Otherwise, I'm out for the weekend. Normally I'd be completely away - I'm going to Conflikt, a local convention - but in this case, I'll check in if anything massive happens.
(Something massive happened, this is combining two posts)
I'm sure you're hearing about the refugee ban, and the immigration ban applied to seven countries where Mr. Trump does not have business interests (and not to several where he does). I've got one article on that in this short list. The first one is overlooked but important, though, as the neofascists start bringing more of their own into the administration.
----- 1 -----
CDC’s canceled climate change conference is back on — thanks to Al Gore
By Brady Dennis January 26 at 3:03 PM
The Washington Post
[Sort of. It's one-day instead of three, smaller, etc.]
It turns out there will be a conference in Atlanta next month about climate change and its effects on public health. It just won’t have the federal government behind it.
The reason? Former vice president Al Gore.
“He called me and we talked about it and we said, ‘There’s still a void and still a need.’ We said, ‘Let’s make this thing happen,’ ” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It was a no-brainer.”
News of a revived conference comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly canceled its long-planned Climate and Health Summit in the lead-up to the change in White House administrations. Benjamin called the move a “strategic retreat” given the climate skepticism of the incoming administration.
Emails sent to participants and scheduled speakers did not explain the reason behind CDC’s decision. Nor did the agency offer an explanation in response to a request for comment from The Washington Post, saying only that it was exploring the possibility of holding the event later in the year.
----- 2 -----
Trump Lashed Out at National Park Service Chief in Phone Call
Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo
January 26, 2017
We got tipped to this story. But we weren't able to confirm it. WaPo did. On the day after his inauguration, the President of the United States personally called the head of the National Park Service to berate him over unflattering tweets from various NPS social media accounts and the pictures that were being used to demonstrate that President Trump's inauguration crowded paled in comparison to President Obama's and later the women's march.
From the write-up by two of the profession's masters, Karen Tumulty and Juliet Eilperin ...
In a Saturday phone call, Trump personally ordered Reynolds to produce additional photographs of the previous day’s crowds on the National Mall, according to three individuals who have knowledge of the conversation. The president believed that they might prove that the media had lied in reporting that attendance had been no better than average.
Later in the article ...
Reynolds was taken aback by Trump’s request, but did secure some additional aerial photographs and forwarded them to the White House through normal channels in the Interior Department, the sources said. The photos, however, did not prove Trump’s contention that the crowd size was upwards of 1 million.
It's difficult to fully grasp what a child this man appears to be. To place this in time, this was his first full day in office, the same day he made his off-the-rails appearance at the CIA, simultaneous with the Women's March unfolding out the White House and sometime before he sent Sean Spicer before the White House press corps to berate reporters for making him feel bad.
----- 3 -----
Government Scientists at U.S. Climate Conference Terrified to Speak with the Press
While Donald Trump was reviving both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, muzzling federal employees, freezing EPA contracts, and first telling the EPA to remove mentions of climate change from its website — and then reversing course — many of the scientists who work on climate change in federal agencies were meeting just a few miles from the White House to present and discuss their work.
The mood was understandably gloomy at the National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. No one knows what’s going to happen,” one EPA staffer who works on climate issues told me on Tuesday, as she ate her lunch. She had spent much of her time in recent weeks trying to preserve and document the methane-related projects she’s been working on for years. But the prevailing sense was that, Trump’s claims about being an environmentalist notwithstanding, the president is moving forward with his plan to eviscerate environmental protections, particularly those related to climate change, and the EPA itself.
“It’s strange,” the woman said. “People keep walking up to me and giving me hugs.” Like several others I spoke to for this story, she declined to tell me her name out of fear that she might suffer retaliation, including being fired. She was not being paranoid. Already, agency higher ups had warned the EPA staff against talking to the press, or even updating blogs or issuing news releases. “Only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press,” said one EPA missive that was shared broadly and ended up in the press. And while the staffer was at the meeting, the EPA’s new brass issued another memo to staff requiring all regional offices to submit a list of external meetings and presentations, noting which might be controversial and why.
The directives have left scientists fearing reprisal for merely mentioning the global crisis that has been at the center of their professional lives for years. It’s the topic “whose name cannot be uttered,” as one Forest Service employee put it to me. A nearby USDA employee offered a series of euphemisms — “extreme weather events, very unusual patterns,” he riffed — before turning serious. “I’m actually scared to talk to you,” he said, turning his hanging name tag inward and backing away from me. The look in his eyes and the tight smiles I received from several federal employees after introducing myself as a reporter reminded me of interviewing scientists in China. My presence inspired fear.
(h/t https://mikethemadbiologist.com/2017/01/27/and-the-chilling-of-climate-science-begins/ )
----- 4 -----
Poll: Trump voters OK with a private email server
By Brooke Seipel - 01/26/17 06:32 PM EST
According to a new poll by Public Policy Polling, supporters of President Donald Trump say he should be allowed to have a private email server.
"Forty-two percent of Trump voters think he should be allowed to have a private email server to just 39 percent who think he shouldn't be allowed to," according to a write-up of the poll.
And finally by a 42/39 spread Trump voters think he should be allowed to have a private email server: https://t.co/0kvoEMK527
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) January 26, 2017
The results are surprising, considering Trump's campaign included calling out Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for using a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
According to another new report, at least four senior officials in President Trump’s White House have active accounts on a private Republican National Committee (RNC) email system.
Counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, chief strategist and senior counselor Stephen Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner — Trump's son-in-law — all have rnchq.org email accounts, Newsweek reported Wednesday.
----- 5 -----
Trump appointees are violating the law that prevents them from regulating their former bosses
Boing Boing / Cory Doctorow / 6:08 am Fri Jan 27, 2017
A 2009 rule created by Obama in his first days in office says that former executives and lobbyists can't be hired to work for the government in a capacity that gives them oversight over their former employers; they must wait for two years after leaving such employment before working in a regulatory capacity that relates to it.
The Trump administration is flouting this legal obligation with its appointees, as well as the weaker federal law that requires a one-year cooling off period. Former Exxonmobil CEO Rex Tillerson is in line to recieve a $180,000,000 bonus from Exxon as a goodbye gift before he takes over the State Department, and that's not all -- there's a whole raft of these conflicts in Trump's billionaire cabinet, where there's a fox for every henhouse.
----- 6 -----
Trump White House Appears To Kill Obama's Ethics Rule: Appointees May Not Be Signing Required Ethics Pledges
By David Sirota @davidsirota On 01/26/17 AT 10:18 AM
When ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson signed on to work for Donald Trump’s new administration, he set himself up to receive a quick cash infusion: Exxon committed to giving him an $180 million retirement package just as he moves to lead a State Department that oversees Exxon-related public policy. For years, ethics watchdogs have said such payouts could be a way for corporations to buy influence from incoming government officials. But, watchdogs said, at least for federal officials' first two years in office, they were barred by a rule from from participating in government business affecting their former employers.
That prohibition may no longer apply. As President Trump stocks his administration with Tillerson and other moguls whose companies have business with the government, the 8-year-old rule appears to be going unenforced -- even if it is still on the books.
----- 7 -----
FBI releases declassified GamerGate dossier
BoingBoing / Andrea James / 9:37 am Fri Jan 27, 2017
The FBI has released a heavily redacted 173-page PDF of GamerGate documents under FOIA. Much of the material has any identifying information stripped out, but it's clear that many of them are explicit threats and other harassment.
----- 8 -----
Read leaked drafts of 4 White House executive orders on Muslim ban, end to DREAMer program, and more
Apparent Trump administration drafts suggest a harsh crackdown on immigrants.
Updated by Matthew Yglesias and Dara Lind Jan 25, 2017, 5:43pm EST
On Tuesday, Vox was given six documents that purported to be draft executive orders under consideration by the Trump administration. The source noted that “all of these documents are still going through formal review” in the Executive Office of the President and “have not yet been cleared by [the Department of Justice or the Office of Legal Counsel].”
We were not, at the time, able to verify the authenticity of the documents and did not feel it would be reasonable to publish or report on them.
But on Wednesday afternoon, Trump signed two executive orders on immigration that word-for-word matched the drafts we’d received. Given that our source had early access to two documents that were proven accurate, and that all the orders closely align with Trump’s stated policies on the campaign trail, we are reporting on the remaining four.
The source cautioned that “there are substantive comments on several of these drafts from multiple elements of NSC staff” and “if previous processes remain the norm, there [are] likely to be some substantive revisions.” It is possible these orders will emerge with substantial changes, or even be scrapped altogether.
----- 9 -----
Memo to Department of the Interior blocking all communications not approved by Trump
Specifically includes all Tribal nations
20 January 2017
----- 10 -----
Breitbart’s influence grows inside White House
By Jonathan Easley - 01/25/17 06:00 AM EST
President Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, is dipping into Breitbart News to staff the White House.
The hires give Bannon more loyalists in Trump’s West Wing, and also raise Breitbart’s profile and power.
It comes as the conservative news organization, led by Bannon until last year, seeks to expand its influence in Washington and the world.
One of Breitbart’s biggest stars, Julia Hahn, is expected to join the White House as an aide to Bannon. Breitbart’s national security editor, Sebastian Gorka, will also relocate to the White House, likely with a spot on the president’s National Security Council, Business Insider reported on Tuesday.
The Breitbartization of the White House comes as no surprise to people at the conservative news site.
The hires are also significant for Breitbart.
The website will soon be opening bureaus in France, Italy and Germany, where the outlet believes Brexit-style insurgencies could be on the cusp of developing.
Breitbart has begun a hiring spree meant to capitalize on the forces that turned it into a juggernaut on the right. That means picking off reporters from more mainstream news outlets like John Carney, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who will edit the website’s business page.
“There will always be this ‘Fight Club’ element where we look to punch the establishment when they deserve it,” Marlow said. “But we have a lot of reporting to do and will recruit and hire the most well-rounded and sophisticated and sharpest minds in Washington to build the best team, period. We’re not going to follow any prescription that the media wants.”
Still, the movement from Breitbart to the White House has given ammunition to the media outlet’s critics, who say it is nothing more than a propaganda arm of Trump’s White House.
“There is no line of separation between the White House and Breitbart — they are one in the same,” Kurt Bardella, a former Breitbart spokesman who has since disavowed the media outlet, told The Hill. “They effectively are a state-sponsored/controlled platform designed to advance the administration’s propaganda.”
----- 11 -----
Anti-choice advocate admits to Joy Reid her ultimate goal is to make birth control illegal
28 Jan 2017 at 13:00 ET
[They've been admitting this regularly since the 1990s and earlier.]
An interview on the women’s march in Washington last week took a bizarre turn when an anti-choice advocate told MSNBC host Joy Reid that birth control — including the pill and IUD’s — should be made illegal because they kill babies.
Following a considerable amount of cross-talk over services that Planned Parenthood provides with Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, host Reid pulled her panel up and said she wanted to talk about something everyone could agree on: that contraception should be legal.
Not everyone was in agreement.
“I believe certain forms can be legal, yes,” Hawkins agreed, adding, “I don’t believe abortion causing contraception should be legal.”
“What kind of contraception are you talking about?” Reid asked, with Hawkins replying, “Hormonal contraception.”
“You think IUDs should be illegal?” Reid pressed.
“I don’t think they should be legal, “Hawkins replied. “They put women at risk and they kill children.”
“What about the birth control pill?” the unrelenting Reid asked.
“I do not think it should be legal, I think that shouldn’t be legal,” Hawkins replied before trying to change the subject.
“Kristan, Kristan, Kristan,” Reid said holding up her hand. “I just want clarity. You think that the pill and the IUD should be illegal, right?”
“In my ideal world, yes,” Hawkins stated.
----- 12 -----
In leaked audio, Republicans destroy their own public talking points on Obamacare
The Washington Post
By Greg Sargent January 27 at 3:20 PM
The Post’s Mike DeBonis has obtained leaked audio of Republicans at a closed-door session airing serious anxieties about the GOP’s strategy to repeal and replace Obamacare. What’s remarkable is how decisively their specific comments in private undercut the party’s public, carefully-crafted talking points about the battle to come.
Now, to be clear, these private comments reveal Republicans actually wrestling with the policy challenges that repeal (and replace) will create, which is a good thing as far as it goes. However, in so doing, they basically admit in various ways that Republicans will be responsible for the mess that repealing the law — which would probably be done on a delay while Republicans come up with a replacement — is expected to make.
Senators and House members expressed a range of concerns about the task ahead: how to prepare a replacement plan that can be ready to launch at the time of repeal; how to avoid deep damage to the health insurance market; how to keep premiums affordable for middle-class families; even how to avoid the political consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood, the women’s health-care organization, as many Republicans hope to do with the repeal of the ACA.
“We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created” with repeal, said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). “That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”
The notion that Republicans will have “created” the state of the market that results after repeal, and that they will “own” that outcome, is refreshing to hear. Republicans have employed a series of overwrought formulations and tortured metaphors that are designed to suggest that, because Obamacare is already allegedly collapsing, Republicans are merely stepping in with a “rescue mission” to arrest that damage, while building a “bridge” to an as-yet-unspecified replacement. The game there has been to preemptively lay the groundwork to claim later that whatever consequences are unleashed by repealing the law were already in motion, and were not created by repeal itself.
----- 13 -----
Trump’s Immigration Ban Blocks Travelers at Airports Around Globe
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and NICHOLAS KULISH
The New York Times
January 28, 2017
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.
Around the nation, security officers at major international gateways had new rules to follow. Humanitarian organizations scrambled to cancel long-planned programs, delivering the bad news to families who were about to travel. Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were detained at airports.
At least one case quickly prompted a legal challenge as lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees held at Kennedy International Airport in New York filed a motion early Saturday seeking to have their clients released. They also filed a motion for class certification, in an effort to represent all refugees and other immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry.