February 20, 2017

How Trump's 2-for-1 rule may affect one industry

Colin Woodard, Portland Press Herald - New England fishermen and conservationists fear one of President Trump’s executive orders will have disruptive effects on fisheries management....

The ambiguously worded Jan. 30 order requires that two regulations be effectively eliminated for each new one promulgated by most federal agencies. The order prompted a fiery letter three days later from two prominent Democratic congressmen pointing out it could have “devastating impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries and the businesses and communities they support.”

Several fishing organizations raised concerns about the order, including the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association and the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, with the focus on concerns that routine regulatory actions such as opening and closing seasons and amending quotas and rules on a particular species would fall afoul of the order.

“Our big concern is making sure we have certainty around our opening and closing of fishing seasons, especially with the scallop season coming up in less than a month and the groundfishery after that,” says Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, which represents traditional Maine fishermen, most of them engaged in fishing scallops or so-called groundfish – cod, haddock, flounder, hake, pollock and other bottom-dwelling species. “It can become a little scary when fishermen don’t know what their next business year is going to look like.”

February 19, 2017

Tales from the attic: The Isetta




Sam Smith - The one vehicle with which I am more familiar than, say, Rich DeGrandpre of the sainted R&D Automotive, is the Isetta I drove as a reporter for WWDC & Deadline News Service in Washington in the late 1950s. The Isetta, an Italian import, was far smaller than any car on the road today, and powered by a motor scooter engine. It had four wheels, but they were tiny and the two in back were almost adjacent to each other. You sat in what amounted to little more than a cockpit with barely enough room for a 210-pound reporter and a radio telephone. The door doubled as the entire front end, with the steering wheel swinging out of the way for entrance and egress. More than once I pulled up to a wall or post only to remember that I had blocked my own departure. As Wikipedia notes: “The Isetta caused a sensation when it was introduced to the motoring press in Turin in November 1953; it was unlike anything seen before. Small (only 7.5 ft long by 4.5 ft wide and egg-shaped, the entire front end of the car hinged outwards to allow entry. In the event of a crash, the driver and passenger were to exit through the canvas sunroof. The steering wheel and instrument panel swung out with the single door, as this made access to the single bench seat simpler. The seat provided reasonable comfort for two occupants, and perhaps a small child. Behind the seat was a large parcel shelf with a spare wheel located below. A heater was optional, and ventilation was provided by opening the fabric sunroof.”

The car was only produced for about nine years.

Intelligence briefers told not to tell Trump too much

Trump invited golf club members to his job interviews

The Hill - Newly leaked audio from a November party at President Trump's Bedminster, N.J., golf club reveals then president-elect Trump touting to guests his scheduled interviews on premises with potential cabinet members and White House staff.

“We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” Trump says in the tape, obtained by Politico and published Saturday. “You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government."

"We’re going to be interviewing everybody — Treasury, we’re going to be interviewing Secretary of State,” he continued. “We have everybody coming in — if you want to come around, it’s going to be unbelievable … so you might want to come along.”

The tape was recorded at the same New Jersey golf club where Trump interviewed several potential cabinet picks, including former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was under consideration to be secretary of State.

Postal workers kill Staples privatization scheme

Truth Out - The Staples boycott is over, and the union won. The Postal Workers announced that the Postal Service will terminate its deal with Staples, closing down the 540 "mini-post offices" inside stores by the end of February and nixing plans to expand them to all 1,600 locations.

The union fought for three years against the deal, which amounted to contracting out post office work to the low-wage, non-union office retailer.

Staples opened its first postal counters in 2013. They offered a selection of the services APWU members provide at post office windows, including stamp sales, first-class domestic and international mail, and priority and express mail. Customers paid the same rates they would in a real post office -- but Staples got a discount from the Postal Service, and pocketed the difference as profit.

"This victory goes far beyond Staples," said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. "We have strong reason to believe this was their plan for postal retail for most of the country. We believe they had a number of these deals in the pipeline. By us with our allies taking this to the streets, those other deals fell through."

GOP congressmembers duck town hall meetings

Alternet - Only 19 representatives and senators—a tiny number—will hold town meetings during the first recess of the current session of Congress, according to the Town Hall Project. But the group’s listing of these democratic mainstays barely tells the story.
 
According to an eye-opening Washington Post account, Republican officeholders have been cancelling planned town halls because they don’t want to face critics upset that they may soon lose their health insurance or see an increase in costs as the GOP plans to undermine Obamacare.

Was Trump really a top student at Wharton School?

Alex Rabin, and Rebecca Tan, Daily Pennsylvanian - Penn records, as well as some of President Donald Trump's classmates, do not seem to indicate that he was a top student at Wharton.

For years, President Donald Trump has said it’s clear that he is “a very smart guy” since he attended Wharton — a school he describes as “super genius stuff.”

Trump, who graduated from Wharton in 1968, has also never challenged the fact that he "graduated first in his class," which various publishers and news agencies such as The New York Times have reported.

Penn records and Trump’s classmates dispute this claim.

In 1968, The Daily Pennsylvanian published a list of the 56 students who were on the Wharton Dean’s List that year — Trump’s name is not among them.

Pages from the 212th Commencement show President Donald Trump as a 1968 Wharton graduate, but that he graduated without honors.

“I recognize virtually all the names on that list, ” 1968 Wharton graduate Stephen Foxman said, “and Trump just wasn’t one of them.”

1968 Wharton graduate Jon Hillsberg added that there was no indication on the 1968 Commencement Program that Trump graduated with any honors. A copy of the program acquired from the Penn Archives lists 20 Wharton award and prize recipients, 15 cum laude recipients, four magna cum laude recipients and two summa cum laude recipients for the Class of 1968. Trump’s name appears nowhere on those lists.

Trump dumps another aide

Politico - The White House abruptly dismissed a senior National Security Council aide  after receiving reports that he had publicly laced into the president and his senior aides, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump at an event hosted by a Washington think tank.

The aide, Craig Deare, was serving as the NSC's senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Earlier in the week, at a private, off-the-record roundtable hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center for a group of about two dozen scholars, Deare harshly criticized the president and his chief strategist Steve Bannon and railed against the dysfunction paralyzing the Trump White House, according to a source familiar with the situation.

How Trump's immigration policy would hurt the economy

The Hill - Approximately 40 percent of all undocumented workers are employed in agriculture, construction, and leisure and hospitality. Studies have concluded that mass deportation would significantly hit the U.S. gross domestic product. One such study from Cato Institute in 2012 found that a mass deportation policy would reduce economic growth by around $250 billion per year.

Instead of investing in our infrastructure, or spending more on educating our youth and investing in more job training for U.S. citizens, Trump has made it priority number one to spend on deportations.

More than $20 billion for a border wall, hiring many more border patrol and ICE agents, and reducing legal immigration channels. This will result in potentially millions going underground seeking sanctuary, children not attending school, skilled workers unable to legally enter the U.S. and incentivizing businesses to leave or set up offshore. 

Over the past decade we have already witnessed the devastating economic impact that immigrant crackdown policies have on cities and states.

Take, for example, 2011 when Georgia passed an immigrant enforcement law, the agricultural industry was hit hardest with many crops rotting due to lack of workers. These restrictive policies make our country less secure as we will witness diminished communication between the immigrant population and law enforcement.

Winners: The private prison industry, wall construction contractors and maybe some newly-hired ICE and border patrol agents.

Losers: The rest of us.

February 18, 2017

Pages from the past: Resurrection City



The NY Times had an article today about Resurrection City:

"Organized by Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference - and led by Ralph Abernathy after Dr. King's assassination - the campaign brought around 3,000 people from all over the country to a spit of land that would soon be drenched by rains, and filled with wooden shanties and varied attempts at utopian do-it-yourself collectivism.

"They called it Resurrection City. It was an urban area taking up 15 acres near the mall's Reflecting Pool.

"The first demonstrators arrived on May 12, 1968, on buses from Mississippi. An architect designed rudimentary tents and wooden structures for temporary residents, and then came a city hall, a general store, a health clinic and a handful of celebrity visitors, including Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando and Barbra Streisand."

The architect mentioned by the Times was my longtime friend and cartoonist for the DC Gazette - forerunner of the Progressive Review - John Wiebsnson. In fact I rented office space for over two decades from John

For six weeks - between May and June in the tumultuous spring of 1968 - some 2800 members of Martin Luther King Jr's Poor People's Campaign came to the capital to give physical form to the economic programs King was pushing. As I wrote a  few years back:

||| It was an audacious tactical gambit by the leaders of the SCLC, and one which is often thought to have backfired due to a number of overlapping factors. With Dr King's death in April and the urban disturbances that followed, the nation and SCLC were thrown into a state of uncertainty. The leadership of the SCLC fell to King's right-hand man Ralph Abernathy, and with that, the unenviable task of maintaining the momentum of the PPC whilst appeasing the growing factions within his own movement. Ultimately, the task of managing Resurrection City during its six week lifespan would prove to be highly problematic; with the venture being undermined by a combination of poor organization, hesitant leadership and dire weather conditions.

The design of Resurrection City was undertaken by a 'Structures Committee' ; a small group of architects and planners chaired by John Wiebenson.

Wiebenson and his team went about producing designs for a plywood city; one which could be built economically, easily and quickly. The two main designs for Resurrection City were the Family Shelter Unit and the Dormitory Shelter Unit. Each version comprised prefabricated parts, which could be easily assembled by residents in less than an hour to create a simple, compact and weatherproof shelter.||||

Some photos are above.

Wieb also kicked off the efforts to preserve DC's old Post Office building but passed away before the building was taken over by a New York real estate hustler by the name of Trump.

The real fake news

Sam Smith - The real fake news is propaganda, which is the overwhelming product of the Trump regime so far. Running live broadcasts of rallies in which Trump distorts facts, history, and his real intent is real fake news. MSNBC, for example, is providing the Trump regime millions of dollars of free time in which to spreads its propaganda. That's not journalism, folks.

Meanwhile....

Harper's - Portion of the world;s female prison population that is incarcerated in the United States

Mar-a-Lago update

Trump’s three Mar-a-Lago trips since the inauguration have probably cost the federal treasury about $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analyzing White House travel, including money for Coast Guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military, security and staffing expenses associated with moving the apparatus of the presidency. Palm Beach County officials plan to ask Washington to reimburse tens of thousands of dollars a day in expenses for deputies handling added security and traffic issues around the cramped Florida island whenever Trump is in town.



Trump calls his Florida resort "the southern White House"


Chicago is the poster city for violent crime to President Trump, but he's got some mean streets right in his Florida backyard. The city of West Palm Beach, which sits just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Trump's palatial Mar-a-Lago Resort on exclusive Palm Beach, had a violent crime rate in 2015 that was equal to that of the Windy City, according to federal crime records

The club will be closed to its members through this weekend, DailyMail.com has learned.
Two members – who paid $100,000 to join the beach side club and plunk down $15,000 a year in dues – said they are angry after being told they wouldn't be let in tonight and Saturday night as Trump visits for the third weekend in a row. 'We are pi**ed off to no end,' said one of the Mar-a-Lago members who asked that his name not be used. The 66-year-old businessman said he fears being shunned by Trump if he talks to the press. 'I personally paid $100,000 years ago (the initiation fee was upped to $200,000 last month) to join and I go to dinner at Mar-a-Lago every Saturday."

Word

https://scontent.fbed1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/p480x480/16708338_1426670647425985_7508784344111873333_n.jpg?oh=35dbfa88e9e5ce453e991256ddf66f1c&oe=5932F039

Trump lies about Boeing

Robert Reich - I just watched Trump give a speech at South Carolina's Boeing facility where the new 787 “Dreamliner" is being unveiled. Trump said it was “built right here” in South Carolina, and that “our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports and more on products made here in the U.S.A."

He also called for "a very substantial penalty to be paid when they fire their people and move to another country, make the product, and think that they are going to sell it back.” And said he'll lower taxes and get rid of regulations that send our jobs to those other countries. "We want products made by our workers in our factories stamped by those four magnificent words, 'Made in the U.S.A.'"

All fantasy. In fact, almost a third of Boeing’s Dreamliner comes from abroad -- from countries with high taxes and high regulations, good wages, strong unions, excellent schools including technical education, and universally-available health care.

1.The Italian firm Alenia Aeronautica makes the center fuselage.

2. French firm Messier-Dowty makes the aircraft's landing-gear system.

3. German firm Diehl Luftfahrt Elektronik supplies the main cabin lighting.

4. Swedish firm Saab Aerostructures manufactures the access doors.

5. Japanese company Jamco makes parts for the lavatories, flight deck interiors and galleys.

6. French firm Thales makes its electrical power conversion system.

7. Thales selected GS Yuasa, a Japanese firm, in 2005 to supply it with the system's lithium-ion batteries.

Oh, and the first delivery of the Dreamliner is scheduled to take place next year – to Singapore Airlines. Currently there are 149 orders for it from worldwide customers including British Airways and Air France.

In other words, contrary to Trump, the Boeing Dreamliner is made all over the world and will be sold all over the world.

His "America First" economics is total demagoguery. We get a first-class workforce by investing in their education, training, infrastructure, and healthcare -- not xenophobic grandstanding.

Lies Trump wanted the "dishonest" media to report

DC gets death with dignity law

Washington Times - A law authorizing physicians in the nation’s capital to help end the lives of terminally ill patients who wish to die went into effect Saturday after congressional Republicans were unable to block the legislation in time.

Washington, D.C., is now the 7th jurisdiction in the country to permit physician-assisted suicide.

More grim facts about Stephen Miller

Trump Vinyard seeking foreign workers

Huffington Post - While President Donald Trump rails against immigrants and foreign workers taking away American jobs, the Trump Vineyard Estates has filed yet another request for visas for foreign farm workers at its Virginia winery. The application filed last week asks for H-2 worker visa for 23 laborers at $11.27 an hour from April through October this year.

In December, Trump Vineyard Estates also filed an application with the Department of Labor seeking six visas that would allow the company to hire foreign workers for seasonal jobs. That paperwork was submitted just days after Trump urged an Indiana company not to ship American jobs to Mexico.

Trump Winery, which the president’s son Eric Trump owns, would employ the workers, according to Buzzfeed,

February 17, 2017

Trump dump

According to Chuck Schumer, Trump's cabinet has more net worth than the whole bottom third of American citizenry combined

The Trump mob has even been censoring an Department of Energy website for kids

Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward, a former U.S. Navy Seal, rejected President Donald Trump's offer to become new national security adviser.. A friend of Harward's has been quoted in the press as saying Harward was reluctant to take the job because the White House seems unstable. Harward called the offer a "shit sandwich," his friend said.

Congressional GOP out to kill class action suits

Buzzfeed - Republicans in Congress are pushing a new law limiting class-action lawsuits, proposing legislation that would scale back the ability of large groups of consumers to band together and sue businesses.On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that has received little coverage, but which has the potential to transform class-action lawsuits.

Groups working to save government web data Trump wants to kill

Wired - Groups like DataRefuge and the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, which organized [a] Berkeley hackathon to collect data from NASA’s earth sciences programs and the Department of Energy, are doing more than archiving. Diehard coders are building robust systems to monitor ongoing changes to government websites. And they’re keeping track of what’s been removed—to learn exactly when the pruning began. Tag It, Bag It

The data collection is methodical, mostly. About half the group immediately sets web crawlers on easily-copied government pages, sending their text to the Internet Archive, a digital library made up of hundreds of billions of snapshots of webpages. They tag more data-intensive projects—pages with lots of links, databases, and interactive graphics—for the other group. Called “baggers,” these coders write custom scripts to scrape complicated data sets from the sprawling, patched-together federal websites.

It’s not easy. “All these systems were written piecemeal over the course of 30 years. There’s no coherent philosophy to providing data on these websites,” says Daniel Roesler, chief technology officer at UtilityAPI and one of the volunteer guides for the Berkeley bagger group.

Action notes

The group behind the Women’s March on Washington in protest of Donald Trump's presidency announced this week that it will hold a general strike on Wednesday, March 8. In social media posts, the Women’s March group announced the “General Strike: A day without a woman" will take place on International Women's Day. The group did not immediately announce what actions it's calling for as part of the strike but said it would begin sharing more information over the next few weeks.



Resistance Recess - The week of February 18–26 is the first recess of the 115th Congress—time specifically set aside for members of Congress to meet with constituents and get the pulse of the communities they represent.  This is the perfect time to raise our voices. We will show up at our elected officials' events, town halls, other public appearances, and even plan our own events, if they refuse to meet with us, to make it clear to those who represent us, as well as to the media, that tolerance of Trump's hurtful agenda is unacceptable and politically toxic. What's happening near you

Betsy DeVos' brother helping Chinese military

Erik Prince, Betsy DeVos’s brother, is setting up a private army for China, sources tell BuzzFeed News.

Buzzfeed - Erik Prince — founder of the private military company Blackwater, financial backer of President Trump, brother to new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and frequent Breitbart radio guest of White House power broker Stephen Bannon — has been offering his military expertise to support Chinese government objectives and setting up Blackwater-style training camps in two Chinese provinces, according to sources and his own company statements.

The move could put him at odds with Trump, who has often taken a hard line against China, and could also risk violating US law, which prohibits the export of military services or equipment to China.

The controversial Blackwater founder says he is setting up bases in two Chinese provinces, but his company says “this does not involve armed personnel.”

Trump's USDA kiling information on animal cruelty

Boing Boing - Immediately upon assuming office, the Trump administration directed the US Department of Agriculture to take down the extensive records of its publicly funded investigations of animal cruelty in America; now, Americans can only access their own data by paying for expensive, unweildy, and slow Freedom of Information Act requests to the USDA. The agency claims it removed the records to protect the privacy of the persons named in them, but the records had always been redacted for this purpose prior to their publication on the USDA website.

Washington Post hides connection to CIA

Alternet - the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.

The Post’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon -- which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. But the Post’s articles about the CIA are not disclosing that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon.

Even for a multi-billionaire like Bezos, a $600 million contract is a big deal. That’s more than twice as much as Bezos paid to buy the Post four months ago.

Blacks feel taken for granted by the Democratic Party

From a survey by Brilliant Corners Research as reported by NNPA

— A large majority of African American voters (63 percent) feel taken for granted by the Democratic Party. This startling majority represents a growing problem among one of the most critical components of Democrats winning coalition.

— African-American voters broadly support more drastic tactics to obstruct the Trump administration, including not confirming President Trump’s appointees (53 percent), sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience.

— The list of important priorities for African American voters includes: Protecting Social Security (88 percent, very important), keeping us safe from terrorists (78 percent), criminal justice reform (74 percent), reforming the election process so the candidate with the majority wins (72 percent), investigating Russian interference with the 2016 election (72 percent), protecting Obama’s legacy (71 percent), banning assault weapons (61 percent), and blocking Sessions (60 percent) are the top legislative priorities for African Americans nationally.

What's happened to the nation's health since 1935

Center for Disease Control

From 1935 to 2010
  • Although single year improvements in mortality were often small, the age-adjusted risk of dying dropped 60 percent from 1935 to 2010.
  • Heart disease, cancer, and stroke were among the five leading causes every year between 1935 and 2010.
  • The risk of dying decreased for all age groups but was greater for younger age groups with a 94 percent reduction in death rates at 1–4 years compared with a 38 percent decline at 85 years or more.
  • Age-adjusted death rates were consistently greater for males than females (for example, 65 percent higher than those for females between 1975 and 1981 compared with 40 percent higher in 2010) as each decreased substantially between 1935 and 2010.
  • The risk of dying decreased for all race subgroups of the U.S. population from 1935 to 2010; however, differences persisted between groups (the gap was the widest between 1988 and 1996).

Tax tip

Center on Budget & Policy Priorities - The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate remains in force, so taxpayers “should file their tax returns as they normally would,” the IRS reminded taxpayers yesterday. Specifically, they should continue to indicate on their tax return whether they were insured last year or exempt from the requirement to have health coverage, or whether they owed a penalty for not having coverage. President Trump’s January 20 executive order directing agencies to “minimize … regulatory burdens” under the ACA prompted the IRS to abandon plans to tighten the reporting of health coverage this tax-filing season. But it didn’t change the individual mandate.

Justice links

NEWS
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Drugs: marijuana
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Essays
Clues your country may be becoming a fascist state
The militarization of civilian America
The true power of juries
Letter to a spook
How to stay free
Of pink suits, golf balls & civil liberties Letter to Thomas Jefferson Mississippi summer 1964
Backing off of hate
 
 
WAR ON TERROR
The biggest threat to America: ourselves
Final thoughts
September 12, 2001
Follow the limousines
An alternative 9/11 report
 
GROUPS
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American Civil Liberties Union
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On guns
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JUSTICE
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CHELSEA MANNING SUPPORT NETWORK
SPYING
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Project on Government Oversight
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PRISONS
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SOLITARY WATCH

Jazz break

Gerry Mulligan: Bernie's Tune