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turbinetree

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Member since: Fri May 30, 2014, 02:30 PM
Number of posts: 18,493

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The frontline of resistance: ACLU ready for further fights with Trump

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union are gearing up for what is expected to be a crucial showdown in the US supreme court in 2018 over Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, as they enter the second year in an epic battle against the president’s populist – and frequently arguably unconstitutional – agenda.

The nation’s oldest and largest civil liberties group has found itself on the frontline of legal resistance to an executive branch that is proving to be historically hostile towards constitutional rights. Since Trump took power on 20 January, the organization has launched 113 legal actions attempting to block his extreme rightwing ambitions.

Those actions included an unprecedented 57 lawsuits brought against the most egregious aspects of the Trump project. Having warned Trump before he entered the White House that he would have to “contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at your every step”, the organization has lived up to its word.

It has successfully challenged the administration in its efforts to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, cut off access to abortion, ban transgender people serving in the military and overturn Obamacare.

“Donald Trump is certainly the most dangerous president we’ve had in my lifetime, and possibly ever,” said David Cole, the ACLU’s national legal director, who leads a central team of 100 lawyers. “But he’s also the most frustrated president in my lifetime, maybe ever.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/03/aclu-civil-rights-donald-trump


And I am a proud dues paying member of the ACLU.........................




Kobach: Voter Fraud Panel Likely To Meet This Month

Source: Talking Points Memo

By ALLEGRA KIRKLAND

Published JANUARY 2, 2018 2:54 PM

President Donald Trump’s beleaguered voter fraud panel will likely reconvene in January after getting waylaid by some eight federal lawsuits, according to the commission’s leader, Kris Kobach.

“Much of the past few months has been spent by commission staff answering discovery requests for information and drafting affidavits and things that like — going through the legwork of litigation, and that takes time,” Kobach, who serves as Kansas’s secretary of state, told the Topeka Capitol-Journal in an interview. “We have a very small staff in Washington, D.C., and that staff has been bogged down in litigation.”

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law—as well as one of the Democratic members of the panel—have sued the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, alleging a lack of transparency and that the collection of Americans’ personal data violates voters’ privacy.

That litigation has stalled the work of the panel, which has not met since September.

Kobach has been a leader of the effort to gin up concerns about voter fraud and build support for restrictive voting laws. Elections experts say widespread voter fraud doesn’t exist.





Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/kobach-voter-fraud-panel-meet-again-january



Have you, Kocbach, handed over documents to the one and only democrat on this panel, and how much money has your bull shit cost the taxpayers in this country to date?







November 2018 cannot get here fast enough







Dozens of LGBTQ Texans are running for office in 2018

A record number of openly queer and transgender Texans are seeking office across the state in 2018, part of a growing response to national and state-wide policies targeting the LGBTQ community.

According to OutSmart, a queer Houston publication, at least 35 openly LGBTQ Texas candidates are running for public office in 2018. That’s approximately twice as many as have ever run during any election cycle in Texas history. While six of the candidates are incumbents, the rest are newcomers. At least two are running for governor, with others eyeing seats at a national level in Congress. Some are vying for positions in the state Supreme Court or the Texas Legislature.

The upsurge follows a year of tension within the state over the rights of its large queer and transgender community. At the national level, President Trump’s administration has sought to roll back LGBTQ worker protections and bar transgender soldiers from the military. Those efforts have been welcomed by some state governments, including Texas.

The second-largest state in population size, Texas is consistently ranked as one of the most hostile states for LGBTQ people. Last spring, controversy over a proposed “bathroom bill” overshadowed other policy efforts in the state legislature, eventually prompting a special session over the summer. The bill would have required Texans to use the bathroom correlating to their “biological sex” and was met with heated opposition from all sides of the political spectrum. Business leaders and Texas oil executives actively lobbied against the measure, arguing that it would hurt the state’s economy. The bill ultimately failed to pass, despite the efforts of Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans.


https://thinkprogress.org/lgbtq-texans-2018-8d6da6e2fcc4/


And I also truly believe that this is going to be the year of the woman in local, congressional and federal elections, enough is enough


November 2018 cannot get here fast enough



Oregon appeals court upholds $135,000 fine against anti-gay bakery

Denver, Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop has received a lot of attention as the Supreme Court weighs whether the bakery should have legally been allowed to refuse to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, but an Oregon bakery’s case is still underway. Last week, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that Sweetcakes by Melissa did, in fact, violate state law when it refused to serve a same-sex couple and upheld a $135,000 fine against the owners, Melissa and Aaron Klein.

The Sweetcakes case unfolded in early 2013, just a year after the Masterpiece Cakeshop refusal, but the details of the cases are nearly identical. Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer sought a cake for their impending nuptials, and when owner Aaron Klein refused to sell them a wedding cake for their ceremony –before any discussion about the design of the cake could even take place — the couple filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). In 2015, an administrative law judge recommended a fine of $135,000 for the Kleins in damages. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Kleins must pay the fine.

“Sweetcakes provides a service — making wedding cakes — to heterosexual couples who intend to wed, but it denies the service to same-sex couples who likewise intend to wed,” they wrote in their decision. There was no way to interpret that as anything but discrimination “on account of” the couple’s sexual orientation.

https://thinkprogress.org/oregon-baker-appeal-loss-32b4bfabbc77/



Spontaneous protests will only be legal with 48 hours notice under North Carolina proposal

The next time residents of Durham County, North Carolina, feel the itch to spontaneously express political feelings on public grounds, they’d better hope somebody had the foresight to ask permission two days earlier.

The Durham County Commission opened the new year with a proposal to require 48 hours’ notice before any demonstration on County-owned land. “In order to ensure the safety of all involved in and near demonstrations on County grounds prior notification is required if the group will be 50 or more individuals or has the potential of 50 or more individuals,” the rules before the commission on Tuesday state. “If notification is not given within the stated requirements or if a spontaneous group exceeds 50 individuals, the County Manager or his/her designee may determine that those participating in the demonstration on County grounds are trespassing and may request that participants be removed by law enforcement.”


-snip-


Taken together, these various official actions and legal quests signify a dramatic shift in the traditional balance between basic civil rights and authority. The nation’s commitment to human rights recognized in both the U.S. Constitution and international law has rarely looked so shaky.

https://thinkprogress.org/durham-county-protest-restrictions-5dbb8de6b62a/




Ryan Zinke taps almost $40,000 from wildfire preparedness fund to pay for a helicopter trip

Over the past year, President Donald Trump and his top officials have made a habit of refusing to admit they make mistakes.

A common refrain from Trump officials is they “have nothing to apologize for,” whether it’s Trump giving an extremely partisan speech at last summer’s Boy Scout jamboree in West Virginia or his administration accusing the British government of working with the Obama administration to illegally surveil Trump Tower in New York City.

In a rare acknowledgement of error, the Trump administration’s Department of the Interior admitted it made a mistake by trying to use wildfire preparedness funds to pay for helicopter rides taken by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that had nothing to do with wildfires. The admission came only after a news organization inquired about the account used to pay for the trip.

Zinke’s office initially told Newsweek that the costs of the Interior secretary’s July 30, 2017, helicopter ride in Nevada could be legally covered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Interagency Fire Center, even though Zinke did not visit fire zones that day. After follow-up questions by Newsweek, the Interior Department admitted in late December the helicopter rides, listed as costing $39,295, were charged to the wildfire account “in error” and that the flights would be charged to a more appropriate account.


https://thinkprogress.org/zinke-helicopter-trip-in-nevada-53442d1ace98/


So this asshole is gallivanting around, and that money could have been used to help California, Oregon





November 2018 cannot get here fast enough



Paul Krugman debunks his own papers praise of Trumps war on environmental regulation

On Monday, the New York Times published an absurd piece about President Donald Trump’s war on health and environmental regulations, ignoring the terrible human cost of Trump’s effort while claiming it is boosting business investment.

The front-page story is so egregious that one of the the paper’s leading columnists, Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, eviscerated it in a series of tweets on Tuesday morning.

The original piece claims that U.S. businesses are supposedly investing more in factories and equipment because Trump is rolling back existing regulations and promising to minimize new regulations.

“There is no evidence — none — that regulation actually deters investment,” Krugman tweeted, linking to Monday’s piece.

-snip-


This is the exact opposite of reality. Krugman himself points out that “some kinds of regulation actually promote investment. Climate change policy should encourage renewables and conservation spending; Trumpist denial encourages just keeping the old coal plants.”

Precisely. Regulations encourage investment and innovation, something the Trump administration is working overtime to thwart. This could cost Americans millions of jobs.

https://thinkprogress.org/krugman-debunks-times-trump-praise-0506031bfd27/




How Paul "Ayn Rand" Ryan voting record since going to Washington

https://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/26344/paul-ryan#.WkvoLt-nHIU






Donate to elect / to solve this:

https://www.randybryceforcongress.com/


Ohios Move To Toss Inactive Voters From Rolls Goes To Supreme Court

Source: Talking Points Memo

By Julie Carr Smyth and MARK SHERMAN

Published JANUARY 2, 2018 7:09 AM


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Joseph Helle was expecting a different sort of reception when he returned home from Army tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and showed up to vote in his small Ohio town near Lake Erie.

His name was missing from the voting rolls in 2011, even though Helle had registered to vote before leaving home at 18 and hadn’t changed his address during his military service.

Helle, now the mayor of Oak Harbor, Ohio, is among thousands of state residents with tales of being removed from Ohio’s rolls because they didn’t vote in some elections. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Jan. 10 in the disputed practice, which generally pits Democrats against Republicans.

The case has taken on added importance because the parties have squared off over ballot access across the country. Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to suppress votes from minorities and poorer people who tend to vote for Democrats. Republicans have argued that they are trying to promote ballot integrity and prevent voter fraud. Only a handful of states use a process similar to Ohio’s, but others could join in if the high court sides with the state.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/ohio-move-toss-inactive-voters-rolls-heads-supreme-court



This and the Wisconsin gerrymandering case coming down the pike should really show what the Roberts court is all about when it comes to the Voting


Saving the Free Press From Private Equity

There is a standard story about the death of newspapers. After decades of enjoying easy profits from print ad income, publishers were blindsided by the internet revolution. Free information on the web cut into their core audience, especially among the young. The expenses of paper, printing, and delivery—“trucks and trees”—made them increasingly uncompetitive in a digital age. Publishers were slow to adjust. By the time owners figured out how to monetize web content, Google and Facebook had gotten there first, and were taking an estimated 80 percent of digital ad revenues. The crash of 2008 only hastened the decline.

A few national newspapers with unique franchises—The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post—have begun to figure out the digital transition, using paywalls, new digital content, and complementary business strategies to realize income from other sources. They will survive, even thrive.

But the real tragedy for the civic commons is occurring at the level of regional papers. Local dailies and weeklies are in a slow death spiral. They missed the digital rendezvous. Operating losses cause owners to lay off staff and shrink content, further depressing readership and ad income, leaving little to reinvest in digital. Local web-only media are feisty in a few places, but no substitute for a robust newspaper, whether print, web, or a blend.

-snip-

Fortress Investment Group, which controls GateHouse, is the rare case of a private equity firm that is also a publicly traded company. Fortress was the first private equity company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, beginning in 2007—on the eve of the financial collapse. Its media subsidiary promptly went broke. Fortress transferred its media properties to a new subsidiary, and assumed more than a billion dollars in debt. After emerging from a strategic bankruptcy in 2013 though a complex ownership web, and rebranding the company New Media/GateHouse, the private equity managers continue their acquisition binge, spending $735 million to buy up newspapers in the past four years.


As a rare hybrid of private equity operators controlling a publicly traded company, Fortress has to make financial disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the public, and shareholders get to vote on directors and bylaws. Public filings with the SEC revealed, for instance, that Fortress, as managers of GateHouse, had taken out $19.4 million in management fees and “incentive compensation” in 2016, and $39.7 million in 2015. As newspaper financial analyst Ken Doctor observes, these payouts are not far from the $27 million in operating expenses that GateHouse expects to extract from its papers during 2017. The money from the cuts goes straight to the private equity absentee owner and its executives. The New York Times reported Fortress CEO Wes Edens’s total 2016 pay as $54.4 million, including an $11.6 million bonus.



-snip-


Private equity exists thanks to three loopholes in the law. Much of New Deal financial regulation was based on public disclosures, which had to be filed with the SEC. But the law granted a small exemption (to the 1940 Investment Company Act) for narrowly held investment companies, many of them built around families. As a result, private equity companies did not have to make the same disclosures to the SEC as other mutual funds or ordinary corporations. But the private investment firms of that era were tiny compared with today’s.


http://prospect.org/article/saving-free-press-private-equity


This is an excellent article..........................

Gatehouse/ Fortress Investment Group and other vulture capitalists ...................just like The Bain Capital Group of Mitt Romney














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