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USA Watch Thread

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#201
wjfox

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#202
Sciencerocks

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Interrogators Blast Trump's 'Clueless' CIA Pick Tom Cotton
Source: The Daily Beast

 

Tom Cotton, Trump’s reported choice for CIA, mocked the idea that Russia backed Trump—and backed waterboarding. That could make for a tense reception at Langley.

SPENCER ACKERMAN
11.30.17 12:44 PM ET

The Central Intelligence Agency is set to receive an advocate of waterboarding, sweeping surveillance powers, jailing journalists, and conflict with Iran as its next director.

A combat veteran and first-term Arkansas GOP senator, Tom Cotton has wasted little time building his twin reputations as one of the Senate’s hardest hardliners and friendliest Donald Trump allies. In one of his earliest Senate soundbites, he rebuked a Pentagon official in 2015 for the failed plan to close Guantanamo Bay, saying its detainees should “rot in hell.” More recently, he has mocked the idea that Trump colluded with Russia.

Now, following months of whispered reporting, White House chief of staff John Kelly has developed a plan to transition Cotton over to the Central Intelligence Agency directorship—the better to oust flailing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA director and fellow Trump loyalist Mike Pompeo, according to the New York Times.

Cotton’s prospective arrival at the CIA is the latest dalliance with a restoration of torture to the spy agency’s agenda. Trump as a presidential candidate advocated “worse” torture techniques than waterboarding, only to proclaim himself swayed away from torture by the opposition of Jim Mattis, now the defense secretary.

 

 

Read more: https://www.thedaily...y-interrogators


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#203
caltrek

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Tom Cotton will reportedly head the CIA. That’s a really horrible idea

 

http://rare.us/rare-...-horrible-idea/

 

Introduction:

 

(Rare POV) Cotton, a hawk’s hawk and neocon’s neocon, is the most pro-war and anti-civil liberties member of the U.S. Senate. He supports torture, has called for jailing journalists, wants the government to have virtually unlimited surveillance powers that he wants to make permanent, worries we don’t use drone strikes enough and openly agitates for military conflict with Iran.

 

On Iran in particular, Cotton makes longtime Republican hawks like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham look reasonable by comparison. As Mehdi Hasan wrote at The Intercept in October about Cotton’s opposition to President Obama’s Iran deal in 2015:

 

(T)hough Cotton may now be the most hawkish senator in the United States — step aside John McCain and Lindsey Graham — we should perhaps thank him for his bluntness. Remember: Every time former President Barack Obama or a member of his administration framed the argument over the nuclear deal as a choice between diplomacy or war, Republicans would cry foul. This, they would say, was a false choice; critics of the deal merely wanted a better deal.

 

But Cotton is clear about regime change. He is clear about airstrikes. He is clear about wanting to crush Iran.

Cotton also says the problem with America’s justice system is that we don’t put enough people in jail (the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world), and his biggest beef with Guantanamo Bay is that there are “too many empty beds.”


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#204
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Sherrod Brown Blasts Republicans: "Don't Even Insult Us By Saying This Is a Legitimate Process."

 

https://www.dailykos.com/

 

Introduction:

 

(Daily Kos) Democratic champion Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio filled in for all of us who couldn't be on the Senate floor Thursday during the debate on the Republicans' radical far-right social engineering project masquerading as a tax bill. He spoke for all of us in his outrage at the dishonesty of the Republicans in jamming this bill through, and what their true intentions are.

 

First, he demolished Sen. John McCain's rationale for supporting the bill. In his statement, McCain said "For months I have called for a return to regular order, and I am pleased that this important bill was considered through the normal legislative processes." Brown:

 

"I am so amused at how any of my Republican colleagues can talk about this as a legitimate process, that they wanted Democratic support. […]

 

"But do you know what happened, Mr. President? You know exactly what happened. They all went down the hall here to the majority leader's office, all my Republican friends. They walked into the office. He had had their Wall Street lobbyists with them, drug company lobbyists, tobacco company lobbyists. That's where they wrote the bill.

 

There was no light of day on this. And then my colleagues on this committee tell us it was a legitimate process the night we had the markup in the finance committee. If you call it legitimate, you give us a bill with almost no warning, you try to jam it through, you change it in the middle of the night. Then we talk about it the next day. Then you change it in the middle of the night again.

6816292134_f86472471f_b.jpg?1453163427

 

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

USDA


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#205
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https://twitter.com/...748480000921600

 

 

How are people not up in arms about this? 


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#206
wjfox

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How are people not up in arms about this? 

 

Because America is an idiocracy.

 

It doesn't matter what's in the bill. As long as liberals are angered by it, that's all that matters to Republican voters.

 

"So much winning!" say the turkeys, as they vote against their own interests, again and again and again.



#207
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How are people not up in arms about this? 

 

Because America is an idiocracy.

 

It doesn't matter what's in the bill. As long as liberals are angered by it, that's all that matters to Republican voters.

 

"So much winning!" say the turkeys, as they vote against their own interests, again and again and again.

 

 

Yes. The Republicans are almost entirely a reactionary party now.

 

I just find it incredible that there have already been 4 people found guilty of Russian involvement and lying to their own countries intelligence agency in Trumps team, with more to come. The Republican voters have mostly ignored it and pretended it's not a big deal. Potential treason and collusion with the Russians would be something Republicans would be outraged by just a few years ago. By their own admission they are meant to be the patriotic ones. 

 

I always like to imagine if it was Obama in Trumps position. If there were multiple members of his team implicated for Russia collusion, with Obama firing the head of the FBI as he was being investigated. I don't think anyone could deny that there would be absolute condemnation on the Republican side with anger and protests verging on a civil uprising. The Republicans have absolutely 0 integrity anymore.


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#208
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Senate Passes Sweeping Tax Bill That Overwhelmingly Benefits the Wealthiest Americans

 

http://www.motherjon...iest-americans/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) Just before 2 AM Saturday morning, Senate Republicans passed the most sweeping tax legislation in 30 years. The final version of the three-week-old bill was not released until four hours before the vote. There have been no hearings on the bill and none of the bipartisanship seen during the last major tax overhaul in 1986.  

The bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is projected to add more than $1 trillion in deficit spending over 10 years, but passed a Republican caucus that spent the Obama years obsessed over the national debt. There was just one dissenter in the party, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. The final vote was 51 in favor, 49 against, with all the Democrats and Corker voting no.

 

There were a smattering of last-minute changes tucked into the nearly 500-page bill, but the core of it is quite simple: a permanent tax cut for corporations combined with much smaller, and temporary, benefits for everyone else. Over the next decade, the $1.4 trillion tax cut would disproportionately reward the wealthiest Americans while piling on the national debt—which in turn will likely be used by Republicans as a justification for cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

 

The House, which already passed its own tax bill last month, and the Senate are expected to work out the differences between their bills in conference meetings. Then each chamber would vote again, and send the final product to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. Trump hopes to sign what he has called his “big, beautiful Christmas present” to the American people by the end of the year.  

 

Before the individual cuts expire in 2026—ending the bill’s most charitable years—the top 1 percent would receive slightly more of the tax cut than the bottom 60 percent of Americans combined. Without the individual tax cut, the top 1 percent would get start getting 61 percent of the benefits. And at that point, the vast majority of middle-class taxpayers would receive essentially nothing, or end up paying higher taxes.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#209
Sciencerocks

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JUST IN: CBO Confirms Poorest Americans Get Destroyed By the GOP Tax Bill
Politics Track: JUST IN: CBO Confirms Poorest Americans Get Destroyed By the GOP Tax Bill:
 

 

The GOP’s tax bill is shaping up to be just as disastrous for America as the GOP’s failed Obamacare repeal. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has finished scoring the measure, and it’s ugly.

The CBO’s analysis concluded that the measure would add $1.4 trillion to the deficit and wreak havoc on poor Americans. Meanwhile, the president is telling everyone that the bill is a massive win for everyone. Considering Trump stands to save millions if the bill passes through the Senate, he’s willing to say anything to sell it.

Via the Washington Post:

By 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill, CBO found. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries, according to the CBO’s calculations.

The main reason the poor get hit so hard in the Senate GOP bill is because the poor would receive less government aid for health care.

 

http://politicstrack...orest-tax-bill/

 

41 million Americans officially living in poverty need to support tax cuts to the wealthiest American Oligarchs. We are rapidly becoming the most disgusting and disgraceful country on Earth.


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#210
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DQExXmoUEAEgCvT.jpg



#211
Sciencerocks

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Donald Trump pulls US out of UN global compact on migration
Source: The Guardian

 


On eve of international conference, US envoy says plan for more humane strategy is incompatible with US sovereignty

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
Sunday 3 December 2017 10.03 EST

The Trump administration has pulled out of the United Nations’ ambitious plans to create a more humane global strategy on migration, saying involvement in the process interferes with American sovereignty, and runs counter to US immigration policies.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, informed the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, at the weekend that Donald Trump was not willing to continue with an American commitment to the UN global compact on migration.

The announcement of the US withdrawal from the pact came hours before the opening of a UN global conference on migration scheduled to begin on Monday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

In 2016, the 193 members of the UN general assembly unanimously adopted a non-binding political declaration, the New York declaration for refugees and migrants, pledging to uphold the rights of refugees, help them resettle and ensure they had access to education and jobs. The initiative had the enthusiastic backing of Barack Obama, and was embraced by Guterres as one of his major challenges for 2018.

 

Read more: https://www.theguard...ct-on-migration


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#212
Sciencerocks

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Reuters Top News

@Reuters

JUST IN: Supreme Court allows President Trump's travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations to go fully into effect
1:16 PM - Dec 4, 2017


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#213
Sciencerocks

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U.S. Supreme Court Lets Trump Travel Ban Take Full Effect
Source: Bloomberg News

December 4, 2017, 4:15 PM EST

 

A divided U.S. Supreme Court let President Donald Trump’s travel ban take full effect while legal challenges go forward, handing him a major victory and suggesting the court ultimately will uphold the restrictions, Bloomberg News reports.

Trump will now be able to bar or restrict entry by people from six mostly Muslim countries, even if they have a relationship with a U.S.-based person or institution. The order effectively supersedes a compromise the justices reached in June, when they let an earlier version of the ban take partial effect but exempted people with a "bona fide" U.S. connection.

Developing...

 

Read more: https://www.bloomber...effect-jasp2kia


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#214
Alislaws

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Wow, There are times I'm really upset about the way things are going in the UK, but it could always be worse.



#215
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Wow, There are times I'm really upset about the way things are going in the UK, but it could always be worse.

 

Yeah. Our government is mostly just incompetent and somewhat callous, the GOP is just plain evil.


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#216
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VA cuts program for homeless vets after touting Trump's commitment
Source: Politico

 

Four days after Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin held a big Washington event to tout the Trump administration’s promise to house all homeless vets, the agency did an about-face, telling advocates it was pulling resources from a major housing program.

The VA said it was essentially ending a special $460 million program that has dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans. Instead, the money would go to local VA hospitals that can use it as they like, as long as they show evidence of dealing with homelessness.

Anger exploded on a Dec. 1 call that was arranged by Shulkin’s Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans to explain the move. Advocates for veterans, state officials and even officials from HUD, which co-sponsors the program, attacked the decision, according to five people who were on the call.

"I don’t understand why you are pulling the rug out," Elisha Harig-Blaine, a National League of Cities housing official who was on the call, said in an interview afterward. "You're putting at risk the lives of men and women who've served this country."

-snip-

 

Read more: https://www.politico...ts-trump-207781


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#217
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#218
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About fucking time!


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#219
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#220
caltrek

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Nonprofits Lobby to Keep Charities Nonpartisan in Final Tax Bill

 

https://nonprofitqua...final-tax-bill/

 

Introduction:

 

(Nonprofit Quarterly) As NPQ reported earlier this week, the US House and Senate have passed two different versions of a Republican tax reform package. The two bills now move to a conference committee that will attempt to reconcile the two versions into a single piece of legislation that will then be sent back to both the House and Senate for a final vote. If the revised bill (technically a “conference report”) is approved by both chambers, the bill will go to President Trump for his signature.

 

A coalition of nonprofit organizations has worked for months to oppose repeal of the Johnson Amendment, the provision of tax law enacted in 1954 to prohibit 501c3 organizations, including religious organizations, from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. Support for the current law and opposition to weakening or repeal is also coming from religious groups and organizations like the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), which “believes the Johnson Amendment is an important safeguard for the charitable sector.”

 

GiveVoice.org, a website organized by the National Council of Nonprofits, hosts a “Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship” that more than 5,500 nonprofit organizations have signed to date. Independent Sector and the Council of Foundations have joined the National Council of Nonprofits in sending a letter signed by the CEOs of all three organizations reiterating their support for keeping tax law as it is and encouraging conferees to not include Section 5201 of the House version of the tax bill in the final conference report.

open-letter-logos.jpg

From the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship, updated 9/5/2017.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






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