s regulations on planet-warming pollution from coal-fired power plants.
They caught a couple of spies
Not the ones working with Trump/Bannon to undermine the US, but a pair set up to distract from the big prize.
Federal prosecutors announced charges against four men, including two Russian intelligence agents, on Wednesday for their roles in a conspiracy that led to the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, one of the largest known data breaches.So three out of four are resident in Russia and the Canadian soon will be if he is smart.But we did catch them. And for getting caught, Putin will no doubt give them a stern talking to.
The four men together face 47 criminal charges, including conspiracy, computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department said in a news release.
The two agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., who were charged are Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, a Russian national and resident, and Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, a Russian national and resident. The other two defendants are Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, 29, a Russian national and resident; and Karim Baratov, 22, a Canadian and Kazakh national and a resident of Canada.
“The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI’s point of contact in Moscow on cybercrime matters, is beyond the pale,” the acting assistant attorney general, Mary B. McCord, said in a statement.
CORRECTION: All four indicted men have been arrested.
Your morning Colbert
The Trump administration and Republican Congress continue to provide a rich vein mined by Stephen.
Comforting the comfortable
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
A collection of powerful photos
"Eliza Gilkyson’s latest video, set to her song “the Great Correction,” features a collection of powerful photos depicting the brave souls who, throughout this nation’s history, fought for a decent society and a protected and loved planet."
A Lamborghini only treats erectile dysfunction
Seth Meyers works over the mendacity of Trumpcare presentation.
How to stop Trumpcare
Now that the CBO has lowered the score boom on Lyin' Paul Ryan's evilly inadequate healthcare plan, the Democrats still have to stop the usual immoral gang of Republicans from passing everything put in front of them. The reaction of ultra-reactionary Republicans who feel that the proposed plan does not hurt enough people may be the way to go.
Conservative lawmakers in the House and the Senate continued to attack the Republican health-care plan Tuesday after congressional budget analysts found it would dramatically increase the number of uninsured Americans while raising premium costs in the short term.Despite Politico's effort to make the plan more palatable to the extremists, there are enough Republicans opposed to it and enough weakness on display in the leadership to form a coalition to stop it.
The reaction from Republican hard-liners to the Congressional Budget Office report cast doubt on the viability of the American Health Care Act, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s proposal to revise Obamacare, which could receive a House vote within two weeks.
Though the bill is projected to lower the federal budget deficit over the next decade and produce a 10 percent average decrease in premiums after that, skeptics on the right remain unconvinced that it would go far enough in pulling back elements of the Affordable Care Act.
“This bill doesn’t repeal Obamacare,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning.
“This bill doesn’t unite Republicans. This bill doesn’t bring down the cost of premiums. . . . There’s a reason every major conservative organization in the country is opposed to this legislation.”
Meanwhile, the White House pushed back on a Politico report that its internal analysis on the impact of the AHCA showed an even steeper loss of health insurance than was calculated by the CBO.
“This story is totally misleading,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted. “The projection was an estimate of what CBO would conclude. It was not a [White House] analysis.”
The CBO report predicted that 24 million fewer people would have health insurance in a decade under the AHCA compared with the current system. According to Politico, the White House analysis found that 26 million more people would go without coverage under the GOP bill.
If Grandpa stole it, is it mine?
The Nazi leadership, lead by Herman Goering, loved to collect art and with their conquest of Europe vast amounts of artwork became "available". Some was "bought" at ridiculous prices and some was simply appropriated and with murderous efficiency of the Nazi camp system, many owners and their families were eliminated. As a result many works of fine art ended up in somewhere else, in private collections that remained unexamined unless the current owners chose otherwise.
After World War II, few Germans with sizable art holdings made a point of digging into their collections for signs of Nazi looting.So a younger and more socially conscious generation is asking the questions their parents didn't or if they did chose to ignore. But with the passing of time, finding the true story and the true owners becomes more difficult. And what is to be done about works that are known to have been stolen but no previous owners or heirs can be found?
And because private collections were off limits for those trying to track down stolen art, works of unexamined provenance have hung for decades in family homes and office corridors, the stories of how they were acquired often vague, inconsistent or simply not discussed.
But as one generation of Germans has died and given its art to the next, a number of people with prominent collections and unsettled consciences have stepped forward to investigate what they own.
“I don’t want stolen goods hanging on the wall — it’s quite simple,” said Jan Philipp Reemtsma, who hired a researcher 15 years ago to examine the collection he inherited from his father, the tobacco industrialist Philipp F. Reemtsma.
Now, to persuade more collectors to undertake such research, the German government has announced it will begin subsidizing such efforts, using money from a national fund of 3.4 million euros (about $3.6 million).
Until now, public money had helped to search for looted items only in German museums and libraries. The decision in February to broaden the scope was made after the 2013 revelation of Cornelius Gurlitt’s art hoard in his Munich apartment.
Mr. Gurlitt had inherited the art from his father, a dealer for the Nazis who purchased works that had been seized from Jewish households or sold under duress by Jews desperate to flee. The case brought the issue of tainted art in private collections to the fore, raising the specter that thousands of plundered artworks might be lurking in attics and cellars.
The German government team studying the Gurlitt works has identified five that were looted or sold under duress, and another 153 that it suspects were looted.
Mr. Hartmann said in recent years that he had seen an uptick in interest by private collectors who want to understand the origins of their art. He estimates reviews of a dozen collections are underway or have been completed. His office had long received the occasional package in the mail, containing an object the sender assumed was stolen, he said. Since the Gurlitt case, the parcels are more frequent, he said.
Why Trumpoons Still Support Him
Jesus and Mo also explain why so many are Evangelicals.
Happy Pi Day
Monday, March 13, 2017
She made four albums
And traveled a lot of miles in support of them but Marlee MacLeod didn't catch the crowds attention and is currently no longer writing or performing music, our loss. "Ever After" from her album There We Are.
Looking back at the campaign
So we can refresh our memories regarding the wonderful promises of our gold painted chief executive from the files of Tom Tomorrow.
Why we resist
Tinfoil Tina charges to the Precedent's defense
And in her usual deceitful fashion creates confusion to distract from the Precedent Beetlefart's copious wrongdoings. Her latest planned pratfall included spying microwaves.
Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s senior adviser, amplified Mr. Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama had tapped his telephone, suggesting on Monday that the former president’s surveillance effort could have employed any number of devices, even including a microwave oven.Our Little Tinfoil Tina spouts a lot of nonsense and never has any evidence because it gives the media so much joy when they can show off how much they know about what microwaves can really do. All this conveniently turns attention away from the latest Trumpery perpetrated by Precedent Beetlefart. And that is what she is paid to do.
Ms. Conway quickly clarified that she was not, in fact, accusing the former president of spying via a kitchen appliance, arguing that her comments had been taken out of context.
“I’m not Inspector Gadget,” she said Monday on CNN. “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”
But in an interview on Sunday with a columnist for The Record of Bergen County, N.J., she said that Mr. Obama’s spying efforts against Mr. Trump could have been far more extensive than a simple telephone wiretap.
“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Ms. Conway told the paper. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.”
Surveillance can even be carried out with “microwaves that turn into cameras,” she added. “We know this is a fact of modern life.”
Neither Mr. Trump nor anyone at the White House has presented any evidence for the claim, instead asking Congress to investigate it as part of its inquiry into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, and vowing not to comment further until that examination is completed.
Ms. Conway told CNN that she had not been referring to the president’s charges when she talked about microwave surveillance, nor could she offer any proof of his allegations.
“I’m not in the job of having evidence,” she said. “That’s what investigations are for.”
Ms. Conway said she had never meant to imply that Mr. Obama had used a microwave to spy on Mr. Trump, saying headlines asserting as much were misleading.
The Ted Cruz of Healthcare legislation
John Oliver gives the Last Week Tonight once over to Trumpcare including a new ad to air on Fux and Fiends.
When you think about it
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Possessing a unique voice
Valerie June is immediately recognizable and for some an acquired taste. Nevertheless, when she records the right tunes they are special. "Shakedown" is from her new album The Order Of Time.
Lyin' Paul Ryan comes through
Looking for a killer investment?
Since the advent of Precedent Beetlefart, two of the more responsive corporate stocks have been in the private prison industry. Thanks to His Orangeness's inhuman immigration ideas and the irrepressible Republican lust for privatization, the dwindling populations of the prisons have been restocked to the point where they are looking a ultra profitable overpopulation of the cells.
Those two companies have bland names — the Geo Group and CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) — that don’t signal their primary business: operating for-profit prisons and immigration detention centers for states and the federal government.So they look to be a good investment for the years ahead. And the killer part? Well, it is well known that the private prisons are notoriously poorly run with staff hired at barely above minimum wage, forget about standards. And in the interest of maximizing profits, services like prison food and health are pared back to the absolute minimum, if not more. The result is a constant number of unnecessary deaths. All in all, a killer investment.
The worse the news for immigrants and their lawyers, the better it has been for the two companies. When a member of the Trump administration issues a memo or executive order, gives a speech or tweets about the crackdown on immigrants, shares of the two companies rise: Since the election, CoreCivic’s stock price has climbed 120 percent, and Geo’s has gained 80 percent.
Already in 2017, CoreCivic is up about 30 percent; Geo has gained about 20 percent. “We are strongly opposed to the Trump administration policies on immigration,” said Carl Takei, staff lawyer for the A.C.L.U.’s national prison project. “But those policies are great for these companies.”
It was only last summer that their entire business model seemed to be in danger. The Obama administration decided to phase out their use by the federal Bureau of Prisons, and the companies’ shares plummeted. But Mr. Trump’s election victory almost instantly pulled the two companies out of their market slump, as I wrote in early December. That was only the beginning.
Investor expectations that the actual business of incarceration and detention will expand under Mr. Trump have fueled their levitating share prices. “It looks as though Geo and CoreCivic have several years of sharp growth ahead of them,” said Michael Kodesch, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity. “Based on that, they still look undervalued.”
For one thing, Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump’s new attorney general, announced last month that the federal Bureau of Prisons will continue to rely on private prison companies. That reversed an August decision announced by Sally Q. Yates, then the deputy attorney general. (Ms. Yates stayed on as acting attorney general in the Trump administration’s first days, but the new president fired her on Jan. 30 when she refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from certain predominantly Muslim countries.)
In her August memo, Ms. Yates said the private prisons “compare poorly to our own bureau facilities” on financial grounds, adding that they lagged in rehabilitative services like educational programs and job training. Ms. Yates also pointed out that the federal prison population had begun to decline, thanks to revised sentencing guidelines and other reforms.
But in a terse refutation of the Obama administration, Mr. Sessions said the Yates memo had “impaired the bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system. “Therefore,” he said, “I direct the Bureau to return to its previous approach.” That reversal helped bolster the prison stocks.
Back after this commercial
The federal government collects a lot of data
It stores and provides access to the public to both the raw data and analysed presentations. Ot r at least it did prior to the advent of President Beetlefart. All through his campaign he promised an open government and now we know from experience that means he will close off access to the information our government has.
Since taking office, the Trump administration has made a series of moves that have alarmed groups with a stake in public access to information: historians, librarians, journalists, climate scientists, internet activists, to name a few. Some are so concerned they have thrown themselves into “data rescue” sessions nationwide, where they spend their weekends downloading and archiving federal databases they fear could soon be taken down or obscured.Seriously folks, the government has a lot of information that could embarrass either the administration or a corporation or other wealthy contributor. As that old adage says, "What you don't know won't hurt you, much". Besides, this government is not meant for ordinary people. If you don't have enough money to interest anyone in the administration, this government is not for you.
Previous presidential transitions have triggered fears about access to government data, but not of this scope. “What is unprecedented is the scale of networking and connectivity of groups working on this, and the degree it is being driven by librarians and scientists and professors,” said Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a group that tracks transparency in government.
The White House declined to comment, but Trump’s supporters say the administration’s detractors are overreacting. Trump is committed to open government, said Ben Marchi, a Trump supporter and Republican operative. In a recent interview with McClatchy, Marchi noted how, prior to announcing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, the White House released a list of 21 candidates under consideration.
Yet moves by the Trump administration have helped stoke the fears. In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed animal cruelty data from its website, prompting protests from animal welfare advocates, including the Humane Society, which has filed a lawsuit against the USDA. Some Democrats in Congress have protested as well.
Also in February, the Trump administration suspended an Obama regulation aimed at protecting whistleblowers who work for Department of Energy contractors. The regulation would have permitted civil penalties against contractors that retaliate against whistleblowers. Supporters of the rule say its rescission will make it harder for contract workers, including those at the federal government’s nuclear facilities, to come forward with complaints of waste, abuse and safety concerns.
All you need to know
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Something good from Alaska
Jazz singer songwriter Halie Loren came south from Sitka, Alaska to Oregon. Her take on Tango Lullaby is sultry but the video is really NSFW
Winners and Losers
The first time may have been a Frazer fan
But following his testimony to members of Congress concerning his illegal detention at a Florida airport last month, Mohammed Ali Jr. was detained again as he was attempting to fly home.
One day after Muhammad Ali Jr. spoke with members of Congress about being detained at a Florida airport last month, he was briefly stopped again before boarding a flight on Friday afternoon, his lawyer said.Now they are just fucking with him, probably because he spoke out about the TSA's thuggish behavior. A US citizen should not have to produce his passport to travel within the United States. That sort of thing was beloved of the old Soviet Union that Putin still has wet dreams about and is working with Trump to get up and running here.
When Mr. Ali, whose father died last year, arrived at Reagan National Airport in Washington on Friday for a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he gave his Illinois identification card to a JetBlue agent to get his boarding pass, said his lawyer, Chris Mancini, who was traveling with him and witnessed the episode. Almost immediately, Mr. Ali was told that there was a problem and that the agent needed to call the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Mancini said.
Mr. Ali, 44, was asked his date of birth, where he was born and his Social Security number, Mr. Mancini said. After answering the questions, he was told that his Illinois-issued identification card, which expires in 2019 but is not a driver’s license, was invalid for flying.
“The same state ID from Illinois that he traveled to Washington on was rejected,” Mr. Mancini said in an interview on Friday night. Mr. Ali then produced his United States passport, which was accepted, and went through security and boarded the flight with his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, and Mr. Mancini.
Mr. Mancini said that the episode lasted between 20 and 25 minutes. “This whole thing smacks of some sort of retaliation for his testimony,” he said.
Is your doctor awake?
A trip to the hospital is often the result of a medical emergency and when you get there you are treated by the resident staff. A new rule from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will now allow first year residents to work 24 hour shifts along side more experienced residents who are already allowed to do so.
In setting the new standard, which goes into effect on July 1, officials at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education said on Friday that they hoped to avoid confusion and disruptions in care that can result when a patient is handed off to one doctor from another whose shift is ending.So as long as your doctor does not start snoring in the middle of the procedure you will benefit from working with the same medico through the completion of your treatment. And they will have plenty of years ahead to sleep late and rest on the golf course while another resident takes care of you until they finish the back nine.
The rules do not change for residents after the first year, who have been permitted to work 24-hour shifts if necessary. The new rules also leave in place a requirement that all residents work no more than 80 hours a week.
But the new guidelines roused the ire of critics who say that exhausted and inexperienced residents will be working too many hours to remain alert and focus on the critical decisions they make. The issue has been a focus of controversy for at least 30 years, after a patient named Libby Zion died under the care of residents in a New York hospital.
“We know sleep-deprived people can have impaired motor skills and their memory can deteriorate,” said Dr. Michael A. Carome, director of health research at Public Citizen, an advocacy group.
Accreditation officials said they once believed as much, too, and had tried to protect first-year students from working too many hours. In 2011, the council required that first-year residents, unlike more experienced residents, work no longer than 16 hours in one stretch.
The hope was that shorter shifts would improve patient care. Those hopes, the group wrote in a new report, “have not been realized.” Instead, the council said, patient care was disrupted when residents’ shifts ended after 16 hours.
First-year residents do not have to work for 24 hours straight — their shifts can be shorter — but if needed they may be asked or may choose to continue to work for that length of time.
Whether a longer shift can be better for patients, and for the training of young doctors, has been rigorously studied in two randomized trials, the accrediting council noted — one involving surgeons in training, and the other involving specialists in internal medicine.
The study involving internal medicine residents is still underway, but the study of surgical residents, published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that shorter shifts had no effect on patient care.
Continuity of care was also better with the longer shifts.
Trump Presidency may not have a Happy Ending
Stephen Colbert makes the comparison with President Beetlefart's newly copyrighted Chinese massage parlors.
Not a drop of integrity among them
Friday, March 10, 2017
Her new tune with which Jenn Grant attracts a handful of geezers into the woods.
The gratitude of a great nation
Such as it is, is normally heaped upon its great heroes. Those who busted their humps and risked their lives to allow the hero to be heroic are cast aside like used condoms when it is done. Such is the situation that former Afghan employees of the US are facing after their service is done and their lives are threatened by the forces that 15 years of US presence has been unable to overcome.
Afghans who worked for the American military and government are being told that they cannot apply for special visas to the United States, even though Afghanistan is not among the countries listed in President Trump’s new travel ban, according to advocates for Afghan refugees.Getting a fuck you instead of a thank you can severely limit the numbers who will continue to work for you. And without the cooperation of the local population there is no use staying in Shitholeistan. But we will hang in there long enough for no good reason at all except no one has the balls to admit the effort has been for shit.
As of Thursday, Afghans seeking to apply for what are known as Special Immigrant Visas were being told by the American Embassy in Kabul, the capital, that applications would no longer be accepted, according to Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire.
Officials at the embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It was unclear if the visa suspension was related to the president’s new ban, which, in addition to denying visas to citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, also orders that the number of refugees allowed into America be cut by more than half, to 50,000 this year, from 110,000 in 2016.
Ms. Shaheen, along with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, has been a strong advocate of the Special Immigrant Visa program, meant for Afghans who face the threat of reprisal for their work with Americans. Its apparent suspension could affect as many as 10,000 applicants. “Allowing this program to lapse sends the message to our allies in Afghanistan that the United States has abandoned them,” Ms. Shaheen said in a statement.
Officials at the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York said they had learned that as of Thursday, Afghans were being told that applications were no longer being accepted, though the suspension had taken place on March 1. “Our worst fears are proving true,” said Betsy Fisher, the group’s policy director.
Mac McEachin, another official at the organization, said the decision could affect the 2,500 soldiers of the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division who might be deployed to Syria. “Now that the world has seen how we turn our backs on our Afghan allies, there is almost no chance that local allies in Syria will be inclined to work with us,” he said.
American military officials are also requesting an increase in troops deployed to Afghanistan.
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