solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
"Trump’s voting commission is a sham." No kidding. The linked article is to an ACLU action item because people need to get signed up on this. They're going to gin up some fake results to repeat Trump's "three to five million illegal voters" lie, in order to engage in the kinds of voter suppression at the Federal level that they've been working at the state level. Stopping this will require pulling off the very few Republicans actually willing to vote against Cheeto Mussolini, so be ramping up on that.

"This is what emboldened white supremacists look like" - you mean Jeff Sessions? No, these are neo-Klan marchers in Virginia.

"Former Attorney General Eric Holder statement" is about Jeff Sessions's plans to undo sentencing reform.

"Erdoğan security attacks, beats US citizens protesting in Washington, DC" - graphic footage at link. This is the kind of leader Cheeto openly admires.

"Focus On Infants During Childbirth Leaves U.S. Moms In Danger" shouldn't be very surprising, and isn't.

LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU: "FCC halts public comments on Net Neutrality"

"No room for science in Trump administration" - true.

The word you're looking for, WaPo, is LIE: "Republicans misstate, again and again on TV and at town halls, what’s in their health-care bill"

"MSNBC Ending Lawrence O’Donnell “The Last Word” Show Despite Top Ratings (Exclusive)" - though fan response may have overwhelmed MSNBC. We'll see.

Good luck out there.

It's 17 May 2017; we're back with more news. )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Well, if we didn't know already, this is the crux of the matter.

If meaningful, _critical_ actions are not taken _now_, the GOP will take no action, at all, ever.

We _have to_ assume that Mr. Trump could order tanks into the streets and the Republican Party would be fine with it. We _have to_ assume he could shoot people down in cold blood and they'd go along. We have to assume there will be no help from the ruling party. _None_.

The institutions that could act meaningfully have failed, because, in the end, is is not the institutions, but the people who occupy them. And the occupants are looters, criminals, and traitors who have one, single goal: the strip-mining of all value available, to themselves, or the masters they serve.

This doesn't mean we can't resist, because we can. But it means the two-year war will not be short-circuited, and must be fought heavily at the state level. The Republicans will do _everything_ in their power to suppress votes, to gerrymander beyond anything we've seen even so far, and steal the next election, by hook or by crook. _If you want there to be elections in the future_, you _have to_ oust Republicans, en masse, in 2018. I don't care about how big a sellout your local Democrat is - stow it. You want to primary some people from the left, go for it, but when the primary is over, _get the fuck in line_, because this is existential to the _goddamn republic_.

News follows.

Trump, Russia, and Treason:
  • Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russia, in Break With Ally, Officials Say
  • ‘Far worse than what has already been reported’: Trump’s Russian disclosures so serious Senate had to be alerted
  • Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation
  • Republicans Demand More Detail on Trump’s Meeting With Russians
  • Source: There is "whole lot of interfering" in Russia investigation
  • Trump on Comey 'tapes': 'I can't talk about that'
  • Authoritarians thrive on ritual humiliation.
  • I have lived through nearly 4,500 weeks in my life, and I have never seen a week like the one we just had.
  • Clapper: Putin did it to demean Clinton and help elect Trump
  • Trump/Comey: What's this week's political firestorm actually about?
  • Here’s Why There Won’t Be An Independent Investigation Into Russia Anytime Soon
  • ‘He Doesn’t Give a Crap Who He Fires’
  • Donald Trump's tax law firm has 'deep' ties to Russia
  • Trump must be impeached. Here’s why.
Trump, Authoritarianism (and neofascism), and Corruption:
  • Trump Is Trying to Control the FBI. It’s Time to Freak Out.
  • The Law Can’t Stop Trump. Only Impeachment Can.
  • Americans are witnessing a slow-motion coup
  • Telling Trump Fans He’s Betraying Them Won’t Work
  • Card handed out at #RPW2017 by @wisgop US Senate hopeful John Schiess.

Good luck out there.

It's May 17th, 2017; this is the news. )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
The news is a flood. I finished today's and I am already well behind.

Cultural War: "MISSOURI: Republican Lawmaker Declares There’s A “Distinction” Between Human Beings And Gays." Even the locals are "what." And "A New Wave of Bills Takes Aim at Science in the Classroom" - it's not that the are new in terms of what they're trying to do; they're not. But more are getting through.

Political repression: "President calls for criminal investigation of senator who criticized him for firing FBI director (also smear is BS)," "Democracy in Crisis: Inauguration Day Protesters Face Decades in Jail," and "West Virginia journalist arrested for asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question." This is a terrible trend.

The Russian News Service in the White House, while American news services barred. "Did a Russian Photographer Smuggle a Surveillance Device Into the White House?," "Presence of Russian photographer in Oval Office raises alarms," "Why do none of the Trump-Russia leaks come from Russia?" and "Russia’s Oval Office Victory Dance" tell the story.

Relatedly: "Senate intel panel subpoenas Michael Flynn documents."

The rest is Comey. And there's a lot, and it's all bad. Possibly the worst: "In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred." This really is Trump following Hitler's path, as one of the first things Hitler did as Chancellor was require oaths of personal loyalty from everyone up and down the line. Not entirely dissimilarly: "Comey infuriated Trump with refusal to preview Senate testimony: aides." If true, that means Trump was testing his personal loyalty, and found it wanting.

Two on Rosenstein: "THREAD: The key player here is Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Rosenstein. I spent 5 yrs in the DAG’s office under Obama. Please indulge me." and "Rosenstein takes heat over role in Comey firing."

Other reports about specific triggers: "Days Before He Was Fired, Comey Asked for Money for Russia Investigation," "Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia," "Comey fired for intensifying investigation of Trump, Russia ties: report," and "In interview, Trump contradicts Pence on Comey."

"Blumenthal: Comey firing 'may well produce impeachment proceedings'" doesn't matter unless the Republicans are forced to it, and, well, see the previous news post about that.

But where it matters:

"Kellyanne Conway creates alternative reality to defend Trump’s firing of Comey"

"McConnell rejects calls for special prosecutor"

I don't know if they can bring themselves to admit what they've done.

Good luck out there.

It's May 12th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
This is the second news post today. The lowkey item to pay attention to here, probably, is the departure of the Census head. Harper screwed with the census too; I'm presuming the Trumpists will do so as well, to aid in their extensive voter-suppression and gerrymandering efforts. (U.S. Census director resigns amid turmoil over funding of 2020 count, Departure of U.S. census director threatens 2020 count).

In pre-Comey Russian news, "Where are they now? The Russian bots that disrupted the 2016 election" follows the Russian botnets in the first few months of this year. And "6 Takeaways From Monday’s Senate Hearing on Russia" isn't that great, but leads well into a whole series of stories about the attempt to intimidate Sally Yeats. (That's a felony, by the way.) To wit, "And now, 6hrs before #SallyYates testifies against him & his cronies I'm pretty sure this constitutes as a POTUS intimidating a witness," and "‘The president is threatening a witness’: CNN analyst slams Trump’s ‘disturbing’ Sally Yates tweets" cover that. They also had "Per @axios, WH plans to smear Sally Yates tomorrow as a "Democratic operative." She was a nonpolitical, career DOJ attorney for two decades" queued up.

But her testimony was damning nonetheless. "Spicer: White House Didn't Act on Sally Yates' Warning Because She's a "Political Opponent"." "Trump Is So Freaked Out By Sally Yates He Changed His Goddamn Twitter Profile" and "Yates: Alarm about Russian blackmail led to warning on Flynn" are also important

Sessions's justice department is moving against Cascadian groups protecting immigrant rights, sending cease-and-deists to them. They're fighting back. ("Group sues to continue giving immigrants legal help"). We also have a first-person report from Desiree Fairooz, the woman arrested for laughing at Jeff Sessions. ("I'm facing jail time after laughing at Jeff Sessions. I regret nothing.") Sessions is also trying to revive discredited (and overtly racist) Supreme Court decisions of the past. (The racist, discredited argument Trump’s DOJ just made in a federal court). Also, Sessions continues the tradition of trying to get Julian Assange in jail, with "The government wants Julian Assange in jail. That could hurt the rest of us." Yes, he's a Russian tool, but he's not a US citizen and he's not acting on US soil, and publishing data - even curated with political intent - isn't criminal.

Have a little cultural warfare, scarecrow: "Texas Bill Could Let Agencies Bar LGBT, Atheist, Single Parents From Adopting" (another 'religious liberty' bill), "Tennessee 'Natural Meaning' Law Raises Fears in LGBT Community" (an attempt to weasel in general inefficiencies targeting LGBT couples trying to use their rights under the law), and "Alabama Governor Signs Law Allowing Adoption Agencies to Discriminate Against Gay Couples" (more 'religious liberty' horseshit).

Suppression of Science: "Interior Dept. freezes work of advisory boards." Reportedly some haven't met in years, and those are fine, but this a broad brush. And given everything else we've seen, it'd be stupid not to assume the worst.

"White House advisors called Ottawa to urge Trudeau to help talk Trump down from scrapping NAFTA." YES, REALLY. THAT IS THE STORY FROM A REAL CANADIAN NEWSPAPER. Christ.

Other Racism: "99% of students handcuffed by NYPD in public schools were black or Hispanic: report."

Other Fascism: "The Healthcare Bill Exposes Trump's Chilling Authoritarian Agenda."

Other "alt-facts," a.k.a. lies, discredited in "Noncitizen Voting: The Missing Millions."

A bit of opinion: "Yes, House Republicans, the heartless health-care vote will define you," and "Washington Loves General McMaster, But Trump Doesn't."

As always - good luck out there.

It's May 10th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
FBI head Comey fired by Trump. That's all this one is. I'll do a second post with other things, things which are also important.

Watch carefully today for other obscenities, lost in the Comey storm. They have a history of dropping incredibly abusive orders under the cover of other abusive order media storms. It's part of how they work.

The thing you have to realise, and make everybody else realise, is that this is part of the continuing power grab. This is consolidation of personal rule. This is the reason for the "deconstruction of the administrative state" - because it concentrates power, replaces legal rule with personal rule, and leaves fewer witnesses.

And it's an attempt to stop the Russia investigation. Trump had administration people out Tuesday night pushing that on Fox News et al (link to video below) saying that it was time for the Russia investigation to end, even as CNN was breaking the story that the grand jury had issued subpoenas.

In short, you have to assume at this point that the worst cases are all true.

A protest is being organised in DC at 12 Noon Eastern Time. It's at the White House, north side, Lafayette Park. Here is the Facebook event.

Articles are below the cut. Good luck out there.

It's May 10th, 2017; this is the Comey firing news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Trump and Corruption starts with "Flynn was warned by Trump transition officials about contacts with Russian ambassador." Apparently it was bad enough even some of their team found it dodgy. Or at least, revealing. Meanwhile, "In a Beijing ballroom, Kushner family pushes $500,000 ‘investor visa’ to wealthy Chinese" - perfectly legal visas, but it you want to make it any clearer that this is a looting operation, I'm not sure how you would. "E.P.A. Dismisses Members of Major Scientific Review Board" - to replace them with reps of the industries the EPA regulates. Because regulatory capture isn't complete until you can really rub peoples' noses in it.

In neofascism and similar tactics, we have "The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked," which is more into Palintir and Cambridge Analytics and so on. Important background data. "White House argues Dems shouldn’t hurt Trump’s feelings" sounds like something out of a tinhorn dictatorship, but there it is and there you have it. "The American Health Care Act's Prosperity Gospel" outlines the specifically fundamentalist Christian version of all this, and ties back in to my essay on the social takeover of the GOP by the fundamentalist mindset. "FDA is now all Fox News, all the time" - you know this by now, there have been several stories, but the vision of propaganda blasting from every point is pretty vivid.

Meanwhile, "Lawsuit depicts Fox News as not just sexist. Not just misogynistic. Barbaric." which is pretty strong language even now, and "Why Opposing Trump Isn't Like the GOP Obstructing Obama" talks about media gaslighting of antifascist opposition.

Racism and the war on women - which ties into the previous section - includes "Texas police chiefs slam sanctuary city bill," as in yes, Texas police chiefs think it goes too far. Think about that. "ICE 'Victim-Blames' Immigrants With Sexual Assault Policies" - but it's more obvious in Spanish than in English, where I guess they thought they could get away with more. "GOP rep says no need for Planned Parenthood, women can simply get birth control at the grocery store." What aisle has pap smears and cervical cancer screenings? And, of course, "Republicans defend having no women in health care group," because their complete and stunning disgust with anything having to do with women's health hasn't been made clear enough already.

Finally, we close with, "Did Macron Outsmart Campaign Hackers?" - spoiler alert: probably; well done, Team Macron - and "What the last Nuremberg prosecutor alive wants the world to know."

Good luck out there.

It's May 8th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
The big news is already well known, so I'm skipping it. The key item here is, "Every Republican who voted for this abomination must be held accountable." The backlash starts today.

If you're wondering "Why Trump's Executive Order on Religious Liberty Left Many Conservatives Dissatisfied," this article brushes up against it, but the real summary is that it does fuck and all, and they know it. A few of the bigger suckups are trying to make something out of it, but there's literally nothing there. Thankfully. But a prior executive order did do some damage, specifically to pregnant women, transgendered people, and a few others, and that's discussed in "The Terrifying Part of the ACA Repeal That’s Already Affecting Trans and Pregnant People."

This isn't 1957: "A Principal Is Accused of Being a Communist, Rattling a Brooklyn School." For - you got it - anti-racism activities. Nice, huh? Also, "A Code Pink Protester Laughs Over a Trump Nominee and Is Convicted." There are two links in that story, one to the Huffington Post talking to anonymous members of the jury. They didn't want to convict her, but felt they had no choice; somebody needs some lessons in jury nullification. That shit goes both ways.

And finally, "Reporter says Fox News fired her for using harassment hotline." It's a new lawsuit. There can't be enough.

Good luck out there.

It's May 5th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Pettiness, but only a particularly petty example thereof, in "A Woman Is On Trial For Laughing During A Congressional Hearing." Lots of protesters are being prosecuted. "Robert Reich: Now Trump Is Threatening the Independence of Judges" - gosh, you noticed? From "Historian Timothy Snyder: “It’s pretty much inevitable” that Trump will try to stage a coup and overthrow democracy," which is pretty gloom-and-doomy, but we're going to see how deep the Republican absolutist/only-Repulicans-are-citizens thought runs. "This is Amazing" is a column which seems to lack a headline for this particular entry, but it's about Ivanka's new foundation, most likely to be another money pump.

Don't count any of the white supremacists and neofascists out until they're actually gone; "Rotating players is a typical authoritarian PR tactic," notes Sarah Kendzior‏ on Twitter. And don't even think you'll get internal reflection or accountability; "Trump walks away in middle of @CBSNews interview as soon as he gets pressed on his bogus Obama wire-tapping claims."

I'm mad at Seattle Weekly for the headline of "A Brief, Ugly Altercation at the May Day Anti-Communist March" because it's not an "anti-Communist march," it's a Trump rally and pretty fascist, as you'll see if you watch the videos. It's literally a circle of Trumpist bros getting off on trapping and physically restraining a woman. "The 'Alt-Right' Is Scaring Some Students Away From a Liberal College in Washington" crowd, pretty much.

War on Blue States: "Trump will test Democrats' tax patriotism: Glenn Reynolds." Reynolds is a Trumpist, and what the actual proposal is actually about is shifting even more of the tax burdon over onto blue states, because apparently red states - which are massively subsidised by blue states, on the whole, now - need to be subsidised even more. Understand this: _this is yet more economic war on Democratic-controlled states_, a form of looting and provision to reward Trumpists.

Looting is always part of this kind of agenda, of course. "Congress to rent Secret Service space at Trump Tower as part of security spending bill" is just a small sample. "Trump Adviser Kushner’s Undisclosed Partners Include Goldman and Soros," says the Wall Street Journal. "Man Trump Named to Fix Mortgage Markets Figured in Infamous Financial Crisis Episode" - by helping create some of the most toxic CDOs.

"US ISPs claim to love net neutrality while praising death of net neutrality rules," of course. Here are "5 Things to Know About the Next Battle Over Net Neutrality."

Civil rights are being thrown into the dumpster as quickly as possible. African-Americans are getting the worst of it, as always. "Justice Department will not charge Baton Rouge officers in fatal shooting of Alton Sterling," "Family angry at reports of DOJ decision in police shooting death of Alton Sterling." Alton Sterling was legally selling CDs outside a store with the store owner's permission. He did this all the time. Cops showed up, attacked him, and shot him dead. Nothing; the Sessions era will be one of legal law-enforcement lynchings.

"White House aims for Thursday signing of religious liberty executive order" would be the anti-LGBT order leaked in February, reportedly, letting any fundamentalist asshole refuse to do their jobs for any reason if they decide they don't like who they're supposed to be serving. Queers are nr. 1 on that agenda, but women doing The Wrong Things and racial minorities will be a close nr. 2. "Trump Administration Reverses Course on Obamacare’s Civil Rights Protections" ends a fleet of executive protections for pregnant people and for transgendered people.

"Trump’s Family Planning Pick Believes ‘Contraception Doesn’t Work’." Not even in some greater-social-good sense, she's a contraception denialist. This is pretty common in fundamentalist circles, mostly amongst people who want to _ban_ contraception, so this is very much a worst-case appointee. Meanwhile, "Trump Army secretary pick gave a lecture arguing against the theory of evolution."

Finally, "New changes to essential benefits in GOP health bill could jeopardize protections against catastrophic costs, even for people with job-based coverage." Don't think you're safe just because you've got employer coverage. "The Whole Grain Terror In School Lunches Is About To End" deals with weakening standards for school lunch nutrition. Finally, "How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies and Decided to Fight for Science" and "EPA website removes climate science site from public view after two decades."

Good luck out there.

It's May 3rd, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (Default)
And here we go. Fascism watch: "UK was given details of alleged contacts between Trump campaign and Moscow," reported The Guardian on Friday. Basically, the dossier was handed over the UK intelligence agencies for vetting and additional research. "Donald Trump Is Now Threatening Both Koreas," since one war, two wars, maybe three wars, all not enough.

On the good side, it looks like we might have Gorka on the way out: "White House Weighs Kicking Out Sebastian Gorka," followed yesterday by "Sebastian Gorka leaving White House as soon as 'this summer'." I guess being a literal neonazi isn't quite okay yet - though it is good enough for media, with "Why Neo-Nazis Are Kvelling Over Tucker Carlson."

A rightist would-be terrorist attack in Kentucky: "‘You are safe,’ Transylvania [University] attacker says to Republican student in coffee shop." Believe it or not, I have experience with this school, and they are Not a liberal institution; if they're to liberal for this guy, we have to assume he's a literal fascist of some sort. There were literal overt fascists here, too: "Trump holds a 100-day rally on friendly turf, snubbing the White House Correspondents' Dinner" but I lost the link.

This is important: "Canada fought the war on science. Here’s how scientists won." I watched this fight, it was long and hard but a lot of data was saved.

In cultural warfare, "Gay-Conversion Therapy Ban Survives as Supreme Court Rejects Appeal" is good news. "These Gay Republicans Mocked Transgender Women At A Forum In New York City" is exactly what you'd expect out of that sort of "we only don't hate queers because we're gay and so we only don't hate gay white guys" you'd expect out of Gay Republicans. Meanwhile, "Trump Appoints HHS Spokesperson with Ugly Trail of Anti-Trans Comments," and they're really bad.

Finally, in racism: "Trump revives 'Pocahontas' insult of Elizabeth Warren" - his base loves the race-baiting. "ICE data shows half of immigrants arrested in raids had traffic convictions or no record" is just demonstration of yet another lie.

Good luck out there.

It's May 1st, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Well, I've at least managed to clear my browser tabs.

Fascism/authoritarianism and the corporatist state:
  • Rep. Adam Schiff on @MSNBC: It sounds like the W.H. has paperwork from Mike Flynn that they weren't willing to give to the Oversight Cmte.
  • Justices Alarmed by Government’s Hard-Line Stance in Citizenship Case
  • Trump says he may break up 9th Circuit Court after rulings go against him
  • Juvenile criminal defense attorneys forced to agree to Taser's terms of service to see the state's evidence
Corruption and looting:
  • The tale of the dictator’s daughter and her prince
  • Mar-a-Lago blog was not reviewed before posting on State site
  • Whitehouse Files Hatch Act Complaint Over Pruitt Participation in Oklahoma GOP Fundraiser
  • Nominee to head FDA joined effort to get a drug company more fentanyl
  • Trump tax proposal would slash taxes for his businesses
  • At Trump’s EPA, Less Science and More Industry
  • Trump orders review of national monuments to allow development
  • MNUCHIN: we are going to eliminate on the personal side all tax deductions other than mortgage interest and charitable deductions.
  • Trump Tax Plan Slashes Individual and Corporate Rates
Xenophobia and reactions against:
  • White House Optimism on Shutdown Complicated by Trump Demands
  • When is a wall not a wall? GOP redefines Trump’s border wall
  • Police Chief Meidl: In Spokane, undocumented immigrant crime is practically nonexistent
Trumpcare/Chumpcare 2.0:
  • Republicans exempt their own insurance from their latest health care proposal
  • Apparently repealing Obamacare could violate international law
Trade:
  • Trump puts EU ahead of Britain in trade queue
  • Trump Administration Puts Trade Deal With EU Ahead of Post-Brexit Britain
  • Republicans tell Trump to hold up on NAFTA withdrawal
Brutal horribleness:
  • Sandy Hook truther Alex Jones asks for privacy in custody battle ‘for the sake of my children’
(Alex Jones spent a lot of time siccing conspiracy theory haters on the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook, claiming the shooting didn't happen and was staged. The abuse, stalking, and harassment the parents of the dead children suffered was truly barbaric, and Alex Jones was the primary motivator here.)

Everything else:
  • Different president, same old government shutdown threats
  • Republican North Carolina judge resigns — and slams the GOP on the way out
  • Trump’s over-the-top, boastful AP interview, annotated

Good luck out there.

It's April 27th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
I'm overbooked this week; Anna's nasal surgery on Monday went about as planned, but there is much more time-consuming aftercare than I understood, and while this needed to happen, it is a lot of time away from other things. Here's a partial catch-up, with emphasis on fascism and neo-fascist activities.

Russia:
  • Republican Oversight Leader: Michael Flynn Apparently Broke the Law
  • EXCLUSIVE: Sebastian Gorka’s Ties To Nazi-Allied Group Stretch Back Decades
  • Senate Russia probe flounders amid partisan bickering
  • Senate Trump-Russia Probe Has No Full-Time Staff, No Key Witnesses
  • Macron Victim of Cyber Attack Similar to U.S. Democratic Party’s
  • Donald Trump, Jr., retweeting Nigel Farage endorsing Marine Le Pen. Global. White. Nationalist. Authoritarianism. Movement.

Misogyny:
  • A GOP Lawmaker Has Been Revealed As The Creator Of Reddit’s Anti-Woman ‘Red Pill’ Forum
  • And here it is, the NH state rep and founder of The Red Pill talking about why he should get to sleep with underage girls
  • Donald Trump to strip all funding from State Department team promoting women's rights around the world
  • Inside The Online Community Of Men Who Preach Removing Condoms Without Consent

Corruption and farce:
  • House Oversight Committee calls on Trump’s business to prove he’s not violating the Constitution
  • Ivanka Trump adds a chief of staff
  • Report: Trump won't fire Spicer because 'the guy gets great ratings'

Chechnya:
  • Gay men detained in Chechnya give accounts of abuse, electrocution
  • President of Chechnya Intends to Eliminate All Gay Men There by Ramadan

And three unsorted:
  • Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order Blocked by Federal Judge
  • Resilience of the Resistance
  • May Benefits as Britain's Pro-Brexit Party Loses Supporters

It's April 26th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Sorry this is a short summary. A proper post takes a few hours and I've been too busy the last couple of days. :/

Reports of a new ACA repeal:
White House Officials, Craving Progress, Push Revised Health Bill
White House pressures GOP leaders on Obamacare showdown next week.

Fascism and Racism:
Tax-Dodging Nazi Sovereign Citizen Furries Forced To Cancel Denver Furry Convention. Yes, Really.
Why gay French men are voting far right
AG Sessions says he's 'amazed' a judge 'on an island in the Pacific' can block Trump's immigration order

Russia, et al:
House intel panel invites former acting AG Sally Yates to testify
Leader Of Justice Department National Security Division On The Way Out

Vote suppression:
Georgia Is Trying To Block Newly Registered Voters From Taking Part In Fierce Runoff Election

An Actual Real Life False Flag:
Borussia Dortmund bombs: 'Speculator' charged with bus attack

Environment and corruption:
AP Exclusive: Pesticide maker tries to kill risk study

Finally, culture war:
Army Secretary Nom: Trans People Are 'Evil' Who Must Be 'Crushed'

It's April 22nd, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Okay, I'm running late - as always, but more than usual - and so the most important thing I can talk about is that we are starting to see the dam break. There has been over the last few days of sampling a significant breakdown in the strongest levels of support for the Trump administration, specifically in both GOP in general and Trump voters in general.

Now, it's not a complete breakdown - what we're seeing is a significant move out of "strongly approve" and into "somewhat approve." But it's out of the margin of error and a clear trend. It's the start of reconsideration.

Nothing is disastrous for them yet, there's not much fall through lower - say, into somewhat disapprove - but it's meaningful. This matters.

And now, the news.

Russia and corruption:
Exclusive: Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election - documents
Paul Manafort Meets with a Chinese Billionaire to Talk U.S. Infrastructure
The White House’s game on Russia has now been fully exposed
The Continuing Fallout from Trump and Nunes’s Fake Scandal

Environmental attacks:
EPA plans to offer buyouts as part of Trump push to shrink workforce
Battle over landmark law already raging out of public eye [This means the Endangered Species Act]
A Timeline of the War on Science

Misogyny:
All-Male Panel Failed to Pass Maryland Law Barring Rapists’ Parental Rights
Fox News Found the Perfect Woman-Hater to Replace Bill O'Reilly

Naziism, nativism, neo-fascism:
Lawsuit Accuses Alt-Right Leader of ‘Terror Campaign’ Against a Jewish Woman ["Alt-Right" meaning Nazi, it's literally the Daily Stormer crew, a website literally named after the Nazi paper of the 1930s, and yet, they will not use the word "Nazi" here.]
First protected DREAMer is deported under Trump

General horribleness:
Betsy DeVos Is Wasting No Time Screwing Over Students Who Borrow Money for College

Resistance:
After travel ban, AG Ferguson’s next fight: deceptive student-loan practices
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz Will Not Seek Re-Election

Good luck out there.

It's April 20th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
"Ivanka's biz prospers as politics mixes with business" and "Ivanka Trump awarded 3 China trademarks on the same day she dined with Chinese president: report" are talking about some of the same corruption.

Russia: "Blackwater Founder Prince Said to Have Advised Trump Team" - this ties in with his secret (and denied) trip to set up a Putin backchannel. "Alexander Dugin and Steve Bannon’s Ideological Ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia" talks about how while Bannon-Putin ties are not showing up as much, the ideological ties are very clear.

White supremacy/neofascism: "Globe editorial: Turkey, Erdogan and the end of liberal democracy." Basically, Turkey just passed - in a very dirty election - their version of Nazis' Enabling Act. Trump tweeted his congratulations to Erdogan, so we see what he thinks of representative government. Also, "White nationalist argues Trump should be liable for inciting violence at rally." "At least 100 gay men in Chechnya have been abducted by police" talks about the long and brutal history in Chechnya of targeting LGBT people (and others) to prop up support for their absolutist government within the Russian Federation. And "Spicer Argues That More Public Disclosure Is Unnecessary, Even Harmful" speaks more or less for itself. "Betsy DeVos wants more character development in schools. That’s a big problem." And the problem is that it's mostly about beefing up the school-to-prison-pipeline. And it's a lot easier to run a dictatorship when fewer people are going to notice: "A month after dismissing federal prosecutors, Justice Department does not have any U.S. attorneys in place."

Other Trump actions: "Donald Trump’s nuked credibility: How can a flagrantly dishonest president manage an international crisis?" The problem is I don't even entirely think he knows when he's lying. I'm not sure of that, but... damn. "The Latest: White House cancels meeting on Paris accords." They're claiming they'll reschedule. "Trump targets visas program for highly skilled workers" - which would be less of a problem if tech stopped driving women out of the workforce through harassment. Maybe that'll be the silver lining HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I kid, I kid.

"No cameras for ‘worst political attack on women’s health in a generation’" is so underreported.

"Amazon workers rail against company ads on Breitbart" is a good bit of resistance, but the number should be larger. Steve Ballmer is _shocked_ that so many tax subsidies go to the well off, in "Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove." "Hiring Anti-Trump Conservative Is Part Of New York Times' Effort To Expand Opinion" - too bad he's a climate denialist. But then, what sanity is left?

"Opening of UN files on Holocaust will 'rewrite chapters of history'" - or won't, really? But will make a _lot_ more direct evidence directly public. I don't know that it'll help with that kind of denialism, really, but it won't hurt.

Finally, some environmental commentary: "Joel Connelly: Inslee calls Trump budget cuts 'devastating'." Because they are.

Good luck out there.

It's April 19th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Norwescon was pretty neat, I'll post more about that to the band blog later.

"KUOW Employee Woke Up to Find Swastikas Painted on Her Cars, and Cars All Down the Block." That's near here. "Trump’s favorite conspiracy theorist claims he’s just a ‘performance artist.'" That's not, and I need to see what the channers are thinking about this. Hopefully, it's hilarious. "Dortmund attackers wanted to incite backlash against Muslims" - you probably haven't heard about the Dortmund bombing, this is why.

"Alt-Right Ringleader Mike Cernovich Threatens to Drop ‘Motherlode’ If Steve Bannon Is Ousted." PLEASE. YES, DO THIS, THANKS. "Polls show Americans voted for Trump out of "fear of diversity"" shocks nobody except the LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU crowd.

"Westboro Wannabes Picket Norwescon" - that's where I was. "Does the Furry Community Have a Nazi Problem?" Yes, but that's not where I was.

"The Editors of a Major Scientific Publication Are Urging Readers to Attend the March for Science" - that's THIS WEEKEND, folks.

"Trump will keep list of White House visitors secret" went through a few headlines, but it's a big DRAIN THIS to his voters, who absolutely do not care. "Trump's pivot is real — he's more right-wing than ever" is what the GOP cares about. "100 Days of Horror" is mostly a list of what has been managed, mostly by putting white supremacists and neofascists in positions of power. And, as we already know, the "EPA emerges as major target after Trump solicits policy advice from industry."

Finally, "Yes, You Can Measure White Privilege."

Sorry for short shrift on analysis, I'm playing catch-up.

It's April 18th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
I wasn't going to do a news post this evening, but this is too important:

"AP Exclusive: Manafort firm received Ukraine ledger payout." This is a smoking gun. "Here are 10 things about the explosive Washington Post story on Carter Page that only lawyers and #Russiagate analysts would catch." And Trump's response? "As FBI probe continues, Trump says it’s ‘not too late’ to fire Comey."

Comey is not a political appointee. Trump's threatening to fire him. Keep that in mind.

"CNN Exclusive: Classified docs contradict Nunes surveillance claims, GOP and Dem sources say." This particular vector is turning into "everyone vs. Trump," even the Republicans. Blood in the water?

"Trump Says He Offered China Better Trade Terms in Exchange for Help on North Korea" isn't so interesting for the headline or the offer but the _amazing_ degree of unpreparedness and ignorance he walked into that meeting carrying. Seriously, it's _blinding_.

"Sadly, Sean Spicer's Hitler comments serve as a useful distraction for Trump." I don't agree with that, I think it's very important in and of itself in highlighting the white supremacy and holocaust denialism, and that is _not_ a distraction. But still, here it is, along with "Team Bannon ‘Laying Low,’ After Being ‘Blindsided’ by Trump" - Bannon, meet bus? One can only hope.

It's Only Sharia If Brown People Do It: "Alabama senate votes to allow church to form own police force." No, really. 24-4 vote. In other culture war news, "Fake “Radical Feminist” group actually paid political front for anti-LGBT James Dobson organization." The fundamentalist right isn't just propping up TERF groups; it's making fake ones of their own. This is actually pretty traditional for them, but it's good seeing the money trail.

"Sessions orders Justice Dept. to end forensic science commission, suspend review policy," because invalid data, bad science, and fake forensics are good as long as it lets you throw more people - particularly people of colour - into jail. It's grotesque.

More attempts at ACA sabotage: "Trump Threatens to Withhold Payments to Insurers to Press Democrats on Health Bill." This would be a straight-up refusal to issue payments due under the law. Fun times.

"Report: Body of country's first female Muslim judge found in Hudson River" does NOT, I must stress NOT, show signs of foul play at press time. But keep an eye on this.

Also on the 11th, "United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for 'higher-priority' traveler." Like the doctor dragged off the plane, this guy, too, had a boarding pass and was seated.

Finally, in COMPLY OR GET THE BEATDOWN, "How the Government Is Turning Protesters Into Felons."

Now I'm going to go to Norwescon and try to act like things are normal for a few days. It won't work, but I can try.

Good luck out there.

It's April 13, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Good morning! This is late because we had no internet again. At least this time, we were told. (More fallout from the previous problem, apparently? It's all at the ISP level.)

Anyway. "Rex Tillerson says Russia needs to come clean on election meddling. Does his boss agree?" follows up on somewhat cryptic comments a day before. "FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page" is finally a bit of data on that set of data. But the big story is, "Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms." He left out a _lot_ of meetings with foreign officials, only one of which is known to be a Russian contact.

"U.S. Official: Russia knew Syrian chemical attack was coming," because apparently we're still getting different stories on this. "On Trump’s Syria Strategy, One Voice Is Missing: Trump’s." And finally, "Russia Opens New Front in U.S. Rivalry With Taliban Support." This last story has a degree of haziness to it - as do many things at the moment.

Sessions is really showing off his vicious xenophobic motherfucker stripes; this is nasty language. "Sessions signals immigration crackdown: 'This is the Trump era'," gives you some idea of the attitude, but only the start. The Times really soft-pedals it in the headline, "Undocumented Immigrants Who Commit Crimes Face Tougher Policy," and similarly, "During border visit, Sessions outlines immigration plan."

"Sean Spicer Draws Backlash by Comparing Hitler With Assad" - saying that Hitler never used gas in warfare. Seven million victims would _fucking well disagree_. "Social media users question Spicer calling concentration camps 'Holocaust centers'" documents this reaction to the Trump administration's low-key holocaust denial. Nasty, horrible stuff.

"Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are the problem — a staff shake-up won't fix anything" Well, unless the "staff shake-up" involves removing the whole lot of them. " But we're seeing open intra-Republican warfare in Congress now: "Republicans are coming after Paul Ryan: He needs a “change in direction”" and "Amash: We need 'change in direction from this speaker' or a new speaker."

"Trump's proposal to eliminate the Social Security payroll tax may be his worst idea yet" speaks for itself.

Finally, "Neo-fascist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says France was not complicit in rounding up Jews" (a straight-up partial-holocaust-denial lie) and "Indonesia: gay men facing 100 lashes for having sex" is about a semi-autonomous region in Indonesia. The national government could take action against this but hasn't yet.

Good luck out there.

There most likely won't be a post tomorrow or the next few days due to Norwescon.

It's April 12, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
"Horrifying News out of Chechnya: 'World's First Concentration Camp for Homosexuals Since Hitler's in the 1930s'. Multiple translations of the original article (which was in Russian) are translating their term as 'concentration camps,' not just ones going through the Daily Fail. Fortunately, "Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men" doesn't involve the Fail story - but I'm running with both.

UN Ambassador "Haley on Russia and Iran: 'I don't think anything is off the table'" seems to be contradicting earlier Trump administration statements, but I guess since the entire team - what there is of it - consists of clusterfuck after clusterfuck, we shouldn't be surprised. "Trump aide drew plan on napkin to partition Libya into three" - that would-be imperial realignment mastermind would in fact be neo-fascist Gorka. We also have "U.S. Threatens More Pressure on Syria After Missile Strikes," "Trump’s foreign policy is dangerously impulsive," and the most important statement, "The Scariest Part About the Syria Attacks Is What Donald Trump Will Learn from Them."

Though no, that's wrong, the most important thing is that this missile attack started media normalisation of the Trump administration, and that can't be allowed to happen. Journalists need to be reminded that this is still not a normal administration and to stop treating it like one, because they're trying to reset to that mode now that they've seen something familiar: bombing runs.

But we also need not to start digging into conspiracy bullshit. "MSNBC host’s conspiracy theory: What if Putin planned the Syrian chemical attack to help Trump?" NO EVIDENCE. Until such evidence exists, DO NOT DO THIS. DO NOT PROMOTE THIS. (The MSNBC version, not the article calling it out.) We can't let the shitty mainstream media suddenly make "Fake News" into an actual thing across the board in the same way that the right has made all the weird conspiracy theories of the 90s become real! It's the only thing we have.

I haven't seen anything on the Russia-Trump election meddling except for this weird little story: "Tillerson: Election Meddling Something 'Russia Needs To Confront Themselves'." Um, how about an independent investigation confronting it? That'd be good.

In corrosion of civil rights news, we have "After violently dragging a passenger from overbooked flight, United Airlines apologizes to everyone else," and "My phone was searched at LAX, which apparently is the new normal." I imagine you've seen the violent assault on the passenger. The LAX story is targeting a US citizen at a US airport and threatening her with more abuse to come.

Finally, "Big Pharma Funds “Independent” Advocacy Groups Attacking Drug-Price Reduction Bill." It's more ordinary corporatism, but I thought I'd bring it in.

Good luck out there.

It's April 11, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Norwescon is this week, and I'm pinched for time. I won't be doing these over Norwescon (barring something dramatic, like at Conflikt), so expect a few missing days later this week and over the weekend. I will not be attempting to catch up, but will skip over those days.

Media fawning is a theme today, and one of the items we really, really have to be fighting against. "STUDY: Gorsuch Supporters Vastly Outnumbered Opponents On Fox News And CNN" - their guests were weighted almost as if they were selling Gorsuch. The thing we didn't get to talk about was this story, "Gorsuch's writings borrow from other authors" - the Republicans refused to extend debate to consider it. And a non-Gorsuch story shows yet another telling side of the picture: "Here's How Frequently Women Supreme Court Justices Are Interrupted by Men." (Spoiler: overwhelmingly more than by men, and also, attorneys feel free to do it too, which is explicitly in violation of court rules, but don't get called on it. And they don't really do it to male justices.)

The Trump-Russia connection is being shuffled off to the side, and that's a direct result of the media's love for bombings and war. Here are a few stories, but two are from before the Syria attack: "Briefing: Trump, Russia, Rice – and now Nunes," "To Charm Trump, Paul Manafort Sold Himself as an Affordable Outsider" (which soft-sells Manafort, for that matter), and "The Happy-Go-Lucky Jewish Group That Connects Trump and Putin," which is frankly kind of bizarre in tone. But there it is.

Civil rights and immigration: "U.S. Man Is Suing After ICE Holds Him in Jail for 3 Weeks While Trying to Deport Him." The lawsuit is what got him released, not any actual due process. "Trump's Border Wall Designs Are Public," and some of them are quite Stalinesque. I've got a picture of the start of the Berlin Wall queued up waiting for construction to begin. "How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs" is exactly what it says on the headline - Trump's administration will, if they can, go back to a mass, African-American targeted bootstomping approach to "justice," including all the oppressions of the drug war. And the ACLU ays, "Local Police Should Just Say No to Federal Agreements That Make Their Officers Part of Trump’s Deportation Force." True.

Trumpology: "Trump to Bannon and Kushner: Work this out." This is mostly just Kremlin-watching for a new era.

A couple of relevant market stories: "No ‘Death Spiral’: Insurers May Soon Profit From Obamacare Plans, Analysis Finds" and "America’s Retailers Are Closing Stores Faster Than Ever." The ACA won't collapse on its own, looks like; it'll take some shoves.

Also, everybody quotes that big and legitimately important 2010 study about facts introduced in arguments backfiring - but there's another large 2016 study that says, "Fact-checking doesn’t ‘backfire,’ new study suggests." Or more accurately, it can, but doesn't have to, and may only in certain circumstances. That doesn't mean RATIONALITY WILL OUT, but it does make the picture less grim.

North Korea: "North Korea missiles: US warships deployed to Korean peninsula," and "Trump must consult Seoul over any actions on N. Korea" says the Korea Times. I wonder if what Trump really wants Bannon and Kushner to 'work out' is whether they're going to war against North Korea or Syria. That's because, like fucking clockwork, "The Spoils of War: Trump Lavished With Media and Bipartisan Praise For Bombing Syria." Of course it did. David Frum writes about the "Seven Lessons From Trump's Syria Strike," one of which is that all those empty seats in the Executive branch make it frankly impossible for the Trump administration to have done any part of this legally - groups that were required to at least look at the situation don't even exist at the moment, because they're all empty chairs.

The media reaction truly was disgusting, though. "Jeremy Scahill Slams Fareed Zakaria on CNN: If He Could Have Sex With That Missile Strike, He Would" sums it up. But there are a few glimmers of self-awareness, like here, in WaPo: "The media loved Trump’s show of military might. Are we really doing this again?"

Sadly, they'll probably keep doing it until they can't.

It's April 10, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
"Alt-Right Goes 'Apoplectic' Over Trump’s Decision to Bomb Syria" It's true. I "Can personally verify that this is being pushed on fascist political boards," and did so in a Twitter thread talking about the various 4pol and 8pol meltdowns over the Syrian bombing. It's true, they're reeling, it's wonderful.

Meanwhile, Voice of America - you know, official US government news - is saying, "Airstrike carried out so it wouldn’t hurt Russia’s long-term plans in Syria: US military official." And "Trump Admits: White House Looked the Other Way During Assad’s Gas Attacks." It's like they're jumping up and down saying, "Yeah, we didn't mean it, we're just taking control of the news cycle." And now "Russia condemns U.S. missile strike on Syria, suspends key air agreement" and "Russia to help Syria beef up air defenses." Now they've got an excuse. (A few more details on that in "US air strikes in Syria: Russia suspends agreement preventing direct conflict with American forces.")

The Atlantic thinks "The Fight Against the Islamic State Just Got Harder," but still spends a lot of time calling it a good idea, because WOW YAY MISSLES. See also, "After the Airstrikes on Syria, What’s Next?" in The New York Times. Almost all of the media falls into line as soon WAR WAR WAR comes out and that's still true, and something we have to fight - somehow - if we want to get anywhere. And that was the point, after all - "U.S. defense official calls U.S. strike on Syria a 'one-off'" just shows that none of this was meant to do anything more. It's depressing when it's Rand Paul being the one going no, no, no - "Rand Paul: Trump needs Congress to authorize military action in Syria." At least Barbara Lee and Ted Lieu both jumped in similarly; "Ted Lieu: Trump Can't 'Launch Missiles Because He Sees Images That Offend Him'."

And later in the day, The Atlantic contradicted itself, with "Trump's Syria Strike Was Unconstitutional and Unwise."

Now, getting past Syria:

"Trump’s Options for North Korea Include Placing Nukes in South Korea." Oh good, that will go well.

"Ethics panel opens investigation into Nunes" is one of the smallish numbers of stories on the ongoing Trump-Russia scandal. Now that he's down, leaving Schiff, the GOP is going after Schiff - anything, really, to keep it from doing its job. ("Former House intel chair: 'Schiff should consider recusing himself'.")

As was inevitable, "Neil Gorsuch Confirmed by Senate as Supreme Court Justice." The seat is stolen; the quest to make them pay for stealing it must not be. The Hill called it, "McConnell’s shining moment." Politico writes about "Why Republicans May Regret The Nuclear Option." Daniel Burbank at The Washington Post is far pointier: "Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America."

"Steve Bannon Isn’t a Genius." No. Being free of any hint of ethical or moral restraint - willing to do anything - doesn't make you smart, even if it does make you effective, at least to a point. See also suicide bombers. Jeff Sessions continues going after civil rights, saying "Sessions: Police reform deal may make Baltimore 'less safe'." Much better to give violent racism a free hand, clearly. "How The Hate Group Alliance Defending Freedom Is Infiltrating Public Schools" is important Cultural War data, as is "One Third of Americans Uncomfortable with LGBTQ Colleagues, Study Shows." We've made progress, but this is far from over.

Finally, in building-walls-where-they-can-be-built news, we have "Trump Border Plan Calls for More Phone Searches, Includes Close Allies." No wonder tourism is declining so rapidly.

Sorry for the late.

It's April 8, 2017; this is the news )

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