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After secret plutonium shipment to Nevada, Senate Democrat puts hold on Energy Department nominees


After secret plutonium shipment to Nevada, Senate Democrat puts hold on Energy Department nominees
Laura Clawson
Daily Kos Staff
Monday March 11, 2019 · 2:13 PM EDT

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is going to do her best to get in the way after the Department of Energy secretly shipped a half-ton of weapons-grade plutonium to her state.

Cortez Masto, a Democrat, told the Nevada Independent that “I will be shining a bright light on the Department of Energy’s secret shipment of weapons-grade plutonium to Nevada,” and to do that, “Until I’ve gotten commitment from [Energy] Secretary [Rick] Perry that his agency will stop any further shipment and set a date for the removal of the plutonium already in the state, I will be putting a hold on all DOE nominees.”

Since Republicans have enough votes to confirm nominees without Democrats, Cortez Masto can’t entirely block them. But she can make the process take longer by forcing roll call votes. While she does that, Nevada has sued to block any more plutonium shipments.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 08:57 PM (1 replies)

The VA Is Privatizing Veterans' Health Care While Launching a Campaign to Deny It

The VA Is Privatizing Veterans’ Health Care While Launching a Campaign to Deny It
Suzanne Gordon
March 11, 2019

Acutely aware that its privatization plan has little support among veterans, the VA has launched a PR blitz to obscure what it's doing.

The Trump administration’s multipronged effort to privatize the VHA and push millions of veterans out of the VA system remains deeply unpopular among American veterans. But rather than adjust its proposals to meet the needs and wishes of veterans, the administration has a better idea: deny that the changes—which include funding private care at taxpayer expense—amount to privatization at all.

Over the past several weeks, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and his advisors from the Koch brothers-funded Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) have launched a PR offensive refuting critics who contend that the agency’s plan to funnel money to private care will lead to VHA privatization. In multiple press releases, Wilkie adamantly denied that channeling millions of veterans—and billions of taxpayer dollars—to private-sector health care providers amounts to VA privatization. Wilkie even convinced four former VA secretaries, including one who served under President Obama, to publish an op-ed at FoxNews.com echoing the VA party line. The VA’s Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs followed up with a press release reasserting that, “The former secretaries also pushed back strongly against predictable and false claims that the new standards amount to privatization of the VA.”

VA leadership has also sent out a number of directives instructing VHA public affairs officers and staff to refute veterans’ concerns about VA privatization. A document entitled “Veteran Community Care (VA MISSION Act)—Eligibility and Access Standards,” obtained by the Prospect from several sources who preferred to remain anonymous, has a long section advising how to counter any questions from veterans uneasy about privatization. Staff are directed to respond with, “There is no effort underway by anyone or at any level to privatize the VA.”

In yet another set of talking points delivered to VA staff and public affairs officers, VA leaders claim that outsourcing more and more VHA care doesn’t constitute privatization because privatization only occurs with “the transfer of ownership, property or business from the government to the private sector.” It goes on to say, “There has never been a proposal to do this, not from the Administration, Commission on Care or from any Veterans organization, including Concerned Veterans for America.”


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 04:22 PM (9 replies)

Court ruling: Trump administration must take responsibility for all children it separated

Court ruling: Trump administration must take responsibility for all children it separated
The lawsuit over family separation grows to encompass up to “thousands” more families separated in 2017 and 2018.
By Dara Linddara@vox.com Mar 11, 2019, 11:50am EDT

A federal judge has declared that the Trump administration is legally responsible for all children who were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border and placed with relatives or other sponsors after July 1, 2017 — which could amount to “thousands” beyond the 2,800 separations already acknowledged as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of 2017 and 2018.

The order, from Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California, comes as part of the lawsuit that forced the administration to reunify thousands of separated families in the summer of 2018. That order, however, only applied to reuniting children who were in the custody of the federal government as “unaccompanied minors” at that time.

Sabraw is now expanding the lawsuit to cover children who had already left government custody and been placed in the care of other relatives or sponsors before the reunification order came down.

An inspector general report published in January by the Department of Health and Human Services — which is responsible for the care of unaccompanied minors — estimated that there could be many more such children than the government had acknowledged or that the American Civil Liberties Union, which is leading the lawsuit against the government, had thought.

“The hallmark of a civilized society is measured by how it treats its people and those within its borders,” Sabraw wrote in the Friday night ruling. “That [the Trump administration] may have to change course and undertake additional effort to address these issues does not render modification of the class definition unfair; it only serves to underscore the unquestionable importance of the effort and why it is necessary (and worthwhile).”


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 01:28 PM (12 replies)

Two More Trump Lawyers May Be Forced to Testify

Posted on Mon, Mar 11th, 2019 by Leo Vidal
Two More Trump Lawyers May Be Forced to Testify

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings wants to talk to two new attorneys in the Michael Cohen/Stormy Daniels hush money probe.

The lawyers — Sheri Dillon and Stefan Passantino — were formerly employed in the White House and responsible for the president’s ethics and financial disclosures.

Their testimony could be critical to figuring out whether or not the president was guilty of committing crimes when he made hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

According to NBC News:

“These two relatively unknown figures could soon emerge as key players in the congressional investigations into President Donald Trump.”

Neither lawyer has agreed to cooperate with Cummings’ committee, however. They have consistently disregarded a March 6 deadline that the committee chairman set to provide transcribed interviews to his committee. He is now hoping to receive the transcripts later next week, according to his congressional aides.

As the process plays out it will be a test of the ability of House Democrats to force Trump administration officials and allies to provide information to Congress.

As Trump people keep dragging their feet and refusing to comply, Cummings will probably be forced to play hardball. Nobody will be surprised if he has to issue subpoenas to get them to give him the information he has requested.

Passantino and Dillon are the first targets Cummings is publicly pursuing since Michael Cohen testified in front of the Oversight Committee on February 27.

According to documents sent by the committee to the two attorneys, they “appeared to provide false information” to federal officials about payments to Cohen to keep the alleged Trump affair from becoming public.

In other words, it looks like they filed false financial disclosure forms with the Office of Government Ethics.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:27 AM (1 replies)

Fox News Host Drums GOP Pundit...: 'A Dozen Intel Agencies Confirmed Russia Interfered'


Video at link~
3/10/19 1:19pm
Read time: 1 minute
Fox News Host Drums GOP Pundit For False Election Spin: 'A Dozen Intel Agencies Confirmed Russia Interfered'
Fox News host Arthel Neville on Sunday reminded a conservative pundit that it was wrong to claim that Democrats have lied about Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election.
By David
20 hours ago by Heather

Fox News host Arthel Neville on Sunday reminded a conservative pundit that it was wrong to claim that Democrats have lied about Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election.

"The Democrats for two years have built the narrative that Trump beat Hillary by virtue of collusion with Russia," conservative attorney John Jordan told the Fox News host. "They invested enormous political capital and it raised expectations enormously."

"They can't allow the story to become -- as it appears to be on the way to becoming -- that [special counsel Robert Mueller] looked away," Jordan explained. "Trump was investigated and collusion didn't happen and there was no wrongdoing. The Democrats can't afford that going into the run-up to the election."

Neville interrupted with a fact check.

"You do realize that more than a dozen intel agencies, committees, they confirmed that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election," the Fox News host pointed out. "So, it wasn't just a Democratic narrative."

"Sort of," Jordan replied. "Yes, Russia did interfere but that is a different matter from actual collusion."

"It has been proven by our intel agencies that there was interference," Neville repeated. "And [Russian President Vladimir Putin] himself was on stage before the world saying, 'Yes, I wanted Donald to win.'"
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 10:33 AM (9 replies)

Trump 'Named Winner of Golf Championship He Didn't Play In'


Trump ‘Named Winner of Golf Championship He Didn't Play In’
Reuters / Henry Nicholls

The victory list on Donald Trump's locker at Palm Beach undeniably looks impressive: the gold plaques commemorate his championship triumphs in 1999, 2001, 2009, 2012, 2013, and the recently-added 2018. But there appears to be a problem with the new plaque which claims he was the 2018 men's club champion—because he didn't play in the tournament. Golf magazine reports Trump was actually awarded the title of co-champion as part of a clubhouse joke after the real winner, businessmen Ted Virtue, gambled his championship in a round with Trump after the tournament was long over. Trump—an alleged serial golf cheat—reportedly proposed a nine-hole winner-takes-the-title challenge match with Virtue which, would you believe, he won. He is then reported to have said something along the lines of: “This isn’t fair—we’ll be co-champions.” But Trump appears to have been so proud of his ‘win’ that a plaque was added to his championship roll-call on his locker stating: “2018 — Men's Club Champion.” It's just as well he doesn't have more important things to occupy his mind with.

Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 08:56 AM (32 replies)

Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro Attacks Rep. Ilhan Omar for Wearing Hijab


Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro Attacks Rep. Ilhan Omar for Wearing Hijab
She (wrongly) claims the congresswoman’s head covering is “antithetical to the U.S. Constitution”
By Peter Wade

Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro is trying to use Islamophobia to make Americans fear Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). In the opening segment of her show Saturday night, the fear-mongering former judge tried to connect Omar’s hijab to sharia law, which she said is “antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.”

Omar has recently been under attack for making anti-Israel remarks, which many have conflated with anti-Semitism. She also apologized for a tweet that evoked an anti-Semitic trope. But Fox News and other conservative media have been all too happy to misconstrue her remarks to paint Omar as anti-American because she does not unequivocally support the Israeli state. And they’ve been using anti-Muslim stereotypes to do it.

Pirro told her audience: “This is not who your party is. Your party is not anti-Israel, she is. Think about this. She is not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party. So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran, 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law, which is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution?”
This type of Islamophobia is not new, but it has ramped up ever since 9/11. As NBC News reported, anti-sharia law legislation has been introduced in 43 states in the U.S. just since 2010, despite the fact that none of these places are at risk of sharia law being implemented. And sharia law is not what many Americans have been led to believe it is. As law professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes wrote in the Washington Post, “Sharia is not a book of statutes or judicial precedent imposed by a government, and it’s not a set of regulations adjudicated in court. Rather, it is a body of Koran-based guidance that points Muslims toward living an Islamic life.”

But, sadly, the facts don’t matter on Fox News. All this drummed-up “fear” of sharia law is nothing but a statement to Muslims: you are not welcome here.

Which is exactly Pirro’s point: to her and the viewers of Fox News, Islam is antithetical to America. And therefore, according to Pirro’s logic, Rep. Omar is antithetical to America. It’s disgusting and, frankly, Pirro’s view is the one that is against the Constitution, whose First Amendment protects the right of Americans to worship freely.

Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 10, 2019, 06:38 PM (5 replies)

Democratic Senators Surprisingly Open to Sanders


Democratic Senators Surprisingly Open to Sanders
March 10, 2019 at 9:09 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Politico: “Senate Democrats say they’re increasingly open to getting behind Bernie Sanders if he appears the strongest candidate a year from now. And there’s no whiff of an effort to try and deny him the nomination, according to interviews with more than 20 Democratic senators.”

“It’s not that the Democratic Caucus is rallying behind him; most of them would prefer a more mainstream nominee, even if they’re unwilling to say it at this point. But they’re giving Sanders props for what he’s accomplished, and say if he’s able to win the nomination, more power to him.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 10, 2019, 04:27 PM (68 replies)

ICE officials under review for social media posts suggesting Rep. Ilhan Omar took 'terrorism classes

The hate is disgustingly palpable.

ICE officials under review for social media posts suggesting Rep. Ilhan Omar took 'terrorism classes'
Jessica SchladebeckContact ReporterNew York Daily News

A pair of high-ranking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are under review after they shared and liked social media posts promoting unfounded conspiracy theories regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar and immigration.

One recent post shared on LinkedIn by senior ICE agent Leslie Derewonko and “liked” by Jerry Templet, who is the second-in-command of Homeland Security investigations in San Francisco, described the Minnesota Democrat as a “Trojan horse” who came to the United States because of a “refugee outbreak” under former President Obama.

“And this what America represents?” Derewonko added in his caption.

The post, verified by Buzzfeed News, also suggested Omar, who is a Muslim, once admitted to taking “terrorism classes.”

“Hell just make her the Director of National Security, obviously she not only took TERRORIST classes, she sat in class WITH THEM,” Derewonko wrote in a post, screen-grabbed by ABC News. “Here’s a question to all you Intelligence Spooks types… WHO THE HELL VETTED HER TO COME INTO THIS COUNTRY, and better yet, WHO THE HELL VETTED HER AS A CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE?”

Derewonko has also used LinkedIn to comment on posts suggesting the so-called migrant caravans, which sparked controversy in 2018, were part of an Election Day “false flag” and that it was part of the UN’s “invading force.”


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 10, 2019, 09:38 AM (3 replies)

A 'Beat Trump' Fervor Produces Big Crowds


A ‘Beat Trump’ Fervor Produces Big Crowds

March 9, 2019 at 7:17 am EST By Taegan Goddard

New York Times: “As the already large presidential field grows by the week, the enthusiasm that propelled Democrats to a decisive takeover of the House in the midterms is still surging, driving crowd sizes and intensity typically seen in the days before the first caucuses and primaries, not a year ahead of them. Powered by an almost desperate yearning to oust President Trump, and galvanized by the most diverse field in presidential primary history, Democrats are packing into gymnasiums, churches and exhibition halls to hear candidates speak — even if they are far from committed to supporting the candidate they are showing up to see.”

“The populist message many of the candidates have on offer is resonating: From Northern California to Council Bluffs to the Brooklyn streets where Mr. Sanders was raised, voters are delighting in the calls to spurn big donors, the policies to fight wealth inequality and the promises of relief from college debt and steep medical bills.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Mar 9, 2019, 03:46 PM (3 replies)
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