Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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good morning, it's 1 february 2017

Items 1 and 2 are notes on the constitutional crisis. Item 2 is particularly bad: reports of US marshals refusing to enforce court orders.

Item 3 is of note because I've now seen enough "obstruction of traffic" bills targeting protests to wonder if it's another rightist national effort to suppress opposition. There are various flavours; Indiana's forces local officials to end protests "by any means necessary," other variants remove liability from drivers if they hit a pedestrian who is part of a protest.

Item 4 is a Federal ban on abortion, many forms of research, and will be used - guaranteed - against birth control.

Others include plans to sell off Federal lands (for cheap, of course), negative commentary on Mr. Trump's administration, abandonment of Mr. Trump's promise to allow negotiation of drug prices by Medicare/Medicaid, an attempt to repeal environmental protections in mining, an attempt to abolish the EPA outright, and more. Basically, it's all a shitshow.

----- 1 -----
Stop that plane: The frantic race to halt a deportation
Monday, 30 January 2017

When Courtney Gregoire read about the chaos unfolding in New York’s John F. Kennedy airport Saturday morning, she began to wonder how President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries would play out in Seattle. Gregoire, an attorney and the daughter of former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, is a commissioner of the Port of Seattle, which oversees the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. So she picked up the phone to ask.

It was the beginning of an astonishing and chaotic day that would see elected officials, civil rights attorneys and thousands of protesters descend upon Sea-Tac in an effort to win the release of passengers caught up in a high-stakes test of Trump’s executive powers.


When Jayapal and Delbene arrived at the CBP offices, no one would come to speak with them. The two members of Congress literally banged on the door until, after about 20 minutes, CBP Seattle Port Director Mark Wilkerson finally came out to talk. They patched in Gov. Inslee and Sen. Murray on a conference call. Inslee in particular was apparently audibly frustrated, as he had been all day.

As that meeting was taking place, Baron and Gregoire got the order from Judge Zilly to stay the deportation of the two detainees, the second such order in the country. The boarding ramp to the Emirates flight was literally pulling away from the plane when Baron confronted airport and CBP staff with the order on his phone.

The airline offloaded the two confused passengers, one from Sudan, the other from Yemen.

----- 2 -----
Charlotte Silver - Verified account ‏- @CharESilver
7:09 AM - 31 Jan 2017

Reports from LA that US Marshals are refusing to enforce fed court orders against CBP. They've been instructed to take orders from US Atty.

Contents of thread:

Just spoke w/ an immigration atty in LA. Told me that no one is receiving service of process of 3 court orders that apply to LAX: NY, MA, LA

After a man was deported from LAX in defiance of the NY/MA court ordered stay, an LA court issued a TRO against the CBP/DHS

Now CBP/DHS in LAX have three court orders that it should be in compliance with, but no agency has acknowledged these orders.

Wouldn't be necessary except when CBP deported the man they showed they may not comply with court orders.

So imm. lawyers went to US Marshal, the enforcement branch of judiciary, asking them to serve orders to CBP, but they refused...

.. saying they were instructed by Office of the General Counsel to await instruction from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

So lawyers went to US Atty. US Atty office was about to accept the proof of service on behalf of CBP/DHS, but were abruptly called away...

... When they came back they informed immigration lawyers they could not sign.

They did not inform the immigration lawyers who instructed the US Atty office not to sign.

Immigration lawyer says they do not know if CBP has continued to deport people, but they are continuing to detain people.

----- 3 -----
Indiana General Assembly
Senate Bill 285
Authored by Sen. James Tomes.

Traffic obstruction by protestors. Defines "mass traffic obstruction" and "responsible public official". Requires a responsible public official to, not later than 15 minutes after the responsible public official learns of a mass traffic obstruction, dispatch all available law enforcement personnel with instructions to clear the roads of persons unlawfully obstructing vehicular traffic.

----- 4 -----
H.R.586 - Sanctity of Human Life Act115th Congress (2017-2018) |
Rep. Hice, Jody B. [R-GA-10] (Introduced 01/17/2017)

This bill declares that: (1) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is a person's most fundamental right; (2) each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its equivalent, at which time every human has all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and (3) Congress, each state, the District of Columbia, and each U.S. territory have the authority to protect all human lives.

----- 5 -----
The FBI’s Secret Rules
The Intercept
(Several articles}

President Trump has inherited a vast domestic intelligence agency with extraordinary secret powers. A cache of documents offers a rare window into the FBI’s quiet expansion since 9/11.

Support documents:

----- 6 -----
FBI: U.S. law enforcement infiltrated by white supremacists
BoingBoing / Rob Beschizza / 5:47 am Tue Jan 31, 2017

It won't surprise you to learn American policing has a racism problem. It may surprise you to know that the FBI has been quietly, systematically investigating the white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement.

Alice Speri writes that there's just not much anyone in politics is willing to do about it—and an inevitable conservative-led backlash when they try—but the FBI is starting to treat local cops the way it treated hippies: as a problem worth getting its hands dirty over.

“For some reason, we have stepped away from the threat of domestic terrorism and right-wing extremism,” Jones continued. “The only way we can reconcile this kind of behavior is if we accept the possibility that the ideology that permeates white nationalists and white supremacists is something that many in our federal and law enforcement communities understand and may be in sympathy with.”

----- 7 -----
Jerry Falwell Jr. Says He Will Lead Federal Task Force on Higher-Ed Policy
By Goldie Blumenstyk January 31, 2017

Jerry L. Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, has been asked by President Trump to head up a new task force that will identify changes that should be made to the U.S. Department of Education’s policies and procedures, Mr. Falwell told The Chronicle on Tuesday.

The exact scope, size, and mission of the task force has yet to be formally announced. But in an interview, Mr. Falwell said he sees it as a response to what he called “overreaching regulation” and micromanagement by the department in areas like accreditation and policies that affect colleges’ student-recruiting behavior, like the new “borrower defense to repayment” regulations.


He kept the task-force offer private until Tuesday, when Steve Bannon, President Trump's chief strategist, gave him the green light to discuss it, according to Mr. Falwell.

----- 8 -----
Meet the RNC Speakers: Jerry Falwell Jr.
by Peter Montgomery | Right Wing Watch | July 14, 2016 4:08 pm

It was hardly surprising to see Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. on the speakers’ list for the Republican convention. After all, Falwell has compared Trump to Jesus Christ, the biblical King David, Martin Luther King Jr., and his own father, Jerry Falwell Sr. That’s the kind of adoration Trump appreciates.

Falwell was one of the speakers at last month’s meeting between Trump and hundreds of Religious Right leaders and activists. At that meeting, Falwell called Trump a “bold and fearless leader” and said that the day after Trump becomes president, “every terrorist in the world will crawl under a rock.” Falwell declared, “I personally feel strongly that Donald Trump is God’s man to lead our nation at this crucial crossroads in our country’s history.”

----- 9 -----
Democrats consider backing off big battle over Trump's Supreme Court pick
By Manu Raju and Ted Barrett, CNN
Updated 8:28 PM ET, Mon January 30, 2017

Washington (CNN)Senate Democrats are weighing whether to avoid an all-out war to block President Donald Trump's upcoming Supreme Court pick, instead considering delaying that battle for a future nomination that could shift the ideological balance of the court, sources say.

Democrats privately discussed their tactics during a closed-door retreat in West Virginia last week. And a number of Democrats are trying to persuade liberal firebrands to essentially let Republicans confirm Trump's pick after a vigorous confirmation process -- since Trump is likely to name a conservative to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

The reason for the tactic: Republicans are considering gutting the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats stay largely united and block Trump's first pick. By employing the so-called "nuclear option," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could move to reduce the threshold for clearing a filibuster from 60 votes to 51 votes.

That would mean Democrats could lose leverage in the next Supreme Court fight if Trump were to replace a more liberal justice, since the GOP now has 52 seats in the Senate.

Preserving the filibuster now could give Democrats more leverage in the future, proponents of this strategy say. But it would enrage the Democratic base that wants a furious Democratic response to Trump's court pick.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, a member of the Judiciary Committee told CNN he is still seething over the Republicans' decision to block Judge Merrick Garland from filling the seat when they refused to hold hearings and votes on his nomination last year.

"But I'm not going to do to President Trump's nominee what the Republicans in the Senate did to President Obama's," Coons said. "I will push for a hearing and I will push for a vote."

----- 10 -----
Trump taps Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court
By Lydia Wheeler and Jordan Fabian - 01/31/17 08:04 PM EST
The Hill

President Trump on Tuesday selected Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, setting up a nasty confirmation battle with Senate Democrats stung over the GOP blockade against President Obama’s pick.


President Trump on Tuesday selected Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, setting up a nasty confirmation battle with Senate Democrats stung over the GOP blockade against President Obama’s pick.


In 2013, Gorsuch joined the appeals court in siding with the craft store chain Hobby Lobby and Christian bookstore chain Mardel Inc. in its challenge of ObamaCare’s mandate that requires employer health care plans to cover birth control.

In a concurring opinion in the case, Gorsuch said it was “not for secular courts to rewrite the religious complaint of a faithful adherent, or to decide whether a religious teaching about complicity imposes 'too much’ moral disapproval on those only “indirectly” assisting wrongful conduct.”

“Whether an act of complicity is or isn’t ‘too attenuated' from the underlying wrong is sometimes itself a matter of faith we must respect,” he wrote.

The Supreme Court upheld that decision in a 5-4 vote.

At 49, Gorsuch would be the youngest member of the court — a key consideration for Trump and Republicans, who want to make sure their picks stay for some time.

----- 11 -----
Neil Gorsuch Has an Unacceptable, Hostile Record Towards LGBT People
By Lambda Legal
January 31, 2017

Following President Donald J. Trump’s nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch, Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, to the U.S. Supreme Court today, Lambda Legal took the difficult step of formally opposing his nomination, citing his record of hostility towards LGBT people and other marginalized communities. This is the first time Lambda Legal has opposed a Supreme Court nomination before a confirmation hearing.

In opposing Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, Lambda Legal cited his anti-LGBT rulings as well as his record on critical issues like religious exemptions.

“Judge Gorsuch’s opinion in the 10th Circuit Hobby Lobby decision is disqualifying,” said Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal. “The Hobby Lobby decision set a terrible and destructive standard for bosses being allowed to meddle in our sex lives and decide whether or not birth control is covered by the employer’s insurance plan. In Judge Gorsuch’s decision, he calls the inclusion of health coverage that includes birth control – ‘complicity…in the wrongdoing of others.’ Even the Supreme Court, affirming that case, acknowledged how dangerous this line of thinking is: it creates a nation in which some religions are obliged to follow the law and others are not. Troublingly, Judge Gorsuch does not even see this as a problem.

----- 12 -----
House Moves to Encourage Drilling in National Parks
Reversal of drilling rules part of larger attempt by Congress to weaken park protections.
National Parks Conservation Association
Jan 31, 2017

WASHINGTON – Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) last night introduced H.J. Res. 46, which seeks to repeal updates to the National Park Service’s “9B” rules. The rules require detailed planning and set safety standards for oil and gas drilling inside the more than 40 national parks that have “split estate” ownership, where the federal government owns the surface but not the subsurface mineral rights.

The resolution is just the latest in a series of moves by federal lawmakers to weaken environmental protections for national parks under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). If these repeals are signed into law under the CRA, it will not only stop these protections, it will also prohibit agencies from issuing similar rules and protections in the future, unless directed by Congress.

The House is set to vote Friday to repeal rules to prevent the waste of methane gas from oil and gas facilities. CRA challenges were also introduced Monday in the House and Senate to repeal Bureau of Land Management “Planning 2.0” rules, which seek to guide an appropriate balance of energy development, conservation and recreation on public lands by better utilizing environmental science.

----- 13 -----
HRC Opposes the Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
By HRC staff January 31, 2017
Human Rights Campaign

Today, HRC announced its opposition to President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Never in the history of our movement have we had more at stake as a community, or as a country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Since the moment he stepped foot in the Oval Office, President Trump has attacked equality. He has signed executive orders that undermine our country’s most cherished values and appointed anti-LGBTQ cabinet nominees who have spent their careers undermining civil rights. And now, he has nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, fulfilling his campaign promise to nominate a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, one of the most vehemently anti-LGBTQ justices to ever sit on the court who once went so far as to compare gay people to murderers. The Supreme Court has played a central role in advancing the promise of equality for LGBTQ Americans, and Judge Gorsuch’s anti-equality record -- from opposing crucial medical treatment for a transgender person to supporting a license to discriminate for private corporations -- make him unfit to sit on the nation’s highest court. We cannot afford a justice who will roll back our rights, or who will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump’s unconstitutional actions. And America cannot afford to have Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. We oppose this nomination.”

Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people:

----- 14 -----
Lawmaker to propose abolishing EPA
By Timothy Cama - 01/31/17 05:31 PM EST
The Hill

A House Republican is working on legislation that if passed would completely abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) outlined his plan in a letter to colleagues obtain by The Hill and first reported by The Huffington Post.

“Today, the American people are drowning in rules and regulations promulgated by unelected bureaucrats; and the Environmental Protection Agency has become an extraordinary offender,” Gaetz wrote in the letter soliciting support from lawmakers.

“Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans,” he continued. “It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”

It would be the first piece of legislation sponsored by Gaetz, who represents the tip of Florida’s panhandle and was previously a state lawmaker.

The EPA was created 46 years ago and has a budget of more than $8 billion. It is responsible for enforcing numerous landmark laws like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Superfund Act.

President Trump once said on the campaign trail that he wanted to abolish the EPA, but later expressed support for at least some of its functions.

His nominee to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has said that he supports the agency’s existence, but it has gone too far under former President Barack Obama.

Gaetz did not specify which federal authority would be responsible for enforcing the laws that currently fall within the EPA’s jurisdiction, or if the laws would also be repealed.

----- 15 -----
Trump administration circulates more draft immigration restrictions, focusing on protecting U.S. jobs
By Abigail Hauslohner and Janell Ross
The Washington Post
January 31 at 5:44 PM

The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post.

A second draft order under consideration calls for a substantial shake-up in the system through which the United States administers immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, with the aim of tightly controlling who enters the country and who can enter the workforce, and reducing the social services burden on U.S. taxpayers.

----- 16 -----
Republicans Stole a Supreme Court Seat From Obama—and Are Putting Another Scalia In It
Neil Gorsuch will help Trump wage war on voting rights.
By Ari Berman
31 January 2017

On February 27, 2013, the Supreme Court heard a challenge to the heart of the Voting Rights Act. Justice Antonin Scalia shocked the hushed courtroom by saying the law had led to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” He went so far as to mock the name of it: “Even the name of it is wonderful: the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”

The courtroom gasped audibly as Scalia spoke. The fact that he viewed the country’s most important civil-rights law as a “racial entitlement” was a textbook example of the radicalness of his views. Four months later, Scalia joined a 5-4 opinion gutting the law, ruling that states with a long history of voting discrimination no longer needed to approve their voting changes with the federal government.

The Roberts Court, with Scalia as a key influence, weakened voting rights protections, allowed corporations to spend unlimited secret money on US elections, overturned the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and ruled that businesses didn’t have to pay for contraception care.

Merrick Garland should have been the one to fill Scalia’s vacant Supreme Court seat. It was unprecedented and outrageous that a judge as qualified and mainstream as him didn’t even get a hearing. And it’s more than a little ironic that a president who won 5 million more votes than his opponent in 2012 couldn’t make the selection but one who got 2.9 million fewer votes than his can.

But after Republicans stole the seat by denying President Obama his constitutional mandate, Donald Trump said he wanted to appoint a justice “as close to Scalia as I could find.” Neil Gorsuch is that person.

Gorsuch has praised Scalia as a judicial role model. “Mark me down, too, as a believer that the traditional account of the judicial role Justice Scalia defended will endure,” he said in a lecture last year. Like Scalia, as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch has been hostile to abortion rights and environmental regulations, and sympathetic to large corporations and the religious right. He has criticized liberals for challenging bans on gay marriage before the courts. Though his paper trail on civil-rights cases is slim, he’ll presumably be in sync with Scalia on these issues too.

----- 17 -----
Republicans move to sell off 3.3m acres of national land, sparking rallies
Land totaling the size of Connecticut has been targeted in a new bill in the Republican House, uniting hunters and conservationists in opposition
Tuesday 31 January 2017 08.43 EST
The Guardian

Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property.

The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.

But many in the 10 states that would lose federal land in the bill disagree, and public land rallies in opposition are bringing together environmentalists and sportsmen across the west.

Set aside for mixed use, BLM land is leased for oil, gas and timber, but is also open to campers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts. As well as providing corridors for gray wolves and grizzly bears, low-lying BLM land often makes up the winter pasture for big game species, such as elk, pronghorn and big-horned sheep.

Jason Amaro, who represents the south-west chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, describes the move as a land grab.

“Last I checked, hunters and fishermen were taxpayers,” said Amaro, who lives in a New Mexico county where 70,000 acres of federal lands are singled out. In total, his state, which sees $650m in economic activity from hunting and fishing, stands to lose 800,000 acres of BLM land, or more than the state of Rhode Island.

“That word ‘disposal’ is scary. It’s not ‘disposable’ for an outdoorsman,” he said.

Scott Groene, a Utah conservationist, said the state’s elected officials were trying to “seize public lands any way they can”, without providing Americans a chance to weigh in. If residents knew their local BLM land was being threatened, said Groene, “I’m sure the communities would be shocked”.

----- 18 -----
Today's Hero of the Resistance: Woman Who Secretly Recorded GOP Conference
by Wm. Steven Humphrey • Jan 31, 2017 at 1:28 pm
The Portland Mercury

The GOP is madder than a poodle in a pigpen over the currently unidentified hero of the resistance who snuck into last week’s joint House and Senate GOP retreat in Philadelphia, secretly recorded them, and then sent the recordings to major news outlets. Read more about that here! According to a report in The Hill, this woman hero was able to infiltrate the closed-door meeting, where many GOP members were freaking out about the repeal of Obamacare, by dressing up and claiming to be a congressman's wife. The organizers now say they have identified the woman, and will launch a criminal investigation. From The Hill:

“There is an active criminal investigation going on, and police are doing the hard work of piecing together evidence,” [House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy] McMorris Rodgers told lawmakers of the joint investigation between the Capitol Police and Congressional Institute, according to a source in the room.

House lawmakers both inside and outside Tuesday’s GOP conference meeting expressed alarm about the security breach — especially since the woman managed to gain access to the same room where President Trump, Pence, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate President Pro Tem Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) appeared.
Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a Trump ally on Capitol Hill, made the point that the woman’s actions didn’t just constitute a security breach — it will discourage lawmakers from openly debating issues behind closed doors for fear of being recorded.

“It violates future opportunities to discuss policy candidly,” Reed told The Hill.

Wait, let me fix that: “It violates future opportunities to hide our true agenda from the gullible American public,” Reed told The Hill. Ahhh, that's better.

----- 19 -----
Officials know identity of woman who infiltrated GOP retreat
By Scott Wong - 01/31/17 03:36 PM EST
The Hill

The nonprofit organization that ran last week’s joint House and Senate GOP retreat in Philadelphia has identified the woman who infiltrated and secretly recorded private discussions at the highly secure gathering.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) told her colleagues during a closed-door meeting Tuesday that the Congressional Institute has identified the individual who impersonated a congressman’s wife, sneaked into the retreat and made digital recordings of lawmaker deliberations on national security and ObamaCare, as well as a speech by Vice President Pence.

The woman later emailed those recordings to several news outlets, including The Washington Post. The recordings shed light on broad disagreements within the GOP on how exactly to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

Rumors have been circulating on Capitol Hill that the woman may be a liberal activist or blogger. But officials would not describe her or release her name.

“There is an active criminal investigation going on, and police are doing the hard work of piecing together evidence,” McMorris Rodgers told lawmakers of the joint investigation between the Capitol Police and Congressional Institute, according to a source in the room.

----- 20 -----
After meeting with pharma lobbyists, Trump drops promise to negotiate drug prices
The new plan is tax cuts and deregulation.
Updated by Matthew Yglesias | Jan 31, 2017, 11:50am EST

A lot happened in the 2016 campaign, but one of the things Donald Trump did to win the election was shift to the left on a number of key issues — promising to avoid cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits and adopting a longstanding Democratic pledge to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts in the price it pays for prescription drugs.

Today, after a meeting with pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and executives, he abandoned that pledge, referring to an idea he supported as recently as three weeks ago as a form of “price fixing” that would hurt “smaller, younger companies.” Instead of getting tough, Trump’s new plan is that he’s “going to be lowering taxes” and “getting rid of regulations.”

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

Tags: fascism watch, political
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