Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,
Solarbird
solarbird

  • Mood:

good morning, it's 22 february 2017

While there isn't a story to go with it, Mr. Trump's approval ratings continue to go down the toilet - except with Republican voters, where he's got a rock-steady unshakable 85% approval rating. They love all of this; it is his party now; and CPAC will make that very clear. I'll have an article or two about that tomorrow. Until then:

Republians still mining old Milo interviews, are shocked - shocked! - to discover that he has been preaching that campus rape reports are all "frauds and hoaxes" - there are a few other Milo stories as well, including one about his boys on the bus;

North Carolina gives up on its extraordinarily blatant disenfranchisement law (for now);

more on Trump's business interests in Russia;

Canadian shoppers pressure Hudson's Bay to drop Ivanka Trump brand;

Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal, while Trump's administration signals they're completely fine with state actions against transgendered kids;

Another article on protecting your data while crossing US and Canadian borders;

Plans to cut environmental protections, and Scott Pruitt's first day on the job attacking his own staff;

ACLU announces plans to fight new versions of Trump immigration bans, which include deporting non-Mexicans to Mexico, which is very much a "...what?" situation;

School Asks Teachers To Take Down Pro-Diversity Posters, Saying They're 'Anti-Trump';

An interesting personal report by a Southern Baptist preacher at Trump's rally in Melbourne, Florida;

British Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip, nobody knows why;

And "The Myth of the U.S. Immigration Crisis" - noting that as in everything else, what isn't a lie from the Trumpists is a decade (or more!) out of date. Notice how Mr. Trump's descriptions of conditions in cities are all basically from the 1970s? That's not a coincidence.


----- 1 -----
Still mining old Milo interviews, Republicans are shocked - shocked! - to discover that Milo Y has been saying campus rape reports are all lies.
20 February 2017
[My transcript; video excerpt at link]

https://twitter.com/ReaganBattalion/status/833700767475331072
[Longer video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM0LGe21NfY ]

MILO: This sexual harassment craze, right now. It's really just a way for women to tell you they've been hit on, isn't it? It's really just a way for women to

HOST: It's a way to get money.

MILO: Well, but not just that, but somebody has been expressing sexual interest in me. 'Cause all of these quote unquote rape stories from campuses that don't actually involve any sex, um - of course the ones that do involve sex rape stories are all frauds and hoaxes. The ones that don't, the ones don't involve sex they sort of 'oh, hideous, someone touched my breast, how awful.' What's a woman really telling you there? She's telling you that someone was sexually interested in her. It's a sort of bragging, isn't it? And it's only done by

HOST: Well, it is, unless someone does really touch her breasts in an unwanted way...

MILO: Yeah, but how're you supposed to know now, how're you supposed to know now, and it's always peo-

HOST: Well, some guy, just comes up and grabs your tit, that is...

MILO: [exasperated] Oh gorra, I...

HOST: ..that is sexual assault!

MILO: It's not- [disgusted noise] Our parents' generation would've turned around and said keep your fucking hands to yourself and moved on with their lives, they wouldn't've gone into university administrators and tried to destroy the guy's reputation and life over it! [Angrily] It's not that big a deal, if someone touched your tit, get over it!

HOST: Well, guy, let me see, that's, that's a big deal. That's a rude person...

MILO: No, no no

HOST: ...that doesn't have any respect for somebody else's body.

MILO: It's rude, it's rude, but when you enlarge the

HOST: They should take those people out of campus, you shouldn't be allowed to do that.

MILO: [Disgustedly] That's ridiculous.


----- 2 -----
Cooper, Stein take steps to withdraw request for U.S. Supreme Court to hear monster voting law
By Melissa Boughton
21 February 2017

http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2017/02/21/cooper-stein-take-steps-withdraw-request-u-s-supreme-court-hear-monster-voting-law/

Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein have taken steps to withdraw North Carolina’s request for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the monster voting law struck down last summer by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case is North Carolina v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and appellate judges found that the omnibus voting restrictions law sought to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision” to limit access to the ballot box.

Former Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration joined in petitioning the nation’s highest court in December to hear the case. Justices are expected to review the writ of certiorari at its March 3 conference.

There has been speculation over the last several weeks about Cooper and Stein’s ability to change the course of the case and protect voter rights, but their offices had not addressed the issue until today.


----- 3 -----
Contradicting Trump on Russia: Russian Officials
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG
The New York Times | FEB. 20, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/20/us/politics/donald-trump-russia.html

WASHINGTON — For months, President Trump and his aides have insisted that they had no contact with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, a denial Mr. Trump repeated last week.

“I have nothing to do with Russia,” he told reporters on Thursday. “To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

The denial stands at odds with statements by Russian officials, who have at least twice acknowledged contacts with aides to Mr. Trump before the election.

It is not uncommon for a presidential campaign to speak to foreign officials, which makes the dispute particularly unusual. At the same time, any contacts would have taken place during a period when American intelligence agencies believe the Russian government was trying to disrupt the election with a campaign of computer hacking.


----- 4 -----
Canadian shoppers pressure Hudson's Bay to drop Ivanka Trump brand
by Craig Takeuchi on February 20th, 2017
The Georgia Straight

http://www.straight.com/life/871151/canadian-shoppers-pressure-hudsons-bay-drop-ivanka-trump-brand

While rallies are being organized to protest the arrival of the Trump sons for the opening of the Trump Tower in Vancouver next week, another protest has been raging online against another Trump offspring.

Canadian shoppers are pressuring Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay to drop the Ivanka Trump brand.

The Bay sells apparel, shoes, and jewelry from Ivanka Trump's company.

On social media, consumers have been using the #Baycott hashtag to express their desire to see the Hudson's Bay drop the brand.

The Grab Your Wallet campaign lists a number of retailers that sell products related to the Trump family, including Hudson's Bay, Winners, Walmart, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Amazon, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Meanwhile, Nordstrom announced on February 2 that it decided to stop carrying the Ivanka Trump line, citing poor sales.


----- 5 -----
Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal
By LINDSEY TANNER | AP News
21 February 2017

https://www.apnews.com/46e523cd23f84f549cf2cce0add510ff/Teen-suicide-attempts-fell-as-same-sex-marriage-became-legal

CHICAGO (AP) — Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found.

The research found declines in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. The results don't prove there's a connection, but researchers said policymakers should be aware of the measures' potential benefits for youth mental health.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for all U.S. teens. Suicidal behavior is much more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults; about 29 percent of these teens in the study reported attempting suicide, compared with just 6 percent of straight teens.

Laws that have the greatest impact on gay adults may make gay kids feel "more hopeful for the future," said lead author Julia Raifman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The measures also could create more tolerance and less bullying, making these teens feel less stigmatized. Those effects could also benefit straight teens but more research is needed to determine how the laws might influence teen behavior, Raifman said.

The study was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics .


----- 6 -----
Invasion of privacy
Border agents are seizing travellers’ phones and asking for their passwords. Here’s how to protect yourself.
How to secure your phone when crossing the border
By Hilary Beaumont on Feb 17, 2017
Vice

https://news.vice.com/story/how-to-secure-your-phone-when-crossing-the-border

Privacy advocates and lawyers are advising travellers to wipe their phones of all data when crossing the U.S. border following a number of new reports of border agents seizing mobile devices and demanding passwords.

This week, American customs agents seized the phone of a NASA employee and U.S. citizen and demanded his PIN. In November, Canadian photojournalist Ed Ou had his phone confiscated by border agents, who told him to unlock it, and questioned him for six hours when he refused. Two Moroccan Canadians were denied entry into the U.S. this month, but only after agents had rifled through their phones.

The issue could get worse, if a proposal from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to demand the social media passwords of some travellers becomes reality.

Growing uncertainty over the rules is putting the onus on people to protect themselves. Here’s how.

Know your rights

Phone and password seizures were happening under the Obama administration. But in the wake of President Donald Trump’s now suspended travel and refugee ban, the American Civil Liberties Union says it has noted an increase in those types of reports from people crossing the border.

You can’t be compelled to hand over your PIN or passwords at the U.S. border, according to Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, but depending on your status, there could be consequences for refusing to divulge them.

U.S. citizens and green card holders can be detained, and border agents can hold their devices, while visa-holders can be denied entry to the U.S. if they refuse to give their PIN or password.

...

At Canada’s border, the legal circumstances are similar. Brenda McPhail, director of the Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Project for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, says the Customs Act allows border agents to search any goods coming into Canada, but the law is being interpreted so broadly that electronic devices can be searched, too. And in Canada, if you refuse to divulge the password to your device, you can be charged with obstruction.

“The border is what we call a zone of reduced privacy expectation, which means there’s more leeway to do things at the border than in other situations,” she says. “But even at the border, privacy invasions should be minimally impairing and they should be proportionate to the state interest or risk to the traveller.”

The power to demand passwords hasn’t been constitutionally tested in Canada, although she says the CCLA is looking for a test case so the law can be updated or clarified.


----- 7 -----
Trump executive orders to target climate, water rules: report
By Devin Henry - The Hill
02/21/17 09:39 AM EST

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/320409-trump-executive-orders-to-target-climate-water-rules-report

The White House is preparing executive orders targeting controversial Obama-era climate and water rules, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Through executive orders, President Trump will reportedly tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rewrite a 2015 rule that cracks down on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.

He will also instruct the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to redo another 2015 rule that gives the federal government more regulatory power over waterways around the country. Along the way, he will also lift an Interior Department moratorium on federal land coal leasing.

The power plant rule — called the Clean Power Plan — and the water rule are two of the most expansive and controversial environmental rules issued by the Obama administration, and ones that Trump has long promised to undo.
The Clean Power Plan was the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change agenda. The measure envisions a 32 percent reduction in electricity sector carbon emissions by 2030. Environmentalists support the measure but Republicans contend it gives the government too much power and the energy sector says it imperils fossil fuel industries.

Last February, the Supreme Court halted implementation of the rule until lawsuits against it could move forward. A ruling on the measure is due soon from a federal court.

The water rule — formally titled the Clean Water Rule, but commonly known as Waters of the United States — gives the federal government regulatory jurisdiction over small waterways around the county. The measure was also stayed by a federal judge after a host of states sued against it.


----- 8 -----
ACLU to resist 'un-American' Trump plan
By Mark Hensch - The Hill
02/21/17

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/320480-aclu-trump-deportation-plans-un-american

[Memos referenced in this story can be found here:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article133607784.ece/BINARY/DHS%20enforcement%20of%20immigration%20laws

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article133607789.ece/BINARY/DHS%20implementation%20border%20security%20policies ]

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says it will help resist the Trump administration’s new strategy for prosecuting criminal and undocumented immigrants.

“These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy,” Omar Jadwat, the director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement Tuesday.

“However, President Trump does not have the last word here — the courts and the public will not allow this un-American dream to become reality.”

The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday released details of how it will prosecute criminal and undocumented immigrants under Trump.

The two memos from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly expand immigration raids and the definition of criminal aliens. They also diminish sanctuary areas and enlist local law enforcement to help execute federal immigration policies.

The documents largely scrap former President Barack Obama’s immigration guidelines, leaving only those relating to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children intact.


----- 9 -----
How Alt-Right “Fellow-Traveller” Milo Yiannopoulos Cracked Up the Right
By Ryan Lizza | The New Yorker
21 February 2017

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-alt-right-fellow-traveller-milo-yiannopoulos-cracked-up-the-right

On Monday afternoon, shortly before he learned that he had been disinvited from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, that his book deal with Simon & Schuster had been cancelled, and that his fellow-employees at Breitbart News were threatening to quit if he wasn’t fired, Milo Yiannopoulos calmly explained to me that he wasn’t a pedophile or an anti-Semite. Over the weekend, interviews in which he discussed underage sex and Jewish influence on the media and finance had circulated on social media. A group calling itself the Reagan Battalion had scoured the Web and assembled a highlight reel of Yiannopoulos’s most offensive statements, including an endorsement of having sex with thirteen-year-olds.

...

Yiannopoulos is the technology editor for Breitbart, the right-wing, pro-Trump news site formerly run by Steve Bannon, who is now President Trump’s chief strategist and arguably the most powerful man in the White House. While working for Bannon, Yiannopoulos did more than anyone else at Breitbart to explain and build bridges to the so-called alt-right, the amorphous collection of neo-nationalist activists. Bannon once said that Breitbart was “the platform for the alt-right.” Yiannopoulos, who has called himself a “fellow-traveller” of the movement, last year wrote a sympathetic essay, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” which attempted to usher the movement into semi-respectability among the site’s many Trump-loving readers. “Some—mostly Establishment types—insist it’s little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: anti-Semites, white supremacists, and other members of the Stormfront set,” Yiannopoulos and his co-author, Allum Bokhari, wrote. “They’re wrong.”

Actually, they were right. The Anti-Defamation League, which studies the movement, describes its adherents as those “who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of forms of conservatism that embrace implicit or explicit racism or white supremacy.” At an infamous alt-right conference in Washington in November, attendees toasted Trump with the Nazi salute. But, over the past year, Yiannopoulos, along with the alt-right, Bannon, and Trump—whom Yiannopoulos often calls “Daddy”—moved from the laughingstock fringes to the center of the conservative movement. Earlier this month, when a Yiannopoulos event at U.C. Berkeley attracted violent protesters and was cancelled, the President took notice with a shocking threat. “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” he said on Twitter.

The Berkeley event turned some of Yiannopoulos’s critics on the right into sympathizers, who started to view him as a martyr for free speech. Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC, invited Yiannopoulos to speak. The annual conference begins on Wednesday, and will feature remarks by Vice-President Mike Pence and a joint appearance by Bannon and Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff.


----- 9 -----
Trump Plan: Deport to Mexico Immigrants Crossing Border Illegally, Regardless of Nationality
The idea is part of a raft of immigration proposals signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly that are likely to spur international and legal challenges.
by Ginger Thompson and Marcelo Rochabrun
ProPublica, Feb. 20, 2017, 4:25 p.m.

https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-plan-deport-anyone-crossing-mexican-border-regardless-of-nationality

Update, February 21, 2017: In a call with reporters Tuesday morning, DHS officials confirmed they were working on a plan to send migrants who had entered the United States from Mexico back to Mexico, even if they were not citizens of that country.

Buried deep in the Trump administration’s plans to round up undocumented immigrants is a provision certain to enrage Mexico — new authority for federal agents to deport anyone caught crossing the southern border to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

If present immigration trends continue, that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico. Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.

President Trump wants them to do so from Mexico, communicating via videoconference calls with U.S. immigration officials from facilities that Mexico would presumably be forced to build.


----- 10 -----
‘Alternative’ Education: Using Charter Schools to Hide Dropouts and Game the System

School officials nationwide dodge accountability ratings by steering low achievers to alternative programs. In Orlando, Florida, the nation’s tenth-largest district, thousands of students who leave alternative charters run by a for-profit company aren’t counted as dropouts.

by Heather Vogell and Hannah Fresques, ProPublica and USA Today
February 21, 2017

https://www.propublica.org/article/alternative-education-using-charter-schools-hide-dropouts-and-game-system

Tucked among posh gated communities, and meticulously landscaped shopping centers, Olympia High School in Orlando offers more than two dozen Advanced Placement courses, even more afterschool clubs, and an array of sports from bowling to water polo. U.S. News and World Report ranked it among the nation’s top 1,000 high schools last year. Big letters painted in brown on one campus building urge its more than 3,000 students to “Finish Strong.”

Olympia’s success in recent years, however, has been linked to another, quite different school five miles away. Last school year, 137 students assigned to Olympia’s attendance zone instead attended Sunshine High, a charter alternative school run by a for-profit company. Sunshine stands a few doors down from a tobacco shop and a liquor store in a strip mall. It offers no sports teams and few extra-curricular activities.

Sunshine’s 455 students — more than 85 percent of whom are black or Hispanic — sit for four hours a day in front of computers with little or no live teaching. One former student said he was left to himself to goof off or cheat on tests by looking up answers on the internet. A current student said he was robbed near the strip mall’s parking lot, twice.

Sunshine takes in cast-offs from Olympia and other Orlando high schools in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Olympia keeps its graduation rate above 90 percent — and its rating an “A” under Florida’s all-important grading system for schools — partly by shipping its worst achievers to Sunshine. Sunshine collects enough school district money to cover costs and pay its management firm, Accelerated Learning Solutions (ALS), a more than $1.5 million-a-year “management fee,” 2015 financial records show — more than what the school spends on instruction.

But students lose out, a ProPublica investigation found. Once enrolled at Sunshine, hundreds of them exit quickly with no degree and limited prospects. The departures expose a practice in which officials in the nation’s tenth-largest school district have for years quietly funneled thousands of disadvantaged students — some say against their wishes — into alternative charter schools that allow them to disappear without counting as dropouts.

“I would show up, I would sit down and listen to music the whole time. I didn’t really make any progress the whole time I was there,” said Thiago Mello, 20, who spent a year at Sunshine and left without graduating. He had transferred there from another alternative charter school, where he enrolled after his grades slipped at Olympia.

The Orlando schools illustrate a national pattern. Alternative schools have long served as placements for students who violated disciplinary codes. But since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 refashioned the yardstick for judging schools, alternative education has taken on another role: A silent release valve for high schools like Olympia that are straining under the pressure of accountability reform.

As a result, alternative schools at times become warehouses where regular schools stow poor performers to avoid being held accountable. Traditional high schools in many states are free to use alternative programs to rid themselves of weak students whose test scores, truancy and risk of dropping out threaten their standing, a ProPublica survey of state policies found.

...

In Orlando, both traditional and alternative charter schools manipulate the accountability system. The charters exploit a loophole in state regulations: By coding hundreds of students who leave as withdrawing to enter adult education, such as GED classes, Sunshine claims virtually no dropouts. State rules don’t label withdrawals for that reason as dropping out. But ALS officials cannot say where Sunshine students actually went — or if they even took GED classes at all.

Between the day in 2012 when it first opened, and the end of the 2015 school year, Sunshine High coded 1,230 withdrawals as students leaving for adult education. At least nine of the company’s other charter schools statewide — including three in Orange County — followed a similar pattern. Not counting Sunshine, the other ALS schools in Florida reported 5,260 more such withdrawals.

...


The symbiotic relationship between Olympia and Sunshine sheds light on a neglected sector of American K-12 education: a sprawling system of “alternative” schools made up of roughly half a million of the nation’s most vulnerable students.

No Child Left Behind was supposed to improve educational outcomes for students long overlooked — including those who were black, Hispanic and low-income. Yet as the pressure ramped up, ProPublica’s analysis found, those students were precisely the ones overrepresented in alternative classrooms — where many found a second-tier education awaiting them.

Barbara Fedders, a law professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said alternative schools too frequently fail to halt students’ downward trajectory, simply isolating them, instead.

“They create little islands of segregation,” Fedders said. “If they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, it’s unclear why we have them at all.”


----- 11 -----
Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart News
By Kelsey Sutton, Hadas Gold and Peter Sterne
02/21/17
Breitbart News

http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2017/02/milo-yiannopoulos-leaves-breitbart-news-235237

Embattled conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos announced on Tuesday that he would resign from Breitbart News, where he was a senior editor.

...

Yiannopoulos' comments created tension within Breitbart, with some staffers uncomfortable with how slowly Breitbart leadership was to respond to the controversy surrounding their employee and how little they communicated with staff throughout the weekend. Some threatened to leave if Yiannopoulos stayed.

Despite his resignation, some staffers still feel that the latest controversy to engulf the company was a bridge too far.

...

At the press conference, Yiannopoulos said Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow "has been nothing but supportive," but he declined to say whether the site's management asked him to resign or whether he offered it voluntarily, saying he would keep the details of his conversation with Marlow "confidential." Yiannopoulos blamed the media for the controversy and for not reporting on the comments sooner, calling it a "cynical media witch hunt." That sentiment was also expressed by Marlow on Breitbart's radio show on Tuesday morning.


----- 12 -----
White House: States Should Get To Decide Whether To Discriminate Against LGBTQ Students
"The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government."
By Amanda Terkel
21 February 2017

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-lgbtq-discrimination_us_58ac9309e4b0e784faa22d69

WASHINGTON ― White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave a clear indication Tuesday that the new administration will not be a forceful defender of transgender rights, saying President Donald Trump believes that issue should be left up to the states.

The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to rescind a policy issued by President Barack Obama’s administration mandating that any school that receives federal money must treat a student’s gender identity as his or her sex. Schools, for example, would therefore have to allow transgender individuals to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.

Spicer declined to say exactly what the administration had in the works, although he said it was an issue that the Departments of Education and Justice are addressing.

“I think there will be further guidance coming from DOJ in particular with respect to not just the executive order but also the case that’s in front of the Supreme Court,” Spicer said.


----- 13 -----
School Asks Teachers To Take Down Pro-Diversity Posters, Saying They're 'Anti-Trump'
Now, the students are fighting back.
By Dana Liebelson | The Huffington Post

[This is reportworthy because it's fundamentally about the idea that the existence of certain kinds of people can be considered "political." The fundamentalist movement has considered the existence of LGBT people to be "political" as long as I've been alive. Now they're trying to extend that. It is an idea _critical_ to fascist thought, and acceptance of the idea that various kinds of people's existence is a 'political matter' is _critical_ to fascist acceptance.]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/school-pro-diversity-posters-trump_us_58ac87b9e4b0e784faa21446

WASHINGTON ― School administrators in a 93 percent white Maryland county recently asked high school teachers to take down pro-diversity posters from classrooms because they perceived them as “political” and “anti-Trump,” a school spokesperson told The Huffington Post.

Teachers at Westminster High School had put up the posters, which depicted Latina, Muslim and black women and were designed by Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the “Hope” posters featuring President Barack Obama in 2008. The women are rendered in patriotic colors, with messages like “We the people are greater than fear.” The teachers put up the posters as a “show of diversity,” said Carey Gaddis, a spokeswoman for Carroll County Public Schools.


----- 14 -----
Scott Pruitt Goes After Critics, His Own Staff In First Speech To EPA
The new EPA administrator made his name suing the agency 13 times and fighting on behalf of oil and gas companies.
By Alexander C. Kaufman
02/21/2017

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pruitt-epa-speech_us_58ac7e76e4b0c4d51057164f

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt mentioned a “toxic environment” just once during his first address Tuesday to the embattled agency staff.

But he wasn’t talking about industry pollution or conserving nature. He was referring to his critics’ political rhetoric.

“Forgive the reference, but it’s a very toxic environment,” the controversial new administrator said in the speech, which lasted under 20 minutes.

“Civility is something I believe in very much,” he added. “We ought to be able to get together and wrestle through some issues in a civil manner.”

Then, at last, he began to outline his vision for the EPA. He described an agency that prioritized making it easier for polluters to comply with regulations. He promised to listen intently to companies before saddling them with new regulations. He admonished his new employees, some fearing layoffs amid looming budget cuts, for acting outside the agency’s legal mandate and running roughshod over states’ rights.

“Regulations ought to make things regular,” Pruitt said. “Regulations exist to give certainty to those they regulate. Those we regulate ought to know what’s expected of them so they can place and allocate resources to comply.”

He did not mention climate change or environmental destruction.


----- 15 -----
On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right
What happens when a movement of gamers recognizes they’re not players, but pawns?
By Laurie Penny | Pacific Standard
21 February 2017

[This is a somewhat longer read, but good]

https://psmag.com/on-the-milo-bus-with-the-lost-boys-of-americas-new-right-629a77e87986#.xx3lqreno

Have you heard the one about the boy who cried Fake News?

This is a story about truth and consequences. It’s a story about who gets to be young and dumb, and who gets held accountable. It’s also a story about how the new right exploits young men — how it preys not on their bodies, but on their emotions, on their hurts and hopes and anger and anxiety, their desperate need to be part of a big ugly boys’ own adventure.

It’s a story about how so many of us have suffered the consequences of that exploitation. And it’s a story about how consequences finally came for Milo Yiannopoulos too — the worst kind of consequences for a professional troll. Consequences that nobody finds funny. Consequences that cannot be mined for fame and profit.

...

It is horribly ironic that of all the disgusting nonsense Yiannopoulos has said — about women, about Muslims, about transgender people, about immigrants — it is only now that the moderate right appears to have reached the limits of what it will tolerate in the name of free speech. The hypocrisy is clarion-clear: This was never, in fact, about free speech at all. It was about making it OK to say racist, sexist, transphobic, and xenophobic things, about tolerating the public expression of those views right up to the point where it becomes financially unwise to do so. Those suddenly dropping Yiannopoulos are making a business decision, not a moral one — and yes, even in Donald Trump’s America, there’s still a difference. If that difference devours Yiannopoulos and his minions, they will find few mourners.

Yiannopoulos followed the path of least resistance until, suddenly, it resisted. Now he knows just what it is to have the Internet turn on you and take away your control of the narrative. Now the entire alt-right is realizing, in full view of a few million popcorn-munching online leftists, that they were never the new punk. They were never the suave and seductive blackshirts of the new American authoritarianism. They are, at best, the brownshirts, and they are becoming less useful to their benefactors by the day. Where they were once “underground,” they are now are an ankle-biting embarrassment to the movement they made mainstream — and they have no clue what to do next.


----- 16 -----
British Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip
Juhel Miah from south Wales was removed from plane in Reykjavik despite suspension of president’s travel ban
The Guardian | 20 February 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/20/british-muslim-teacher-denied-entry-to-us-on-school-trip

A British Muslim schoolteacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from south Wales was denied entry to the United States.

Juhel Miah and a group of children and other teachers were about to take off from Iceland on 16 February on their way to the US when he was removed from the plane at Reykjavik. The previous week, on the 10 February, a US appeals court had upheld a decision to suspend Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned entry to the country from seven Muslim-majority countries.


----- 17 -----
Trump visits Melbourne
Joel Tooley on Facebook
18 February 2017

https://www.facebook.com/joel.tooley/posts/10155350764828888

What I am about to write and what you are about to read may make some people very uncomfortable, if not angry.

That is not my intention nor is it okay with me to cause anyone to stumble. That being said, what I experienced tonight was so dramatic that I cannot help but reflect on it and share what I experienced.


----- 18 -----
The Myth of the U.S. Immigration Crisis
Feb 21, 2017 11:52 AM EST
By Noah Smith

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-21/the-myth-of-the-u-s-immigration-crisis

With the rise of Donald Trump, anti-immigrant sentiment has reached levels not seen in decades in the U.S. Anger against illegal immigration and fear of refugees, previously confined to the fringes of the Republican base, are now at the center of public dialogue. Among some pundits and intellectuals, the response has been to try to accommodate this anger -- to see immigration as a problem that needs solving. For example, my friend Josh Barro at Business Insider recently wrote an article lambasting Democrats for failing to have a coherent program for immigration reform.

I think this is wrong. Yes, I’m in favor of improving the U.S. immigration system -- my proposal is to implement a skills-based system like Canada’s. Yes, the current system is suboptimal in a number of ways. But by treating immigration as an urgent problem in need of dramatic policy action, centrists are conceding way too much. The current situation is not an emergency at all.

Illegal immigration to the U.S. ended a decade ago and, according to the Pew Research Center, has been zero or negative since its peak in 2007:

Also posted to ソ-ラ-バ-ド-のおん; comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.

Tags: fascism watch, political
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 0 comments