Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

  • Mood:

good morning, it's 6 april 2017

Wednesday didn't theme well, but I'm doing the best I can. The big news will be the Supreme Court - by the time you see this today, the rules may've been changed in response to the filibuster which currently has 44 or 46 Democrats. Stick. To. The. Guns.

Two conflicting stories, following up on Bannon's removal from the NSC: "Bannon's removal from National Security Council doesn't indicate any erosion of his influence in White House," and "Trump Removes Stephen Bannon From National Security Council Post." The second says quite explicitly that the President Bannon thing really gets on Trump's nerves, so keep that up.

Fascism: "Who Is Mike Cernovich? A Guide." They leave out that he thinks his semen is magical. NO REALLY HE DOES. This is the kind of mystical misogynist muttonhead the Trump administration promotes. "California’s Senate Just Approved a Bill to Protect Its Residents From Trump’s Deportation Forces" - well, a bit, anyway. It'll help. "UN human rights chief says Trump torture talk unsettling" - not just to you, bro. Finally, "Mary Colbert: God Will Curse Trump’s Opponents And Their Children And Grandchildren." Arguing that Trump is literally The Chosen One, in those words. In those exact words. Chosen By God.

Nepotism and Trump family corruption:
"Eric Trump Offers Surprisingly Candid Thoughts On Nepotism." But it's okay, because he deserves it and he's good at things he does, says he. Glad that's cleared up. "Jared Kushner Hires Horror-Film Publicist to Run PR for His New White House Office" isn't so much nepotism, but c'mon, the jokes write themselves.

Russia, or, more correctly, the global fascist movement: From 2009: "Erik Prince and the last crusade." I remember this story and talked about it when it came out. Why bring it up again? Because Erik Prince, remember, is Betsy DeVos's brother, an unofficial Trump advisor, and Blackwater (Xe, etc) founder, the one who went to Seychelles, reportedly to establish a backchannel Trump-Putin connection. "Survivor of shooting at UW Milo event speaks out" is worth reading just to have the update.

Incompetence that matters, and the march to war: "The Silence of Rex Tillerson," "Trump’s Team Has No Idea What It’s Doing On China," "Pence on Syria, Assad: 'All options are on the table'," and in a tiny bit of almost-pushback, "marcorubio: Not "coincidental" Syria chemical attack followed Sec. of State Tillerson saying U.S. is not prioritizing removing Assad." Trump is one big war away from pushing everything else to the side, he cannot be allowed to start it. But he sure as hell wants to.

Social effects: "Inside the Trump Effect: How One District Is Fighting Hate at School" is about how schools are dealing with overt racist and misogynist bullying. "CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It." (That problem was identity.)

Important environmental impacts: "The Senate Should Grill Trump's FDA Pick on Antibiotics." The effort to save antibiotics cannot be understated, but so far, none of that matters to anyone in President Bannon's administration, least of all little Trump. "Trump’s EPA moves to dismantle programs that protect kids from lead paint," just because they're that kind of total fuckers.

The sexual harassment cases are getting lots of press; these aren't, as much. "Third Black Employee Sues Fox News for Racial Discrimination."

Dispatches from the four-year war: "Republican Ad Tries To Tar Democratic Congressional Candidate With Osama Bin Laden," "A Montana Special Election Nobody Is Following Could Deal A Huge Blow To Trump." The DNCC is throwing no money to the Montana election, and that's a mistake - they make so very many.

Finally, "Uber Had Male Managers Pretend to Be Women to Get Drivers to Work More" (no, really), and "Trump White House Sells New Health Plan as GOP Seeks Details." Nothing's likely to happen on the latter until after Congressional recess. But be aware.

An administrative note: Livejournal's new Terms of Service are fundamentally anti-LGBT based on active inclusion of Russian Federation law; political topics ("political solicitation") is also banned. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. I long ago echoed my LJ to Dreamwidth, and Dreamwidth - I'm not sure what I'm doing about that yet, exactly. I'm if you're interested.

Good luck out there.

----- 1 -----
Eric Trump Offers Surprisingly Candid Thoughts On Nepotism
Dan Alexander | Forbes | 4 April 2017

No modern president has put as much power in the hands of so many family members as Donald Trump. On January 9, he named son-in-law Jared Kushner as his senior advisor despite anti-nepotism laws previously believed to prevent such an appointment. Two days later, he handed over management of his multibillion-dollar business empire to sons Eric and Don Jr. Then last week, his daughter Ivanka officially became a White House employee. In a rare interview back in February, Eric Trump laid out his thoughts on nepotism, offering a glimpse of the way America’s First Family thinks about inheritance, privilege and work.

“Nepotism is kind of a factor of life,” said Eric Trump, sitting in an office on the 25th floor of his father’s famous Trump Tower, just down the hall from his brother Don Jr. “We might be here because of nepotism, but we’re not still here because of nepotism. You know, if we didn’t do a good job, if we weren’t competent, believe me, we wouldn’t be in this spot.”

----- 2 -----
Survivor of shooting at UW Milo event speaks out
‘Me getting shot is a manifestation of Trump’s and Milo’s violent ideology’
By Levi Pulkkinen, Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In a lengthy interview with the news organization, 34-year-old Josh Dukes described himself as an anti-fascist activist. He explained that he protested the Inauguration Day speech at the University of Washington to voice his opposition to Yiannopoulos.

Dukes was shot in the abdomen by a demonstrator who had come to UW’s Red Square to support Yiannopoulos, a Brietbart News fixture who made a career advocating racial division and bullying others on Twitter.

“Me getting shot is a manifestation of Trump’s and Milo’s violent ideology,” Dukes told the Guardian.

Guardian writer Julia Carrie Wong’s full report on Dukes can be found here.

----- 3 -----
Jared Kushner Hires Horror-Film Publicist to Run PR for His New White House Office
By Adam K. Raymond | New York Magazine | 5 April 2017

President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has hired a publicist practiced in the art of selling scary things to lead communications for his new White House office. Josh Raffel is joining the newly created White House Office of American Innovation after leading PR efforts at Blumhouse Productions, the plucky horror house that put out The Purge, Paranormal Activity and, most recently, Get Out, among other movies.

Before joining Blumhouse, Raffel worked for Manhattan-based Hiltzik Strategies, which repped Kushner’s family business. Trump’s strategic communications director Hope Hicks is also a former Hiltzik employee.

----- 4 -----
Third Black Employee Sues Fox News for Racial Discrimination
By Gabriel Sherman | New York Magazine | 4 April 2017

Fox News’ legal woes just keep getting bigger. This morning, another black female employee in Fox News’ payroll department is joining a racial discrimination lawsuit filed last week by two of her black colleagues.

The employee, Monica Douglas, Fox News’ manager for credit collections, alleges that she was subjected to years of racist slurs by Fox’s longtime comptroller, Judy Slater. Among the allegations, Douglas asserts that Slater complained she had “black eyes” as opposed to the “Aryan race” who have blue eyes and blond hair; called her Brooklyn neighborhood “the murder capital of the world”; and expressed “an unwillingness to even be near black people.”

----- 5 -----
Uber Had Male Managers Pretend to Be Women to Get Drivers to Work More
By Christina Cauterucci | 3 April 2017 | Slate

Uber recently came under fire for allegedly failing to address sexual-harassment and gender discrimination complaints made by a female then-employee against a male supervisor with a history of unprofessional behavior. In the days that followed, two other female former Uber employees wrote their own stories of harassment and mistreatment, which, taken together, add up to an image of a toxic work environment that makes it difficult for women to work with dignity, much less get ahead.

But there are at least a few female Uber employees who seem happy as can be at the company: the fake ones invented by male managers to get drivers to stay on the job.

This is one of the weirder tidbits unearthed in the New York Times’ recent article on the mind games Uber plays with its drivers and the app modifications it makes to try to encourage them to work longer hours at busier times. Replete with 8 bit­–style interactives, the piece explains that gamifying Uber-driving with arbitrary goals and badges has kept more drivers on the road when they would have normally signed off.

----- 6 -----
Erik Prince and the last crusade
A company of mercenaries is accused of killing in the name of Christ
Aug 6th 2009 | by The Economist

THE most recent allegations against Blackwater, the American security company, are lurid. Tasked with providing security for American officials in Iraq and Afghanistan, the company is already under investigation for shooting deaths in Iraq. Now two former employees are accussing Erik Prince (pictured), Blackwater's boss, of wanting to start a religious crusade against Muslims. In an affidavit lodged with a court in Virginia, one of the witnesses said that Mr Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe." The statement continues,

"To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

"Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis.""

Mr Prince is further accused of trying to cover up Blackwater's misdeeds, which allegedly include profiteering and arms smuggling, by killing employees who tried to blow the whistle on the company.

----- 7 -----
CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It.
Inside the strange symbiosis between Jeff Zucker and the president he helped create.
By JONATHAN MAHLER | APRIL 4, 2017 | The New York Times

At 3:58 on a recent Wednesday afternoon in Washington, CNN’s largest control room was mostly empty but for a handful of producers hunched over control panels and, hovering behind them, a short, barrel-shaped, restless-looking man in a dark pinstriped suit and open white dress shirt: the president of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker.

Zucker had spent most of the day holed up in a conference room, prepping two anchors who would be moderating a CNN Town Hall on Obamacare that night. Right now, though, his mind was elsewhere. It was two minutes until airtime for “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” and Tapper’s featured guest was the President Trump counselor and noted CNN adversary Kellyanne Conway.


Had Trump lost the election, CNN would probably have returned to its previously scheduled struggle for survival. Instead, it has become more central to the national conversation than at any point in the network’s history since the first gulf war. And the man who is presiding over this historic moment at CNN happens to be the same one who was in some part responsible for Donald Trump’s political career. It was Zucker who, as president of NBC Entertainment, broadcast “The Apprentice” at a time when Trump was little more than an overextended real estate promoter with a failing casino business. That show, more than anything, reversed Trump’s fortunes, recasting a local tabloid villain as the people’s prime-time billionaire. And it was Zucker who, as president of CNN, broadcast the procession of made-for-TV events — the always news-making interviews; the rallies; debates; the “major policy addresses” that never really were — that helped turn Trump into the Republican front-runner at a time when few others took his candidacy seriously.

CNN was hardly the only news organization to provide saturation coverage of the Trump campaign. The media-measurement firm mediaQuant calculated that Trump received the equivalent of $5.8 billion in free media — known as “earned media,” as opposed to paid advertising — over the course of the election, $2.9 billion more than Hillary Clinton. Nor is CNN the only cable-news network that has benefited from Trump’s incarnation as a politician. MSNBC and Fox News each had a surge in ratings during the election that has shown no signs of slowing since then. Fox, the president’s preferred outlet, is coming off the best quarter in the history of 24-hour cable news. MSNBC, the network of the resistance, has been thriving, too, often even beating CNN during prime time.

But CNN was the first major news organization to give Trump’s campaign prolonged and sustained attention. He was a regular guest in the network’s studios from the earliest days of the Republican primaries, often at Zucker’s suggestion. (For a while, according to the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Trump referred to Zucker as his “personal booker.”) When Trump preferred not to appear in person, he frequently called in. Nor did CNN ever miss an opportunity to broadcast a Trump rally or speech, building the suspense with live footage of an empty lectern and breathless chyrons: “DONALD TRUMP EXPECTED TO SPEAK ANY MINUTE.” The TV News Archive calculated that CNN mentioned Trump’s name nearly eight times more frequently than that of the second-place finisher, Ted Cruz, during the primaries.

It’s hard to imagine that either Trump or Zucker would be where he is today without the other. Trump’s foray into reality TV gave Zucker a prime-time hit when he badly needed one; now, Trump’s foray into politics has given Zucker a big story when he badly needed one. It’s a symbiotic relationship that could only thrive in the world of television, where the borders between news and entertainment, and even fantasy and reality, have grown increasingly murky.

----- 8 -----
Bannon's removal from National Security Council doesn't indicate any erosion of his influence in White House
Jennifer Jacobs‏ | Bloomberg News | Seen on Twitter

Trump was never comfortable with Bannon on the NSC, another White House official tells me.

HOWEVER, Bannon's removal from National Security Council doesn't indicate any erosion of his influence in White House, the official told me.

----- 9 -----
Trump Removes Stephen Bannon From National Security Council Post

WASHINGTON — For the first 10 weeks of President Trump’s administration, no adviser loomed larger in the public imagination than Stephen K. Bannon, the raw and rumpled former chairman of Breitbart News who considers himself a “virulently anti-establishment” revolutionary out to destroy the “administrative state.”

But behind the scenes, White House officials said, the ideologist who enjoyed the president’s confidence became increasingly embattled as other advisers, including Mr. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, complained about setbacks on health care and immigration. Lately, Mr. Bannon has been conspicuously absent from some meetings. And now he has lost his seat at the national security table.

In a move that was widely seen as a sign of changing fortunes, Mr. Trump removed Mr. Bannon, his chief strategist, from the National Security Council’s cabinet-level “principals committee” on Wednesday. The shift was orchestrated by Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, who insisted on purging a political adviser from the Situation Room where decisions about war and peace are made.

Mr. Bannon resisted the move, even threatening at one point to quit if it went forward, according to a White House official who, like others, insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Mr. Bannon’s camp denied that he had threatened to resign and spent the day spreading the word that the shift was a natural evolution, not a signal of any diminution of his outsize influence.


Moreover, Mr. Bannon’s Svengali-style reputation has chafed on a president who sees himself as the West Wing’s only leading man. Several associates said the president had quietly expressed annoyance over the credit Mr. Bannon had received for setting the agenda — and Mr. Trump was not pleased by the “President Bannon” puppet-master theme promoted by magazines, late-night talk shows and Twitter.

----- 10 -----
UN human rights chief says Trump torture talk unsettling
Jonathan Mattise, Associated Press
Updated 3:02 pm, Wednesday, April 5, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief on Wednesday said he's "amazed" by President Donald Trump's support of torture in interrogations, calling the prospect of reviving the practice in the United States "profoundly unsettling."

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called torture "repugnant" and "useless" in a speech to Vanderbilt University Law School students in Tennessee.

White House officials declined to respond and cited Trump's previous statements that he'd defer to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has said he opposes torture.


"I have been amazed by the President's openly voiced personal support for torture," Zeid said. "The prospect that torture, or some airbrushed version of it, could be revived in this country, potentially in response to some future terrorist outrage, is profoundly unsettling."

----- 11 -----
The Senate Should Grill Trump's FDA Pick on Antibiotics
Scott Gottlieb is tightly allied with Big Pharma—but what does he think of antibiotic overuse on farms?
Tom Philpott | Mother Jones | Apr. 5, 2017

When President Donald Trump tapped Scott Gottlieb to lead the Food and Drug Administration, the pharmaceutical industry breathed a "sigh of relief," reported Reuters and the Financial Times. That's because he is "entangled in an unprecedented web of Big Pharma ties," as the watchdog group Public Citizen put it. If confirmed, he'll jump to the federal agency that regulates the pharmaceutical industry from the boards of GlaxoSmithKline and several other pharma companies. His work for those industry players netted him "at least" $413,000 between 2013 and 2015, Public Citizen reports. Gottlieb is also a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm that invests in the health care sector.

But Gottlieb, whose Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, has a scant track record on another aspect of the FDA job: managing the rising crisis of antibiotic resistance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, germs that have evolved to resist antibiotics sicken at least 2 million people every year and kill at least 23,000. Last fall, all 193 countries in the United Nations—including the United States—signed a declaration calling antibiotic resistance the "biggest threat to modern medicine."

The FDA's most direct contribution to the battle to save antibiotics lies in its regulation of farms. About 70 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States go to livestock operations, and the FDA itself, along with the CDC, the World Health Organization, the UK government, and other public health authorities, warn that overuse of drugs in meat farming is a key generator of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

----- 12 -----
Trump White House Sells New Health Plan as GOP Seeks Details
by Anna Edgerton, Arit John, Billy House, and Justin Sink
April 3, 2017 | Bloomberg

House lawmakers hope Tuesday to release a new Trump administration-backed version of the health-care bill they had to abandon last month in an embarrassing setback to their pledge to repeal Obamacare.

But GOP leaders sought to downplay expectations for a quick vote.

“We’re at that conceptual stage right now,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Tuesday morning. “We don’t have bill text or an agreement yet.” GOP leaders barely mentioned health care in the private conference meeting Tuesday morning and offered few details of the plan being devised by the White House.

Representative Mark Walker, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said Tuesday that the Energy and Commerce Committee is "putting it together and language should be ready this evening."

Late Monday, Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus met with House conservatives to lay out the details of the plan. One lawmaker said it could allow states to charge higher rates to sick people. President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, was also in the meeting.

----- 13 -----
Inside the Trump Effect: How One District Is Fighting Hate at School
Some say an uptick in bullying incidents this fall were caused by the divisive election – but how does a school fix the underlying problems?
Rolling Stone | By Ben Wofford | March 23, 2017

Last fall, as a grueling presidential election turned to its agonizing final chapter, teachers in eastern Pennsylvania started reporting a troubling phenomenon. In September, at Southern Lehigh High School, administrators reported students flinging the "Heil Hitler" salute in the hallways. Swastikas were found across school grounds. Black students were called "cotton pickers," non-hetero women "dykes." Eight miles away, in the East Penn school district, two swastikas and the N-word were drawn in a school bus window.

Then there was the case of Saucon Valley High, a 740-person public school in nearby Northhampton County. Tensions had long predated the election, students and administrators say, but had ripened by October when a Snapchat video began to circulate among students. In it, a white teenager harasses his black peer at a school pep-rally. "This fucking nigger is taking his time!" an unseen student jeers at a black student sitting before a plate of food. Days after the video, tensions culminated in a fistfight between the two students.

By one account, schools across Pennsylvania witnessed at least 20 such incidents clustered around the election, and there were dozens more across the country, as media accounts of swastika drawings become a weekly phenomenon. Whether it suggests a national trend, however, is too soon to say: Any official increase in school-based hate is measured in formal reports – data that will not be available for months, in some cases years.

It's telling, though, that teachers are not reporting transgressions of the garden variety, like bullying or cursing. Rather it encompasses a set of offenses that form the strange war cry of a new strain of politics – popular among the young and disinhibited – committed in the name of upending so-called PC culture. As to why, some teachers, administrators and students have a strong hunch: They call it the Trump Effect.

----- 14 -----
The Silence of Rex Tillerson
Sooner or later, someone needs to explain what Trump’s foreign policy is. But the secretary of state does not seem to understand his job.
Eliot A. Cohen | Apr 4, 2017 | The Atlantic

One would not expect the secretary of defense routinely to inspect the sentries and walk point on patrols, but, in effect, that is what the secretary of state has to do. He is the chief executive of a department numbering in the tens of thousands, and a budget in the tens of billions; but he is also the country’s chief diplomat, charged with conducting negotiations and doing much of the detailed work of American foreign policy. Americans expect him as well to serve as the president’s senior constitutionally accountable adviser on such matters, and as the expositor of an administration’s foreign policy.

It is not unprecedented for a president to install a business executive as secretary of state. After all, George Shultz, one of the outstanding 20th-century occupants of that office, came to Foggy Bottom from Bechtel. But then again, Shultz had a rich array of experiences under his belt in addition to a successful business career—he had taught economics at MIT and the University of Chicago, and he had served as secretary of labor, the first director of the Office of Management and Budget, and secretary of the Treasury.


During his short tenure the following has happened: His top pick for deputy secretary of state was shot down at the last minute in a bit of palace intrigue; his boss has proposed slashing his department’s budget by 29 percent; his press operation at the State Department went dark for several weeks, after which the interim spokesman made a (good) statement in support of Russian demonstrators and was promptly moved; he decided to get rid of the usual press entourage on his inaugural overseas trip to Asia; he nearly skipped a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, pulling back in the nick of time to spend only a few hours on the ground in Brussels; he has been preceded on a visit to Iraq by the princeling of the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, whose remit includes China and Middle East peace, among other things. And on the great issues of American foreign policy—nothing.

----- 15 -----
Who Is Mike Cernovich? A Guide
By LIAM STACK | The New York Times | APRIL 5, 2017

President Trump has frequently derided the news media as “fake news,” and on Tuesday his son, Donald Trump Jr., told the world there was one person he wants to see win the Pulitzer Prize, the highest honor in American journalism: Mike Cernovich.


Those who do not closely follow the world of conservative social media might be moved to ask, who?

Fair question.

Who is Mike Cernovich?

Mr. Cernovich is a blogger, author of books, YouTube personality and filmmaker with a far-right social media following. Much of his online persona is driven by two mottos: “conflict is attention” and “attention is influence.”

He told The New Yorker, “I use trolling tactics to build my brand.”

Before this week, he was perhaps best known for promoting false claims that Hillary Clinton was part of a pedophile ring located in the basement of a pizzeria. He describes himself as an “American nationalist” and has been involved in shaping alt-right messages on social media, according to The New Yorker. But he has denied being part of the alt-right movement, calling it “too obsessed with gossip and drama for my tastes” in a blog post.

----- 16 -----
@marcorubio: Not "coincidental" Syria chemical attack followed Sec. of State Tillerson saying U.S. is not prioritizing removing Assad.
ABC News on Twitter | 5 April 2017

[Video at link]

----- 17 -----
Trump’s EPA moves to dismantle programs that protect kids from lead paint
By Chris Mooney and Juliet Eilperin | The Washington Post | April 5, 2017

Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate
two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based
paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous

The proposed cuts, outlined in a 64-page budget memo revealed by The
Washington Post on Friday, would roll back programs aimed at reducing
lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees, in line with a
broader project by the Trump administration to devolve responsibility
for environmental and health protection to state and local governments.

Old housing stock is the biggest risk for lead exposure — and the EPA
estimates that 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint.

Environmental groups said the elimination of the two programs, which
are focused on training workers in the safe removal of lead-based paint
and public education about its risks, would make it harder for the EPA
to address the environmental hazard.

----- 18 -----
Trump’s Team Has No Idea What It’s Doing On China
The administration is torn between short-sighted dealmakers and zero-sum nationalist hardliners.
By Mira Rapp-Hooper, Alexander Sullivan | Foreign Policy | April 5, 2017

Donald Trump is, by his own admission, not terribly analytical or deliberative. In a recent Time magazine interview, he declared, “I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.” Unfortunately, when it comes to foreign policy, his instincts often contradict one another in potentially dangerous ways. Even worse, the impulse to act on preconceived notions, rather than thinking through problems carefully, isn’t limited to the president. It pervades his administration — especially when dealing with the most consequential bilateral ties in the world: U.S.-China relations.

Trump entered the White House with the most uncertain China policy of any administration in modern memory. More than two months into his presidency, and a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping fast approaching, the administration has generated more questions than answers. It has not yet developed a coherent strategy for engaging China, nor does it have clear policies for the Asia-Pacific.

This could be forgiven — if not for the fact that senior officials in the administration harbor two extreme sets of instincts, both of which are at odds with long-standing, bipartisan U.S. policy toward China. Members of Trump’s team from a traditional big-business background — including senior advisor Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — hold instincts that are highly transactional and potentially accommodationist. According to this business-first approach, the United States should appease Beijing’s desire for an expanded sphere of influence in Asia in exchange for help on discrete issues such as North Korea or the bilateral trade deficit. The second set of instincts is held by the economic nationalists — most notably chief strategist Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, the head of the White House National Trade Council — who are thoroughly hostile to China’s economic and military rise.

The U.S.-China relationship has grown increasingly challenging to manage in recent years, and new ideas should, in theory, be welcome. Both of these approaches, however, bring with them short-term and long-term dangers for U.S. interests and for the region.

----- 19 -----
California’s Senate Just Approved a Bill to Protect Its Residents From Trump’s Deportation Forces
By Jennie Pasquarella, ACLU of Southern California
April 5, 2017 | 3:15 PM

Two weeks ago, Esperanza, a mother of two young children, was driving to church in Mendota, California, when local police pulled her over for having tinted windows. The officer issued Esperanza a fix-it ticket for the tinted windows and told her that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be showing up at her home. Within 30 minutes, ICE officers were at Esperanza’s door to arrest and deport her.

Esperanza is now in hiding.

Although alarming, Esperanza’s experience is commonplace in California and across the country. Approximately 70 percent of all deportations nationwide are the result of local law enforcement’s participation in federal immigration enforcement activities. This is where Trump’s deportation dragnet lies — in the arrests, hand-offs, and information-sharing between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents. The administration needs local law enforcement as its “force multipliers.” Without their assistance, the Trump administration cannot dramatically increase deportations.


The California Values Act would ensure that California residents have equal access to vital public services, including police, hospitals, schools, and courthouses, regardless of national origin and immigration status. With an unregulated, unbridled Trump deportation force, Californians now more than ever need the protection of California law.

In Esperanza’s case, the bill would have prevented police from calling ICE after they conducted a traffic stop, and it would have meant the difference between raising her children and facing permanent separation from them.

----- 20 -----
Republican Ad Tries To Tar Democratic Congressional Candidate With Osama Bin Laden
The GOP is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Jon Ossoff.
By Igor Bobic | 5 April 2017 | The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON ― An ad released Wednesday by a super PAC that works closely with the GOP House leadership attempts to tie Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff to terrorism by invoking the image of Osama bin Laden.

The 30-second spot from the Congressional Leadership Fund attacks the first-time Georgia candidate for reportedly receiving $5,000 from Al Jazeera, which the ad calls a “media outlet that has been described as a mouthpiece for terrorists.” (Al Jazeera ran films created by Ossoff’s investigative film company, according to the Washington Free Beacon.)

The ad displays ominous images of al Qaeda fighters and their infamous founder, and then questions whether Ossoff is being forthcoming with the truth.

“What is he hiding? How can we trust him?” the narrator asks.

Ossoff is leading in the polls in a special election to fill the seat left vacant after the Senate confirmed former Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as secretary of health and human services earlier this year.

In another ad released last week, the Congressional Leadership Fund used footage of anti-Trump protesters smashing windows and lighting a limo on fire on Inauguration Day to argue that Ossoff has a “radical agenda.”

“Jon Ossoff is one of them,” says the narrator.

----- 21 -----
A Montana Special Election Nobody Is Following Could Deal A Huge Blow To Trump
Big Sky Country Democrats are running a legendary folk singer with a populist flair against a cartoon plutocrat. Why won't the national party pay attention?
By Alexander C. Kaufman , Ryan Grim | 5 April 2017 | The Huffington Post

Shortly after the presidential election, Casey Bailey, one of the dwindling number of Democrats in Montana, organized a Facebook group for his neighbors to vent about national politics. The driving question on everybody’s mind for those first weeks and months ― What can we do? ― had no obvious answer. By February, one started to emerge: President Donald Trump had nominated Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana to be secretary of the Interior Department, and as Zinke rode his horse to his first day on the job, his old job became vacant.

To the surprise of Bailey and much of the rest of Montana, a familiar name emerged in the race to fill the job. Rob Quist, the legendary banjo-strumming folk singer with a populist streak and a penchant for public service, was running as a Democrat for Zinke’s seat.

----- 22 -----
In California, Landlords Threaten Immigrant Tenants with Deportations
Housing lawyers are reporting a troubling trend: Landlords exploiting the growing fear of immigration authorities to evict tenants, raise rents, and clear residents from gentrifying neighborhoods.
Kriston Capps | The Atlantic CITYLAB | Apr 5, 2017

Shirley Gibson’s client was in jeopardy. A mother of three living in San Mateo County in California, the woman had obtained a restraining order against her children’s father for domestic abuse. Her landlord took the opportunity to demand that she sign a new, higher lease. She pleaded with him to let her take the document to an attorney.

“Legally, a victim of domestic violence isn’t required to agree to new lease terms or agree to pay more rent, just because they’re a victim,” says Gibson, directing attorney for the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.

The landlord wasn’t having it. Gibson says that he made a clear threat: If you don’t sign this right now, I’m going to call immigration, and you will be taken to Mexico, away from your children.

In that moment, the woman was a single mother, with no father in the picture, looking at choosing between losing her home or losing her children and her country.

“She believed this manager, because when he was making the threat he was wearing the red hat—the ‘Make America Great Again’ hat—and to her mind that meant, ‘This is a person who really hates me,’” Gibson says.

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Pence on Syria, Assad: 'All options are on the table'
By Cristiano Lima | 04/05/17 | Politico

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday "all options are on the table" when it comes to the U.S. government's response to Syria in the aftermath of Tuesday's devastating chemical weapons attacks.

"All evidence points to the Assad regime in Syria" as the perpetrators behind the attacks, Pence said during an interview with Fox News. He reiterated the administration's rebuke of their actions.

"I know the president and I and our entire administration condemn this chemical attack in Syria in the strongest possible terms," he said. "It cannot be tolerated."

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Mary Colbert: God Will Curse Trump’s Opponents And Their Children And Grandchildren
Right Wing Watch
By Brian Tashman | April 3, 2017

Last week, conservative activists Don and Mary Colbert appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” for the program, “Reclaiming the Land: Inauguration 2017.”

Mary Colbert—who, along with her husband, was listed by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign site as a pro-Trump “Christian leader”—said that Trump is “the chosen one of God” and anyone who challenges him will be cursed by God. That curse, she said, will extend to their children and grandchildren.


Bakker agreed, declaring that “God has chosen” Trump.

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