brexit summed up

I’ve been bookmarking (see “brexit” in the bookmarks to the right). The main big problem with whatever form the Brexit takes — given that there’s no planning at all at this poing — are over the treaties that cease to exist when Britain leaves.  See also this for a great background to the issue: Brexit: a detailed summary of what the hell is going on, for my American friends

On the treaties:

Britain is not formally allowed to negotiate new trade deals while still an EU member. It has signed off on a text said to replicate current trading arrangements with Switzerland. Other than that, hardly any of the 68 trade deals from which the UK benefits as an EU member, and which it said it would replicated by the time of departure, are near, and none will be ready by 29 March, according to the FT. Brexiters talk about “trading on WTO terms” as if it is what the world does, but it does not: it may trade under WTO rules, but all 164 members of the WTO have also agreed bilateral or regional trade deals that allow them to trade on much better terms than the WTO baselines. No sensible nation would leave the world’s largest single market, the EU, to trade with it on WTO terms, as would happen in the event of no deal.

And on the Irish question

When the UK leaves the EU, the border between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland, which is currently invisible, will become the EU’s only land border with the UK. Such a border normally requires customs and other controls. Nobody wants that, partly because nobody wants a return to the violence of the period before the Good Friday agreement, which removed border checks. In theory, the post-Brexit trading arrangements between the EU and the UK will avoid a “hard” border, but they could take years to negotiate so the EU has insisted on a “backstop” guaranteeing the absence of a hard border until those arrangements are in place. The backstop leaves the whole of the UK in a customs union with the EU “unless and until” the EU agrees it can leave. Brexiters do not like this at all.

I’m just glad I’m not traveling to Britain this year. I can’t imagine the insanity at this point. Would we suddenly need visas? What? What’s really annoy ing is that googling up on this subject only finds a lot of speculation for U.S. travelers to Britain written in 2016. What’s the latest? C’mon you guys.

‘Aren’t you going insane?’: readers’ questions from beyond Brexitland

‘Aren’t you going insane?’: readers’ questions from beyond Brexitland

Jon Henley answers Brexit queries from confused readers around the world

Source: www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/18/arent-you-going-insane-readers-questions-from-beyond-brexitland

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Why is California ranked 41st in per student funding?

Food for thought. Why does California spend so little per student? Proposition 13 is of course one factor (and it could easily be ameliorated by disallowing commercial property to take advantage of Prop 13 and apply it only to residential properties). But while it clearly helps stabilize things for the homeowner, t he loss in revenue — because property taxes are used locally to finance public education — has to be made up in other ways, and California has never done that. Perhaps that accounting has now come due. If you are going to ratchet down property taxes, you’ll have to account for what they used to pay. I myself would be delighted to see the state set a per student per day rate that is the same across the entire state. So that schools in poor areas are not penalized by the lower property taxes. While money has been shown not to be the only factor — examples abound where “inner city schools” got donations and windfalls and still had subpar overall results — to level the playing field is a minimum starting point. Erase the funding discrepancy for primary and secondary education and then we’d be free to start working on other discrepancies.

Come on. California is a bona fide global economy but we are FORTY FIRST in funding our students in this country? That is SHAMEFUL.

The “Red For Ed” movement was led by teachers — not unions — in a handful of red states who got sick and tired of salaries so low that many had to take second jobs. And they had grown weary of schools being starved of resources because of insufficient state and local funding. They went on strike in places where it is illegal for public servants to walk off their jobs.

The Los Angeles strike is different. Teachers there are represented by their union, United Teachers Los Angeles, and the state permits strikes by public employees. California is controlled by Democrats in the governor’s office and the legislature, and is sometimes called the country’s most progressive state — at least when it comes to social issues. When it comes to education, not so much.

Caputo-Pearl said Wednesday: “California is about as blue as you can get and it’s about as rich as you can get, and yet teachers have to go on strike to get the basics for kids and for themselves. I think there’s something profound about that.”

California once had some of the most highly rated public school districts in the country. After the 1978 Proposition 13 property tax reduction law passed, spending per student plummeted, and things got worse in the recession a decade ago. Though spending vastly increased in recent years, California still spends less per pupil than the national average. In its June 2018 ranking of K-12 education spending, Education Week gave California an F for school financing. It was worse than the national average, which was a D-minus.

So, I’m in with the teachers. Good luck, guys. If I had kids in the LA school system, I’d pull them out to support your strike.

That changed in recent decades. As Democrats saw labor’s traditionally strong support weaken with changes in the economy, the party increasingly embraced market solutions to public problems. That was evident in its approach to overhauling public education: Among Democrats, support grew for operating schools as though they were businesses rather than civic institutions.

Duncan, who became education secretary in 2009, used federal power to coerce states to embrace education policies that had previously been attached to Republicans, including the expansion of charter schools and the use of big data as key assessment tools for teachers, students and schools.

Have you seen what charter schools are like? I have. No unions, overworked teachers, and no recourse. Zero oversight and zero regulation lead to lots of abuses. Many of the charter schools fail the children as well. (And guess what? Charter school teachers joined the strike as well. Iiiiiiiinteresting, as they say.


Analysis | Why the L.A. teachers strike is so uncomfortable for so many Democrats

Analysis | Why the L.A. teachers strike is so uncomfortable for so many Democrats

Teachers and supporters rallied and marched Monday, the first day of the Los Angeles teachers strike. (David McNew for The Washington Post)

Democrats don’t agree with one another on public education in the same ways they did decades ago.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/01/17/why-la-teachers-strike-is-so-uncomfortable-so-many-democrats/

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what sparks joy?

You might be puzzled as to why a post about the current trend #konmari is categorized in Fighting Bigotry. But I think this article lays out the case quite well.

Confession time for me: Yes I do spend time reorganizing my space, thinking of ways to do things more effectively and naturally in order to get rid of clutter.  This ranges from reading about Swedish Death Cleaning to poring over Container Store magazines, watching helpful YouTubers on the topic and so on. And, of course, because I have a Netflix subscription, watching Marie Kondo’s new series.

As an aside, I have sat zazen for over ten  years now. There’s an awful lot of stuff she does that I immediately recognize from another context, so while non-Western, much of her approach is familiar. And watching how she interacts with the families, I can see her bringing that bit of buddhist philosophy to them, more than anything else. I mean, watch her interact with a fellow Netflix personality as she helps to tidy up Minhaj’s life and home. It isn’t about her cleaning his stuff up for him but helping him figure out what he needs to do.

But of course the backlash is beginning and I have of course seen the 30 books!! outrage. But it misses the mark. In her shows, you see plenty of people with lots of books, or other items (playing cards, musical CDs, DVDs, any kind of collection) and never once does she recommend getting rid of them. She has them ask themselves one question, and to think about it, for them (clothing, books, sentimental items and so on). Does it make them happy? Does it spark joy ?

Then in areas of the house, she make suggestions — tailored to each family as far as I can tell — about how to organize the kitchen, the bathroom, other living areas. All areas that contain items that are necessary but toilet paper does not spark joy. A good place to store toilet paper and a system for making sure I don’t run out, that brings me joy.

But anyway, do read this article. It argues that the Internet reaction to the supposed “30 book prescription” (which, let me repeat, does NOT exist. Marie herself keeps 30 books; she does not tell anyone else they must do the same) smacks of more than a little racism — and I agree.

There’s a real worrying and infuriating underlying current beneath the self-proclaimed love of books, one that seems to say, how dare this woman — who needs an interpreter, who practices woo-woo nonsense — tell us how we’re meant to live. How dare she have the audacity .

Because I have to think that were it anyone else — were it some blond, white, western woman with a soothing voice, or a well-groomed, muscular white man with a twinkle in his eye — people who didn’t agree would say, well, this isn’t for me. And then move on.

But that’s not what’s happened with Marie Kondo. If anything, the outrage has only grown as more and more people have found more ways to completely and sometimes deliberately misinterpret her words.

The author has a real point  here. C’mon. We watch whatsisname scream right in the face of fumbling cooks and make memes about it. We laugh at shows that basically bully people into decluttering their house or wardrobe (or shrug our shoulders and go on) but clutch our pearls here?

I’ve seen plenty of thoughtful pieces that discuss her system as a whole and put it in the context of people for whom tidying up is linked to trauma, or for whom the accumulation of things takes on a different meaning when it comes to those who have lived in poverty, or individuals from certain religious and ethnic minorities. I am not discounting the validity of those critiques.

But I’ve also not seen any of those critiques blithely label Marie Kondo to a monster for words that she didn’t say, or compare her to Mussolini or President Snow for concepts that she in no way mandates you to follow.

At the very least, these critiques seem to have read her book and used basic comprehension skills while doing so.

I’m not saying all her critics should read her book. It wouldn’t bring them joy to do so, and that’s the last thing Marie Kondo would want.

What I would like is for them to stop criticizing her methods as if they have read her book, though. That’d be a great first step. I’d like them to be able to step back and say, this might not be for me, and then move on.

And, really, what I’d like most is for them to take hold of all their feelings of anger and spite and bitterness towards Marie Kondo, hold it up towards the light, and ask themselves: Why does criticizing Marie Kondo bring me so much joy?

And hey? If you’re interested in decluttering and you have Netflix? Go ahead and watch one of her shows.


Marie Kondo isn’t coming for your books, you’re just being xenophobic

Marie Kondo isn’t coming for your books, you’re just being xenophobic

‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ very politely asked if we really needed all those books in our house and the internet lost its damn mind.

Source: www.hypable.com/marie-kondo-isnt-coming-for-your-books-youre-just-being-xenophobic/

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Ten Weeks to the Brexit Cliff

Dang, y’all have less than ten weeks to avoid falling off the Hard Brexit scenario. I know you do your national elections in like six weeks, but do  y’all have enough time here to agree to another referendum or what?

But her failure to convey any convincing vision of Britain’s future outside the European Union has allowed painful divisions in the country to deepen.

And it has created a risk that Britain will exit the 28-nation European bloc with no deal, which analysts have warned could tip Britain into recession and trigger shortages of food, medicine and electricity because of constraints on trade.

I still don’t understand how May’s plan (or any plan) goes into effect without EU’s signoff on it: from my understanding, they haven’t indicated approval of any of the plans presented to them thus far. So even if she’d survived this vote, would that plan have actually happened?

Mrs. May’s plan would ultimately have given Britain’s government power over immigration from Europe, and would have kept Britain in the European Union’s customs and trade system until at least the end of 2020 while a long-term pact is negotiated.

Didn’t she just survive a no-confidence vote that gave her a  year of breathing room? Or was that a Tory-only no-confidence and this is now a Parliament-wide one?

Immediately after the vote against her proposal, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, citing the “sheer incompetence of this government,” called for a vote of no confidence in Mrs. May, which will be debated on Wednesday.


May and Brexit Face Uncertain Future After Crushing Vote in Parliament

May and Brexit Face Uncertain Future After Crushing Vote in Parliament

The 230-vote margin was the largest in Parliament in recent British history and sends the country into uncharted waters.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/world/europe/brexit-vote-theresa-may.html

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Dump Lasseter; hire five women for each complaint against him

I’m actually quite serious about that. Fuck him. He blew his chances and he torched other women’s careers with his bullshit.

Let other women shine. Give other animators a chance to show their stuff. No one is irreplaceable. Don’t do this, Skydance.

“No one has to work with him who doesn’t”?

You know what that’s saying to all the female animators at Skydance? “Too bad, so sad, if you’re a woman, we’re gonna limit your opportunities by hiring this jackass! Suck it up baby!”

 


John Lasseter left Pixar after a sexual harassment scandal. He’s now heading another animation studio.

John Lasseter left Pixar after a sexual harassment scandal. He’s now heading another animation studio.

The co-founder and former Disney Animation head, who will lead Skydance Animation, retired last year after acknowledging “missteps.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/01/09/john-lasseter-left-pixar-after-sexual-harassment-scandal-hes-now-heading-another-animation-studio/

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Brexit vote, Jan 15

I am so confused.

I mean, I’ve been following news of Brexit as best as I can this side of the pond, and I’m sure Трамп baffles people equally on the other, but…holy hell you guys, what’s going on over there?

Right. What The Hell Is Going To Happen At The Big Brexit Vote Tomorrow Then?

Right. What The Hell Is Going To Happen At The Big Brexit Vote Tomorrow Then?

“Nothing has changed.” Until now.

Source: www.buzzfeed.com/alexwickham/brexit-coups-what-happens

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whoa! 10.0 floor routine

Spotted on twitter. I tracked it down to this youtube clip for better and larger viewing:


UCLA Gymnastics on Twitter

UCLA Gymnastics on Twitter

“A 🔟 isn’t enough for this floor routine by @katelyn_ohashi. 🔥 https://t.co/pqUzl7AlUA”

Source: twitter.com/uclagymnastics/status/1084325320935657472

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some fun stuff

So one of the things about getting the boot from ol’ Google Plus is exploring some of the other stuff out there, in an attempt to keep up with people I’ve met there. No matter what, we’re going to disperse somewhat: everyone has different preferences and needs with where they’re going whether that’s pluspora, twitter, instagram, etc. I’m probably going to default to here and twitter, with some pluspora but I’ve been making an effort with a few other things like Instagram and of course Nyle DiMarco is on there, and I can’t stop laughing at this one. It’s a video clip and it looks like you’ll have to click through to see all of it.

Hearing Ppl – @nyledimarco

Hearing Ppl – @nyledimarco

See Instagram ‘Hearing Ppl’ highlights from Nyle DiMarco (@nyledimarco)

Source: www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17926368064238962/

And on a more serious note. Again, you will need to click through to see all of it. No worries, he captions his stuff.

Activism – @nyledimarco

Activism – @nyledimarco

See Instagram ‘Activism’ highlights from Nyle DiMarco (@nyledimarco)

Source: www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17946608911084568/

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dragonflies are so cool…

I love dragonflies for many reasons: they’re fast, quick, probably pound for pound the best arial predator. They are also deaf.

Apparently, when they migrate, it’s a multi-generational project. I can’t quite wrap my head around this idea. Can you imagine living your life in one place, knowing your children will make a lifetime’s journey south,  your grandchildren the return journey, and then your great grandchildren grow up as you did, to repeat the cycle?

What intrigues me is that each generation must have the potential to be any of the three generations, so what cues direct them to pick out the correct one? Wow…

The team tested each wing sample for a chemical code that would indicate approximately where the bugs were born. From there, the researchers could figure out how far the dragonflies travelled as adults. To do so, they tested for three hydrogen isotopes—or chemical signatures—each of which vary geographically. Hydrogen accumulates in dragonfly larvae’s chitin, which is the stuff that eventually makes up their wings as adults. Identifying the isotope in each wing sample allowed researchers to narrow in on the dragonflies’ origin. The isotopes aren’t perfect, but they’re good enough to tell whether they originate in “Florida, Maryland or Maine,” reports Ben Guarino at The Washington Post.

The citizen science data allowed the team to figure out what types of natural cues, like temperature, give the dragonfly larvae the signal to emerge and migrate. Between February and March, the first generation of dragonflies emerges from ponds and lakes in the southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Then those resilient first-gen bugs travel hundreds of miles north as, making it to New England or the upper Midwest by May. When they get there, they’ll lay their eggs and die.

rsbl20180741f02.jpg
It takes three generations of dragonflies to complete the yearlong migration. In red, areas with many dragonflies are represented. In gray, areas with none at the given point in time are represented. ( Matthew Dodder via Hallworth et al., Biology Letters )

The lives of the next generation are just as incredible. While some of those second generation insects will hang out and overwinter in ponds and lakes in the north during their nymph stage, many will reach maturity and head south between July and October.

When those insects reach the south, they deposit another batch of eggs, which mature into a third generation that will live a non-migratory life over the winter on the coast, producing the eggs of the dragonflies that will migrate northward again in the spring.

 


Dragonflies Embark on an Epic, Multi-Generational Migration Each Year

Dragonflies Embark on an Epic, Multi-Generational Migration Each Year

Monarch butterflies aren’t the only migratory marathoners in North America

Source: www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dragonfly-undertakes-epic-multi-generational-migration-each-year-180971190/?utm_source=facebook.com

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2018 in quick review

Definitely worth a read.

From pop culture to politics, there were a lot of firsts. Sandra Oh became the first Asian actress to be nominated for an Emmy. Beyoncé became the first black woman to headline Coachella. Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim woman elected to Congress. Canadian physicist Donna Strickland became the first woman in 55 years to win the Nobel prize in physics.

But progress isn’t linear; 2018 also had a deeply anti-feminist thread. The row over Serena Williams’s catsuit proved you can be a sporting superstar and still have your clothing policed by the patriarchy. We saw the rise of male supremacist groups. Several US states tightened access to abortion, with Iowa passing one of the strictest abortion laws in the industrialized world. Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right misogynist, was elected president of Brazil. Donald Trump remained misogynist-in-chief of America.

 


The year in patriarchy: from Kavanaugh’s fury to Serena William’s catsuit | Arwa Mahdawi

The year in patriarchy: from Kavanaugh’s fury to Serena William’s catsuit | Arwa Mahdawi

From pop culture to politics, 2018 was a year of extraordinary firsts for women. But progress isn’t linear and it also had a deeply anti-feminist thread

Source: www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/29/year-in-patriarchy-brett-kavanaugh-serena-williams-metoo?CMP=share_btn_gp

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Authoritarianism: Jan 6–12

The government of the United States is not a bargaining chip. A president cannot close the government when he doesn’t get his way, and then offer to open it as a concession when he does. That would not be a democracy; it would be a dictatorship.
–Robert Reich, @RBReich

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More below the fold:

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tl;dr

So amid all the sturm und drang of the shutdown dragging on and Трамп “prepping” for a speech…and the weird failed negotiations over the wall over the weekend, I think this twitter thread may be spot on: https://twitter.com/costareports/status/1082455031964676098 whereby this turns into an all-out war and Трамп declares some kind of national emergency thing. I don’t think he can get very far with it (mostly because we’ve been in a state of emergency since 9/11; go check out the text of the damn “Patriot Act” sometime and because much of the actions taken by the admin to “mitigate” the collateral damage are ineffective or flatly illegal (see As shutdown drags on, Trump officials make new offer, seek novel ways to cope with its impacts) but this is going to be tough.

So yes, most of this week was about the shutdown though there were a few bright spots like the new California governer being installed, and AOC & company putting out a Green New Deal.

My guess is that Трамп is going to scrounge up money from other parts of the executive (especially where it can punch someone down, like snagging HUD money or something), throw it at the wall and call it a day, without acceeding to a bill that doesn’t provision the wall. I hope this pops McConnell’s nuts. Because the truth is all Congress has to do is pass a clean funding bill in both chambers with a veto proof majority; and Pelosi and McConnell can most certainly deliver on that. Me, I’m just trying to figure out what it will take to make the GOP turn on Трамп. There’s got to be a point where it’s the only thing to do to save their skin. I thought that point was passed long ago; they apparently still see some value in him yet.

 


Sunday

Republican GOP senators face a difficult reelection map in 2010, similar to the one Dem senators just faced last November. Cracks are starting to show, as the first to demand of McConnell to do something are the ones most vulnerable in 2020.

[W]ith the shutdown soon to enter its third week, and Mr. Trump dug in on his demand for $5 billion to build a border wall, Mr. McConnell for the first time is facing pressure from members of his own party to step in to resolve the stalemate that has left 800,000 federal workers either furloughed or working without pay.

By absenting himself, Mr. McConnell had hoped to push the blame for a prolonged shutdown onto Democrats while protecting Republicans running for re-election in 2020 — including himself.

McConnell Faces Pressure From Republicans to Stop Avoiding Shutdown Fight

McConnell Faces Pressure From Republicans to Stop Avoiding Shutdown Fight

By absenting himself, the Senate majority leader had hoped to push the blame for a prolonged shutdown onto Democrats while protecting Republicans running for re-election next year — including himself.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/us/politics/mcconnell-senate-republicans-shutdown.html


Lies over the border.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) made the accusation in a scathing letter to Nielsen following a private presentation to Congress in which she tried to promote President Donald Trump’s border wall by falsely claiming thousands of terrorists were apprehended at the southern border last year.

“Your border security presentation submitted to Congress today is yet another example of the misinformation and outright lies the Trump Administration has used to make the case for the President’s boondoggle border wall,” Thompson wrote, also referencing the ongoing partial government shutdown and the recent deaths of two children at the border.

Democrat Accuses Kirstjen Nielsen Of ‘Outright Lies’ On Border, Calls For Hearing

House Homeland Security Committee head Bennie Thompson wants to look into the Trump administration’s border policy and the deaths of two migrant children.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kirstjen-nielsen-border_us_5c30523ee4b073352832ee7a?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004


It’s not just TSA workers.

How the shutdown is hurting some of America’s poorest families

How the shutdown is hurting some of America’s poorest families

As the shutdown drags on, it’s jeopardizing the welfare of those who live in HUD-subsidized housing, including low-income families and the elderly.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/how-government-shutdown-hurting-some-america-s-poorest-families-n954361


Shutdown nearly shuts immigration courts, but deportations continue

Shutdown nearly shuts immigration courts, but deportations continue

“You’re shutting down the immigration court over the issue of immigration,” said Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the immigration judges union.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/shutdown-nearly-shuts-u-s-immigration-courts-deportations-continue-n954826


New Dem lawmaker slams Gaetz for using the term ‘Sacagawea’ to attack Warren

New Dem lawmaker slams Gaetz for using the term ‘Sacagawea’ to attack Warren

Freshman Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), who this week became one of the first two Native American women sworn into Congress, said it was “offensive and hurtful” for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to call Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Sacagawea.” Haaland slammed Gaetz for making the comparison to Sacagawea, the Lemhi Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark expedition. “Sacagawea made great sa…

Source: www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/new-dem-lawmaker-slams-gaetz-for-using-the-term-sacagawea-to-attack-warren/ar-BBRQtUO


That’s going to stick in his craw

Donald Trump is less popular than Nancy Pelosi for the first time during his presidency

Donald Trump is less popular than Nancy Pelosi for the first time during his presidency

First things first: The theme song of the week is The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Way Down in the Hole from The Wire.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/05/politics/pelosi-trump-favorability-poll-of-the-week/index.html


Funny how that works… SUCH A COINCIDENCE.

Shutdown spares federal park rangers at site in Trump hotel

Shutdown spares federal park rangers at site in Trump hotel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Smithsonian museums are closed. There are no federal staffers to answer tourists’ questions at the Lincoln Memorial. And across the United States, national parks are cluttered with trash. Yet despite the federal government shutdown, a historic clock tower at the Trump International Hotel remained open Friday for its handful of visitors, staffed by green-clad National Park Service rangers. “We’re open!” one National Park Service ranger declared around lunchtime, pushing an elevator button for a lone visitor entering the site through a side entrance to ride to the top of the 315-foot-high, nearly 120-year-old clock tower.

Source: apnews.com/a92b044703354064a34217492c5a0923


So instead this time around we can flood social media with pictures of overflowing garbage instead of closed gates, amirite? I just want to scream at the amount of damage being directly and indirectly done here (the article does a good rundown of the latter type of thing). If you remember when asswipe yeehawd Bundy shut down and trashed Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll remember the damage that had to be undone first, which delayed work on the fish rehabbing and so on down the line? Yeah.

“I would suggest it’s more political,” says Jon Jarvis, the former National Park Service director under the Obama administration. “The administration did not want to suffer the public outcry that came during the last shutdown.”

After a 16-day government shutdown in 2013, the government faced massive public backlash as disappointed park visitors flooded social media with images showing closed gates at parks across the U.S.

National parks face years of damage from government shutdown

National parks face years of damage from government shutdown

When the government eventually reopens, park experts warn reversing damage won’t be as easy as throwing out the trash.

Source: www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/01/why-national-parks-trashed-during-government-shutdown/


Syrian troop withdrawal halted forever

Syrian troop withdrawal halted forever

Source: www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/01/syrian-troop-withdrawal-halted-forever/


Trump: ‘No hurry’ to name permanent replacements for acting Cabinet members

Trump: ‘No hurry’ to name permanent replacements for acting Cabinet members

President Trump said Sunday he’s in “no hurry” to name permanent choices for a handful of Cabinet positions being filled in an acting capacity.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/administration/424088-trump-no-hurry-to-name-permanent-replacements-for-acting-cabinet


Monday

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/07/before-looking-ahead-democrats-should-look-back-hubert-humphrey/

Perspective | Before looking ahead to 2020, Democrats should look back to Hubert Humphrey

The blueprint for reinvigorating the Democratic agenda.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/07/before-looking-ahead-democrats-should-look-back-hubert-humphrey/


https://www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/delta-united-airlines-pilots-to-president-trump-cut-nonsense.html

Delta and United Airlines Pilots to President Trump: Cut the Nonsense

Delta and United Airlines Pilots to President Trump: Cut the Nonsense

Airline pilots are very worried about the government shutdown.

Source: www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/delta-united-airlines-pilots-to-president-trump-cut-nonsense.html


https://medium.com/@parkermolloy/5-things-the-media-does-to-manufacture-outrage-ba79125e1262

5 things the media does to manufacture outrage. – Parker Molloy – Medium

5 things the media does to manufacture outrage. – Parker Molloy – Medium

People are so sensitive these days! People are just offended by every little thing! Millennials, amirite?!

Source: medium.com/@parkermolloy/5-things-the-media-does-to-manufacture-outrage-ba79125e1262


What Romney Exposed About Late-Stage Trumpism – The Bulwark

What Romney Exposed About Late-Stage Trumpism – The Bulwark

Last week’s op-ed from Mitt Romney was interesting not just for what it was, but for what the response to it revealed. Because the defense mounted by Trump World tells us quite a lot about the decadence of late stage Trumpism. Romney’s central heresy was his observation that “policies and appointments are only a part …

Source: thebulwark.com/what-romney-exposed-about-late-stage-trumpism/


The GOP depends on the fact that MANY people don’t understand how marginal tax rates work, and gin up outrage over 70% marginal tax rates that will never touch 90% of their base.

https://jezebel.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-how-do-you-not-know-how-margi-1831529269

Photo


This is going to be a giant fucking mess, literally and figuratively, to clean up, especially at the National Parks. The admin apparently signaled a number of possible compromises to get their 5bil, but the Dems ain’t smoking any of that shit.

But a border wall is “central to any strategy,” Vought wrote, and Democrats — who have said the wall should not be tied to an agreement to reopen the government — remained skeptical of any overtures by the president, suggesting that there is no end in sight to the shutdown, which has entered its third week.

A Democratic official familiar with the meeting said no progress was made over the weekend, in large part because the White House hasn’t been forthcoming about how the money would be used or why the request is for so much more than the administration sought only a few months ago.

The posturing came as the shutdown’s impacts mounted, with the Trump administration scrambling to mitigate its effects on Americans expecting to get a tax refund next month, those who rely on federal assistance for their housing, and vulnerable national monuments and parks.

As shutdown drags on, Trump officials make new offer, seek novel ways to cope with its impacts

The administration now wants $5.7 billion for a “steel barrier” and $800 million “to address urgent humanitarian needs” at the border. Meanwhile, to avoid fallout from the budget impasse, national parks will dip into entrance fees to bolster operations, which critics said may be illegal.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/as-shutdown-drags-on-trump-officials-seek-novel-ways-to-cope-with-its-impacts/2019/01/06/96c54a50-11ee-11e9-90a8-136fa44b80ba_story.html


https://www. rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/democrats-election-changes-775071/

Inside the Democrats’ New Plan to Fight Dark Money and Voter Suppression

Inside the Democrats’ New Plan to Fight Dark Money and Voter Suppression

Take a look at sweeping changes Democrats are proposing under a new House bill

Source: www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/democrats-election-changes-775071/


https://gsiexchange.com/farm-bankruptcies-have-now-surpassed-great-recession-levels/

Farm Bankruptcies Have Now Surpassed Great Recession Levels | GSI Exchange

Farm Bankruptcies Have Now Surpassed Great Recession Levels | GSI Exchange

American farms are going bankrupt, a rising trend that sees no respite in sight. In a report recently published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, a growing number of American farms are unable to maintain their operations. And the numbers indicate that more filings are to be expected in the near future. 84 farms …

Source: gsiexchange.com/farm-bankruptcies-have-now-surpassed-great-recession-levels/


https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/gavin-newsom-california-governor-trump-1083304

‘More aggressive and in your face’: Newsom takes power in California

‘More aggressive and in your face’: Newsom takes power in California

The incoming governor has a powerful ally in fellow San Franciscan House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but a president eager to use the state as a foil.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/gavin-newsom-california-governor-trump-1083304


https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/7/ari_berman_dems_introduce_sweeping_voting

Ari Berman: Dems Introduce Sweeping Voting Rights Bill to Combat Rampant Voter Suppression

Ari Berman: Dems Introduce Sweeping Voting Rights Bill to Combat Rampant Voter Suppression

Voting rights activists are hailing a new House bill that aims to restore voting rights to millions, crack down on the influence of dark money in politics, restore the landmark Voting Rights Act, establish automatic and same-day voter registration and other measures. The bill has been dubbed the For the People Act. It is the first piece of legislation introduced by the new Democratic majority in the House. We speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones, reporting fellow at The Nation Institute and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.” His latest piece is titled “Democrats’ First Order of Business: Making It Easier to Vote and Harder to Buy Elections.”

Source: www.democracynow.org/2019/1/7/ari_berman_dems_introduce_sweeping_voting


https://www.lawfareblog.com/case-closed-justice-department-wont-stand-behind-its-report-immigrants-and-terrorism

Case Closed: The Justice Department Won’t Stand Behind Its Report on Immigrants and Terrorism

Case Closed: The Justice Department Won’t Stand Behind Its Report on Immigrants and Terrorism

​The record is clear: The president lied, citing Justice Department data that do not exist, and the Justice Department released a report designed to be as suggestive of that lie as possible without repeating it.

Source: www.lawfareblog.com/case-closed-justice-department-wont-stand-behind-its-report-immigrants-and-terrorism


https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/supreme-court-will-rule-gerrymandering-md-and-nc/579550/

The Supreme Court Could Make Gerrymandering Worse

The Supreme Court Could Make Gerrymandering Worse

It likely won’t rule partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional. Instead, it may disallow independent redistricting commissions.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/supreme-court-will-rule-gerrymandering-md-and-nc/579550/


https://www. nytimes.com/2019/01/05/us/politics/donald-trump-border-wall.html

How the Border Wall Is Boxing Trump In

How the Border Wall Is Boxing Trump In

What started out as a memory trick for an undisciplined candidate has become the central priority of the Trump presidency, even as some immigration hard-liners do not view it as a top goal.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/us/politics/donald-trump-border-wall.html


From a few years back and still relevant.

https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/

Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery”

Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery”

According to the former president, Americans are now experiencing “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.”

Source: theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/


https://mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/trump-is-doing-his-best-to-reproduce-conditions-just-before-the-great-depression-x1l0gOW5jk-sysDgLEBQGg/

Trump Is Doing His Best To Reproduce Conditions Just Before The Great Depression – The Intellectualist

Trump Is Doing His Best To Reproduce Conditions Just Before The Great Depression – The Intellectualist

Economists warned about protectionist trade in 1930 and no one listened. Now, economists have warned President Trump.

Source: mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/trump-is-doing-his-best-to-reproduce-conditions-just-before-the-great-depression-x1l0gOW5jk-sysDgLEBQGg/


This is really worth reading.

Too many people—including many pundits, political scientists, and politicians themselves—are laboring under a misimpression that our political problems are inevitable, or the result of a weakening of the parties, or due to the parties’ ideological incoherence, or because of an increasingly polarized American public. Those who focus on these reasons are looking in the wrong places. The result is that despite all the commentary and attention on politics in recent years, there is still no accepted strategy to reform the system and things keep getting worse.

We need a new approach. Our political problems are not due to a single cause, but rather to a failure of the nature of the political competition that has been created. This is a systems problem. We are not political scientists, political insiders, or political experts. Instead, we bring a new analytical lens to understanding the performance of our political system: the lens of industry competition. This type of analysis has been used for decades to understand competition in other industries, and sheds new light on the failure of politics because politics in America has become, over the last several decades, a major industry that works like other industries.

We use this lens to put forth an investment thesis for political reform and innovation. What would be required to actually change the political outcomes we are experiencing? What would it take to better align the political system with the public interest and make progress on the nation’s problems? And, which of the many political reform and innovation ideas that have been proposed would actually alter the trajectory of the system?


WHY COMPETITION IN THE POLITICS INDUSTRY IS FAILING AMERICA (pdf, 79 pages)


https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/mueller-probe-concord-management-1085285

Judge blasts lawyers for Russian firm charged by Mueller

Judge blasts lawyers for Russian firm charged by Mueller

“I’ll say it plain and simple: knock it off,” U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich told lawyers for the Russian company.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/mueller-probe-concord-management-1085285


https://www. rawstory.com/2019/01/hud-instructed-landlords-use-reserve-funds-shutdown-not-knowing-federal-program-expired/

HUD instructed landlords to use reserve funds during shutdown – not knowing federal program had expired

HUD instructed landlords to use reserve funds during shutdown – not knowing federal program had expired

Secretary Ben Carson’s Dept. of Housing and Urban Development on Friday tried to contain the damage caused by President Trump’s shutdown of the federal government. HUD sent letters to 1500 landlords that were part of a federal program, instructing them to use reserve funds from a federal program to avoid evicting tenants. HUD officials, according to The Washington Post, were unaware the program they directed landlords to use had already expired. Calling it “a last-minute …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/hud-instructed-landlords-use-reserve-funds-shutdown-not-knowing-federal-program-expired/


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/nancy-pelosi-and-new-house-democratic-majority/579358/

Why the New Democratic Majority Could Work Better Than the Last

Why the New Democratic Majority Could Work Better Than the Last

House Democrats today are far more ideologically and geographically cohesive than they were during Nancy Pelosi’s previous speakership.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/nancy-pelosi-and-new-house-democratic-majority/579358/


Focused on all the wrong things here. “How are we going to pay for this” is NOT the question, especially when never asked about the T-ian tax cuts, massive Pentagon spending sprees and so on. Ugh. AOC herself has pointed that out previously though she didn’t call him on that here.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and America’s Centrist Media

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and America’s Centrist Media

Yesterday was the big day, folks: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress who defeated an entrenched incumbent in the primary to get there, finally Arrived with an interview on the old people news program. Truly, nothing could be a greater honor.

Source: splinternews.com/literal-vanderbilt-wants-to-know-how-aocs-gonna-pay-for-1831547115


Hell  yes.

Corporate leaders struck a delicate public balance with Trump, after he became president, reflecting awareness that he won high office as one of the most reviled public figures in the world, on a platform of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic panic, and that associating with him might cost them customers. They’ve been long forgotten, but shortly after he took office, Trump convened two advisory panels—the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and the Strategic and Policy Forum—composed largely of corporate leaders, who were nominally assigned to provide Trump guidance on how to foster economic growth. Their participation was framed in terms of the public good, rather than their private interests, but in truth, these were quid pro quo affairs in which leaders with business before Trump’s administration curried favor with the president, as he sought to quell their concerns that associating with him would be bad for business.

Many of the participants faced intense pressure not to join the boards in the first place, and a few even dropped out under duress as Trump implemented his Muslim ban, and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement. But it wasn’t until Trump praised the Nazis marching in Charlottesville, VA that a mass exodus began, compelling Trump to disband both panels.

If that was the beginning and the end of corporate America’s flirtation with Trumpism, it would be a fairly banal story about business leaders trying to navigate turbulent and unfamiliar waters, before retreating to safe harbor. In reality the whole thing was a charade obscuring an unseemly and ongoing alliance. All along, Trump has sought to lever his corporate-friendly fiscal and regulatory agenda, and his deafening public megaphone, into patronage relationships with corporate leaders, and has lashed out intemperately (even retributively) at those who haven’t adequately bent to his will.

Another forgotten episode involves Trump’s Medicare and Medicaid administrator, Seema Verma, who convened a meeting of top insurance company officials and regulators, and threatened to withhold billions of dollars in public funds intended to offset out-of-pocket costs for low-income beneficiaries, unless the insurers agreed to support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The repeal legislation famously failed, but this episode, which deserves close congressional scrutiny, revealed the real contours of the Trump-corporate relationship much more closely than the kabuki advisory panels did.

After Trump signed the Republican corporate tax cut bill into law, dozens of enormous corporations, including some represented on the disbanded advisory panels, participated in a grotesque public relations spectacle, in which they issued statements attributing long-planned holiday bonuses to the tax cuts, allowing Trump and Republican leaders to claim credit for the bonuses while providing the companies themselves some free advertising.

Because the tax cuts have accrued overwhelmingly to the richest people in America—because they arguably placed downward pressure on wages, and created offshoring incentives for large employers—they became a huge political drag on Republicans in last year’s elections. But the political failure of the tax cuts shouldn’t lull Democrats into complacency about the fact that Trump and these corporate leaders worked hand in glove to help Trump parlay the tax cuts into electoral dividends for him and his fellow Republicans.

Trump is an enticing target for Democratic investigators, but as a historically unpopular president, his misconduct is already widely known to his opposition, and as head of the executive branch, he has unique powers to thwart or draw out investigations of his personal conduct. The corporate executives who entered patronage relationships with Trump have no such powers. To the contrary, they have unique incentives to be reasonably, if not eagerly, responsive to requests from Congress and congressional subpoenas. I’d like to know why these companies, which shape American life, and depend on American consumer loyalty, chose to provide Trump and Republicans such valuable political p.r., and whether there’s more to the quid pro quo than the tax cut law itself, which was already on the books when those statements went out.

Democrats: Investigate Trump’s Corrupt Corporate Alliance | Crooked Media

Democrats: Investigate Trump’s Corrupt Corporate Alliance | Crooked Media

Trump is a petty thief, but don’t lose sight of his greater crime: the conscription of corporate America into his program of racist authoritarianism.

Source: crooked.com/articles/democrats-trump-coroporate-america/


Sotomayor and Gorsuch Resume Their Fight for the Future of the Sixth Amendment

The two joined forces once again to stick up for the right to a trial by jury when the government seeks to impose crippling fines.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/sotomayor-gorsuch-supreme-court-dissent-criminal-restitution.html


I am for the moment going to ignore that ugly as fuck sentiment that there are people out there “that need to be hurt” and just point out some of the absurd situations set up by Трамп’s temper tantrum shut down.  I’m also going to add an obligatory OH FFS FLORIDA!

“It’s Just Too Much”: A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane

In Florida’€™s deeply conservative Panhandle, federal prison workers were already struggling after Hurricane Michael. Then came the government shutdown.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/07/us/florida-government-shutdown-marianna.html


Of course this also means he’s got nothing to lose. I think this twitter thread nails it and I’m going to be watching that stupid speech of his (actually: watching the results/transcript of it but you get the idea): https://twitter.com/costareports/status/1082455031964676098. However, if the GOP turns on him, he’s finished. Anyway note this (and remember GOP Senators have a difficult 2020 map even without T’s numbers to consider)

It’s not just Trump, either. If his approval rating doesn’t rise over the next two years, multiple Senate Republicans will be in trouble. I’ve long assumed that Susan Collins of Maine could win re-election for as long as she wanted. But she may not be able to do so if Trump loses Maine by 15 percentage points — which was the combined Republican deficit in Maine’s two midterm congressional races.

Then there is Cory Gardner of Colorado (where Republicans lost the 2018 popular vote deficit by more than 10 percentage points), Joni Ernst of Iowa (where the Republican deficit was four points) and Martha McSally of Arizona (where it was two points).

If Trump’s popularity were to drop at all, another batch of senators — from North Carolina, Texas and Georgia, three states where Republicans only narrowly won the 2018 popular vote — would become more endangered. Even Kansas elected a Democratic governor last year, and it will have an open Senate seat in 2020. On Friday, Pat Roberts, the Republican incumbent, announced he would not run again.

Opinion | Trump the Vulnerable

Opinion | Trump the Vulnerable

A close look at the 2018 midterm results shows why he is so weak.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/06/opinion/trump-2020-republicans-impeachment.html


Oh boy. Wonder what kind of advice these people will give or what kind of job they’ll do on the refunds if they’re being forced to work with no pay at the time. Sickouts, I betcha, just like TSA. It’s amazing how many people they are trying to force to work without pay… GOP endgame, I guess.

In a late-afternoon call with the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration will call back a significant number of I.R.S. employees from furlough, in order to issue refunds. Mr. Mnuchin also told Mr. Neal that the I.R.S. would open the tax filing season on time at the end of January, and that enough employees would return to work to allow the I.R.S. to answer 60 to 70 percent of phone calls seeking tax assistance.

Those employees will not be paid until the shutdown ends.

Tax Refunds Will Be Issued During Shutdown, Trump Official Says

Tax Refunds Will Be Issued During Shutdown, Trump Official Says

The announcement could violate a law governing what federal agencies may do when their funding has lapsed.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/07/us/politics/tax-return-refunds-government-shutdown.html


Tuesday

This is beyond ridiculous. C’mon you fuckers. Skip airing it, and do a 30 second spot later to hit the highlights. That way you can filter out the lies, the windbagging, and the fapping from the actual speech. You know how this is going to go down, we can already see this: Donald Trump Runs Apocalyptic Border Wall Ads As Networks Clear Time For Speech

Networks giving Trump free airtime on Tuesday refused to air Obama’s 2014 immigration speech

Networks giving Trump free airtime on Tuesday refused to air Obama’s 2014 immigration speech

Trump’s address is supposed to be about the government shutdown he initiated.

Source: www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/7/18172419/trump-immigration-speech-networks-obama


And…

Networks plan to carry Dem response to Trump primetime address

Networks plan to carry Dem response to Trump primetime address

Most major broadcast networks indicated Tuesday they plan to carry the Democratic response to President Trump’s primetime address from the Oval Office on the partial government shutdown and the situation at the southern border.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/media/424290-networks-plan-to-carry-dem-response-to-trump-primetime-address

Photo


Of course, fuck you CNN because you’re fucking airing it when you punted on Obama’s 2014 address you fucking morons.

Trump’s border address sparks extraordinary debate inside and outside TV networks

Trump’s border address sparks extraordinary debate inside and outside TV networks

President Trump is tapping into one of the powers of the presidency, a televised Oval Office address, for his first time.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/08/media/trump-prime-time-speech-debate/index.html


It’s a thoughtful and even interesting article but it’s not helping with my deep distrust of white evangelicism and of most branches of xianity. I mean, have any of these people even fucking read the New Testament?

Now if the so-called “orthodox” evangelicals don’t interfere with my personal health and reproductive care? Stop telling me who I’m allowed to love? Then we good. Otherwise it’s war as usual. Ugh, just stop trying to own everyone around you, you motherfuckers. Fix your own fucking shit first.

Dammit, I tried.

“It’s a thoughtful and even interesting article…but the fundamental problem with White Evangelicals is their desire to forcibly proselytize and convert everyone around them.”

Fine. Just dump Trump, you mofo’s.

Conservative Evangelicals Attempt to Disentangle Their Faith from Trumpism

Conservative Evangelicals Attempt to Disentangle Their Faith from Trumpism

Karen Swallow Prior stands at the vanguard of a new movement of Christians looking to reclaim their faith from the regressive politics that have co-opted it.

Source: www.newyorker.com/news/on-religion/conservative-evangelicals-attempt-to-disentangle-their-faith-from-trumpism

I rest my case. See also: Evangelical activists want LGBT people excluded from anti-lynching bi. I mean, FOR FUCKS SAKE.


It’s worth going back (originally written July 2015) and rereading this:

When Trump launched his campaign, his real constituency was the media — not any group of voters per se. His goal was to shock the media into paying attention to him. But as it happens, he stumbled into something even more valuable: an actual constituency.

The message he found won a real and intense emotional response from some group of Americans — powering him to the top of the Republican primary race, and now, presumptively, the nomination.

Trump likes to say that no one was talking about immigration before he entered the race. That isn’t true. But the way he talked about it resonated much more deeply than anything his rivals could muster.

The research that made me take Donald Trump seriously

The research that made me take Donald Trump seriously

For many Americans, anxiety about immigrants is wrapped up in a cluster of stereotypes about Latinos, legality, and crime. Donald Trump was the first candidate to speak directly to their fears.

Source: www.vox.com/2015/7/29/9060427/nativism-research-immigration-trump


Of course he is. That’s all the motherfucking greedy motherfucker motherfucking does…

Trump fundraises off prime-time address

Trump fundraises off prime-time address

President Trump is fundraising off his national prime-time address Tuesday focused on the border amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/administration/424356-trump-fundraising-on-national-address-on-border


I’m not going to subject any of you to a video OR transcript of T’s “speech”. This should be enough a summary.

Live fact-checking and analysis of President Trump’s immigration speech

President Trump is set to make a case to a national television audience Tuesday night for long-sought border wall funding; the impasse over the wall has led to a partial government shutdown. His remarks are scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern and are expected to last about eight minutes and be carried live by all major television networks.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/live-updates/trump-white-house/live-fact-checking-and-analysis-of-president-trumps-immigration-speech/


No, Trump Can’t Build a Wall Through Military Eminent Domain | National Review

No, Trump Can’t Build a Wall Through Military Eminent Domain | National Review

His emergency powers aren’t broad enough to bypass Congress.

Source: www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/no-trump-cant-build-a-wall-through-military-eminent-domain/


Trump’s shutdown could get people kicked out of their homes

Trump’s shutdown could get people kicked out of their homes

Millions of vulnerable Americans may be about to pay the price for Trump’s incompetence.

Source: shareblue.com/trump-shutdown-hud-housing-people-kicked-out-homes/


Wednesday

I just can’t make this shit up. But… YES! Dooooo eeeeeet!

DC Water board debates whether they can cut off White House service after Trump admin misses payment

DC Water board debates whether they can cut off White House service after Trump admin misses payment

The District of Columbia’s Water authority board debated whether they can shut off water to the White House after the federal government missed its quarterly payment due to the president’s border wall shutdown. WAMU, American University’s NPR station, reported Tuesday that DC Water officials noted during their first meeting of 2019 that they received an email from the Treasury Department announcing it won’t be paying for $5 million of the federal government’s $16.5 million water …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/dc-water-board-debates-whether-can-cut-off-white-house-service-trump-admin-misses-payment/


Fucks sake.

It is unclear, based on the tweet’s wording, if Trump already directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withhold funds or if he would be doing so. FEMA representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning. An email sent to them generated this automated reply: “Due to the federal funding hiatus, we are not able to respond to general press queries.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on the intent of the president’s tweet.

Whether the president even has the authority to rescind FEMA funding that has already been approved remains unclear. Guidelines for the way federal dollars flow after the president declares a national disaster, like he did after devastating wildfires in California this year, are outlined in the Stafford Act, said Rafael Lemaitre, the former director of public affairs for FEMA under the Obama administration.

‘Another low’: Democrats blast Trump for threatening to cut wildfire aid to California

‘Another low’: Democrats blast Trump for threatening to cut wildfire aid to California

It’s unclear whether the president could or how he would freeze the funds, or whether individuals seeking disaster aid would be affected.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/09/trump-threatens-cut-off-fema-aid-california-forest-fires/?utm_term=.6a1031ab5b35


I thought I was savage.

The dark warning of the dangerous brown tide coming across the border feeds the Breitbart/Fox News base with the same messages they’re getting every day, but it lacked the showmanship and agenda-changing power Trump hoped it would. Even if it had, just keeping the base’s amygdalas stoked doesn’t come close to solving his multiple political problems.

The speech can most accurately be seen as the death twitch of The Wall cult. Trump can’t deliver a product, so he’s looking to sell something different.

He said it tonight; the idea of a glorious concrete wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico is deader than that lemur he glues on his head every morning. It will, at most, be a fence. This is not what Trump’s supporters voted for. They voted for his sales pitch of a 30-foot concrete wall with laser moats, robot alligators, and minefields, all paid for by Mexico.

Donald Trump Delivers a Wet Fart Oval Office Address


Wow.

As I signaled last night, the seemingly accidental redaction error in the Manafort legal filing combined with the news published mid-evening by The New York Times is one of the biggest revelations in more than two years of the Trump/Russia scandal. It’s bigger than the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, though the two cases can’t be fully understood without reference to each other. Just as importantly, these new revelations combined with earlier reports effectively end the debate about whether there was ‘collusion’ between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. There was. It wasn’t marginal. It was happening at the very top of the campaign. The campaign manager was secretly funneling campaign data and information to a Russian oligarch closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, someone who had no possible use for such information other than to use it in the Russian efforts to get Donald Trump elected President.

The ‘Collusion’ Debate Ended Last Night

The ‘Collusion’ Debate Ended Last Night

As I signaled last night, the seemingly accidental redaction error in the Manafort legal filing combined with the news published…

Source: talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-collusion-debate-ended-last-night


Still in shutdown mode. C’mon, Senate.

24 Eye-Opening Traveler Tweets That Show The Dangers Of A Government Shutdown

24 Eye-Opening Traveler Tweets That Show The Dangers Of A Government Shutdown

While Donald Trump stokes nonsensical fear of terrorist hordes, flooding over the border to justify his precious wall for ‘national security,’ people are finding themselves in real and present danger due to the government shutdown he has called to get his way.

Source: www.boredpanda.com/tsa-agents-after-government-shutdown/


I can’t overemphasize this one enough

Finally, Someone Who Gets It

Finally, Someone Who Gets It

Between President Trump struggling to read his racist bile off the teleprompter in the Oval Office and a stultifying “rebuttal” by our leading Democratic crypt keepers, Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, you would think that being past retirement age with brain fluid slowly leaking out of your ears is a requirement for public office.

Source: splinternews.com/finally-someone-who-gets-it-1831597291


It’s amazing that Трамп and the GOP consider economy so important because they aren’t doing a goddamn thing for it. Which may actually destroy his presidency rather than scandals, theft, bribery, collusion, etc. /facepalm.

Already reeling from tariff war, some farmers aren’t receiving government support checks amid shutdown

Already reeling from tariff war, some farmers aren’t receiving government support checks amid shutdown

Many farmers, among Trump’s loyal base in rural America, can’t make ends meet and are considering abandoning their crops.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/national/already-reeling-from-tariff-war-farmers-arent-receiving-government-support-checks-amid-shutdown/2019/01/09/2403fca2-40a0-4cc2-8d9c-d4787edde1b4_story.html?utm_term=.f1f91002c5dc


I mean, it’s the GOP that’s supposed to be so concerned about security and shit, isn’t it? I mean I dont’ like TSA goons but the workers deserve to be fairly compensated (and properly trained and so on, but one thing at a time I suppose).

Last week, AFGE launched a lawsuit against the federal government for forcing federal employees to show up to work uncompensated, calling the demands “inhumane.”

Around that time, the union said TSA agents were starting to skip work. The situation now appearing to be escalating.

In addition to raising security issues, fewer staffers on duty would increase wait times with longer lines at airports.

“It is completely unacceptable that the women and men who risk their lives safeguarding our airports are still required to report for work without knowing when they’ll be paid again,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

TSA Union Warns Of ‘Massive Security Risk’ As Some Officers Quit Amid Shutdown

TSA Union Warns Of ‘Massive Security Risk’ As Some Officers Quit Amid Shutdown

“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck,” one union official said.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/transportation-security-administration-shutdown_us_5c35a382e4b05b16bcfbf808


Why is anyone even meeting with Трамп? He’s not the bottleneck. Someone needs to pin McConnell down and make him put a Senate vote up on a clean bill to override Prez Tantrum.

Trump Storms Out of White House Meeting with Democrats on Shutdown

Trump Storms Out of White House Meeting with Democrats on Shutdown

President Trump slammed a table, then stormed out of a negotiating session with Democrats, declaring it “a total waste of time” as the shutdown stretches on.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/us/politics/government-shutdown-trump-senate.html


A useful rundown.

National Emergency Powers and Trump’s Border Wall, Explained

National Emergency Powers and Trump’s Border Wall, Explained

President Trump’€™s threat to invoke emergency powers to build a border wall would be extraordinarily aggressive and most likely touch off a legal battle.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/07/us/politics/trump-national-emergency.html?module=inline


I say we take note of which companies are the first to start killing us and take those companies down as the sociopathic predators they are.

Food-Safety Inspections Halted Due to Shutdown: Report

Food-Safety Inspections Halted Due to Shutdown: Report

With hundreds of food-safety inspectors furloughed due to the ongoing government shutdown, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended all “routine” inspections of U.S.-based food-processing facilities, according to a Washington Post report citing excerpts from an interview with the FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb.

Source: gizmodo.com/food-safety-inspections-halted-due-to-shutdown-report-1831616684


/snort

Pelosi says Trump doesn’t get shutdown’s effect on workers: ‘He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money’

Pelosi says Trump doesn’t get shutdown’s effect on workers: ‘He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took a dig at President Trump on Wednesday after a brief meeting that Trump described as a

Source: thehill.com/homenews/administration/424607-pelosi-says-trump-doesnt-get-shutdowns-effect-on-workers-he-thinks


“If it’s what you say I love it!”

Donald Trump Jr. Will Be First to Be Subpoenaed by House Democrats Says Top Congresswoman

Donald Trump Jr. Will Be First to Be Subpoenaed by House Democrats Says Top Congresswoman

“If it’s what you say I love it.”

Source: www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2019/01/donald-trump-jr-will-be-first-to-be-subpoenaed-by-house-democrats-says-top-congresswoman/


I’m hopeful that between California and New York, we can whipsaw the rest of the country into becoming someplace humane to live.

Paid Vacation to Be Required for Private Sector Workers, Mayor Says

Paid Vacation to Be Required for Private Sector Workers, Mayor Says

The move could cover 500,000 New Yorkers and came a day after Mayor de Blasio announced a health care plan that seemed similarly aimed at a national stage.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/nyregion/bill-de-blasio-paid-vacation-nyc.html


I keep saying the media can’t continue with this kind of bullshit. It’s lazy and disingenuous and AN  UTTER FAILURE OF JOURNALISM. It’s fucking “infotainment”.

Fact-checking has evolved during Trump’s time in office — mainstream news outlets are far more likely to call a lie a lie than they used to. Even on Tuesday night, big outlets relied on policy expertise to clearly dispute Trump’s false claims.

But the night also revealed that outlets still feel the urge to find fault on both sides or assign neutral blame for political problems. The political press has long wanted to cover politics like a sport, to cover the plays of each party as if they are morally and ethically the same. On a night when the president looked the public in the eye and lied about why the government has been shut down for weeks, the press needs to not fall into the false equivalency trap.

The New York Times and AP bungled their fact checks of Trump’s speech — badly

The New York Times and AP bungled their fact checks of Trump’s speech — badly

False equivalency is creeping into the fact-checking business.

Source: www.vox.com/2019/1/9/18175186/trump-oval-office-speech-fact-check-failures


Thursday

Maybe. Slamming on tables and stomping out means he still hasn’t realized it. Let’s see where this goes.

Trump’s border wall speech was the moment he lost his media swagger

Trump’s border wall speech was the moment he lost his media swagger

The significance of the telecast comes from what it potentially revealed to millions of viewers about what has been widely considered his mastery of media, particularly television, the medium that made him a familiar face to Americans.

Source: www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/tv/z-on-tv-blog/bs-fe-zontv-trump-losing-touch-20190109-story.html


This is the one thing the Трамп presidency has shown us…how much of the president’s behavior was constrained by norms and tradition rather than actual law, and the consequences of having a president that doesn’t give a flying fuck about norms.

The president may seem weak, but the presidency remains strong. Mr. Trump has illustrated that even a feeble commander in chief can impose his will on the nation if he lacks any sense of restraint or respect for political norms and guardrails. True, Mr. Trump has not been able to run roughshod over Congress or ignore the constraints of the federal courts. But he has been able to inflict extensive damage on our political institutions and public culture. He has used his power to aggravate, rather than calm, the fault lines that have divided our country.

His “wall” government shutdown is the latest example of his misuse of executive power. To end this essentially pointless standoff of his own making, he is exploring the use of national emergency powers to build a wall Congress and a majority of the public don’t want.

The Trump administration has provided a new example of an old concept: the “imperial presidency.” That term, famously used by the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in 1973 to describe the excesses and abuses of the Nixon White House, fell out of use almost as soon as President Richard Nixon fell from grace. The reckoning of Watergate and the first-ever resignation of a president seemed to show that the executive branch was not as uncontrollable as it had once seemed.

Opinion | Have We Had Enough of the Imperial Presidency Yet?

Opinion | Have We Had Enough of the Imperial Presidency Yet?

Even a feeble president can impose his will on the nation if he lacks any sense of restraint or respect for political norms and guardrails.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/opinion/president-trump-border-wall-weak.html


They should make it out of corbomite /coughs

Steel prototype for border wall cut through with saw, photo shows

Steel prototype for border wall cut through with saw, photo shows

NBC News obtained a photo showing results of a test on a steel wall prototype.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/test-steel-prototype-border-wall-showed-it-could-be-sawed-n956856


Pay close attention. Also, I’m not big on Instagram (may have to change that) but LOOK at this (you’ll need an account 😛 ): Congress Camp Week 2.

Last week, a video emerged of a college-age AOC doing a dance routine, mockingly tweeted by what appeared to be a QAnon conspiracy account (since deleted), and later retweeted by Gateway Pundit and memed by the Daily Caller. There was an immediate counterreaction on the left to the supposed (though possibly overstated) reaction on the right, which sparked a counter-counterreaction. It was a spectacle all the way down.

Amid the media swirl, AOC dropped a very concrete policy proposal on Anderson Cooper’s show: increase the top marginal income tax rate to 70 percent, effectively rewinding history to before the 1980s Reagan-era tax cuts. In an instant, Paul Krugman, economics Nobelist and New York Times columnist, chimed in with his support, and suddenly the Overton window of acceptable discourse on taxes blew open.

Of course, for weeks before the dance kerfuffle, AOC had regaled her growing list of followers—which last week surpassed that of the newly installed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—with candid looks at DC politico life, including the party leadership election process, the office lottery, the joy at getting official congressperson business cards, and even doing laundry. Her Instagram feed is a master class in political brand building, and I’d not be surprised if canny civics teachers are assigning it as homework. In a world awash in irony and preening phoniness, she possesses the unique and valuable currency of authenticity: She is who she ran as, she’ll be that same person in office, and it drives her political opponents crazy.

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shapes a New Political Reality

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shapes a New Political Reality

The newly elected congressmember offers older colleagues a master class in social media.

Source: www.wired.com/story/how-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-shapes-new-political-reality/


We really need to think about where our priorities are as a nation. Because this isn’t it. These are the kinds of things we should always put a premium on supporting and not have them be the first on the chopping block in a political dispute.

From EPA to TSA, Agencies Devoted to Nation’s Health and Safety Are Going Unfunded During Shutdown

From EPA to TSA, Agencies Devoted to Nation’s Health and Safety Are Going Unfunded During Shutdown

The partial government shutdown has entered its 20th day. On Saturday, it will become the longest shutdown in U.S. history if a deal is not reached. President Trump reportedly stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Wednesday after they refused to back a deal to fund a wall on the southern border. Schumer accused Trump of throwing a temper tantrum. Trump described the meeting as a “total waste of time.”€ We speak with Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. The group just released a report titled “As Shutdown Drags On, Agencies Devoted to Consumer and Worker Health and Safety Unfunded and Deprioritized.”

Source: www.democracynow.org/2019/1/10/from_epa_to_fda_agencies_devoted


This is ridiculous! Shove the hunters out!

Government restaffs wildlife refuges during shutdown to allow hunters access

Government restaffs wildlife refuges during shutdown to allow hunters access

An email from the Fish and Wildlife Service indicates 38 wildlife refuges around the country will bring back some furloughed staff using carryover funds.

Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/government-restaffs-wildlife-refuges-during-shutdown-to-allow-hunters-access


Look, Трамп is a petty criminal with a long and sordid history of questionable actions and ties to questionable people. He’s destroying the office of the presidency because he doesn’t give a flying fuck about norms and traditions.

But McConnell is a flat out traitor. He knows how this stuff works, what the consequences are, and he is clearly working toward specific outcomes (such as control of the judiciary) though his actions with Garland’s nomination and now this.

His place in history should be next to, if not UNDERNEATH, Benedict Arnold.

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday blocked two House-passed funding bills that would reopen the federal government.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/senate/424730-mcconnell-blocks-house-bills-to-reopen-government


This would explain a lot.  (It also makes me wonder about Sanders and Spicer…)

Manafort revelations could put Kellyanne Conway under Mueller scrutiny: campaign data expert

Manafort revelations could put Kellyanne Conway under Mueller scrutiny: campaign data expert

The latest revelations about Paul Manafort’s contacts with an alleged Russian spy could mean that Kellyanne Conway may fall under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller. David Measer, an advertising and communications expert, explained the importance of the polling data that Manafort shared with Ukrainian associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who Mueller alleges has ties to Russian military intelligence. THREAD: I’m just an advertising guy, but thought I’d put a marketing lens on the news of Manafort …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/manafort-revelations-put-kellyanne-conway-mueller-scrutiny-campaign-data-expert/


I am generally cautious with Kos publications, because it’s pretty far left  and can mostly contain anti-GOP tirades that I’m perfectly capable of doing myself. However, this is a really good overview of McConnell’s position.

I hope his nuts are in that vise.

Trump got his shutdown wish. Why doesn’t he look more proud? Maybe because of this?

Trump got his shutdown wish. Why doesn’t he look more proud? Maybe because of this?

President Donald Trump stepped up, put his big-boy pants on, and took the mantle of leadership. “I’ll take responsibility for shutting it down, I won’t blame you for it,” he famously told Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office. “I’ll be proud to do it.” Not…

Source: www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/1/9/1824871/-Trump-got-his-shutdown-wish-Why-doesn-t-he-look-more-proud-Maybe-because-of-this


Boom boom boom…

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen will testify before the House Oversight Committee, the first major move by House Democrats to haul in a member of Trump’s team connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to a schedule published by the committee.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/10/politics/michael-cohen-testify-congress/index.html


Oh my god. I want McConnell’s entire bank account and assets frozen to pay toward the cleanup and fixing of this. But some of this won’t be fixed, they will be ugly scars for a long, long time 🙁

Joshua Tree National Park has been trashed in the shutdown. Now visitors are cutting down trees.

Joshua Tree National Park has been trashed in the shutdown. Now visitors are cutting down trees.

Despite severe damage, the park will not shut down entirely.

Source: www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/1/10/18177478/joshua-tree-national-park-government-shutdown


Friday

Photo

Gah.

Trump is using the government as a bargaining chip – like a dictator would | Robert Reich

Trump is using the government as a bargaining chip – like a dictator would | Robert Reich

Trump’€s entire presidency to date has sacrificed the means of democracy to preserve his personal power, and the shutdown over the border is no different

Source: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/10/trump-government-shutdown-democracy-power-dictatorship


Hey, Congress, esp. Senate: IT’S CALLED A VETO OVERRIDE you motherfuckers. Stop this crap.

Government Shutdown Threatens Native Americans’ Access To Health Care

Government Shutdown Threatens Native Americans’ Access To Health Care

Indian Health Service medical providers aren’t getting paid and have to keep working. They don’t know how long they can hang on.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/government-shutdown-native-american-health-care_us_5c36a544e4b0c469d76ad336?nts


Go past the headline for a pretty useful overview of how these special investigations work.

The myth of the Mueller report

The myth of the Mueller report

No one knows whether the Trump-Russia special counsel will produce a final and public report telling all.

Source: www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/01/the-myth-of-the-mueller-report/


Ex-DOJ lawyer: I felt we used ‘the law to legitimize’ Trump lies

Ex-DOJ lawyer: I felt we used ‘the law to legitimize’ Trump lies

A lawyer who worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under the Trump administration writes in a new Washington Post op-ed that she sometimes felt that she and her colleagues were “using the law to legitimize lies” made by Presid

Source: thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/424886-ex-doj-lawyer-i-felt-we-used-the-law-to-legitimize-trump-lies


Of course he did. And it will, somehow, be the Dem’s fault…

Some of the relevant details of the plan remain elusive, but by all accounts, there was a proposal on the table. Vice President Mike Pence and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney took it to the president, who balked.

Of particular interest, though, is who Graham negotiated with. In this case, the Republican South Carolinian worked on a deal with other Republicans, and Democrats were excluded from the process altogether. Despite the fact that Dems control the House, and many Democratic votes would be needed in the Senate, the party was “left out” of the talks and “were never read in” on the proposal.



Trump rejects shutdown deal Republicans negotiated with Republicans

Trump rejects shutdown deal Republicans negotiated with Republicans

Yesterday offered a strange dynamic: Republicans negotiated a deal with other Republicans, only to be shot down by a Republican president.

Source: www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-rejects-shutdown-deal-republicans-negotiated-republicans?fbclid=IwAR1YWZPvQAm6Xyg256YPHnH4QsTG4LYGHxUNI4VKyfWiBaD97pYS81EpMss


Boom


/facepalm

Federal Employees Are Suing Over The Shutdown. The Government Still Hasn’t Figured Out How Much It Owes From The One In 2013.

Federal Employees Are Suing Over The Shutdown. The Government Still Hasn’t Figured Out How Much It Owes From The One In 2013.

The federal government is still calculating damages owed to federal workers who worked without pay during the 2013 shutdown.

Source: www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetillman/federal-workers-suing-government-shutdown-2013


Some background info from Lawfare on wtf with all the “acting” positions currently in the White House.

Acting Accordingly: Acting Officers and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act

Acting Accordingly: Acting Officers and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act

Non-Senate confirmed acting positions in the executive branch have begun to meet their 300-day deadline. What now?

Source: www.lawfareblog.com/acting-accordingly-acting-officers-and-federal-vacancies-reform-act


And also on the “emergency powers” bullshit:

Emergencies Without End: A Primer on Federal States of Emergency

Emergencies Without End: A Primer on Federal States of Emergency

This November marked the start of our 39th year in a continuous emergency state. A look at how we got here.

Source: www.lawfareblog.com/emergencies-without-end-primer-federal-states-emergency


It’s a tough gig.

Photo


Whoa.

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

The investigation, whose fate is unclear, led counterintelligence investigators to consider an explosive question: whether the president’s actions constituted a possible threat to national security.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/us/politics/fbi-trump-russia-inquiry.html


What McConnell is doing is denying Senators the ability to represent their constituents. This man should be judged a traitor to the U.S. and go down as such in history. Time to revolt against your Majority Leader, GOP Senators. Elections are coming.

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday blocked two House-passed funding bills that would reopen the federal government.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/senate/424730-mcconnell-blocks-house-bills-to-reopen-government


Elections are coming.

Early Voting and Other Changes to Election Laws Are Coming to New York

Early Voting and Other Changes to Election Laws Are Coming to New York

The overhaul is a veritable wish list for those interested in making voting easier: early voting, preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds and consolidating state and federal primaries.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/nyregion/voting-reform-election-ny.html


Well that’s very interesting. (Captioned.)

Republicans ignore looming climate catastrophe

Republicans ignore looming climate catastrophe

“This is a far bigger crisis than anything happening at the border,” says Chris Hayes.

Source: www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/republicans-ignore-looming-climate-catastrophe-1424589891726?cid=sm_npd_ms_tw_ma


Damn.

TSA agent hammers Trump for forcing her to work for free after she receives eviction notice

TSA agent hammers Trump for forcing her to work for free after she receives eviction notice

Appearing on CNN on Thursday afternoon, a TSA agent who works out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport said she may be homeless soon after receiving an eviction notice because she is working without pay and can’t pay her rent. Speaking with host Brianna Keilar, agent Christine Vitel said that she received an eviction notice on property she owns despite explaining her situation and providing documentation from the government about her working but unpaid status. “How has …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/tsa-agent-hammers-trump-forcing-work-free-receives-eviction-notice/


Saturday

The extremes to which it took to reach censure is ridiculous, but it would be great to see King go.

King faces bipartisan condemnation after lamenting white nationalist language being deemed ‘offensive’

King faces bipartisan condemnation after lamenting white nationalist language being deemed ‘offensive’

Republican Rep. Steve King — who has long been a target for criticism because of his public comments on race and immigration — rejected Thursday being labeled a white nationalist, following bipartisan outrage for comments he made appearing to lament that white supremacist comments are considered offensive.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/10/politics/steve-king-white-nationalism-nyt/index.html


I’m not laughing. Nobody I know is laughing.

“The idea that’s contained in The New York Times story that President Trump was a threat to American national security is silly on its face and not worthy of a response,” Pompeo told “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan for an interview to air Sunday.

Pompeo calls idea president is threat to America “ludicrous”

Pompeo calls idea president is threat to America “ludicrous”

The secretary of state told Margaret Brennan that report of an FBI investigation into Trump is “silly on its face”

Source: www.cbsnews.com/news/pompeo-says-notion-president-is-threat-to-america-is-ludicrous/


Brutal.

Trump fired off a series of tweets pushing back against the notion that he doesn’t have a strategy to end what became the longest government shutdown in U.S. history when it entered its 22nd day Saturday. “Elections have consequences!” he declared, meaning the 2016 election in which “I promised safety and security” and, as part of that, a border wall.

But there was another election, in November, and the consequence of that is that Democrats now control the House and they refuse to give Trump money for a wall.

Trump tweets into the void as shutdown sets record

Trump tweets into the void as shutdown sets record

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the partial government shutdown slipped into the record books Saturday, members of Congress had left town, no negotiations were scheduled and President Donald Trump tweeted into the void. He did not tip his hand on whether he will move ahead with an emergency declaration that could break the impasse, free up money for his wall without congressional approval and kick off legal challenges and a political storm over the use of that extraordinary step. A day earlier, he said he was not ready to do it “right now.”

Source: apnews.com/b3867898a78740f39d8cc8538c5db196


I’d maybe hold off on flying if possible for the moment…

Airport officials, however, warn that the situation could get much worse if the shutdown isn’t resolved soon. Many say they’re drafting contingency plans to deal with a shortage of TSA workers, like shutting certain security checkpoints or supplying extra staff temporarily to run bins or perform other nonsecurity functions.

“Despite the shutdown, TSA security officers continue to do a great job of effectively and efficiently screening passengers and bags,” said Christopher Bidwell, senior vice president of security for Airports Council International-North America, an association that represents the owners and operators of airports. “But we’re very concerned that the situation of government workers working without pay is unsustainable.”

Shutdown effects are being felt at airports

Shutdown effects are being felt at airports

With Transportation Security Administration employees calling in sick, Miami International closed a concourse.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/shutdown-effects-are-being-felt-at-airports/2019/01/12/e939cd56-1699-11e9-90a8-136fa44b80ba_story.html?__twitter_impression=true

 


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Posted in Authoritarianism, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pick one! Pick several! Just…something!

But seriously, read through. It also gives you an idea of the “state of the union”… where we are online. And there are some really good tips in here.  Plus they do start off with a top ten and then go from there.

If a Top-152 list sounds a bit much, the Google analysts agreed. They hope their fellow experts will pare down the list to something concise over time.

“It’s understandable if users are confused about what to do; even experts, as a field, don’t seem to agree,” wrote senior user experience researcher Robert W. Reeder, software engineer Iulia Ion, and security and privacy user-experience team leader Sunny Consolvo, all of Google.

“Given our finding of a diverse range of advice, all of which is considered important by at least some experts, it might be the case that the security space is simply too complex for a small set of consistent advice to adequately protect the general user population. Perhaps advice communication efforts should focus not on communicating the same advice consistently to everyone, but on identifying particular audiences and customizing advice for each audience,” they wrote in a new study in the September/October 2017 issue of IEEE Security & Privacy.

The reason for such a huge list is that experts couldn’t agree on exactly how a security measure should be carried out—such as writing down passwords versus not writing them down, not clicking on certain email links vs not clicking any at all.

Here’s the top ten:

152 Simple Steps to Stay Safe Online


How to stay safe online: “152 Simple Steps” from Google survey of experts

How to stay safe online: “152 Simple Steps” from Google survey of experts

A Google team polls experts in its Google Online Security Blog and finds diverse advice. Here’s their “152 Simple Steps to Stay Safe Online: Security Advice for Non-Tech-Savvy Users.” If that seems too many, it’s because experts can’t agree on how to prioritize anti-hack tips in new research for IEEE Computer Society.

Source: publications.computer.org/security-and-privacy/2017/12/12/expert-online-security-advice-for-non-tech-savvy-users/

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Posted in Tech-Privacy-Security | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Authoritarianism: Jan 1-5

“In the United States of North America, every independent movement of the workers was paralysed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic. Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin when in the black it is branded.”
– Karl Marx

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tl;dr

So 2019’s first week opened with a bang (no, not all the fireworks on NYEve, c’mon people!)

Thursday marked the opening of the second session of the 116th Congress, which saw Nancy Pelosi’s return to Speaker of the House (amid some very cute videos of an ecstatic granddaughter applauding Pelosi for all she was worth). Dems are pushing for solutions (and passed at least one the very same day) to the shutdown that started in December while Трамп continues to whine and complain (including several epic twitter meltdowns, especially as he didn’t get to go to Mar-a-Lago for the holidays and instead outed covert operations in Iraq–and insulted the Iraqi government to boot).

Amusingly enough the GOP went into meltdown over a video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) dancing…ten years ago…in college…to a hilarious remix of Brat Pack movies. To recap, QAnon pulled a few scenes from this <Phoenix – Lisztomania – Boston University Brat Pack Mashup> and put together a short video accusing AOC of being frivolous, etc. This backfired spectacularly and they pulled their video, though you can see it with a different soundtrack here <I took that video of AOC dancing and turned it into an ad for Medicare For All with a catchy theme song.>. In the end Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald both tweeted their complete approval of AOC’s dance moves in this awesome recap <The delightful dancing video of AOC that is being circulated right now is actually part of a pretty storied, if now mostly forgotten, remix culture phenomenon.>. So, folks… Dance like you mean it, dance so that the GOP is still watching you ten years later!

Also, conservatives melted down over Congresswoman Tlaib’s use of Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran and subsequent announcement “We’re going to impeach the motherfucker!” Go, you. See here: <Racists explode after Democratic House member is sworn in with Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Koran>

Speaking of the new Congress, it’s worth noting how different the Democrats and GOP look. The former are an incredibly diverse lot, with more women than at any previous time, and far more diverse with race & religion as well. The GOP are just a sour dumpy lot of old white men. See here <New members sworn in to most diverse Congress ever – in pictures > and here <The House of Representatives Is Different Now. The Future Is in It.>.

Meanwhile things are devolving into sort of a frenzy around the shutdown, with the House busily passing proposed funding alternatives and Трамп blustering about claiming everyone is deliriously happy with the shutdown because they all want the WALL. In stark contrast to the Трамп admin which seems not to understand the scope of the shutdown and the ripple effects, the House is also busy setting up to defend the ACA in the incredible circus going on down in that Texan courthouse and is putting up bills for transparency and accountability. It’s a pretty busy two days in the House!

One thing that is not happening with the shutdowns: TAX RETURNS. Трамп wants to keep the shutdown going for years? Fine. No more paying taxes until refunds are cut, FFS

Tuesday

I give the media a lot of shit for its shortcomings but that’s because it is extraordinarily important, and it tends to fall flat on its face instead of doing its job.


Yeah, Happy New Year, everyone. Don’t listen to our jerkwad of a president. Cuz you know, he’s got nothing better to do.

Trump brutally mocked as he celebrates the New Year by melting down for hours on Twitter

Trump brutally mocked as he celebrates the New Year by melting down for hours on Twitter

President Donald Trump began 2019 the same way he ended 2018: by unleashing angry tweets against his perceived political enemies to support his border wall. Trump, reportedly frustrated over not traveling to Mar-a-Lago to golf, has been livid at congressional Democrats for not funding the border wall he had promised that Mexico would fund. On New Year’s Eve, Trump attacked Democrats for not approving funding for his wall. “MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL through …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/trump-brutally-mocked-celebrates-new-year-melting-hours-twitter/


Another pending SCOTUS case to pay attention to:

Conservative Supreme Court could reverse decades of First Amendment law

Conservative Supreme Court could reverse decades of First Amendment law

If justices abandon precedent and adopt the ‘coercion standard,’ it would do far more than uphold a historic memorial cross in Maryland.

Source: thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/423129-conservative-supreme-court-could-reverse-decades-of-first-amendment-law


More Happy New Year from the US! /facepalm

U.S. fires tear gas across Mexico border to stop migrants

U.S. fires tear gas across Mexico border to stop migrants

U.S. authorities fired tear gas into Mexico during the first hours of the new year to repel about 150 migrants who tried to breach the border fence in Tijuana.

Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/u-s-fires-tear-gas-across-mexico-border-to-stop-migrants

Photo


Wednesday

Oh, nice. Some really good stuff here, including:

1. Creating a committee to address climate change. The panel will not have subpoena power or the ability to introduce legislation so it will not be as powerful as a similar committee created by Pelosi during the previous Democratic majority from 2007 to 2011, but the issue is expected to be a major priority for the party’s progressive wing.

2. Creating a bipartisan select committee tasked with coming up with proposals to “modernize and improve” the way Congress operates.

3. Setting new ethics rules that prohibit lawmakers and aides from sitting on corporate boards and a new requirement for annual ethics training for all lawmakers.

4. Reviving a rule that requires 72 hours before major legislation can get a vote in the House to ensure all lawmakers have time to review the bill.

5. Amending rules to extend bans on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and to allow religious headwear to be worn in the House chamber — an accommodation for Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf.

Democrats Unveil Changes To House Rules On Debt Ceiling, Ethics

Democrats Unveil Changes To House Rules On Debt Ceiling, Ethics

The new rules include automatically increasing the debt ceiling when a new budget is passed and setting up a committee on climate change.

Source: www.npr.org/2019/01/02/681547346/democrats-announce-major-changes-to-u-s-house-rules


Nope, he sure doesn’t.  Now, we just have to get Schumer on a similar page (modulo, of course, him being the minority leader in Congress).

Pelosi has her plan ready to go: Pass a clean resolution for six of the seven appropriations bills to fund through the end of the fiscal year and the Homeland Security appropriations through Feb. 8. Trump cannot prevent her from doing it, nor can Freedom Caucus gadfly Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who declared the move a “non-starter” — as if his consent were necessary.

We’ll have to see how Pelosi manages Trump’s temper tantrums, lies and incoherence but so far the approach has been four-fold. First, engage the president publicly and correct him/fact-check him in real time. This reminds voters that Trump is not operating in the real world and his positions aren’t tethered to reality. Second, make certain Trump is on the wrong side of public opinion. In the case of the border wall and the shutdown, voters oppose both. This further diminishes Trump’s leverage and puts pressure on Republicans to split from him. Third, make clear, concise statements of policy. This gives voters a sense that she is in command while Trump blathers on for days, changing his mind and contradicting his advisers. Finally, don’t negotiate against herself. Trump, as she wisecracked, has gone from a wall to slatted fence to “a beaded curtain.” Mocking Trump and pointing out his weakness infuriate him, demoralize his cult-followers and delight her base.

Opinion | Trump doesn’t understand his leverage is gone

Opinion | Trump doesn’t understand his leverage is gone

Pelosi will ignore his spin

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/02/trump-doesnt-understand-his-leverage-is-gone/?utm_term=.87633464a043


:-/

Yes, 2019 Is the Year You Were Worrying About

Yes, 2019 Is the Year You Were Worrying About

There’s still a case that a lot is going right in America, despite the circus in Washington. But 2019 is shaping up to be a much rougher ride.

Source: www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/01/02/awesome-year-in-review-2018-223570


Of course.

Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, the union that represents the country’s approximately 400 judges, said the impact of the disruption has been “immense.”

Immigration judges all received furlough notices on Dec. 26, she said, but many have since been instructed to return to court to adjudicate cases of detainees in immigration custody. The judges are also working without pay.

Some of those judges have their calendars booked three to four years in advance, because of the backlog of cases, Tabaddor said, so hearings that have been canceled in recent days cannot be rescheduled until 2021 or beyond.

“The irony not lost on us,” Tabaddor said, “that the immigration court is shut down over immigration.”

Shutdown worsens strain on U.S. immigration system

Shutdown worsens strain on U.S. immigration system

Border agents aren’t getting paid, court cases are piling up and the government’s E-Verify tool has gone dark.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/shutdown-worsens-strain-on-us-immigration-system/2019/01/02/97dd0ef6-0ebe-11e9-84fc-d58c33d6c8c7_story.html?noredirect=on


Oh, look! A new dictator for Трамп to perform fellatio on!

Bolsonaro’s first day in office sparked a wave of optimism in Brazil’s financial market. Stocks of Brazil’s electric-company Eletrobras soared more than 20%. Arms maker Taurus, one of the main allies of the new president, jumped more than 47%.

Bolsonaro, an admirer of President Trump, met with U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on Wednesday to discuss joint efforts regarding the leftist administrations in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Pompeo told him that Trump is “very pleased with the relationship that our two countries are on the precipice of beginning to develop.”

“He’s also confident that [the relationship between the U.S. and Brazil] will benefit the world and the set of shared values that we believe we can together advance,” Pompeo said before leaving Brasilia for Colombia.

Day 1 in office: Brazil’s Bolsonaro issues orders targeting ethnic minorities, LGBTQ community

Day 1 in office: Brazil’s Bolsonaro issues orders targeting ethnic minorities, LGBTQ community

Brazils’ new far-right leader targets country’s indigenous groups, descendants of slaves and the LGBTQ community on his first day in office

Source: www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-brazil-bolsonaro-minorities-20190102-story.html


Yeesh.

Nikki Haley praises Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro after he targets LGBT on 1st day in office

Nikki Haley praises Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro after he targets LGBT on 1st day in office

In her final days as United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley tweets praise for Brazil’s new far right president

Source: www.salon.com/2019/01/02/nikki-haley-congratulates-brazils-president-jair-bolsanaro-after-he-targets-lgbt-people-on-1st-day/


Um… about that, Donny boy… that ship sailed a long, long, LONG time ago.

Source: Trump tells Schumer he can’t accept Dems’ offer because he’d ‘look foolish’

Source: Trump tells Schumer he can’t accept Dems’ offer because he’d ‘look foolish’

President Donald Trump told a group of lawmakers he can’t accept Democrats’ offer to re-open the government as the two sides negotiate border wall funding because he “would look foolish if I did that,” according to a person familiar with the exchange.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/02/politics/donald-trump-shutdown-congress-meeting/index.html


Of course Трамп did…

Trump uses federal funds to bypass the shutdown and open federal property connected to his hotel

Trump uses federal funds to bypass the shutdown and open federal property connected to his hotel

While many federal employees are furloughed or out of work, one agency found funds to keep the Old Post Office Tower at the Trump International Hotel in DC open during the government shutdown. E&E News reported Wednesday that the General Service Administration — an agency established to keep federal functions running — ponied up to fund National Park Service sites. The Old Post Office Tower, located on the same property as the controversial Trump International Hotel …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/trump-uses-federal-funds-bypasses-shutdown-open-federal-property-connected-hotel/


Thursday

The survivor: Nancy Pelosi makes history — again

The survivor: Nancy Pelosi makes history — again

She will reclaim the speaker’s gavel in a stunning display of her power in the Democratic Caucus.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/01/03/nancy-pelosi-speaker-congress-profile-1077678


Hit the ground running.

Nancy Pelosi and Jim McGovern: House Democrats will restore transparency, ethics, unity

Nancy Pelosi and Jim McGovern: House Democrats will restore transparency, ethics, unity

We are proud to unveil a rules package: Transparency, ethics and unity will be the guiding light of the Democratic Congress.

Source: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/01/03/nancy-pelosi-jim-mcgovern-rules-package-house-democrats-congress-column/2462284002/


By the numbers:

The New Face of Power Officially Takes Control Today

The New Face of Power Officially Takes Control Today

The 116th Congress will be the most diverse set of lawmakers in history.

Source: www.thecut.com/2019/01/congress-swearing-in-women-make-history.html

Photo


Yay, Nancy!

Nancy Pelosi Drops the Hammer in First Speech as Speaker: ‘We Will Follow Our Mandate For the People’

Nancy Pelosi Drops the Hammer in First Speech as Speaker: ‘We Will Follow Our Mandate For the People’

“We will follow our mandate for the people.”

Source: www.mediaite.com/online/nancy-pelosi-drops-the-hammer-in-first-speech-as-speaker-we-will-follow-our-mandate-for-the-people/

 


Pay attention.

But it’s that simple phrase, “presidential harassment,” that jumps out. This is the eighth time he’s employed it, according to Factba.se, with uses coming more frequently of late. The nascent rise of the phrase is an indication that Trump feels newly embattled, but it also underscores the way he tries to construe any criticism of himself as illegitimate.

Trump’s New Catchphrase Is an Attempt to Delegitimize Dissent

Trump’s New Catchphrase Is an Attempt to Delegitimize Dissent

Facing pressure from the incoming Democratic majority in the House, the commander in chief swears he’s the target of “presidential harassment.”

Source: www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/trumps-new-catchphrase-presidential-harassment/579364/


Good news. (Yes, there’s a Dem gerrymander in Maryland (I think) that also needs to go away too.)

Federal Judge Dismisses North Carolina Republicans’ Latest Effort to Preserve Their Gerrymander

Federal Judge Dismisses North Carolina Republicans’ Latest Effort to Preserve Their Gerrymander

Republican lawmakers said that fixing their partisan gerrymander would violate the voting rights of racial minorities. What?

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/north-carolina-republicans-gerrymander-anita-earls.html


Photo


Derp derp derp herpity derp…

‘An Irony’: Shutdown Fight Over Border Security Takes Toll On Immigration Enforcement

‘An Irony’: Shutdown Fight Over Border Security Takes Toll On Immigration Enforcement

The president has demanded billions for a border wall, but the ensuing standoff is taking a growing toll on immigration enforcement, including the online database that lets employers screen workers.

Source: www.npr.org/2019/01/03/681969112/an-irony-shutdown-fight-over-border-security-takes-toll-on-immigration-enforceme


Balls are… well hell, we’ve got the brass balls. Your turn GOP.

House passes plan to re-open government without funding border wall

House passes plan to re-open government without funding border wall

In one of the first acts for the Democratic majority, the House passed bills Thursday to re-open government without funding the border wall.

Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/house-passes-plan-to-re-open-government-without-funding-trumps-border-wall


Friday

This sends a terrible precedent to other non-democratic countries that they can get away with ignoring the UN too.

Quietly and unnoticed, the state department has ceased to respond to official complaints from UN special rapporteurs, the network of independent experts who act as global watchdogs on fundamental issues such as poverty, migration, freedom of expression and justice. There has been no response to any such formal query since 7 May 2018, with at least 13 requests going unanswered.

Nor has the Trump administration extended any invitation to a UN monitor to visit the US to investigate human rights inside the country since the start of Donald Trump’s term two years ago in January 2017.

It’s almost like the GOP and Трамп administration have something to hide…

US halts cooperation with UN on potential human rights violations

US halts cooperation with UN on potential human rights violations

Exclusive: State department has ceased to respond to complaints from special rapporteurs in move that sends ‘dangerous message’ to other countries

Source: www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jan/04/trump-administration-un-human-rights-violations


I actually don’t care a whole lot about the speculation on what’s going on, but I DO find the graphics and stats interesting and would love to see the comparable data for the past several presidents (well probably not the tweeting ratio since it wouldn’t exist) as well. It <b>is</b> interesting to see that the tweet rate vs inactive phases doesn’t hold up as well as popular speculation has it, though.

It has been more than a month since Trump even played golf, the longest stretch of his presidency. It has been more than a month since he held a rally. There are only sporadic public meetings.

He’s not even tweeting that much. There’s this idea that, on days when he’s unoccupied, he tweets a lot, but that’s not really true. Since July 1, 2018, he has tweeted, on average, 11.1 times a day. Over the past week, he has tweeted an average of 8.4 times a day. (On days without anything on his schedule since July 1, he has tweeted an average of 9.9 times a day, compared with 11.4 times on days when his calendar lists events.)

Analysis | The weirdly quiet White House

Analysis | The weirdly quiet White House

Trump’s schedule has been mostly empty of late — and he hasn’t even been tweeting much.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/03/weirdly-quiet-white-house/


Speaker Pelosi continues to pummel.

Pelosi sends a message to Trump as the press covers a ‘power shift’

Pelosi sends a message to Trump as the press covers a ‘power shift’

Soon after Nancy Pelosi took control of the House, she issued an official invitation to President Trump to deliver the State of the Union on January 29.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/03/media/reliable-sources-01-03-18/index.html


Oh that’s going to go over really well.

The pay raises for cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, top administrators and even Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to go into effect beginning Jan. 5 without legislation to stop them, according to documents issued by the Office of Personnel Management and experts in federal pay.

The raises appear to be an intended consequence of the shutdown: When lawmakers failed to pass bills on Dec. 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse. Congress enacted a law capping pay for top federal executives in 2013 and renewed it each year. The raises will occur because that cap will expire without legislative action by Saturday, allowing raises that have accumulated over those years but never took effect to kick in, starting with paychecks issued next week.

Cabinet secretaries, for example, would be entitled to a jump in annual salary from $199,700 to $210,700. Deputy secretaries would be entitled to a raise from $179,700 to $189,600. Others affected are under secretaries, deputy directors and other top administrators.

The pay of Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to rise from $230,700 to $243,500.

While federal workers go without pay, senior Trump administration officials are poised to get $10,000 raises.

While federal workers go without pay, senior Trump administration officials are poised to get $10,000 raises.

While 800,000 federal workers go without pay during a partial shutdown, hundreds of top Trump administration officials are poised to get raises barring new budget legislation.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/01/04/while-federal-workers-go-without-pay-senior-trump-administration-officials-are-poised-get-raises/


Just…no.

The president, when asked by ABC News’ senior national correspondent Terry Moran during a press conference, acknowledged that he would consider declaring a national emergency to help get funds to build the wall “for the security of our country”.

That should make the military really, really happy. C’mon Трамп, if you’re going to go for a coup to stay in power, you probably want the military in your pocket. Just sayin’.

Earlier Friday, multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussion told ABC News that options could include reprogramming funds from the Department of Defense and elsewhere – a move which would circumvent Congress.

Trump mulls declaring national emergency in an effort to secure wall funding

Trump mulls declaring national emergency in an effort to secure wall funding

President Trump is seriously considering potentially declaring a national emergency to reprogram DoD funds to help pay for his desired border wall, sources tell ABC News.

Source: abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-declaring-national-emergency-secure-wall-funding-sources/story?id=60164759


Well…that’s pretty consistent with this utterly ignorant, crass, and disorganized (to be as kind as possible) administration.

The Trump administration, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact, several senior administration officials said. The officials said they were focused now on understanding the scope of the consequences and determining whether there is anything they can do to intervene.

Thousands of federal programs are affected by the shutdown, but few intersect with the public as much as the tax system and the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the current version of food stamps.

The partial shutdown has cut off new funding to the Treasury Department and the USDA, leaving them largely unstaffed and crippling both departments’ ability to fulfill core functions.

The potential cuts to food stamps and suspension of tax refunds illustrate the compounding consequences of leaving large parts of the federal govern­ment unfunded indefinitely — a ­scenario that became more likely Friday when President Trump said he would leave the government shut down for months or even years unless Democrats gave him money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

And it’s long past time to fix this about SNAP. Just fund it. FEEDING CHILDREN, OKAY?!

The SNAP program is rare among federal initiatives because it requires annual funding from Congress but its existence is automatically renewed.

Millions face delayed tax refunds, cuts to food stamps as White House scrambles to deal with shutdown’s consequences

Millions face delayed tax refunds, cuts to food stamps as White House scrambles to deal with shutdown’s consequences

The Trump administration recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/millions-face-delayed-tax-refunds-cuts-to-food-aid-as-white-house-scrambles-to-deal-with-shutdown/2019/01/04/b5b58616-0fa3-11e9-8938-5898adc28fa2_story.html


Mmm, yeah. You do know the TSA folks are starting to call in sick, now that they’re being called in to work WITHOUT PAY?

Trump argues federal workers will be fine without paychecks during shutdown

Trump argues federal workers will be fine without paychecks during shutdown

“Those people, in many cases, are the biggest fan of what we’re doing.”

Source: thinkprogress.org/trump-federal-employees-affected-by-shutdown-327fd6dc2767/


Dem House looking to intervene in a couple of court cases over the ACA.

Democratic leaders, after an approving vote on the House floor on Thursday, filed their motion Friday with the US district court in Texas that’s considering the case. Their attorneys asked that the House be permitted to “exercise its right to intervene … so that it may defend the validity of the ACA.”

They cited a long list of federal statutes and case precedents to justify the motion. The Democratic brief noted that the Justice Department, which would usually be tasked with defending a federal law from a legal challenge, has instead decided to join the Republican-led states in arguing that Obamacare’s individual mandate and other key provisions in the law are now unconstitutional.

House Democrats move to defend Obamacare from conservative legal challenge

House Democrats move to defend Obamacare from conservative legal challenge

Democrats begin to mount their defense of Obamacare in the second day of the new Congress.

Source: www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/4/18168543/obamacare-unconstitutional-texas-judge-new-congress-2019


Photo


Saturday

Do you blame ’em? I don’t. Back pay doesn’t cover bills due now. And Трамп apparently intends to dig in for months,  years (ha ha ha) if necessary to get his wall. Right.

Amid Shutdown, TSA Screeners Call in Sick To Find Other Jobs To Pay Their Bills, Report Says

Amid Shutdown, TSA Screeners Call in Sick To Find Other Jobs To Pay Their Bills, Report Says

Screeners are required to report to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.

Source: fortune.com/2019/01/04/tsa-shutdown-workers-call-sick-childcare-pay-bills/


Remember also–and this is a fact that GOP want you to NOT know–that tax brackets only tax the money in that bracket. For a simple example, say that the tax goes from 30% to 70% at $200K. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE TAXED AT 70% ON ALL YOUR MONEY IF YOU HIT $210K. No. It means the first $200K (minus one dollar or whatever) is taxed at 30% and THEN the remaining $10K is taxed at the NEW RATE.

If anything AOC is aiming too low, but you gotta get a foot in the door.

Historically, the United States used to have many more tax brackets, and the top marginal tax rates were extremely high. Under Eisenhower, the top earners paid a 91 percent marginal rate, falling to Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70 percent under Kennedy and Johnson, before falling to 50 percent after Ronald Reagan’s first big tax cut, and then down to 38 percent after the 1986 tax reform.

One big part of that story is that before 1986 the tax base was considerably narrower. Rich people used to have a lot more loopholes and deductions of which they could avail themselves. The 1986 law closed a lot of those loopholes, but also cut the top rate.

But another part of the story is that there used to be more tax brackets. Right now a single person earning $550,000 a year pays the same marginal rate as a person earning 10 or 50 times as much. Under the old tax code, the top rate was reserved its top rate for the super-duper rich.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is floating a 70 percent top tax rate — here’s the research that backs her up

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is floating a 70 percent top tax rate — here’s the research that backs her up

Some studies indicate she’s aiming too low.

Source: www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/4/18168431/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-70-percent


What is this I don’t even

The president reportedly used the word “f—” during the meeting, according to multiple reports.

He also said he preferred the word “strike” to “shutdown.”

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed or forced to work without pay due to the partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22 amid a standoff over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars in border wall funding.

Trump on Friday also threatened to keep the government closed for “years,” if needed, in order to get his long-desired border wall, something he confirmed to reporters from a press conference in the White House Rose Garden.

A source said Democrats in Friday’s meeting were shaking their heads at the president’s behavior.

Guess Tlaib’s off the hook now.

Trump, in profanity-laced meeting with lawmakers, said he preferred ‘strike’ to refer to government shutdown: reports

Trump, in profanity-laced meeting with lawmakers, said he preferred ‘strike’ to refer to government shutdown: reports

President Trump reportedly opened a meeting Friday with congressional leaders with an incendiary rant before saying he preferred the word “strike” to refer to the ongoing government shutdown, according to multiple re

Source: thehill.com/homenews/administration/423990-trump-in-profanity-laced-meeting-with-lawmakers-said-he-preferred-the


Uh, he’s been spouting Russian agitprop for at least <checks watch> two years now, guys…

Why Is Trump Spouting Russian Propaganda?

Why Is Trump Spouting Russian Propaganda?

The president’s endorsement of the U.S.S.R.’s invasion of Afghanistan echoes a narrative promoted by Vladimir Putin.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/trump-just-endorsed-ussrs-invasion-afghanistan/579361/


By the way, here be the deets. Also, none of the money previously allocated to the wall have been used yet. See also: How much has been spent so far on Donald Trump’s border wall?

The Border Wall: What Has Trump Built So Far?

The Border Wall: What Has Trump Built So Far?

The existing barrier isn’t a single mile longer than it was when he took office.

Source: www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/05/us/border-wall.html


Anyone shocked?  You shouldn’t be.

GOP reveals ugly underbelly of its class bigotry as Republicans continue to deny federal workers pay

GOP reveals ugly underbelly of its class bigotry as Republicans continue to deny federal workers pay

The more the GOP addresses the hardships so many federal workers are facing, the more they show their ugly classism

Source: www.salon.com/2019/01/04/gop-reveals-ugly-underbelly-of-its-class-bigotry-as-republicans-continue-to-deny-federal-workers-pay_partner/


That’s one way to frame it. I don’t think it’s accurate though. McConnell refuses to put anything up for a vote that doesn’t have the approval of the WH but that is his call. Nothing requires him to do that. I don’t remember if there’s anything equivalent to a vote of no confidence in a Senate Majority Leader mid-tenure.

McConnell left powerless on the sidelines with a fracturing party and a stalled agenda after Trump shuts everything down

McConnell left powerless on the sidelines with a fracturing party and a stalled agenda after Trump shuts everything down

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had big plans for the New Year to push through federal judgeships and bills dear to his heart only to be left standing on the sideline as a spectator when President Donald Trump shut the federal government in a fit of pique because Democrats won’t pay for his border wall. According to a report at Bloomberg, McConnell planned to use an increase in the majority of Republicans in the …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/mcconnell-left-powerless-sidelines-fracturing-party-stalled-agenda-trump-shuts-everything/


A  useful read by the way. Also, we have technically been in a state of emergency since (I kid you not) 9/11 (see first answer at link below).

No, there is no provision in the U.S. Constitution for the president to declare a state of emergency. The constitutional powers of the president are in Article 2, Section 2.

As noted in the current national state of emergency declaration in adjan’s answer (Proclamation 7463), Title 50, Chapter 34 of the United States Code covers the current mechanism for declaring and terminating states of emergency (first introduced into law as the National Emergencies Act of 1976). Other parts of the law denote what can be done during a state of emergency; each of the sections cited in Proclamation 7463 for Titles 10 and 14 have to do with granting the president additional powers regarding personnel and resources for the military.

Since it is congressional law granting these emergency powers, congress could pass a law changing those powers. Congress also has the power to terminate a state of emergency, and is even required to conduct a review every 6 months during an emergency to consider termination (50 U.S. Code § 1622.

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War 2 was done with Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 and by Public Law 503 signed on March 9, 1942. It is worth noting that the U.S. was under a declaration of war, not simply a state of emergency.

Can a US President declare a “State of Emergency”?

Can a US President declare a “State of Emergency”?

Is there any provision within the US Constitution whereby the President can declare a state of emergency, suspending the powers of the judiciary/congress to override executive actions. What happened

Source: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/15305/can-a-us-president-declare-a-state-of-emergency


Whoa. Note that Representatives sit at the pleasure of the House, though. There’s constitutional and legal grounds here.

The House Administration Committee, now controlled by Democrats, has the authority to call for another election after investigating the 2018 results.

House Democrats prepare to probe disputed North Carolina election

House Democrats prepare to probe disputed North Carolina election

The investigations could be another avenue to an eventual special election in North Carolina’s 9th District.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/01/05/north-carolina-election-house-democrats-1082561


Oh, look at what just got introduced in the Senate as S.1 (first bill of the 116th congress). A bipartisan bill that supports the anti Israel boycott bills. Fuck that shit. We boycotted South Africa in the 80s to end apartheid. Many of us would consider it a good idea to boycott Israel and it certainly is a First Amendment right to do so. It shames me that this isn’t a GOP bill but is supported by Democrats too. As the ACLU put it last October:

We take no position on BDS but we do assert that states should not be deciding
with whom they do business on the basis of protected expression and association or
ideological predisposition, as we have consistently argued in situations where
government entities have threatened to boycott Nike in response to its message of
support for Colin Kaepernick.
This is especially true where the ideological position has no connection whatsoever with the business relationship at stake

ACLU Statement on S. 170, the Combating BDS Act

ACLU Statement on S. 170, the Combating BDS Act

Jump to navigation Skip navigation

Source: www.aclu.org/legal-document/aclu-statement-s-170-combating-bds-act

 

 

 

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Posted in Authoritarianism, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Authoritarianism: Jan 1-5

I’ll live forever!

People who read live longer than those who don’t, Yale researchers say

The benefits of reading should not be understated, even when it comes to living a longer life. A new study finds that reading books in particular returns cognitive gains that increase longevity.

Source: bigthink.com/laurie-vazquez/yale-study-people-who-read-live-longer-than-people-who-dont

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Posted in and now for something else... | Tagged , | Comments Off on I’ll live forever!

Exit Jerry Brown, Governor of California

I met Jerry Brown back in the seventies, as a Girl Scout on a field trip. He met us on the stairs of the government building, shook our hands, and sent us off on a tour of the building which finished up in his office for some Q&A.

So you know, for years and years I had this mental image of him with this big shock of brown hair 🙂

Anyway, this is a good read. This particularly caught my eye, bolded below. I think I’m pretty progressive. I’m on board with AOC, I think we need some kind of universal health care, I think the GOP are complete ghouls. But this point, that we should solve problems instead of just passing laws seems like a really good point. Lots of laws don’t do much good when, for example, regulatory capture exists. You want to step back and solve the problem rather than blindly continue with more regulation to somehow stop that.  This is a hard thing to do. I also disagree with Brown that the taxation of the rich is a problem–they are not going away. If the economy as a whole crashes, so does the entire damn country. I’d like to see a lot more attention paid to the sweet ride that the fossil fuel companies get and to claw back those deals. I really want to see Nestle’s water activities stopped cold in CA (in the US, but hey). And so it goes.

In 2011, the governor shocked legislators, including many of his fellow Democrats, when he vetoed a bill that would have required helmets for skiers and snowboarders under 18.

The Legislature was usurping the role of parents, he said in his veto message, adding, “Not every human problem deserves a law.”

Attempting to change that legislative culture wasn’t one of his most successful efforts, Brown admitted.

Gov. Jerry Brown is escorted from the governor’s mansion to the Stanley Mosk Courts Building in Sacramento. Photo: Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle

Gov. Jerry Brown is escorted from the governor’s mansion to the Stanley Mosk Courts Building in Sacramento.| Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle

“The Legislature exists, in their minds, to produce more laws,” he said. “They don’t exist to solve problems, they exist to make laws. Now, they’d like to solve some problems along the way, but the essential functioning of a legislature is lawmaking.”

In Brown’s 2013 State of the State address, he suggested that legislators “lay the Ten Commandments next to the California Education Code” to see how the legal system has changed.

Brown didn’t excuse himself from abetting the wave of legislation, admitting that he often signed bills while shaking his head.

“We have more lawmaking than in any time in human history,” the governor said. “Many of the laws are stupid. Many of them are not warranted. But in order to get along with the Legislature, you’ve got to sign bills that aren’t needed. And you even have to sign bills that you’d prefer not even to have.”

That’s just one place where Brown has run afoul of the all-or-nothing approach of California’s increasingly progressive Democratic Party. The governor’s willingness to cut deals when he needed Republican votes, as he did to get the state gas tax increase passed in 2017, and his tightfisted refusal to spend much of state’s surplus on education and social programs has left many Democrats looking to Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom for changes.

“You can’t solve everything, ever,” Brown said. “What’s hard is when you’re in conflict, and you know if you say ‘no,’ maybe next time they’ll say ‘no’ to you. So this is a give-and-take business. Just like I ask them to do something they don’t want, they get to ask me to do something I don’t want.”


What Jerry Brown learned leading California: ‘You can’t solve all problems’

What Jerry Brown learned leading California: ‘You can’t solve all problems’

SACRAMENTO – When Jerry Brown’s fourth term in office ends Monday, he’ll be leaving as California’s oldest and longest-serving governor, a politician whose split tenures bookend 44 tumultuous years in the state and in the nation. It’s also a job he’s leaving with few regrets – and, he says, a far greater understanding than he once had of what any one governor can accomplish. “Maybe I’ll miss the mansion,” Brown said in an interview in the breakfast room of the three-story Victorian on H Street that housed its first governor in 1903. “It’s very nice here.” But for all Brown’s protestations that “I don’t look back much,” he’s quick to boast of “an extraordinary period” when it comes to his last two terms.

Source: www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/What-Jerry-Brown-learned-leading-California-13507165.php

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