" What made that outcome almost certain, Thompson thought, was the obliviousness of Berkeley, California, types who, from the safety of their cocktail parties, imagined that they understood and represented the downtrodden. The Berkeley types, Thompson thought, were not going to realize how presumptuous they had been until the downtrodden broke into one of those cocktail parties and embarked on a campaign of rape, pillage, and slaughter. For Thompson, the Angels weren’t important because they heralded a new movement of cultural hedonism, but because they were the advance guard for a new kind of right-wing politics. As Thompson presciently wrote in the Nation piece he later expanded on in Hell’s Angels, that kind of politics is “nearly impossible to deal with” using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left."
"Trump is who a stupid person thinks a smart man is. Trump is who a poor person thinks a rich man is. And considering his many debts to foreign entities, I am not even convinced he is rich. He is a liar not just in his words, but in his persona. He is a stumbling, screaming personification of a lie."
"NEP’s William Black appears on The Real News Network discussing that a Mnuchin-owned bank made hundreds of billions of dollars of fraudulent mortgage loans that caused a financial catastrophe. You can view with transcript here."
"Donald Trump’s regime is rapidly reconfiguring the United States into an authoritarian state. All forms of dissent will soon be criminalized. Civil liberties will no longer exist. Corporate exploitation, through the abolition of regulations and laws, will be unimpeded. Global warming will accelerate. A repugnant nationalism, amplified by government propaganda, will promote bigotry and racism. Hate crimes will explode. New wars will be launched or expanded.
And, as this happens, those Americans who remain passive will be complicit."
"In its short life span, 2017 has given us a number of occasions to wonder what the hell year it is. On Wednesday, Mississippi gave us another: Republicans in the state legislature voted to advance a bill that would make electrocution, firing squad and gas chamber acceptable forms of capital punishment.
According to the Associated Press, House Bill 638 is intended to protect the death penalty in the state. As it stands, lethal injection is Mississippi's only legal means of execution, but has in recent years come under fire as a "torturous death." HB 638 is, according to the AP, House Republicans' answer to legal taken by "liberal, left-wing radicals."
Yet the controversy around lethal injection is valid. The injection is a cocktail of drugs: one that paralyzes the body, one that stops the heart and, sometimes, one to stop the pain. Getting that cocktail right is a difficult business, one that has led to a number of high-profile and inhumane errors over the past few years. In 2015, for example, Oklahoma used the wrong drug to execute Fredrick Wagner, accidentally injecting him with an embalming chemical while he was still alive. "
"The executive order lends new credence to the false narrative of police officers under siege, and calls for action to fight this fake scourge in partnership with the newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The order comes during the safest period for U.S. law enforcement in decades. Although officer fatalities in the line of duty rose to 135 in 2016 — compared with 123 in 2015 — those numbers don't even come close to what they've been for most of the last 60 years.
Here are some figures: The average number of officer deaths since 2012 is 124 per year. From 1961 through 2011, it was 182, peaking at 280 in 1974. Even during the most fatal year of the past decade and a half — 2011, when 177 officers were killed in the line of duty — only 73 were killed by firearms. Traffic-related incidents have been the leading cause of on-duty officer fatalities during this period, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund."
"After Sen. Jeff Sessions (R. Ala.) was confirmed as the new United States Attorney General on Wednesday night, white nationalists and members of the alt-right took to Twitter to celebrate what they hope will constitute an ideological victory for their agenda.
"Law & Order, welcome back," tweeted David Duke, the former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, alongside a picture of Sessions.
Richard Spencer, a central figure to the upstart alt-right movement that draws its values system from a shared well of xenophobia and bigotry, retweeted a more sinister message from white nationalist group VDARE — a photo of the Batman villain Bain, accompanied by the message: "A new era has begun."
"The New York Times explained the difference between the immigration policies of President Barack Obama—who deported millions of people, more than any president in history—and President Donald Trump, who has pledged to deport five times as many:
The Obama administration made a priority of deporting people who were deemed a threat to public or national safety, had ties to criminal gangs, or had committed serious felony offenses or a series of misdemeanor crimes. Ms. Rayos did not fit any of these criteria, which is why she was allowed to stay in the United States even after a judge issued a deportation order against her in 2013.
That all changed under Mr. Trump. Among the 18 executive orders that he has issued since taking office on Jan. 20 is one stipulating that undocumented immigrants convicted of any criminal offense—and even those who have not been charged but are believed to have committed "acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense"—have become a priority for deportation.
Kansas Secretary of State and former Trump advisor Kris Kobach is also promising to extend Trump's executive order to the state level, and introduced a bill empowering state and municipal law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws and deport undocumented immigrants. "What it does, basically, is set the stage for a scorched-earth approach for immigrants in this country," said Clarissa Martinez, deputy vice president of National Council of La Raza, to McClatchy.
"Setting the stage for bitter battles over civil, immigrant, LGBTQ, and women's rights during the Trump administration, the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as attorney general on Wednesday evening.
The vote was 52-47 (roll call here), with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) breaking with his party to vote in Sessions' favor and the nominee himself, who formerly represented Alabama, abstaining.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately vowed to sue if Sessions, who will now head the Department of Justice, violates the U.S. Constitution. "
"In Scott King’s letter, written in 1986, the civil rights activist explained why confirming Sessions’ nomination to become a federal judge would “have a devastating effect not only on the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere towards fulfilling [her] husband’s dream.”
Watch Warren read the letter outside Senate chambers below."
"The Clintons were receiving inside information that would have kept them incredibly well informed about the Greek crisis. Gary Gensler, former co-head of finance at Goldman Sachs and the financial director of Clinton’s 2016 election campaign was revealed in Wikileaks Hillary Clinton Email Archives to have been sending Clinton inside information on Greece's recover prospects while he was acting as the head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 2011. In 2012, Sydney Blumenthal emailed Clinton classified information about German leadership's thoughts on further potential bailouts for Greece which apparently had been acquired by a "sensitive source" working undercover within the German government. While receiving some of this information was part of Clinton's job as Secretary of State, her close relationship to Goldman Sachs and her son in law's Greek fund raises very clear questions about potential conflicts of interest.
III. The Clintons Helped Germany Consolidate Political Control Of Greece By Encouraging Austerity"
"“I’ve been in this town for 26 years. I have never seen anything like this,” said Eliot Cohen, a senior State Department official under President George W. Bush and a member of his National Security Council. “I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president.”"
"LESS THAN A MONTH into the new administration and not even a presidential bath robe can protect President Trump’s orange from becoming the new anti-black. This week on Intercepted we sit down with intrepid investigative reporter Allan Nairn, who breaks down Trump’s relationship with the CIA, the president’s murderous affection for Vladimir Putin, and the killer assembly of establishment neocons and right-wing conspiracists running the U.S. war machine. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton professor and author of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation,” dismantles Obama’s problematic legacy, offers strategic advice for resisting Trump, and shares her scorecard on Nazi punching. The Intercept’s own distinguished alt-historian, Jon Schwarz, offers a (morbid) lesson on the origins of presidential executive orders. And singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches performs a powerful song about racism and the police state."
"Now, more than 150 former federal prosecutors have expressed their disapproval of Trump’s overreach as well. On Monday, former Assistant United States Attorney Ellyn Marcus Lindsay provided The Intercept with a letter signed by herself and 53 other former AUSAs in California, which referred to the executive order as “a thinly veiled attempt to exclude Muslims from certain countries based on their religion.”"
"It seems Ireland's media has decided to one-up Germany's. Following Spiegel's Lady-Liberty-beheading images, Ireland's Village Magazine cover shows crosshairs on President Trump's head with the question "why not?" However, there is a silver lining to this utter stupidity, the magazine decides "killing people is wrong... and shooting Trump is unnecessary and disproportionate.""
"THE FBI’S RAP BACK program is quietly transforming the way employers conduct background checks. While routine background checks provide employers with a one-time “snapshot” of their employee’s past criminal history, employers enrolled in federal and state Rap Back programs receive ongoing, real-time notifications and updates about their employees’ run-ins with law enforcement, including arrests at protests and charges that do not end up in convictions. (“Rap” is an acronym for Record of Arrest and Prosecution; ”Back” is short for background). Testifying before Congress about the program in 2015, FBI Director James Comey explained some limits of regular background checks: “People are clean when they first go in, then they get in trouble five years down the road [and] never tell the daycare about this.”"
"Hillary's top fundraisers Steve Elmendorf & Heather Podesta are paid to help Wall St defeat the fiduciary rule, now achieving goal via Trump"
"President Trump's executive order on travel may be generating big protests, but an IRS missive on travel and passports may not go down too well either. More than a year ago, in H.R.22, Congress gave the IRS a new weapon to collect taxes. Tax code Section 7345 is labeled, “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.” The law isn't limited to criminal tax cases, or even cases where the IRS thinks you are trying to flee. The idea of the law is to use travel as a way to enforce tax collections. It was proposed and rejected in 2012. But by late 2015, Congress passed it and President Obama signed it."
"As Silicon Valley's tech billionaires continue their crack down on "fake news", "hate speech" and dissenting conservative opinions of all forms (see this from last night: "Reddit Bans Three Alt-Right Forums As Users Blast 'Leftist Intolerance'"), one thing they don't seem to be that worried about is death threats to the President of the United States. In fact, just a quick search of Twitter reveals 1,000s of tweets calling for the assassination of Trump."
"The trip was a mere two days but racked up hotel rooms totally $88,320 with an additional $9,510 for embassy staff tasked with “supporting” the Secret Service detail for the “VIP visit,” The Post found in purchase orders."