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March 10, 2017

"My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century." - Noam Chomsky

How States Turn K-12 Scholarships Into Money-Laundering Schemes. ... “School choice” happy talk obscures how privatizing education dollars allows wealthy taxpayers to scam the government. Politicians have long had a knack for framing policy proposals, however controversial, in terms that make them more palatable to voters.
American Prospect

KING: The Democratic Party seems to have no earthly idea why it is so damn unpopular. ... A troubling new poll was just released showing that the Democratic Party is significantly less popular than both Donald Trump and Mike Pence. My gut tells me that Democrats will ignore this poll, or blame it on bad polling,.NY Post

Inside The Investigation To Get To The Bottom Of Russia’s Role In The Election. ... The Senate Intelligence Committee has been given sweeping powers, unseen since the Watergate era, to investigate Russian meddling in the US election. As its scope grows to include suspected ties between the Trump camp and Russia, investigators are starting to worry politics have overhyped the probe. Buzzfeed

Public opinion of the CIA shows how even bureaucratic organizations have become politicized, ,,, Democrats view the CIA more favorably than Republicans, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from December.
Business Insider

Las Curses Sun-News on Pearce support for roll-back on National Monument designations.Sun-News . More information on NM Wilderness Alliance

Frightening Truth About Trump Supporters
Fox News viewers believe the mainstream media is the enemy of the people, even as they consume said media. The American right is rife with internal contradictions, perhaps none more pronounced than its attitude toward the mainstream media.

March 9, 2017 -
Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government. ...We have obtained a list of more than 400 Trump administration hires, including dozens of lobbyists and some from far-right media. ProPublica

Related: Here are More than 400 Officials Trump has Quietly Deployed Across the Government.

Syria’s Civil War Is Almost Over … And Assad Has Won. ... Winners and losers are emerging in what may be the final phase of the Syrian civil war as anti-Isis forces prepare for an attack aimed at capturing Raqqa, the de facto Isis capital in Syria. Kurdish-led Syrian fighters say they have seized part of the road south of Raqqa, cutting Isis off from other its territory further east. CounterPunch

Congress has killed an Obama-era rule that gave communities more input on public lands. ... The Congressional Review Act for BLM’s Planning 2.0 rule will now go to Trump. The Senate voted March 7th to block a rule that would have given Westerners more say in the use of public lands near their communities.  ThinkProgress

Solar Creates More US Electricity Jobs Than Oil, Gas, Coal, Nuclear Combined. ... The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued its second annual US Energy and Employment Report (USEER) in January of 2017, and the numbers didn't bode well for the fossil fuels industry.

In late February, as Mr. Trump and his team moved to roll back regulations, the Business Roundtable provided this convenient target list. Efforts already have begun to eliminate several of the rules on this list. DocumentCloud

This status report prepared by Curtis Copeland, a former senior staff member at the Congressional Research Service, lists all of the pending measures under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to nullify regulations. As of Friday, March 3th a total of 49 resolutions had been introduced. Three have already been passed into law. Others touch on the same rule. So that means a net total of 28 additional rules are now being targeted. Congress has until early May to take action on the remaining proposals.Document Cloud  

Still profiting off the wars:
Oblivious Murder: George Bush Paints the Veterans Whose Lives He Shattered. ... In what feels like a surreal stab at redemption, George Bush is back and being feted for his newest, guileless, bloodstained and evidently entirely unironic painting project: CommonDreams

March 8, 2017 -
WikiLeaks publishes 'biggest ever leak of secret CIA documents' ...The 8,761 documents published by WikiLeaks focus mainly on techniques for hacking and surveillance. Guardian

The GOP Fix for Obamacare: Rich Get Tax Breaks While Millions of Others Lose Healthcare. ... The proposal includes a large tax break for insurance companies that pay their CEOs over $500,000 per year. It also defunds Planned Parenthood and eliminates abortion coverage. The Republican proposal does retain Obamacare’s requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions.
Democracy Now

The EPA’s Science Office Removed “Science” From Its Mission Statement. ... (Trump) administration began tweaking the language on government websites. Some of the more prominent changes occurred on Environmental Protection Agency pages - a mention of human-caused climate change was deleted, as was a description of international climate talks.
New Republic  
Related: Get Ready for Trump’s Climate-Denial Offensive. ... If Trump continues his assault on common sense about climate change, America is going to lose - and lose big. The Nation 

Trump’s Obsession With Generals Could Send Us Straight Into War With Iran. ... The president’s foreign-policy picks have set the stage for an aggressive military-first administration.
The Nation

The Shocking Links Between Azerbaijan Oligarchs, an Iranian Terror Group and Trump Hotel. ... Trump developed a hotel in Azerbaijan that appears to be a corrupt operation run by a family known as “the Corleones of the Caspian” with links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.  AlterNet
‘He was in business with the cartoon caricature of corruption’: Maddow breaks down Trump-Azerbaijan report. ... “there is a reason we should expect this White House to do everything in his power to keep secret his finances and his business dealings.”  Raw Story

GOP Lawmaker Shaping Obamacare Repeal to Address Delighted Insurance Lobbyists. ... The powerful trade group that lobbies on behalf of the health insurance industry, America’s Health Insurance Plans, has much to celebrate as it holds its national health policy conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington this week.

Advocate: DHS Proposal to Split Children from Parents at U.S. Border is "State-Sanctioned Violence". Democracy Now

March 7, 2017 -
Debate: Are Trump’s Ties to Russia a Dangerous Security Issue or Critics’ Fodder for New Red Scare? ... The ongoing mystery of Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election took an unexpected turn early Saturday morning when President Trump took to Twitter, writing: "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory.  Democracy Now

Intent of Trump’s New Executive Order Is Basically Identical to His Original Muslim Ban. ... The text of the new order removes Iraq from the list of countries affected and makes exceptions for green card holders and dual-citizens of targeted countries. ... also removes exceptions for religious minorities, targeting en masse the citizens of Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Somalia. Intercept  

Another Hatchet Job on Snowden. ... The hatchet jobs against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden keep on coming with a new book whose author says he applied James Angleton’s counterintelligence techniques to Snowden, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Consortium News

US Congressional delegation announces Israel visit to study moving embassy to Jerusalem. ... Comes after President Donald Trump said he would 'love' to see the move. Independent

New UK Secrecy Laws Include Harsh Sentences For Journalists Working With Whistleblowers. .. Open Rights Group's Executive Director Jim Killock says PM Theresa May has demonstrated a preference to defend the right to government secrecy over the right to a free press.
The Real News  

Saudi Arabia is Duping American Vets into Lobbying Against 9/11 Bill. ... the Saudi government is duping American military vets into lobbying against the bill. According to a New York Post article, vets are being offered all-expenses paid trips to Washington to ask Congress to gut the legislation. The PR firm Qorvis MSLGROUP is paying veterans to stay in the Trump International Hotel in support of an amendment to the bill that would limit Saudi Arabia’s liability. Qorvis MSLGROUP is operated by the Saudi Arabian government. Ring of Fire  

Having seen Standing Rock firsthand, this is why I know we should be worried about Republicans making it illegal to protest. ...Republican state senators in Arizona have voted for legislation that gives the government the right to prosecute and seize the assets of anyone attending or even planning a protest. Independent

March 6, 2017 -
Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Miners and More. ... Telecommunications giants like Verizon and AT&T will not have to take “reasonable measures” to ensure that their customers’ Social Security numbers, web browsing history and other personal information are not stolen or accidentally released. ... Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will not be punished, at least for now, for not collecting extra money from customers to cover potential losses from certain kinds of high-risk trades that helped unleash the 2008 financial crisis. ... And Social Security Administration data will no longer be used to try to block individuals with disabling mental health issues from buying handguns, nor will hunters be banned from using lead-based bullets, which can accidentally poison wildlife, on 150 million acres of federal lands.
NY Times

Donald Trump’s Greatest Allies Are the Liberal Elites. ... The liberal elites—from Hollywood and the Democratic Party to The New York Times and CNN—a group that bears significant responsibility for the death of our democracy, now hold themselves up as the saviors of the republic.

Inside DARPA’s Top-Secret Program to Protect the President Days after Kennedy was assassinated, a Pentagon agency was given a top-secret assignment to protect the president. What they looked at was a lesson in the futility of perfect security. Daily Beast  

Trump’s Critics Are Letting The Bigger Russia Story Slide. ... When meeting an ambassador is a problem, we’re in trouble. Buzzfeed  

EPA Will No Longer Ask Oil Companies About Methane Emissions. ... (EPA administrator) scrapped an agency information request this week at the urging of 11 Republican politicians in predominantly southern states.
Ring of Fire  

Melania Trump Says To Let “Gift Of Nature” Heal Sick Children Without Health Insurance. ... In the presence of children with severe diseases, the First Lady said that families should let the “gift of nature” heal children – which may be their only choice once her husband strips these families of their healthcare coverage. Ring of Fire  

March 4, 2017 -
Keystone Pipeline that was to be built with American Steal, won't be. It's except from the directive.

Campaign adviser changes story and now contradicts Trump, says Donald ordered Ukraine change at RNC. ... Donald Trump is having a very, very bad week. As reports emerge that several of his key advisers, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, met with the Russians the week of the RNC convention, one former adviser has now publicly changed his story to contradict his former boss. DailyKos   and Daily Beast  

The Cynic is betting the Putin will drop a dime on Trump if he gets out of line

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson skips launch of US state department's human rights report. ...Bush and Obama administrations held ceremonies to announce report, but this year a US official instead takes questions over phone – on condition of anonymity. Guardian .

The U.S. Government’s Privacy Watchdog Is Basically Dead, Emails Reveal. ... There’s a little-known federal agency whose job is to ensure U.S. spy agencies protect privacy and other civil liberties even as they work to defeat terrorists and criminals, and to blow the whistle when that doesn’t happen.  Intercept  

The Media’s Addiction to False Equivalencies Has Left Them Vulnerable to Trump. ... Decades of conservative efforts to work the press are paying off handsomely. The Nation  

Conservative crackdown on protests would label North Carolina dissenters “economic terrorists”. .. Repression is on the march in the home of the “Moral Mondays” movement.  ThinkProgress  

Trump made a lot of promises about what he will do as president. We’ve documented 663 of them. ... The people who elected Trump expect him to come through. ThinkProgress   

Republicans adopted pro-Russia stance on Ukraine just after Trump officials met with Russian ambassador. ... Trump appears to have pushed for the Republicans to adopt a pro-Moscow policy over Ukraine just as his senior aides with meeting with Russia’s US Ambassador. Independent  

Despite Increasing Evidence They Hurt Children, Trump Touts School Vouchers. ... Children who use vouchers to attend private schools perform worse on average than their public-school peers.

March 3, 2017-
Trump May Choose “Alternative Intelligence” to Support His “Alternative Facts,” Former Agents Warn. A former CIA analyst assigned to work on the Bush administration’s attempt to link Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda is warning that the Trump’s administration may be adopting the same model of “alternative intelligence” that led to the Iraq war.

Palantir Provides the Engine for Donald Trump’s Deportation Machine. ... Immigration and Customs Enforcement is deploying a new intelligence system called Investigative Case Management (ICM), created by Palantir Technologies, that will assist in President Donald Trump’s efforts to deport millions of immigrants from the United States.

It is in everyone's interest to have a credible investigation into the shenanigans of Sessions, and a credible investigation with all evidence public.

FBI Not Cooperating with Senate Intelligence Committee....Comey refuses to answer some questions.....FBI is stonewalling....LA Times  
The Hill and Politico

Who is Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador rattling Trump's presidency? ... Putin’s man in Washington is usually far from view. Now he’s at the center of a storm that brought down a key Trump ally and threatens another. Guardian

FISA Section 702: Is warrantless surveillance national security or a hit to privacy? ... Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act might be necessary to protect U.S. National Security or it might infringe on the privacy rights of Americans – it just depends on who you ask.

Trump’s team nixed ethics course for White House staff. Trump’s team rejected a course for senior White House staff, Cabinet nominees and other political appointees that would have provided training on leadership, ethics and management,

March 2, 2017-
Interesting to observe that the media reaction to Trump suddenly being "presidential" is all about war and killing people, with increased military budget, and cutting non-war related budgets. War defines us.

Wilbur Ross Major Owner in Bank of Cyprus with Rybolovlev...Ties to Trump...Russia .. more than you want to know. Trump-Russia story so far

Annotated Transcript: President Trump’s speech to Congress,Vox  and another on Guardian  

Fact Checking Trump Speech:
WaPo   -  NYTimes     -  Politifact  
12 Glaring Omissions, Contradictions and Lies ... Spotted in Trump's Address. AlterNet/Sanders 

Remember Heather Wilson (R-NM?) She's been busy... Trump pick for Air Force boss frustrated auditors with lucrative, murky consulting for nuclear weapons labs. ... Former lawmaker Heather Wilson refused to detail what she was doing for $20,000 a month. ... If confirmed, Wilson would oversee billions of dollars-worth of military work by the Lockheed Martin Corp., whose subsidiary ran one of the nuclear weapons labs that hired her from 2009 to 2011, starting a day after she left Congress. Wilson’s work involved using her contacts in Washington to try to gin up new federal business opportunities for the privately run weapons labs. Public Integrity  

In Move Recalling Nazi-Era Policies, Trump to Create Office to Track Crimes Committed by Immigrants. ... During Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress ... he announced plans to create a new office called VOICE—that’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.

Trump’s Neo-Fascist Discourse: CPAC Revisited. ... For an overview of where America stands, let’s begin with Trump’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, 2-24-17, and work outward from there to two interrelated areas to which he refers, attacks on the media and rising militarism, which together provide, more than a glimpse, an actual serving of notice of coming fascistization in America.  CounterPunch  

Trump’s Neo-Fascist Discourse: CPAC Revisited. ... For an overview of where America stands, let’s begin with Trump’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, 2-24-17, and work outward from there to two interrelated areas to which he refers, attacks on the media and rising militarism, which together provide, more than a glimpse, an actual serving of notice of coming fascistization in America.  CounterPunch  

Trump’s “Moderate” Defense Secretary Has Already Brought Us to the Brink of War ... Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to the (NYT), had wanted the U.S. Navy to “intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen. … But the ship was in international waters in the Arabian Sea, according to two officials. Mr. Mattis ultimately decided to set the operation aside, at least for now. White House officials said that was because news of the impending operation leaked.”

March 1, 2017 -
Fact-checking Donald Trump's first presidential address to Congress. ... In his first presidential address to Congress, Trump claimed 94 million Aaron’t working and Obamacare is collapsing. Alan Yuhas sorts fact from fiction. Guardian
Related: Trump’s Use of Navy SEAL’s Wife Highlights All the Key Ingredients of U.S. War Propaganda. Intercept  
Related: 12 Glaring Omissions, Contradictions and Lies Bernie Sanders Spotted in Trump's Address.
AlterNet   {More fact checking tomorrow}

Greenwald: "Trump’s Use of Navy SEAL’s Wife Highlights All the Key Ingredients of U.S. War Propaganda"

Is ‘Christianized Fascism’ the Biggest Threat We Face Under Trump? (Video) . ... “The Christian right, like the alt-right, is endowed with all sorts of conspiracy theories, coupled with magical thinking, coupled with an utter disdain for historical fact,” Hedges says. “I think the Christian right are as bigoted as the alt-right.”  TruthDig

The New Yorker’s Big Cover Story Reveals Five Uncomfortable Truths About U.S. and Russia. Intercept    Related:
Noam Chomsky on US-Russian Relations. YouTube   and   
From Kissinger’s Playbook: Flynn is Gone, His Russia Policy Lives On. CounterPunch  

Trump Surrogate Suggests Democrats Could Be Behind Bomb Threats Against Jews  Intercept

Donald Trump says US is becoming a 'one party system, ,,, President will give his first address to Congress on Tuesday night. Independent  

Berta Cáceres court papers show murder suspects' links to US-trained elite troops ... The Honduran environmental activist’s killing a year ago bears the hallmarks of a ‘well-planned operation designed by military intelligence’ says legal source
Related: Berta Cáceres's name was on Honduran military hitlist, says former soldier. Guardian

A Paradigm Shift in the Middle East: Iran as the Solution, Not the Problem.  CounterPunch  




March 21, 2017

The CIA’s Primary Objective is to Preserve Its Own Existence, Not to Protect U.S. Citizens. ... So what is the CIA’s primary purpose? Essentially, to stay in business. This is according to a former CIA counter-terrorism officer and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Ring of Fire  

UNRIVALED Surveillance State Monitors Every American Citizen! – Redacted Tonight. ... Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp delves into our twisted and all-encompassing Surveillance State. One week ago it came out that the CIA has been spying on Americans through, not only our phones, but even our smart TVs and cars. The Ring of Fire  

Why does House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Rep. VA) want to fast-track legislation overhauling civil litigation that protects all Americans—including those in his Congressional District, who simply wish to have their day in court when wrongfully injured or cheated by the very corporations to whom Chairman Goodlatte is beholden? Does he distrust judges and juries that have fairly adjudicated disputes for years? Does he hate the American people? Ralph Nader

How 'dirty money' from Russia flooded into the UK – and where it went. ... Exclusive: Investigators in eastern Europe have uncovered a trail that leads to fur brokers, Bond Street jewellers and even a Somerset school.  Guardian  

Amid Spike in Civilian Deaths from U.S. Strikes, Trump Requests Lifting Policy Limiting Casualties. ... On Thursday, a U.S. Reaper drone struck a gathering in a rebel-held village in Aleppo province, killing as many as 49 people. Monitoring groups say most of the dead were civilians who had gathered at a mosque to pray, while the Pentagon claims the gathering was a meeting of al-Qaeda members. Democracy Now

How Senators Might Get the Goods on Gorsuch; The Reclusive Billionaire Behind Breitbart and Trump.
Bill Moyers  

Network of wealthy Russians has sunk $100m into Donald Trump's luxury developments. ... The President recently insisted he has 'no deals in Russia' but investigations show lengthy list of major investments by Russian elite in his property empire.

March 20, 2017 - First Day of Spring

U.N. agency published a report noting that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” ... the author of that report, who has served as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) since 2010, Rima Khalef, resigned after the Trump administration, working in conjunction with Israel, pressured the U.N. secretary-general to demand that she withdraw the report.
The Intercept  

A Last Chance for Resistance. ... The crawl toward despotism within a failed democracy is always incremental. No regime planning to utterly extinguish civil liberties advertises its intentions in advance. It pays lip service to liberty and justice while obliterating the institutions and laws that make them possible. TruthDig/Hedges  

Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done. ... Brexit is English nationalism made flesh, but the English underrate its destructive potential as a form of communal identity. CounterPunch/Cockburn  

For Donald Trump, a Terror Attack Will Be an Opportunity Not a Curse. ... CAN WE BREATHE a sigh of relief after federal judges blocked President Donald Trump’s discriminatory executive orders? For a moment we can, but we are just a terrorism attack away from the White House gaining a new pretext for its wrathful crackdown against Muslims and immigrants. The Intercept  

‘Finks’ Explores the Blurred Line Between Propaganda and Literature ... The CIA colluded with literary magazines to produce cultural propaganda throughout the Cold War, a debate began that has never been resolved. The story continues to unfold, with the reputations of some of America’s best-loved literary figures—including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, and Richard Wright—tarnished as their work for the intelligence agency has come to light.

March 19, 2017



Pavel "Red Eye" Vrublevsky

Vrublevsky, a Russian businessman under investigation in the FBI’s probe of Russian hacking in the 2016 Presidential election, shared a business address in John Gotti’s former stronghold of Howard Beach, Queens with a company led by a Tampa Mobster convicted in the “alt-right” stock fraud ring run by Sarasota’s own Andrew Badolato, business partner and Breitbart collaborator of Trump advisor Steve Bannon. MadCow  

Donald Trump and The Palm Beach Homies. ... Trump’s history with the Mob - beginning with early business partners in Atlantic City who were ‘dese dem & dose’ guys with crooked noses who knew where Jimmy Hoffa was really buried —is a virtual travelogue through 30 years of ever-more sophisticated organized crime.  MadCow

From 2008 - Trump Mansion Sold to “Mobsters Sans Frontières” ... The Russian "businessman" to whom Donald Trump sold his Palm Beach mansion for a purported $100 million was arrested in Russia in April of 1997 and charged with masterminding the killing of a business rival, in what law enforcement authorities called "a contract hit." MadCow

In Yemen, where US/UK/Saudi have waged savage war: 7 million one step away from famine, 17 million w/food insecurity - Greenwald. ... Yemen at 'point of no return' as conflict leaves almost 7 million close to famine. ... Governments have been warned they face enduring shame should famine take hold in Yemen, where two-thirds of the population face severe food shortages. Guardian  

Southern Command in Costa Rica: US Occupation Disguised as Humanitarian Aid . ... The military personnel were playing the role of missionaries, giving Bibles away. However, simultaneously, they were carrying out various military training activities in the area around Alto Cuen, a Bribri community. ... "They said they were missionaries, but no one believed them," Bribri tribe member Leonardo Buitrago Morales told Truthout. "We knew they were looking for something more. The truth is that they want our lands and our forests to make money." TruthOut  

Trump and Mussolini: 11 Key Lessons from Historical Fascism. ... Italian fascism provides a better model for our moment than Nazi Germany—and the comparison is not encouraging.  AlterNet/Salon  

Trump budget: an extra billion dollars for nuclear weapons. ... His draft 2018 budget would drastically curtail State Department spending and foreign aid and end financing for the U.S. Institute of Peace, but boost the budget for nuclear weapons production by 11 percent. Public Integrity  

March 18, 2017 -
Empire of Illusion - The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle
. We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level.
Chis Hedges  

Compilation of Trump's Russian Connections. ... We should view all the stories about Russia and Trump as part of a whole. To facilitate that, I made an outline of the (1) evidence and (2) people/businesses linking Trump to Russia. DailyKos  (Bookmark this site if interested, it is updated frequently)  

The Blow-it-all-up Billionaires ... When politicians take money from megadonors, there are strings attached. But with the reclusive duo who propelled Trump into the White House, there’s a fuse. Huffington   or Download the report  

The Enemy Is Not Donald Trump or Steve Bannon—It Is Corporate Power (Video). ... The future In a recent speech ... Chris Hedges tells the audience that “resistance must also be accompanied by an alternative vision of a socialist, anti-capitalist society.” TruthDig/Hedges

GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications. ... British spy agency collects and stores vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal. Guardian  

Ralph Nader Denounces Trump Budget as Corporatist, Militarist & Racist: "The Mask is Off" . ... Well, so much for Donald Trump’s campaign promises to the forgotten men and women of America. They’re the ones who are the big losers, as you pointed out with your many examples of these budget cuts. DemocracyNow

Can Customs and Border Officials Search Your Phone? These Are Your Rights TruthOut  

March 17, 2017 -

Rep. Gutiérrez Speaks Out After Being Handcuffed for Demanding Answers on ICE Raids & Deportations. ... federal police handcuffed Democratic Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez along with activists and lawyers Monday, after they held a sit-in protest at a federal immigration office.  DemocracyNow  

ACLU Lawyer Esha Bhandari on Your Rights If Border Agents Try to Seize Your Cellphone at the Border. ... Border agents are increasingly seizing cellphones and demanding passwords of travelers, including U.S. citizens.  Democracy Now  

(Followup from yesterday)
Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told said

Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion. ... From MSNBC politics shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues.

Israeli Pol threatens Crimes against Humanity in Lebanon. ... A far-right Israeli minister said Lebanese civilians must be direct targets in a future war over Hezbollah’s rising political sway in Lebanon. ... The next war Israel will launch against Lebanon must take the country back to the “Middle Ages” and should target civilians in the country,
Informed Comment

US envoy's meeting with Israeli settler leaders raises policy concerns. ... A top adviser to Trump has met Israeli settler leaders in an unusual move that may raise fresh concerns over prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

March 16, 2017 -
Noam Chomsky on the 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine. ... Amy Goodman narrates a short video piece for Al Jazeera based on Noam Chomsky’s book "Manufacturing Consent", a seminal work on mainstream journalism and its role in the mechanics of power.
DemocracyNow   and Video also
Chomsky on US-Russian relationship. Video

‘Web of Weirdness’: US and Israeli Codependent Relationship is Not Just about Money. ... “We must look back twenty-five years to realize how far Israel has fallen in world support,” wrote famed Jewish scholar, Harvard sociologist, Nathan Glazer in 1976.. CounterPunch  

Trump’s Infrastructure Boondoggle. ... Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan is not an infrastructure plan and it won’t put $1 trillion of fiscal stimulus into the economy. It’s basically a scheme for handing over public assets to private corporations that will extract maximum profits via user fees and tolls. Because the plan is essentially a boondoggle, it will not lift the economy out of the doldrums, increase activity or boost growth. Quite the contrary. CounterPunch

Trump admits his health care plan would benefit rich investors, screw over people who voted for him. ... President Trump sat down Wednesday for an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, and Carlson asked him to respond to criticisms that the Republican health care plan favors the healthy and hurts most of the voters who supported his election. Trump didn’t hesitate to agree that that is exactly what it does.  ThinkProgress  

Federal Layoffs Loom as?Trump’s Meat-Ax Targets EPA and?IRS. ... Even former Bush administration officials agree this would be dangerous and counterproductive. The draft of President Trump’s first Executive Budget indicates he will make double-digit funding cuts to dozens of non-military agencies. AlterNet

Beware The False Temptations Of The Russia Story. ... Fantasy, confirmation bias, and forgeries in the reaction to Trump. BuzzFeed

Top Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka is a ‘sworn member’ of Nazi-linked group. ... controversial Trump counter-terrorism aide Sebastian Gorka is facing fresh scrutiny for his ties to far-right political organizations in Hungary. RawStory  

March 15, 2017 -
Don't like your government? Fear not - there is a fix for that. ...
Bannon and Trump Have Quietly Installed an Alt-National Security Council Operating Inside the White House. ... The Strategic Initiatives Group is the White House pipeline to the white nationalists of the European right. AlterNet  

How Our Political System Has Cracked—and Why It Probably Can't Be Fixed. ... What ever happened to the separation of powers? The system wasn’t supposed to work this way. The Founding Fathers deliberately devised a structure in which someone like Donald Trump — a vain, self-centered, mendacious demagogue — could never become chief executive, and in which the legislature could never be captured by a reckless, ideologically obsessed minority bent on overriding the majority interests of Americans. AlterNet/Moyers

How Our Political System Has Cracked—and Why It Probably Can't Be Fixed. ... What ever happened to the separation of powers? AlterNet  

Senator introduces bill to investigate Russian news outlet RT. ... New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is introducing a bill that would give the Justice Department additional authority to investigate Russia's English-language news outlet RT America for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  Politico  

Edward Snowden Has Some Advice for Donald Trump About Surveillance. ... NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Tuesday that if Donald Trump is sincerely concerned about the government’s ability to listen in on his private communications, he should fix the NSA mass surveillance programs that collect data on every American. Intercept

Ex-NSA analyst: Intel sources say White House ‘targeting journalists’ with ‘help from Russian intel’. ...Former NSA analyst John Schindler, who now is a national security columnist for the Observer, reported on Tuesday that his sources in the intelligence community believe that President Donald Trump’s White House is colluding with Russian intelligence to “target journalists.”

(2013) FISA court oversight: a look inside a secret and empty process... Obama and other NSA defenders insist there are robust limitations on surveillance but the documents show otherwise. Guardian

March 14, 2017 -
The Deep State 2.0 ... The prospect of four years of Donald J. Trump's nonstop rants about imaginary conspiracies against his daughter, wholesale slander against the judicial branch and attacks on the press as enemies of the people has caused some Americans to slip into a comforting form of denial. He will be a blip in our history, they say, because our formal institutions, and the American people, will ultimately prevail against a rogue disruptor. TruthOut/Moyers

The Trump administration is exploring how to dismantle or bypass Obama-era constraints intended to prevent civilian deaths from drone attacks, commando raids and other counterterrorism missions outside conventional war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. NYT

If We Don't Act Now, Fascism Will Be on Our Doorstep, Says Yale Historian. ... Timothy Snyder warns: History gives us a bunch of cases where democratic republics became authoritarian regimes.

The American 'Deep State,' as a Trump Voter Might See It ... When unelected leaders confront illiberal ones. The Atlantic  

Angels and Demons in the Cold War and Today. ... George Kennan knew how to bring down the house. His lecture audiences started off skeptical about whether Russia really wanted to be remade on the American model. NYTimes  

Cambodia Outraged as US Demands Repayment of 'Blood-Stained' War Debt. ... The US dropped more than 500,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia during the Vietnam War. ... Cambodians are responding with outrage to the U.S. government's demand that the country repay a nearly 50-year-old loan to Cambodia's brutal Lon Nol government, which came to power through a US-backed coup and spent much of its foreign funds purchasing arms to kill its own citizens, according to Cambodia's current prime minister Hun Sen. Common Dreams

March 13, 2017 -
The Dance of Death. ... The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism.

Chris Hedges Discusses the ‘Irrevocable Decline of the American Empire’ With Poet Linh Din. ... “We are really the poorest country on earth, and people refuse to see that,” we only look good because of our military might, but this farce cannot go on forever.” Truth Dig Video

Trump’s War on Dangerous Memory and Critical Thought ... The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists. CounterPunch/Giroux

Globalization Is Just a Contemporary Word for Financial Colonialism. ... We who live in imperialist countries owe an enormous debt of solidarity to people in countries like Bangladesh, which are being ransacked by our governments and corporations. We cannot have socialism in the West until we acknowledge and start repaying this debt. TruthOut  

The Perils of the New, Shiny George W. Bush. ... The cuddly George W. Bush who paints pictures of dogs and Jay Leno is a war criminal. He doesn’t deserve an inch of rehabilitation. JacobinMag

White Nationalist Party (wiki)  

White Nationalist - White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of nonwhites. Groups listed in a variety of other categories - Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead, and Christian Identity - could also be fairly described as white nationalist.

(May 2016) White Nationalist Party Claims More of Its Members Are Now Trump Delegates.  
Mother Jones  

(2016) How White Nationalists Learned To Love Donald Trump. ...Once they believed he was a secret Jew. Now he has more white-power support than any mainstream candidate in modern politics. Here’s how it unfolded. Politico

The Complete History Of Donald Trump's Relationship With The White Nationalist Movement. ... Bannon oversaw Breitbart News’ attempts to normalize and embrace the white nationalist movement. As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted, Breitbart "has undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas." MediaMatters

March 12, 2017 -
Exposing the corporate ties, corrupting influences and conflicts in Trump's billion dollar cabinet.
Updated  Corporate Cabinet  

Former Koch Agents, Fossil Fuel Industry Hired Guns Now Staffing Trump's Agencies. ... A DeSmog investigation shows that this list of staffers, largely undisclosed before this week, includes former operatives allied with Koch Industries, oil and coal industry employees, a former employee of a prominent climate denial group, and an advocate for a pro-trophy hunting organization funded by oil and gas. CommonDreams    Related: ProPublica

Merkel compared NSA to Stasi in heated encounter with Obama. ... German chancellor furious after revelations US intelligence agency listened in on her personal mobile phone. Guardian  

Frightening Truth About Trump Supporters
Fox News viewers believe the mainstream media is the enemy of the people, even as they consume said media. The American right is rife with internal contradictions, perhaps none more pronounced than its attitude toward the mainstream media. AlterNet

How to Forget, American-Style: George W. Bush and the Forever War. ... George W. Bush peddles his book of wounded soldiers, and his past crimes are forgotten. Thousands of refugees seek asylum from the wars we started, and are denied. We forget what he was, we forget the aftermath of what he did, but how? Whence comes this shallow grave of memory?. TruthOut

March 11, 2017 -
Book of the Week -
1984 by George Orwell -
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever.

March 11, 2017 -
Our President Is Up to No Good ... Does Donald Trump in his fevered, ungovernable mind relish polluting the public with ever more abominable lies? Is he so unhinged he wants to take the republic down with him, like a raging, blinded Samson?
TruthOut (Moyers and Giroux)  

New Anti-Protesting Legislation: A Deeper Look. ... In recent weeks, multiple articles have pointed to the wave of new anti-protesting bills introduced in state legislatures since the end of 2016. TruthOut  

New UK Secrecy Laws Include Harsh Sentences For Journalists Working With Whistleblowers. .. Open Rights Group's Executive Director Jim Killock says PM Theresa May has demonstrated a preference to defend the right to government secrecy over the right to a free press. The Real News  

Why the Russia Story Is a Minefield for Democrats and the Media. ... Russia scandals have bloodied the Trump administration. But it carries dangers for those reporting it. Rolling Stone/Taibbi

Little-noticed House Republican bill would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results. ... A House panel voted to allow employers to require workers to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars. RawStory  

Trump keeps finding himself in the same city as Russian billionaire who paid him $95 million for mansionl. ... A Russian billionaire paid Donald Trump $95 million for a Palm Beach mansion nearly a decade ago — a substantially higher price than the future president had paid several years earlier and more expensive than any other home for sale at the time. RawStory  

Death in al Ghayil -
Women and Children in Yemeni Village Recall Horror of Trump’s “Highly Successful” SEAL Raid ... On January 29, 5-year-old Sinan al Ameri was asleep with his mother, his aunt, and 12 other children in a one-room stone hut typical of poor rural villages in the highlands of Yemen. A little after 1 a.m., the women and children awoke to the sound of a gunfight erupting a few hundred feet away. Roughly 30 members of Navy SEAL Team 6 were storming the eastern hillside of the remote settlement. Intercept  

Solar Creates More US Electricity Jobs Than Oil, Gas, Coal, Nuclear Combined. ... The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued its second annual US Energy and Employment Report (USEER) in January of 2017, and the numbers didn't bode well for the fossil fuels industry. TruthOut  











March 31, 2017

Why FBI Can’t Tell All on Trump, Russia. ... Why? Because doing so would jeopardize a long-running, ultra-sensitive operation targeting mobsters tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to Trump.

Noam Chomsky: Trump's Threat to Human Civilization Is More Immediate Than We Realize. ... The renowned political scientist discusses Republican radicalism, nuclear brinkmanship and American decline. AlterNet/Chomsky  

The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate ... An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp's contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources.
Open News  

Hundreds of Iraqi Civilians Killed in U.S. Airstrikes After Being Told Not to Flee Mosul. ... The Iraq War started 14 years ago this month, and it is showing no signs of letting up. Since President Trump took office, the U.S. military has expanded its aerial bombing campaign targeting areas held by the Islamic State. The Air Force Times is reporting US-backed military aircraft have dropped over 2,000 bombs on the ISIS-held city of Mosul so far this month.
Democracy Now

Iona Craig on What Really Happened When US Navy SEALs Stormed a Yemeni Village, Killing Dozens....Why did the Trump administration choose to carry out this raid? For what reasons? And what are they going to do about it now? Because not only did they put the lives of Navy Seals at a huge amount of risk, which was highly predictable if you had even a vague understanding of the local politics in that particular area of Yemen at the time, but obviously caused mass civilian casualties.
Democracy Now  

Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible. ... The history of federal peanut policy illustrates why Congress could never competently manage a lemonade stand. The feds sabotage farmer productivity, screw consumers, and sow chaos around the world – all for campaign contributions. Federal spending for peanut subsidies has increased eightfold since 2015..
Counter Punch 

EPA Chief Sides With Dow Chemical to Keep Harmful Insecticide Legal. ... A popular insecticide that was recommended by the EPA under the Obama Administration to be permanently banned at farms across the country has been given the go-ahead by current EPA chief Scott Pruitt, a permission that will remain in place until 2024 at the earliest.
Ring of Fire

March 30, 2017
1950 Truman denounces Senator McCarthy as a saboteur of US foreign policy.

To Serve AT&T and Comcast, Congressional GOP Votes to Destroy Online Privacy. (the) .. recognition of who owns and controls Congress-– is absolutely fundamental to understanding any US political issue. And it does -or at least should -transcend both partisan and ideological allegiance because it prevails in both parties.

Congress Seeks to Penalize Peaceful Pro-Palestine Movement, Amid Annual AIPAC Lobbying Blitz. ... "This dangerous bill seeks to impose fines on corporations that boycott business dealings with illegal Israeli settlements," said Josh Ruebner, the policy director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, TruthOut

(DNC's new poster girl) - Conspiracy Theorists Welcome in Corporate Media–if They Have the Right Targets. ... In the past two weeks, Mensch has been touted by former head of the DNC.. appeared on MSNBC... NYTimes... HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. All this despite the fact that she routinely traffics in the most bizarre and unfounded conspiracy theories. Fair  

Why Has Trust in Media Collapsed? Look at Actions of WSJ, Yahoo, Business Insider, Slate.

The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate . ... Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy – and further befogged by politics – it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic surveillance of senior US government officials and, in turn, passed that information onto President Trump.
Consortium News  

March 29, 2017
1973 Last US troops withdraw from S. Vietnam.

Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?. ... If you needed more proof that US foreign policy is misguided, just look to what happened to Rand Paul after his earlier decision to block Montenegro’s accession. The Kentucky senator was subjected to a barrage of insults from fellow Republican John McCain, who flatly accused Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin.” Counter Punch  

Former Democratic Senators Advised Group Funding Anti-Muslim Extremist Frank Gaffney. ... America’s powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, enlisted the help of one of the nation’s most prominent and extreme anti-Muslim activists, Frank Gaffney, during its 2015 push to sink the Iran nuclear deal. And it did so through an organization staffed by some of the country’s most prominent Democratic consultants and advised by a group of four ex-Senate Democrats.  Intercept  

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Doubled Down on Threats to Punish Criticism of Israel. ... UN Ambassador Nikki Haley repeated her prior threats to punish criticism of Israel on Monday, boasting about creating a climate of fear at the U.N. in which other diplomats are frightened to speak to her about recent efforts to condemn Israel’s illegal colonization of the West Bank.  Intercept  

House Republicans Vote To Let Your Internet Service Provider Share Your Web History
The change could also expose your Social Security number and information pertaining to your children and health. Huffington  

Amid Spike in Civilian Deaths from U.S. Strikes, Trump Requests Lifting Policy Limiting Casualties. ... On Thursday, a U.S. Reaper drone struck a gathering in a rebel-held village in Aleppo province, killing as many as 49 people. Monitoring groups say most of the dead were civilians who had gathered at a mosque to pray, while the Pentagon claims the gathering was a meeting of al-Qaeda members.
Democracy Now  

Trump's business network reached alleged Russian mobsters. ... To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor. USA Today  

March 28, 2017
1913 The German government announces a raise in taxes to finance the new military budget.

Jared Kushner flew to Aspen same day as ‘one of Putin’s closest confidants’ whose wife is pals with Ivanka. ... Flight logs show that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, traveled to Aspen, Colorado on the same day as a Russian oligarch with strong ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Raw Story  

As Jared Kushner ascends White House ladder, Senate Russia inquiry adds scrutiny. ... Trump’s son-in-law will lead Office of American Innovation to privatize certain government functions, as he agrees to testify in Russia election investigation. Guardian  

White House Announces Jared Kushner Is Now Responsible For Everything. ... Kushner has been tapped to run an entirely new office with the “sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises ? such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction.”. Huffington  

That long-promised executive order rolling back Obama’s environmental regulations is on its way. .. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt told This Week’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that President Trump will sign the “pro-growth and pro-environment” directive on Tuesday. Grist  

As Trump's Denialists Get to Work, the Climate Is Changing 170 Times Faster. TruthOut

Extinction risk from climate change - A recent study, Extinction Risk from Climate Change, published in the prestigious journal Nature, shows that half the species on Earth today will likely disappear by the middle of the century -- within 33 years. Nature

A new report from the US Department of Energy is going to make the argument that green energy isn’t good for the economy a little harder for the incoming White House administration. IFL Science  

March 27, 2017
1866 President Andrew Johnson vetoes the civil rights bill, which later becomes the 14th amendment

Noam Chomsky sounded a dire warning on Monday ... saying that President Donald Trump could stage a “false flag” terror attack in an effort to consolidate his power and strip Americans of their constitutional rights. RawStory

The Feuding Kleptocrats. ... The Trump kleptocrats are political arsonists. They are carting cans of gasoline into government agencies and Congress to burn down any structure or program that promotes the common good and impedes corporate profit.

The DLC Lives: "Third Way" Democrats Are Trying to Push the Party Rightward. ... For many years, Democrats proudly associated themselves with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a powerful group founded in the 1980s that sought to build a Democratic Party "liberated"­ from labor and grounded in "support for free market and free trade economics ... an end to the politics of 'entitlement' [and] a rejection of affirmative action.". TruthOut

Related: Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates. ... CounterPunch  

Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution. ... A constitutional convention, something thought impossible not long ago, is looking increasingly likely. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, if 34 state legislatures “issue a call” for a constitutional convention, Congress must convene one. By some counts, the right-wing only needs six more states. Once called, delegates can propose and vote on changes and new amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which, if approved, are currently required to be ratified by 38 states. Exposed

Trump’s War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised. ... Trump’s “war on terror” has entailed the seemingly indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people in the name of killing terrorists. In other words, Trump has escalated the 16-year-old core premise of America’s foreign policy — that it has the right to bomb any country in the world where people it regards as terrorists are found — and in doing so, has fulfilled the warped campaign pledges he repeatedly expressed. The Intercept  

Project-X ... A top-secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to Titanpointe, the site of a hidden partnership. Narrated by Rami Malek and Michelle Williams, and based on classified NSA documents, Project X reveals the inner workings of a windowless skyscraper in downtown Manhattan.

March 26, 2017
1804 Congress orders the removal of Indians east of the Mississippi River to Louisiana.
1938 Goering warns all Jews to leave Austria.
1942 - Jews being shipped to Auschwitz

2017 Legislative Session Results In Historic Victories For A Better Democracy In NM!
NM Common Cause

Donald Trump’s Rise Has Coincided With an Explosion of Hate Groups. ... The president’s rhetoric should sound familiar to anyone who lived through the 1990s paramilitary-style “Patriot” movements.
The Nation

At Airwars we've been modelling Coalition airstrike data since the start of operations in August 2014, enabling us to comprehensively model over time the war against Daesh. All of our graphs and tables are based on official data releases from the Coalition, and from individual member nations. Air Wars  

The Resistance Now: robots join the movement. ...Barack Obama defends Affordable Care Act as protesters mobilize across US; thousands sign petition to keep PBS funding; anti-transgender bus defaced. Guardian  

Yuval Noah Harari: ‘Homo sapiens as we know them will disappear in a century or so’ .. Harari sets out on that first page a condensed history of the universe, followed by a summary of the book’s thesis: how the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution and the scientific revolution have affected humans and their fellow organisms.   Guardian  

Inside Trump's War on the Traditional Media. ...Since his declaration that the media is the "enemy of the people," White House correspondents have been battling to maintain their position in the new America. Trump is giving them competition by filling the press corps with trolls and a new wave of right-wing media.

Report: Anxiety Disorders Induced By Trump Presidency Not Covered Under GOP Health Bill.
The Onion

March 25, 2017
1655 Puritans jail Gov. Stone after a military victory over Catholic forces in the colony of Maryland.

Weekend Read:
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.

... Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump's victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.
 Dark Money

Senate Passes Bill Allowing Internet Service Providers to Sell Your Internet History to the Highest Bidder. ... The bill, which allows ISP’s to sell the data they have to corporations, is much more minimal than already established laws handing that same power to corporations and the government. The reality is that ISP’s really don’t have that much information on their users. Ring of Fire  

Ivanka's lawyer, a Democrat, defends herself. ... Jamie Gorelick, a veteran of President Bill Clinton's Justice Department and a Hillary Clinton supporter, explains why she's working for Trump's daughter now.

Putin tells Le Pen Russia has no plans to meddle in French election. ... Far-right candidate in French presidential election reaffirms support for dropping EU sanctions on Russia after meeting in Moscow. ... Vladimir Putin has received Marine Le Pen in the Kremlin in a surprise move likely to reignite fears in Europe about Russian support for the European far right. ... Putin told Le Pen Russia had no intention of meddling in the French presidential elections, though the meeting is likely to send the opposite message. Guardian  

Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper. ... The United States is now moving from Fortress America to a Garrison State. By every conceivable measure, the Trump administration is tearing out the vitals, like an enraged tiger out for blood (for no other reason than destruction of what serves and benefits the citizenry), of a social-welfare and environmentally supportive society.

“You’d better make sure that car’s bullet-proof!” An account of our recent trip to Honduras. ... My taxi was pulling into the carpark of the Honduran Environment Ministry when I got a phone call from the UN. ‘You probably shouldn’t go to that meeting’, they said, ‘the Environment Minister just called for your colleague Billy’s immediate arrest on live TV.

Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Trips Are More Expensive Than Meals On Wheels. ... Trump has already spent enough on trips to Mar-A-Lago this year to pay for nearly 6,000 people to get Meals on Wheels for an entire year. Each weekend, that number jumps higher, and by the end of the year, he will have spent more on personal trips to Trump-owned properties than we spend on the Meals on Wheels program each year.
The Ring of Fire  

March 24, 2017
Born today: 1755 Rufus King, framer of the Constitution.

Jane Mayer on Robert Mercer & the Dark Money Behind Trump and Bannon. ... (a) look at the man who is said to have out-Koched the Koch brothers in the 2016 election. His name is Robert Mercer, a secretive billionaire hedge-fund tycoon who, along with his daughter Rebekah, is credited by many with playing an instrumental role in Donald Trump’s election.
Democracy Now

The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency. ... How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency. ... During the past decade, Mercer, who is seventy, has funded an array of political projects that helped pave the way for Trump’s rise. Among these efforts was public-opinion research, conducted by Caddell, showing that political conditions in America were increasingly ripe for an outsider candidate to take the White House. Caddell told me that Mercer “is a libertarian—he despises the Republican establishment,” and added, “He thinks that the leaders are corrupt crooks, and that they’ve ruined the country.”
New Yorker

Trump Administration to Kill Fracking Rule on Public Lands. ... Trump disagrees with majority of Americans, who are opposed to fracking and drilling on public lands. ... Trump Administration to Kill Fracking Rule on Public Lands Trump disagrees with majority of Americans, who are opposed to fracking and drilling on public lands. AlterNet  

State Department Approves Keystone XL Pipeline
The battle now moves to Nebraska, which must approve or reject a Keystone section.. ... Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon on Friday signed a presidential permit for the controversial project ahead of a Monday deadline for evaluating it.

Broadcast News Abandons Climate Change Coverage, Study Finds. ... And wasn’t because of a lack of newsworthy events. ...ABC, NBC CBS and Fox News Sunday collectively devoted two-thirds less time to coverage of climate change than they did in 2015, ... Huffington Post

Release of Arctic Methane "May Be Apocalyptic," Study Warns. ... A scientific study published in the prestigious journal Palaeoworld in December issued a dire -- and possibly prophetic -- warning, though it garnered little attention in the media. .. "Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic," reads the study's abstract. "But the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic."   TruthOut  

Israel’s Human Rights Spies. ... A fascinating expose in Ha’aretz reveals how, in the mid-1970s – not long after the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights – Israel used university faculty members to infiltrate Amnesty International.  CounterPunch  

(Sounds like President Trump) When an Israeli Minister Threatens a Newspaper ... A minister who threatens his critics in such a fashion cannot serve in his position in a democratic state. ... A straight lines passes through the video clip broadcast yesterday – in which a police officer is seen brutally beating Palestinian drivers in East Jerusalem and threatening them in the foulest of language – and the verbal attacks against Haaretz by the minister responsible for the police, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

March 23, 2017
1933 Hitler given the power to rule by decree.

The Culture of Cruelty in Trump's America. ... For the last 40 years, the United States has pursued a ruthless form of neoliberalism that has stripped economic activity from ethical considerations and social costs. One consequence has been the emergence of a culture of cruelty...

The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency. ... How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency. ... During the past decade, Mercer, who is seventy, has funded an array of political projects that helped pave the way for Trump’s rise. Among these efforts was public-opinion research, conducted by Caddell, showing that political conditions in America were increasingly ripe for an outsider candidate to take the White House. Caddell told me that Mercer “is a libertarian—he despises the Republican establishment,” and added, “He thinks that the leaders are corrupt crooks, and that they’ve ruined the country.”
New Yorker

Neil Gorsuch, Backed by $10 Million in Dark Money, Refuses to Weigh In on Citizens United.
Democracy Now

US Pressures G20 Into Dropping Climate Reference from Joint Statement. ... 'Climate change is out for the time being,' said one anonymous German official.

Common Dreams  

Corporate Media Is Part Of The War Machine, And They’re Ready For Another Conflict. ... Have you ever wondered why companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin – military defense contractors – advertise their companies on outlets like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC? Do they expect viewers to go out and buy missiles and fighter jets? The Ring of Fire  

According to American linguist and political activist, Noam Chomsky, media operate through 5 filters: ownership, advertising, the media elite, flak and the common enemy. Video

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: The disturbing secret history of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner . ... Official disciplinary records have been hidden from public scrutiny until now. Think Progress

March 22, 2017
1895 - Auguste & Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures in Paris.

Inside How the Federalist Society & Koch Brothers Are Pushing for Trump to Reshape Federal Judiciary. ... All eyes are on the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, who is facing his second day of confirmation hearings. But Trump has 123 other federal judgeships to fill, because Senate Republicans blocked many of Obama’s nominees.
Democracy Now

Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s Accusers Is a Fraud. ... For almost four years, a cottage industry of media conspiracists has devoted itself to accusing Edward Snowden of being a spy for either Russia and/or China at the time he took and then leaked documents from the National Security Agency. There has never been any evidence presented to substantiate this accusation. Intercept

British banks handled vast sums of laundered Russian money. ... Exclusive: Billions of dollars were moved out of Russia in ‘Global Laundromat’ operation, with anonymously owned UK companies playing major role. Guardian  

Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam. ... Deutsche Bank among western institutions that processed billions of dollars in cash of ‘criminal origin’ through Latvia.

(September 2014)  The Fake Terror Threat Used To Justify Bombing Syria. ... As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval. Intercept  

Trump sends lawyers after teen for site where kittens can punch POTUS. A 17-year-old is the target of legal attention by President Donald Trump’s general counsel over a site where kitten paws bat around images of President Trump’s face... RawStory

Frightbart: The View From Steve Bannon’s Propaganda Site Will Scare the Bejeezus Out of You... Which Is Its Point. .. A heavy-handed take on how the world is going to hell.

Trump's Budget Director Mick Mulvaney Insists Cutting Meals for Poor Seniors is Compassionate. ... Trump has unveiled his 2018 budget proposal to Congress, which calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending while slashing environmental, housing, diplomatic and educational programs, and calling for the outright elimination of 19 agencies. Democracy Now