Sunday, February 26, 2017

Never Tweet: Pence Mixes Up Nicaraguan, Israeli Flags In Deleted Posts

Esme Cribb · Saturday, February 25, 2017, 11:26 am

In a pair of quickly deleted tweets Friday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence expressed support for Israel — by using the Nicaraguan flag emoji.

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What Spicer really meant by 'states' rights' is the White House will choose when states have rights (kerry Eleveld) · Friday, February 24, 2017, 1:22 pm

As White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the administration of popular vote loser Donald Trump's decision to declare open season on transgender student rights, he declared Thursday, "We're a states' rights party.”

In other words, however states might want to dictate which bathrooms transgender students can and can’t use, it's their prerogative. But per usual, that's an explanation the White House will be rolling out on an “as needed” basis. The real governing philosophy at the White House is "we decide" which states have rights and when they have them.

On transgender issues, Spicer said, Trump “respects the decision of the states,” which is sure to launch a bevy of transphobic measures in red states across the nation. But where recreational marijuana use is concerned, Spicer issued a different verdict on so-called “states’ rights” during the very same press conference.

"I do believe you'll see greater enforcement of it," Spicer said at a news conference. "Because again there's a big difference between the medical use ... that's very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into." [...]

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but it has been legalized for recreational use in eight states, including Washington, Colorado and California, as well as the District of Columbia. Last year, legal sales reached $7 billion and generated half a billion dollars in sales taxes.

In the meantime, a Quinnipiac poll released the same day showed a solid majority of Americans support legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana use, and 71 percent want the federal government to stay out of the matter.

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Trump's travel ban throws roller derby into chaos

Jason Weisberger · Friday, February 24, 2017, 11:22 am

Trump's travel restrictions are ruining the 2017 International Women's Flat Track Derby Association's season. Many players hold citizenship in one of the banned countries, and their teams simply won't play without them. Seems roller derby, if not the United States, is about inclusion.

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Trump’s Immigration Force Just Snagged Australia’s Most Beloved Children’s Author


Beloved Australian author, Mem Fox, says she may never return to the US after she was detained by immigration officials while trying to enter the country at the Los Angeles International Airport. Fox, who is Australians version of JK Rowling, said never in her life had she been treated with “such disdain.”

“I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby. And I’m 70 years old,” she told ABC.

Fox has traveled to the US more than 100 times without incident, but the recent event opened her eyes to the treatment of refugees entering the country under Trump’s regime.

According to the ABC report, Fox said the treatment of others trying to enter which included Iranians, Taiwanese and a Scandinavian parent with a small child, was just as poor, and all appeared to eventually have been released.

“I thought: ‘How can human beings treat other vulnerable human beings in this fashion, in public, in full view of everybody?’,” she noted.

Officials have since apologized to Fox because they see her detainment as an accidental consequence of the ban which is realistically only supposed to target Muslims. The apology, which only came after Fox filed a complaint with the Australian embassy, fell on deaf ears. Fox has said since her ordeal she doesn’t see herself returning to the US again.

Fox joins the Oscar-nominated Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who has been denied entry into the US, and even US citizen Muhammad Ali Jr., son of the famed boxer and civil rights activist, who was detained and questioned by immigration at a Florida airport.

These events should not be looked at as unintended consequences of Trump’s travel ban. These results, these blatant acts of discrimination are the core principles of Trump’s executive order. They are showing just what kind of regime the president intends to run and the results are showing that good, decent people, those simply seeking to escape the brutality of totalitarian regimes, or those just coming here for business, are going to suffer the cost of Trump’s outright anti-Muslim bigotry.


Buying an electric vehicle? A growing list of states will charge you extra yearly fees.

David Roberts · Friday, February 24, 2017, 10:07 am

Dumb policy in response to a broken gas tax.

Electric vehicles serve the public good — they reduce local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. But these social benefits are not reflected in the price of the vehicles, which remain, at this stage of market development, somewhat more expensive than comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

That is why EVs are the target of a range of supportive public policies, from a $7,500 federal tax credit to various state-level incentives, including tax credits and exemptions, access to special highway lanes, and rebates on charging equipment.

The oil industry — which now faces a serious threat if more optimistic EV forecasts play out — does not like these policies one bit. To complement their ongoing war on solar power, the Koch brothers are organizing a $10 million a year campaign against pro-EV public policies under the banner of “Fueling US Forward.” It is, in creepy Koch fashion, courting minorities by seeking to convince them that EV policies hurt their communities. ALEC, the state-level right-wing group that writes “model policies” for state Republicans, recently passed a "Resolution Regarding Subsidies for Electric Vehicles.” (Spoiler: They’re against.)

These efforts have met with limited success. There is one area, though, where state policy is directly chipping away at support for EVs: fees to raise transportation money.

EV fees are spreading

At the end of 2015, the Department of Energy identified nine states that levy extra yearly fees on purchasers of EVs. Since then, Michigan added a fee, so the number now stands at 10.

As the Sierra Club reports, “since the start of 2017, six states (Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Montana) have introduced legislation that would require EV owners to pay a fee of up to $180 a year.”

Here’s the table, from Car & Driver:

Happily for EV advocates, Car & Driver also reports that “at least 10 states have tabled such bills, including Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah this year. Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, and Kansas (which wanted EV owners to install separate charging meters in their homes) all failed to enact fees over the past couple years.”

So this battle is ongoing.

From a policy perspective, state EV fees are somewhat perverse. In effect, they override the federal decision to support EVs. The federal tax credit now gets partially diverted into state coffers.

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NAACP To Announce Plans For North Carolina Economic Boycott

Associated Press · Friday, February 24, 2017, 9:22 am

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NAACP is announcing plans for an economic boycott of North Carolina to protest laws enacted by the state's conservative General Assembly, including one limiting LGBT protections.

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Trump puts the FBI on his low-life leaker list (mark Sumner) · Friday, February 24, 2017, 9:21 am

On Thursday, the Trump regime violated the separation between the the White House and the law enforcement sphere of the FBI.

The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

Frustrated by the agency ‘s refusal to play its role as part of Trump’s propaganda machine, Trump turned his Friday morning tweet storm FBI-ward.

The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security "leakers" that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW

The nature of the leaks that have been reaching the media seems to be that Donald Trump and his whole un-merry band are incompetent and in bed with Russia. Which is also the information the world keeps seeing in information that’s not sourced from leaks. 

Before the election, Trump counted on the FBI’s friendly injections to give his campaign a boost, including a leak that conveniently silenced the Russia story a week before the election and of course, Comey’s extremely timely assistance. But with Trump—Russia threads unraveling from... All ... Directions … Even the most Trump-friendly branch is unwilling to play ‘nothing to see here.’ Though that hasn’t stopped Republicans in Congress from doing their best to bury the whole story.


Why I try to to do good

You DO remember the stories of God's wrath in your Bible, don't you?

Addressing the downfall of the Fourth Estate

We should stop meddling in our countries affairs

Religiously speaking

Meanwhile, on the Twitter...

News and views in brief