Sunday, March 4, 2018

Panelist: Behavior of Trumps is more like that of a royal family

President Donald Trump "Unglued" Amid White House Chaos

Trump has done nothing to stop Russia from meddling in the 2018 midterms
"Adm. Michael Rogers, who leads US Cyber Command, told lawmakers on Tuesday that Trump has yet to direct him to strike Russia’s cyber operations where they start. That means Russian President Vladimir Putin — who directed the campaign to disrupt the last US presidential election — has yet to see any serious repercussions for his country’s actions.  Worse, there are almost no substantive measures in place to prevent Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections."

'Javanka' Faction Falling Apart As Hope Hicks, Others Quit W.H.

Analysis: Major Corporations Have Spent Just 6% of Tax Cut Windfall on Workers. Guess Where the Other 94% Went.
"Almost everyone—nonpartisan commentators, economists, and even President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser—predicted that corporate shareholders and CEOs, not workers, would be the primary beneficiaries of the Republican tax law, and several recent analyses have shown that prediction to be right on the money."

Trump’s Real Scandal Is Hiding in Plain Sight
"The scale of dishonesty and criminality that is now apparent is an enormous scandal in its own right."

Jared Kushner Eyed Over Foreign Contacts, Vulnerability To Manipulation

Saturday, March 3, 2018

'Truly Wicked': Trump EPA Dissolves Program That Studies Effects of Chemical Exposure on Children
"As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the leadership of Scott Pruitt moves to make it easier for big industry to dump dangerous chemicals into the nation's air and water, the agency announced late Monday that it is dissolving a program that funds studies on the effects of pollution and chemical exposure on America's children."

Congress has been a serious ally for Trump’s anti-environment agenda
"The Trump administration’s first year was marked by a barrage of environmental rollbacks, from announcing the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement to the repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would have set the nation’s first-ever emissions limits on carbon emissions from power plants. But on Capitol Hill, the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda has found eager allies in Congressional Republicans. According to a new scorecard of environmental votes released today by the League of Conversation Voters, Congressional Republicans have done little to stand in the way of the administration’s anti-environmental policies. The League of Conversation Voters’ annual scorecard tracks how each member of Congress votes on key environmental legislation. As this year’s report shows, a majority of both Senate Republicans and House Republicans received an annual score of zero percent, meaning they voted against every piece of environmental legislation or nomination tracked by the scorecard. In the Senate, 46 Republicans received a score of zero, bringing the overall Republican Senate average to a historic low of just 1 percent. In the House, 124 representatives received a score of zero, bringing the overall Republican House average to just 5 percent. The overall average for both the House and the Senate in 2017 was 45 percent — a marked decline from 2009, when the scorecard tallied a record-high 60 percent for the House and 63 percent for the Senate. “When you’ve got 46 Republican Senators with a score of 0 percent … you very clearly show a party that has been completely captured by the polluting industries,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said on a press call announcing the scorecard’s release. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen that happen in the administration as well, with political appointees. Clearly, the polluters are now in charge at EPA"."

Hope Hicks Reportedly Admits Telling 'White Lies' For President Donald Trump

Trump’s EPA to close research center that protects public health
"Plan to end a program responsible for researching effects of chemicals on children is part of Trump's rollback of public health safeguards."

White House uses a lie to downplay latest Mueller indictment
"During the White House news briefing on Monday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if former Trump campaign official Rick Gates’ guilty plea for conspiring against the United States and making false statements to the FBI says “anything about the president’s judgment that three people linked to his campaign have now turned out to be criminals?” Sanders responded with a blatant lie."

Why The Rich Love Destroying Unions

Janus and fair share fees: The organizations financing the attack on unions’ ability to represent workers

Janus and fair share fees: The organizations financing the attack on unions’ ability to represent workers:

"Many of the organizations financing the legal challenges to workers’ rights have also been funding legislative battles focused on limiting workers’ rights. How do these groups benefit by limiting workers’ rights? Anti-worker policies shift a greater share of economic gains to corporate players and away from ordinary workers. This is evident in the relationship between declining union membership and rising inequality. As union membership has fallen over the last few decades, the share of income going to the top 10 percent has steadily increased. When union membership was at its peak (33.4 percent in 1945) the share of income going to the top 10 percent was only 32.6 percent. In 2015, union membership was 11.1 percent, while the share of income going to the top 10 percent was 47.8 percent—the largest share going to the top 10 percent since 1917 (the earliest year data are available). The erosion of collective bargaining is a core part of our nation’s problems of wage stagnation and rising inequality. Workers who are not in a union have much less power to negotiate with their employers for higher pay (or more hours, or better working conditions). Further, the erosion of union coverage hurts workers who aren’t in a union; research shows that when the share of workers who are union members falls, wages of nonunion workers are lower. For example, wages of nonunion male workers in 2013 would have been 5 percent higher (that’s an additional $2,704 in earnings for year-round workers) had union density remained at its 1979 levels. The decline in union membership rates does not reflect a declining desire to organize in the workplace and collectively bargain. In fact, surveys show that nearly half of nonunion, nonmanagerial workers would vote for union representation if they could. Furthermore, a majority of Americans support the right of workers to join a union."

Trump on Parkland: “I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon”
"Donald Trump was a multiple-deferment draft dodger, claiming “bone spurs” kept him from serving heroically in the military. Decades later, the president divides much of his time between watching television and playing golf. But in Trump’s mind, he’s effectively an action star. We’re supposed to believe the 71-year-old president when he boasts to a room full of people that he’d run into a mass-shooting crisis, where he’d confront a teen armed with an assault rifle, carrying with him nothing but his wits and his bare hands. Obviously, it’s difficult to take such delusions of grandeur seriously, but I wonder, do Trump’s loyalists actually believe such boasts? Do the president’s supporters in uniform find such ridiculous chest-thumping compelling? How is it, exactly, that Trump’s toughness never emerges when it matters, but he’s eager to tell us how tough he is when his boasts cannot be tested and come with no consequences?"

Did Vladimir Putin Want To Get Caught? Kremlin TV Offers Clues

A Democratic governor confronted Trump on arming teachers and Trump was not happy
"During an event at the White House on Monday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) challenged President Trump on his plan to arm teachers — to his face. And the president was visibly not happy about it."

Trump (aka Cadet Bone Spurs) Brags: "I'd Run in There Even If I Didn't Have Weapon"
"President Donald Trump, who famously ducked the draft during the Vietnam War by receiving multiple medical deferments, bragged on Monday that if he was given the opportunity to stop a school shooting he would do so even if he was unarmed. "You don't know until you're tested, but I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon," the president announced during remarks at a luncheon with state governors at the White House."

Lawrence: President Donald Trump's Superhero Fantasy World

Trump is tearing up the system that protects ordinary Americans from financial scams
"Donald Trump ran for office promising to protect the “forgotten man and woman” and to Make America Great Again for Americans who feel left behind. “It’s not just the political system that’s rigged, it’s the whole economy,” he told supporters during a 2016 speech on the campaign trail. But now in office, Trump isn’t doing much to “un-rig” the system. His administration has systematically dismantled consumer protections for ordinary Americans and compromised protections for everyday investors as well. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the guide of interim director Mick Mulvaney has moved to rein in many of the consumer protection and enforcement actions taken by his predecessor, Richard Cordray. The bureau has dropped cases against predatory payday lenders, reportedly rolled back its investigation of the Equifax data breach, and reformulated its mission to scale back its reach. Federal regulators in September released AIG from special government oversight mandated after the financial crisis and set aside a legal fight with MetLife. Enforcement actions at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Wall Street’s top regulators, have declined, meaning they appear to be going after fewer bad actors and imposing less fines. Mulvaney over at the CFPB hasn’t taken any enforcement actions since taking over at the CFPB in November. “The top line is that the Trump administration is probably the most anti-investor and consumer protection administration in decades, if not ever,” said Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, a watchdog group that advocates for stricter financial regulations. “It’s hard not to concede that investor and consumer protections are not a priority for this administration"."

Trump’s EPA head says his proudest moment was undermining a landmark environmental pact
"Pruitt cited President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement as the proudest moment in his first year as EPA administrator. Any other EPA administrator — aside from President Ronald Reagan’s controversial EPA chief Anne Gorsuch Burford — would have used this softball question to highlight an actual environmental achievement. But Pruitt views his mission as doing whatever it takes to weaken the EPA in the shortest time possible."

President Trump Admin A Cautionary Tale Of Nepotism For Future Generations

Donald Trump’s CPAC speech is a reminder that he’s not really in charge of his White House
"Whether it’s because he’s a liar or just because he’s ineffectual, this rhetoric has nothing to do with the actual conduct of the Trump administration."

The Worst News For Trump Yet - Mueller Researching Manafort's Russia Ties

The Worst News For Trump Yet - Mueller Researching Manafort's Russia Ties:

"And watch the video to the end if you don't know that Manafort moved money through Bank of Cyprus which had Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on the board, etc. etc. etc."

Jennifer Rubin: President Donald Trump An 'Empty, Damaged Soul' — Not A Hero

The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
"When Donald Trump was running for the presidency, he promised that, if he was elected, “American worker[s] will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.” Today, though, safely ensconced in the White House, President Trump is waging a fierce campaign against American workers His appointments to federal positions created to defend workers’ rights provide an indication of his priorities. For Secretary of Labor, Trump nominated Andrew Puzder, the CEO of a major fast food chain. When Puzder’s nomination was withdrawn amid allegations of labor law violations, Trump turned to Alexander Acosta, a figure with a long history of aligning with rightwing and corporate interests. As the new Labor Secretary, Acosta served as one of the stars at the annual gathering of the militantly anti-labor American Legislative Exchange Council. For Deputy Secretary of Labor, Trump chose Patrick Pizzella, a former employee of the rabidly anti-union National Right to Work Committee who had lobbied against raising sweatshop-level wages.  Other administration appointments had the same orientation. For Assistant Secretary of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Trump nominated David Zatezalo, a former CEO of a coal mining operation with serious mining violations. The Trump administration also took control of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by appointing members with a record of opposing workers’ right to organize. Furthermore, Trump helped ensure an unsympathetic hearing for American workers in the courts by appointing new federal judges known for their deeply-ingrained rightwing views. Assisted by these and other pro-corporate officials, the administration quickly attacked worker health and safety provisions."

Mueller Just Made Many More People Much More Nervous
"It’s pretty much assured that Manafort is securely on a spit right now and that this latest indictment is just another slow turn over the fire. And Manafort is the man who knows all the secrets. One plea at a time, Mueller is establishing that the president* is inherently corrupt and that his candidacy and election were just two unusually successful operations in a continuing criminal enterprise."

Rep. Ted Lieu: Devin Nunes Was Trying To Mislead American People

It’s Been One Year of Amazing Scott Pruitt Accomplishments, All of Them Horrible
"It’s been one year since Scott Pruitt took control of the Environmental Protection Agency. In that time, he’s undermined dozens of regulations on air and water pollution, made major cuts to agency staff, and curtailed enforcement of environmental rules. Here’s a look at his disturbing record so far"

Why Are More Cities Divesting From Big Oil? It's Moral -- and Practical
"The global financial and insurance industries are starting to recognize that fossil fuel investments don't make moral or economic sense."

Rick Gates Guilty Plea Rounds Out A Busy Week Of Indictments For Mueller

Razing Arizona: Republican lawmakers assault independent redistricting commission—AGAIN
"If there’s one thing Arizona Republicans LOVE to hate, it’s their state’s Independent Redistricting Commission. After years of trying to control it and impeach its members and even have it declared unconstitutional, they’re attacking it it yet again. This time, they’re attempting to undermine both the commission’s independent nature and bring both it and the maps it draws under the legislature’s control."

Allies abroad urged to ignore Trump’s intemperate tweets
"During a tour of Latin America last summer, Vice President Mike Pence boasted that the world recognizes Donald Trump as “a leader who says what he means and means what he says.” It’s a nice sentiment, which was wholly at odds with reality. I’m not just referring to the Republican president’s penchant for breathtaking dishonesty; I’m also referring to the fact that the world has learned no such thing. In fact, the Washington Post reported over the weekend that U.S. policymakers continue to travel abroad and assure allies that Trump’s bizarre messages are better left ignored. Amid global anxiety about President Trump’s approach to world affairs, U.S. officials had a message for a gathering of Europe’s foreign policy elite this weekend: Pay no attention to the man tweeting behind the curtain. U.S. lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – and top national security officials in the Trump administration offered the same advice publicly and privately, often clashing with Trump’s Twitter stream: The United States remains staunchly committed to its European allies, is furious with the Kremlin about election interference and isn’t contemplating a preemptive strike on North Korea to halt its nuclear program. Or put another way, the position of the United States on key international issues is not what the president of the United States says it is. The result, predictably, is widespread confusion. Even our European allies aren’t sure whether to believe the words that come directly from Trump or the reassurances from U.S. officials who insist Trump’s rhetoric is better left ignored."

Robert Mueller Adds New Piece To Plot With New Manafort Gates Indictment

Despite reality, Trump insists he’s been ‘tough’ on Russia
"Hmm. The president wants us to “just look at the facts.” Perhaps that’s a good idea. It’s a fact, for example, that Trump hasn’t implemented congressionally approved sanctions punishing Russia for its attack on American elections. Similarly, it’s a fact that Trump not only has failed to criticize Russia for the attack, he’s also endorsed Vladimir Putin’s denials of responsibility. It’s a fact that when the Russian government moved against U.S. diplomats, Trump thanked Putin. It’s a fact that when Congress approved sanctions against Russia, Trump blamed American lawmakers, not Putin, for undermining relations between the two countries. It’s a fact that Trump has repeatedly and publicly praised Putin’s authoritarian leadership style. It’s a fact that Trump’s political operation weakened the Republican Party’s platform in ways that made Moscow happy. It’s a fact that three weeks before the 2016 presidential election, Trump complained that Hillary Clinton was being too “tough” on Putin. It’s a fact that Trump welcomed Russian officials in the Oval Office, at Putin’s request, and during the chat, the American president shared highly sensitive, classified information with his Russian guests in exchange for nothing. It’s also a fact that Barack Obama, after the 2016 election, imposed tough sanctions on Russia – sanctions that Trump’s incoming White House national security advisor told Russian officials not to worry about. (Trump’s aide later lied to the FBI about the conversations.) So, when Trump says he’s “been much tougher on Russia than Obama,” we’re left with two possibilities: (1) Trump is lying; or (2) Trump is confused about the meaning of “tough"."

Mitt Romney said he wouldn’t accept an endorsement from Trump. Monday night, he did.
"Observers online were quick to point out that Romney’s thanks and endorsement acceptance is quite a turnaround, given that he was a prominent anti-Trump voice in the 2016 election. Romney conjectured that Trump was hiding a “bombshell of unusual size” in his tax returns and called him a “phony” and a “fraud"."

Americans Google Alex Van Der Zwaan As Robert Mueller Issues New Charges

Mueller Corners Trump

Mueller Corners Trump:

"Trump and his family relied on massive bailouts of his failing business enterprises from Russian oligarchs close to the Kremlin. When he became a presidential candidate, the Russians treated him as an asset—a useful idiot, as Stalinists used to put it. And when the campaign finalists turned out to be Trump versus the hard-line Clinton, the Russians sought to destroy her and elect Trump. Trump, meanwhile, became the most pro-Russia president in U.S. history, refusing to breathe a word of criticism of Putin, behaving like the head of a client state. This much of the story is hidden in plain view. The details—Russian financing of Trump’s businesses, more campaign contacts—will be spelled out in further indictments. They will almost surely include members of Trump’s family. Mueller’s final report will look very much like a bill of impeachment. What’s astonishing is that this detailed report on Russian manipulation of a U.S. presidential election had to come from a special counsel. Under a normal administration, evidence of a foreign power meddling in a U.S. election would have prompted a presidential order for a full investigation, and retaliation. Instead, Trump mocked the whole idea and used his influence to block such inquiries by House and Senate panels, as well as resisting retaliation. Rather than looking deeply into Russian interference, the president redefined election integrity. He created a commission headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state best known for voter suppression, to investigate alleged voter fraud by immigrants and others not qualified to vote had helped Clinton win the national popular vote. This red herring was so preposterous that the commission collapsed of its own weight."

Why Republicans and the US mainstream keep going in opposite directions
"The public urged Republicans not to take away health care coverage from millions of Americans, and yet, GOP policymakers fought tooth and nail to do exactly that. The public then urged Republicans not to cut taxes for the wealthy and big corporations, only to have GOP policymakers again do the opposite. The same is true when it comes to policies the American mainstream actually likes. The public wants new measures, such as expanded background checks, to prevent gun violence. The public also wants protections for Dreamers. Republicans who control the levers of power don’t want either of these things, and so these goals are likely to go unmet. The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell makes the case today that it’s important to identify the nature of the problem with specificity. Dysfunctional Washington refuses to work out its differences to solve problems that matter to Americans. So say pundits and policy activists, perhaps hoping that diffuse criticism, rather than finger-pointing, will yield a government willing to govern. But the problem isn’t “Washington.” It isn’t “Congress,” either. The problem is elected officials from a single political party: the GOP. That seems more than fair. The next question is why Republican politicians, who ostensibly have to worry about the will of the electorate, are going in one direction while the American mainstream goes in another."

Donald Trump Words On Gun Tragedy Ring Hollow Given Past Legislation

The sophistication of Putin's trolls. And the Trump supporters who are fine with being duped
"the fact is, people like this were primed to believe falsehoods and to hate long before the Russians came along, by the Republican Party and the right-wing noise machine. The Russians are just taking advantage, to destroy America, and democracy."

Trump helps put the spotlight back on his women accusers
"During the 2016 presidential campaign, a recording emerged of Donald Trump bragging years earlier about committing sexual assaults. The Republican said, among other things, that he kisses women he considers attractive – “I don’t even wait,” Trump claimed at the time – which he said he can get away with because of his public profile. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said on the recording. “You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p—y.” When the Republican denied ever having done what he’d bragged about doing, 19 women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Trump dismissed his accusers as liars and vowed to sue them. While he never followed through, one of the women is now suing Trump."

Trump vs. The World: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

America Is Under Attack and the President Doesn't Care
"The Russian attack in 2016 worked, yielding dividends beyond Vladimir Putin’s wildest hopes. The Russians hoped to cast a shadow over the Clinton presidency. Instead, they outright elected their preferred candidate. Americans once thought it was a big deal that Alger Hiss rose to serve as acting temporary secretary general of the United Nations. This time, a Russian-backed individual was installed in the Oval Office. From that position of power, Trump has systematically attempted to shut down investigations of the foreign-espionage operation that operated on his behalf. He fired the director of the FBI to shut it down. His White House coordinated with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to misdirect the investigation. He mobilized the speaker of the House to thwart bipartisan investigations under broadly respected leadership. He has inspired, supported, and joined a national propaganda campaign against the Mueller investigation. And all the while, Trump has done nothing—literally nothing—to harden the nation’s voting systems against follow-on Russian operations. On Sunday, he publicly repudiated his own national-security adviser for acknowledging at the Munich Security Conference the most incontrovertible basics of what happened in 2016. It’s worth thinking about what a patriotic president would have done in Trump’s situation."

It’s Clear: Donald Trump Welcomes Russia’s Subversion of Our Democracy
"Trump still promotes divisive anti-American propaganda messaging from the Kremlin, and continues to cover for Putin by misleading Americans about Russian interference. He has also worked to undermine new sanctions on Putin and his co-conspirators, months after begrudgingly signing them into law. If the past two years have taught us anything about Trump, it’s that the conventions of our Republic are of little value to him and quickly discarded when they impede his pursuit of power and wealth. Regardless, they remain critical to our freedom and we must be united in defending them."

Let's Get Petty with Donald Trump's Bald Spot

Hair Stylists React to Trump’s Hair Flapping in the Wind

EPA head’s woes just keep coming
"The cancellation comes after a series of scandals and controversies surrounding Pruitt and his agency. Last week, the Washington Post reported that Pruitt had spent nearly $100,000 on first class and business travel last June, days after the White House withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement and all in his official capacity working for the federal government. That amount, obtained through months of receipts by the Environmental Integrity Project under the Freedom of Information Act, includes a $1641.43 first class seat from New York City to Washington, D.C. — a ticket six times more expensive than the seats purchased for two media aides who accompanied Pruitt. The New York Times reported on Sunday that Pruitt spent more than $107,000 on first class airfare and charted flights during the first six months of his tenure alone. That amount includes a $14,434 ticket for a charted EPA staff domestic flight, in addition to a Morocco trip to promote natural gas exports, something the EPA is not tasked with overseeing."

Donald Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity
"One woman’s account of clandestine meetings, financial transactions, and legal pacts designed to hide an extramarital affair."

After indictments, Trump lashes out wildly (but not at Russia)
"The avalanche of bizarre tweets included all kinds of easily discredited falsehoods. What they did not include was (1) any acknowledgement of the fact that Russian operatives took steps to elect him; (2) any concern about the foreign attack on the United States; (3) any evidence that Russia should expect consequences for its crimes; or (4) any assurances that Trump intends to prevent similar attacks in the future. Indeed, the indictments came just a couple of days after the leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies told Congress that they fully expect Russia to try the same tactics again in 2018 and 2020 – though Trump hasn’t specifically directed them to mobilize in preparation for this likelihood. When it comes to congressional Democrats, American news organizations, Barack Obama, the FBI, Oprah, and federal scrutiny of the scandal, we see Donald Trump’s fury. When it comes to our Russian attackers, we see Donald Trump’s passivity. Confronted with powerful evidence of a foreign adversary launching a years-long intelligence operation to undermine our political system, the American president seems oddly detached, indifferent to the intervention, aside from petty efforts to spin the story as some kind of personal validation."

Trump Has Exposed Decades Of Republican Lies In The Past Month

Trump budget would undo gains from conservation programs on farms and ranches

Trump budget would undo gains from conservation programs on farms and ranches:

"These programs affect about 50 million acres of land nationwide. They conserve millions of acres of wildlife habitat and provide ecological services such as improved water quality, erosion control and enhanced soil health that are worth billions of dollars."

Kentucky lawmaker borrows analogy from Koch-funded group to gain support for anti-solar bill
"A Kentucky state lawmaker borrowed from a Koch-funded group’s playbook in a recent speech arguing against renewable energy. Delivering a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives last week Kentucky Rep. Jim Gooch (R) hoped to garner support for legislation, backed by the state’s large electric utility monopolies, that would drastically slow growth in the state’s fledgling rooftop solar sector. In the speech, Gooch, who introduced the legislation in late January, used an unusual analogy that he borrowed from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing group described as a “corporate bill mill” by its critics. The Koch-funded ALEC drafts model legislation that is primarily aimed at maximizing corporate profits and abridging the rights and freedom of ordinary Americans."

Last February, Trump signed a bill making it easier for people with mental illness to buy guns
"It did not attract a ton of attention at the time (nothing does these days) but about a year ago on February 28, 2017, Congress passed and Donald Trump signed a law revoking an Obama-era regulatory initiative that made it harder for people with mental illness to buy a gun."

As Deadly Flu Sweeps Country, Koch-Backed Group Fights Paid Sick Leave Policies Nationwide

After Parkland shooting, far-right media immediately starts pushing fake news
"This isn’t the first time that the Gateway Pundit has pushed fake, unsubstantiated rumors after a deadly shooting."

Exposing Our 'Populist' President as a Naked Plutocrat

Exposing Our 'Populist' President as a Naked Plutocrat:

"Even before he was sworn in last year, President Trump stripped off the populist garments he wore during his campaign and publicly bared his naked plutocratic essence by naming bankster Gary Cohn to be his top economic advisor. Wait... didn't candidate Trump promise working-class voters that he'd be Wall Street's worst nightmare, cracking down hard on greedy financial thieves whose scams and schemes are wrecking the middle class? Yes, but that was then. Now, President Trump has become Wall Street's wet dream. Cohn is one of five top economic officials our fake populist president brought into his government from just one of Wall Street's most abusive banks, Goldman Sachs. How many officials did he add to bring such legitimate voices as consumers, workers, and poor people to his policy making table? Zero. So, since if we don't have a seat at the table, we're on the menu! Sure enough, Trump and his crew of voracious corporate plutocrats are gorging themselves on new rules that further enrich America's already-rich elites at our expense. For example, they're reducing penalties for Wall Street fraud and gouging; eliminating the requirement that firms advising us on where to invest our savings have to act in our best interests, rather than their own; loosening the few protections we have against predatory lenders; raising the number of temporary, low-wage foreign workers that corporations can bring in to take our jobs; scrapping a rule requiring corporate giants to report their unequal pay to women; opening up Social Security to cuts and privatization; limiting fines on nursing home negligence that harm or even kill residents; eliminating funds for low-income heating and programs to protect kids from lead paint; repealing fracking rules that protect water and air quality; allowing for-profit, private colleges to gouge students; ending funding that provides legal services for poor people; and raising entrance fees at our national parks."

'The Swamp' scored big time as businesses jockeyed to cash in on Trump's tax giveaway
"The nonprofit group Public Citizen found that upward of 5,000 lobbyists swarmed the Capitol to make sure their clients profited from the GOP’s tax rewrite. Unfortunately, any American taxpayer who isn’t a millionaire or billionaire didn't have much leverage as Republicans picked the winners and losers of their tax overhaul. So most American taxpayers came out losers in that negotiation. But not corporate America or the top 1 percent—they did just peachy."

WATCH: Parkland High School Shooting Survivor Emma Gonzalez’s Powerful Speech Demanding Gun Control

Donald Trump, Fox News, and the logic of alternative facts
"This is the logic of alternative facts, which is a strategy of base mobilization rather than persuasion. You don’t need to win the argument. You don’t need to even have the facts. All you need is to offer your side an alternative story in which to believe, a story that makes you sound trustworthy and your enemies untrustworthy. And over the past week, Fox News and Donald Trump have done exactly that."

Trump ‘rarely if ever’ reads his daily intelligence briefing
"Intelligence professionals have gone to great lengths to accommodate the president’s toddler-like attention span, preparing reports “with lots of graphics and maps.” National Security Council officials have even learned that Trump is likely to stop reading important materials unless he sees his name, so they include his name in “as many paragraphs” as possible. It’s against this backdrop that the Washington Post had this remarkable report this morning: For much of the past year, President Trump has declined to participate in a practice followed by the past seven of his predecessors: He rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world. Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings. Sometimes, a report can be both important and not surprising in the least. The article added that he made clear months ago that he’s “not interested in reviewing a personal copy of the written intelligence report known as the PDB, a highly classified summary prepared before dawn to provide the president with the best update on the world’s events.” The president’s reluctance to read the intelligence materials, the article went on to say, “could hamper his ability to respond to crises in the most effective manner, intelligence experts warned.” Well, yes, that makes sense. The trouble is, Trump has a lot of cable news to watch and golf to play, so we’ll all have to adjust our expectations accordingly."

Tea Party Leader and Trump Campaign Chairman Pleads Guilty to Prostituting Kids, plus Other Crimes
"FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2018) – Today, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced that former Campbell County District Judge Timothy Nolan has pleaded guilty to numerous felony charges, including human trafficking of adults, promoting human trafficking of minors and unlawful transaction with minors. As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors from Beshear’s Special Prosecutions Division, Nolan pleaded guilty to 21 counts against 19 victims and prosecutors’ recommended sentences totaling 20 years in prison. Nolan will remain in custody at the Campbell County Detention Center pending his sentencing March 29, 2018, at 9 a.m. Nolan, 71, of California, Ky., a former local school board member, was originally charged in a criminal complaint by the Campbell County Police Department for crimes that occurred between 2010 and 2017. That complaint alleged that Nolan committed human trafficking with a minor by subjecting a child under age 18 to engaging in commercial sexual activity. He was later indicted on 28 felony counts and two misdemeanor counts."

School Shooting Survivors Rally For Gun Control

The Republicans Have Made an Art of Shrinking Democracy, Gerrymandering a Case in Point

The Republicans Have Made an Art of Shrinking Democracy, Gerrymandering a Case in Point:

"Republican legislators have vigorously and successfully used underhanded tactics to gain majorities in statehouses and Congress, even when the majority of statewide votes are Democratic. Although the GOP employs many strategies to suppress non-white voting, its most successful tool has been gerrymandering. After the national Census, state legislatures are responsible for carving up state legislative and congressional districts. In 2010, the cast was set, according to a revealing article in Salon about the way in which Republicans worked to ensure a majority in most statehouses and in Congress: It [the redistricting strategy] proved more effective than any Republican dared dream. Republicans held the U.S. House in 2012, despite earning 1.4 million fewer votes than Democratic congressional candidates, and won large GOP majorities in the Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina state legislatures even when more voters backed Democrats. By diluting the Democratic vote in several districts, while drawing the district lines to include more Republicans, an artificial majority can be created that mocks democracy."

The Growing Danger of Ecosystem Collapse and Trump's War on Nature
"At the very moment of frightening decline of planetary ecosystems and accelerating climate change, Trump, his regime and cohorts in Congress, have launched a scorched-earth campaign against the environment -- a war on nature. Trump and his ilk aren't like Nero fiddling as Rome burned; they're stoking the inferno with whole forests. They have purged climate change from government websites, while denying its existence. They've chastised scientists for raising the connections of last summer's hurricanes to warming oceans. Trump has ordered the Clean Power Plan scrapped, is moving to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement and has called for drastic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget, especially targeting programs to deal with climate change. This administration loves fossil fuels and hates renewable energy so much it announced a plan on February 1 to cut research on renewables 72 percent. The EPA and Interior Department have been turned into shameless instruments of environmental destruction. Scientists and officials in the EPA, the Interior Department and the National Park Service have been forced out, let go, blocked from advising or have resigned in protest. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last remaining truly pristine wilderness areas left on the planet, is now open for drilling, a provision snuck through in the Republican tax bill. Bears Ears and Grand-Escalante National Monuments -- with all their archaeological and cultural treasures, and particularly precious to Indigenous people -- have been gutted and eviscerated. Now Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Trump and Republicans in Congress have their sights set on more monuments and national lands to pry open for extractive interests. In January, the regime declared almost all US coastal regions open for drilling. There is no regulation to protect land, water, air, wildlife or people's health that these eco-destroyers are bound to respect."

If the Russians Got into Voting Machines, I Fear for the Republic
"We are inching ever closer to the revelation that the actual vote totals were hacked—some very smart people are already there, by the way—and, once that happens, I don’t know where we go from there. The Republican Party already has shown it will tolerate all manner of jacking around with the franchise in pursuit of power and its benefits for the Republican donor class."

Welcome To Trump's Toll Road America!

Retired major general torches 'wannabe banana republic strongman' Trump for military parade plan
"Major General (Ret) Paul Eton lit into Trump. Donald Trump has continually shown himself to have authoritarian tendencies, and this is just another worrisome example. For someone who just declared that it was ‘treasonous’ to not applaud him, and for someone who has, in the past, admired the tactics of everyone from Saddam Hussein to Vladmir Putin, it is clear that a military parade isn’t about saluting the military—it is about making a display of the military saluting him. The military is not Donald Trump’s to use and abuse this way. Our military is the very best in the world—they are not to be reduced to stagecraft to prop up Donald Trump’s image. Any commander in chief who respects the traditions of the military would understand that. Unfortunately, we do not have a commander in chief, right now, as much as we have a wannabe banana republic strongman."