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Hometown: Chicago
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Fri May 4, 2007, 12:12 PM
Number of posts: 5,532

Journal Archives

(Oops) U.S. Energy Secretary Duped Into Fake Interview With Russian Comedians


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry optimistically discussed expanding American coal exports to Ukraine and other energy matters during a lengthy phone call this month with a Russian prankster who Perry thought was Ukraine’s prime minister.

Perry actually was talking with comedians known in Russia for targeting celebrities and politicians with audacious stunts, Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a written statement.

Pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov are sometimes called the “Jerky Boys of Russia,” after an American duo who put out recordings of their prank phone calls in the 1990s. They have made faux calls to British singer Elton John, who thought he was speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others.

“These individuals are known for pranking high-level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine,” Hynes said.

During the 22-minute call on July 19, Perry, whose department oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons program, discussed a range of topics in a business-like tone, including sanctions against Russia and helping Ukraine develop oil and gas.

Tillerson takes time off as State Dept. refuses to say he is happy in his role

Haha, the rats are fleeing the sinking ship.
Tillerson's job- gut Russians sanctions and get Exxon into Russian oilfields. Absent that, what's the point of being in DC?


Amid reports Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is frustrated and considering resigning, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert refused to say Tuesday whether Tillerson is happy in his current role.
Tillerson is also taking time off at a time when the US faces multiple foreign policy challenges.
Nauert dodged a question about Tillerson's feelings over the White House's involvement in foreign policy decisions.

"The Secretary, as do all other Cabinet officials, meets with the President and the President's national security advisers and Cabinet members. That is something that's normal, that's customary. They sit down, they have a healthy dialogue and conversations about the heaviest and the weightiest foreign policy issues," she said.

Parliamentarian deals setback to Republican healthcare bill

McTurtle is going to be pissed!


Major portions of the Republican bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare will require 60 votes, according to the Senate parliamentarian, meaning they are unlikely to survive on the floor.

The parliamentarian has advised senators that several parts of the bill could be stripped out, according to a document released Friday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. (Read the ruling here.)

The provisions that would likely be removed include polices important to conservatives, such as restrictions on tax credits being used for insurance plans that cover abortion.

Language in the bill defunding Planned Parenthood for a year also violates the rules of reconciliation, according to the parliamentarian. Republicans are using those rules to try and pass the bill with only a simple majority.

(bonus- angry turtle lashes-out video at link)

Holding Your Ground Against Austerity: Lessons from the Illinois Budget Deal


Instead of caving to lowered expectations, Illinois residents came together like never before. Social-service providers who normally remain apolitical rallied in the streets, not to advocate for one budget line item over another, but to say the wealthy should pay their fair share so we can expand services instead of cutting them. A group of residents being hurt by the budget impasse marched 200 miles to Springfield. Unions strengthened alliances with community organizations. The Grassroots Collaborative, Fair Economy Illinois, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Grassroots Education Movement, the Fight for 15 and others advanced aspirational demands during a period that could have easily been purely defensive.

In the midst of the crisis and chaos created by Gov. Rauner, we pushed an Illinois progressive agenda farther than ever before and made historic progress. Illinois became the first state to pass a $15 minimum wage in both the upper and lower houses. The Illinois Senate passed a bill to close the carried-interest loophole by placing a privilege tax on Wall Street money managers, becoming the first legislative body in the country to do so. Together, a broad coalition passed a bill to give Chicago an elected representative school board, something that Chicago parents have been demanding for decades. The General Assembly also passed the Illinois Trust Act that would expand protections of Illinois immigrant community running directly counter to Gov. Rauner’s anti-immigrant, anti-refugee policies.

We’ve made important strides toward a bold vision. What we still need to do is build the power to fully achieve that vision, by organizing with people in all parts of Illinois. To this end, Grassroots Collaborative is experimenting with building progressive statewide infrastructure, beginning with developing grass-roots leaders and engaging sporadic voters of color in Peoria. Working families, women and people of color must be at the center of our agenda. And unless we build meaningful relationships across the state, Rauner will continue to manipulate a racist anti-Chicago narrative and keep the state divided against itself.

Right-wing media are freaking out as anti-LGBTQ hate groups are called out


In a July 13 National Review article, senior writer and former ADF senior counsel David French called SPLC a “dangerous joke” that spreads “vicious hate.” French claimed that ADF was labeled a hate group “merely because [its members] advocate for orthodox Christian principles and the liberty to live those principles.” He also suggested that there are only two forms of extremism that SPLC should track -- “racist terrorists and white supremacists” -- and concluded that “media outlets who use the SPLC to assess Christian speech expose only their own bias and incompetence.”

Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, declared that ABC News reporters “smeared Christians who believe the Bill of Rights secures religious liberty as a ‘hate group’” and argued that ADF “is not a hate group at all, but a civil liberties organization that battles for religious liberty.” Hemingway went on to warn the media against using SPLC’s designations in the future, threatening that they would be turning “journalism into anti-religious propaganda on behalf of a partisan group” and could potentially “be perceived as enemies of average Americans.”

Katrina Trinko, managing editor of The Daily Signal, wrote that SPLC’s designations put “conservatives’ safety at risk” of persecution and violence by the left, and that “once again, the mainstream media is demonstrating it doesn’t care about the impact of extremist rhetoric on conservatives.” Right-wing outlet The Daily Caller published a post about ADF’s demand that ABC News retract its story, writing that SPLC “frequently smears conservatives as ‘extremists.’” It also published tweets from conservatives who “blasted the media coverage of ADF as an obvious example of media bias.”

During the July 14 edition of his show, Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson called SPLC a “totally discredited but extremely rich left-wing organization” that attempts to “shut down legitimate debate by labeling ideas it disagrees with as ‘hate speech.’” Carlson asserted that NBC News and SPLC “think they’re in charge” of deciding “which ideas are legitimate and which ideas are so dangerous we must suppress them.” Carlson also hosted ADF Vice President Kristen Waggoner, who asserted that ABC and NBC had committed “journalistic malpractice,” and she and Carlson both said SPLC is a “scam.”

Karen Budd-Falen, the Bundy familys lawyer, may be Trumps pick to manage federal lands

Now Trumpco is trolling anyone to the left of Rand Paul.


During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump rejected the radical anti-federal land movement, made famous during the Bundy family occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Trump claimed to hold the more mainstream view that federal lands should stay in public hands and he picked former Rep. Ryan Zinke, a Montana Republican who likes to compare himself to conservationist Teddy Roosevelt, as interior secretary.

In the months since he took office, however, Trump has done nothing but defy the promise to protect and preserve public lands. That began with the president’s unprecedented executive order calling on Zinke to “review” the national monument designations of the Obama administration and continued with his nomination of energy industry lobbyist David Bernhardt as deputy interior secretary.

But always seems to be true with Trump, things could get even worse. Journalists who cover environmental issues in the western United States, along with some environmental activists, believe that Trump is considering a Wyoming lawyer named Karen Budd-Falen, who worked on the presidential transition team, as director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a federal agency that controls almost 250 million acres of publicly owned lands.

The appointment of Budd-Falen at BLM would demonstrate that the Trump administration is embracing a right-wing fringe movement that is hostile to conservation efforts on federally owned lands and, in many cases, objects to the idea that the federal government has any right to own land at all.

Yale historian warns Trumps rise perfectly mirrors frightening ascent of Fascism & Nazis in 1930's


“During the 2016 campaign, Trump spoke of ‘America first,’ which he knew was the name of political movement in the United States that opposed American participation in the second world war,” Snyder explains. “Among its leaders were nativists and Nazi apologists such as Charles Lindbergh. When Trump promised in his inaugural address that ‘from now on, it’s going to be America first’ he was answering a call across the decades from Lindbergh, who complained that ‘we lack leadership that places America first.’ American foreign and energy policies have been branded ‘America first.'”

“Conservatives always began from intuitive understanding of one’s own country and an instinctive defense of sovereignty. The far right of the 1930s was internationalist, in the sense that fascists learned one from the other and admired one another, as Hitler admired Mussolini,” Snyder continued.

“One of the reasons why the radical right was able to overcome conservatives back in the 1930s was that the conservatives did not understand the threat. Nazis in Germany, like fascists in Italy and Romania, did have popular support, but they would not have been able to change regimes without the connivance or the passivity of conservatives.”

Eric Trump Leaves Plate Of Seared Foie Gras Outside Bedroom Door Of Despondent Donald Trump Jr.


WASHINGTON—After gently knocking on his brother’s door and insisting he really should eat something, Eric Trump left a plate of seared foie gras outside a despondent Donald Trump Jr.’s bedroom door, sources said Wednesday. “Hey, Donny, you sure you don’t want a little supper?” said Trump, telling his brother that he might be feeling sad, but that didn’t mean he had to go all day on an empty stomach. “It’s got pear puree and beluga caviar, too. We know how much you like that. Okay, how about I just leave this right here, and you can have some anytime you get hungry? And, hey, we saved you a blackberry mousse torte. It’ll be in the fridge whenever you feel like coming down.” Despite insisting he wasn’t hungry and wanted to be left alone, Donald Trump Jr. had at press time opened his door halfway, brought the plate into his room, and quietly closed the door behind him.

It's been a looong week...And now for something completely different.

Simulator help you jump Trump off a cliff, into a volcano, down a manhole cover, or be devoured by a dinosaur.

Trump's alarming environmental rollback: what's been scrapped so far


Timeline of the rollbacks

14 February Trump signs a bill repealing an anti-corruption rule that required energy companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. The regulation was scrapped under the Congressional Review Act.

16 February The stream protection rule, which prevented mining companies dumping their waste into streams, is axed under the Congressional Review Act. Trump calls it a “terrible job-killing rule.”

28 February Trump instructs the EPA to rewrite the ‘waters of the United States’ rule, which expanded the definition of the Clean Water Act to protect the water supply for around 117 million Americans. Many farmers, real estate developers and golf course owners opposed the rule.

2 March On 1 March, governors and attorneys general from several Republican-led states write to Scott Pruitt to request the EPA stop collecting methane emissions data from around 15,000 oil and gas operations. A day later, Pruitt says he has decided to oblige “after hearing from industry”.

It goes on, and on, and on....
Posted by Snarkoleptic | Tue Jul 4, 2017, 09:02 AM (4 replies)
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