Trump administration robs health programs for poor to pay for coronavirus response

The Trump administration is robbing the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which pays for heating and cooling assistance to the poor (which in turns helps keep them healthy), of $37 million to go toward its COVID-19 response. It's taking $139 million away from health programs in total, The Hill reports. This is money the administration can move around without congressional approval.

Betsy DeVos cornered by congressman for lacking basic information about the US education system: ‘You don’t know the answer?’

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee Thursday and was repeatedly unable to answer basic questions, got snippy with Democratic lawmakers, and falsely claimed research cited by top Democrats was wrong and had been “debunked.”

The important word in ‘democratic socialism’ is ‘democratic’

Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t talking about making America into Cuba or Venezuela. He’s talking about extending social guarantees like those offered in other advanced countries, such as Denmark and Sweden. 

After the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race. 

Researcher warns: A recession ‘the likes of which we’ve never seen before’ could be on its way

American companies are ignoring the risks of climate change at their own peril, according to a researcher warning that extreme weather caused by the climate crisis could result in a devastating economic recession.

Financial markets are failing to account for the risks that increasingly frequent and worsening floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events pose to the economy, according to an article published in the journal Nature Energy this week.

‘A travesty and a disgrace’: Trump quietly issues memo that could abolish union rights for 750,000 federal workers

“This administration will not stop until it takes away all workers’ rights to form and join a union.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday quietly issued a memo granting Defense Secretary Mark Esper the power to abolish collective bargaining rights for the Defense Department’s 750,000 civilian workers, a move unions decried as part of the administration’s far-reaching assault on organized labor.

Trump has already ‘joked’ about defying 2020 election results. Here’s what could happen if he refuses to concede

Have you ever considered what happens when Donald Trump loses in November? One year ago, his former attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress that Trump would not accept electoral defeat this upcoming election. Sadly, he’s probably right: If there’s one thing Trump has been consistent about, it’s that he narcissistically refuses to accept reality whenever it’s in any way negative toward him.

Factchecking NPR’s Attempted Takedown of Bernie Sanders

The Iowa caucuses officially began the Democratic primary, and even in this ongoing, extended battle for the White House, Iowa remains an important marker for candidates and the media. A close look at a piece by two of NPR’s leading political reporters, which aired just before the caucuses, provides a view of how journalists speak with authority on issues they seem to know very little about.

Ten years later, ‘The New Jim Crow’ continues to reshape the way we organize around criminal justice

During the past decade, no single book was more directly responsible for reshaping how the American public understands race and mass incarceration than Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. This week marks the 10-year anniversary of its publication. After its release, the book went on to spend more than a year on the New York Times Best Sellers list and has been taught in colleges and mentioned in major films like Ava Duvernay’s award-winning Netflix documentary, 13th.

Bloomberg Fought Efforts to Protect Black Homeowners From Predatory Lenders

Soon after Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002, 40 of the 51 members of the New York City Council sponsored legislation aimed at curbing the growth of predatory lending practices by banks. According to the Daily News, “thousands of homeowners” had been taking on “subprime mortgages that have hidden charges, fees and conditions that are essentially designed to force homeowners into foreclosure.” 

Netanyahu Boasts That He Destroyed Free Speech in America

This piece originally appeared on Informed Comment

Israeli caretaker prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted for corruption and is facing an election soon, just boasted that his ministry of strategic affairs has managed to undermine First Amendment protections for free speech in the United States by lobbying state legislatures to pass laws forbidding the boycott of Israel.

CNN exposes controversial Trump associates reportedly buying rally attendance and votes for cash

On Sunday morning, CNN took a deep dive into reports that groups allied with President Donald Trump are funneling cash to potential voters in the hopes that they will turn out in November in what is expected to be a close presidential election.

The Trolls Are Sophisticated–And Effective

A recent headline from Rolling Stone addressed an issue that is likely to keep thoughtful voters up at night. The headline? “That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent it.”

Rolling Stone is hardly the only publication warning about an unprecedented effort–and not just by Russian trolls–to use the Internet to sow disinformation and promote discord.

Who and what are these trolls?

Trump has more cruel plans for his 'forgotten people' in rural America

Impeached President Donald Trump swore in a tweet on Saturday that "We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget." He reiterated Monday in a meeting with Republican governors: "We’re not touching Medicare. […] We're not touching Social Security." Which is, of course, a lie.

“Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!

Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism.

Others are joining the socialist labeling bandwagon, including corporatist right wing radio talk show blowhards, themselves freeloaders, profitably using the public airwaves. This pack includes Lloyd Blankfein, former lawbreaking chairman of Goldman Sachs. 

Degradation

In case there was any doubt about the slime this “President” represents, his awarding of the Medal of Freedom to one of the most despicable people in the country should erase it.

Limbaugh is as close as Trump could come to awarding the medal to himself.  He has mocked all manner of human suffering, and he shares Trump’s obsessive hatred (actually, jealousy) of Barack Obama, whom he has referred to as a “Hafrican American,” and about whom he liked to play a mocking song called “Barack the Magic Negro.”

And of course, Limbaugh was an enthusiastic birther.

The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President

One day last fall, I sat down to create a new Facebook account. I picked a forgettable name, snapped a profile pic with my face obscured, and clicked “Like” on the official pages of Donald Trump and his reelection campaign. Facebook’s algorithm prodded me to follow Ann Coulter, Fox Business, and a variety of fan pages with names like “In Trump We Trust.” I complied.

Muslims Placed on No-Fly List by FBI Agents to Coerce Them to Spy on Their Communities Ask Supreme Court to Allow Lawsuit to Go Forward

February 5, 2020, Washington, D.C. – Today, Muslim men who were placed or kept on the No-Fly List in retaliation for refusing to spy on their communities for the FBI urged the Supreme Court to affirm a ruling that they may sue FBI agents for attempting to coerce the men into becoming informants. The Court will consider whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) allows the men to sue agents for damages for the harm the men suffered as a result ofbeing on the list. RFRA already allows for injunctive relief. 

Researchers Assembled over 100 Voting Machines. Hackers Broke Into Every Single One.

A report issued Thursday by some of the country’s leading election security experts found that voting machines used in dozens of state remain vulnerable to hacks and manipulations, warning that that without continued efforts to increase funding, upgrade technology, and adopt voter-marked paper ballot systems, “we fear that the 2020 presidential elections will realize the worst fears only hinted at during the 2016 elections: insecure, attacked, and ultimately distrusted.”

FactChecking the State of the Union

The president's address included false and misleading claims on jobs, wages, energy, immigration and more.

Summary

In his 2020 address to Congress, President Donald Trump stretched and distorted the facts:

These 3 charts show how Trump’s ‘blue collar boom’ is more of a bust for US workers

If you thought workers’ hourly pay was finally rising, think again.

At first glance, the latest data – which came out on Feb. 7 – look pretty good. They show nominal hourly earnings rose 3.1% in January from a year earlier.

MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS TIES BERNIE SANDERS TO FEARS OF SOCIALIST 'EXECUTIONS IN CENTRAL PARK,' FIDEL CASTRO

MSNBC host Chris Matthews warned that if Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wins the 2020 election there could be socialist-led executions in Central Park.

Trump attacks public education and pushes school privatization in State of the Union

Donald Trump continued the campaign against public education as a public good in his State of the Union address, with a reference to “failing government schools” and a push for a federal education privatization plan in the form of "Education Freedom Scholarships.” That’s a giant voucher program that would give tax credits to people who give money for scholarships at private and religious schools—schools that may discriminate against LGBTQ kids or exclu

Trump charging Secret Service premium rates at his hotels: $650 for rooms, $2,000 for golf carts

Trump is taking taxpayer dollars and pocketing them, deliberately, openly, and in larger quantities than most people even realize. Of all the crimes Donald Trump has committed while in office, the violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution may be the most obvious and consistent. It was clearly an issue before Trump ever stepped through the door of the White House. And ever since then, the failure to do a thing about it has been just as blatant. 

The Trump Team’s Legal Defense Was a Tour de Force of Hypocrisy

From Ken Starr to Alan Dershowitz, the president’s lawyers spewed illogical arguments that contradicted their own well-known positions.

Witness to a Farce

Watching the actions of the Trump administration through the lens of the New York Times’ coverage has been by turns dumbfounding, disheartening and infuriating.

Primer—The state of the union for working people

In preparation for President Trump’s State of the Union speech, the Economic Policy Institute has assembled research from the last year that examines the real state of the union for working people on wages, manufacturing and trade, taxes, labor standards, housing, and immigration.

‘This Is an Apartheid Proposal and It’s a Nonstarter’

Janine Jackson interviewed the Arab American Institute’s Omar Baddar about the Trump/Kushner “peace deal” for Israel/Palestine for the January 31, 2020, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

News Flash: Billionaires Don’t Like Socialism

Big news, everyone! Billionaires don’t like socialism.

Ralph Nader: Trump should be the most defeatable president in history — but corporate Democrats are ready and willing to blow it

It is remarkable how the Democratic Presidential candidates allow themselves to be pigeon-holed by the media as “moderate,” “centrist,” “extreme,” “left-wing,” and other abstract fact-deprived nomenclature.

It is also astonishing that the Democratic operatives have made something called “electability” a yardstick for deciding who to vote for in the primaries. This is particularly ironic considering the winner of the primary will be running against “crooked” self-enriching Donald and his brazen wrecking crew. Remember, Donald Trump was once considered unelectable.

The Putin defense: How far will Donald Trump go now to stay in power?

Donald Trump never faced even the tiniest chance that two-thirds of the United States Senate would vote to find him guilty in the impeachment trial we’re now being told will come to its ignominious end in the middle of next week. You don’t need to put on a defense when you already know the outcome of the trial. He could have gone with what you might call the “potted plant defense,” sending Jay Sekulow or Pat Cipollone or even one of the lesser lights on his team to essentially sit there by himself and watch the House managers set their hair on fire.

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