Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Last Call For Tea-rok, DINO-saur Hunter

At least a few former Sanders supporters have decided that the best way to move forward into the Trump era and the 2018 and 2020 elections is to scour the party and purge those Dems deemed impure.

Leaders of the groups organizing some of the first outbursts of direct action in response to Trump’s surprise election are making plans to take to the streets through January’s Inauguration and beyond. In frantic behind-the-scenes phone calls, text messages and Slack chats, they’re also planning to channel the energy unleashed last week into electoral politics, starting with Democratic primaries, to build what one organizer called a “tea party of the left.”

“Our big goal is to support primary challenges against those Democrats who negotiate with Donald Trump,” said the organizer, Waleed Shahid, a veteran of Bernie Sanders’ campaign who is working for a group called AllofUs, launched in September. The approach mimics that of the tea party, which has used insurgent primary bids to unsettle establishment Republicans and drive the Republican Party rightward. 
“It gave people in the Republican Party who are upset with the establishment an identity,” Shaid said. “You could be a tea party Republican. We think there’s a lot of power in that.” 
Progressive groups are planning to combine that tactic with direct actions like marches and sit-ins to more seamlessly merge an anti-Trump protest movement with electoral politicking. 
Already, AllofUs — which draws organizers from the environmental group and the Occupy movement — has organized a candlelight vigil at the White House on Saturday and a Monday sit-in at Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office that resulted in 17 arrests. Another organizer for the group, Max Berger, said it was in the process of planning additional mobilizations over the next several months. And in recent days, the group’s leaders have participated in informal talks with unions and other standard-bearers of the progressive left about orienting their efforts toward Democratic primary challenges while maintaining protests. 
Among the groups eyeing a stepped-up role in primaries are’s political action wing and National Nurses United, which backs Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is convening its board this week in Washington, where its members will participate in a Thursday afternoon rally with Sanders on the Capitol grounds. “Time for faux progressives to get out of the way,” said the union’s executive director, RoseAnn DeMoro. “Change is the only thing that will save that party.”

I don't think these guys are going to get much traction, or get much action, frankly.  I figure voters will get rid of DINO Dems like Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester and Joe Donnelly pretty quickly in 2018.

Of course they'll be replaced by Republicans, but we haven't gotten that far yet.  I'm sure states like West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Indiana will come around to far left Democratic candidates when presented.

You know, just like Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.

Last Call For The Moscow Shuffle

Don't look now, but this week the head of the NSA basically admitted that he believes Russia used WikiLeaks to influence the 2016 elections. Over at Mother Jones, David Corn says that actually is worthy of congressional hearings.

Despite all the news being generated by the change of power under way in Washington, there is one story this week that deserves top priority: Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. On Tuesday, the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, was asked about the WikiLeaks release of hacked information during the campaign, and he said, "This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect." He added, "This was not something that was done casually. This was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily." 
This was a stunning statement that has echoed other remarks from senior US officials. He was saying that Russia directly intervened in the US election to obtain a desired end: presumably to undermine confidence in US elections or to elect Donald Trump—or both. Rogers was clearly accusing Vladimir Putin of meddling with American democracy. This is news worthy of bold and large front-page headlines—and investigation. Presumably intelligence and law enforcement agencies are robustly probing the hacking of political targets attributed to Russia. But there is another inquiry that is necessary: a full-fledged congressional investigation that holds public hearings and releases its findings to the citizenry. 
If the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies are digging into the Russian effort to affect US politics, there is no guarantee that what they uncover will be shared with the public. Intelligence investigations often remain secret for the obvious reasons: they involve classified information. And law enforcement investigations—which focus on whether crimes have been committed—are supposed to remain secret until they produce indictments. (And then only information pertinent to the prosecution of a case is released, though the feds might have collected much more.) The investigative activities of these agencies are not designed for public enlightenment or assurance. That's the job of Congress.

Unfortunately, the odds of this Congress ever addressing Mike Rogers's statement is approaching zero so quickly that it might throw off tachyons in the process.  Even if you don't believe the NSA (and yeah, there's ample reason to never trust the NSA on anything, ever) Congress should still investigate the Russian connections here on the off chance that this is actually legit (and there's ample evidence to believe it may very well be.)

And they won't, because the chief beneficiaries of the Russian interference were Donald Trump and the GOP Congress.  That's 100% true.

Kobach Chameleon, Con't

Regardless of whether Kansas GOP Secretary of State Kris Kobach ends up Attorney General or not, he is currently Trump's transition team point man on immigration right now. Just to let you know how truly abysmal the man and his policies are, he's openly talking about bypassing Republicans and Democrats in Congress to build that mythical wall...and to start registering Muslims.

Kobach told Reuters last Friday that the immigration group had discussed drafting executive orders for the president-elect's review "so that Trump and the Department of Homeland Security hit the ground running."

To implement Trump's call for "extreme vetting" of some Muslim immigrants, Kobach said the immigration policy group could recommend the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States on visas from countries where extremist organizations are active.

Kobach helped design the program, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, while serving in Republican President George W. Bush's Department of Justice after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants.

Under NSEERS, people from countries deemed "higher risk" were required to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting on entering the United States. Some non-citizen male U.S. residents over the age of 16 from countries with active militant threats were required to register in person at government offices and periodically check in.

NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after it was deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security and criticized by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim- majority nations.

Kobach said the immigration advisers were also looking at how the Homeland Security Department could move rapidly on border wall construction without approval from Congress by reappropriating existing funds in the current budget. He acknowledged "that future fiscal years will require additional appropriations."

Yeah, on top of everything else this asshole came up with the Bush Administration's unconstitutional profiling of Muslims program, and now he wants to bring it back.  But for ten years, we regularly kept tabs on "high-risk" Muslims until the Obama administration put a stop to it.

Trump has said that he not only wants to bring NSEERS back but expand it to include all Muslims in the US, including US citizens. And yes, he wants to build that wall to keep them out.

Kobach is the most dangerous member of Trump's team that I've seen so far, somebody who can make Trump's dangerous immigration rhetoric into reality.

That's a serious problem.

The King Coal Con, Con't

Congratulations, coal country voters!  Donald Trump is about to play you for the useful idiots you are.  Meet your new Trump administration Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross!

After campaigning as a champion of coal miners, Donald Trump is reportedly close to choosing for Commerce Secretary a New York billionaire who owned a West Virginia mine where a dozen miners were buried alive in 2006. Trump’s favored candidate, Wilbur Ross, also engineered buyouts that cost workers their benefits, and their jobs. It’s a striking choice, considering Trump’s promises to improve the lives of coal miners and other working-class Americans.

Ross made his money collecting “distressed assets”—failing steel and textile mills in the midwest and south, and coal mines in Appalachia. Dubbed the “The King of Bankruptcy,” Ross cut jobs, wages, pensions, and health benefits at the companies he acquired, and reaped the profits. In the early 2000s, Ross’s foray into the steel industry netted him a $267 million personal windfall, but stripped health care benefits from more than 150,000 retired steelworkers. Then he moved on to the coal industry, at one point controlling as much as $1.2 billion in coal assets through his company, the International Coal Group.

That's right, Trump is about to make the guy who took health benefits away from a hundred and fifty thousand steel workers the head of America's business strategy.  And if the name Wilbur Ross sounds familiar, it should.  Especially in West Virginia.

One of ICG’s acquisitions in West Virginia was the Sago Mine, about 100 miles east of Charleston. The mine, a non-union operation, racked up a slew of safety violations from federal inspectors—more than 208 in 2005 alone. That year, the roof of the mine collapsed twenty times. Workers at Sago were injured three times as often as workers in similar mines elsewhere. Though Ross claimed not to be part of operating management at Sago, he admitted later that he was aware of the violations, and waved them away.

Then, early one January morning, methane ignited deep in the mineshaft. The explosion instantly killed one miner and stranded a dozen others about two miles from the mouth of the mine, in a passageway filled with carbon monoxide. It was more than an hour before company managers called for help, and four hours until a rescue team arrived. Nearly two days later, when they finally reached the trapped miners, all but one had died. Ross and ICG set up a $2 million compensation fund for the families of the deceased—an amount, critics pointed out, that paled in comparison to Ross’s immense personal wealth. (Trump contributed $25,000 to that fund.)

So the guy who overlooked safety violations that cause the Sago mine disaster ten years ago is now going to be overseeing the Commerce know, the guys in charge of, among other bureaus...NOAA.

Coal mine owner in charge of weather and climate science in America.

Nice knowing you.


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