Will Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony be the least popular in presidential history? It seems to be shaping up that way. From members of Congress announcing they will boycott and spend the day planning resistance to retail shop owners saying they’ve never seen less demand for formal party wear to artists refusing to perform and celebrities planning an un-inauguration telethon to raise money for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, Donald Trump’s inauguration is headed toward an embarrassing disaster.


Now a D.C. council member is confirming that there have been six times as many applications for bus parking permits for the resistance march:


Far more buses have applied to secure parking through the city for the Women’s March on Washington the day after inauguration than for the inauguration itself, D.C.Council member Charles Allen said Thursday.

Allen (D-Ward 6) said at least 1,200 buses have applied for permits to park at RFK Stadium in Washington on Jan. 21, the day of the Women’s March on Washington, while 200 have applied for parking the day before, Inauguration Day. NBC4 first reported the figures. RFK has a capacity of 1,300 buses.

The man who lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes might have to face the fact that America just isn’t that into you. Maybe he can bolster his inauguration attendance by bringing in paid actors like did at his presidential campaign kick-off. Or maybe he’ll fill seats by inviting his comrades.  



Posted by: maboulette | January 17, 2017

Beginning Repeal of Affordable Care Act


The House and Senate just took their first steps toward repealing the Affordable Care Act. But under the surface, Republican unity is crumbling—while Democrats are showing backbone. The Democrats really could win this thing. But have to act fast.


MoveOn is off and running with an all-hands-on-deck campaign to fight repeal by making congressional Republicans’ phones ring off the hook, confronting them with their constituents’ searing personal stories, and ensuring that they’re met with a firestorm of protest everywhere they go—from social media to the streets. If we beat repeal, we can stop the Trump agenda in its tracks and save health care for tens of millions of Americans.


Just last week, the GOP seemed organized and ready to act quickly. Their original plan was to repeal Obamacare on January 20—and then come up with a replacement years later.


But that plan’s out the window now. At least seven Republicans have said that they want to wait until a replacement is ready before they’ll vote to repeal, and a growing chorus of Republicans want to wait until March to take the critical repeal vote.

And now, Donald Trump has turned cracks in the Republican stance into a full-blown rupture. He recently contradicted most of his party, saying that Obamacare repeal and replace should happen “essentially, simultaneously” and “probably some time next week”. This is impossible, however, because Trump would need eight Democratic senators to vote with him on an Obamacare replacement.

Repealing Obamacare was supposed to be a cakewalk for the GOP. So why are they suddenly in hot water? Because repealing Obamacare would be a political disaster.

Four in five Americans do not want to repeal Obamacare without a replacement.  And it’s no wonder. Repeal would:

  • Take away insurance from 30 million people;
  • Cost 3 million jobs
  • Blow a $350 billion hole in the deficit; and
  • Throw the lives of millions of Americans into chaos.

Republicans can’t agree on a replacement … and for good reason. Americans want a more liberal system—with better coverage for more people and lower costs for patients. One poll shows that a majority of Americans actually want the single-payer option—which MoveOn has been seeking for years.10

But all the plans that Republicans have floated are far stingier than Obamacare and would take away health care coverage from millions of Americans.  That’s why none of the plans have come close to even getting broad Republican support.  When people take a look, they see that all of the GOP plans are political stinkers. (And remember: Republicans would need at least eight Democratic senators’ votes to pass a replacement … Not going to happen.)

In other words, the GOP has painted itself into a corner. They promised their most partisan supporters that they would repeal Obamacare, but they’ve got no way to replace it—and repealing without a replacement would backfire completely.

Remember what happened last November? Donald Trump won, even though his campaign was a disaster. What’s the lesson? Just because Republicans are in turmoil doesn’t mean that they’re definitely going to lose. But if enough of us get involved, they might.

With floods of phone calls (17,000 just last week), in-state protests (82 last month, and many more in the works), and a slew of social media campaigns, we’re making sure that Republicans know how unpopular their plans are.

Individual stories are at the heart of MoveOn’s campaign—told through videos, at speak-out events, and during visits to politicians’ offices.

This weekend, MoveOn members will gather at more than 500 community organizing meetings at which defending health care will be a key point on the agenda. We will also  participate in dozens of rallies led by Democratic members of Congress fighting to defend health care. In two weeks, we’ll be back at Senate offices across the country to continue to hammer our message.

And we’re working closely with Senate and House Democrats to keep them united in opposition.

It’s working. As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told thousands of MoveOn members on a conference, which also included Senator Elizabeth Warren, this past Monday night, “We ain’t resting until the move to repeal the ACA has a dagger through its heart.”12

This is a strange sort of fight we’re in. If we succeed, there’s not likely to be a decisive moment when we win a floor vote. Instead, victory means keeping our side united and theirs divided—keeping Republicans busy negotiating a health care bill that never quite seems to click, battling for months as Trump’s momentum on every other issue drains away. Every day that they don’t repeal Obamacare is a day when we’ve won.

Bernie Sanders is calling this fight “our first stand.”13

He’s right. It’s the Republicans’ first big legislative test, and if we draw the line here, we slow them down on absolutely everything else. But it’s more than that.

By taking on this fight, we show our fellow Americans that—no matter their race, or religion, or even politics—we believe that their lives have value, and that health care is a right. We show what we stand for. And we show—no matter who’s in office—the kind of nation that we want to be.



Posted by: maboulette | January 17, 2017

Trump Accuses CIA Director of Leaking Russian Story


It’s not that there was ever a time in which Donald Trump’s angry ranting represented anything close to a sane perspective or intelligible thought. But now that Intel has leaked alleging that Russia has blackmail videotapes of Trump engaging in urine fetish with prostitutes, he’s gone off the deep end in a manner which is almost indescribable. He can’t stop talking about the scandal, making it even bigger. And now, in a move which threatens to destabilize his administration from the outset, he’s randomly accusing the CIA Director of having somehow been behind the entire thing.


It’s been well established that the Intel report in question was written by a respected former British MI6 intelligence agent. It’s also been established that Senator John McCain recovered the report last month from an overseas contact and turned it over to the FBI, which shared it with the other U.S. Intel agencies, who collectively decided that both President Obama and Donald Trump needed to be briefed on its existence. What’s not as clear is just who gave a copy of it to BuzzFeed, which published it. But it passed through so many hands in so many agencies and nations that it was bound to inevitably leak out.


Don’t tell that to Donald Trump, however. He was apparently watching Fox News this evening and heard that CIA Director John Brennan had said Trump was underestimating the Russian threat. In a semi coherent tweet, Trump blasted Brennan and then asked, “Was this the leaker of Fake News?” Based on his obsession with referring to the entire Russian pee pee scandal as “fake news,” it’s clear Trump is accusing the head of the CIA — presumably without any evidence at all — of leaking the MI6 report.


Posted by: maboulette | January 17, 2017

Senate Intelligence Chairman Is Richard Burr (RNC)


Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said late Friday that his committee would investigate possible contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, reversing himself one day after telling reporters that the issue would be outside of his panel’s ongoing probe into Moscow’s election-disruption efforts.

In a statement issued jointly with the committee’s top Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Burr said the committee would use “subpoenas if necessary” to secure testimony from Obama administration officials as well as Trump’s team on Russia’s cyberattacks and on other efforts at election meddling.

Read more here.


Donald Trump, who lost the presidential election by nearly three million votes but is set to take office anyway, can’t seem to win when it comes to his inauguration plans either. After being turned down by a who’s who of popular musicians who don’t want to be associated with his divisive inaugural, Trump finally settled on Canadian crooner Paul Anka, who wrote the Frank Sinatra hit “My Way.” But as it turns out, Anka is now cancelling on Trump as well.


Almost immediately after the Paul Anka performance was publicly announced, he decided to back out of it. Anka is telling TMZ that it’s due to family commitments related to a custody battle, and with an excuse that specific, he may indeed be legitimately backing out for personal reasons. But it comes at a time when everyone else in the music business is turning Trump down or cancelling on him because they don’t want to be associated with what he stands for.


At this point Donald Trump has been turned down by everyone from Elton John to Garth Brooks to Andrea Bocelli to Celine Dion — and now Jennifer Holliday has backed out after being announced.

That means Trump is settling for Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down as his headliners.  So much for doing it “My Way.”


Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.


Rep. Mike Pompeo is a Rapture-believing evangelical who sees “radical Islam” at work in small-town America. 


One of the many side stories that have been lost in the chaos of the Trump transition is the fact that far-right Islamophobe Frank Gaffney has been serving as a foreign policy adviser. Considering President-elect Donald Trump’s views about Muslims, this isn’t too surprising.


Trump’s shallow understanding of the issue of Islamist extremism has obviously been assembled from the right-wing fever swamps and Gaffney owns that end of the bog. (The Southern Poverty Law Center has posted a full Gaffney dossier.)


But with all the excitement over Trump’s various mounting scandals, Gaffney’s influence has flown under the radar, at least until this week. That’s when one of his close associates went to Capitol Hill to testify at his CIA director confirmation hearing. That’s right, Trump’s nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency, Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, is a Gaffney guy.


Michelle Goldberg in Slate delved into Pompeo’s ultra-conservative religious beliefs, which clearly inform his ideas about Islam. And it led him to an alliance with Gaffney, who is so extreme that he believes Grover Norquist is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has infiltrated the National Rifle Association. Gaffney is so far out there that he was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference for insisting that its board was similarly tainted. According to Goldberg, Trump’s CIA director nominee appears frequently on Pompeo’s radio show:

Gaffney once called Pompeo “one of the most intelligent men I know in public life,” and the two see the world similarly. In February 2015, they spoke about President Obama’s use of the term “violent extremism” instead of “radical Islam,” a linguistic choice that some on the right see as a secret message of solidarity with jihad. Gaffney suggested that Obama might be conveying “an affinity” for ISIS’s cause, if not all its tactics: “the raising up of the Muslim Ummah, a grand rebalancing of America’s role in the world.” Pompeo relied, “Frank, every place you stare at the president’s policies and statements, you see what you just described . . .  every policy of this administration has treated America as if we are the problem and not the solution.”


While we have no word on Pompeo’s position about Grover Norquist, Pompeo has told Gaffney on his show that he believes “there are organizations and networks here in the United States tied to radical Islam in deep and fundamental ways. They’re not just in places like Libya and Syria and Iraq, but in places like Coldwater, Kansas, and small towns all throughout America.”


Pompeo is a deeply conservative evangelical Christian who has said“America had worshipped other Gods and called it multiculturalism. We’d endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.” He believes politics is “a never-ending struggle . . . until the rapture.”


He does not sound like the type of person one normally associates with the intelligence community. But this is Trump’s administration, and Trump has promised to shake things up. An apocalyptic Islamophobic fanatic at the head of CIA will no doubt bring change to the agency.

Before the hearings began on Thursday, many assumed that one of the main attractions for Trump of having Pompeo fill the job must have been his enthusiastic support for CIA torture. Pompeo was on the record after the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s  report as being fully supportive of the program:

“Our men and women who were tasked to keep us safe in the aftermath of 9/11 — our military and our intelligence warriors — are heroes, not pawns in some liberal game being played by the ACLU and Senator Feinstein,” Pompeo said in a statement on Dec. 9, 2014. “These men and women are not torturers, they are patriots. The programs being used were within the law, within the constitution, and conducted with the full knowledge [of] Senator Feinstein. If any individual did operate outside of the program’s legal framework, I would expect them to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

They were done under secret legal findings and were not within the Constitution, but that’s another story. The fact is that Pompeo has clearly been an advocate of torture and his new boss, Donald Trump, is ecstatic about it, as his statements indicate:

“They asked me, What do you think about waterboarding, Mr. Trump?’ I said I love it. I love it, I think it’s great. And I said the only thing is, we should make it much tougher than waterboarding, and if you don’t think it works folks, you’re wrong.”

Trump has also declared that his presidential orders to torture suspected terrorists would not be refused by those under him. When told that torture is illegal, he simply said he would change the law because we “have to get tougher.”


Pompeo surprised the committee when he said he would not comply with an order to torture and that he couldn’t imagine that Trump would ask him to do it. He insisted he would always comply with the law. Of course, he also has said the Bush administration’s torture regime was legal, so that’s not entirely reassuring. Still, Pompeo’s testimony was widely interpreted as distancing him from Trump’s stated position.

And Pompeo also seemed to come down hard on the Russian hacking allegations, which was again seen as diverting from the Trump party line.


But then it was pointed out that Pompeo had enthusiastically tweeted about the Democratic National Committee hacking, and he stumbled badly under questioning by Sen. Angus King of Maine. King asked Pompeo if he consider WikiLeaks a reliable source, and Pompeo said he did not. Then King inquired why Pompeo had cited WikiLeaks as “proof” that “the fix was in.” Pompeo hemmed and hawed and finally said he’d have to go back and look at it. But that tweet shows that Pompeo has the temperament of a right-wing political activist, not the sober and mature temperament required for the CIA director job.


Like many of Trump’s nominees, Pompeo has separated just enough from the boss’s craziest pronouncements and policies to give the impression that he will serve as a moderating force in the administration. This seems odd, considering Trump’s domineering personality. It is more likely that Trump and his team are telling the nominees to say whatever they need to say to be confirmed.


Maybe Trump isn’t listening to what his nominees say on the Hill or just doesn’t care. Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. Trump will be the president and they will either do as he says or will have to resign. Judging from Pompeo’s past comments and his apocalyptic worldview, if Trump orders actions against “radical Islamic terrorists” or demands the torturing of suspects, Pompeo will probably have no problem following orders. Indeed, he will likely be eager to do so.


In the hours since an intelligence report about Donald Trump and Russia went public which the FBI, NSA and CIA all thought was credible enough to brief the President on, most of the focus has been on Trump’s alleged sexual antics included in the report. It included everything from Trump being involved with Russian prostitutes, to Russia videotaping it all and planning to blackmail him. But there’s another, potentially more serious accusation in the report: Trump agreed to let Russia have Ukraine in return for its role in helping him get elected.


The accusations in the intel report in question, which came from a former British MI6 intelligence officer, have not yet been proven. All we know thus far is that the U.S. intel community did consider the report viable enough that it briefed both President Obama and Trump himself on the matter. The most damning passage may be the following, which appears on pages seven and eight:

“Inter alia, Source E, acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform. The reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability? and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team. In return the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise defence commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to de?ect attention away from Ukraine, 3 priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”


If this particular detail of the intel report can be proven, it represents treason and it would almost certainly result in Trump’s eventual impeachment. Read the full report. Or better yet, ignore it and go look at cute puppies instead.

Posted by: maboulette | January 16, 2017

Barack Obama Signature Plans to Curb Global Warning


Donald Trump to kill one of Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature plans to curb global warming, another group of state officials is urging Trump to save it.


Democratic attorneys general in 15 states plus four cities and counties sent a letter to Trump asking him to preserve Obama’s Clean Power Plan, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the lead author, announced Thursday.


The letter was a rebuttal to one sent this month by Republican officials from West Virginia and 21 other states and Democrats from the coal-producing states of Kentucky and Missouri urging Trump to issue a Day 1 executive order declaring the Clean Power Plan unlawful and prohibiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing it.


The Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants, the nation’s largest source of the pollution, by about one-third by 2030. Opponents say the Environmental Protection Agency lacks authority to implement the rules. The plan is already the subject of a legal fight.


Trump has called the science showing climate change a hoax. His choice to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has sued the EPA repeatedly to stop its climate agenda including Obama’s sweeping power plant rules. And his nominee to run the Department of Energy, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has questioned climate science while working to promote coal-fired power in Texas. But in a television interview this month Trump said he was “still open-minded” about the science of climate change.


Schneiderman said states like New York are “on the front lines of climate change” and have demonstrated how to cut pollution and emissions while protecting affordable and reliable electricity, creating jobs and growing the economy.

“The Clean Power Plan builds on that successful work and is a blueprint for the critical action needed to fight climate change’s devastating environmental, economic and public health impacts,” he said.


Under Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, established this year, 50 percent of New York state’s electricity must come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030. New York and eight other states are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program that has reduced carbon dioxide emissions from electrical generation in the region by 40 percent from 2005 levels.

In California, the nation’s most populous state, which also signed the letter, the goal is also to have half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gases.


The letter to Trump lists local impacts of climate change from fossil fuel emissions, including drought in California, catastrophic storm surge in New York City, a record deluge on Colorado’s Front Range, high-tide flooding in Virginia and South Florida and diminished shellfish harvest in Oregon and Washington state.

The legal challenge, filed by 27 states that oppose the Clean Power Plan, is before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. A decision on the plan could come at any time, but the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked implementation of the rule until the court challenge is resolved.

Still, even if Trump wants to scrap the plan, it would be a large, time-consuming task.

David Doniger, a climate policy expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council who served on Democratic President Bill Clinton’s White House Council of Environmental Quality, said the Trump administration “can’t make it go away unless they go through rulemaking process and unwind it.”

“And that’s a public process, so they’ll have to hear from supporters of the plan,” he said.

If Trump were to issue the executive order being asked for by the plan’s opponents, since the plan has gone through a formal process to become a regulation it would still require a long, public process to undo, Doniger said.


Besides New York and California, the letter is signed by attorneys general from the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington as well as officials from Broward County and South Miami, Florida, Boulder, Colorado, and New York City.





Since being named the winner of the election, Donald Trump has famously – and troublingly in the minds of many – refused to join in most of his daily intelligence briefings. Instead he’s steadily attacked the intelligence community on Twitter, and once claimed he didn’t need them because he’s “smart.” But now Trump is outraged that NBC News knew about the most recent Russian hacking report before he did, and he can’t seem to figure out why. Nor does he seem happy that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow flat out called him a liar over it.


The exact timeline is still not clear as far as when and how each of the various entities became made aware of the intelligence report in question. We do know that Donald Trump finally accept an Intel briefing on Friday. Afterward he released a statement in which he completely mischaracterized the report, seemingly not aware that the media would have it as quickly as he did. Sure enough, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was among those who were able to factually compare and contrast what the report actually said and what Trump had claimed it said.


And so it appears that Trump is merely upset that NBC called him out for quickly lying about what the intelligence report said and he’s trying to divert from it by accusing NBC of having somehow obtained the report illegally,


Democrats have found themselves asking two key questions of late: What can be done about the nationwide gerrymandering that’s allowed the Republicans to keep an unfair grip on the House of Representatives, and what will President Barack Obama do after he leaves office?


As it turns out, those two questions have the same answer. Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder plan to spend the next few years trying to fix the gerrymandering problem from the ground up, in order to give the Democrats a fair chance at retaking the House.


Prior to the 2010 census, wealthy conservatives began spending big on influencing lower level elections so that Republicans would have control of the bodies which got to redraw the congressional districts. That’s created an environment in which Republican candidates can now win the majority of House seats nationwide, even if the majority of votes in House races go to Democratic candidates. But Obama and Holder are putting together a National Democratic Redistricting Committee whose goal is to elect Democrats to the positions that will redraw the districts based on the 2020 census numbers in a fair manner.


The idea seems to be that President Obama can use his star-power to campaign for Democratic candidates in upcoming low level races, making him a bull in a china shop. It’s a long term strategy, because even if Obama can get Democrats elected to the posts that will redraw the districts, that redrawing won’t happen until the year 2021.  This means it wouldn’t benefit the Democrats running for the House until the 2022 races. But if it works, it could rectify a problem that’s been unduly handing the GOP control of the House for this entire decade.


In the meantime, it appears to be up to the Democratic House candidates and their supporters to find a way to make gains in the 2018 races, despite the ongoing gerrymandering. The good news for them is that after one party wins the White House, the other party has traditionally gained ground in the first mid-terms thereafter. Throw in Donald Trump’s historic unpopularity, and the Democrats will be in a position to take the majority in the House and Senate in 2018, which would then allow them to shut down Trump’s agenda almost entirely.


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