By Jack Serle for Nation of Change – More U.S. strikes have hit Yemen in President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office than in all of 2015 and 2016 combined, as the U.S. military takes full advantage of the White House designating parts of the country areas of “active hostilities”. In March and April alone the U.S. carried out 80 air attacks with jets and drones – itself more than double the number seen last year. There is limited reporting on the effects of these strikes because the areas hit are also the scene of fighting between the various factions embroiled in the ongoing civil war. This website is funded by readers like you. Click here to keep NationofChange independent and ad-free. Learn more. However a field investigation by the Bureau has shown at least 25 civilians died in a U.S. operation on January 29 – a U.S. ground raid supported with multiple air strikes. The key findings were subsequently confirmed by field research by Human Rights Watch and The Intercept. The assault came just days after a decision in late January by Trump to exempt Yemen from President Barack Obama’s Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) – a compendium of policies and rules designed to reduce civilian casualties and limit the circumstances that U.S. forces can strike in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
By Dana Liebelson and Alexander C. Kaufman for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― When Ajit Pai, President Donald Trump’s pick to chair the Federal Communications Commission, announced his plan to roll back his own agency’s net neutrality rules on Wednesday, he sounded nervous. “I am confident we will finish the job,” he said, in a somewhat stilted speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “This is a fight we intend to wage, and this is a fight we are going to win.” If Pai is nervous, he has good reason to be. Net neutrality is extremely popular with both Republicans and Democrats. The activists who support strong rules are loud and well-organized, and the organizations that oppose the rules — cable companies like Comcast and telecom providers like Verizon, HuffPost’s parent company — are not loved. When cable and telecom companies lost the fight against the Obama administration’s strong net neutrality rules in 2015, they lost badly. The fight this time could be even fiercer. In 2014, then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist, said he was planning to avoid the strong net neutrality protections that activists were hoping for.
By Staff of The Nader Page – The Lawless-loving corporatists have worked overtime to besmirch the word “regulation” (or law and order for corporations) and edify the word “deregulation,” to help bring about their dream state of dismantled or weakened regulation. Here is one little-mentioned ongoing disaster of non-regulation costing our country. The patsy FAA, for decades after the hijacking of planes to Castro’s Cuba, refused to require the airlines to install toughened cockpit doors and stronger locks to prevent entry by terrorists bent on making the aircraft a destructive weapon. Why? Because the airlines objected to the mere $3000 cost per aircraft and, by its very nature, the FAA acquiesced. Then came 9/11, followed by “mad dog” George W. Bush (and Dick Cheney, his handler) launching an all-out attack on Afghanistan, rather than leading a multilateral force to apprehend the backers of the attackers. Later, Bush’s criminal war devastated the country and people of Iraq. Iraq is still convulsing violently today. All for not regulating the airlines to protect their cockpits and pilots. Sure, the hijackers could still have hijacked the planes, but they could not have piloted them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
By Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – President Donald Trump’s planned climate change policies could lead to an extra half a billion tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2025, according to a new analysis. That is equal to the annual electricity emissions of 60 percent of U.S. homes. Climate Advisers, a Washington consultancy, predicts that U.S. carbon emissions, which have been falling, will begin to flatten or increase by 2020 if the Trump administration succeeds in repealing the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era regulations. In other words, decisions made today will have a delayed effect—but a prolonged one. “We found that the ‘Trump Effect’ really begins to bite into the U.S. emissions trajectory in 2025—since many of the factors influencing today’s emissions trajectory can’t be reversed quickly,” the report said. The analysis assumes that some regulations are more vulnerable than others to rollbacks. The Clean Power Plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants, methane rules covering the oil and gas industry and a handful of efficiency regulations are “highly vulnerable” in the consulting firm’s view, either because they’re high profile or because they haven’t been fully implemented.
By Jon Queally for Common Dreams – ‘Under our system of government, the President cannot coerce cities, counties and states to become agents of federal immigration enforcement by threatening the loss of funds appropriated by Congress.’ In the latest rebuke of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, a federal court judge on Tuesday ruled the administration’s threat to withhold funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”—which offer modest safer harbor for immigrants and undocumented residents in the face of federal detention and deportation requests—as unconstitutional. Issuing a temporary injunction against a move by the U.S. Justice Department to refuse grant money from California municipalities, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick said the Trump administration’s effort to withhold more than $1 billion in federal grants from Santa Clara and San Francisco counties was illegal. Though the ruling affirmed the government may have some authority to seek local compliance with federal law…
By Naomi Wolf, Alicia Garza, Linda Tirado and May Boeve for The Guardian – The first 100 days of President Donald Trump: how has my life changed? First of all, there was the mourning period. Not for me, but for my fellow citizens. I was just mad. And I wasn’t even maddest at the Trump voters. I understood that the critical battle lines now are not left versus right, but the 1% neoliberal globalisers making off with all of the loot and disembowelling the middle class. So when I saw the campaign, I knew that in the US, just as in the UK, a candidate who said anything at all about people forgotten in the neoliberal race would have a solid chance. No – I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. All of January, people on the left would confront me with dazed, grief-stricken expressions, as if they had just emerged from a multi-car pileup on a foggy highway. “How could this have happened? What will we do?” I couldn’t even bear to participate in those conversations. Finally I started explaining my rage to my closest friends. I had been screaming about the possibility of this very moment for eight years, since I published a piece in the Guardian titled “Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps” and wrote a book based on it, called The End of America (2007).
By Staff of Health Over Profit – We are business owners, physicians and health policy experts writing to urge you to take action that will truly solve the healthcare crisis in the United States. The current approach is the most expensive and inefficient in the advanced world, is a drag on our economy and yields relatively poor health outcomes. We are writing to seek a meeting with you to discuss how to create a national system that provides health care for all in a far more cost-effective and efficient manner than our current system provides. We agree with you that the Affordable Care Act is a problem. It has not changed the fact that the United States spends the most on health care simply because the cost of services, pharmaceuticals and administration are the highest in the world. Healthcare spending is rising faster than wages and inflation and is consuming an increasing share of our Gross Domestic Product. This is not sustainable. The business sector spends more on administering and paying for employee health benefits than it gains in net profits. This makes it impossible for US corporations to compete internationally with countries that have a universal, national health system funded by taxpayers.
By Bill Blum for Truth Dig – Judge Watson clearly had the authority to render his decision. After all, the principle of judicial review—the power of the courts to declare acts of Congress and the executive branch unconstitutional—has been a bedrock tenet of American constitutional law since Marbury v. Madison was decided in 1803. I don’t fault Sessions for expressing his disappointment with the substance of Watson’s ruling. Lawyers and judges routinely disagree on matters of constitutional interpretation. All things being equal, I’d even give him a pass for apparently forgetting that Hawaii is a state, albeit one consisting of several islands. But things are rarely, if ever, equal when it comes to Sessions, especially when race, ethnicity or issues of minority rights enter the picture. Would Sessions have been equally dismissive if Judge Watson were white, or if the judge’s order had not benefitted Muslims, who comprise a statistically small but increasingly scapegoated religious community in the U.S.? Compare Sessions’ comments about Watson with the jubilation he expressed last June when the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 in the case of United States v. Texas regarding the Obama administration’s deferred deportation program for the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens (DAPA)…
By Kate Knibbs for The Ringer – The U.S. is planning to seek criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a CNN report citing anonymous U.S. officials on Thursday. If this occurs, it will represent a radical change in how the government treats dissident speech, one that will endanger the media and empower the Trump administration to silence critics. Trump’s not the first president to loathe the press. Richard Nixon had a good run as media-despiser-in-chief, although he often came up on the losing end of challenges to the Fourth Estate, most notably in 1971, when the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of publishing the Pentagon Papers. The court allowed The New York Times and The Washington Post to publish classified documents about the Vietnam War, which had been leaked by a government whistle-blower, without the threat of prosecution. The Obama administration was notoriously aggressive in investigating leakers, and more successful than Nixon at punishing them. It pursued government whistle-blowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, and obtained a ruling to require journalists to testify about confidential sources during criminal cases.
By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept – IN FEBRUARY, after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. media were the “enemy of the people,” the targets of his insult exploded with indignation, devoting wall-to-wall media coverage to what they depicted as a grave assault on press freedoms more befitting of a tyranny. By stark and disturbing contrast, the media reaction yesterday was far more muted, even welcoming, when Trump’s CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, actually and explicitly vowed to target freedoms of speech and press in a blistering, threatening speech hedelivered to the D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. What made Pompeo’s overt threats of repression so palatable to many was that they were not directed at CNN, the New York Times or other beloved-in-D.C. outlets, but rather at WikiLeaks, more marginalized publishers of information, and various leakers and whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Trump’s CIA Director stood up in public and explicitly threatened to target free speech rights and press freedoms…
By Jessica Huseman for Pro Publica – A federal judge ruled that Texas’ voter ID was intended to discriminate against blacks and Latinos. The Department of Justice tried to argue otherwise. A federal court in Texas has again ruled the state’s 2011 voter identification law intentionally discriminated against minorities. It’s the latest loss in the case for Texas — which has spent years unsuccessfully defending the law. But it also has implications for the Trump administration. In February, the new administration abruptly abandoned the crux of the Justice Department’s opposition to the voter ID law. Government lawyers also asked the judge to delay her decision on whether the law intentionally discriminated against blacks and Latinos. Judge Nelva Ramos Gonzales rejected their request for a delay. And Monday, she ruled that the law “was passed, at least in part, with a discriminatory intent in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” When it passed in 2011, Texas’s law had the country’s strictest voter ID provisions. It required one of seven forms of Texas or federally issued IDs to vote and allowed exemptions only for disability or age. It allowed no exception for low income voters.
By Kim Brown for The Real News Network – Welcome to The Real News Network in Baltimore. I’m Kim Brown. Science, particularly climate change science, is under attack in the United States. As government rolls back regulations to protect our health and environment, they are also removing scientific data from public government websites. In response scientists are mounting a protest in Washington, D.C., on Earth Day, which this year falls on April 22nd, and our next guest says that her own citations have been removed by the Trump administration. Joining us today from New York City is Victoria Herrmann. She is the President and Managing Director of the Arctic Institute, where her research focuses on the intersection of both climate change adaptation and human development. She’s also a National Geographic explorer; she’s also a Gates Scholar at the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University. Joining us today from New York, Victoria, thank you so much for being here.
By Heidi Shierholz and Celine McNicholas for EPI – Research on the relationship between employment and regulations generally find thatregulations have a modestly positive or neutral effect on employment. How could regulations create jobs? Though regulations sometimes reduce jobs in one area, they create jobs in another. For example, factories making lead paint shut down after regulations banning lead paint were issued in the late 1970s, but enterprises manufacturing lead-free alternatives arose in their place. And some of the older factories hired people to retool their machinery to begin manufacturing lead-free paint. Mass layoffs are not caused by regulations. “Mass layoff events” are incidents in which at least 50 unemployment insurance claims are filed against an employer during a 5-week period. According to the latest data available (2011 and 2012), employers cite regulations as the reason for mass layoffs in just a tiny share of mass layoff events—one-quarter of one percent.
By Staff of Happy Foxie – The account is just one of the many “alternative” Twitter accounts that surfaced after Trump took office and began silencing certain agencies’ social media pages. (The National Park Service may come to mind.) In their lawsuit, Twitter claims that the government sent them a summons in March demanding they reveal the identity of the Alt Immigration account’s owners. They argue that compliance would violate the First Amendment. This could threaten other users’ ability to be critical of the Trump administration anonymously. It further argues that if the government is successful on this summons, it could threaten other users’ ability to be critical of the Trump administration anonymously. While the lawsuit is a massive step, it’s not Twitter’s first against the government. In 2014, Twitter sued the Obama administration over restrictions they imposed on posts about surveillance requests.
By Miriam Berg for Planned Parenthood – Since Ronald Reagan was in office, a harmful policy known as the global gag rule has been taken off the books by every Democratic president and put back on by every Republican president. It bans foreign NGOs that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling on, referring for, or even advocating for abortion. It’s a policy that hurts the world’s most vulnerable women – and stifles free speech. In one of his first executive actions in office and surrounded by smiling white men, President Trump instated an even worse version of this already dangerous rule. His action will be catastrophic for communities around the world that rely on U.S. funding to fight against Zika and to provide HIV/AIDS and maternal health care. This expanded version of the global gag rule threatens to undermine and reverse progress that family planning has made in lowering maternal mortality rates and preventing unsafe abortion worldwide. In fact, it could endanger the lives of millions of women and girls, and their babies.