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Full Version: USA under presidency of a know-nothing, neo-fascist, racist, sexist, mobbed-up narcissist!!
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"It's pretty convenient that average Americans won't be seeing those tax hikes until after the next elections. That's really slick. How can they expect people to vote before people know what they're actually getting?"
Trevor Noah (Daily Show host), The Hill

"Oh, and ignore claims that tax cuts for corporations would jump-start the economy and pay for themselves. Of the 42 ideologically diverse economists surveyed by the University of Chicago on the impact of Republican tax plans, only one agreed that they would lead to substantial economic growth, while none disagreed with the proposition that they would substantially increase US debt. So it's a giant scam. And while the exact nature of the scam may be unclear, ordinary American families would end up being the victims either way."
Paul Krugman, New York Times

"The biggest winners by far will be American oligarchs such as the Koch brothers; Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley investor; Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate; Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets football team and heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune; and Carl Icahn, the activist investor. The oligarchs are the richest of the richest 1 percent. They've poured hundreds of millions into the GOP and Trump. Half of all contributions to the first phase of the 2016 election came from just 158 families, along with the companies they own or control."
Robert Reich, Newsweek

"Republicans in Congress have been surprisingly forthright that they are pressing ahead a broadly unpopular set of tax code changes to satisfy their major donors. It is no secret that large donors have more sway than the average voter but we have truly crossed the Rubicon when donor demands become an acceptable justification for major legislation. This should put to rest once and for all any doubts about the real-world impact of the Supreme Court's evisceration of campaign finance law."
David I. Weiner, Brennan Center for Justice

"Lawmakers scrambling to lock up Republican support for the tax reform bill added a complicated provision late in the process one that would provide a multimillion-dollar windfall to real estate investors such as President Donald Trump. The change, which would allow real estate businesses to take advantage of a new tax break that's planned for partnerships, limited liability companies and other so-called pass-through' businesses, combined elements of House and Senate legislation in a new way. Its beneficiaries are clear, tax experts say, and they include a president who's said that the tax legislation wouldn't help him financially."
Lynnley Browning and Benjamin Bain, Bloomberg Politics

"Wage income will be the highest taxed income. That's what more than 80 percent of working Americans get. I think it's grossly unfair. Somebody working for a wage gets a higher tax rate than somebody doing the same job under a different legal structure."
John L. Buckley (a chief of staff for Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation in the 1990s), New York Times.

"Donald Trump and leaders in Congress are on the verge of enacting one of the most immoral pieces of legislation in our nation's history. The Republican party has billed its plan as a tax cut for America's middle class, but it is in fact an act of gross violence against America's poor to serve the country's richest and most powerful."
Rev. Dr. William Barber, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis; The Guardian

"The more you read, the more you go, Holy crap, what's this?' We will be dealing with unintended consequences for months to come because the bill is moving too fast."
Greg Jenner (Treasury Department, George W. Bush Administration); Politico

"So, the way to think about this bill is, this is a shopping list for the clients of Goldman Sachs. Donald Trump ran for president saying that he was going to drain the swamp in Washington. What he's really done is turned it into a paradise for Goldman Sachs and its clients."
David Cay Johnston (Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist); Democracy Now!

According to a roundup by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, analyses from the Tax Policy Center, Penn-Wharton Budget Model, and Tax Foundation all determined that the TCJA would add more than $1 trillion to the deficit even when increased revenue from economic growth is added."
Bob Bryan, Business Insider

"[The] legislation … could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic."
Peter S. Goodman and Patricia Cohen, The New York Times

"Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Friday that it is unconscionable' that Republicans would stick with provisions in their tax bill that would strike a blow to hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. … They are treating Puerto Rico as a foreign jurisdiction so they are levying a full tax,' he said."
Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News

"The evidence indicates that the bulk of the benefits from a corporate rate cut will go to those at the top, with only a small share flowing to low- and moderate-income working families. The Tax Policy Center (TPC) estimates about 70 percent of the benefit of a corporate rate cut will flow to the top fifth of households, with one-third flowing to the top 1 percent alone."
Chye-Ching Huang (Deputy Director, Federal Tax Policy) and Brandon DeBot (Tax Policy Fellow); Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

"Beyond that, the new system provides an explicit, permanent preference for earning income in low-tax countries rather than the United States. The bill also gives a large windfall to companies that shifted profits offshore in the past, relative to current law."
Kimberly Clausing (Professor of Economics, Reed College); The Hill

"The movement for a lower pass-through rate … might end up being the single worst structural change in the history of the US federal income tax."
Daniel Shaviro (Professor of Taxation, New York University Law School); Start Making Sense

"[The rate of 35 percent cited by Trump] is not the rate that many companies in the US [currently] end up paying. Deductions and credits help push down businesses' total tax liability, meaning that many companies end up paying far less than the statutory rate."
Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR

"As for fairness, that principle was junked a long time ago. The final bill reflects the same principle as the previous two GOP bills: Dom Perignon for the plutocrats, cheap swill for the masses. The bill is also cruel. In abolishing the Affordable Care Act's mandate to purchase health insurance, it will make individual plans even more costly and more difficult to obtain, especially for sick people. This isn't just a tax bill. It is a backdoor effort to overturn the principle of universal access to health care."
John Cassidy, The New Yorker

"The Senate GOP's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is being sold as a permanent fix to our tax code, but because of the gamesmanship and contortionist gimmicks the bill includes, it is setting us up for yet another era of tax extenders. These are sometimes narrow, sometimes broad tax preferences that get passed as temporary' but then almost always get renewed year after year. Tax extenders were always the little caboose that could. The package that extended a passel of special interest tax breaks for a couple of years would often catch a ride on bigger legislation to get enacted."
Ryan Alexander (president, Taxpayers for Common Sense); The Hill

"The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act … authorizes the sale of oil and gas leases in a section of the ANWR on Alaska's North Slope, the coastal plain that faces the Arctic Ocean. Soon, energy companies will be able to search for and extract oil and gas from the frozen tundra. … No one will be more affected by the opening of ANWR than Alaska's indigenous people, who will live among and work on the rigs, drills, and pipelines that would follow the discovery of any oil or gas reserve. … If a major disaster like an oil spill or gas leak were to occur in the area, it would devastate their only homeland."
Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

"More than half the members of Washington's lobbying corps have plunged into the debate on taxes in 2017. In all, 6,243 lobbyists have been listed on lobbying disclosure forms as working on issues involving the word "tax" through the first three quarters of 2017, according to Public Citizen's analysis of a massive data download provided by the Center for Responsive Politics ( That is equal to 57 percent of the nearly 11,000 people who have reported engaging in any domestic lobbying activities at all in 2017.
Put another way, this equals more than 11 lobbyists for every member of Congress. Perhaps surprisingly, the number of lobbyists working on tax issues this year has been only slightly higher than in the previous two years, during which tax overhaul was also debated but not expected to pass."

Public Citizen

...and then two that are not middle-of-the-road, but on the Far-Reich!

"I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze or women or movies."
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Des Moines Register

"I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, won't lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything."
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) C-SPAN 2
Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

It Isn't a Very Merry Christmas for the Trump Tree Ornament

Lots of presidential bling still sells for full price. One notable item has been deeply discounted.
By Suzanne Woolley
December 15, 2017, 5:36 PM GMT+1

It comes in a golden box, nestled in black velvet (or is it velveteen?). Before you even unpack it, you're excited to see it through a little plastic window. After all, you paid $149 for it.

At least, that was the price when it first went on sale a year ago, before it was cut to $99 and, eventually, to $45.

[Image: 400x-1.jpg]

A bear market in MAGA ornaments.

Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg
The rapidly depreciating asset: a "collectible ornament" in the form of a red brass Make America Great Again cap. The item, said to be finished in 24-karat gold, is sold on a website to which the "shop" button on President Donald Trump's site links. The shopping site says it is paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, "a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee." Life-size MAGA caps on the site sell for $25, unless you choose the Official Merry Christmas Hat, at $45. That's the MAGA cap with Christmas lights stitched on.

You can also buy the ornament on eBay, where it attracted some snarky comments after it went on sale in late 2016, including "No matter where I hang it, the tree leans waaaaaay over to the far right" and "It wants to deport my nativity scene!" The only apparent eBay review so far this year: "This well-crafted and decorative item can be a yearly reminder of how great a country we live in, regardless of politics, of where anything is possible."

The ornament's price and the president's approval rating have both fallen:
On Sale: A Trump Christmas

The brass MAGA hat "collectible ornament" sold for $149 when introduced in late 2016. It now retails on for $45.

A Long Slide

Trump's daily job approval rating has been falling for much of his term in office, according to a Gallup poll--albeit not as steeply as the price of his MAGA ornament.
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Intel Vets Tell Trump Iran Is Not Top Terror Sponsor

December 21, 2017
A group of U.S. intelligence veterans urges President Trump to stop his administration's false claims about Iran being the leading state sponsor of terrorism when U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, are clearly much guiltier.
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: Is Iran the "World's Leading Sponsor of Terrorism?"
We are concerned by recent strident and stark public statements from key members of your Administration that paint Iran in very alarmist terms. The average American, without the benefit of history, could easily be persuaded that Iran poses an imminent threat and that there is no alternative for us but military conflict.
[Image: Screen-Shot-2017-10-13-at-5.26.38-PM-300x225.png]President Donald Trump addresses the nation about his Iran policy on Oct. 13, 2017. (Screenshot from
We find this uncomfortably familiar territory. Ten years ago former President George W. Bush was contemplating a war with Iran when, in November of 2007, intelligence analysts issued a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) debunking the prevailing conventional wisdom; namely, that Iran was on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon. The NIE concluded that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003.
Recalling this moment in his memoir, Decision Points, President Bush noted that the NIE's "eye-popping" intelligence findings stayed his hand. He added this rhetorical question: "How could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?"
We believe that you are facing a similar situation today. But instead of an inaccurate claim that Iran has nuclear weapons, the new canard to justify war with Iran is the claim that Iran remains the "world's leading state sponsor of terrorism." This is incorrect, as we explain below.
* * *
One of the recurring big bipartisan lies being pushed on the public with the enthusiastic help of a largely pliant media is that Iran is the prime sponsor of terrorism in the world today.
In the recent presentation of your administration's National Security Strategy for 2018, the point is made that:
"Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, has taken advantage of instability to expand its influence through partners and proxies, weapon proliferation, and funding. . . . Iran continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence in the region, causing grievous harm to civilian populations."
Those sentiments are echoed by several other countries of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, for example, declared in October 2015 that: Iran "is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and it is working on destabilizing the region."
The Saudi foreign minister conveniently declined to mention that 15 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked planes and attacked America on 11 September 2001 were Saudis, not Iranians. And, while Iran was an active promoter of terrorism two decades ago, it is no longer in the forefront of global terrorism. Ironically, that dubious distinction now goes to Iran's accusers first and foremost, Saudi Arabia.
The depiction of Iran as "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism" is not supported by the facts. While Iran is guilty of having used terrorism as a national policy tool, the Iran of 2017 is not the Iran of 1981. In the early days of the Islamic Republic, Iranian operatives routinely carried out car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations of dissidents and of American citizens. That has not been the case for many years. Despite frequent claims by U.S. officials that Iran is engaged in terrorism, we simply note that the incidents recorded annually in the U.S. Department of State's Patterns of Global Terrorism rarely identifies a terrorist incident as an act by or on behalf of Iran.
Iran's relationship with Hezbollah also has evolved radically. In the early years of the Islamic Republic, Hezbollah was often a proxy and sub-contractor for Iran. But during the last 20 years Hezbollah has become an entity and political force in its own right. It fought Israel to a standstill in 2006 in southern Lebanon, which was a watershed moment in establishing Hezbollah's transformation into a conventional army. In the intervening years, Hezbollah, which is now part of the Lebanese government, also has turned away from the radical, religious driven violence that is the hallmark of the Sunni extremists, like ISIS.
Iran's Asymmetrical Response
After Iran fell under the rule of the Ayatollah in 1979 terrorism, its role in high profile terrorist attacks, such as the taking of U.S. hostages and the bombings of the U.S. Embassy and the Marine barracks in Lebanon, fed understandable U.S. animosity towards Iran. But Iran's actions were not driven primarily by blind hatred or radical religious views. For Iran terrorism was a way to punch back against more powerful foes, principally the United States, which was providing military and intelligence support to Iran's neighbor and enemy, Iraq.
[Image: Portrait_of_Ruhollah_Khomeini_By_Mohamma...17x300.jpg]Portrait of the late Ruhollah Khomeini by Mohammad Sayyid
The Iranians were also pragmatic and had direct dealings with Israel. During the early days of the Iranian revolution the Mullahs, despite publicly denouncing Israel, happily accepted secret military support from the Israelis. Israel was equally pragmatic. The Israeli leaders ignored the Mullahs and gave the support as a means of helping counter the threat posed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. A classic case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The public image of Iran as a hotbed of fanatical terrorists has been usurped since the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in east Africa by Al Qaeda and other radical Sunni entities. The U.S. Government's own list of terrorist attacks since 2001 shows a dramatic drop in the violence carried out by Iran and an accompanying surge in horrific acts by radical Sunni Muslims who are not aligned with Iran. The latest edition of the Global Terrorism Index, a project of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, shows that four groups accounted for 74 percent of all fatalities from terrorism in 2015 Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS.
Thirteen of the 14 Muslim Groups identified by the U.S. intelligence community as actively hostile to the US are Sunni, not Shia, and are not supported by Iran:
ISIS (Sunni)
The Al-Nusra Front (Sunni)
Al-Qa'ida Central (Sunni)
Al-Qa'ida in Magheb (Sunni)
Al-Qa'ida in Arabian Peninsula (Sunni)
Boku Haram (Sunni)
Al-Shabbab (Sunni)
Khorassan Group (Sunni)
Society of the Muslim Brothers (Sunni)
Sayyaf Group in the Philippines (Sunni)
Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan (Sunni)
Lashgar i Taiba (Sunni)
Jemaa Islamiya (Sunni)
Houthis (Shia)
The last major terrorist attack causing casualties that is linked to Iran was the July 2012 bombing of a bus with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. That departure from Iran's more recent policy on terrorism was retaliation for what Iran perceived to be Israel's role in assassinating five Iranian scientists involved with Iran's Nuclear program, between January 2010 and January 2012 (the dates and names of those attacked are appended).
One can easily imagine the outrage and lust for revenge that would sweep the U.S., if Americans believed a foreign country sent operatives into the United States who in turn murdered engineers and scientists working on sensitive U.S. defense projects.
Special Operations
There have been other terrorist attacks inside Iran bearing the handprint of support from the United States. Author Sean Naylor, Relentless Strike, which details the history of operations carried out by U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) over the past 30 years, sheds light on this uncomfortable truth:
[Image: binladenvideo.jpg]The late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"JSOC personnel also worked with the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a militant Iranian exile group that had based itself in Iraq after falling afoul of the ayatollahs' regime in Tehran. The State Department had placed the MEK on its list of designated terrorist organizations, but that didn't stop JSOC from taking an attitude of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" toward the group. "They were a group of folks that could transit the border, and they were willing to help us out on what we wanted to do with Iran," said a special operations officer."
The MEK were classified as a terrorist group, until the United States decided that as long as the MEK would help kill Iranians rather than Americans, that they were no longer terrorists. The MEK's history of terrorism is quite clear. Among more than a dozen examples over the last four decades these four are illustrative:
  • During the 1970s, the MEK killed U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians working on defense projects in Tehran and supported the takeover in 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
  • In 1981, the MEK detonated bombs in the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Premier's office, killing some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including Iran's President, Premier, and Chief Justice.
  • In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian embassies and installations in 13 countries, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas.
  • In April 1999, the MEK targeted key military officers and assassinated the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff.
Despite this history, a bipartisan parade of prominent U.S. political and military leaders has lobbied on behalf of MEK and has been well compensated in return.
Benighted Policy So Far
In the ultimate ironic turn, the U.S.-led 2003 war in Iraq played a critical role in Iran's resurgence as a regional power. Saddam Hussein was replaced by Shia muslims who had received sanctuary in Iran for many years and Baathist institutions, including the Army, were taken over by Iraqis sympathetic to Tehran.
Iran has come out ahead in Iraq and, with the 2015 nuclear agreement in place, Iran's commercial and other ties have improved with key NATO allies and the other major world playersRussia and China in particular.
Official pronouncements on critical national security matters need to be based on facts. Hyperbole in describing Iran's terrorist activities can be counterproductive. For this reason, we call attention to Ambassador Nikki Haley's recent statement that it is hard to find a "terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran's fingerprints all over it." The truth is quite different. The majority of terrorist groups in the region are neither creatures nor puppets of Iran. ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra are three of the more prominent that come to mind.
You have presented yourself as someone willing to speak hard truths in the face of establishment pressure and not to accept the status quo. You spoke out during the campaign against the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a historic mistake of epic proportions. You also correctly captured the mood of many Americans fatigued from constant war in far away lands. Yet the torrent of warnings from Washington about the dangers supposedly posed by Iran and the need to confront them are being widely perceived as steps toward reversing your pledge not to get embroiled in new wars.
We encourage you to reflect on the warning we raised with President George W. Bush almost 15 years ago, at a similar historic juncture:
"after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic."
[Image: rouhani-child-300x200.jpg]Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)
January 12, 2010: Masoud Alimohammadi, Iranian Physicist:
Killed by a car bomb. The perpetrator reportedly confessed to having been recruited by Israeli intelligence to carry out the assassination.
[B]November 29, 2010: Majid Shahriari, Iranian nuclear scientist:[/B]
[B]Killed by a car bomb. According to German media, Israel was the sponsor.[/B]
[B][B]November 29, 2010: Assassination attempt on Fereydoon Abbasi Iranian nuclear scientist:[/B][/B]
[B][B]Wounded by a car bomb.[/B][/B]
[B][B][B]July 23, 2011: Darioush Rezaeinejad, Iranian electrical engineer, unclear scientist[/B][/B][/B]
[B][B]Killed by unknown gunmen on motorcycle. Specialist on high-voltage switches a key component of nuclear warheads. Assassinated by Israeli intelligence, according to the German press.[/B][/B]
[B][B][B]January 11, 2012: Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, Iranian nuclear scientist[/B][/B][/B]
[B][B]Killed at Natanz uranium enrichment facility by a magnetic bomb of the same kind used in earlier assassinations of Iranian scientists.[/B][/B]
[B][B]Richard Beske, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA's Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center[/B][/B]
[B][B]Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research[/B][/B]
[B][B]Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Larry C. Johnson, former CIA and State Department Counter Terrorism officer[/B][/B]
[B][B]Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)[/B][/B]
[B][B]John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee[/B][/B]
[B][B]Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003[/B][/B]
[B][B]Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator (GG-12) HQ, Department of the Army[/B][/B]
[B][B]Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Greg Thielmann Former director of the Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs Office of the State Department's intelligence bureau (INR) and former senior staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee[/B][/B]
[B][B]Kirk Wiebe former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA[/B][/B]
[B][B]Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Sarah G. Wilton, CDR, USNR, (Retired)/DIA, (Retired)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Robert Wing former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)[/B][/B]
[B][B]Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (who resigned in opposition to the war on Iraq)[/B][/B]


[Image: image4-5-700x470.jpg]Jiri Navratil / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0) and Ipankonin / Wikimedia
The uproar over the ban of a list of words that has roiled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and now the rest of the country, is understandable. The list, which a Health and Human Services official advised be omitted from the CDC's budget documents, would make any scientist weep.
Transparency advocates have raised legitimate concerns about censorship. The Human Rights Campaign views the omission of these words as a blow to fundamental American values of fairness and decency. Indeed, they are making their point by projecting the words on the walls of Trump's DC hotel.
But there is another way to view this decision: strategically brilliant. Here's why: The audience for these censored documents is Congress, specifically the people who decide agency funding levels.
And these words to many GOP leaders are like red flags waved before a bull.
Take the terms "science-based" or "evidence-based." They may seem straightforward to folks who like facts.
But many powerful members have real problems with the notion of science or evidence. They use these words like cudgels to suppress science, not support it.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) chairs the House Science Committee. He insists climate change is a myth, and has used his panel to harass and berate scientists nearly all the experts who disagree with him. He subverts the very word, science, for his own ends.
[Image: Lamar_Smith__2_1088x725.jpg]House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith. Photo credit: Aubrey Gemignan / NASA HQ PHOTO / Flickr

For example, he concluded an op-ed by trashing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with these words:

As a self-proclaimed "environmental intelligence agency," NOAA's reports should be based only on the best available science that takes into account all sources of data. Unfortunately, NOAA continues to rely upon biased science in pursuit of a predetermined outcome. That's not good science, it's science fiction.
Likewise, lots of members do not believe in fetuses. To them, an embryo is a miniature baby, ready to pop out of the womb. It is no accident that when Congress opted to publicize widely discredited videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials willing to profit from the sale of fetal tissue, it created the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. Its chair, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), railed against "the sale of baby parts."
For like-minded Republicans, "transgender" conjures fears of burly men in women's clothes bursting into women's bathrooms. When the Obama administration advised school officials to permit transgender students to use the facilities for the gender they identified with, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), and 72 congressional colleagues raised the alarm, concerned that transgender students would change genders willy-nilly to sexually exploit others.
"If a 17 year-old young man wants to go shower with the girls on the soccer team … he's allowed to do that because of his will or his gender fluidity for the week," Walker told the Daily Signal.
And don't get them started on entitlements like Medicaid, and other programs that the poorest Americans rely on. In recent remarks on the Senate floor, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) defended a budget-busting tax cut bill while blaming the deficit on programs that will likely help the poor.
"I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, won't lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything," Hatch said.
Diversity? Another fearful term to some conservative lawmakers. In 2010, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) fretted about birthright citizenship, the right of infants born in the US to be considered citizens, regardless of the ethnic origins or citizenship of their parents. He raised the specter of terrorists sneaking pregnant women into the US to have their babies, and make them citizens. The infants would then be returned to their home countries to get terror training. "And then one day, twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life."
Vulnerable? Another loaded term to many in the House majority, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Ryan is a big fan of the philosopher Ayn Rand, who celebrated selfishness and had no time for the economically vulnerable.
So if you want these folks to look kindly on your request for money, you'd be better off speaking their language. No matter how Orwellian that may be.
But hey we are all allowed to say Merry Christmas again now that Trump has made it legal!

Peter Lemkin Wrote:

The stats on what Americans don't know are bleak!
  • 25% think the sun orbits the Earth
  • Just 36% can locate North Korea on a map of Asia
  • Only 37% can name a single right protected by the First Amendment
These alarming numbers are the logical result of a generational attack on the value of education and factual knowledge.
No doubt the republicans and Team trump care not for democracy at all, but the system as a whole does not, never really has, and will not unless the people demand it and stop expecting the system to do it for them. the system is built to serve the rich and powerful, not the average citizen...wake up! Yes, we have the worst of the two now, but the other party is also bad. we need third parties and not the two parties of the oligarchy. we need bottom up democracy, not voting every 2 or 4 years for the corrupt to line their own pockets and keep the evil system, funneling half of all our wealth into death, keeping most in the USA poor - and getting poorer, while the rich get richer faster than since the days of the robber-barons. Enough! vote every day and every hour of the day - when it might matter. the voting booths are controlled as are the two parties they would like you to think are the only POSSIBILITIES - as if it were a football game.


[Image: image2-36-700x470.jpg]Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Danny Howard / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and Life Of Pix / Pexels.
There probably isn't a topic that we focused on more in 2017 than election integrity. With good reason. There are forces at work in the US and abroad that are working to undermine democracy. That's bad enough. What's even worse is that they are succeeding.
We at WhoWhatWhy believe strongly that any eligible voter who wants to cast a ballot should be able to do so. Unfortunately, a lot of powerful people in the United States don't feel this way and we will continue to hold them to account next year.
Unlike many in the media, we believe election integrity is an issue that must be covered all the time and not just every four years.
That is also why we will launch a new site early next year in which we will update you weekly on who is trying to undermine democracy and how.

[Image: image2-6.jpg]Protecting our precious franchise. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.

Want to Improve Election Integrity? Lock Up Vote Suppressors

Voter suppression works, but President Donald Trump's new election integrity commission is unlikely to do anything about the problem…especially because it is chaired by a prominent architect of voter suppression laws. But we have some ideas that would help.
[Image: image01-4.jpg]Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Troubling Voting Rights Record of Jeff Sessions

With the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Senate could deal yet another blow to the Voting Rights Act. The Alabama Republican will appear before the Judiciary Committee today.
[Image: image2-13.jpg]Justice Clarence Thomas joins liberals to corral NC racial gerrymander. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.

North Carolina Tried to Make Jim Crow Great Again

If you want to design your state laws so that they suppress the African-American vote, don't use North Carolina as a model.
[Image: image2-4.jpg]Pennsylvania voter ID information from my polling place November 6, 2012. Photo credit: Sarah Goslee / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

GOP Plan to Suppress the Rising Millennial Vote: How Will They Do It?

The Republican-championed voting requirements aim to reshape the changing electorate in their favor, cut millennial voters out of politics, and reassert control over a crumbling coalition.

[Image: image2.jpg]Photo credit: Cory Doctorow / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hackers Eviscerate Election Tech Security…Who's Surprised?

DEF CON attendees remind us just how easy it is to bypass laughable voting machine safeguards. At least they got the mainstream media to cover this issue for once.
[Image: image02-2.jpg]Voting rights march. Photo credit: Lauren Shiplett / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Voters with Ethnic' Names Score Big Win in Georgia

The voting rights of minorities are under attack in Georgia as they are in many GOP-controlled states. This month, however, voters with "foreign" names booked an important win in the Peach State.
[Image: 2-13.jpg]Moral Monday protest in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo credit: Pilar Timpane / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

How North Carolina's Republicans Are Fighting Democracy

Whether through gerrymandering, voter ID laws, or gubernatorial restrictions, North Carolina has become ground-zero for Republican led voter suppression.
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Photo credit: IIP Photo Archive / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Coming Voting Rights Battle: Access vs. Accountability

Like so many important subjects, the future battle over improving our election system is about technical issues. Don't let the geek factor throw you off: whether we emphasize accessibility for the disabled or a reliable paper trail is a very big deal for us all. The question is: Can we have it all?
[Image: image1-7.jpg]Photo credit: ACLU

ACLU Seeks Evidence of Election Commission's Preordained' Agenda

The ACLU has submitted FOIA requests to prove Trump's "Election Integrity" Commission has rigged its investigation in order to validate voter suppression tactics.
[Image: image2-12.jpg]Photo credit: Danny Howard / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Are Americans Beginning to Care about Election Integrity?

While experts are relieved to see some states finally taking cyber threats seriously, they say the nation as a whole still isn't where it needs to be to prevent future interference by foreign or domestic forces.
[Image: image4.jpg]Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from US map (Ali Zifan / Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0), donkey (Yasuki Ichishima / Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) and elephant (Andrew Dyson / Flickr CC BY 2.0).

What Will/Can the Supreme Court Do about Partisan Gerrymandering?

The Supreme Court's upcoming ruling in Gill v. Whitford may be partisan gerrymandering's most significant legal battle yet. Law professor Justin Levitt discusses why it matters, how we got here, and what we should expect.
[Image: image01-6.jpg]Photo credit: Richard Ricciardi / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) and David Mulder / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Did Talk of Election Hacking Do More Harm Than Good?

Election integrity activists are at odds over whether raising too many concerns about the security of US elections did more harm than good.
[Image: image2-10.jpg]Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Mark Warner / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and Verified Voting.

Virginia Says "No" to Touchscreen Voting

The state is off to a good start after decertifying its highly vulnerable DRE voting machines. But it still has work to do if it wants truly secure elections.