Twitter Sues Agent Orange

No one is safe from being sued.

From Variety

Twitter has sued the Trump administration over attempts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to unmask the identity of users behind an account critical of the government. The account in question, @ALT_USCIS, is one of several alt-government accounts which were launched after the new administration took office and proceeded to silence some official Twitter government accounts.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, alleges that the DHS tried to use a “limited-purpose investigatory tool” to find out who is behind the account in question, which has been critical of the immigration policy of the current administration. “The rights of free speech afforded to Twitter’s users and Twitter itself under the U.S. Constitution include a right to disseminate such anonymous or pseudonymous free speech,” the lawsuit argues.

The lawsuit goes on to argue that many of these alt-government accounts, including @ALT_USCIS claim to be run by government workers, in this case employees of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. These users have taken to Twitter to voice their dissent with official government policies.

[Read more…]

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I have good news and bad news.

Let’s go with the good news, first…

Stephen Bannon has been taken off the National Security Council.

President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing chief strategist Stephen Bannon from a key committee and restoring the roles of top intelligence and defense officials, according to a person familiar with the decision and a notice published in the Federal Register.

The realignment increases the influence of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, whose public stances were sometimes at odds with those of Bannon. In addition to gaining greater control over the NSC, McMaster will have the Homeland Security Council under his authority.

The change downgrades the role of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, who had been given authority to convene or chair the NSC’s principals committee under Trump’s original structure. He’ll serve those roles now as delegated by McMaster, according to a presidential memorandum dated Tuesday.

[Read more…]

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Asks Agent-Orange-Voters How His 60 Days Have Been

I really… really… want to comment on this, but… I can’t. I honestly don’t know what to say to this.

It’s terrifying, frankly.

What I will say is this… one thing many people say, and really do believe, in many cases, is that these conservatives and these conservative ideals are dying out. However, that belies a lack of understanding of how things get passed on from generation to generation. Sure, people are getting older today, but they’re also having children and grand-children who are being brought up to believe the same things. These extreme right-wing views infect each generation like a virus, and I don’t see the virus going extinct any time soon…

From Alternet… (ignore the rather hyperbolic title)

[Read more…]

Dictator Drumpf Tried to Stop Yates from Testifying on Russia

They really… desperately… want to stop this whole Russia thing in it’s tracks, don’t they? Could it be because they know the election was illegitimate, and Agent Orange actually lost?

From the Washington Post

The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying in the House investigation of possible links between Russian officials and Donald Trump’s campaign, according to letters provided to The Washington Post. The effort to keep Yates from testifying has further angered Democrats, who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the inquiry.

According to the letters, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers her possible testimony — including on the ouster of former national security adviser Michael Flynn for his contacts with the Russian ambassador — to be off-limits in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by attorney-client privilege or the presidential communication privilege.

The issue of Yates’s testimony adds to the political controversy surrounding the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s election and any possible coordination between Trump associates and Moscow.

[Read more…]

Bigot-in-Chief Refuses to Give Up on Border Wall

Now he’s calling for cuts to domestic spending…

From AP News

President Donald Trump is proposing immediate budget cuts of $18 billion from programs like medical research, infrastructure and community grants so U.S. taxpayers, not Mexico, can cover the down payment on the border wall.

The White House documents were submitted to Congress amid negotiations over a catchall spending bill that would avert a partial government shutdown at the end of next month. The package would wrap up $1.1 trillion in unfinished spending bills and address the Trump administration’s request for an immediate $30 billion in additional Pentagon spending.

The latest Trump proposal, disclosed Tuesday, would eliminate $1.2 billion in National Institutes of Health research grants, a favorite of both parties. The community development block grant program, also popular, would be halved, amounting to a cut of $1.5 billion, and Trump would strip $500 million from a popular grant program for transportation projects. Some of that money would help pay for parts of the wall.

[Read more…]

Nunes Won’t Divulge His Sources

From Reuters

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said on Tuesday he will not divulge – even to other members of his panel – who gave him intelligence reports that indicated President Donald Trump and his associates may have been ensnared in incidental intelligence collection.

Asked by an ABC News reporter whether he would inform the other committee members about who gave him the reports he viewed on the White House grounds last week, Nunes said: “We will never reveal those sources and methods.”

This is a short-ass update from Reuters, so that’s the whole thing.

Normally I’m all about protecting sources’ anonymity, but in this case it honestly feels like yet another move to cover up the fact that the whole wiretap thing is either a lie, or it was a legitimate move that would make Agent Orange look absolutely horrible.

Either way, Circus-Peanut-in-Chief will not come out of this looking good.

Internet Privacy Regulations Are Gone

From NPR

The House of Representatives has gone along with the Senate and voted 215-205 to overturn a yet-to-take-effect regulation that would have required Internet service providers — like Comcast, Verizon and Charter — to get consumers’ permission before selling their data.

President Trump is expected to sign the rollback, according to a White House statement.

The measure is a victory for the ISPs, which have argued that the regulation would put them at a disadvantage compared with so-called edge providers, like Google and Facebook. Those companies are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and face less stringent requirements. Congress’ approval is a loss for privacy advocates, who fought for the regulation, passed in October of last year by the then-Democratic majority on the Federal Communications Commission.

[Read more…]

Climate-Hater-in-Chief

From AP News

President Donald Trump in the coming days will sign a new executive order that unravels his predecessor’s sweeping plan to curb global warming, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the executive order to be signed Tuesday will undo the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The 2015 rule has been on hold since last year while a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly Republican-led states and more than 100 companies.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Pruitt said Trump’s intention is to bring back coal-mining jobs and reduce the cost of electricity.

I’ve been saying this a lot, but… Agent Orange hates the earth. He wants to destroy the climate. He wants to make things worse.

I think the idea of a post-apocalyptic future where a toxic climate has destroyed most life and surviving humans live underground and have to breathe bottled oxygen, and “going outside” could mean certain death without protective gear, turns him on.

Jared Kushner Tapped to “Fix Government with Business Ideas”

From the Washington Post

President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.

The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.’

[Read more…]

Keystone XL Pipeline a Go… Maybe…

Welp… this is bad news mixed with some spotty hope…

From Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration approved TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, cheering the oil industry and angering environmentalists even as further hurdles for the controversial project loom.

The approval reverses a decision by former President Barack Obama to reject the project, but the company still needs to win financing, acquire local permits, and fend off likely legal challenges for the pipeline to be built.

“TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long-overdue project with efficiency and with speed,” Trump said in the Oval Office before turning to ask TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russell Girling when construction would start.

“We’ve got some work to do in Nebraska to get our permits there,” Girling replied.

“Nebraska?” Trump said. “I’ll call Nebraska.”

[Read more…]