solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Items 5 and 16 are part of a generalised effort by the rightist/neofascist media to portray all protest and opposition as violent rioters; call that out as such when you see it being done.

Item 8 involves making voting machines more susceptible to hacking.

Item 9 is an on-the-record White House staffer saying they'll keep labelling everything they don't like "FAKE NEWS." No, really, outright.

18 and 21 are about silencing opposition Senators on the Senate floor. It's really bad.

Item 20 is about ending net neutrality as quickly as possible.

Lots of the rest are anti-environment actions, anti-abortion-rights actions, and anti-LGBT actions, and more.


----- 1 -----
House approves most DAPL protest bills
Amy Dalrymple Forum News Service
6 February 2017

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/house-approves-most-dapl-protest-bills/article_485f496c-284f-50ff-b36a-815aebe9ef40.html

North Dakota House lawmakers advanced four bills Monday aimed at giving law enforcement more tools for responding to Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

The package of bills, which some opponents criticized as “knee-jerk legislation,” would double the penalties for some riot offenses and create a new felony offense for individuals who cause economic harm while committing a misdemeanor.

Legislators voted 72-19 to approve House Bill 1193, which creates a new Class C felony offense for causing $1,000 or more in economic harm while committing a misdemeanor.

The new charge would apply to situations such as pipeline protesters who attach themselves to equipment to stall construction of the pipeline.

...

House Bill 1426 would elevate offenses such as instigating a riot of 100 or more people or providing firearms or weapons for a riot from a Class C felony to a Class B felony. That would double the maximum penalties for such offenses to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

Engaging in a riot would become a Class A misdemeanor under the proposal with a maximum penalty of one year in prison and/or a $3,000 fine. Currently the offense is a Class B misdemeanor with 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Byers testified during the hearing that individuals can be guilty of engaging in a riot if they fail to disperse when ordered by law enforcement, even if they remain peaceful during the event.

...

The bills, which legislative leaders had asked to be “fast-tracked,” will now be considered by the Senate. The bills carry an emergency clause, which means they would become effective immediately if approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor.


----- 2 -----
D.C. police demand Facebook hand over data on Trump protesters
Mashable
7 February 2017

http://mashable.com/2017/02/06/dc-police-subpoena-facebook-inauguration-protests/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link#lOraXoDbslq6

Police in Washington, D.C. want Facebook to hand over data on protesters.

The D.C. police department subpoenaed Facebook for information regarding several protesters arrested while demonstrating against the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20.

A document obtained on Monday by CityLab shows the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia issued a subpoena to Facebook on Jan. 27, which was signed by an officer at the police department. The document appears to show D.C. police are looking for the social data of several protesters.


----- 3 -----
US could grant final permit for Dakota pipeline as soon as Friday, government lawyer says
Reuters | CNBC | 6 February 2017

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/06/us-could-grant-final-permit-for-dakota-pipeline-as-soon-as-friday-government-lawyer-says.html

The U.S. Army secretary could make a decision on the final permit needed to complete the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline as soon as Friday, the government's lawyer told a Washington court on Monday.

The Army Corp of Engineers told the court it has submitted its recommendation to Robert Speer, the acting secretary of the Army, on whether it needs to complete a full environmental review before it can grant the final permit allowing work to start on a contested tunnel under a lake. The review was requested in December by former President Barack Obama.

...

Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux, said the tribe will challenge the U.S. government in court if the Army grants the easement. The tribe, along with other Native American groups, environmentalists and other activists, have opposed the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline led by Energy Transfer Partners.

He said it is unclear whether construction could begin while the decision is challenged or whether the court will grant an injunction blocking the work.

"Our position is the tribe's treaty rights and the law require the full (Environmental Impact Study) process that the government initiated in December. Issuing the easement without that process will be a serious violation of the law," Hasselman told Reuters.


----- 4 -----
Pennsylvania lawmakers resume push for 20-week abortion ban
Marc Levy, Associated Press
Updated 2:29 pm, Monday, February 6, 2017

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/us/article/Pennsylvania-Senate-resume-push-for-abortion-10911393.php?cmpid=twittersocialflow

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Legislation began advancing in Pennsylvania on Monday to impose new restrictions on elective abortions as backers resumed a push that stalled last year amid a veto threat from the governor and opposition by the state's largest doctors' organization.

A party-line committee vote Monday sent the bill to the full Senate. Even though it still requires floor votes in the House and Senate, the bill is expected to eventually reach Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's desk. Clear majorities in Pennsylvania's GOP-controlled House and Senate oppose abortion rights, but it is not clear that supporters are numerous enough to override a veto.

Wolf, who supports abortion rights, called the bill "radical and unconstitutional" and vowed to veto it.

Last year, a nearly identical version passed the House, 132-65, but it stalled just short of a Senate vote and died.

The primary feature of the bill would ban elective abortions after 20 weeks from a pregnant woman's last menstrual period, compared with 24 weeks in current law. As many as 16 states have a similar ban, not including an Ohio law that will take effect in March, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.


----- 5 -----
Republicans fear for their safety as Obamacare protests grow
At a closed-door meeting, House lawmakers discuss strategies to counter potential violence.
By Rachael Bade
02/07/17 11:49 AM EST

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/republicans-obamacare-protests-safety-234733

House Republicans during a closed-door meeting Tuesday discussed how to protect themselves and their staff from protesters storming town halls and offices in opposition to repealing Obamacare, sources in the room told POLITICO.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers invited Rep. David Reichert, a former police sheriff, to present lawmakers with protective measures they should have in place. Among the suggestions: having a physical exit strategy at town halls, or a backdoor in congressional offices to slip out of, in case demonstrations turn violent; having local police monitor town halls; replacing any glass office door entrances with heavy doors and deadbolts; and setting up intercoms to ensure those entering congressional offices are there for appointments, not to cause chaos.

“The message was: One, be careful for security purposes. Watch your back. And two, be receptive. Honor the First Amendment, engage, be friendly, be nice,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.). “Because it is toxic out there right now. Even some of the guys who have been around here a lot longer than I have, have never seen it to this level.”

He later added: “For those of us who have children in grade school and that kind of thing, there’s a factor in all of this, saying: How far will the progressive movement go to try to intimidate us?”

The conference discussion comes as Democratic activists around the nation ramp up protests against Republican to repeal Obamacare. Protesters have disrupted town halls and other public events, jeering and yelling at Republicans just as conservatives did to Democrats when they were writing the law eight years ago. Conservative protesters in 2009 and 2010 spat on and hurled racial epithets at Democratic lawmakers ahead of their votes to pass Obamacare.

...

Democrats, meanwhile, dismissed the GOP's security ramp-up as an attempt to shield themselves from criticism.

"I think what you're seeing is Republicans trying to use security to try to hide themselves from their constituents because they have no plan for a replacement and very little support from Donald Trump," said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). "They're going to use so-called security to keep people away."


----- 6 -----
Science Teachers on Why Betsy DeVos Is a 'Monstrous Mistake'
Rae Paoletta
7 February 2017 - Gizmodo

http://gizmodo.com/science-teachers-on-why-devos-is-a-monstrous-mistake-1792094786

Despite widespread resistance, today, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Education Secretary in a 51-to-50 vote. Though 48 Democrats and two Republican senators voted against her, ultimately, vice president Mike Pence broke the tie. For public school educators, and particularly science teachers, her confirmation is a nightmare realized.

While Devos has claimed she will be a “strong advocate for great public school,” her record suggests otherwise. In addition to having no actual classroom experience, Devos, a billionaire with myriad financial ties to education companies that could represent conflicts of interest, has long favored privatizing education through charter schools over bettering public education. In 1993, she worked to pass the first charter school bill in Michigan, and has since advocated to loosen restrictions on these schools in her home state, only to see students’ performance plummet. During her Senate confirmation hearing, Devos declined to support accountability rules for for-profit colleges, which have a long, controversial history. In addition to low employment rates for recent grads, these schools have been accused of encouraging students to lie about their FAFSA information. They’re widely regarded as scams.

To make matters worse, DeVos has repeatedly supported Republicans who have waged war against climate change and evidence-based education. Her family supports the notoriously anti-science evangelical group Focus on the Family, and other fundamentalist Christian organizations. Unsurprisingly, DeVos also supports vouchers that can carry taxpayer dollars to religious schools, which could be teaching creationism. In effect, taxpayers could be sending their children to school where evolution is regarded as—to quote Trump—“fake news.”

“The president-elect, in his selection of Betsy DeVos, has chosen the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education,” The American Teacher Federation wrote in a statement back in November. “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”


----- 7 -----
Flying Home From Abroad, a Border Agent Stopped and Questioned Me … About My Work for the ACLU
By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project
February 7, 2017 | 3:15 PM

https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/flying-home-abroad-border-agent-stopped-and-questioned-me-about-my-work-aclu

Last week, I was flying home from a work trip and faced Customs and Border Protection questioning unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in over 25 years of travel into and out of this country, including more than 10 years of travel for my work as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups.

Compared to the hardship and suffering of the tens of thousands of people impacted by President Trump’s Muslim ban executive order, it was nothing. But it said something personal to me about the tenor of these dark times.

I was coming back from the island nation of Dominica, where I had gone for meetings and depositions in our torture victim clients’ lawsuit against the two psychologists behind the CIA torture program. When I went through immigration while in transit at the airport in Puerto Rico, it seems like an immediate red flag went up. A CBP officer took me to a separate area, behind the luggage carousels.

The CBP questioning didn’t seem to have anything to do with the torture case. Instead, it focused on my work for the ACLU and my citizenship — Pakistani — although I’ve been a longtime legal permanent resident of the United States for more than a decade.

What was I doing in Dominica? I explained that I am a lawyer working for the American Civil Liberties Union and traveled there for a case. Why, asked the CBP agent holding my Pakistani passport, would someone working for an organization with “American” in its name have “this” passport? And why would someone working for an organization with “American” in its name be representing people who are not citizens? (Perhaps the agent had not heard about ACLU lawsuits challenging the Muslim ban on behalf of noncitizens.)

...

The questioning continued and was extensive. It included not just travel, but my schooling and other jobs over the years. I know — and have represented — numerous people who were unjustifiably questioned by CBP based on their religion or studies or travel. Perhaps it’s remarkable that this never happened to me, but it hasn’t.


----- 8 -----
House Republicans Just Voted to Eliminate the Only Federal Agency That Makes Sure Voting Machines Can’t Be Hacked
Republicans would make it easier to steal an election by killing the Election Assistance Commission.
By Ari Berman | The Nation
7 February 2017

https://www.thenation.com/article/house-republicans-just-voted-to-eliminate-the-only-federal-agency-that-makes-sure-voting-machines-cant-be-hacked/

In a little-noticed 6-3 vote today, the House Administration Committee voted along party lines to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, which helps states run elections and is the only federal agency charged with making sure voting machines can’t be hacked. The EAC was created after the disastrous 2000 election in Florida as part of the Help America Vote Act to rectify problems like butterfly ballots and hanging chads. (Republicans have tried to kill the agency for years.) The Committee also voted to eliminate the public-financing system for presidential elections dating back to the 1970s.

Thirty-eight pro-democracy groups, including the NAACP and Common Cause, denounced the vote. “The EAC is the only federal agency which has as its central mission the improvement of election administration, and it undertakes essential activities that no other institution is equipped to address,” says the Brennan Center for Justice.

This move is particularly worrisome given reports that suspected Russian hackers attempted to access voter-registration systems in more than 20 states during the 2016 election. Moreover, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration set up by President Obama in 2014 outlined an “impending crisis” in voting technology and the Brennan Center found that 42 states used voting machines in 2016 that were at least a decade-old and at risk of failing. The EAC was the agency tasked with making sure these voting systems were both modernized and secure.


----- 9 -----
WH official: We'll say 'fake news' until media realizes attitude of attacking the President is wrong
By Chris Massie, CNN
Updated 11:49 AM ET, Tue February 7, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/07/politics/kfile-gorka-on-fake-news/index.html

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said Monday that the administration will continue using the term "fake news" until the media understands that their "monumental desire" to attack the President is wrong.

"There is a monumental desire on behalf of the majority of the media, not just the pollsters, the majority of the media to attack a duly elected President in the second week of his term," Gorka, a former Breitbart editor who also holds a PhD in political science, told syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved.

"That's how unhealthy the situation is and until the media understands how wrong that attitude is, and how it hurts their credibility, we are going to continue to say, 'fake news.' I'm sorry, Michael. That's the reality," he added.


----- 10 -----
Will Trump turn economic stats into ‘alternative facts’?
The Seattle Times
Originally published February 7, 2017 at 9:54 am

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/economy/will-donald-trump-turn-economic-stats-into-alternative-facts/

During the campaign, Donald Trump complained that the unemployment rate was fake. “Don’t believe these phony numbers,” Trump said. “The number is probably 28, 29, as high as 35 (percent). In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.”

Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, told a confirmation hearing, “The unemployment rate is not real. I’ve traveled for the last year. I’ve seen this.”

The official January unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

As if often the case with this truth-challenged president, his assertions are false. The unemployment rate, based on two surveys, is calculated using transparent, rigorous methods, carried out by career civil servants in the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The result is six different measures of “labor underutilization,” including the headline “official” rate (U-3), as well as U-6, which counts discouraged workers and those in temp jobs who want full-time work.


----- 11 -----
Wisconsin Pulls Plug on Trans Health Care
As of Feb. 1, the health plans of Wisconsin state employees exclude ‘procedures, services, and supplies related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment.’
Samantha Allen
The Daily Beast | 02.07.17 6:02 AM ET

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/07/wisconsin-pulls-plug-on-trans-health-care.html

Wisconsin officially ended its exclusion of transgender-inclusive health benefits for state employees on Jan. 1, 2017.

Alina Boyden, a transgender graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, put in her request for sex reassignment surgery the next business day.

But less than a month later, the state effectively said never mind.

In a press release dated Feb. 1, the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) announced that the state had reinstated the precious exclusion in its employee health plan on any “procedures, services, and supplies related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment,” effective immediately.

Boyden’s surgical request—still unfulfilled—is now pointless.

“I could argue medical necessity but they still wouldn’t cover it because they’ll say it’s an exclusion of the plan,” she told The Daily Beast. “Sometimes you can’t win.”

The return of the exclusion was first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, which has been tracking the state’s stance on transgender health care for several months.


----- 12 -----
Gov. Mary Fallin proposes tax on Oklahoma wind production
The Oklahoman
by Paul Monies Published: February 6, 2017 12:00 AM CDT

http://newsok.com/gov.-mary-fallin-proposes-tax-on-oklahoma-wind-production/article/5537116

Oklahoma would become the second state to impose a tax on wind power, and its tax would be the nation's highest, under a proposal announced Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin.

In her executive budget, Fallin proposed a 0.5 cent per kilowatt hour tax on electricity from wind generation. She also wants to sunset existing tax incentives for the wind industry earlier than planned.

The proposals brought praise from groups opposing wind incentives, but wind industry representatives said they could chill future investment in the state.

Fallin's budget said those changes would lead to $36.6 million in new revenue to help offset an estimated $870 million shortfall in the 2018 fiscal year.

The idea of taxing wind production has been floated before at the Capitol, including last year when some oil and gas executives also said state wind incentives were too generous. The Legislature did not take any action to curtail the wind incentives or enact a new tax last year.


----- 13 -----
Congress Asks Lobbyists Who Fought EPA How To Make It ‘Great Again’
The coal and chemical industry reps will outnumber scientists at a Tuesday hearing.
02/06/2017 03:10 pm ET
Alexander C. Kaufman Senior Business Editor, The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/epa-house-science-committee_us_5898a983e4b0c1284f2718d5?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004

A coal lawyer, a chemical industry lobbyist and a libertarian scholar who recently accused the Environmental Protection Agency of “regulatory terrorism” will join a lone advocate for science as witnesses before a Tuesday congressional hearing titled “Making EPA Great Again.”

The four witnesses will “discuss how EPA can pursue environmental protection and protect public health by relying on sound science,” according to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

The hearing marks the Science Committee’s first meeting since the Republican-controlled Congress convened and President Donald Trump took office. Since he became chairman of the committee in 2013, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has pursued such an ideologically driven agenda, including what critics dubbed “witch hunts” meant to tarnish the credibility of scientists, that some now call it the “House (anti)science panel.” As a vocal skeptic of the widely accepted science behind manmade global warming, The Texas Tribune suggested Smith will be “invigorated by the new climate change-doubting presidential administration.”

Those invited to testify seem likely to echo the chairman’s views.

----- 14 -----
GOP quietly moves to spike rule protecting you from fee scams on prepaid debit cards
Experts took years to craft a fair rule. A senator with financial ties to the industry is trying to overrule their decision overnight.
Think Progress

https://thinkprogress.org/gop-quietly-moves-to-spike-rule-protecting-you-from-fee-scams-on-prepaid-debit-cards-e4b23000fda2#.oxz33d5n5

[Here's the Senator's press release: http://www.perdue.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senators-intervene-to-protect-prepaid-accounts-from-sweeping-government-regulation- ]
[Here's the bill text: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/19?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22s+j+res+19%22%5D%7D&r=1 ]
[Here's the thing: low bill numbers mean they're more likely to mean it. This is S.J. Res 19, a _very_ low number. ]

Their obscure fees strip more than $160 a year out of the average customer’s pocket each year. Their fee structures hit black customers, teenagers, and widows hardest. And their business model had gone largely unregulated for years until last October, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a suite of modest reforms.

But prepaid debit card companies are suddenly holding a get-out-of-jail-free card, courtesy of Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). Perdue is pushing legislation to override and permanently derail the CFPB’s three-month-old rules package for the cards, reviving even the most deceptive practices over expert advice to the contrary.

Prepaid debit cards now account for tens of billions of dollars in financial activity each year, creating a giant profit opportunity for the financial companies that issue cards to consumers. One Federal Reserve report in 2014 found the average customer pays $15 to $17 in fees each month on the cards, and that fees skew higher for customers who are black, younger than 15, widowed, or living in areas with relatively high rates of violent crime.

Card issuers aren’t always forthcoming about the fees customers will incur. The sudden boom in the use of prepaid debit cards — which banks began flogging to customers in 2010 in hopes of replacing revenue lost when Congress changed the rules governing transaction fees and overdraft protection for traditional bank cards — has pushed a huge amount of money into the cards market before regulators could catch up. The combination of a glut in demand and the oversight lag from banking regulators has allowed card providers to skim hundreds of millions of dollars in fees in the past few years.


----- 15 -----
Trump’s energy plan doesn’t mention solar, an industry that just added 51,000 jobs
The Washington Post
By Chris Mooney February 7 at 7:20 AM

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/07/trumps-energy-plan-doesnt-mention-solar-an-industry-that-just-added-51000-jobs/

The White House website may not even mention it as part of Trump’s “America First Energy Plan” — but the U.S. solar industry continues to post dramatic job growth numbers.

According to a new annual report by the nonprofit Solar Foundation, more than 51,000 solar industry jobs were added in 2016, a 24.5 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the foundation finds, some 260,000 Americans now work in the solar industry.

“Jobs have nearly tripled since we first started tracking them in 2010 and this is the fourth consecutive year that the solar industry increased its jobs number by 20 percent or more,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of the Solar Foundation. (The latest numbers are as of November 2016 and are compared with November 2015.)


----- 16 -----
House GOP feels threatened: McMorris Rodgers calls in the Sheriff
BY JOEL CONNELLY, SEATTLEPI.COM
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Updated 3:00 pm, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/House-GOP-feels-threatened-McMorris-Rodgers-10915405.php?cmpid=twittersocialflow

The Republicans in the House of Representatives, who egged on anti-Obama Tea Party demonstrators in 2009, are feeling threatened enough by "Save Our Health Care" protests at their town meetings that they held a closed meeting Tuesday to discuss self protection.

House Republican Conference chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., called in the Sheriff -- Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., who lets no occasion go by without mention that he used to be King County Sheriff.

McMorris Rodgers, who tightly choreographs appearances in her Eastern Washington district, encountered spontaneous peaceful protest at a Martin Luther King Day celebration last month in Spokane.

"Save Our Health Care!' members of the crowd chanted. McMorris Rodgers has relentlessly called for abolition of Obamacare.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., one of Congress' most outspoken conservatives, was escorted out of a town hall meeting last weekend, a hostile crowd prompting a call to police.

In an email to seattlepi.com, Reichert explained:

"I have 33 years of law enforcement experience, so House leadership asked me to share some security recommendations for other members of the Conference to consider implementing in their district offices. Members must always be prepared for all circumstances and are required to ensure the safety and well-being of their constituents and staff."

Reichert told Politico, in the corridor outside the Washington, D.C., meeting, that organizers defending the Affordable Care Act are showing up at House offices and flooding offices with protest calls.

"It's not that you run from protesters, but it someone presents some sort of physical threat or are espousing a verbal threat that could lead to a physical threat, if you feel that you're in danger and your staff is in danger, call 911 and leave and go out the back door," Reichert said.

...

"The world is sometimes not a friendly place," Reichert told Politico, referring to the 2011 shooting and disabling of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at an outdoor constituent meeting in Tucson, Ariz.

But incendiary rhetoric can sometimes come from a member of Congress. In the summer of 2015, after heavily edited videos allegedly showed Planned Parenthood leaders dealing in fetal tissue, McMorris Rodgers tweeted:

"What kind of a country are we if we think @PPFA's activities are acceptable?" Without offering evidence, McMorris Rodgers accused the group of "unethical and illegal practices" and "illegal activities."

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman, serving the Washington Statue University and University of Idaho communities, was destroyed in an arson attack on September 4, 2015.

Pullman is in McMorris Rodgers' district. She has never commented on the attack.


----- 17 -----
Rep. Massie Introduces Bill to Abolish Federal Department of Education
Feb 7, 2017 - Press Release
Office of Representative Thomas Massie (R) (KY 4th District)

https://massie.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/rep-massie-introduces-bill-to-abolish-federal-department-of-education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Thomas Massie introduced H.R. 899, a bill to abolish the federal Department of Education. The bill, which is one sentence long, states, “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

On the day of Betsy DeVos’ scheduled Senate confirmation for Secretary of Education, Massie said, “Neither Congress nor the President, through his appointees, has the constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must learn."

...

Original co-sponsors include Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).


----- 18 -----
Senate GOP votes to silence Warren after speech against Sessions
By Jordain Carney - 02/07/17 08:03 PM EST
The Hill

[More interesting than everything else - they specifically invoked her quoting Ms. King's letter of 1986, which was read to the Senate on Thursday, March 13th, 1986, and is part of the Senate record. They shut her up therefore specifically in part for reading _their own minutes_.]

[Meanwhile, of course, it is critical that neofascist misogynist Milo Y get to say whatever he wants. Compare and fucking contrast.]

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/318422-senate-votes-to-silence-warren-after-sessions-speech

The Senate voted to bar Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) from speaking on the floor Tuesday night, after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said her blistering comments about fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Trump's pick for attorney general, broke Senate rules.

Senators rebuked Warren in a 49-43 party-line vote, rejecting Warren's push to overturn a ruling by Senate Republicans that she had violated the rules during a Senate floor speech.

Warren needed a simple majority to overturn the ruling by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who was presiding over the the Senate during the Massachusetts Democrat's speech.

The move means the progressive senator won't be allowed to speak from the floor until after the Senate wraps up its debate on Sessions's nomination, expected to occur on Wednesday evening.

...

Warren quoted a 1986 speech from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) who referred to Sessions as a “throwback to a shameful era” and a “disgrace” to the Justice Department.

Daines — who at times was repeating words being said to him by GOP Senate floor staff — initially interrupted Warren to warn her that she was on the brink of violating the rule.

McConnell also specifically pointed to Warren quoting a letter from the late Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King Jr., as evidence that she had broken the rules.

Coretta Scott King wrote in 1986, during Sessions's failed confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship, that he “had used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens" as a U.S. attorney in Alabama.

When Warren said she was "surprised" by McConnell's actions and asked to continue, the Republican objected and was backed up by Daines, effectively ending Warren's speech.


----- 19 -----
"It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality"
CBS News
7 February 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwYzlY0g7Ck

Today President Trump told a U.S. military audience there gave been terrorist attacks that no one knows about because the media choose not to report them. It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality. Mr. Trump said this morning that any polls, that show disapproval of his immigration ban are fake.

He singled out a federal judge for ridicule after the judge suspended his ban and Mr. Trump said that the ruling now means that anyone can enter the country.

The President's fictitious claims whether imaginary or fabricated are now worrying even his backers, particularly after he insisted that millions of people voted illegally giving Hillary Clinton her popular vote victory. There’s not one state election official—Democrat or Republican—who supports that claim.


----- 20 -----
Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules
The New York Times
By CECILIA KANG FEB. 5, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/05/technology/trumps-fcc-quickly-targets-net-neutrality-rules.html

WASHINGTON — In his first days as President Trump’s pick to lead the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai has aggressively moved to roll back consumer protection regulations created during the Obama presidency.

Mr. Pai took a first swipe at net neutrality rules designed to ensure equal access to content on the internet. He stopped nine companies from providing discounted high-speed internet service to low-income individuals. He withdrew an effort to keep prison phone rates down, and he scrapped a proposal to break open the cable box market.

In total, as the chairman of the F.C.C., Mr. Pai released about a dozen actions in the last week, many buried in the agency’s website and not publicly announced, stunning consumer advocacy groups and telecom analysts. They said Mr. Pai’s message was clear: The F.C.C., an independent agency, will mirror the Trump administration’s rapid unwinding of government regulations that businesses fought against during the Obama administration.

“With these strong-arm tactics, Chairman Pai is showing his true stripes,” said Matt Wood, the policy director at the consumer group Free Press.

“The public wants an F.C.C. that helps people,” he added. “Instead, it got one that does favors for the powerful corporations that its chairman used to work for.”


----- 21 -----
Read the letter Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Sessions’s 1986 federal nomination
The San Francisco Gate | The Washington Post with wire reports
Updated 10:15 pm, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Read-the-letter-Coretta-Scott-King-wrote-opposing-10916366.php

Coretta Scott King, the widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., urged Congress in a letter to block the 1986 nomination of Jeff Sessions for federal judge, saying that allowing him to join the federal bench would "irreparably damage the work of my husband." The letter, previously unavailable publicly, was obtained recently by The Washington Post.

On Tuesday night, Senate Republicans passed a party-line rebuke of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for a speech opposing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, striking down her words for impugning the Alabama senator's character.

In an extraordinarily rare move, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., interrupted Warren's speech, in a near-empty chamber as debate on Sessions' nomination heads toward a Wednesday evening vote, and said that she had breached Senate rules by reading past statements against Sessions from figures such as King and the late senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
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