Israeli Arms Maker Picked To Build Prototype Of Trump’s Border Wall

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By Ali Abunimah for The Electronic Antifada – An Israeli arms maker has been picked by the US Department of Homeland Security to build a prototype of the wall President Donald Trump has vowed to build along the full length of the US-Mexico border. Elta North America is one of eight firms that will receive about $300,000-$500,000 each to build test versions of the barrier. Trump now says his wall will be “see through,” suggesting an emphasis on fences and electronic monitoring, rather than concrete. Construction of the prototypes is expected to begin this fall near San Diego. The company is the Maryland-based subsidiary of Elta Systems Ltd., which is owned by one of Israel’s leading arms companies, Israel Aerospace Industries. Elta is not the only Israeli firm that pitched itself to build Trump’s wall. Magal Security Systems, a company that has helped Israel isolate Gaza from the outside world, earlier expressed its interest in winning the contract.

Trump Shoots The US In The Foot Over Iran

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By Eric Margolis for Eric Margolis – President Donald Trump has put the United States on the course for war with Iran. That was clearly his objective last Friday when he refused to certify the international nuclear accord with Iran and proclaimed heavy sanctions against Tehran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps. Trump’s move was also a clever ploy to deflect blame for abrogating the key 2015 Iran nuclear treaty that the US signed with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. Accusing Iran of ‘terrorism’ and ‘violating the spirit of the accord,’ Trump threw the Iran issue into the hands of the Republican-dominated US Congress. He had to. All of Trump’s senior national security officials and those from the treaty partners and UN reported that Iran had kept its end of the deal. So Trump trotted out the old song and dance about terrorism – which means anything Uncle Sam does not like. The same United States that supports the murderous Islamic State and its allies in Syria and Iraq. There won’t be much doubt about how Congress handles this hot potato. The leading senators and congressmen who will deal with the issue, like Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies. The US vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu.

Judge Orders Limitations On Sweeping DreamHost Warrant Seeking Info On Anti-Trump Site

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By Kate Conger for Gizmodo – A judge ordered the web hosting company DreamHost to redact identifying information about visitors to a website used to coordinate a protest during President Trump’s inauguration, imposing further limits on an extensive warrant obtained by the Justice Department that initially aimed to collect visitors’ IP addresses. Chief Judge Robert E. Morin of the Superior Court of D.C. had previously ordered DreamHost to turn over information about the operators of the website, disruptj20.org. The Justice Department alleged that the site was used to privately communicate plans for a riot, and that it needed the IP addresses of the millions of visitors to the site in order to discover who had incited the violence. After resistance from DreamHost, the Justice Department narrowed the scope of its request. In an order issued today, Morin said that the government would need to submit a report explaining the minimization procedures it would use when searching DreamHost’s data—in short the government would need to explain why it needs everything it needs. Only then would Morin allow the DoJ to review redacted data, and the government would again have to provide the court with its justification for removing any redactions. “Because of the potential breadth of the government’s review in this case, the Warrant in its execution may implicate otherwise innocuous and constitutionally protected activity,” Morin wrote.

Trump Advisers Propose Privatizing Native American Reservations

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By Staff of The Indigenous American – Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves. Now, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews. The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership – a politically explosive idea that could upend more than century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations. The tribes have rights to use the land, but they do not own it. They can drill it and reap the profits, but only under regulations that are far more burdensome than those applied to private property. “We should take tribal land away from public treatment,” said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition. “As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country.” Trump’s transition team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

D.C. Police Threw More Than 70 Grenades At Inauguration Protesters

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By Baynard Woods for The Real News Network – MPD deployed the weapons during massive protests of Donald Trump’s inauguration. At some point around 10:00 a.m. on the morning of the inauguration some protesters began breaking windows of major corporations on 13th Street NW between Logan Circle and Franklin Square. The protesters who engaged in vandalism were dressed in all black as part of a so-called “black bloc.” In the statement of notice for an expert witness set to appear in the first trial related to the case, which begins on Nov. 20, the prosecutors argue that the “‘black bloc’ tactic involves participants dressing in all black clothing and concealing their faces with masks, bandanas, and other clothing items. This tactic makes it difficult for law enforcement to identify the individual perpetrators of violence or destruction within the larger group.” Shortly after the police encountered the group, they began to deploy weapons, spraying large amounts of pepper spray (I was covering the event and was hit with spray). Platoon 32, for instance, emptied four large MK46 canisters and seven smaller canisters of the irritant.

Jeff Sessions Issues Directive Undercutting LGBT Protections

In issuing the memo, Jeff Sessions is injecting the department into a thicket of highly charged legal questions that have repeatedly reached the US supreme court. Photograph: Aaron Bernstein/Reuters

By Staff of The Guardian – The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, on Friday issued a sweeping directive that undercuts federal protections for LGBT people, telling agencies to do as much as possible to accommodate those who claim their religious freedoms are violated. In response, one LGBT rights advocate called the directive a “license to discriminate” and “an attack on the values of freedom and fairness that make this nation great”. Also on Friday, the Trump administration issued a new rule that substantially undermines women’s access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. The Sessions directive, an attempt to deliver on Donald Trump’s pledge to evangelical supporters that he will protect religious liberties, effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove their beliefs about marriage or other topics are sincerely held. A claim of a violation of religious freedom will now be enough to override many anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, women and others. The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty called them a legal powder keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government. “This is putting the world on notice: you better take these claims seriously,” Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told the Associated Press. “This is a signal to the rest of these agencies to rethink the protections they have put in place on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Whistleblower Quits With Scathing Letter Over Trump Interior Dept. Leadership

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By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate Change – A senior Interior Department official announced his resignation on Wednesday, accusing the Trump administration of poor leadership, wasting taxpayer dollars and failing to address climate change. Joel Clement’s resignation comes four months after he invoked the protections of whistleblower law for what he said was an illegal attempt by the department’s leaders to intimidate him for speaking out about climate change. “You and President Trump have waged an all-out assault on the civil service by muzzling scientists and policy experts like myself,” Clement wrote in his resignation letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. “You have disrespected the career staff of the Department by questioning their loyalty, and you have played fast and loose with government regulations to score points with your political base at the expense of American health and safety.” In the letter, Clement listed some of the groups of Americans who are reckoning with the impacts of climate change—including families and businesses in the path of hurricanes and flooding, the fishermen and farmers coping with new realities, medical professionals working to understand new diseases—and issued a warning.

New Yorkers Picket Trump Tower In Support Of Puerto Rico

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By Ashoka Jegroo for Waging Nonviolence – A crowd of about a hundred protesters picketed outside of Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday in support of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, while also protesting colonialism and the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria. The protest occurred on the same day as President Trump’s first trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the island two weeks ago. “We’re here denouncing not only Trump’s visit to the island. We’re denouncing what’s going on right now and how politicians from both parties are using Puerto Rico as a ping pong ball. They are not helping my country,” said Norma Perez of Call to Action On Puerto Rico. “Also we want to denounce the payment of [Puerto Rico’s] debt. This is not the time to pay any debt. Just take the debt with you, allow us to be free, and we can move on and be an independent country without the colonialism, without everything they are imposing on us in Puerto Rico.” The protesters, many of whom were Puerto Ricans from the island or the diaspora, demanded an end to the Jones Act, a law imposed by the United States in 1920 that only allows U.S. ships to deliver goods to the island.

The Trump-Goldman Sachs Tax Cut For The Rich

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By Jack Rasmus for Jack Rasmus – “This past week Trump introduced his long awaited Tax Cut, estimated between $2.0 to $2.4 trillion. Like so many other distortions of the truth, Trump claimed his plan would benefit the middle class, not the rich—the latest in a long litany of lies by this president. Contradicting Trump, the independent Tax Policy Center has estimated in just the first year half of the $2 trillion plus Trump cuts will go to the wealthiest 1% households that annually earn more than $730,000. That’s an immediate income windfall to the wealthiest 1% households of 8.5%, according to the Tax Policy Center. But that’s only in the first of ten years the cuts will be in effect. It gets worse over time. According to the Tax Policy Center, “Taxpayers in the top one percent (incomes above $730,000), would receive about 50 percent of the total tax benefit [in 2018]”. However, “By 2027, the top one percent would get 80 percent of the plan’s tax cuts while the share for middle-income households would drop to about five percent.” By the last year of the cuts, 2027, on average the wealthiest 1% household would realize $207,000, and the even wealthier 0.1% would realize an income gain of $1,022,000.

Trump’s Unpaid-For Tax Cuts May Total $5 Trillion In New Tax Plan

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By Staff of Americans For Tax Fairness – Failure to pay for tax cuts by closing tax loopholes may put Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Education on the Chopping Block. An analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness of the tax framework released today by President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress shows that Trump’s tax cuts could total a massive $6.7 to $8.3 trillion, $3 to $5 trillion of which may not be paid for by closing other tax loopholes and/or by limiting tax deductions. The resulting jump in the deficit threatens funding of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and other vital services. The framework is very similar to key features of the tax plans previously released by President Trump and House Speaker Ryan, which is the basis for ATF’s analysis. The table below summarizes the proposed tax cuts in the Trump-Republican leaders’ tax plan, along with estimates of their considerable costs.

Trump Tax Plan Is For The Superrich – Like Trump

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By Staff of Public Citizen – Donald Trump is going from a failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, in which every proposal considered by the House and Senate Republicans made health insurance more unfair and covered less, to a tax proposal designed primarily to benefit the wealthy. An analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness of the tax framework, released today by the President and Republican leaders in Congress, “shows that Trump’s tax cuts could total a massive $6.7 to $8.3 trillion, $3 to $5 trillion of which may not be paid for by closing other tax loopholes and/or by limiting tax deductions. The resulting jump in the deficit threatens funding of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education and other vital services. The framework is very similar to key features of the tax plans previously released by President Trump and House Speaker Ryan, which is the basis for ATF’s analysis.”

Here’s What Real Tax Reform Looks Like

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By Paddy Quick for Indypendent – President Donald Trump will not succeed in carrying out any significant tax “reform,” but it is likely that he and the Republican majority in Congress will further skew the existing tax structure to benefit the rich, the top 1 percert, at the expense of everyone else. This will continue the policies that have made the federal tax system significantly less progressive over the past several decades and thus contributed to increasing income inequality. The fundamental cause of that growing inequality is that the income created by the increase in productivity that has taken place over the past 40 years has gone almost exclusively to capital, while wages have remained stagnant. In contrast, the growth in productivity between 1945 and 1975 led to increases in both wages and profits. The main cause of this is the globalization of production, as multinational corporations transfer work to countries with much lower wages. Workers in the United States, however, have suffered more than those of many other “developed” countries such as Canada. The assault on the working class has worked systematically at both federal and state levels to undermine working-class organizations, in particular, trade unions. It has defeated hard-won restrictions on the power of money to influence elections, such as in the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that granted “free speech” rights to corporations and thus abolished limits on their financing of electoral campaigns.

Chicago’s ‘Green Zone’: Plans For Massive Police Compound Worries Community

An artist’s rendering of the city of Chicago’s planned $95 million public safety training campus in West Garfield Park, to replace the city’s police and fire training academies. (Photo: Chicago City Hall)

By Kevin Gosztola for Mint Press News – The city of Chicago plans to build a massive multi-million dollar training center for police and firefighters in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. But a coalition of community organizations contend the center will compound President Donald Trump’s “multi-pronged attack” on communities of color and expand the Chicago Police Department’s “capacity for violence.” Last week, the city’s Community Development Commission approved a 30.4-acre land acquisition in a northwest industrial corridor tax-increment-financing (TIF) district in Chicago. A $95 million “state-of-the-art” compound will be built by 2020 for police, firefighters, and emergency medical services teams to train together. Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed the facility as a destination, where out-of-state police agencies can send officers for training. It will spur “real economic development” with people from the suburbs and downstate traveling to the center. Similarly, Alderman Emma Mitts, whose ward includes West Garfield Park, asserted the community is “excited” about having “a lot more police” in the area. She also claimed there will be new economic opportunities.

The Empire’s Hustle: Why Anti-Trumpism Doesn’t Include Anti-War

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By Ajamu Baraka for Counter Punch – Libertarian U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared from the Senate floor last week in anticipation of the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018: “I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared and unconstitutional war…What we have today is basically unlimited war, anywhere, anytime, any place upon the globe.” With these words, Paul became one of the few voices to oppose the obscenity that is known as U.S. war policy. But only two other senators joined him: Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). But there is a wrinkle here: Paul is not concerned with the size of the military budget. He’s pointing his finger at the continuation of the Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF) of 2001, which was the “legal” basis for the U.S. global “war on terror.” He wants Congress to re-assess this legislation that has prompted endless wars abroad. After Paul’s amendment to the NDAA was defeated, the Senate went on to approve it with a vote of 89-9 Monday in what the New York Times correctly identified as a bi-partisan effort, to authorize a military budget of $696 billion—an increase in the military budget of almost $75 billion and well over the $54 billion that Pres. Donald Trump had originally proposed.

California To Sue Trump Administration Over Plan For U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

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By Patrick McGreevy and Jazmine Ulloa for Los Angeles Times – California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra plans to announce a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of the state that will challenge President Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, a project Becerra has called “medieval.” Becerra is scheduled to travel to Border Field State Park near San Diego to announce that a lawsuit is being filed in federal court over construction of border wall projects in San Diego and Imperial counties. The lawsuit, which includes the California Coastal Commission as a plaintiff, states its purpose is “to protect the State of California’s residents, natural resources, economic interests, procedural rights, and sovereignty from violations of the United States Constitution” and federal law. It adds that the wall would have a chilling effect on tourism to the United States from Mexico. The state’s lawsuit alleges that the Trump administration has failed to comply with federal and state environmental laws and relied on federal statutes that don’t authorize the proposed projects. The brief alleges the federal government violated the U.S. Constitution’s separation-of-powers doctrine “by vesting in the Executive Branch the power to waive state and local laws, including state criminal law.”.