Tom Embury-Dennis,The Independent•February 6, 2020
The Trump administration has immediately barred New York residents from enrolling in “trusted traveller programmes” (TTP), in retaliation for a new state law which blocks federal immigration officials from accessing motor vehicle records.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed the move on Thursday, the morning after acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf first announced the measure on Fox News.
The drastic change came just hours after Mr Trump attacked New York’s sanctuary city status during his State of the Union address.
Sanctuary cities are localities that provide added protection to immigrants and refuse to cooperate with federal officials and federal law enforcement, which has only escalated since Mr Trump took office.
'Clog the lines': Internet trolls deliberately disrupted the Iowa caucuses hotline for reporting results
Several officials at caucuses attended by NBC News reporters struggled with lengthy hold times that made it impossible for them to report results over the phone.
The phone number to report Iowa caucus results was posted on a fringe internet message board on Monday night along with encouragement to “clog the lines,” an indication that jammed phone lines that left some caucus managers on hold for hours may have in part been due to prank calls.
An Iowa Democratic Party official said the influx of calls to the reporting hotline included “supporters of President Trump who called to express their displeasure with the Democratic Party.” The party official’s comments were first reported late Wednesday by Bloomberg News.
Users on a politics-focused section of the fringe 4chan message board repeatedly posted the phone number for the Iowa Democratic Party, which was found by a simple Google search, both as screenshots and in plain text, alongside instructions.
Treasury Department sent information on Hunter Biden to expanding GOP Senate inquiry
The Treasury Department has complied with Republican senators’ requests for highly sensitive and closely held financial records about Hunter Biden and his associates and has turned over “‘evidence’ of questionable origin” to them, according to a leading Democrat on one of the committees conducting the investigation.
For months, while the impeachment controversy raged, powerful committee chairmen in the Republican-controlled Senate have been quietly but openly pursuing an inquiry into Hunter Biden’s business affairs and Ukrainian officials’ alleged interventions in the 2016 election, the same matters that President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani unsuccessfully tried to coerce Ukraine’s government to investigate.
The senators’ requests to the Treasury have borne fruit, according to the ranking Democratic senator on the Finance Committee, Ron Wyden of Oregon, who contrasted the cooperation given to the Republican senators with the pervasive White House-directed stonewall that House Democrats encountered when they subpoenaed documents and witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.
New conservative climate plans are neither conservative nor climate plans
They are mainly designed to protect fossil fuels.
There is a convenient story about Republicans and climate policy circulating in Washington, DC, right now.
It goes like this: After years of denying climate science and under pressure from young voters, Republicans have finally turned to the task of designing policy to address climate change. They are developing measures in line with conservative ideals that will focus on markets, shrink the federal government, and avoid picking winners and losers. With such a policy offering, voters will have a choice between two different approaches to solving the climate crisis, rather than a choice between a party that wants to address the problem and one that doesn’t.
That leaves “objective” reporters in a difficult situation, though — a story without two sides. For those reporters, word of GOP climate policy comes as a great relief. They can leave the one-sided science story and return to ground they know and understand: two sides with dueling policies, economists, experts, and think-tank reports. In other words, he said, she said.
The story is convenient for many denizens of the Beltway. There’s just one problem: It’s mostly horse shit.
The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President
How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election
Story by McKay Coppins
One day last fall, I sat down to create a new Facebook account. I picked a forgettable name, snapped a profile pic with my face obscured, and clicked “Like” on the official pages of Donald Trump and his reelection campaign. Facebook’s algorithm prodded me to follow Ann Coulter, Fox Business, and a variety of fan pages with names like “In Trump We Trust.” I complied. I also gave my cellphone number to the Trump campaign, and joined a handful of private Facebook groups for MAGA diehards, one of which required an application that seemed designed to screen out interlopers.
The president’s reelection campaign was then in the midst of a multimillion-dollar ad blitz aimed at shaping Americans’ understanding of the recently launched impeachment proceedings. Thousands of micro-targeted ads had flooded the internet, portraying Trump as a heroic reformer cracking down on foreign corruption while Democrats plotted a coup. That this narrative bore little resemblance to reality seemed only to accelerate its spread. Right-wing websites amplified every claim. Pro-Trump forums teemed with conspiracy theories. An alternate information ecosystem was taking shape around the biggest news story in the country, and I wanted to see it from the inside.
I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I’d assumed that my skepticism and media literacy would inoculate me against such distortions. But I soon found myself reflexively questioning every headline. It wasn’t that I believed Trump and his boosters were telling the truth. It was that, in this state of heightened suspicion, truth itself—about Ukraine, impeachment, or anything else—felt more and more difficult to locate. With each swipe, the notion of observable reality drifted further out of reach.
What I was seeing was a strategy that has been deployed by illiberal political leaders around the world. Rather than shutting down dissenting voices, these leaders have learned to harness the democratizing power of social media for their own purposes—jamming the signals, sowing confusion. They no longer need to silence the dissident shouting in the streets; they can use a megaphone to drown him out. Scholars have a name for this: censorship through noise.
What South Dakota Doesn’t Get About Transgender Children
Here’s how their medical care really works.
By Jack Turban
Dr. Turban is a resident physician in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Early in my medical training, I read a landmark case study about a 12-year-old boy who wrote a suicide note to his mother saying he would rather die than go through puberty. I later met teenagers who tightly bound their chests — knowing that it could result in fractured ribs — because the emotional pain of seeing their breasts was much worse than any imaginable physical pain.
These children are transgender, and they account for almost 2 percent of youth in the United States. They are suffering from the psychological pain of having a body that doesn’t match their gender identity. I’ve dedicated my medical and research career to better understanding their mental health.
Over the past few decades, physicians have learned how to help these young people. In the past, doctors tried to force them to be cisgender, to identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. New research shows that this approach is associated with their attempting suicide. Having learned from these mistakes, we now follow new protocols that guide us to accept and affirm transgender youths in their transgender identities. We often use medications that prevent some of the physical changes of puberty that cause these adolescents distress.
Report Finds at Least 138 Killed After Deportation From U.S. to El Salvador
By Elliot Hannon
The cost of President Donald Trump’s blinkered and punitive American immigration policy isn’t just measured in dollars or dignity; it’s costing people their lives. We, of course, already knew that to be true, but a new report from Human Rights Watch adds new data to help articulate the literal human cost of America’s increasingly restrictive immigration stance—one that has all but eliminated migrants’ right to asylum. The nongovernmental organization’s investigation into the fate of deported Salvadoran migrants, forced to return to the country they fled, found that at least 138 Salvadorans—and likely many, many more—were killed shortly after being deported.
Trump Is Blowing Up a National Monument in Arizona to Make Way for the Border Wall
February 6 2020
Contractors working for the Trump administration are blowing apart a mountain on protected lands in southern Arizona to make way for the president’s border wall. The blasting is happening on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a tract of Sonoran Desert wilderness long celebrated as one of the nation’s great ecological treasures, that holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups.
In a statement to The Intercept, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that the blasting began this week and will continue through the end of the month. “The construction contractor has begun controlled blasting, in preparation for new border wall system construction, within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector,” the statement said, referring to an area also known as Monument Hill. “The controlled blasting is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month.”
Dr. Sunny Moraine PhD in Awful Things
I hate quote-RTing this fucker but I’m going to this time because it’s important: Look for attempts to delay the election or cancel it outright. I’m not saying he’ll succeed but I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries. Right now he’s feeling—reasonably—like he can get away w/anything
[Mostly interesting because of the 'Trump is most dangerous when he feels bulletproof, not when he's cornered.']
In Private, Republicans Admit They Acquitted Trump Out of Fear
One journalist remarked to me, “How in the world can these senators walk around here upright when they have no backbone?”
By Sherrod Brown
Mr. Brown is a Democratic senator from Ohio.
Not guilty. Not guilty.
In the United States Senate, like in many spheres of life, fear does the business.
Think back to the fall of 2002, just a few weeks before that year’s crucial midterm elections, when the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq was up for a vote. A year after the 9/11 attacks, hundreds of members of the House and the Senate were about to face the voters of a country still traumatized by terrorism.
For the stay-in-office-at-all-cost representatives and senators, fear is the motivator. They are afraid that Mr. Trump might give them a nickname like “Low Energy Jeb” and “Lyin’ Ted,” or that he might tweet about their disloyalty. Or — worst of all — that he might come to their state to campaign against them in the Republican primary. They worry:
“Will the hosts on Fox attack me?”
“Will the mouthpieces on talk radio go after me?”
“Will the Twitter trolls turn their followers against me?”
My colleagues know they all just might. There’s an old Russian proverb: The tallest blade of grass is the first cut by the scythe. In private, many of my colleagues agree that the president is reckless and unfit. They admit his lies. And they acknowledge what he did was wrong. They know this president has done things Richard Nixon never did. And they know that more damning evidence is likely to come out.
BREAKING: White House is weighing plan to dismiss Alexander Vindman from National Security Council after he testified in impeachment inquiry, a move that will be part of a broader effort to shrink Trump admin foreign policy bureaucracy, sources tell me & twitter.com/nwadhams. Story out soon
AG Barr notifies federal agents and lawyers that they cannot open investigations of 2020 presidential candidates, their campaigns, or advisers without his approval.
Barr says no investigations into 2020 candidates, campaigns without his approval
His directive follows a report by the Justice Department's inspector general that harshly criticized the FBI's investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign.
by Pete Williams
Attorney General William Barr notified federal agents and lawyers Wednesday that they cannot open investigations of presidential candidates, their campaigns, or advisers without his approval.
His directive follows a report by the Justice Department's inspector general that harshly criticized the FBI's investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign. It recommended an evaluation of the kind of sensitive matters that should require high-level approval, particularly those involving politics.
Barr told NBC News in December that "there has to be some basis before we use these very potent powers in our core First Amendment activity." He suggested in January that changes were coming, saying at a news conference that he and FBI Director Chris Wray agreed that opening a counterintelligence investigation of a presidential campaign "would be something that the director of the FBI would have to sign off on and the attorney general would have to sign off on."