I'm including coverage of the power demonstration by the Republicans against Senator Elizabeth Warren, where they literally silenced her for reading material already in the Congressional Record, before confirming the known vicious racist Senator Sessions to be Attorney General. This is to eviscerate voting rights, I'm pretty sure. But the silencing was a power display, both against women (since male Senators were allowed to read the same material repeatedly afterwards) and against Democrats: you aren't equal citizens. (See Lindsey Graham's statement that silencing Senator Warren "was long overdue.")
So if you have maintained any idea that the GOP will do anything to stop any of this, please stop. It will not happen. They are folding themselves into a Trumpian party, authoritarian, misogynist, and white supremacist. That is quite literally all they have, and they will continue to extend their attempts to stop everyone but Republicans from voting, and no one in their party will oppose. Nobody. And why should they? The most recent polling data I have (from the 2nd) says that 95% of Trump voters approve of his performance.
This is what they want. This is all the GOP has. It will not "regain its sanity," it will not be deterred on "decency," it will not preserve "democratic norms," it. will. not.
Plan and act accordingly.
----- 1 -----
Donald Trump wants you to be afraid
The New York Times (Opinion)
By Paul Waldman February 7 at 1:01 PM
The latest bit of ridiculousness from the Trump administration followed a pattern that is already familiar: the President says something not just false but ludicrously false; his aides scramble to convince reporters that what he said was actually true and fail miserably, only making themselves look foolish in the attempt; what follows is a wave of withering fact-checks and mockery; and the whole thing serves to reinforce Trump’s opponents’ view that he’s a liar and his supporters’ view that the media are out to get him and can’t be trusted.
But if we take a step back, there’s a different way to understand what’s going on. Donald Trump and his allies want Americans to exist in a state of perpetual fear. That will help maintain his support (such as it is) and give him the ability to justify not only the kind of white nationalist policies he has already promised, but even more draconian moves and expansions of his power that he will surely attempt once there’s a terrorist attack he can exploit.
So yesterday, Trump told military personnel in a speech at MacDill Air Force Base that the media are covering up terrorist attacks. “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” he said. “And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
----- 2 -----
Trump is now attacking all the institutions that could limit his power later
The New York Times (Opinion)
By Greg Sargent February 7
President Trump’s immigration ban faces a crucial legal test later Tuesday, when an appeals court is set to hold a hearing to decide whether to lift a lower court’s decision to place a hold on it. Judging by his multiple tweets attacking the judiciary for placing a temporary hold on his ban, Trump is trying to pressure the courts into restoring and upholding it, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for possible defeat by explicitly stating that any terrorist attacks that happen later should be blamed on the judges who rule against it.
But it’s important to step back and appreciate the bigger picture here. Trump — faced with an outpouring of popular opposition to his ban, and a level of institutional pushback to it, that surely caught him and his advisers off guard — is actively experimenting with how far he can go in delegitimizing the institutions that are already signaling they may place serious, meaningful limits on his power. Consider:
* Trump’s tweets attacking the judiciary go well beyond conventional criticism of judicial opinions on the substance or of “unelected judges” who are said to be overstepping their power. The description of the judge who first blocked his ban as a “so-called judge” directly targeted the judiciary’s institutional legitimacy. And it’s not hard to imagine where Trump’s explicit claim that any terrorist attack should be blamed on the judiciary will take him next, if such an attack does occur.
* Trump recently claimed that “any negative polls are fake news,” particularly those from major networks like CNN, NBC and ABC. He added: “Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.” In other words, any poll that finds that Trump or his policies are unpopular is suspect or invented by definition. Multiple polls have shown that majorities reject his travel ban and his border wall, and global protests have broken out against the ban in particular. In other words, the public backlash to the first two major efforts to translate Trumpism into policy reality has been severe. In response, Trump is explicitly telling his supporters that any empirical evidence of that backlash must be discounted as fake news — particularly if the polls in question come from major news organizations, who are thus being cast as deliberate deceivers of Real Americans.
* You cannot divorce that last point from the larger context here: Trump and Sean Spicer spent days attacking the news media for accurately reporting on his shriveled inauguration crowds, and Stephen Bannon has claimed that Trump’s “populist nation-state policies are supported by the vast and overwhelming majority of Americans” — in other words, that a vast silent majority is rooting for Trumpism to succeed. But that’s just nonsense. The effort to falsely inflate impressions of popular support for Trump — and for policies that in reality are deeply controversial and divisive and are being rejected by majorities — is concerted and deliberate. And the unabashed use of obvious and demonstrable lies to carry out this deception campaign is remarkably brazen.
* Trump is now claiming that the media is covering up terrorist attacks, saying that “ISIS is on a campaign of genocide, committing atrocities across the world,” and that “in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” The larger context here is crucial, too: The media has in fact been invaluable in rooting out the dangerously incompetent process that led to the creation of this ban, as well as the ugly, discriminatory ideological underpinnings of the idea. In response, Trump, once again, is moving to obliterate the very possibility of shared agreement on the legitimate institutional role of the news media in informing the citizenry — right when it is playing that role to great effect by shedding light on the truth about his latest and most visible exercise of executive power, thus demonstrating that it can function as a check on him.
----- 3 -----
House votes to kill BLM “Planning 2.0” rule aimed at giving residents of Colorado and the West greater control over public land
This is the third Obama-era rule Congress has in its sights
By Bruce Finley | The Denver Post
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to kill a federal rule that gives Americans more of a voice in large-scale planning for projects using public land, including 8.4 million acres in Colorado.
The action launched by House Republicans, including sponsors Rep. Scott Tipton of Colorado and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, would nullify the Bureau of Land Management’s “Planning 2.0” rule that took effect in December. That rule governs all planning for future uses of 250 million acres of federal public land that is concentrated in the West.
It was the third time in a week that lawmakers invoked the Congressional Review Act to strike at Obama administration environmental rules.The act lets them roll back executive action taken during the past 60 legislative work days — if the rule imposes excessive costs, exceeds agency authority or is redundant. On Friday, House lawmakers voted to zap the federal methane rule that requires oil and gas companies using public lands to control air pollution.
The BLM and methane-flaring measures now move to the Senate. If the rollbacks are approved, the rules would be eliminated and the BLM banned indefinitely from developing similar rules.
Last week, Congress killed the Stream Protection Act that required efforts to protect waterways near coal mines.
----- 4 -----
Sean Spicer Makes Up Atlanta Islamist Terror Attack
Kellyanne Conway is not the only Trump adviser to make up a terrorist attack. White House press secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly listed Atlanta among cities wracked by Islamist terror.
Patricia Murphy | The Daily Beast
02.08.17 6:00 AM ET
["There has never been an Islamist terror attack in Atlanta." There has, however, been a rather famous anti-LGBT and anti-abortion terrorist attack, by white American Eric Rudolph]
Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green massacre” isn’t the only case of a White House aide pointing to a terror attack that didn’t happen to make the case for President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order limiting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly pointed to Atlanta, along with San Bernardino and Boston, as one of three U.S. cities that have been attacked by Islamist terrorists to argue that the Trump administration needed to act quickly to prevent another attack in the future.
While the Boston bombing and shootings in San Bernadino were both carried out by Islamist terrorists, neither involved foreign nationals from the seven countries in Trump’s executive order. There has never been an Islamist terror attack in Atlanta.
----- 5 -----
Republicans Vote To Silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren In Confirmation Debate
February 8, 20175:16 AM ET
[To add misogyny to the mix: two male senators were later permitted, without challenge, to read the same document she was rebuked for reading.]
The words were those of Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
But they resulted in a rarely invoked Senate rule being used to formally silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
On the Senate floor Tuesday night, Warren read aloud from a letter Scott King wrote in 1986, when King objected to President Reagan's ultimately unsuccessful nomination of then-U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions to a federal district court seat.
Sessions, now a Republican senator from Alabama, is President Trump's nominee for U.S. attorney general. Warren was speaking in the debate leading up to Sessions' likely confirmation by the Senate on Wednesday evening.
King wrote that Sessions used "the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens" — and that was the line Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would later cite in his objection.
"I call the senator to order under the provisions of Rule 19," McConnell said after interrupting Warren's speech, in which he said she had "impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama."
That objection came nearly 30 minutes after Warren was initially warned about impugning Sessions by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who was presiding over the Senate at the time.
Rapping on the presiding officer's desk, Daines had initially cut Warren off some 20 minutes into her speech.
"The senator is reminded that it is a violation of Rule 19 of the standing rules of the Senate to impute to another senator or senators any conduct or motive unworthy or becoming [sic] a senator," Daines said, apparently reading from a note on his desk.
"Mr. president, I don't think I quite understand," Warren replied. "I'm reading a letter from Coretta Scott King to the Judiciary Committee from 1986 that was admitted into the record. I'm simply reading what she wrote about what the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be a federal court judge meant, and what it would mean in history for her."
----- 6 -----
Jeff Merkley reads Coretta Scott King's letter about Jeff Sessions on Senate floor (video)
8 February 2017 - The Oregonian
Hours after GOP leaders blocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren from reading a letter critical of Sen. Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing for attorney general, Jeff Merkley picked it up and read the document uninterrupted.
Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a Civil Rights activist herself, wrote the letter on March 19, 1986. It was an indictment of Sessions as he was up for an appointment to the U.S. District Court.
The letter was originally addressed to Sen. Strom Thurmond, then on the Senate Judiciary Committee, against Sessions' confirmation. He was not recommended to the Senate on a 10-8 vote.
----- 7 -----
‘Kids don’t get a second chance’: EPA staff fear cuts to health programs under Trump
By Sheila Kaplan | STAT News
February 8, 2017
[This is a new publication, I don't know much about it, so do not consider it well-vetted.]
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory panel on children’s health gathered last week to consider a few items that had long been on its agenda: getting lead out of water, cutting pollution-related asthma, and educating doctors about toxins in toys.
The panel also took up an issue that few members could have foreseen several months ago: keeping the program off the chopping block.
Caroline Cox, a member of the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, suggested a letter to the incoming EPA chief, touting the economic benefits of protecting children from pollutants that can damage their brains or cause illness later in life. (“That might resonate,” she said.) Tom Neltner, an Environmental Defense Fund lawyer and a member of the advisory group since 2011, said the message must be more urgent.
“With any administration change there are people who don’t have any idea about this issue,” Neltner said. “We should emphasize that kids don’t get a second chance to develop a brain. They don’t get a second chance on a reproductive system.”
For scientists, the issue of environmental health is not typically seen as politically fraught as climate change. But interviews with staffers throughout the EPA underline widespread concern — and some panic — about the fate of environmental health regulation under President Trump and Scott Pruitt, his nominee to lead the agency.
Pruitt’s skepticism on climate change is well-known, as are his ties to the oil and gas industry. He filed or joined 14 lawsuits against the EPA during his six years as Oklahoma attorney general, and EPA officials have already been told to expect budget cuts to certain initiatives.
But the EPA’s environmental health staff are still waiting for the other shoe to drop on them if, as expected, Pruitt is confirmed.
Although Pruitt has not been particularly vocal about environmental health issues, he has a long record of opposition to environmental regulations that go beyond his many statements on climate change.
In testimony before Congress last May, he asserted that the EPA was never intended to be the country’s “frontline regulator.” During a confirmation hearing, asked about harmful levels of lead in the human body, he said, “that’s something I have not reviewed nor know about.” And he said that the EPA would have to consider the science about asbestos before taking further action, although it is a known carcinogen.
To advocates of environmental health regulation, it all spells trouble.
----- 8 -----
People are turning "Nevertheless, she persisted" into a feminist rallying cry
By Marie Solis | news.mic
February 08, 2017
Senate Republicans voted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Tuesday night after she read a letter Coretta Scott King wrote in 1986 disavowing U.S. attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, who, at the time, was being considered for a federal judge position.
Warren read the letter on the Senate floor during debates over President Donald Trump's nomination of Sessions for attorney general, reading aloud, "Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge."
According to CNN, Sen. Mitch McConnell charged Warren with violating the Senate's little-known Rule 19, which says senators cannot impugn each other.
"She was warned," McConnell said Tuesday night. "She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
The second McConnell's words left his mouth, they were no longer his own — Twitter users immediately seized the statement McConnell had wielded to silence Warren and turned it into a feminist mantra, using it to tell the stories of women whose persistence has changed the course of history.
----- 9 -----
Appeals Court Panel Appears Skeptical of Trump’s Travel Ban
The New York Times
By ADAM LIPTAK | FEB. 7, 2017
WASHINGTON — A Justice Department lawyer on Tuesday said courts should not second-guess President Trump’s targeted travel ban, drawing skepticism from a three-judge federal appeals panel weighing the limits of executive authority in cases of national security.
But even August E. Flentje, the Justice Department’s lawyer, sensed he was not gaining ground with that line of argument. “I’m not sure I’m convincing the court,” Mr. Flentje said.
“This is a traditional national security judgment that is assigned to the political branches,” Mr. Flentje said.
“Are you arguing, then, that the president’s decision in that regard is unreviewable?” Judge Michelle T. Friedland asked a few minutes later.
Mr. Flentje paused. Then he said yes.
“There are obviously constitutional limitations, but we’re discussing the risk assessment,” he said.
Judge Friedland asked what those limitations were, and Mr. Flentje did not provide a direct answer.
----- 10 -----
Emails sent to University of Michigan students threaten to kill black and Jewish people
Racist, anti-Semitic emails sent to U of M engineering students
By Nick Monacelli - Reporter, Derick Hutchinson
February 08, 2017 - Local 4 News, Detroit
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Engineering students at the University of Michigan said they received threatening racist and anti-Semitic emails Tuesday night attacking African American and Jewish people.
Students said they received the emails around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"Hi (N-word), I just wanted to say that I plan to kill all of you. White power! The KKK has returned!!!" one of the emails said.
"I just wanted to say the SS will rise again and kill all of your filthy souls," an email addressed to Jewish people said. "Die in a pit of eternal fire! Sincerely, Dr. Alex Halderman. Heil Trump!"
The university's Department of Public Safety and Security has been made aware of the emails.
University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel Tweeted overnight "I condemn the hateful messages sent tonight. DPSS & ITS are investigating as spoofing/hacking. We will provide more info. as we have it."
----- 11 -----
After 2 Weeks, Voters Yearn For Obama
Public Policy Polling
2 February 2017
[Maybe the most important takeaway: "Trump voters also continue to refuse to believe in the sincerity of those protesting him. 48% think the folks who protested at airports across the country last weekend were paid to do so by George Soros, to only 31% who think the protesters weren't paid. Trump voters thought the women's marchers were all paid by Mr. Soros as well so clearly the Trump administration is going to be very expensive for him."]
Less than 2 weeks into Donald Trump's tenure as President, 40% of voters already want to impeach him. That's up from 35% of voters who wanted to impeach him a week ago. Only 48% of voters say that they would be opposed to Trump's impeachment.
Beyond a significant percentage of voters already thinking that Trump should be removed from office, it hasn't taken long for voters to miss the good old days of Barack Obama...52% say they'd rather Obama was President, to only 43% who are glad Trump is.
Why so much unhappiness with Trump? Voters think basically everything he's doing is wrong:
-Overall voters are pretty evenly split on Trump's executive order on immigration from last week, with 47% supporting it to 49% who are opposed. But when you get beyond the overall package, the pieces of the executive order become more clearly unpopular. 52% of voters think that the order was intended to be a Muslim ban, to only 41% who don't think that was the intent. And the idea of a Muslim ban is extremely unpopular with the American people- only 26% are in favor of it, to 65% who are against it. When it comes to barring people from certain countries from entering the United States, even when those people have already secured a Visa, just 39% of voters are supportive to 53% who are against it. And just 43% of voters support the United States indefinitely suspending accepting Syrian refugees, with 48% opposed to that. Finally voters see a basic competence issue with Trump's handling of the executive order- only 39% of voters think it was well executed, to 55% who believe it was poorly executed.
The attitudes of Trump voters on the issue of the order being a Muslim ban are telling. 71% claim they don't think the intent of the executive order was to ban Muslims from entering the country, to 23% who say that was the intent. But then when you ask Trump voters what their feelings on banning Muslims from the country are, they support it. 48% of Trump voters support banning Muslims from entering the country, to 40% who are opposed. So they say it's not a Muslim ban, but they want a Muslim ban, and 94% of them support the order.
Trump voters also continue to refuse to believe in the sincerity of those protesting him. 48% think the folks who protested at airports across the country last weekend were paid to do so by George Soros, to only 31% who think the protesters weren't paid. Trump voters thought the women's marchers were all paid by Mr. Soros as well so clearly the Trump administration is going to be very expensive for him.
-It hasn't taken long for voters to develop a pretty dim view of Trump advisor Steve Bannon, and become wary of the extent to which he's being given power within the administration. Only 19% of voters see Bannon favorably, to 40% who have a negative opinion of him. Only 34% of voters approve of his being given a seat on the principals committee of the National Security Council, to 44% who are opposed to that. What's particularly telling is that only 19% of voters think Bannon belongs in that seat on the National Security Council more than the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence, to 59% who believe those folks are more deserving of that place at the table. Even Trump voters think he's gone too far on that front- by a 40/35 margin they think the more traditional members should have that position rather than Bannon.
----- 12 -----
Rule Used to Silence Warren Was Created to Protect Delicate Feelings of Senate’s Foremost Lynching Advocate
By Ben Mathis-Lilley | Slate
8 February 2017
On Tuesday night Mitch McConnell invoked part of one of the Senate's rules of debate—part of Rule 19—to stop Elizabeth Warren from speaking while she was reading a 1986 letter, written by Coretta Scott King, that criticizes attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions' record on civil rights. The Washington Post notes that this guideline was enacted in 1902 after a fight on the Senate floor. Here, from a book called The American Senate: An Insider's History, is the context:
An incident in the 1850s inspired consideration about adopting a rule to curb such excesses, but the Senate finally did so only after an ugly episode during a debate in 1902. South Carolina's "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman accused his South Carolina colleague, John McLaurin, of selling his vote for federal patronage. McLaurin called Tillman a malicious liar. Tillman lunged at him, striking him above the left eye. McLaurin hit Tillman back with an upper-cut to the nose. They were separated by other senators, and the brawl caused consternation throughout political Washington. Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts seized the occasion to propose a rule he long had had in mind: "No senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly or by any form of words impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator." Once adopted, senators had the means of instantly quieting raucous or abusive debates.
The rule was created, in other words, to protect senators like Ben Tillman from hearing mean things that would make them so mad they had to punch someone. And Ben Tillman, as it happens, is perhaps the most notorious proponent of racial terrorism in the history of the United States. Here are just a few of the things Tillman said during his horrific political career:
• "[We] agreed on on the policy of terrorizing the Negroes at the first opportunity by letting them provoke trouble and then having the whites demonstrate their superiority by killing as many of them as was justifiable." (Tillman boasted during the same speech that his pistol had been used to execute seven black men in 1876. Source.)
• "Lynch law is all we have left." (Source.)
• "The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that nigger will necessitate our killing a thousand niggers in the South before they learn their place again." (In reference to Booker T. Washington's visit to the White House. Source.)
• "We of the South have never recognized the right of the Negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him. I would to God the last one of them was in Africa and that none of them had ever been brought to our shores." (That one was on the floor of the Senate itself. Source.)
----- 13 -----
Abrams, a Trump critic, considered for key State Department post
By Elise Labott, CNN
Updated 12:35 PM ET, Mon February 6, 2017
Elliott Abrams, a neoconservative Republican insider, is emerging as President Donald Trump's choice be Deputy Secretary of State -- a pick that could test Trump's willingness to work with members of a foreign policy establishment that didn't back him during the campaign, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Trump will meet Tuesday with Abrams, who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has met with Abrams and wants him for the job, also will attend the meeting.
The deputy at the State Department is a key post that holds considerable influence and responsibility in running the department.
As a former CEO of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson comes to the job having relationships with many world leaders, while Abrams is a well-respected, albeit controversial, foreign policy insider with considerable government experience. Several State Department officials believe he would complement Tillerson.
His appointment has been on hold for weeks as Trump's senior advisers, led by White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, debated whether Abrams, someone from the foreign policy elite, could be trusted.
----- 14 -----
Spicer attacks Nordstrom for discontinuing Ivanka Trump merchandise, calls decision ‘unacceptable’
Nordstrom says the decision was made because Ivanka-branded products aren’t selling.
8 February 2017
During his Wednesday press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer characterized Nordstrom’s decision to discontinue sales of Ivanka Trump-branded products as “an attack” that is “not acceptable.”
Nordstrom says the decision was strictly business, but Spicer made clear he interprets the move as unfairly targeting the president’s family because of policy disagreements.
A reporter broached the topic by referring back to a tweet the president posted earlier Wednesday attacking Nordstrom (the message was later retweeted by the official @POTUS account):
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
During Wednesday’s presser, a reporter asked Spicer how the president is making decisions about when it’s appropriate to tweet about his kids’ business interests.
But Spicer rejected the premise that Nordstrom’s decision had anything to do with business in the first place.
“I think this was less about his family business than an attack on his daughter,” Spicer said. “I think for people to take out their concern about his actions or his executive orders on members of his family, he has every right to stand up for his family and applaud their business activities, their success.”
“For someone to take out their concern with his policies on a family member of his is just not acceptable,” Spicer added. “The president has every right as a father to stand up for them.”
----- 15 -----
Sen. Lindsey Graham: Silencing Sen. Elizabeth Warren 'was long overdue'
By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN
Updated 5:45 PM ET, Wed February 8, 2017
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says the silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor Tuesday was "long overdue."
The South Carolina senator appeared on the Mike Gallagher Show Wednesday, where he said Warren reading the letter from Coretta Scott King -- in which she expressed opposition to Jeff Sessions' nomination to the federal bench in 1986 -- was defamatory to Sessions, now an Alabama senator. The Massachusetts Democrat was ruled to be in violation of Senate rules for impugning another senator.
"The bottom line is, it was long overdue with her," he said. "I mean, she is clearly running for the nomination in 2020."
----- 16 -----
Moving to Canada no election-year joke anymore
Originally published February 8, 2017
Danny Westneat | The Seattle Times
Moving to Canada?
Ha ha, no, of course you’re not. It’s the perennial empty threat. It’s a joke proclaimed around Seattle at every presidential election in which some heinous candidate might win. But it’s never followed up on.
“We haven’t seen an influx of talent like this from any country to Canada since China in 1989,” Richard Kurland, a Vancouver, B.C., immigration attorney, told me Tuesday.
Wait, China in … 1989?
“Tiananmen Square, remember?” Kurland says. “We had China’s top minds, its scientists and engineers, fleeing from turmoil. Quite a few of them landed up here. That was the last time we saw a deluge of applications motivated by fear. Just as we’re getting from your city and state today.”
“It’s all super highly educated individuals I’m hearing from — masters, Ph.D.s, doctors, senior business executives. They’re foreign-born, and quite frankly they’re afraid of your country now. They want out.”
Being Canadian, Kurland ended our talk with a friendly “cheers!”
I had called around in British Columbia because I saw that both Microsoft and Amazon had suggested they might get around the whole mess of President Trump’s immigration travel-ban order by simply relocating a number of tech jobs to Canada.
Also, a company called True North has sprung up overnight, in Vancouver, to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start poaching some of our top technology talent.
“Got U.S. visa worries?” the company’s website goads. “The solution is True North. We make it simple for you to immediately gain the necessary paperwork to set up a Canadian work and residency status similar to what you have in the US, so that you avoid disruptions or uncertainty relating to changing U.S. visa regulations.”
----- 17 -----
President Trump gets the facts backwards in claim about murder rates
CBS News February 7, 2017, 7:00 PM
President Trump got his facts wrong again Tuesday, this time in a meeting with a group of sheriff’s officers.
“And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest been in 47 years right? Didn’t you know that? Right. 47 years? I used to, I’d say that in a speech and everybody was surprised. Because the press doesn’t tell it like it is. It wasn’t to their advantage to say that” Mr. Trump said.
FBI statistics show the president isn’t just wrong -- he has it backwards.
The fact is, the murder rate is close to the 57-year low it hit in 2014, before ticking up a bit in 2015, the most recent year of data available.
The president’s false claim that the media are consciously under-reporting the murder rate comes the day after he made the false charge that the media are conspiring to cover up terrorist attacks.
----- 18 -----
Ryan J. Reilly Verified account @ryanjreilly
Mitch McConnell is talking about the values of Jeff Sessions’ parents. He left this out -
Julia Ioffe Verified account @juliaioffe - In 1985, Jeff Sessions' father told the Montgomery Advertiser that he believes in the separation of the races.
(Image of old newsprint story: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C1vOueZWgAI
----- 19 -----
The GOP’s silencing of Elizabeth Warren is a brutal reality check for Democrats
By Greg Sargent | February 8, 2017
The Washington Post
Social media is aflame with the news that Senate Republicans voted Tuesday night to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) from speaking out about attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, after Warren had the temerity to read aloud from a letter by the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. that castigated Sessions’s history on voting rights. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended the move by claiming that Warren had “impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama.”
Unfortunately, while this episode has all kinds of symbolic importance, and while it will and should serve as a major rallying cry for Democrats going forward, one key takeaway here must be that it constitutes a brutal reality check for Democrats about the long and difficult slog they face in the near future.
Indeed, McConnell’s suggestion that Warren had impugned Sessions’s motives and conduct — which he buttressed by reading aloud King’s words — implicitly conceded that Coretta Scott King had impugned Sessions’ motives and conduct, and that this must not be given a hearing on the Senate floor. The message all of this sends about Sessions and the GOP on civil rights is awful for Republicans.
But the point is, Republicans don’t care what message this sends. And herein lies the way in which this whole episode captures the unsettling broader reality that Democrats face right now. Warren was shut down from speaking by Republicans who employed an arcane Senate rule; Democrats are shut out of power, and Republicans will use any and all procedural means at their disposal to render them as powerless and irrelevant as possible. And Republicans see no reason to fear any political repercussions from whatever message any of it sends.
Republicans pocketed a Supreme Court seat that was President Obama’s to fill and will now likely get their choice of justice installed in it. If Democrats filibuster that choice, or filibuster the next justice Trump picks, Republicans will likely nuke the Senate rules and blow past Democratic opposition. Republicans are totally abdicating any meaningful oversight role toward Trump, despite his unprecedented conflicts of interest and possible corruption, and they are unlikely to pursue independent probes into Russian meddling in our election, making it less substantially likely that the public will ever be fully informed about these things. Republicans have clearly signaled they will do everything they can to prevent other institutional watchdogs from exercising any oversight of their own. This will only get worse.
The outpouring of anger that greeted the muzzling of Warren constituted another sign of the grass-roots energy among Democrats that is arising in response to Trump and his GOP, and that could matter a lot going forward. But Democrats are nonetheless likely to lose a lot of fights to come. The confirmation Tuesday of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education, after an intense grass-roots-driven campaign from Democrats, is a hint of more defeat and despair ahead. Indeed, no matter what the public thinks about the GOP effort to keep King’s thoughts about Sessions quiet, Republicans will likely get him installed as attorney general before long.
The question is what will happen to the spirit among Democrats amid more demoralizing losses — and once it sinks in that the nonstop awfulness of Trump isn’t going away, which itself could exacerbate the demoralization. Indeed, Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg tells me that Democratic lawmakers confide they are already worrying about this problem, based on what they are seeing back home. “It is clear that Democrats on the Hill are acutely aware of their challenge,” Rosenberg says. “They have very little power to block Trump, yet they are getting a clear message from their partisans back home that they expect results.”
But Democrats are going to be shut up. They are going to be shut out. They are going to lose. A lot. And it’s going to be dispiriting and difficult. The response to this particular Warren episode has thus far been innovative and energetic. The question is whether this kind of energy can be sustained.
----- 20 -----
How Senators Voted on Jeff Sessions
By THE NEW YORK TIMES FEB. 8, 2017
The Senate voted to confirm Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Here’s a full list of Senate confirmation votes.
[I wanted to check the numbers; one Democrat (J. Manchin III W.Va.) crossed over. I was expecting two, so that's better than I'd expected. Sessions as is traditional abstained on his own confirmation; all other Democrats and all independents voted no.]
----- 21 -----
Canadian woman turned away from U.S. border after questions about religion, Trump
'We found videos on your phone that are against us,' Fadwa Alaoui says she was told by a border agent
By Steve Rukavina, CBC News Posted: Feb 08, 2017 12:59 PM ET
[She's a Canadian citizen originally from Morocco, which is _not_ on the list.]
A woman from the Montreal suburb of Brossard says she was denied entry into the U.S. Saturday after being fingerprinted, photographed and questioned in detail about her religion and her views on U.S. President Donald Trump.
Fadwa Alaoui, a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen who is Muslim and wears a hijab, says she has used her Canadian passport to enter the United States many times without incident to visit her parents and brother, who live there.
On the weekend she was travelling with two of her children and an adult cousin, who all have Canadian passports. She said they planned to spend the day shopping in Burlington, Vt., but after four hours at the border they were turned back.
She said most of the questions that she faced at the Philipsburg border crossing focused on religion.
"I felt humiliated, treated as if I was less than nothing. It's as if I wasn't Canadian," Alaoui told CBC News in an interview Wednesday.
Morocco is not among the seven predominantly Muslim countries targeted by a U.S. travel ban introduced by Trump that is now being disputed in the courts.
----- 22 -----
Betsy DeVos could be bad news for women’s sports
Title IX might not be in trouble, but its enforcement is.
7 February 2017 | ThinkProgress
On Tuesday afternoon, thanks to an unprecedented tiebreaker vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the next secretary of education.
There are many reasons to be concerned about Devos’s confirmation to this position. Her views on guns in schools, campus sexual assault, the privatization of schools, and anti-discrimination legislation — along with her lack of experience in government — are each disturbing in their own right.
But there’s yet another reason to fret about DeVos’s appointment: It could significantly set back the progress of female athletes in the United States.
With DeVos leading the education department and President Donald Trump leading the country, federal programs that provide athletic and health opportunities to women and girls in marginalized communities could be cut, charter and private schools could be held to different civil rights standards than public schools, and funding could be diverted from the Office of Civil Rights, leaving the OCR unable to address Title IX complaints and fully enforce the law.
“There are broad concerns about her rolling back Title IX and other civil rights laws,” Neena Chaudhry, the Director of Education and Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, told ThinkProgress. “She’s talked about reining in the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).”
Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in any federally funded education setting, is not just about sports. It also offers protections for pregnant and parenting students, women in STEM programs, and victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence. (Many of the protests against Devos have focused on her refusal to commit to upholding the Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault established in 2011.)
But according to Chaudhry, 80 percent of the Title IX complaints filed at the OCR have to do directly with the athletics portion of the legislation, which says that educational institutions that receive federal funds must provide female athletes with an equal opportunity to participate in sports, as well as equal access to scholarships and athletic facilities. So, ultimately, DeVos reining in the OCR could mean fewer opportunities for girls in sports, particularly girls of color, which would have life-long consequences for those girls.
----- 23 -----
Here’s a List of 39 White Terrorists for the Smug Congressman Who Challenged CNN to Name More Than Two
By Ben Mathis-Lilley | Slate
Feb. 7 2017 2:31 PM
Wisconsin congressman and former Real World: Boston cast member Sean Duffy appeared on CNN Tuesday to defend the Trump administration's fixation on the public safety threat presented by natives of seven specific majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa. (No immigrant from those countries has ever carried out a terror attack in the United States.) CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota asked Duffy why the White House wasn't expressing similar concerns about the threat presented by white extremists in light of last week's murder of six Muslims by a white supremacist Trump supporter in Québec City. That's when Duffy started doing something that is colloquially known down by the docks as "talking out of his ass."
Camerota: Why isn't the president talking about the white terrorists who mowed down six Muslims praying at their mosque?
Duffy: I don't know. But I would just tell you there's a difference, again, death and murder on both sides is wrong, but if you want to take the dozens of scenarios where ISIS-inspired attacks have taken innocents, and you give me one example of what's happened, I think that was in Canada, I'm going to condemn them all. But you don't have a group like ISIS or al-Qaida that is inspiring around the world to take up arms and kill innocents. That was a one-off. That was a one-off, Alisyn, and you have a movement on the other side.
Camerota interjected that one of the worst terror attacks in U.S. history, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building, was carried out by a white extremist:
Camerota: Hold on a second, congressman.
Duffy: Bring it on, Alisyn.
Camerota: You don't think there are white extremists? You don't remember Oklahoma City? You don't think this guy who was involved in the mosque shootings said that he was inspired by things that he read online?
Duffy: So you give me two examples, right? And in recent time, we're going to talk about the one example. And there's radicals all over the world and here in America that will take up arms and do bad things. But if you want to compare this one person in the last ten years that you can give an example of—Oklahoma was, what, 20 years ago, the Oklahoma City bombing—and that's different than the whole movement that has taken place through ISIS, that's inspired attacks. Are you going to compare the one attack up in Canada to all the death and destruction in Europe from refugees—
The weakness of Duffy's position became even more evident as Camerota interjected by referring to another very prominent white extremist, South Carolina mass murderer and Confederate fetishist
Camerota: How about Charleston, congressman? He was a white extremist.
Duffy: Yeah, he was, OK.
Camerota: That doesn't matter?
Duffy: No, it does matter. It does matter. Look at the good things that came from it. Nikki Haley took down the Confederate flag, and that was great!
1. Yikes! Perhaps Duffy did not know that it's generally an unwritten rule in politics that you don't want to find yourself celebrating the upside of a mass shooting.
2. I happen to have compiled a list of fatal white extremist attacks that have taken place in the United States since the Oklahoma City bombing, so I can in fact give Duffy more than two examples of white-perpetrated terrorism in the past two-plus decades. In the post linked in the previous sentence you'll find details on 32 such attacks involving 40 perpetrators and 70 murders. (The number in the headline above is 39 because one of the perpetrators was a Latino man working with two white anti-immigration extremists in Arizona.) Of particular note to Duffy might be the Aug. 5, 2012, incident in which a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which is about 200 miles from Duffy's district office in the city of Wausau.
----- 24 -----
Obama ethics czar: Trump's Nordstrom tweet an 'abuse' of presidency
By Mallory Shelbourne - 02/08/17 06:20 PM EST
Former President Barack Obama's ethics czar said Thursday that President Trump’s criticism of retail outlet Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s apparel brand is "an abuse of the office of the presidency."
"It is an example of why Donald Trump and his family needed to step away, needed to make a more definitive break," Norm Eisen, who later served as U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic under Obama, told MSNBC's Katy Tur in an interview.
"And I think it's an abuse of the office of the presidency. He's putting the bully in the bully pulpit."
----- 25 -----
Muslim U.S. Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad says she was held by U.S. Customs
USA TODAY Sports
Published 10:55 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2017
[Mostly included because she's a native-born US citizen on top of everything else. She's from New Jersey.]
Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first female Muslim American to medal for the United States in the Olympics, said Tuesday she was recently detained at U.S. Customs for two hours without explanation.
Muhammad, who is a native of Maplewood, N.J., said she didn’t know if she was held as a result of the Trump administration’s travel ban but is sure the move was a result of her ethnicity.
"I don't know why," she told the web site Popsugar during a speaking engagement at the MAKERS Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. "I can't tell you why it happened to me, but I know that I'm Muslim. I have an Arabic name. And even though I represent Team USA and I have that Olympic hardware, it doesn't change how you look and how people perceive you."
Muhammad, who graduated from Duke, won bronze in team sabre at the Rio Olympics last year. She was also the first American to compete in an Olympics wearing a hijab.
"My human response is to cry because I was so sad and upset and disheartened — and just disappointed," she said. "At the same time, I'm one of those people who feels like I have to be strong for those people who may not be able to find that strength. I feel like I have to speak up for those people whose voices go unheard.
----- 26 -----
The night the GOP ordered a woman to sit down and shut up
by Will Bunch | The Philadelphia Inquirer
Updated: February 8, 2017 — 10:00 PM EST
In the last 30 hours or so, we've all watched as a) President Trump threatened to "destroy" an unnamed Texas state senator for proposing (more than reasonable) legislation to curb the government's abusive power to seize property from folks not convicted of a crime b) that same president also used his governmental Twitter account in his crusade to harm the business of a major department store chain that stopped selling his daughter's clothing line and c) presidential spokesman Sean Spicer said it was un-American for anyone -- even former POW John McCain -- to even raise questions about a seemingly botched raid in Yemen, because a U.S. serviceman was killed.
Today, none of those disgraceful incidents -- which in "normal" times, whenever that was, would have fueled a week's worth of columns -- even made the cut. Instead, let's dissect a shocking moment that dramatizes how quickly the basic norms of a civil society in America are disintegrating before our eyes. Let's talk about the night that a powerful woman stood up to speak her mind on an issue of incredible national importance -- and was ordered to sit down and shut up. And we were powerless to stop it.
I was heading home Tuesday night on the cracks-and-all Market-Frankford El when my smartphone nearly caught fire from the crackle of all the white-hot tweets about the showdown that had just taken place on the Senate floor involving Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the Senate GOP and its Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. So I watched the video on my phone, to see what all the fuss was about. Then I watched it again. Then I watched it a third time, because I literally could not believe what I was seeing.
It was a jaw-dropping moment, and it was hard not to think that Warren, a moral leader of the Democrats in the wake of their 2016 election debacle, and a possible 2020 presidential candidate, was the target of a planned hit. It didn't escape notice that when Warren's angry Democratic colleagues, most of them male, followed through today on vows to read Mrs. King's letter on the Senate floor, none of them were sanctioned under Rule 19. Warren was being made an example -- but an example of what?
In the immediate aftermath, the unusual pundits on CNN and MSNBC were flummoxed. Sessions, despite the uproar, was all but certain to be confirmed by the GOP majority. Why did Mitch McConnell just wave a giant red flag to energize the anti-Trump forces out there, and once again portray that GOP as waging "a war on women"?
The short answer is: Because he could.
----- 27 -----
Judd Legum on Twitter
Editor, Think Progress
8 February 2017
[ When all this is done, _remember the looting_. Remember the _complete cooperation of the entire Republican party_. Remember it _forever_. ]
:: trump meeting with rep. chaffetz ::
1. Rep. Jason Chaffetz was summoned to the White House today to meet w/Trump. Seems kind of odd, right? He's not a member of leadership.
2. Chaffetz for his part, says he has NO IDEA, why Trump wants to meet with him
3. That seems weird. But oh, wait, what's happening down the street https://goo.gl/aXh2Er
4. Trump Jr. is "taking over," but Trump still owns the hotel. That's in direct violation of its lease w/the feds
5. Who is the one person who can cause Trump trouble about this? Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight Committee
6. Now Trump is meeting with Chaffetz behind closed doors and not disclosing the topic of the conversation, even to Chaffetz
7. The ranking member, Cummings, is pushing for more scrutiny of the lease. I'm sure that won't come up
8. I'm sure Trump would never use an oval office meeting to advance his personal financial interests. So nothing to worry about.
:: trump declaring not doing business with his family to be a direct attack on the presidency ::
1. Take a step back and consider how Trump is using the presidency for profit
2. He made clear any decision to stop doing business with his kid's will be interpreted as AN ATTACK ON THE POTUS
3. Trump will then use his position as president, including gov't assets, to attack those businesses
4. Today it was Ivanka and Nordstrom -- but the logic applies to his other kids
5. What are his other kids, Don Jr and Eric, doing with their time. THEY ARE RUNNING THE BUSINESS THAT HE STILL OWNS
6. Trump sent a message that any company that doesn't play nice with the Trump org with face the wrath of the POTUS
7. This is a completely unprecedented abuse of the presidency for personal gain.
8. It's a corruption scandal of unfathomable proportions. That it's happening publicly doesn't make it better
9. Where was the 1 member of the House who could put pressure on Trump to stop this yesterday? Oh yeah: HAVING A PRIVATE MEETING W/TRUMP
10. This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Republicans shouldn't be in favor of making the presidency a marketing tool for a cheesy hotel chain
----- 28 -----
Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules
By CECILIA KANG
The New York Times | FEB. 5, 2017
WASHINGTON — In his first days as President Trump’s pick to lead the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai has aggressively moved to roll back consumer protection regulations created during the Obama presidency.
Mr. Pai took a first swipe at net neutrality rules designed to ensure equal access to content on the internet. He stopped nine companies from providing discounted high-speed internet service to low-income individuals. He withdrew an effort to keep prison phone rates down, and he scrapped a proposal to break open the cable box market.
In total, as the chairman of the F.C.C., Mr. Pai released about a dozen actions in the last week, many buried in the agency’s website and not publicly announced, stunning consumer advocacy groups and telecom analysts. They said Mr. Pai’s message was clear: The F.C.C., an independent agency, will mirror the Trump administration’s rapid unwinding of government regulations that businesses fought against during the Obama administration.