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The 'Both Sides' Brigade Is Encouraging Trump to Take More Hostages

The ‘Both Sides’ Brigade Is Encouraging Trump to Take More Hostages

By Eric Levitz

Unfair and balanced. Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The United States is inflicting long-term damage on its own government and economy, condemning thousands of Americans to needless financial despair, jeopardizing public health, undermining airport security, and preventing cancer patients from accessing much-needed medical care — because Republicans want to spend 0.11 percent of the federal budget on a border barrier that Democrats find symbolically problematic.

Given this state of affairs, it would be reasonable for a low-information voter to condemn both parties, in equal measure, for putting ideological purity above the national good. But it would be a dereliction of duty for a television journalist to do the same.

Alas, on Thursday night, CNN’s Chris Cuomo did precisely that.


[ ... ]

But one thing you can’t do, if you consider yourself an objective and responsible political analyst, is suggest that both parties are equally responsible for the existence of the current standoff. The root cause of the shutdown was not a bipartisan failure of “job performance,” but rather, the president’s decision to deliberately inflict suffering on the American people, as a means of coercing a coequal branch of government into doing his bidding.

[ ... ]

Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Fri Jan 18, 2019, 05:39 PM (27 replies)

DeVos rule changes get over 53,000 comments

There’s a Quiet #MeToo Movement Unfolding in the Government’s Comments Section

Betsy DeVos wants to change how schools deal with claims of sexual assault and harassment. Survivors are fighting back.

Madison Pauly January 15, 2019

[ ... ]

DeVos has argued that the plan would protect the rights of both survivors and students accused of sexual misconduct. Among other measures, her proposal would narrow the Education Department’s definition of “sexual harassment,” allow administrators to ignore some off-campus incidents as well as complaints made to coaches and professors, and let schools raise the standard of evidence for survivors to prove they were assaulted or harassed. It would apply both to college and K-12 students.

But before the new rules can take effect, the Education Department must go through a process known as “notice and comment”—a 60-day period in which the public is invited to weigh in on proposed regulations. And the government is legally required to read the feedback and consider whether to incorporate it into the final rules.

Few proposals that go through a notice-and-comment period garner more than a handful of comments. DeVos’ plan has so far racked up 53,453. They include notes from a concerned grandparent and a worried high schooler, form letters from activists outraged by the proposal, and arguments against it from teachers, school administrators, and mental-health professionals. A small minority of comments support the proposed rules. And there are a growing number of stories like Lynn’s, by people—both anonymous and named—who cite personal experiences of sexual violence to oppose the regulation.

[ ... ]


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Tue Jan 15, 2019, 06:44 PM (2 replies)

More abortion bans prepared for Kentucky, including one that takes effect at 6 weeks

More abortion bans prepared for Kentucky, including one that takes effect at 6 weeks

By John Cheves January 10, 2019

The Kentucky legislature’s pro-life caucus on Thursday announced a package of bills meant to further restrict access to abortion, even as the state’s last few abortion measures are being litigated in the federal courts.

The strongest of the new bills, Senate Bill 9, would ban abortion in Kentucky after “the presence of a fetal heartbeat,” which doctors say can be detected about six weeks into pregnancy.

“Senate Bill 9 is simply a bill that says if you have detection of a heartbeat, then that child is a living human being, and you can no longer murder that child in his mother’s womb,” Sen. Matt Castlen, R-Owensboro, said at a Capitol news conference.

But critics say many women don’t realize they are pregnant until the sixth week or later. Ultrasounds that might reveal problems with a pregnancy typically aren’t conducted until weeks 18 to 20, making it too late for a woman to end her pregnancy at that time.

[ ... ]


Kentucky is racing to the bottom, being the RWNJ prototype lab for elsewhere. A sponsor of SB9 is running for Governor this year. Matt "make 'em work for medicaid" Bevin has announced he's running for re-election.

We need national help, here, folks. The disease is spreading.
Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Sat Jan 12, 2019, 05:40 AM (2 replies)

Here's Trump Allies' Plan To Meddle In The 2020 Democratic Primary

Here’s Trump Allies’ Plan To Meddle In The 2020 Democratic Primary

“2020 is kind of like in the WWE,” a former White House official said, “where they have seven or eight guys fight for the majority of the match and then the Undertaker strolls up and pins everybody after they’ve exhausted themselves.”

Tarini Parti January 10, 2019

The pair of outside groups tied closely to President Donald Trump has retained the top Republican opposition group in an effort to smother Democrats seeking to challenge him — and perhaps even help pick his 2020 challenger.

The early move is part of Trump and his allies’ plan to dominate the Democratic presidential primary and push to have the nominating contest play out on their terms, especially since Trump himself has been uncharacteristically quiet in the new year about top Democratic White House hopefuls, preoccupied with the partial government shutdown and his push for a border wall.

America First Policies and its affiliated super PAC have made significant investments in the opposition group America Rising, funding their efforts to dig into the top Democratic contenders — along with some second-tier candidates — and prep opposition research books on all of them, according to five sources involved or familiar with the plans.

Those close to Trump say the work from America Rising will be used against Democrats in the primary to hammer candidates they think will be most challenging for Trump to beat, weakening the overall field and the eventual Democratic nominee.

[ ... ]


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Fri Jan 11, 2019, 07:10 AM (5 replies)

How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable

How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable

By Amy Westervelt January 10, 2019

Late last year, the Trump administration released the latest national climate assessment on Black Friday in what many assumed was an attempt to bury the document. If that was the plan, it backfired, and the assessment wound up earning more coverage than it probably would have otherwise. But much of that coverage perpetuated a decades-old practice, one that has been weaponized by the fossil fuel industry: false equivalence.

[ ... ]

Documents uncovered by journalists and activists over the past decade lay out a clear strategy: First, target media outlets to get them to report more on the “uncertainties” in climate science, and position industry-backed contrarian scientists as expert sources for media. Second, target conservatives with the message that climate change is a liberal hoax, and paint anyone who takes the issue seriously as “out of touch with reality.” In the 1990s, oil companies, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their respective PR firms began positioning contrarian scientists such as Willie Soon, William Happer and David Legates as experts whose opinions on climate change should be considered equal and opposite to that of climate scientists. The Heartland Institute, which hosts an annual International Conference on Climate Change known as the leading climate skeptics conference, for example, routinely calls out media outlets (including The Washington Post) for showing “bias” in covering climate change when they either decline to quote a skeptic or question a skeptic’s credibility.

[ ... ]


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Thu Jan 10, 2019, 09:29 AM (2 replies)

Americans' health at risk as shutdown slashes EPA

'It's a nightmare': Americans' health at risk as shutdown slashes EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency has been cut to a skeleton staff, meaning work to ensure clean air and water is left undone

[by] Oliver Milman Wed 9 Jan 2019

The US government shutdown has stymied environmental testing and inspections, prompting warnings that Americans’ health is being put at increasing risk as the shutdown drags on.

More than 13,000 employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are not at work, with just 794 people deemed essential staff currently undertaking the agency’s duties.

The remaining skeleton staff are able to “respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property”, according to an EPA planning document. But many routine activities such as checks on regulated businesses, clean-ups of toxic superfund sites and the pursuit of criminal polluters have been paused since 28 December.

[ ... ]


[ And after the shutdown? See
https://www.democraticunderground.com/100211649716 ]
Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Wed Jan 9, 2019, 10:25 PM (2 replies)

Wheeler at EPA -- coal, climate denier, DC experience

A brief guide to Andrew Wheeler, Scott Pruitt’s replacement at the EPA

Three things to know about the former coal lobbyist who’s now been officially nominated for the job.

By Li Zhouli Jan 9, 2019

President Donald Trump has officially nominated former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler for the role of EPA administrator, a position he had taken over in an acting capacity following Scott Pruitt’s resignation last July.

Wheeler, who was confirmed for the EPA deputy administrator role in April 2018, appears to be cut from much of the same cloth as his former boss when it comes to rolling back environmental regulations. Here are three key facts to know about the person who will likely continue overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency.

1) He’s worked for the coal industry

[ ... ]

2) He’s refused to attribute climate change to humans

[ ... ]

3) He’s got more Washington experience than much of Trump’s Cabinet

[ ... ]


[ Think Pruitt, except with competence to destroy with fewer scandals to attract attention. ]
Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Wed Jan 9, 2019, 09:38 PM (0 replies)

Guarantee Health Care for Every New Yorker

Bill de Blasio’s plan to guarantee health care for every New Yorker, explained

The New York City plan builds on a successful San Francisco program to achieve something like universal health care.

By Dylan Scott Jan 9, 2019

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a plan to bring “universal health care” to America’s biggest city — and, though it’s not quite single payer, the initiative shows that Democratic politicians are getting more creative about what they can do to expand health care in the Trump era.

De Blasio rolled out a new plan this week that he says would guarantee that every New Yorker, regardless of their ability to pay, the ability to visit a doctor and get affordable medical treatment in the city’s historic public hospitals system.

“From this moment on in New York City everyone is guaranteed the right to health care,” the mayor said Tuesday. “We are saying the word guarantee because we can make it happen.”

[ ... ]

The promise of “Medicare-for-all” is energizing Democratic voters, and health care was a top issue in the 2018 elections. Now de Blasio is one of several Democratic mayors, governors, and other politicians seeking to improve health care access even as Republicans in Washington control the White House and the Senate.

[ ... ]


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Wed Jan 9, 2019, 09:29 PM (12 replies)

Janz: Targeting Voter Suppression

The Prosecutor Who Challenged Devin Nunes Is Now Targeting Voter Suppression

Andrew Janz’s next act: launching a super-PAC.

Bryan Schatz
January 9, 2019

Last November, 34-year-old prosecutor Andrew Janz came within 6 points of unseating Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)—the closest any Democrat has ever come to defeating the eight-term Republican and then-chair of the House intelligence committee. Along the way, he raised an impressive $10 million and gained a national profile. Now Janz has launched a super-PAC he hopes will raise several million dollars for “protecting voting rights for people all across the country.”

“This is a major problem afflicting our democracy,” Janz says. “I think we need to hit the ground running.” He says his newly registered Voter Protection Project will take an approach that combines goals to “support candidates who want to expand voting rights and punish candidates who stand against voting rights,” he says. The project will also help create and support ballot measures and laws that expand and protect voting laws in order to “lay the groundwork for 2020.”

[ ... ]

Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Wed Jan 9, 2019, 09:21 PM (11 replies)

Rashida Tlaib: The Senate's Anti-BDS Bill Is an Unconstitutional Attack on Free Speech

Rashida Tlaib: The Senate’s Anti-BDS Bill Is an Unconstitutional Attack on Free Speech

A new Senate bill would allow state and local governments to boycott any U.S. companies which are engaged in a boycott against Israel. We speak with Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, who has come out out against the bill, tweeting, “They forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.”

[ video and transcript at link ]


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Wed Jan 9, 2019, 03:42 AM (1 replies)
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