Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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good morning, it's 5 april 2017

Sorry this is late, I was really busy yesterday.

/Their Guy/ is no longer on the NSC. That's right, "Bannon Loses National Security Council Role in Trump Shakeup." We are winning the six-month war. "Ex-Writer: Breitbart Broke the Law" won't change much but doesn't hurt anything either. XD

"At Trump's EPA, going to work can be an act of defiance," and it's no doubt because of top-level-forced political press releases like deeply Stalinesque "High Accolades Across the Country on Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order," which touts how great it is that they're working against the environment. Also because shitting hijinks like "Trump’s budget would slash funding for EPA’s top science panel." Rightist governments are consistently doing their best to remove knowledge and discovery in this modern era. But maybe "EPA head Pruitt under investigation for allegedly misleading Senate" will cheer a few people up.

Trump spends more words attacking Obama than Syria in White House statement about Syrian gas attack in "Trump statement on Syria slams Obama by name and then gives no explanation of current policy." But did Syria just distract the administration from starting a war with North Korea? "White House: 'The clock has now run out' on North Korean nuclear program" segues into "Rex Tillerson's incredibly odd and confusing statement on North Korea." But don't think this isn't serious business, because it is; "Evidence From Victims Points to Nerve Gas in Syria Attack."

Return of Trumpcare: "Revived GOP health care talks could hurt those with pre-existing conditions." That was already true, but apparently this version makes it even worse.

"I'll back Texas independence, EU's Juncker warns Trump" isn't serious but is pretty funny for an EU politician.

Finally, just to get this out, potpourri: "What to Know About Bill O’Reilly and the Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Him" He's losing advertisers pretty quickly, but not quickly enough. "Trump's White House Touts A Rape-Promoting Media Troll Propped Up By The "Alt-Right"" is pretty vile - Mike "good sex feels like rape" Cernovich is pretty grotesque even by the Trump administration's very rapey standards. He was also a gamergate shitheel and has now jumped on the overtly white supremacist bandwagon. "NYPD officers accessed Black Lives Matter activists' texts, documents show." Unsurprising, but talks about their infiltration techniques. "Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk" is also not surprising but is documented here. And finally, "The Confederacy was a con job on whites. And still is."

Good luck out there.

----- 1 -----
Bannon Loses National Security Council Role in Trump Shakeup
by Jennifer Jacobs | Bloomberg
April 5, 2017, 11:29 AM EDT April 5, 2017, 11:47 AM EDT

President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and downgrading the role of his Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, according to a person familiar with the decision and a regulatory filing.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was given responsibility for setting the agenda for meetings of the NSC or the Homeland Security Council, and was authorized to delegate that authority to Bossert, at his discretion, according to the filing.

Under the move, the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again "regular attendees" of the NSC’s principals committee.

----- 2 -----
Ex-Writer: Breitbart Broke the Law
A Breitbart News writer complained to the DOJ that the media site was allegedly cutting shady deals with its landlord, a wealthy Egyptian politician.
Lachlan Markay | Tim Mak | Asawin Suebsaeng
The Daily Beast | 03.29.17 5:13 AM ET

A former Breitbart News writer alleged the site was acting as an illegal influence operation for its Washington, D.C. landlord, an obscure Egyptian politician cited this week by a Capitol Hill media association that denied Breitbart press credentials.

Two sources with direct knowledge, including one former Breitbart writer, say a reporter for the pro-Trump news organization was behind a complaint to the Department of Justice implicating then-chairman Steve Bannon and Moustafa El-Gindy, an Egyptian businessman and former legislator and the owner of Breitbart’s Washington office.

Concerns about that office, nicknamed the Embassy, dogged the organization Monday as it unsuccessfully sought permanent congressional press credentials. Breitbart faced conflict-of-interest questions regarding Bannon’s new role as one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, a probe into its investors and corporate structure, and questions about El-Gindy and his property.


It “appears [Breitbart] has been disseminating what FARA [the Foreign Agent Registration Act] would regard as propaganda on behalf of a foreign principal for financial benefit, and not merely as a financially unconnected news source,” alleged the complaint, which was sent to DOJ from a FedEx Office franchise in Arlington, Virginia, on July 2, 2015. It named both Breitbart generally and Bannon individually as alleged perpetrators.

----- 3 -----
At Trump's EPA, going to work can be an act of defiance
Evan Halper | The Los Angeles Times | 4 April 2017

As California’s top energy regulator, Michael Picker has an absurdly busy job. So it was a little surprising to find him recently near a Washington, D.C., metro stop, randomly handing out help-wanted fliers in the middle of a workday.

But with morale plummeting at the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, Picker saw in that patch of sidewalk near its headquarters an opportunity — and perhaps a publicity stunt — to lure top-shelf talent that never before would have considered bolting from the agency.

The dim outlook at the EPA is weighing heavily on its 15,000 scientists, engineers, investigators and other employees, many of whom perceive their life’s work to be under assault from within. The Trump administration is moving as quickly as it can to diminish the place, with plans to cripple the EPA science office, stop the agency’s climate change work, cut its Superfund program in half and outright eliminate 50 programs, down to the voluntary Energy Star stickers that help consumers locate efficient appliances.

It all has Jared Blumenfeld’s phone ringing off the hook. “The number one call I get everyday is, ‘Jared, can you help us find work somewhere else,’” said Blumenfeld, who ran the regional office of the EPA encompassing California, Nevada and Arizona until last May.

His advice? Don’t quit, fight. “I try to tell people that staying and doing your job at this point in history is an act of resistance, that if they leave, we will wind up with gaps in the system.”

----- 4 -----
High Accolades Across the Country on Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order
04/04/2017 | U.S. EPA Media Relations

In Kansas, Senator Pat Roberts said Trump’s executive order was good news for energy consumers. As the Kansas City Star reports: “Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, also applauded Trump's decision ‘to roll back burdensome Obama-era regulations,’ calling the announcement ‘good news for energy consumers and the economy.’”

In Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell penned an op-ed in Fox News praising President Trump's energy executive order that will restore sanity after Obama's failed climate policies. “I commend President Trump for sending this flawed regulatory plan, along with a number of others, back to the drawing board with Tuesday’s Energy Independence Executive Order.”

In Missouri, the Kansas City Star reports that Senator Roy Blunt blamed job-killing regulations for higher energy prices. “Blunt, who blamed environmental regulations for increases in utility bills, said that the order ‘is an important step toward protecting low and middle-income Americans who can least afford higher costs on everything from gas to groceries.’”

----- 5 -----
Trump statement on Syria slams Obama by name and then gives no explanation of current policy.
Image of Presidential press release on Twitter |
4 April 2017

----- 6 -----
Trump’s budget would slash funding for EPA’s top science panel
By Chris Mooney | April 4 at 12:35 PM | The Washington Post

It’s nowhere near the biggest proposed cut to the Environmental Protection Agency by the Trump administration. But it could be the most symbolic.

In a 64-page agency budget document revealed by the Post Friday, a particularly deep cut is aimed at the agency’s 47-member Science Advisory Board, an august panel of outside advisers to the EPA created by Congress in 1978. The board, which is mostly comprised of academic scientists, reviews EPA research to ensure that environmental regulations have a sound foundation.

It would see an 84 percent or $ 542,000 cut to its operating costs, which cover travel and public meetings for outside experts. There would be a smaller reduction for agency support staff of 14 percent.

The decision, said the document, “[reflects] an anticipated lower number of peer reviews,” presumably since so many other agency scientific functions would also be cut.

“Independent science advice is a real pain in the neck for people who already know the answer, and don’t want to be confused by the facts,” said Granger Morgan, a professor engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University who previously chaired the Science Advisory Board, in response to the news.

----- 7 -----
EPA head Pruitt under investigation for allegedly misleading Senate
March 31, 2017 | NDRC

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is in the hot seat, as the Oklahoma Bar Association has launched an investigation to determine whether he misled the U.S. Senate. In verbal and written statements during his confirmation, Pruitt denied using his personal e-mail for official business. But e-mails released as part of a lawsuit against Pruitt—for refusing to comply with Oklahoma open record laws—appear to show that he did in fact use personal e-mail for official work.

----- 8 -----
Rex Tillerson's incredibly odd and confusing statement on North Korea
By Chris Cillizza, CNN
Updated 12:16 AM ET, Wed April 5, 2017

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the sea off the Korean Peninsula, the latest in a series of test firings and one that comes just days before President Donald Trump is set to huddle with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit in Florida.

Here's what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, aka the nation's top diplomat, had to say about the latest provocation from North Korea:

"North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment."

That's a total of 23 words, if you're counting. Twenty-three words that leave you more confused when you get to the end of them than when you started.

----- 9 -----
White House: 'The clock has now run out' on North Korean nuclear program
By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Updated 6:29 PM ET, Tue April 4, 2017

A senior White House official issued a dire warning to reporters Tuesday on the state of North Korea's nuclear program, declaring "the clock has now run out and all options are on the table."

"The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table," the official said, pointing to the failure of successive administration's efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear program.
The comments came as two senior White House officials briefed reporters ahead of President Donald Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week in Florida. The briefing took place on the condition of anonymity.

US officials have grown increasingly wary of the pace of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs as the rogue regime has test-fired multiple ballistic missiles at a rapid clip in the first months of this year.

----- 10 -----
Evidence From Victims Points to Nerve Gas in Syria Attack
APRIL 4, 2017 | The New York Times
This article includes graphic scenes of injury and death.

The videos, shared by activists and residents, showed children and older people gasping and struggling to breathe. Here, a child is treated in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Medical workers and witnesses said that chlorine attacks, which have become frequent in northern Syria, usually kill just a few people, often those trapped in an enclosed space, and the gas dissipates quickly. This time, they saw people collapsing outdoors, in much larger numbers, and dozens of people died.

Some lay motionless in the mud as rescue workers ripped off victims’ clothes and hosed them down.

Witnesses said the gas was delivered by a government airstrike. The attacks raised the possibility that the Syrian government used a banned nerve agent, like sarin, after it agreed in 2013 to eliminate its chemical weapons program.

In this attack, the symptoms included pupils reduced to pencil-point dots, a marker associated with exposure to nerve agents. One doctor posted evidence of what he was seeing.

----- 11 -----
Revived GOP health care talks could hurt those with pre-existing conditions
by Tami Luhby | 4 April 2017

The renewed GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare could be bad news for those with pre-existing conditions.

The proposal under discussion among conservative House Freedom Caucus members and the White House would allow states to opt out of two key Affordable Care Act provisions: essential health benefits, which require insurers to cover certain services, and community rating, which bars carriers from charging consumers based on their medical history or gender.

Eliminating these federal requirements could greatly erode the safeguards Obamacare put in place for those with pre-existing conditions, violating President Trump and Republicans' repeated promises to protect these folks. It would leave many enrollees -- particularly sicker ones -- on the financial hook for much more of their care.

Also, it would allow insurers to effectively cherry-pick the people they want to cover.

----- 12 -----
I'll back Texas independence, EU's Juncker warns Trump
By Donie O'Sullivan, CNN | March 30, 2017

The president of the executive arm of the European Union had a message for US President Donald Trump on Thursday: mind your own business.

"The newly elected US president was happy that the Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same," European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said. However, he warned, "if he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas, in the United States of America."

Juncker, a Luxembourg politician who has been president of the European Commission since 2014, was speaking at the conference of the center-right European People's Party (EPP) in Malta.

In February, Juncker said he was under the impression that the Trump administration did not know the European Union "in detail," adding, "But in Europe, details matter."

----- 13 -----
What to Know About Bill O’Reilly and the Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Him
By Alana Abramson | People
Posted on April 4, 2017

Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly is under increasing fire after The New York Times reported that five women were paid a collective $13 million for agreeing not to file lawsuits or speak publicly about allegations that he harassed them. The revelations were the latest headache for Fox News, coming just months after cable network’s CEO and chairman Roger Ailes stepped down amidst similar claims.

Since the Times report over the weekend, one more woman has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Ailes, and at least 11 advertisers have pulled ads from O’Reilly’s top-rated cable news show, The O’Reilly Factor. Neither Fox News nor its parent company 21st Century Fox immediately responded to requests for comment on Tuesday. But 21st Century Fox has previously said O’Reilly “denies the merits of these claims.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the allegations and the ongoing fallout.

----- 14 -----
Trump's White House Touts A Rape-Promoting Media Troll Propped Up By The "Alt-Right"
Blog ››› April 3, 2017 10:29 AM EDT ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Kellyanne Conway, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and current counselor to the president, promoted an interview on 60 Minutes with “alt-right” media personality Mike Cernovich in yet another dalliance between the Trump team and the “alt-right.”

In an April 3 tweet, Conway promoted Cernovich’s March 26 appearance on CBS’ 60 Minutes, calling the interview “a must-see ratings bonanza” and linking to Cernovich's blog on Medium [...]

Cernovich’s allegiance to the “alt-right,” a self-descriptor for a faction of the white nationalist movement, has been repeatedly documented. In 2015 he explained, “I went from libertarian to alt-right after realizing tolerance only went one way and diversity is code for white genocide.” Additionally, in a series of since-deleted tweets, Cernovich declared that “white genocide is real” and “white genocide will sweep up the [social justice warriors].” Cernovich also traffics in sexist rhetoric, having claimed that “date rape does not exist” and “misogyny gets you laid" and said that people who "love black women" should "slut shame them” to keep them from getting AIDS.

----- 15 -----
NYPD officers accessed Black Lives Matter activists' texts, documents show
George Joseph in New York | The Guardian | 4 April 2017

Undercover officers in the New York police department infiltrated small groups of Black Lives Matter activists and gained access to their text messages, according to newly released NYPD documents obtained by the Guardian.

The records, produced in response to a freedom of information lawsuit led by New York law firm Stecklow & Thompson, provide the most detailed picture yet of the sweeping scope of NYPD surveillance during mass protests over the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and 2015. Lawyers said the new documents raised questions about NYPD compliance with city rules.

The documents, mostly emails between undercover officers and other NYPD officials, follow other disclosures that the NYPD regularly filmed Black Lives Matter activists and sent undercover personnel to protests. The NYPD has not responded to the Guardian’s request for comment or interview.

----- 16 -----
Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk
by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Lauren Kirchner and Surya Mattu | ProPublica and Consumer Reports
April 5, 2017

Otis Nash works six days a week at two jobs, as a security guard and a pest control technician, but still struggles to make the $190.69 monthly Geico car insurance payment for his 2012 Honda Civic LX.

“I’m on the edge of homelessness,” said Nash, a 26-year-old Chicagoan who supports his wife and 7-year-old daughter. But “without a car, I can’t get to work, and then I can’t pay my rent.”

Across town, Ryan Hedges has a similar insurance policy with Geico. Both drivers receive a good driver discount from the company.

Yet Hedges, who is a 34-year-old advertising executive, pays only $54.67 a month to insure his 2015 Audi Q5 Quattro sports utility vehicle. Nash pays almost four times as much as Hedges even though his run-down neighborhood, East Garfield Park, with its vacant lots and high crime rate, is actually safer from an auto insurance perspective than Hedges’ fancier Lake View neighborhood near Wrigley Field.

----- 17 -----
The Confederacy was a con job on whites. And still is.
By Frank Hyman | The State [Columbia, South Carolina] | 2 March 2017

I’ve lived 55 years in the South, and I grew up liking the Confederate flag. I haven’t flown one for many decades, but for a reason that might surprise you.

I know the South well. We lived wherever the Marine Corps stationed my father: Georgia, Virginia, the Carolinas. As a child, my favorite uncle wasn’t in the military, but he did pack a .45 caliber Thompson submachine gun in his trunk. He was a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. Despite my role models, as a kid I was an inept racist. I got in trouble once in the first grade for calling a classmate the N-word. But he was Hispanic.

As I grew up and acquired the strange sensation called empathy (strange for boys anyway), I learned that for black folks the flutter of that flag felt like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And for the most prideful flag waivers, clearly that response was the point. I mean, come on. It’s a battle flag.

What the flag symbolizes for blacks is enough reason to take it down. But there’s another reason that white southerners shouldn’t fly it. Or sport it on our state-issued license plates as some do here in North Carolina. The Confederacy – and the slavery that spawned it – was also one big con job on the Southern, white, working class. A con job funded by some of the ante-bellum one-per-centers, that continues today in a similar form.

You don’t have to be an economist to see that forcing blacks – a third of the South’s laborers – to work without pay drove down wages for everyone else. And not just in agriculture. A quarter of enslaved blacks worked in the construction, manufacturing and lumbering trades; cutting wages even for skilled white workers.

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Tags: fascism watch, politcs
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