solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Two stories on Flynn; first, that he retroactively registered as a foreign agent (and was paid $530K for it) during the campaign and while a Trump administration official. The neat second story is that the White House is provably lying about not knowing. (Flynn Admits Lobbying May Have Helped Turkey, White House Demonstrably Lying About Flynn) Meanwhile, the Trump administration is claiming that ethics rules don't apply to various staffers, and the Secretary of State for Exxon is travelling to Asia - but without allowing media along, and after cancelling yet another planned press conference. (Rep. Elijah Cummings blasts Trump admin.—demands explanation on White House claim that ethics rules don't apply to certain Trump staffers, Tapper: Tillerson traveling without press ‘insulting’)

Also, "EPA’s environmental justice head resigns" is pretty self-explanitory.

"BLUEXIT: A Modest Proposal For Separating Blue States From Red" is getting a lot of reaction out there, much of it negative. But it's absolutely a moot point - the rightists didn't take the not-dissimilar Archipelago of Cities proposal seriously 15 years ago, there's no way in hell they'll take this seriously now - and moreover, they don't want to. None of this has ever been about 'local control' except as an excuse, used where it fits, to support what they want to do anyway. If you want to do something with 'local control' that they don't like, they'll move against it federally. Their interest in states' rights and true original-school Federalism is purely a sham. (See also, "Texas Central fights legislators' efforts to kill high-speed rail project.")

Three Jeff "Racist Motherfucker" Sessions articles: "Sessions: Gitmo is a 'very fine place'," "Jeff Sessions Should be Disbarred," and "ACLU files ethics complaint against Sessions with Alabama Bar Disciplinary Commission." Normally lying under oath is an immediate disbarment; I rather doubt they'll stick to that though for one of their own.

We're still on the case: "Washington AG says order blocking Trump’s first travel ban should apply to new one" - it's not a separate case, it's a straight-up attempt to apply the previous ruling to this order, because, as Atty. General Ferguson said, we can't keep playing whackamole with a series of endless slightly-revised new orders. (Hawai'i has also jumped in, filing a separate court procedure, and a few more states have joined Washington State.) As for impact, well, "Fatima Avelica Watched Her Dad Get Arrested by Immigration Officials While Taking Her to School."

Former UKIP party leader "Nigel Farage Just Visited The Ecuadorian Embassy In London." And lied about it in a way that was that kind of contemptuous "I'm lying, I know I'm lying, you know I'm lying, I know you know I'm lying, and don't even give a fuck" answer. Meeting up with Assange? Why else would he be there?

Sadly inevitable, anti-Semitism seems to be being bolted onto prosperity gospel, in "Cindy Jacobs: God Wants Christians To Be Rich So Jews Become Jealous And Convert."

In corruption news, "Senate Republicans introduce resolution ensuring ISPs don't need your permission to sell your private data and SSN" and "GOP senators’ new bill would let ISPs sell your Web browsing data" are both about the same regulatory rollbacks. And Trumpcare - "Trump tells conservative leaders he will blame Dems if healthcare plan fails: report," "Advocates call foul on CDC cuts in GOP Obamacare repeal bill," "The Great Republican Swindle," and "Mental Health Support Will Disappear Under The GOP Healthcare Act" round out the list.


----- 1 -----
Flynn Admits Lobbying May Have Helped Turkey
Former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn has filed reports with the Justice Department's foreign agent unit acknowledging that lobbying by his private consulting firm may have benefited the government of Turkey.
By STEPHEN BRAUN and CHAD DAY, Associated Press
March 8, 2017

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/former-trump-security-adviser-flynn-admits-turkey-lobbying

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired from his prominent White House job last month, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying work before Election Day that may have aided the Turkish government.

Paperwork filed Tuesday with the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit said Flynn and his firm were voluntarily registering for lobbying from August through November that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey." It was filed by a lawyer on behalf of the former U.S. Army lieutenant general and intelligence chief.

After his firm's work on behalf of a Turkish company was done, Flynn agreed not to lobby for five years after leaving government service and never to represent foreign governments.

Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, U.S. citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign government or political entities must disclose their work to the Justice Department. Willfully failing to register is a felony, though the Justice Department rarely files criminal charges in such cases. It routinely works with lobbying firms to get back in compliance with the law by registering and disclosing their work.

A Turkish businessman who hired Flynn's consulting firm told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the amended filings were made in response to pressure from Justice Department officials in recent weeks. The businessman, Ekim Alptekin, said in a phone call from Istanbul that the changes were a response to "political pressure" and he did not agree with Flynn's decision to file the registration documents with the Justice Department.


----- 2 -----
Nigel Farage Just Visited The Ecuadorian Embassy In London
Asked by BuzzFeed News if he’d been visiting Julian Assange, the former UKIP leader said he couldn’t remember what he’d been doing in the building.
Marie Le Conte
BuzzFeed News
9 March 2017

https://www.buzzfeed.com/marieleconte/wait-what

Nigel Farage visited the Ecuadorian embassy in west London on Thursday, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living since he claimed asylum in 2012.

The former UKIP leader spent around 40 minutes in the building and left at noon, accompanied by Christian Mitchell, the head of operations at radio station LBC, where Farage hosts a regular show.

Approached by BuzzFeed News as he left to get into a car waiting round the corner, Farage said he couldn’t remember what he had been doing in the building.

Asked specifically if he had gone to the Knightsbridge building to meet with Assange, Farage said: “I never discuss where I go or who I see.”


----- 3 -----
Advocates call foul on CDC cuts in GOP Obamacare repeal bill
By Rene Marsh and Gregory Wallace, CNN
Updated 7:17 AM ET, Thu March 9, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/09/politics/cdc-obamacare-repeal/index.html?sr=twCNN030917cdc-obamacare-repeal1242PMVODtopLink&linkId=35284856

Washington (CNN)Public health advocates are warning lawmakers the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare will eliminate nearly $1 billion in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding used for programs like preventing disease outbreaks and childhood lead poisoning.

But Republican critics say the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which amounts to 12% of CDC's budget, is a "slush fund" that has been spent on Zumba classes and massage sessions. Their proposal includes a new fund that they say provides states "broad flexibility" to address local health concerns.

The Republican bill would eliminate the fund, created under the Affordable Care Act, which has grown from a small slice of the CDC budget to providing $931 million last year.

It funds heart disease and stroke prevention, immunization, lead poisoning prevention and diabetes prevention, mostly through grants to states and local programs, according to the CDC.

CDC's website says losing this funding would cripple officials' ability to detect, prevent and respond to health threats including pandemic flu.

Public health advocates agree.

While Republicans and Democrats clashed over the bill in two House committees Wednesday and into Thursday, representatives from the non-profit Coalition for Health Funding were on the other side of Capitol Hill trying to convince Republican lawmakers to have a change of heart.

"The senators we met with were generally receptive but I'm not sure we're making headway in changing minds," said Emily Holubowich, the executive director of the group.


----- 4 -----
Senate Republicans introduce resolution ensuring ISPs don't need your permission to sell your private data and SSN
Cory Doctorow | Boing Boing
9 March 2017

http://boingboing.net/2017/03/09/selling-your-kids-data.html

Donald Trump's new FCC boss, Ajit Pai, has nuked an Obama-era rule that banned ISPs from selling off your browsing data, location, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security Number and contents of your messages, without your permission. The now-defunct rule also required ISPs to notify you when they got hacked and your sensitive personal information got out into the wild.

Just to be sure that this rule never comes back, Senate Republicans have introduced a resolution that invalidates the old FCC rule and bans the FCC from ever imposing a rule of this nature. The resolution was authored by Senator Jeff Flake [R-AZ, Twitter, email, DC office 202-224-4521, Phoenix office 602-840-1891, Tuscon office 520-575-8633] and backed by 23 other Republicans.

Senator Flake says that he will "protect consumers from overreaching Internet regulation" and his rule "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared." He didn't explain how that would work, though.


----- 5 -----
GOP senators’ new bill would let ISPs sell your Web browsing data
Senate resolution would throw out FCC's entire privacy rulemaking.
Jon Brodkin - Mar 8, 2017
Ars Technica

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/03/gop-senators-new-bill-would-let-isps-sell-your-web-browsing-data/

Republican senators yesterday introduced legislation that would overturn new privacy rules for Internet service providers. If the Federal Communications Commission rules are eliminated, ISPs would not have to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other third parties.

As expected, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and 23 Republican co-sponsors introduced the resolution yesterday. The measure would use lawmakers' power under the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the FCC rulemaking "shall have no force or effect." The resolution would also prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future.

Flake's announcement said he's trying to "protect consumers from overreaching Internet regulation." Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that.

Flake called the FCC's privacy rulemaking "midnight regulation," even though it was approved by the commission in October 2016, before the presidential election, after a months-long rulemaking process.


----- 6 -----
Fatima Avelica Watched Her Dad Get Arrested by Immigration Officials While Taking Her to School
And now she's speaking out.
Aura Bogado | Teen Vogue
Mar 9, 2017 8:00AM EST

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/fatima-avelica-13-watch-dad-arrested-ice-agents-romulo-avelica-gonzalez

Fatima Avelica hasn’t been getting much sleep for the past week. Last Tuesday morning, Fatima’s father, Rómulo Avelica-González, had just dropped her 12-year-old sister off at school and was on his way to drop Fatima off when the family noticed two unmarked vehicles following them. Soon enough, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents pulled the car over and took Rómulo — all while Fatima, who is 13 years old, recorded what was happening on her cell phone. It’s been a marathon ever since trying to get him back home.

After handcuffing him, ICE agents took Rómulo, an undocumented immigrant who was born in Mexico and came to the United States in 1991, to an immigrant detention facility in Downtown Los Angeles. Then he was transferred to the Adelanto detention center two hours away. Rómulo was convicted of a DUI in 2009 and has an order of deportation; he’s also a father to four daughters, a loving husband, and a breadwinner who provides for his family.

Rather than heading back home in silence, Fatima and her family went to school anyway. “I knew that we would be supported here,” says Fatima.

She was right. The Academia Avance charter school operates in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, where nearly half of residents were born outside the U.S., and its faculty members are deeply invested in their students’ lives. So, when Fatima showed up with news of what happened to Rómulo, the school immediately began mobilizing. They pulled Fatima’s family members out of class to tell them what had happened, and started calling attorneys, allies, and the press.

“I’ve rarely seen such extraordinary action by a family and a school on the front lines,” Emi MacLean, a staff attorney with the National Day Labor Organizing Network who is working on Rómulo’s case, tells Teen Vogue. MacLean points out that Rómulo, arrested just a few blocks from his daughter’s school, was taken in an area considered a sensitive location by ICE’s own directive. According to ICE’s website, “sensitive locations should generally be avoided, and require either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action.” In a statement to Teen Vogue, ICE says that Rómulo was arrested "approximately a half mile from the school in question." Google Maps indicates that's a one-minute drive just five blocks away from Academia Avance.


----- 7 -----
Trump tells conservative leaders he will blame Dems if healthcare plan fails: report
By Rebecca Savransky - The Hill
03/09/17

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/323114-trump-tells-conservative-leaders-he-will-blame-dems-if-healthcare-plan

President Trump reportedly said if the House GOP's plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare fails to pass, he'll let existing healthcare law fail and will blame the Democrats.

The president made the comments during a meeting including leaders of some conservative groups opposed to the House GOP's plan, CNN reported.

The president criticized the groups — which included representatives from Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots — for referring to the plan as "ObamaCare lite."

Trump cautioned that they were "helping the other side" with such remarks.

"This is going to be great. You're going to make it even greater," he told the group, according to sources at the meeting.

"I'm going to work hard to get it done."

The meeting was also attended by chief strategist Stephen Bannon, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Trump's top aide, Kellyanne Conway.

Trump during the meeting also talked about his plan to ensure the legislation, called the American Health Care Act, passes the Senate.

"Trump said he will have football stadium events in states where he won by 10 to 12 points and he is going to dare people to vote against him," a source at the meeting said.


----- 8 -----
Cindy Jacobs: God Wants Christians To Be Rich So Jews Become Jealous And Convert
By Kyle Mantyla | Right Wing Watch
March 9, 2017

[Included basically because prosperity gospel appears to be bringing anti-Semitism onboard now - which, really, was inevitable. But.]

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/cindy-jacobs-god-wants-christians-to-be-rich-so-jews-become-jealous-and-convert/

Last month, “respected prophet” Cindy Jacobs preached at a church in New Jersey, where she prophesied that God wants Christians to be rich so that there will be a “great harvest” of Jewish conversions when they see their Christian neighbors becoming “profoundly wealthy.”

“What the Jews have, we have,” Jacobs proclaimed. “However, we have more when we’re in Christ because the Holy Spirit is inside us, empowering us to do the good works we’re called to do.”

“I want to say to you,” she continued, “that one of the things I believe that’s going to bring a great harvest of Jews is the Christians becoming so profoundly wealthy … that it’s going to make them jealous. The wealth and the riches that we’re able to obtain is going to make them jealous.”

“Do you think our poverty is going to make a Jew jealous?” she asked. “Come off it! No, we are meant to prosper. Why? Because they understand, in their culture, that obedience to God brings blessing.”


----- 9 -----
Texas Central fights legislators' efforts to kill high-speed rail project
Progressive Railroading | 3/9/2017
(h/t lj:kevin_standlee)

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/high_speed_rail/news/Texas-Central-fights-legislators-efforts-to-kill-high-speed-rail-project--51048

Texas Central Partners LLC is fighting state lawmakers' plans to kill its privately funded project to build a Dallas-to-Houston bullet-train passenger service.

Earlier this week, almost 9,000 citizen letters in support of the project were delivered to members of the state's House and Senate, Texas Central officials said in a March 7 statement.

Residents in every state senate district have written letters of support for the project, company officials added.

Late last month, a group of Texas lawmakers filed 18 bills aimed at curtailing Texas Central's plan to build the high-speed rail line.

The proposed legislation addresses "eminent domain abuse" and other citizen concerns, according to a press release issued by Texas Rep. John Wray (R-Waxahachie), one lawmaker sponsoring the bills.

The proposed laws also would ensure that Texas "isn't later forced to bail out the private project with taxpayer dollars," Wray's release stated.

...

"I'm afraid this is another ideological attack by people offended at the idea of an alternative to highways — any alternative — which is worrying for the hardworking Texans who are regularly stuck in traffic on the heavily congested Interstate 45 corridor," said NARP President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Mathews in a statement.

The bills appear to be in response to a report by the Reason Foundation that calls Texas Central's business model into question, NARP officials said. That report relies on an outdated data set collected by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), association officials added.

In addition, TxDOT has noted that the data is outdated and can't be used for comparison purposes, according to NARP.


----- 10 -----
Washington AG says order blocking Trump’s first travel ban should apply to new one
Originally published March 9, 2017
By Jim Brunner | The Seattle Times
9 March 2017

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-ag-says-order-blocking-trumps-first-travel-ban-should-apply-to-new-ban/

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson will try to block President Donald Trump’s latest travel-ban executive order by returning to the same judge who halted the first version.

Ferguson said his office will ask U.S. District Judge James Robart to confirm that the Feb. 3 injunction against Trump’s initial travel ban also applies to similar portions of the president’s new order, which restricts travel for people from six Muslim-majority nations.

“The revised executive order does narrow the scope of who is impacted by it, but that does not mean it has cured its constitutional problems,” Ferguson, a Democrat, said at a news conference Thursday in Seattle.

He said the burden will be on the federal government to prove Robart’s injunction no longer applies.


----- 11 ------
EPA’s environmental justice head resigns
By Timothy Cama - 03/09/17
The Hill

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/323209-epas-environmental-justice-head-resigns

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency program aimed at protecting minority populations from pollution has resigned.

Mustafa Ali, who has worked at the EPA for 24 years, is leaving as the Trump administration is proposing to completely defund environmental justice efforts at the EPA.

Ali submitted a resignation letter Wednesday to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in which he implored the agency's new leader to take seriously the concerns of minority communities, which often bear the brunt of air and water pollution and live in areas near major industrial centers.

He told InsideClimate News, which first reported on the letter, that he does not see in the Trump administration “any indication that they are focused or interested in helping those vulnerable communities. My values and priorities seem to be different than our current leadership and because of that I feel that it's best if I take my talents elsewhere.”

Ali urged Pruitt in his letter to reconsider many of the proposed cuts that Trump is eyeing to shave about a quarter off the EPA’s budget, including collaborative problem-solving grants and a program for small environmental justice grants.


----- 12 -----
White House Demonstrably Lying About Flynn
ByJosh Marshall | March 9, 2017
Talking Points Memo

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/white-house-demonstrably-lying-about-flynn

3/9/17, AP: "President Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, the White House said Thursday."

Here is a selection of published reports from November and December detailing Flynn's lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests before Flynn was appointed.

12/21/16, Intelligence Online: "When he was a private consultant, Flynn worked for Inovo, a Dutch firm owned by Kamil Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish chairman of the U.S.-Turkey Business Council (USTBC) and a close advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Alptekin is very well-connected to the Turkish government security apparatus. He is the chairman of the board of ATH Defence and Security Solutions Co, which sells monitoring and intelligence equipment. According to our sources, ATH supplies materiel to the Turkish intelligence service MIT (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati, and the Turkish police force's intelligence units."

12/15/16: Bloomberg: "[Flynn Intelligence Group] worked as a lobbyist for Inovo BV, a Dutch company with close ties to Turkish President Recep Erdogan."

11/29/16, Al-Ahram Weekly: "[Trump's] national security adviser, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a former head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), has been outed for signing a contract with a Dutch company operating as a front for a Turkish government contractor with close ties to the Erdogan regime."

11/19/16, AP: "[Flynn's] his private consulting firm has lobbied for a company headed by a Turkish businessman tied to Turkey's authoritarian, Islamist-leaning government, which cracked down on dissent and jailed thousands of opponents after a failed coup in July against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

11/19/16, CNN: "According to the official document, Kelley was working on behalf of Inovo BV, a Dutch firm owned by Turkish businessman, Kamil Ekim Alptekin.
Alptekin told CNN in an email that the firm works to strengthen 'the transatlantic relationship and Turkey's future in that alliance.'"

11/18/16, Letter, Rep. Elijah Cummings to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence: "Lt. Gen. Flynn’s General Counsel and Principal, Robert Kelley, confirmed that they were hired by a foreign company to lobby for Turkish interests, stating: “They want to keep posted on what we all want to be informed of: the present situation, the transition between President Obama and President-Elect Trump.”

LATE UPDATE - 12:44 am, Special Bonus Addition: here's Vice President Pence twice volunteering, unasked, that this was 'the first I'd heard of it'.

Pay attention to how Pence repeats "first I heard of it" twice in 20 seconds even though he wasn't asked about it. pic.twitter.com/FcRJOwYob2

— Mahir Zeynalov (@MahirZeynalov) March 10, 2017

11/14/16, Politico: "Donald Trump wants to forbid his officials from lobbying for foreign governments, but one of his top national security advisers is being paid by a close ally of Turkey's president."


----- 13 -----
Sessions: Gitmo is a 'very fine place'
By Rebecca Kheel - The Hill
03/09/17

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/323203-sessions-gitmo-is-a-very-fine-place

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the Guantanamo Bay detention facility a “very fine place” Thursday, adding that he sees no legal reason not to send potential newly captured terrorism suspects there.

“I’ve been there a number of times as a senator, and it’s just a very fine place for holding these kind of dangerous criminals,” Session said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “We’ve spent a lot of money fixing it up. And I’m inclined to the view that it remains a perfectly acceptable place.”

The comments are Sessions’s first on Guantanamo since becoming attorney general, though he expressed support for keeping it open during his confirmation hearing and as a senator.

President Trump has promised to keep the detention center open and fill it up with “bad dudes.”

Draft executive orders have circulated that would call for captured Islamic State in Iraq and Syria suspects to be sent there, as well as halt the process for clearing detainees for transfer. But Trump has yet to sign such an order.
Asked by Hewitt what his advice to Trump would be if new combatants are captured, Session said he would recommend sending them to Guantanamo.

“There’s plenty of space,” he said. “We are well equipped for it. It’s a perfect place for it. Eventually, this will be decided by the military rather than the Justice Department. But I see no legal problem whatsoever with doing that.”


----- 14 -----
Rep. Elijah Cummings blasts Trump admin.—demands explanation on White House claim that ethics rules don't apply to certain Trump staffers
Seen on Twitter (with full text of letter)
9 March 2017

https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/840046098488123393


----- 15 -----
The Great Republican Swindle
The Trump administration and GOP Congress are lying about Obamacare and their proposed replacement. If they succeed, it would be one of the great scams in the history of Congress.
By Brian Beutler | The New Republic
March 9, 2017

https://newrepublic.com/article/141245/great-republican-swindle

For all its imperfections and awkwardness, the Democrat-led legislative process that ended with the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 benefitted from its relative openness (dozens of hearings, continuous debate), duration (more than a year), and honesty of intent. To this day, Republicans have defined that process by its warts, and painted a few of their own onto it.

President Barack Obama, to make the point that the ACA doesn’t interfere with the structure of the employer-sponsored insurance system, promised that people who liked their health plans—and their doctors—could keep them. He should not have said that—or, at least, he should not have been so categorical. And he paid dearly for it. Republicans never let go of Obama’s assertion, and in 2013 Politifact called it the lie of the year.

By contrast, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s infamous comment—“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”—was wrenched from context in grotesquely dishonest fashion. In the conservative information bubble, it is considered indisputable that Pelosi was, like a cartoon villain, announcing her fiendish plan to conceal the contents of the health care bill from the cameras. But in reality she was merely predicting that the unpopular bill would become popular once it stopped being an abstraction and began to benefit real people.

The Republican depiction of the Obamacare debate, and of the law itself, is shot through with these kinds of caricatures and deceptions. In truth, whatever gamesmanship and spin that Democrats used to pass the ACA was a sideshow to a banal, tortuous effort to make the text of the law match a few simple goals. Though Obamacare doesn’t come close to to solving every problem with the U.S. health care system, it met most of those goals: expanding coverage significantly, and slowing the growth of health care costs. That the process winded on interminably allowed anyone paying attention (Democratic legislators and reporters, for the most part) to familiarize themselves with a head-splitting quantity of minutiae. Democrats could not have coasted on Trumpian panaceas in a climate like that.

Seven years hence, the Republican-led effort to repeal the ACA is so rushed and opaque that bullshit doesn’t merely seep into it, but thrives. Republicans are deploying their false depiction of the Obamacare debate and law as a benchmark for defending their supposedly superior process. If they succeed, they will have perpetrated one of the greatest swindles in the history of legislative politics.


----- 16 -----
BLUEXIT
A Modest Proposal For Separating Blue States From Red
By KEVIN BAKER | The New Republic
March 9, 2017

https://newrepublic.com/article/140948/bluexit-blue-states-exit-trump-red-america

Dear Red-State Trump Voter,

Let’s face it, guys: We’re done.

For more than 80 years now, we—the residents of what some people like to call Blue America, but which I prefer to think of as the United States of We Pay Our Own Damn Way—have shelled out far more in federal tax monies than we took in. We have funded massive infrastructure projects in your rural counties, subsidized your schools and your power plants and your nursing homes, sent you entire industries, and simultaneously absorbed the most destitute, unskilled, and oppressed portions of your populations, white and black alike.

All of which, it turns out, only left you more bitter, white, and alt-right than ever.

Some folks here in self-supporting America like to believe that there must be a way to bring you back to your senses and to restore rational government, if not liberal ideals, sometime in the foreseeable future. Everyone seems to have an answer for how to do this. Every day another earnest little homily finds its way to me over my internet transom: “Think locally, act globally,” or “Make art and fight the power,” or the old Joe Hill standby—“Don’t mourn. Organize.”

To which I say: Don’t organize. Pack.

Not literally, of course. Not even the good people of Canada should have to stomach a mass migration of moping American liberals mumbling, “Live locally … make art.” What I mean is that it’s time for blue states and cities to effectively abandon the American national enterprise, as it is currently constituted. Call it the New Federalism. Or Virtual Secession. Or Conscious Uncoupling—though that’s already been used. Or maybe Bluexit.


----- 17 -----
Jeff Sessions Should be Disbarred UPDATE: ACLU Files Complaint with Alabama Bar Association
By rufe | DailyKOS
Thursday Mar 09, 2017

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/3/9/1639325/-Jeff-Sessions-Should-be-Disbarred

The explosive stories from the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal last night all showing that Sessions knowingly gave false testimony to congress under oath about his meetings with Russia’s top spy are profoundly disturbing. There is no doubt in my mind that Sessions has committed perjury; however, prosecution for perjury is extremely difficult and Republicans will drag their feet in pushing Sessions into recusal or resignation by political means (if they act at all).

There is something that can be done immediately; however, to penalize Sessions for this obvious breach of legal ethics. The Alabama State Bar Association should disbar Sessions, preventing him from practicing law in the state just as the Arkansas State Bar Association did to William Clinton. While this would not necessarily prevent him from digging in his heels and serving as Attorney General (this is not without precedent, disbarred judges and Attorneys General have refused to step down in the past) it is likely that Sessions would choose to either challenge the disbarment in the Alabama Supreme Court or resign rather than serve without a law license. Either way would force the matter of if the Attorney General of the United States committed perjury out into the open so that the nation can have renewed faith that its laws are being enforced justly.


----- 18 -----
ACLU files ethics complaint against Sessions with Alabama Bar Disciplinary Commission
By Catherine Herridge | Fox News
Published March 09, 2017

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/09/aclu-files-ethics-complaint-against-sessions-with-alabama-bar-disciplinary-commission.html

The ACLU has submitted an ethics complaint with the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Commission against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, alleging the former senator violated the code of conduct during his confirmation hearing testimony.

"Mr. Sessions is the Attorney General of the United States and violated Rule 8.4 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct," according to the complaint filed Thursday by the ACLU's Chris Anders, deputy director at the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, where he represents the ACLU before Congress and the executive branch.

"Mr. Sessions made false statement during sworn testimony on January 10, 2017 and in a subsequent written response to questions January 17, 2017." Anders continued, "Rule 8.4 (c) of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to 'engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."


----- 19 -----
Mental Health Support Will Disappear Under The GOP Healthcare Act
iflScience | 9 March 2017

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/mental-health-support-disappear-under-gop-healthcare-act/

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s landmark healthcare bill, is going to be torn up by the GOP and replaced with the “American Healthcare Reform Act of 2017” – something that has been met with a chorus of disapproval from both Democrats and Republicans, and medical professionals.

Despite the problem with rising premium costs, “Obamacare” meant that over 20 million Americans received health care – and plenty of them had their lives saved by the legislature. The GOP kingpins are making it seem like replacing it with their own version will be easy, but a quick look at history reveals that this is wishful thinking of the highest order.

At a glance, the new bill amounts to a $600 billion tax cut for the top 0.1 percent, while being “Obamacare-lite” in terms of its ability to provide health coverage for most Americans. It’s worth highlighting that, apart from the fact that tens of millions will instantly lose coverage, there’s some deeply upsetting news for those suffering from mental health issues.

The ACA expanded Medicaid, the social health care program for those with limited economic resources, in order to make sure a health issue wouldn’t disrupt their lives.

The new bill, HR 277, will roll back this expansion by 2020, which means – among other things – that almost 8 million people who use Medicaid to get support for mental health issues, and the 10.4 million that get help for their substance abuse, will no longer have it.

Don’t take our word for it – you can read the bill yourself, or, if you support the repeal of the ACA, take a peek at a statement released by four GOP Senators.


----- 20 -----
Tapper: Tillerson traveling without press ‘insulting’
By Mark Hensch - 03/09/17 - The Hill

http://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/323205-tapper-tillerson-traveling-without-press-insulting

CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Thursday called it "insulting" for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to bring press on his first major trip to Asia as a member of the administration.

...

The comments come amid concerns among some reporters about access to the secretary of State.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell was escorted out of a room on Tuesday as she attempted to ask Tillerson and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin questions about China and Russia during a photo-op. A similar situation happened last week.

The former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO is taking his first tour of Asia next week, visiting Japan, South Korea and China to meet with senior officials to discuss the growing threat from North Korea, security interests in the region and the U.S. economy.
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