Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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good afternoon, it's 1 may 2017

And here we go. Fascism watch: "UK was given details of alleged contacts between Trump campaign and Moscow," reported The Guardian on Friday. Basically, the dossier was handed over the UK intelligence agencies for vetting and additional research. "Donald Trump Is Now Threatening Both Koreas," since one war, two wars, maybe three wars, all not enough.

On the good side, it looks like we might have Gorka on the way out: "White House Weighs Kicking Out Sebastian Gorka," followed yesterday by "Sebastian Gorka leaving White House as soon as 'this summer'." I guess being a literal neonazi isn't quite okay yet - though it is good enough for media, with "Why Neo-Nazis Are Kvelling Over Tucker Carlson."

A rightist would-be terrorist attack in Kentucky: "‘You are safe,’ Transylvania [University] attacker says to Republican student in coffee shop." Believe it or not, I have experience with this school, and they are Not a liberal institution; if they're to liberal for this guy, we have to assume he's a literal fascist of some sort. There were literal overt fascists here, too: "Trump holds a 100-day rally on friendly turf, snubbing the White House Correspondents' Dinner" but I lost the link.

This is important: "Canada fought the war on science. Here’s how scientists won." I watched this fight, it was long and hard but a lot of data was saved.

In cultural warfare, "Gay-Conversion Therapy Ban Survives as Supreme Court Rejects Appeal" is good news. "These Gay Republicans Mocked Transgender Women At A Forum In New York City" is exactly what you'd expect out of that sort of "we only don't hate queers because we're gay and so we only don't hate gay white guys" you'd expect out of Gay Republicans. Meanwhile, "Trump Appoints HHS Spokesperson with Ugly Trail of Anti-Trans Comments," and they're really bad.

Finally, in racism: "Trump revives 'Pocahontas' insult of Elizabeth Warren" - his base loves the race-baiting. "ICE data shows half of immigrants arrested in raids had traffic convictions or no record" is just demonstration of yet another lie.

Good luck out there.

----- 1 -----
UK was given details of alleged contacts between Trump campaign and Moscow
In December the UK government was given reports by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele on possible collusion between Trump camp and the Kremlin
Julian Borger in Washington | The Guardian | 28 April 2017

The UK government was given details last December of allegedly extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow, according to court papers.

Reports by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, on possible collusion between the the Trump camp and the Kremlin are at the centre of a political storm in the US over Moscow’s role in getting Donald Trump elected.

It was not previously known that the UK intelligence services had also received the dossier but Steele confirmed in a court filing earlier this month that he handed a memorandum compiled in December to a “senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form”.

The court papers say Steele decided to pass on the information he had collected because it was “of considerable importance in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election”, that it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK” and “needed to [be] analysed and further investigated/verified”.

The December memo alleged that four Trump representatives travelled to Prague in August or September in 2016 for “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers”, about how to pay hackers secretly for penetrating Democratic party computer systems and “contingency plans for covering up operations”.

----- 2 -----
Donald Trump Is Now Threatening Both Koreas
In the middle of a crisis with North Korea, Trump is ordering South Korea to renegotiate a trade deal and cough up money for U.S. missile systems.
by Abigail Tracy | Vanity Fair | April 28, 2017

Just because the Trump administration is talking tough on North Korea, threatening a “major conflict” if Pyongyang doesn’t give up its nuclear program, that doesn’t mean that President Donald Trump is ready to embrace South Korea, either. In fact, it seems the president sees a potential military crisis as the perfect time to lean on its ally, too, threatening to to pull out of a five-year-old free trade deal that he characterized as “horrible” and blamed, unsurprisingly, on Hillary Clinton.

“It is unacceptable, it is a horrible deal made by Hillary,” Trump told Reuters on Thursday of the U.S.-South Korean trade deal, or KORUS, which was approved by Congress in 2011 during Clinton’s secretary of state tenure. “It’s a horrible deal, and we are going to re-negotiate that deal or terminate it.”

As with his attacks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Trump has taken a hard line on bilateral agreements that result in U.S. trade deficits. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, here was a total of $112.2 billion worth of commerce exchanged between the U.S. and South Korea in 2016, The New York Times reports. And while South Korea has a $10.7 billion trade deficit in services with the United States, it enjoys a $27.7 billion trade surplus in goods under the deal. A spokesperson for South Korea’s foreign ministry told Reuters that Seoul would continue its “efforts to explain to the United States the mutually reciprocal outcome” of the agreement, but would also prepare for “countermeasures.”

But Trump’s attempt to strong-arm South Korea isn’t limited to the trade deal. He also apparently wants the country to pay up for an advanced missile system that the U.S. is currently setting up to help defend South Korea against a military attack by its northern neighbor—a possibility that Trump himself has heightened by dramatically escalating tensions on the peninsula. “I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid,” Trump told Reuters of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD. “It's a billion-dollar system. It’s phenomenal, shoots missiles right out of the sky.”

----- 3 -----
White House Weighs Kicking Out Sebastian Gorka
The president admires Sebastian Gorka for his fiery TV performances, but his ties to far-right organizations are making him more liability than asset, administration sources say.
Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng | The Daily Beast | 04.28.17

The Trump administration is actively exploring options to remove controversial national security aide Sebastian Gorka from the White House and place him at another federal agency, multiple sources tell The Daily Beast.

Two senior administration officials familiar with the situation say it is exploring a new role for Gorka elsewhere in the administration. Another said he has been entirely excluded from day-to-day policy-making at the National Security Council in the meantime.

Gorka’s looming departure from the White House, which one of the sources described as imminent, comes amid mounting controversy over his involvement with a far-right Hungarian group notorious for its collaboration with the Nazi regime during the second world war.

----- 4 -----
Why Neo-Nazis Are Kvelling Over Tucker Carlson
April 27, 2017 10:27 AM EDT MATT GERTZ | Media Matters for America

“If there’s any talking head you can safely classify in the spectrum of ‘alt-right,’ it’s Tucker Carlson.” -- Neo-Nazi Eric Striker, The Daily Stormer

Tucker Carlson’s takeover of Fox News’ 8 p.m. time slot has been greeted with cheers by his fans in the neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and misogynistic corners of the Internet.

As the news began to break last week that Bill O’Reilly would not be returning to Fox, “alt-right” figures began expressing their hope that Carlson, who has garnered a large audience at the network since his show launched late last year, would get the coveted hour.

“Tucker Carlson taking O'Reilly's time slot would be huge win for America,” tweeted Mike Cernovich, an online personality with a history of making white nationalist and misogynistic commentary who helped push the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory.

Jazzhands McFeels, the pseudonymous co-host of the popular “alt-right” podcast Fash the Nation for the anti-Semitic website The Right Stuff, similarly claimed that Fox had the “opportunity for an all-star lineup” led by Carlson.

The dregs of the so-called “alt-right” championed Carlson’s promotion because they think he is actively working to mainstream their despicable beliefs.


Like many Fox hosts, including the one he replaced, Carlson has a long record of offering virulent commentary about women and people of color, and he has served as a cheerleader for President Donald Trump, another white nationalist favorite. But it is the Fox host’s interview style -- in particular the way he demolishes perceived enemies of the “alt-right” on air for his audience’s amusement -- that has turned his show into must-see viewing for members of the misogynistic and racist movement.

“The key to his success is that he destroys people everyone hates,” writes Eric Striker on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, which recently celebrated the 128th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth and has a section devoted to the “Jewish Problem.” “He mocks and berates an assembly line of Jewish liars, literally laughing at the absurdity of their canned talking points about everything from immigration to Russia to trannies,” Striker continued.

----- 5 -----
‘You are safe,’ Transylvania [University] attacker says to Republican student in coffee shop
By Morgan Eads | The Lexington [Kentucky] Herald-Leader | 28 April 2017

A man has been arrested after a machete attack on Transylvania University’s campus that sent one woman to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.

Mitchell W. Adkins, 19, of Cincinnati has been charged with first-degree and fourth-degree assault, and three counts of wanton endangerment, according to police. Adkins is a former Transy undergraduate student who withdrew in 2015, Transylvania spokeswoman Michele Gaither Sparks said.

The attacker walked into a coffee shop inside the Glenn Building on Friday morning, asked people their political affiliation, then went on the attack, one witness said. Adkins appears to have a history of publicly protesting what he considered the mistreatment of conservatives on college campuses.

Adkins was armed with a machete and knives, Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard said. The various weapons were in a bag, police said later. Adkins made verbal threats to students and staff in the building and struck two women, according to police.


“A guy came in, banged something, a hatchet or an ax, on the table and said, ‘The day of reckoning has come,’” Reynolds said. “He asked somebody what their political affiliation was, they said ‘Republican,’ and the guy said, ‘You are safe.’ And then I realized what was going on and started getting people out.”

----- 6 -----
Trump holds a 100-day rally on friendly turf, snubbing the White House Correspondents' Dinner
Brian Bennett | The Los Angeles Times | 29 April 2017

President Trump on Saturday skipped the White House Correspondents’ Dinner to mark his 100th day in office doing what got him there: taking his populist message directly to an adoring audience, this one in Pennsylvania, the state he credits with delivering his surprise electoral college win in November.

Trump revived the race-baiting speech that infused his election campaign, lashing out at immigrants and promising to jail or deport anyone who doesn’t belong in the United States.

He also promised to restore coal mining jobs, though without detail about how that would happen.

"We are not going to let other countries take advantage of us anymore. From now on it's going to be America first," Trump said.

The rally unfolded like a greatest hits of Trump's most polarizing refrains. He prompted loud cheers for promising to keep radical Islamic terrorism out of the country, deport immigrants in the country illegally and build a wall along the border with Mexico.

----- 7 -----
Canada fought the war on science. Here’s how scientists won.
Chris Turner | Apr 29, 2017 | Vox

[I know people who were deeply involved in data preservation during the Harper regime. That effort saved a lot of data from destruction.]

Last weekend’s March for Science brought a renewed sense of purpose and urgency to Earth Day — and the momentum should carry on at Saturday’s People’s Climate Movement March. Collectively, these mass demonstrations — the March for Science alone attracted more than 15,000 people to DC and thousands more in satellite cities — send a clear message that President Trump’s full-scale assault on the basic tenets of science on numerous fronts is among his most unforgivable sins of willful fiction. It is heartening that people are willing to take to the streets to defend the primacy of civilization’s most effective tools for establishing what the facts of the case really are in this strange age of aggressive alts.

For Canadians like me, the March for Science, in particular, brought not just encouragement but a sense of déjà vu, tinged with relief. For President Trump is not the first chief executive of a major Western nation to wage a war on science. Until Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was voted out of power in 2015, it spent nearly a decade as the free world’s chief aggressor on this front. Under Harper, the Canadian government waged a steady attack on science and data the administration deemed unnecessary or unhelpful to its agenda. Harper cancelled the long-form census — the government’s most important data-gathering tool — and slashed budgets for climate science programs. He mothballed vital environmental research labs and rewrote environmental protection legislation in the fine print of budget bills.

The Department of Fisheries, a frequent regulatory opponent of the oil and gas projects Harper’s government was pushing, saw some of the deepest cuts: When it was forced to shutter the majority of its libraries, books full of irreplaceable research wound up in dumpsters. Media access to government scientists working on climate and environmental topics all but vanished, and in several egregious cases individual scientists were directly muzzled, forbidden to speak at all in public about their work. Harper also pulled Canada out of the Kyoto treaty and became a notorious heel dragger at international climate talks.

In the summer of 2012, in the wake of the introduction of Harper’s most aggressively anti-science budget, a few hundred protesters marched from an Ottawa conference center hosting a biology symposium to Parliament Hill, in a protest styled as a mock funeral for the Death of Evidence. As in the March for Science last weekend, many of the Ottawa marchers were working scientists who’d never before participated in a protest. Many wore white lab coats to signal their allegiance to a set of principles long assumed to be above the partisan fray.

Five years later, the Canadian government and its institutions are back in the hands of leaders who respect the scientific method and value the expertise of scientists on their payrolls (and beyond). Granted, the American war on science promises to be a much meaner and more reckless battle than the Canadian one, led as it is by a president and administration whose erratic, know-nothing tendencies are without analogue in any democratic nation, ever. (Stephen Harper, despite his many sins, respected the basic tenets of democracy and had a knowledge of what government was for that extended beyond last night’s Fox News broadcast.)

----- 8 -----
Gay-Conversion Therapy Ban Survives as Supreme Court Rejects Appeal
by Greg Stohr | Bloomberg | 1 May 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a California law that bans licensed therapists from working with children to change their sexual orientation from gay to straight, rejecting an appeal that said the measure violates religious rights.

The rebuff leaves intact a federal appeals court decision upholding California’s 2012 first-of-its-kind law. The measure prohibits the form of counseling known as “conversion therapy.”

The ban was challenged by three people, led by licensed therapist and minister Donald Welch, who said it interferes with their right to practice their religious beliefs.

California officials urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal, saying the law doesn’t restrict what religious leaders can say, except in the context of a state-licensed therapy session.

----- 9 -----
These Gay Republicans Mocked Transgender Women At A Forum In New York City
Nearly 100 days into Trump’s term, these gay Republican activists had a chance to assess their success. Or they could make fun of people.
Dominic Holden | April 28, 2017 | BuzzFeed

A forum at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City on Thursday night was billed as an "all-star" collection of activists in the "new gay movement in the Republican Party." And indeed, panelists inside the tony brownstone on Manhattan's Upper East Side were among the country’s most notable conservative gay-rights activists.

But rather than detail how they were building a new movement — or discuss their influence in the nascent Trump administration — the gay men on stage spent most of two hours ridiculing the left while peppering their speeches with cheap cracks about transgender people.

They mocked President Obama’s LGBT liaison as "the most unattractive tranny," joked that Caitlyn Jenner hadn't had "the operation," and said Obama-era rules to protect transgender students were “horrifying.”

People of color and women fared little better with the all-white, five-member panel. One claimed the gender wage gap was "a total fucking myth," while another opined that black people don't face oppression because they aren't enslaved. Then he laughed about adopted Asian babies.

----- 10 -----
Trump Appoints HHS Spokesperson with Ugly Trail of Anti-Trans Comments
April 28, 2017 | National Center for Transgender Equality

Today, President Trump appointed anti-abortion leader and anti-transgender bigot Charmaine Yoest as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s almost as if President Trump is trying to find people who say the most mean, spiteful, hateful things about transgender people to fill roles in his administration,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling.

Yoest has repeatedly called transgender people “crazy,” labeled transgender people “creatures,” used anti-transgender slurs, said parents should worry about having transgender people around their children, and referred to medical care for transgender people as “a joke”—flying in the face of the views of every major medical association.

----- 11 -----
Trump revives 'Pocahontas' insult of Elizabeth Warren
Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press | Friday, April 28, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) — President Donald Trump revived one of his favorite — and most provocative — taunts against Elizabeth Warren on Friday, derisively calling the Massachusetts senator "Pocahontas."

Trump mocked Warren repeatedly during the presidential campaign for claims she made about being part Native American. During remarks Friday at the National Rifle Association, the president took aim at the liberal senator once again, saying she could be among the Democrats who seek to challenge him in 2020 if he seeks a second term.

"I have a feeling that in the next election, you're going to be swamped with candidates," Trump said. "It may be Pocahontas, remember that."

Native American leaders have called Trump's attacks on Warren offensive and distasteful. Some Democrats have called the remark racist.

----- 12 -----
Here is the new version of Trumpcare all in one place.
Andy Slavitt on Twitter

Here is the new version of Trumpcare all in one place. Circulate if you find helpful.
[Image at URL]

----- 13 -----
ICE data shows half of immigrants arrested in raids had traffic convictions or no record
Foreign nationals being arrested in February during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Maria Sacchetti and Ed O'Keefe | April 28, 2017 | The Washington Post

About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the
United States in the days after President Trump took office either had
no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses, mostly
drunken driving, as their most serious crimes, according to data
obtained by The Washington Post.

Records provided by congressional aides Friday offered the most
detailed look yet at the backgrounds of the individuals rounded up and
targeted for deportation in early February by Immigration and Customs
Enforcement agents assigned to regional offices in Los Angeles,
Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York.

Two people had been convicted of homicide, 80 had been convicted of
assault, and 57 had convictions for “dangerous drugs.” Many of the most
serious criminals were given top billing in ICE news statements about
the operation.

The largest single group — 163 immigrants convicted of traffic offenses
— was mentioned only briefly. Over 90 percent of those cases involved
drunken driving, ICE said Friday. Of those taken into custody in the
raids, 177 had no criminal convictions at all, though 66 had charges
pending, largely immigration or traffic offenses.

----- 14 -----
Sebastian Gorka leaving White House as soon as 'this summer'
By Rebecca Savransky - 04/30/17 - The Hill

A senior White House official confirmed to The Hill on Sunday that Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, will be departing that role as soon as "this summer."

The same official said that Gorka, 46, was brought in to the Trump administration to initially provide big picture, counter-terrorism expertise.

"To defeat extreme Islamic terrorism, you can't kill your way out of the problem. A plan is needed to defeat the ideology the same way Nazism was defeated" the official, who asked not to be named, said.

"[Gorka] was here to provide an overall strategy in that regard."

Gorka will take an outside position that deals with the "war of ideas" regarding radical Islamic extremism, sources told The Washington Examiner on Sunday.

He has served as both a national security adviser and on the Strategic Initiatives Group, which is an organization within the White House, according to the publication.

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