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Thursday December 21, 2017

Trump taunts Democrats as he touts tax reform win
Politico | Louis Nelson | 12/21/17

President Donald Trump predicted Thursday that the package of tax cuts passed Wednesday by Congress "will soon be kicking in and will speak for themselves," proving wrong Democrats who he said "hate these big cuts" and the media, who he said "is desperate to write badly" about the White House-backed legislation.

"The Massive Tax Cuts, which the Fake News Media is desperate to write badly about so as to please their Democrat bosses, will soon be kicking in and will speak for themselves," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Companies are already making big payments to workers. Dems want to raise taxes, hate these big Cuts!"

The bill, which the president is expected to sign, is the first major legislative victory for Trump and the culmination of a career-long goal for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), long a tax policy wonk who once served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Wrapped up in the legislation were other GOP priorities, including a repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and opening Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for oil drilling. ... Read more

Ryan: 'Nobody Knows' If Massive Tax Cuts Will Pay For Themselves
TPM | Matt Shuham | 12/20/17

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Wednesday that "nobody knows" if Republicans' tax bill, which would overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthy while adding more than $1.4 trillion to the deficit, would pay for itself.

"Are you saying that the growth you're going to get from this tax cut will equal the amount it would cost on the deficit side, so that it's a wash?" Savannah Guthrie asked Ryan in an interview Wednesday.

"Nobody knows the answer to that question, because that's in the future," Ryan said. "But what we do know is that this will increase economic growth." Read more

*How Trump makes extreme things look normal | Vox | 12/21/17 | 7:24
*How tax breaks help the rich | Vox | 10/09/17 | 8:46

Paul Ryan gets a big win with a massively unpopular bill: Now it gets worse
Salon | Sophia Tesfaye | 12/20/17

As promised, only days before Christmas, Republicans are poised to fulfill the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years. But instead of running a slow victory lap into the 2018 midterm elections, Republican ideologues in Congress -- led by House Speaker Paul Ryan -- appear determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the name of discredited supply-side dogma.

Even though the postcard-size tax return that President Trump promised every American won't be coming anytime soon, Republicans are delivering on three major orthodoxies with a singular bill. In addition to a dramatic slashing of the corporate tax rate, the Republican tax bill does away with the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. Short of stacking the Supreme Court with eight other justices in the mold of Clarence Thomas, no single act of Congress could succinctly meet such a wide-array of long-term Republican goals. ... Read more

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Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, December 21 [13:56]
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, December 21 (FULL) | 59:02
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  1. Headlines
  2. DACA Recipients' Message to Democrats: Stop Playing with Our Lives, and Pass a Clean DREAM Act Now
  3. Jailhouse Interview: Denied Asylum, Mexican Reporter Emilio Gutiérrez Faces Death If ICE Deports Him
  4. ACLU Investigation Reveals Texas Troopers Are Turning Traffic Stops of Immigrants into Deportations
* Bill Black -> Trump, GOP Pull Off Their Tax Heist | TRNN | 12/20/17 | 14:25
Trump's 'America First' Muscle Flexing is Actually a Defensive Strategy | TRNN | 12/20/17 | 23:29
Paul Ryan's Stunning Tax Cut Admission | TYT | 12/20/17 | 11:04
Lying Ted Is At It Again | TYT | 12/20/17 | 5:13
1A Movie Club Sees "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" | 1a.org | 11/21/17 | 1hr
Judging by reviews and ticket sales, the new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi is a hit as red hot as the planet Mustafar. But some fan reactions have been colder than Hoth.

The negative reactions range from frustration with the movie's alleged politics, its deviation from past Star Wars formulas and its treatment of various fan-favorite characters. (Here's a spoiler-filled rundown from Vox).

Joe On GOP Investigating DOJ & FBI: This Is The Guy Questioning The FBI? | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/21/17 | 13:15
The Truth Behind President Donald Trump's Obamacare Repeal Claim | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/21/17 | 3:43
Leaders Heap Praise On President Donald Trump: 'It's So Autocratic' | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/21/17 | 11:06
Stephen Colbert
Today's Future Now - Crime-Fighting Technology | Srephen Colbert | 12/21/17 | 4:36
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Republicans Pass Their Tax Plan: A Closer Look | Seth Meyerd | 12/20/17 | 8:23

Wednesday December 20, 2017

Democrats Express Outrage As GOP Tax Cuts Inch Closer To Completion
HP | Rebecca Shapiro | 12/20/17

Democrats were quick to react after the Senate voted along party lines to pass a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code. The unpopular piece of legislation overwhelmingly favors big business and the wealthiest of Americans and adds a whopping $1.4 trillion to the national debt.

Ahead of the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the Tax Cut and Reform Bill "a disgrace" on the Senate floor. He then blasted the GOP in a tweet and accused Republicans of favoring the wealthy.

"The bill that the Republicans jammed through the Senate tonight isn't tax reform," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said. "It's a heist. Let's call this out for what it is: Government for sale." ... Read more

Someone Dubbed Trump's Horrible Speeches Over His Animatronic, And It's Terrifying
Here's animatronic Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women on the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape | HP | 12/18/17 | 0:23

The "backlash" against Star Wars: The Last Jedi, explained
Vox | Todd VanDerWerff | 12/19/17/span>

A divide between movie audiences and critics happens all the time -- especially with blockbusters.

Consider the recent case of Justice League, which brought together a bunch of big-name superheroes, to the delight of 79 percent of those who saw it and bothered to register their opinion on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics, however, only liked the film to the tune of a 40 percent score -- a 39-point gap. There's also 2016's Suicide Squad, with a 26 percent score from critics and a 61 percent score from audiences, for a 35-point gap.

These gaps are normal. If you've bought a ticket for a movie -- as opposed to having seen it at a free critics screening -- you're far more likely to have self-selected as a fan already, and thus, you're far more likely to be into the movie. (If you were to make the argument that Rotten Tomatoes is a deeply flawed system at best and actively harmful to the future of criticism at worst, well, I wouldn't stop you.) ... Read more

Jeff Sessions Reportedly Revives Probe Of Uranium One Deal
HP | Alana Horowitz Satlin | 12/21/17

The Justice Department is reviving an inquiry into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the government's controversial approval of the Uranium One deal, NBC News reported on Thursday.

A now-dormant FBI investigation into whether Clinton had ties to the deal has not found evidence of wrongdoing. But NBC, citing "multiple law enforcement officials," reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has in recent weeks directed Justice Department prosecutors to ask FBI agents to explain evidence uncovered in the probe.

Uranium One, a Canadian mining company with major U.S. holdings, was sold in 2010 to a Russian firm. Before the sale could go through, it needed approval from nine U.S. agencies, including the State Department. Because some of the people who stood to benefit from the sale were Clinton Foundation donors, conservative media and other critics of the 2016 presidential nominee have alleged a quid-pro-quo, even though the State Department said it didn't have the power to green-light or veto the deal and Clinton herself was not involved in the approval process. Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, December 20 [13:22]
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Wednesday, December 20 (FULL) | 59:02
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  1. Headlines
  2. Broadcast Exclusive: Jill Stein Says Senate Request for Docs on Russia Probe is "New McCarthyism"
  3. "The Rape of Recy Taylor": How Rosa Parks Helped a Sharecropper Report Her Assault & Seek Justice
Trump Promised To End Hedge Fund Handout (He's Increasing It) | TYT | 12/19/17 | 7:45
Republican DESTROYS Trump Nominee | TYT | 12/19/17 | 8:44
Navy Jets Intercept UFO | TYT | 12/19/17 | 13:07
Facebook knows it can be bad for you. Really. | 1a.org | 12/20/17 | 1hr
Facebook knows it can be bad for you. Really. In a blog post last week, researchers at the social network summed up the research on how using Facebook can affect your mood.

"In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information -- reading but not interacting with people -- they report feeling worse afterward," they write.

The post promises that the company will work to make sure they provide good feelings, rather than bad.

Meanwhile, Twitter has answered users' calls to start banning Nazis and other hate groups from the site. This includes accounts affiliated with controversial videos President Trump retweeted this month.

*GOP Tax Bill Set To Make Rich Richer At Everyone Else's Expense | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC | 12/19/17 | 15:10
*Wealth Inequality in America [6:25]
Joe: Wrong Tax Cut, Wrong Time For Wrong People | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/20/17 | 18:19
White House Takes Credit For Market Rally, But Numbers Tell Different Tale | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/20/17 | 5:08
How Is The White House Picking Judicial Nominees? | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC | 12/20/17 | 6:17
Hayden: Trump Jr. is appealing to heart of autocracy | CNN | 12/20/17 | 7:46
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
*Can Liberals Survive the Apocalypse? | Trevor Noah | 12/20/17 | 5:57
Late Night with Seth Meyers
The GOP's Tax Bill, the Pentagon's Secret UFO Program | Trevor Noah | 12/20/17 | 2:26
The GOP's Tax Bill, the Pentagon's Secret UFO Program | Trevor Noah | 12/20/17 | 2:26

12.21.2017. 13:03

Tuesday December 19, 2017

The real reason Trump allies are attacking Mueller
Politico | Darren Samuelsohn | 12/19/17

Sowing public doubt about the special counsel's Russia investigation can give the president cover for pardons, even if the investigation is allowed to proceed.

In the last week, investigators on Mueller's team have been publicly accused of being biased against Trump and of violating criminal procedure to get documents related to his transition. The purpose of the onslaught, according to people close to the White House, isn't to encourage the president to oust the special counsel, a move that could precipitate a crisis in the Justice Department and potentially a move to impeach Trump.

Rather, these people said, the goal is to sow public doubt about Mueller and his prosecutors in advance of upcoming criminal trials -- and to give the president political cover if he wants to start issuing pardons to any current or former aides swept up in the Russia scandal. ... Read more

60% of Americans support net neutrality, yet the FCC is hell-bent on dismantling the free and open internet. 84% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans support the DREAM Act, but Republicans are refusing to pass the DREAM Act. Over 90% of Democrats and about 80% of Republicans want to maintain or increase funding for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, but Bernie's amendment to the Republican tax bill to ensure no cuts to these programs was voted down.

Demoralized I.R.S. Faces Monumental Task With New Bill
NYT | Patricia Cohen | 12/19/17

The agency, upbraided for years by the Republicans, must now interpret the new bill. It has been struggling with a budget cut of nearly $1 billion since 2010, and a 23-percent reduction in personnel. ... Read more

Trump, upset about Gorsuch's criticism of his attacks on judges, talked of rescinding nomination
WashingtonPost | Ashley Parker | 12/19/17

President Trump has boasted that appointing Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court ranks high among his signature achievements. But he vented angrily to advisers earlier this year when Gorsuch called Trump's repeated attacks on the federal judiciary "disheartening" and "demoralizing," according to people with knowledge of the discussions. ... Read more

How much of a threat are Russia and China to the US?l | Aljazeera: Inside Story | 12/19/17 | 25:10

Author Brian Klaas: Is Trump an "aspiring despot" or a "bumbling showman"? Yes!
Salon | Chauncey Devega | 12/19/17

Author of "The Despot's Apprentice" on the "long-term corrosion of democracy" that won't end when Trump is gone

The presidency of Donald Trump has forced the American people to confront questions most of us had never before considered possible. What happens when a president has no respect for the Constitution and the country's democratic institutions and traditions? When a president and his allies consider themselves above the law, what is to be done? If a president creates his own version of reality by behaving like a political cult leader, what forms of resistance are effective -- or even possible? Is the president of the United States a fascist and demagogue who may be under the influence of the country's enemies?

Too many Americans believed their country to be exceptional and unique. This blinded them to the threat to democracy embodied by Donald Trump -- as well as other members of the extreme right-wing -- until it was too late to stop him from stealing control. Moreover, the rise of Trump's authoritarian movement (dishonestly operating under the mask of "populism") has both empowered and revealed the tens of millions of Americans who have authoritarian or fascist leanings. The threat to American democracy is deep; it will take a long time to purge this civic sickness and political disease from the body politic.

In an effort to understand the true dimensions of Trump's rise to power as a direct threat to American democracy, I recently spoke with Brian Klaas. He is a fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics. In addition to writing columns and essays that have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs and numerous other publications, Klaas is the author of several books. His latest, published in November, is "The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy." ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Tuesday, December 19 [11:02]
"CorkerKickback?": Sen. Supports Tax Bill After Last-Minute Provision Would Personally Enrich Him | DN | 12/18/17 | 10:12
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Tuesday, December 19 (FULL) | 59:02
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  1. Headlines
  2. Puerto Rico Orders Recount of Hurricane Maria Death Toll After Investigation Suggests 1,000+ Died
  3. U.N. Special Rapporteur Says Tax Bill Will Make the U.S. "World Champion of Extreme Inequality"
  4. CDC Bars Words Like "Transgender" & "Science-Based" as "Ideology Is Being Elevated Above Evidence"
Corker's Tax Vote: Coincidence or Kickback? | TRNN | 12/19/17 | 7:28
The REAL Reason This CORRUPT Senator Flip-Flopped On Trump's Tax Cut Bill | TYT | 12/18/17 | 12:24
What's #CorkerKickback About? | TYT | 12/18/17 | 10:10
WEAK, COWARDLY, PATHETIC Democrats Surrender To GOP | TYT | 12/18/17 | 17:58
President's National Security Strategy Touts Protection, Prosperity, Peace And Power | 1a.org | 12/19/17 | 1hr
America First? Or America alone? President Trump's newly outlined national security agenda could greatly alter the nation's international relationships. It's a not quite a new Cold War, but it sure sounds like one.

The president's new national security strategy takes a hard line against China and Russia. And it calls out a consensus that promotes U.S. engagement with its fiercest rivals.
Inside America's Chemical Arms Race | 1a.org | 12/19/17 | 1hr
The story of the Manhattan Project is often told as a modern miracle: Facing difficult odds in World War II, the United States gathers its top minds and produces a weapon that can end the war, but only at the cost of thousands of lives and a permanently changed world order. The scientific success and efficiency is matched only by the conflicted morality behind the achievement. But the Manhattan Project wasn't the first time the U.S. did something like this.

In World War I, the U.S. raced to catch up with Germany in the development of chemical weapons. And much of the development and testing of these weapons was done in the nation's capital.

GOP Rep. Kevin Brady: Most In US Not Thinking Of Carried Interest | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/19/17 | 15:17
Meet Three Of President Donald Trump's Judicial Picks Who Have Withdrawn | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC | 12/19/17 | 7:48
Blitzer presses Trump adviser: Has he read security document? | CNN | 12/18/17 | 14:21
Trump challenges China, Russia during national security speech | FoxNews | 12/18/17 | 6:10
Pentagon Confirms They've Been Investigating UFOs, Releases Video | All In | MSNBC | 12/19/17 | 2:32
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
The (Failed) Effort To Make Trump A 'Standard President' | Stephen Colbert | 12/16/17 | 5:19
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
The Politics of Branding, Meeting Obama & Trump's First Year | Trevor Noah | 12/18/17 | 6:09
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Trump's FBI Speech, the GOP Tax Plan and Bob Corker | Seth Meyers | 12/18/17 | 11:53

12.19.2017. 13:33

Monday December 18, 2017

The Republican Tax Bill Provides Huge Benefits to People Who Don't Work. But Only if They're Rich.
MotherJones | Noah Lanard | date

After passing their tax bill, Republicans plan to impose work requirements on safety net programs.

The Senate tax bill gives business owners nearly three times more benefits than workers with wages and salaries, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Adam Looney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times that if the bill becomes law it would be the first time that "wage earners were substantially penalized" by the tax code.

The diverging treatment comes from how the tax bill treats the 95 percent of businesses that are structured so that profits are taxed as individual income. Republicans portray these businesses, which are known as "pass-throughs," as "ma and pa bakeries and family-owned salons." In reality, most pass-through income goes to people in the top 1 percent -- including the Trump family.

The House tax bill cuts the top income tax rate for pass-throughs from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, which would cost taxpayers nearly $600 billion over 10 years. About 86 percent of small business owners would not benefit because all of their income is already in the 25 percent tax bracket or lower. Republicans' much-touted ma and pa shops usually don't earn make enough to be in the top tax brackets, which kick in at $153,000 of taxable income for couples. ... Read more

'He Would Probably Be a Dictator by Now'
Politico | Susan B. Glasser | 12/18/17

Last year, Eliot Cohen rallied dozens of fellow veterans of Republican administrations, people like him who had served in the upper reaches of the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council, to warn against Donald Trump winning the White House. He would become, the group open letter Cohen organized said, "the most reckless president in American history."

A year later, Cohen, a top official in President George W. Bush's administration, and another charter #NeverTrump proselytizer, his fellow conservative Max Boot, hardly back down when asked whether their predictions of global gloom and doom had been proven right in the first year of the Trump presidency. Both men, lifelong Republicans and historically minded policy intellectuals, offered unequivocal yeses in a joint interview for this week's Global Politico podcast -- and castigated former friends inside the party they've both now renounced as "Vichy Republicans" for collaborating with a president they believe is not fit to hold office. ... Read more

Friction Rises Between Trump Lawyers and Mueller's Team
NYT | author | date

President Trump repeated on Sunday that he was not considering firing Robert S. Mueller III, even as tension escalated between the special counsel and the White House.

A lawyer for Mr. Trump said investigators improperly acquired emails, prompting a rare statement of defense from the special counsel. ... Read more

Donald Trump is convinced Robert Mueller will exonerate him personally: report
Salon | Matthew Rozsa | 12/18/17

There is a disconnect between reports of how President Donald Trump is privately feeling about Robert Mueller's probe and how his political allies are publicly attempting to discredit that investigation.

Trump has privately expressed confidence that Mueller will soon exonerate him completely from accusations that he colluded with Russian government officials in order to win the 2016 presidential election, according to CNN. Even though the president's cheery attitude could change after his private lawyers meet with Mueller later this week, for the time, being Trump seems convinced that his legal woes involving Russia will soon be over. ... Read more

Washington Sheriff: 'Multiple Fatalities' Reported, Exact Number Unknown | MSNBC | 12/18/17 | 1:57
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Monday, December 18 [9:57]
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Monday, December 18 (FULL) | 59:02
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  1. Headlines
  2. "All Eyes on U.S." as Honduran Election Panel Declares Incumbent President Hernández Election Winner
  3. "CorkerKickback?": Sen. Supports Tax Bill After Last-Minute Provision Would Personally Enrich Him
  4. Kali Akuno: Tax Bill is One of Greatest Transfers of Wealth from Working Class to Rich in History
  5. Net Neutrality Advocates on Next Steps After FCC Vote: "This Fight is Far from Over"
*How Right-Wing Sinclair Plans to Take Over Local TV | TRNN | 12/18/17 | 19:00
*Disney Buys Fox, Will Viewers Pay the Price? | TRNN | 12/18/17 | 7:26
*Trump's Popularity PLUMMETING | TYT | 12/17/17 | 6:13
Trump On Pardoning Flynn | TYT | 12/17/17 | 7:53
Media Mergers And What They Mean For You | 1a.org | 11/18/17 | 1hr
The Simpsons, Star Wars and Spider-Man could all be owned by the same company, if Disney's purchase of 21st Century Fox is approved. More local TV stations could soon be owned by one controversial company. And internet service providers could start changing how they treat streaming services and sites.

The media industry is changing fast, and the Federal Communication Commission's rollback of regulations has only accelerated the changes. Supporters say it's all in the interest of a better user experience. But consolidation and regulatory reforms raise serious questions over conflicts of interest and the integrity of the internet.

The Real-Life Dangers Of President Donald Trump's FBI Remarks | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/18/17 | 11:51
The Real-Life Dangers Of President Donald Trump's FBI Remarks | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/18/17 | 5:33
Steve Rattner: Final GOP Tax Plan Still Benefits Wealthy | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/18/17 | 8:10
Ex-diplomat slams Rex Tillerson in resignation letter | CNN | 12/15/17 | 11:12
Robert Mueller obtains Trump transition emails | CNN | 12/17/17 | 11:00
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
The (Failed) Effort To Make Trump A 'Standard President' | Stephen Colbert | 12/16/17 | 5:19
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Conservative Outrage Grows Over the Mueller Probe | Trevor Noah | 12/14/17 | 4:59

12.18.2017. 12:24

Friday December 15, 2017

How the loss of net neutrality could change the internet
Politico | Margaret Harding Mcgill | 12/14/17

Supporters of the repeal say it will free up internet providers to innovate, while opponents fear the online world will become more like cable TV.

The Federal Communications Commission's party-line vote Thursday to dump the Obama-era rules, which required internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally, opens the door for companies like Verizon and AT&T to experiment with new business models free from government regulation.

ISPs point to an array of possible pro-consumer outcomes like "family friendly" broadband packages that block content not suitable for children, or guaranteed fast speeds for health-related mobile applications. But net neutrality advocates paint an array of troubling scenarios -- from smaller websites like the crafts marketplace Etsy and streaming service Vimeo forced to pay tolls to reach consumers, to cable giants like Comcast blocking or slowing disfavored sites while giving priority to their own content. ... Read more
and/or theverge.com
Net Neutrality Officially Dead | TYT | 12/14/17 | 11:50
Try to Watch This Video And Not Cringe | TYT | 12/14/17 | 4:46

It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America by David Cay Johnston

Bestselling author and longtime Trump observer David Cay Johnston shines a light on the political termites who have infested our government under the Trump Administration, destroying it from within and compromising our jobs, safety, finances, and more.

No journalist knows Donald Trump better than David Cay Johnston, who has been following him since 1988. It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America goes inside the administration to show how the federal agencies that touch the lives of all Americans are being undermined. Here is just some of what you will learn:

The Wall. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told President Trump that Mexico will never pay for the border wall. So, Trump is proposing putting a tariff on Mexican imports. But a tariff will simply raise the price of Mexican goods in the US, meaning American consumers will end up paying for the wall -- if it ever gets built.

Climate Change. Welcome to the new EPA, run by Scott Pruitt, a lawyer who has spent much of his career trying to destroy the agency he now heads. Secrecy reigns at the new EPA because Pruitt meets with industry executives to find out which clean air and clean water provisions they most want to roll back, and keeps staffers in the dark to make sure these pro-pollution plans don't leak prematurely.

Stocking the Swamp. Contrary to his promise to "drain the swamp" in Washington, DC, Trump has filled his cabinet with millionaires and billionaires, from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs and hedge fund veteran who made much of his fortune foreclosing on homeowners to billionaire heiress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has already put the interests of bankers ahead of debt-burdened students and their families.

The Kleptocracy. Under Donald Trump conflict of interest is passé. When Trump isn't in Washington, he stays at one of his properties, where the taxpayers pick up the tab for staffers, Secret Service, and so on, all at full price. And back in Washington, everyone now knows that the Trump International Hotel is the only place to stay if you want to do business with the administration. Meanwhile sons Donald Jr. and Eric run an eyes-wide-open blind trust of Trump holdings to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest -- but not the reality.

Trump's Lies vs. Obama's
NYT | David Leonhardt | 12/14/17

After we published a list of President Trump's lies this summer, we heard a common response from his supporters. They said, in effect: Yes, but if you made a similar list for previous presidents, it would be just as bad.

We've set out to make that list. Here, you will find our attempt at a comprehensive catalog of the falsehoods that Barack Obama told while he was president. (We also discuss George W. Bush below, although the lack of real-time fact-checking during his presidency made a comprehensive list impossible.)

We applied the same conservative standard to Obama and Trump, counting only demonstrably and substantially false statements. The result: Trump is unlike any other modern president. He seems virtually indifferent to reality, often saying whatever helps him make the case he's trying to make. ... Read more
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I talked to people signing up for Obamacare. Here's what I learned
Salon | Myles Ma | 12/15/17

For the past few weeks, health care has been a regular interruption in my life as I've interviewed strangers about their health insurance for a series focused on people shopping the state and federal exchanges. I wanted to know how former President Barack Obama's polarizing health care law affects the people it's meant to insure in a year when the law's existence is more precarious than ever.

I looked online and in person for people to profile. Most exchange shoppers who were willing to go on the record were in favor of "Obamacare," though some ultimately couldn't find affordable coverage on its exchanges this year. Only one person is totally against the law. These profiles aren't a scientific cross-section of America. They're meant to be an up-close look. But some clear patterns emerge when you look at the law in action. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, December 15 [10:56]
Republicans Agree on Tax Bill "Of, By and For the Political Donor Class" with Tax Cuts for the Rich | DN | 12/14/17 | 12:03
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, December 15 (FULL) | 59:02
Note: on the full 59:02 video look for small white (or black) circles on the Progressbar they denote the different news stories. You can move the pointer on the Progressbar to jump to each story, and around the video.
  1. Headlines
  2. Medics, Observers & a Journalist Face 50 Years in Prison in First Trial of J20 Inauguration Protests
  3. The Growing Case for Impeaching Donald Trump, From Lawlessness and Corruption to Abuse of Power
  4. Psychiatrists "Deeply Concerned" by Trump's Instability Call for Urgent Mental Health Evaluation
World Bank and World's Third Largest Insurer Divest from Most Oil and Gas | TRNN | 12/15/17 | 12:00
Morgan Spurlock Confesses: "I'm Part Of The Problem" | TYT | 12/14/17 | 10:09
Friday News -- Domestic | 1a.org | 12/15/17 | 1hr
Roy Moore was set to ride all the way to Washington this week, but his horse only got him so far.

Also, pressure grows on special counsel Robert Mueller. And more women speak out about President Trump's past behavior, accusing him of sexual misconduct.

Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans are ready to roll out a massive tax overhaul bill, but already, there's some dissent in the ranks.
Friday News -- International | 1a.org | 12/15/17 | 1hr
The U.S. Secretary of State says he's open to negotiating with North Korea without preconditions.

"Let's just meet and let's -- we can talk about the weather if you want," Tillerson said on Tuesday in Washington. "We can talk about whether it's going to be a square table or a round table if that's what you're excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face? And then we can begin to lay out a map, a roadmap of what we might be willing to work towards."

The White House and Tillerson's own State Department quickly conflicted this offer of diplomacy. We'll talk about where negotiations with North Korea stand and why Tillerson and President Trump don't seem to be on the same page. Plus, the fallout over Trump's decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the next chapter of leadership in South Africa and what the merger between Disney and 21st Century Fox means on a global scale.

Weak President Trump Political Clout Further Eroded By Election Losses | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC | 12/15/17 | 11:50
NYT Writer Challenges President Donald Trump's List Of Untruths | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/15/17 | 8:46
Is Senator Lindsey Graham Right In His North Korea Talk? | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/15/17 | 9:26
Joe On Alabama Senate Race Outcome: Newtonian Physics Will Crush The GOP | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/15/17 | 8:05
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
R.I.P. The Internet | Stephen Colbert | 12/15/17 | 6:17
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Conservative Outrage Grows Over the Mueller Probe | Trevor Noah | 12/14/17 | 4:59
Late Night with Seth Meyers
FCC Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality; Omarosa Drama Continues | Seth Meyers | 12/14/17 | 8:20
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Jimmy Kimmel on Roy Moore Defeat | Jimmy Kimmel | 12/14/17 | 4:26

12.15.2017. 10:35

Thursday December 14, 2017

Democrats cool to Trump's infrastructure pitch
Politico | Lauren Gardner | 12/14/17

Officials likely have their work cut out for them in wooing Democrats after a year of partisan bickering over nominations, health care and taxes.

The White House is preparing to unveil its long-awaited $1 trillion infrastructure plan soon after President Donald Trump signs the GOP tax overhaul, hoping to begin 2018 with another big legislative win -- but its approach is already drawing resistance from Democrats who are in no mood to cooperate.

The plan set for release in January is expected to call for as much as $200 billion in federal spending over the next decade, with the rest coming from private investment, state or local funding and cuts to other federal programs. An administration official added new details this week, telling POLITICO that a wide variety of projects -- from bridges to broadband -- would have to compete for federal assistance, while showing they're prepared to put their own money on the table. ... Read more

Will Trump's lows ever hit rock bottom?
USA Today | author | 12/13/17

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president's smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her "wherever," he didn't mean her nose.

And as is the case with all of Trump's digital provocations, the president's words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment. ... Read more
USA Today's Epic Takedown Of Donald Trump | TYT | 12/13/17 | 9:31

When Will Paul Ryan Step Down?
HP | Matt Fuller | 12/13/17

As Republicans finish their long-sought rewrite of the tax code, some lawmakers are beginning to wonder just how much longer Rep. Paul Ryan intends to remain speaker.

The Wisconsin Republican has made no indication he's quitting any time soon, but the possibility that Ryan finishes the tax bill and decides he no longer wants to continue in Congress has begun to loom over internal Republican conversations. Read more

Legionnaires' Disease Is Rising At An Alarming Rate In The U.S.
HP | Lauren Weber | 12/14/17

While the waterborne bacterial disease is relatively rare -- with 6,238 cases nationwide so far this year -- there has been a 13.6 percent increase in cases since this time last year. That's nearly double the increase of 7.8 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the same time period. The disease is not contagious. It's contracted when people breathe in water droplets contaminated with Legionella pneumophilia bacteria.

"A person acquires Legionnaires' disease from mist,"Julien Martinez, assistant press secretary at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told HuffPost in October. "Most cases of Legionnaires' disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems." ... Read more

Following molestation allegations, Kentucky lawmaker dies in apparent suicide
Politico | Akela Lacy | 12/13/17

... "There's a whole lot of rumors and speculation that the speaker may step aside," one GOP member told HuffPost this week, a sentiment that was expressed by a number of Republicans who, perhaps tellingly, wouldn't go on the record to speak about Ryan's future.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting on Monday released a seven-months-long investigation outlining claims by Maranda Richmond that Johnson assaulted her in the basement of his home. ... Read more

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, December 14 [10:12]
Republicans Agree on Tax Bill "Of, By and For the Political Donor Class" with Tax Cuts for the Rich | DN | 12/14/17 | 12:03
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, December 14 (FULL) | 59:02
Note: on the full 59:02 video look for small white (or black) circles on the Progressbar they denote the different news stories. You can move the pointer on the Progressbar to jump to each story, and around the video.
  1. Headlines
  2. Republicans Agree on Tax Bill "Of, By and For the Political Donor Class" with Tax Cuts for the Rich
  3. Meet Jessica Leeds, Who Recalls Being Groped by Trump & Is Calling for Congress to Investigate
  4. U.S. Support "Vital" to Saudi Bombing of Yemen, Targeting Food Supplies as Millions Face Famine
Peter Kuznick says -> Undoing the New Deal: Truman Embraces the Cold War, Part 4 | TRNN | 12/14/17 | 24:18
Five Years After Sandy Hook, Are Schools Safer? | 1a.org | 11/14/17 | 1hr
It seemed like a moment when everything would change. Twenty children and six adults were shot and killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

There was sadness. There was anger. There were questions. How could this happen, and what would be done to stop anything like it from ever happening again?

President Obama took executive action, Congress didn't take action and National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."
Massive Media Merger Matches Mickey Mouse To Murdochs | 1a.org | 11/14/17 | 1hr
"Mouse Eats Fox" the Variety headline says, announcing a $52.4 billion deal for Disney to acquire most of 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company owned by Rupert Murdoch.

The deal needs regulatory approval, but would give Disney "Fox's 22 regional sports channels, cable entertainment brands FX and National Geographic, and Fox's portfolio of international operations, including a fast-growing pay-TV service in India," the Los Angeles Times reports.
An 'Accidental President,' Then And Now | 1a.org | 11/14/17 | 1hr
A relative political unknown becomes President of the United States and the world reacts with trepidation. It happened in 2017 ... and in 1945 when Harry Truman took office.

Truman's unexpected rise to the position of commander-in-chief has a lot of similarities with Donald Trump's ascension to power. And there are many lessons to take away from the Truman administration that can help us understand Trump's approaches to conflict and leadership, says A.J. Baime, author of "The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World."

Baime joins us with a historical look at America under President Truman and a message about whether President Trump is in over his head.

Remembering Sandy Hook Five Years Later | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/14/17 | 7:53
Omarosa Manigault Newman Says She Resigned From White House Position | Morning Joe | MSNBC | 12/14/17 | 4:56
President Donald Trump Reportedly Blaming Steve Bannon For Roy Moore's Loss | The 11th Hour | MSNBC | 12/13/17 | 10:13
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Trump Walks Back His Roy Moore Endorsement | Stephen Colbert | 12/14/17 | 7:20
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Black Women Save America from Roy Moore | Trevor Noah | 12/13/17 | 4:25
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Doug Jones Wins in Alabama; Moore, Bannon and Trump Lose | seth Meyers | 12/13/17 | 9:54
Note: I add this just to expose you to what the Alt Right is listening to. Sometimes pretty scary.
Roger Stone: |ntel Update From High Level Sources | Operation HAL | 12/13/17 | 12:54
Roger Stone Gives Insider Info On Omarosa's Downfall | Conservative Citizen | 12/13/17 | 8:05

12.14.2017. 12:02

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