Monday, January 23, 2017


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Long Reads: A Forgotten May Day

As the world is still trying to come to grips with the Trump regime and the wave of nationalism around the world, the lessons of the Nixon era come to mind as to the kind of things America can and should expect to happen under Trump.  The criminalization of protest is moving very quickly in Republican ranks, and after yesterday's Women's Marches across the country will millions participating, those efforts will now be top priority.

That brings us to the now largely forgotten Mayday Tribe shutdown of Washington DC in 1971.

On May 3, 1971, after nearly two weeks of intense antiwar protest in Washington, DC, ranging from a half-million-person march to large-scale sit-ins outside the Selective Service, Justice Department, and other government agencies, some 25,000 young people set out to do something brash and extraordinary: disrupt the basic functioning of the federal government through nonviolent action. They called themselves the Mayday Tribe, and their slogan was as succinct as it was ambitious: “If the government won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government.” The slogan was of course hyperbolic— even if Washington, DC were completely paralyzed by protest for a day or week or a month, that would not halt the collection of taxes, the delivery of mail, the dropping of bombs, or countless other government functions—but that made it no less electrifying as a rallying cry, and no less alarming to the Nixon administration (Nixon’s White House chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, called it “potentially a real threat”). An elaborate tactical manual distributed in advance detailed twenty-one key bridges and traffic circles for protesters to block nonviolently, with stalled vehicles, improvised barricades, or their bodies. The immediate goal was to snarl traffic so completely that government employees could not get to their jobs. The larger objective was “to create the spectre of social chaos while maintaining the support or at least toleration of the broad masses of American people.”

The protest certainly interfered with business as usual in Washington: traffic was snarled, and many government employees stayed home. Others commuted to their offices before dawn, and three members of Congress even resorted to canoeing across the Potomac to get themselves to Capitol Hill. But most of the planned blockades held only briefly, if at all, because most of the protesters were arrested before they even got into position. Thanks to the detailed tactical manual, the authorities knew exactly where protesters would be deployed. To stop them from paralyzing the city, the Nixon Administration had made the unprecedented decision to sweep them all up, using not just police but actual military forces.

Under direct presidential orders, Attorney General John Mitchell mobilized the National Guard and thousands of troops from the Army and the Marines to join the Washington, DC police in rounding up everyone suspected of participating in the protest. As one protester noted, “Anyone and everyone who looked at all freaky was scooped up off the street.” A staggering number of people— more than 7,000—were locked up before the day was over, in what remain the largest mass arrests in US history.

Many observers, including sympathetic ones, called it a rout for the protesters. “It was universally panned as the worst planned, worst executed, most slovenly, strident and obnoxious peace action ever committed,” wrote esteemed antiwar journalist Mary McGrory in the Boston Globe afterwards. In the New York Times, reporter Richard Halloran flatly declared, “The Tribe members failed to achieve their goal. And they appear to have had no discernible impact on President Nixon’s policy in Vietnam.” Even Rennie Davis, the Chicago 7 defendant and New Left leader who had originally conceived of the Mayday action, announced at a press conference that the protest had failed.

But the government’s victory, if you can call it that, came only as a result of measures that turned the workaday bustle of the district’s streets into what William H. Rehnquist, the assistant attorney general who would later become chief justice of the Supreme Court, called “qualified martial law.” While the government hadn’t been stopped, there was a very real sense that it had been placed under siege by its own citizens, with the nation’s capital city transformed into “a simulated Saigon,” as reporter Nicholas von Hoffman put it in the Washington Post. Nixon felt compelled to announce in a press conference, “The Congress is not intimidated, the President is not intimidated, this government is going to go forward,” statements that only belied his profound unease. White House aide Jeb Magruder later noted that the protest had “shaken” Nixon and his staff, while CIA director Richard Helms called Mayday “a very damaging kind of event,” noting that it was “one of the things that was putting increasing pressure on the administration to try and find some way to get out of the war.”

Mayday, the scruffy and forgotten protest that helped speed US withdrawal from Vietnam, changed the course of activist history as well. It came at a time of crisis for the left—indeed, the distress call embedded in the mobilization’s name could apply equally well to the state of American radical movements in 1971 as to the conduct of the war they opposed. The last major national protest against the Vietnam War, Mayday was also a crucial first experiment with a new kind of radicalism, one rooted as much in its practices as in its ideas or demands. This quixotic attempt to “stop the government”—so flawed in its execution, yet so unnerving in its effects—was organized in a different manner than any protest before it, in ways that have influenced most American protest movements since. 

Nixon and Halderman broke out the National Guard and martial law to stop the Mayday protests.  And that was just 25,000 people.  If we had another mass shutdown, something larger, like on the scale of the hundreds of thousands who showed up for the Women's March?

Trump would be terrified.  And the world would know.

Just saying.

Not Foxy Enough For The Trump Regime

Dissent will not be tolerated in the Trump regime, and nobody is a bigger target now than conservative pundits who weren't sufficiently loyal enough during the Trump campaign. There's no use for them in the era of Trump propaganda, and so they are being purged.

Fox News has declined to renew contributor contracts for longtime political commentator George Will, Republican strategist Ed Rollins and actress Stacey Dash, according to a network spokesperson.

Will, 75, is a Pulitzer-winning conservative columnist who was with ABC from 1981-2011 before coming to Fox in 2013.

In June of 2016, he declared he was leaving the Republican party because of Donald Trump, a decision the then-nominee appeared to embrace.

In 2015 and 2016, Will had periodically feuded with the network's highest-rated host, Bill O'Reilly, with Will once stating that O'Reilly's best-selling book, "Killing Reagan" was "nonsensical" and "The Factor" host calling Will "a hack" in a subsequent interview.

Dash was signed by Fox in 2014 and was primarily seen on the afternoon news discussion program, "Outnumbered." The 50-year-old Republican is best known for her co-starring role in the 1995 comedy, "Clueless."

Political strategist Ed Rollins, 73, was a political commentator for CNN before jumping to Fox in 2011. He's primarily known for serving as national campaign director for the successful Reagan-Bush 1984 campaign and currently co-chairs the pro–Trump Great America PAC.

Veteran journalist Marvin Kalb, 86, and syndicated columnist and radio commentator Cal Thomas, 74, also did not have their contracts renewed by the network.

No need for Dash with Obama gone.  No need for older "Never Trump" conservatives like Will, Thomas, Rollins and Kalb with Trump in charge.  They've outlived their usefulness.  Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly were the smart ones and left for greener pastures on networks who need conservative cred with the Trumpies.  This is how the business of political media works.  It's not about fact, it's about "truth".   They're out.  Who's in at the new Trump News Network?

On Friday, Fox announced the signing of former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage as a contributor.

Farage is a major backer of Brexit and outspoken supporter of President Trump.

Have to make the new regime happy.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Last Call For The New Baghdad Bob

Meet Sean Spicer, Trump regime mouthpiece.  He has the hardest job on Earth, which is pretending the garbage that flows from the lips of Dear Leader is true, and that America believes it.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday accused the media of misrepresenting the crowd at Donald Trump's inauguration in order to dampen enthusiasm for the event, getting some numbers wrong himself in the process.

“This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said with emphasis. “Both in person and around the globe.”

He accused the media of "deliberately false reporting" both with regard to photos of the crowd that were published as well as crowd estimates.

"No one had numbers. Because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out," Spicer said.

"These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong," he added.

Spicer took no questions after delivering his remarks.

This is his first day on the job, but his job is apparently "screaming at the press about Trump's tiny...attendance figures."

Meet The Sisters Of The Resistance

The planned Women's Marches around the country blew away estimates as hundreds of thousands showed up to protest the Tangerine Tyrant in cities across America.  In Washington DC, crowds dwarfed that of Trump's inauguration the day before.

Activists and politicians rallied huge crowds who descended on the nation's capital today for the Women's March on Washington this morning, the biggest of hundreds of similar marches taking place today.

The rally featured speeches from women's rights activist Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Madonna, actresses Ashley Judd and Scarlett Johansson and director Michael Moore among others.

A group of largely women senators and other politicians took the stage together at one point, including Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, Claire McCaskill, D-MO, and newly elected senators Kamala Harris, D-CA, and Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, who addressed the group as did Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, were also on stage.

With the timing and sheer number of people involved, it comes as little surprise that there are various causes attached to the march, which was largely billed as a demonstration in support of women's rights and civil rights but for many has clear political undertones connected to the inauguration of Donald Trump.

In Boston, LA, Chicago and NYC huge crowds marched and chanted.

They were joined by crowds in cities across the country: In Chicago, the size of a rally so quickly outgrew early estimates that the march that was to follow was canceled for safety. In Manhattan, Fifth Avenue became a river of pink hats, while in downtown Los Angeles, even before the gathering crowd stretched itself out to march, it was more than a quarter mile deep on several streets.

Portland, St. Paul, Denver, even Austin, Texas had major demonstrations.

The Austin Police Department told CBS Austin that it estimates more than 40,000 people descended on the state capitol Saturday afternoon to participate in the Women's March on Austin. They said the participants filled more than 20 downtown city blocks.

People are pissed off, guys.  Trump is the most unpopular president since Dubya crashed and burned, and he's starting at this level and will only get worse for him.

The Regime Plays In Kentucky

In 95% white Elliott County, Kentucky, in what used to be deep blue union territory, they voted for the Republican for the first time in over a century.  Now the people who voted for the regime are wondering if they got taken to the cleaners by a con man.

As the lunch crowd began trickling into the Frosty Freeze restaurant Friday, owner Judy Pennington stood in front of a television and eagerly awaited the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

“Even though he’s a billionaire — and that don’t cut no ice with me — he’s for the little people,” she said. “The veterans. The coal miners. The forgotten people.”

Trump’s connection with those “forgotten” working-class white voters put him in the White House and shocked the political establishment. Nowhere was it more shocking than in Elliott County, a place Barack Obama carried twice and one of the last Democratic strongholds in rural Kentucky. No Republican presidential candidate had ever carried this 148-year-old county until Trump got 70 percent of the vote.

With that sort of victory margin, you might have expected a lot of excitement here about Trump’s inauguration. But, aside from Pennington, none of the customers in her restaurant seemed enthusiastic.

It was the same down the road at the Penny Mart, where several people were enjoying the taco salad special and ignoring Trump’s inaugural speech on television.

“It’s just what’s on TV,” said Matt Farley, who was working the cash register and said he wasn’t a Trump fan. “I just try to stay out of it.”

Several people at both restaurants who said they voted for Trump didn’t want to talk about it — or didn’t want to give their name if they did. Most said it wasn’t so much that they voted for Trump as against Hillary Clinton.

“A lot of people didn’t like her because she was a woman,” Pennington said. More than that, though, she just didn’t connect with people here.

“I honestly believe that if (Trump) and Hillary Clinton were out there in the parking lot, he would be the one to come in and talk to people,” Pennington said.

“You never saw any Hillary signs,” said Travis Jones, 28, a construction worker who voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary but couldn’t vote for Clinton in November because of “all of her lies and scams and schemes.” Her pro-choice stand on abortion and her comments critical of the coal industry hurt her, too, he and several others said.

“Honestly, I thought Hillary beat herself,” Jones said.

Although he didn’t vote for Trump, Jones said he is hopeful the new president will turn out to be a champion for working people. But he is suspicious of all the rich business executives Trump has named to his cabinet.

“I’m not sure what to expect,” Jones said. “I think he’s going to fight for some of his promises, but he’s going to have some trouble because there are a lot of people who want him to fail.”

Democrats won overwhelmingly in the county in other races, Jim Gray beat Rand Paul here and Rocky Adkins remains the state's most powerful Democrat in the General Assembly, winning by nearly 60 points.  But Clinton was destroyed.  The union boys voted Trump.

They're going to wonder why the jobs don't come back too.

Read more here:

The Regime's First Speech

Trump's inaugural speech was "one for the ages" in the same way that hurricanes like Katrina and earthquakes like the one during the 89 World Series were: disasters of historic proportions, viewed by tens of millions as it happened.

In it Trump, the least popular president to take office in modern history, addressed his supporters and simply ignored the people who didn't vote for him, repeatedly saying that America now belonged to Trump voters and not himself.  The passages are truly disturbing:

Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction -- that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

America is a great country that belongs to Trump voters.  Everyone else? Well, they're the reason America is an awful place.  But that stops now, because I will stop them.  You, my supporters, will stop those people.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first — America first.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body. And I will never, ever let you down.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules -- buy American and hire American.
Note he didn't say "All of us" or "America" but "We assembled here today" as having the power, and being the righteous.  Everyone else will be made fearful of America first, a slogan with a very dark history as the country now plunges into an era of ruthless protectionism that will absolutely lead to devastating trade wars and a ravaged economic landscape.  To have a president repeatedly say it should scare the hell out of you.  But here's where we should really be paying attention:

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones. And unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth. 

 We're going to war, folks.  A massively expanded military and mindset to "eradicate" terrorism absolutely means we're going to be in shooting wars all over the globe with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of troops.

That passage above was followed by this one:

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

Dissent in the Trump regime will not be tolerated. Only total allegiance will do. And those who bring up race or creed or sexual orientation? There's no room for you, only patriotism.  You are a patriot, right citizen?

Folks, Trump has been saying this for months now.  And now he is backed up by the total control of our government, law enforcement, and military.

You should be very, very frightened.  We now live in a authoritarian regime. This speech was written by a white nationalist warmonger tyrant, and it was given by one too.

Be ready to resist any way that you can.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Last Call For Bernie Does Sacramento

Looks like the Bernie Bros are putting their votes where their mouths are: The Our Revolution gang has taken over the California Democratic Party and looks to leverage control of the largest state party in the country to affect national Democratic priorities.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) turned out en masse at ordinarily sleepy party caucuses earlier this month, electing a slate of delegates who could be poised to take over the largest Democratic Party organization outside of Washington, D.C. 
As final vote totals trickled in, Sanders backers claimed to have elected more than 650 delegates out of 1,120 available seats chosen at this month’s caucuses. Those delegates will choose the next state Democratic Party chairman, along with other party officials. 
Sanders supporters say they hope to change the very nature of the Democratic Party. 
“One of the issues we’re looking to do is transform the party,” said Shannon Jackson, executive director of Our Revolution, the organization that grew out of the Sanders’s presidential campaign. “This is the first step in that process.”

Our Revolution ran an on-the-ground get-out-the-vote effort, to make sure supporters attended caucuses in each of the state’s 80 assembly districts. The group sent out more than 100,000 emails and delivered 40,000 text messages, Jackson told The Hill. More than 800 Sanders supporters signed up to run for delegate seats. 
Longtime Democratic activists, used to low-turnout caucuses in which only party regulars show up, were stunned by the long lines they faced this year. One party strategist in Sacramento said he waited 45 minutes in line before being able to vote, when he was used to walking in and out in the space of five minutes. 
The surge in turnout, and Sanders backers’ success, caught the attention of elected leaders in Sacramento. 
“There’s a lot of energy in the party right now. We need to move really quickly to harness this energy,” state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) said in an interview, marveling at the turnout in his Los Angeles-area district.

I don't always agree with Sanders guys (to put it mildly) but credit is given where credit is due, all the times I've said "Well then get off your asses and do something to change things if you don't like the party rules" to these guys, well they did exactly that in California.

Getting involved in the local and state party level?  That's precisely what we need a hell of a lot more of and in all 50 states too.  Maybe this is the start of getting the Democratic party turned around.

I'm also very glad to see the Sanders folks finally realize that working from within the Democratic party rather than against it is the far more effective path to long-term victory.  If these are the activists ready to get involved and start filling local and state candidate slates rather than abandoning them to the GOP, then you know what?  That's how representative democracy works, guys.

More power to 'em.  They were told put up or shut up, and they put in the work and got involved.  We need more of that.  A lot more.

And not just in California.  This is a good place to start, however.

Bulls On Parade

Trump, like most authoritarian despots, wanted actual goddamn tanks rolling down the streets for his inauguration parade, because he's a goddamn tyrant.  The Pentagon politely told him no for several reasons.

The military “may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump told the Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday. “That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”

Trump spoke about his vision of military parades in vague terms, suggesting it was something he might oversee in the future. But according to several sources involved in his inaugural preparations, Trump has endeavored to ensure that his first day as commander-in-chief is marked by an unusual display of heavy military equipment.

During the preparation for Friday’s transfer-of-power, a member of Trump’s transition team floated the idea of including tanks and missile launchers in the inaugural parade, a source involved in inaugural planning told The Huffington Post. “They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,” the source said, referring to massive military parades in Moscow and Pyongyang, typically seen as an aggressive display of muscle-flexing.

The military, which traditionally works closely with the presidential inaugural committee, shot down the request, the source said. Their reason was twofold. Some were concerned about the optics of having tanks and missile launchers rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. But they also worried that the tanks, which often weigh over 100,000 pounds, would destroy the roads.

“I could absolutely see structural support being a reason [not to use tanks],” a Department of Defense official said. “D.C. is built on a swamp to begin with.”

Two things here: One, these are now the people in charge of the United States of America and its military, the strongest on the planet by an order of magnitude or so.  Two, it wasn't Trump who immediately shot this idea down, like most actual human beings with souls would do.  No, the request to roll tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue actually made it to the Pentagon.

By the way, Trump will get military flyovers.  Lots of them.  The last president to have flyovers as part of an inauguration?  Truman, after being re-elected after the Allies won WWII.  You know, the guy that nuked Japan twice.

We are in dire trouble from the word go.

The Age Of Austerity Is Coming

It's going to be a race to see who can cause more misery with draconian austerity cuts: Paul Ryan and the House (who have been cooking up brutal Medicaid Medicare and Social Security cuts for years and will almost certainly get them) or the Trump regime, who is apparently working on cutting everything else in the budget.

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned. 
The changes they propose are dramatic. 
The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations. 
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely. 
Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years
The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition. 
Similar proposals have in the past won support from Republicans in the House and Senate, who believe they have an opportunity to truly tackle spending after years of warnings about the rising debt. 
Many of the specific cuts were included in the 2017 budget adopted by the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus that represents a majority of House Republicans. The RSC budget plan would reduce federal spending by $8.6 trillion over the next decade.

Congrats, America.  You're not going to get a "government small enough to drown in a bathtub", you're going to get a government that drowns you in one instead.

So many Americans voted for Trump on the basis that he would hurt those people instead of the people ignorant enough to buy his con.  So many Americans are about to find out they were always going to get screwed by him.  Sure, there are plenty of folks who will be content to suffer just as long as it means anyone darker than a paper bag ends up back in crushing poverty, but as I keep reminding people, the majority of Americans on cash welfare, SNAP food assistance, SS disability checks and housing assistance programs are all white people.  When they start really hurting too, maybe they'll come around.

Probably not though.  At least they wont be, you know, black.  Long as Trump can keep that scam going, he can end the New Deal and start a new Gilded Age, no problem.  So as the Trump regime takes power (I refuse to call them "administration" because that would assume they 1) care about governance, 2) are capable of competent governance, 3) aren't a bunch of actual thieves and con artists, 4) aren't a white nationalist movement) this afternoon, remember:

It gets darkest just before it all goes pitch black.

StupidiNews, Inauguration Day Edition!

Donald Trump will be sworn in at America's 45th President at noon in Washington DC today.

This is really less of a news event as it is a warning of impending disaster.

New tag:  Trump Regime.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Last Call For Climate Of Hostility, Con't

As the Trump regime assumes power this weekend, keep in mind that the earth has now hit three straight years of record global temperatures, and we're in a pattern where new records will be set monthly.

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016 — trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row. 
The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. 
The data show that politicians cannot wish the problem away. The Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization. 
In 2015 and 2016, the planetary warming was intensified by the weather pattern known as El NiƱo, in which the Pacific Ocean released a huge burst of energy and water vapor into the atmosphere. But the bigger factor in setting the records was the long-term trend of rising temperature, which scientists say is being driven by increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The good news is with El Nino over, 2017 will probably not be a global record-breaker.  But there are still major problems in the Arctic.

Even at current temperatures, billions of tons of land ice are melting or sliding into the ocean. The sea is also absorbing most of the heat trapped by human emissions. Those factors are causing the ocean to rise at what appears to be an accelerating pace, and coastal communities in the United States are spending billions of dollars to fight increased tidal flooding. Their pleas for help from Congress have largely been ignored. 
The finding that a record had been set for the third year in a row was released on Wednesday by three government agencies, two American and one British, that track measurements made by ships, buoys and land-based weather stations. They analyze the figures to correct for known problems, producing an annual average temperature for the surface of the Earth. The national meteorological agency of Japan also confirmed the findings in a preliminary analysis. 
The findings about a record-warm year were also confirmed by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, a nonprofit California group set up to provide a temperature analysis independent of governments. That group, however, did not find that three records had been set in a row; in its analysis, 2010 was slightly warmer than 2014.

So the Trump regime will try to legislate all mention of the problem away as Republicans are salivating over cuts to climate science and research.  But it's looking more and more like it's too late to stop the first stages of a positive feedback loop in the polar ice zones.  Science doesn't require your belief, as the truism goes.

Where The Hate Comes Screaming Down The Plain

Not to be outdone by Texas, North Carolina or Kentucky in January, Oklahoma Republicans are now in contention for the worst legislation so far in the very young year of 2017 as they attempt to enshrine compulsory anti-LGBTQ bigotry into state law.

In 2016, Oklahoma set a record for the most anti-LGBT bills introduced in one session, worsting Texas from the year before. Fortunately, legislative deadlines kept them from advancing, but now one lawmaker is back with what appears to be one of the most extreme “religious liberty” proposals any state has considered. 
Behind the measure is Sen. Joseph Silk (R), who has an extensive record of particularly anti-LGBT legislation and statements. He calls his new bill, SB 197, the “Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act,” but it explicitly enables discrimination against LGBT people — and possibly just about anyone else! 
SB 197 ensures that no one ever has to provide any services used in or to promote “a marriage ceremony or celebration of a specific lifestyle or behavior.” Additionally, such denials will be immune to any civil claim or governmental penalty. In fact, if someone tries to sue or the government takes an adverse action against the person who discriminates, that person will actually have a claim to “recover all reasonable attorney fees, costs, and damages” incurred as a result of the “violation.” 
The proposal seems to borrow from two other prominent pieces of legislation, Mississippi’s currently-unenforceable HB 1526 — which specifically enables discrimination against LGBT people — and the proposed First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which protects people who might discriminate against same-sex couples from any governmental penalty. Congressional Republicans are very optimistic about passing that bill given President-elect Donald Trump’s assurances that he would sign it.
Though the use of “marriage ceremony or celebration” seems to suggest that, like the other bills, SB 197 is designed to target same-sex couples for discrimination, the language is so broad that it could allow quite a bit more. 
There is virtually no limit to what “specific lifestyle or behavior” an Oklahoma wedding vendor could imagine to justify refusing service to a person. As written, the law would make it legal for them to discriminate against vegetarians, people with tattoos, people who tweet in ALL CAPS, people who are left-handed, people who enjoy shopping at Target, or people who enjoy the musical Oklahoma! a bit too much, as examples.

And again, the larger story is that Republicans are going to put the "First Amendment Freedom Act" on Trump's desk within the next couple of months, if not weeks, enshrining bigotry into federal law and almost certainly destroying state-level LGBTQ protections in the process.

It would be eminently unconstitutional, but given this regime, I fully expect that to no longer be the case for long.

The Creamsicle Cabinet

When Trump says "Make America Great Again" judging from his cabinet selections "America" is about 90% white men, a few white women, Ben Carson, Nikki Haley, and Mitch McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao.  With Trump reportedly tapping former Georgia GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary, that means for the first time since 1988 there will be no Hispanic members in the Cabinet.

Donald Trump's Cabinet is poised to become the first since 1988 without any Hispanic officials — a huge disappointment for members of the nation's second-largest ethnic group — as reports indicate he'll tap former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for agriculture secretary.

Two Hispanic Texans were under consideration for the post: former U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, a San Antonio Republican, and Elsa Murano, a former Texas A&M president and former undersecretary for food safety.

"We're extremely worried. This is anti-democratic," Hector Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, an umbrella group of 40 advocacy organizations, asserting that Trump is undoing decades of progress toward more inclusion.

Ronald Reagan named the first Latino to the Cabinet in 1988 when he picked Texas Democrat Lauro Cavazos for education secretary. Cavazos, a former Texas Tech president, stayed on under George Bush. Every president since, from both parties, has had at least one Hispanic in the Cabinet at all times.

"Trump has not only been the most anti-Latino, anti-immigrant president in the history of the nation. By not including Latinos in the Cabinet he is just showing how he is planning to govern," Sanchez said, noting that Latinos now account for 17 percent of the U.S. population. 

Carson has zero experience in running an agency like HUD (and has said so), Haley has zero foreign policy experience (and has said so), and ironically the one actual person in the Orange Cabinet who is actually qualified to be there is Chao, as Dubya's former Labor Secretary, as an obvious sop to her husband.

I'm thinking that it's almost an accident that Trump's cabinet has any diversity in it at all.  Hispanic voters should definitely be thinking that.  And Mouth of Sauron Sean Spicer?

Asked Wednesday about the dearth of Hispanics in the Cabinet, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer called it more important to pick people who can do the jobs well.

"He has continued to seek out the best and the brightest to fill out his Cabinet," Spicer said. "We have 5,000 positions and I think you're going to see a very strong presence of the Hispanic community" among senior administration appointments and White House staff.

"I don't have any concern about diversity," he said.

It's pretty apparent you don't, guys.


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