The Medicare trust fund is fully funded through 2029 and 79-percent funded through 2040.

We can remember conservatives holding signs to protest Obamacare which read, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” but with the program being targeted by Republicans, they are strangely quiet. Seniors will face a sweeping set of changes that would dramatically increase healthcare costs for the elderly and in the end, they will pay more for their health care while getting less if Republicans have their way.

Perhaps the most visible plan to cut Medicare is the one endorsed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, which would eliminate the guaranteed level of coverage that Medicare currently provides — e.g., covering hospital care and 80 percent of the total cost of doctor visits — and replace it with “vouchers” with which seniors would be directed to buy their own health insurance from the private sector.

Other plans being circulated in Congress contemplate similar approaches, the end result of which can best be described as shifting more risk to seniors – a risk that means either paying more for their healthcare or getting less of it.

Other plans circulating in Congress end up with seniors paying more out of their own pocket for the same coverage or skipping the medical care they need.

Ryan dubbed his voucher-based approach to Medicare as “premium support,” but according to Schneidewind, it’s a clear downgrade of the “benefits people have earned throughout their working lives.” The talking point from Republicans is that Medicare is “going broke” but that’s not true.

In fact, both the Medicare Trustees Report and The Congressional Budget Office report that Medicare’s fiscal strength has improved — not declined — in recent years and that the Medicare trust fund is fully funded through 2029 and 79-percent funded through 2040, a highly manageable shortfall that can be closed in coming years without experimenting with, or reducing, seniors’ healthcare coverage.

If the changes take place, seniors in the traditional Medicare program will see their own premiums rise dramatically. Trump vowed to not “touch” Medicare while he was on the campaign trail. “I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare. You made a deal a long time ago,” Trump said at the time.

Paul Ryan’s Ayn Randish views would affect millions of senior citizens.




Bannon Admits Trump’s Cabinet Nominees Were Selected To Destroy Their Agencies.



At CPAC this week Stephen Bannon, the Chief Advisor and intellectual heft behind the Twittering infant that sits in the Oval Office, provided a little glimpse of the future he has planned for all of us.

In the clearest explanation for why nearly all of Trump’s cabinet choices are known mostly for despising and attacking the very Federal agencies they’ve been designated to lead, Bannon explained—in very clear language–that they weren’t appointed to lead these agencies, but to destroy them:

Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the “deconstruction of the administrative state” — meaning a system of taxes, regulations, and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty.

“If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said. He posited that Trump’s announcement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history.”
The crippling or wholesale elimination of Federal agencies that ensure we receive such things as clean air, clean water, fair labor laws, fair housing standards, anti-discrimination laws, financial protections, food and drug safety, national education standards and the like, has been a goal of far-right “thinkers” for decades. Their rationale, propagated by corporate and industry-funded think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, has always been that the existence of these “unelected” agencies represents a mortal threat to American “sovereignty and self-government.” This is exactly the line Bannon was peddling at CPAC today. It is delusional, right-wing garbage.

The reality is that these extensions of the Executive Branch—the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, for example– exist to serve the interests of all the American people, performing the painstaking and complex task of regulating the very things that make all Americans’ lives worth living. They perform this function because history has clearly shown that neither the Congress nor the states are remotely up to the task of doing it. They have neither the time, the expertise, the manpower, or the ability to handle such mammoth responsibilities in a country of 330 million people.

For example, these are the Department of Labor’s core functions:

The purpose of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. In carrying out this mission, the Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws and thousands of federal regulations. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers.
When EPA responds to a massive toxic waste spill or a Deepwater Horizon explosion or simply tells a coal company that it can’t pollute the surrounding air and water with its carcinogens, it is taking on a task on behalf of all Americans, not just the locals who happen to be affected. When the Department of Health and Human Services administers a nationwide program of medical care for the elderly, it is responding to the needs of all Americans, not just the well-off.

The nature of “Federal” agencies is just that—to preserve uniformity throughout the country so that (in theory at least) no single state or locality is treated with preference over others. The hundreds of thousands of people who work for these agencies are there because of their expertise and their dedication. They are not politicians. They are not “elected.” But they do work for all of us.

Bannon knows that there is no realistic substitute for these Federal agencies. When Bannon talks about dismantling the “Administrative state,” what he’s really talking about is allowing corporations and industry the absolute right to do whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want, regardless of its harmful impact on American citizens. “Deconstruction,” in the pie-in-the-sky fevered dreams of the Heritage Foundation, means exactly what it sounds like, as the report linked above illustrates— a process by which no Agency regulation for the protection of the public may occur without Congressional approval. In practice, with the current composition of the Republican-dominated Congress, this amounts to complete corporate predation, the absolute elimination of our ability as citizens to halt corporate malfeasance. In essence, he’s talking about corporate-enforced slavery, aided and abetted by a Congress corrupted through and through with corporate largesse.

Bannon is a fanatic, a clear and present danger to the America we all know and care about. Unfortunately, his fanaticism poured into the ear of someone as fundamentally incurious and vain as Donald Trump, brings us closer to the wholesale destruction of this country than any of us could have expected in our lifetimes.



Eating seafood is a great way to get vital nutrients and vitamins. Tilapia is the most popular farmed fish in America because of its affordability. But health experts are warning consumers to stay as far away as possible from Tilapia. Flip over to the next page to see why…

Tilapia Contains Few Nutrients: Researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine released a report on the omega-3 fatty acid content in popular fish. Tilapia scored far lower than most other fish on the list. Omega-3 fatty acids give fish most of their benefits, including Alzheimer’s risk reduction. Tilapia contains a TON of omega-6 fatty acids, which are terrible for you. The quantity of omega-6 in tilapia is higher than a hamburger or bacon.

Tilapia Could Cause Alzheimer’s: One of the omega-6 fatty acids in tilapia goes by the name of arachidonic acid – a compound which significantly increases the type of inflammatory damage that precedes Alzheimer’s. So while eating healthy fish like mackerel, halibut and sardines would reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, this fish actually increases it.

Most Tilapia Is Farmed: Tilapia is the second most commonly farmed fish in the world. This is largely due to the fish’s hardiness; it can eat just about anything. Good for farmers, bad for consumers. It means they don’t have to spend nearly the money on fish food as they would if they were raising salmon. Farmers commonly feed the fish chicken and pig poop. The fish are also stuffed with antibiotics and genetically modified to grow faster.

Tilapia May Cause Cancer: Tilapia can carry up to 10 times the amount of carcinogens as other fish. This is because of the food the farmers feed the fish–poop, pesticides and industrial-grade chemicals. One toxic chemical researchers have found in the fish is dioxin, which is linked to the development and progression of cancer. What’s more, your body doesn’t actually flush out dioxin for a whopping 7-11 years.




Programme of the NSDAP, 24 February 1920The 25 points of the NSDAP Program were composed by Adolf Hitler and Anton Drexler. They were publically presented on 24 February 1920 “to a crowd of almost two thousand and every single point was accepted amid jubilant approval.” (Mein Kampf, Volume II, Chapter I) Hitler explained their purpose in the fifth chapter of the second volume of Mein Kampf:

[T]he program of the new movement was summed up in a few guiding principles, twenty-five in all. They were devised to give, primarily to the man of the people, a rough picture of the movement’s aims. They are in a sense a political creed, which on the one hand recruits for the movement and on the other is suited to unite and weld together by a commonly recognized obligation those who have been recruited.

Hitler was intent on having a community of mutual interest that desired mutual success instead of one that was divided over the control of money or differing values.


In these straightforward statements of intent, Hitler translated his ideology into a plan of action which would prove its popularity with the German people throughout the coming years. For many, the abruptness of its departure from the tradition of politics as practiced in the western world was as much of a shock as its liberal nature and foresight of the emerging problems of western democracy.

The Programme of the German Workers’ Party is designed to be of limited duration. The leaders have no intention, once the aims announced in it have been achieved, of establishing fresh ones, merely in order to increase, artificially, the discontent of the masses and so ensure the continued existence of the Party.1. We demand the union of all Germany in a Greater Germany on the basis of the right of national self-determination.

2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings with other nations, and the revocation of the peace treaties of Versailles and Saint-Germain.

3. We demand land and territory (colonies) to feed our people and to settle our surplus population.

4. Only members of the nation may be citizens of the State. Only those of German blood, whatever be their creed, may be members of the nation. Accordingly, no Jew may be a member of the nation.

5. Non-citizens may live in Germany only as guests and must be subject to laws for aliens.

6. The right to vote on the State’s government and legislation shall be enjoyed by the citizens of the State alone. We demand therefore that all official appointments, of whatever kind, whether in the Reich, in the states or in the smaller localities, shall be held by none but citizens.

We oppose the corrupting parliamentary custom of filling posts merely in accordance with party considerations, and without reference to character or abilities.

7. We demand that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens. If it should prove impossible to feed the entire population, foreign nationals (non-citizens) must be deported from the Reich.

8. All non-German immigration must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who entered Germany after 2 August 1914 shall be required to leave the Reich forthwith.

9. All citizens shall have equal rights and duties.

10. It must be the first duty of every citizen to perform physical or mental work. The activities of the individual must not clash with the general interest, but must proceed within the framework of the community and be for the general good.

We demand therefore:
11. The abolition of incomes unearned by work.The breaking of the slavery of interest
12. In view of the enormous sacrifices of life and property demanded of a nation by any war, personal enrichment from war must be regarded as a crime against the nation. We demand therefore the ruthless confiscation of all war profits.13. We demand the nationalization of all businesses which have been formed into corporations (trusts).

14. We demand profit-sharing in large industrial enterprises.

15. We demand the extensive development of insurance for old age.

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle class, the immediate communalizing of big department stores, and their lease at a cheap rate to small traders, and that the utmost consideration shall be shown to all small traders in the placing of State and municiple orders.

17. We demand a land reform suitable to our national requirements, the passing of a law for the expropriation of land for communal purposes without compensation; the abolition of ground rent, and the prohibition of all speculation in land. *

18. We demand the ruthless prosecution of those whose activities are injurious to the common interest. Common criminals, usurers, profiteers, etc., must be punished with death, whatever their creed or race.

19. We demand that Roman Law, which serves a materialistic world order, be replaced by a German common law.

20. The State must consider a thorough reconstruction of our national system of education (with the aim of opening up to every able and hard-working German the possibility of higher education and of thus obtaining advancement). The curricula of all educational establishments must be brought into line with the requirements of practical life. The aim of the school must be to give the pupil, beginning with the first sign of intelligence, a grasp of the nation of the State (through the study of civic affairs). We demand the education of gifted children of poor parents, whatever their class or occupation, at the expense of the State.

21. The State must ensure that the nation’s health standards are raised by protecting mothers and infants, by prohibiting child labor, by promoting physical strength through legislation providing for compulsory gymnastics and sports, and by the extensive support of clubs engaged in the physical training of youth.

22. We demand the abolition of the mercenary army and the foundation of a people’s army.

23. We demand legal warfare on deliberate political mendacity and its dissemination in the press. To facilitate the creation of a German national press we demand:

(a) that all editors of, and contributors to newspapers appearing in the German language must be members of the nation;
(b) that no non-German newspapers may appear without the express permission of the State. They must not be printed in the German language;
(c) that non-Germans shall be prohibited by law from participating financially in or influencing German newspapers, and that the penalty for contravening such a law shall be the suppression of any such newspaper, and the immediate deportation of the non-Germans involved.

The publishing of papers which are not conducive to the national welfare must be forbidden. We demand the legal prosecution of all those tendencies in art and literature which corrupt our national life, and the suppression of cultural events which violate this demand.

24. We demand freedom for all religious denominations in the State, provided they do not threaten its existence not offend the moral feelings of the German race.

The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not commit itself to any particular denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and without us, and is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health only from within on the basis of the principle: The common interest before self-interest.

25. To put the whole of this programme into effect, we demand the creation of a strong central state power for the Reich; the unconditional authority of the political central Parliament over the entire Reich and its organizations; and the formation of Corporations based on estate and occupation for the purpose of carrying out the general legislation passed by the Reich in the various German states.

The leaders of the Party promise to work ruthlessly — if need be to sacrifice their very lives — to translate this programme into action.

* On April 13, 1928, Adolf Hitler clarified section seventeen in the programme in order to stop political mischaracterizations: “Because of the mendacious interpretations on the part of our opponents of Point 17 of the programme of the NSDAP, the following explanation is necessary.: Since the NSDAP is fundamentally based on the principle of private property, it is obvious that the expression “confiscation without compensation” refers merely to the creation of possible legal means of confiscating when necessary, land illegally acquired, or not administered in accordance with the national welfare. It is therefore directed in the first instance against the Jewish companies which speculate in land.

Global Arms Sales Paint Chilling Picture of World at War


February 21, 2017 at 1:10 pm

 Global sales of major arms systems have risen over the past five years to the highest volume since the end of the Cold War, according to the Stockholm International Peace Institute’s (SIPRI) annual report on arms sales.

SIPRI, an international institute that researches “conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament,” said on Monday that more weapons were delivered between 2012 and 2016 than any other five-year period since 1990. Between 2007–2011 and 2012–2016, arms imports by national governments in the Middle East rose by 86 percent.

“Saudi Arabia, which leads a military intervention in Yemen that has costs hundreds of civilian lives, was the world’s second largest importer after India, increasing its intake by 212 %, mainly from the US and the UK.”

However, there are some issues with the Guardian’s statement. First, according to the U.N., well over 10,000 civilians have been killed, a staggering difference when compared with the Guardian’s watered down reference to “hundreds of civilians lives.” The vast majority of these civilians have been killed directly by the Saudi-led coalition. Second, the Saudi-led war can hardly be called an intervention considering the brutal and illegal nature of the ongoing operation. The term “war of aggression” is more appropriate.

As a result of this cozy Saudi-U.S. relationship, Saudi arms imports have tripled during the war in Yemen. The Obama administration sold the oil-rich kingdom at least $115 billion worth of weapons, as Anti-Media has previously reported.

SIPRI’s report concluded that Asia was the main recipient region in the world. India was seen to have dwarfed its rivals, China and Pakistan, by accounting for 13 percent of global imports. Most interesting, however, is that India relies primarily on Russian imports as opposed to NATO countries, further complicating alliances in the region.

Together, the United States and Russia have supplied more than half of all exports. Unsurprisingly, the United States continues to remain the world’s biggest arms dealer.

Iran, the country that has been vilified as the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism and regional aggressor, received a mere 1.2 percent of the region’s arms transfers. Conversely, arms imports into Qatar, alone, have risen by 245 per cent.

The report’s damning conclusions reaffirm what many have been warning about for some time now, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev: the whole world is preparing for war.

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Scientists say they have identified an underwater continent two-thirds the size of Australia — and they are calling it Zealandia.

This newly proposed continent is about 1.74 million square miles in size and 94 percent submerged. But at its highest points, it protrudes above the ocean surface in the form of New Zealand and New Caledonia, according to a paper published in GSA Today, the journal of the Geological Society of America.

Image: An illustration shows what geologists are calling Zealandia, a continent two-thirds the size of Australia lurking beneath the waves in the southwest Pacific
An illustration shows what geologists are calling Zealandia, a continent two-thirds the size of Australia lurking beneath the waves in the southwest Pacific. HANDOUT / Reuters

The proposed recognition of the continent of Zealandia does not represent the discovery of a new land mass. Rather, the paper argues that the geological evidence suggests the land mass should be classified not as a collection of islands and fragments but as a bona fide continent.

“If we could pull the plug on the oceans, it would be clear to everyone we have mountain chains and a big, high-standing continent above the ocean crust,” Nick Mortimer, a geologist at GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand, told Reuters.

Mortimer was the lead author of the paper, “Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent.”

New discoveries about the geology of the region prove what has long been suspected, he said.

“Since about the 1920s, from time to time in geology papers people used the word ‘continental’ to describe various parts of New Zealand and the Catham Islands and New Caledonia,” Mortimer said.

Image: An illustration shows what geologists are calling Zealandia, a continent two-thirds the size of Australia lurking beneath the waves in the southwest Pacific
An illustration shows what geologists are calling Zealandia, a continent two-thirds the size of Australia lurking beneath the waves in the southwest Pacific. HANDOUT / Reuters

“The difference now is that we feel we’ve gathered enough information to change ‘continental’ to the noun ‘continent,'” he added.

The land mass meets the geological definition of a continent, according to the paper. It has high elevation compared to the ocean crust. It has certain geological components, including a crust thicker than ocean crust. And it has well-defined limits around an area large enough to be considered a continent rather than a fragment.

Zealandia is believed to have broken away from Australia about 80 million years ago and sunk beneath the sea as part of the break-up of the super-continent Gondwanaland.

By contrast, modern human beings are believed to have emerged only about 200,000 years ago.

Mortimer recognizes that the paper at this point represents the making of a geological case — the opening of an argument rather than its resolution.

“The litmus test will really be if Zealandia appears in maps and atlases in five or 10 years time,” he said.




Michael Anton (born 1970) is a conservative intellectual and seniornational security official in the Trump administration. He is best 
knownfor his pseudonymous essays written during the 2016 Presidentialcampaign, mainly pro-Trumpism "The Flight 93 Election", which 
compared conservatives letting Hillary Clinton win with passengers 
not charging the cockpit of the Al Qaeda-hijacked flight.
Anton was named Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic 
Communications on the United States National Security Council. He is a former speechwriter for Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush’s Nationa 
Security Council, and most recently worked as managing director of 
investing firm BlackRock.[9] William Kristol, editor of the 
neoconservative political magazine The Weekly Standard, compared Anton'srole to that of the Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt; Anton 
had previously written for the magazine.[10][4]


A SENIOR OFFICIAL on President Trump’s embattled National Security Council warned in previously unreported comments that it is “inevitable” an Islamic terrorist group will carry out a successful nuclear attack against the United States and that in its aftermath, the world “will regress hundreds of years politically.” The official, Michael Anton, laid out a dire scenario of multiple nuclear detonations on American soil, saying that terrorists “will, I think, wait until they can hit us with several blows at once, followed by a number of follow-on blows.”

Anton, appointed as the Trump administration’s senior director of strategic communications on the NSC, wrote in 2009 that he was “surprised it hasn’t happened yet” and predicted that once the attacks occur, “economies will collapse … the world will revert to a kind of localism and warlordism.” He added, “If Chicago wakes up one morning and NY is simply not there anymore, and some dude on Al Jazeera is saying, ‘Chicago you are next!’ I don’t see order lasting long.”

New York, he added, seems to be the most likely first target. “I think you do not fully grasp what New York represents to the Islamist Terrorist mind. It is not simply the financial capital of the US, or even of the world. It is quite simply the capital of the western world and of all modernity. It is the center and chief creator and exporter of decadence and corruption. It is quite simply, to them, the most hated place on the planet, and the most important, outside the holy cities.”

Anton, who previously served in a mid-level position on the NSC in the Bush era, published a string of attention-getting essays last year that attempted to make a conservative intellectual argument for supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy. Those essays, while provocative, do not seem to be nearly as controversial or apocalyptic as the comments The Intercept unearthed after receiving a tip from a reader. The comments were made on an obscure website devoted to men’s fashion,, which also hosts wide-ranging discussions among its members on a variety of political topics. Anton, who previously wrote a book titled “The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style,” posted on under the username “Manton,” and his user profile listed his usual shoe width as D medium. He was exceptionally prolific: Since joining the site in 2002, he has posted more than 40,000 comments.
“An all out nuclear war is not inevitable, or even likely,” he wrote in a discussion thread he started about nuclear terrorism. “A regional nuclear exchange between two regional powers is more likely, but still not inevitable. A nuclear detonation in a major US or European city (or Moscow) is inevitable.” He added, “Let’s just say the event is overdue. People have been wanting to do it for a long time, and trying to do it for a long time. … As a general matter, anything that human beings have wanted to do badly enough, that it is physically possible to do, they have eventually found a way to do.”

His concerns were so severe that he provided advice to people thinking of building their own fallout shelters.

“They could be worth a great deal,” Anton wrote. “If they are not underground at all, they are not worth much. [If] they are underground on even one side, their usefulness goes up by a lot. If they are surrounded by at least five feet of earth on four sides, then you are pretty much invulnerable from initial fallout — as long as you can hold out down there. … You would [be] better off having stored water. You never know about a water supply, it might be affected, might not. Best thing to do is to have some means of testing the water on hand. Buy it in advance and put it in the shelter.” Asked by another commenter when he thought the nuclear attack would occur, Anton responded, “Any day now.”

Anton also made provocative comments about diversity and affirmative action, saying they were harmful or unfair. Writing about university affirmative action programs in the humanities and social sciences, he stated, “What actually happens today is a total, consuming obsession with ‘diversity’ defined solely by skin color (and to a lesser extent national origin) coupled with an even more consuming obsession with ideology.” He also argued for the superiority of homogenous societies in which the population has common attributes, such as a shared language and ethnicity.

“The homogenous ones have higher trust levels, greater levels of cross-family cooperation, more public-spiritedness, higher levels of volunteering, charity donations, etc.,” he wrote. “They are also more able and more willing to support safety nets—formal and informal—that benefit non-family members. Heterogeneous societies have lower trust levels, people ‘hunker down’ and avoid contact with neighbors not just of other races/groups but of their own. They are more likely to concentrate solely on taking care of their own and to see taxation and other attempts to fund public goods as robbing Peter (themselves) to pay Paul (the other). Ordinary stuff does not get done or done as well. The state, with all its inefficiencies, has to be larger and more intrusive in order to make up for the lack of a thriving civil society.

The detail and apparent extremism of Anton’s comments appear to go even further than much of what has already emerged from the Trump White House. The comments provide what seems to be the darkest of contexts for understanding the Trump administration’s desire for radical crackdowns on immigration and Muslims in general: a fervent conviction that a civilizational apocalypse caused by Muslims is coming soon.

“I look at the world and I see a whole movement of people who want to kill me, destroy my country, and end my civilization,” Anton wrote to a commenter who in his view had downplayed the threat posed by Muslims. “You either don’t see any of these people or you just think they are a joke. The bombs and the propaganda you alternate between taking in stride, finding pathetic, or dismissing any connection to Islam.” He also told the commenter, “Entirely absent from your analysis is even the possibility that there really is an enemy that wants to do terrible things to us and change us in fundamental, illiberal ways.”


February 14, 2017 at 2:55 pm—Written by 


1. A House Panel Voted to Terminate the Election Assistance Commission

The House Administration Committee voted 6-3 in favor Republican Congressman Gregg Harper’s billto terminate the Election Assistance Commission. The EAC, which was created in response to the contentious 2000 Florida election results as part of the Help America Vote Act, is a bipartisan commission that certifies voting machines and is responsible for making sure they cannot be hacked.

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While this marks the fifth time Harper has presented the EAC termination bill, The Los Angeles Times and USA Today point to the suspect timing of the bill’s reintroduction — just days after Trump announced his intention to open an investigation into his own claims of voter fraud. Democrats have also raised concerns that the EAC is needed more than ever before given the highly publicized, albeit still unprovenRussian hacking scare in December. Thirty-eight organizations, including the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and Common Cause signed a letter denouncing the panel’s vote. The bill is set to go to a full committee report, a stage only one in four bills succeeds in reaching, according to

2. Legislation introduced to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (or at least severely limit it)

This one-sentence bill introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R- FL) is the most direct attack on the EPA amid recent attempts to limit its scope and influence, including legislation presented by Rep. Gary Palmer in January that aims to ‘clarify’ and redirect the EPA’s authority over greenhouse gases by literally striking the phrase from legislation and replacing it with the neutralized term ‘air pollutant.’ The bills are consistent with the anti-climate change sentiment expressed in Republican Congressman Luetkemeyer’s bill from January, which would prohibit the contribution of any U.S. tax dollars to fund the U.N. Climate Change Act.

3. On the day of DeVos’ confirmation hearing, Rep. Massie introduced legislation to terminate the Department of Education altogether

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced a one-sentence bill calling for the termination of the Department of Education on the same day controversial Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos was confirmed by an unprecedented tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence. In a press release, Massie explained his intention behind the bill, stating:

“Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development.”

While the bill brings to mind President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to abolish the Department of Education in 1985 — which failed amid a lack of Congressional support — the high levels of discontent following DeVos’ controversial appointment as Secretary of Education could translate into bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans alike who feel their schools would be better off without federal oversight. The bill currently has seven co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

4.Roe v. Wade’s protections threatened under Congressional avalanche of anti-abortion legislation

The Life at Conception Act, S. 231, and its companion House bill, H.R. 681, were reintroduced by Senator Rand Paul days after Trump’s Inauguration. The bills are being hailed by the Pro-Life Alliance as a “frontal attack” on Roe v. Wade. The legislation aims to establish that a fetus, or ‘pre-born person,’ is guaranteed equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the constitution. While there is debate about the extent to which the act could nullify the privacy protections afforded by Roe v. Wade, it would present additional considerations for any future court decisions related to abortion laws. If passed, the Life at Conception Act, combined with Trump’s nomination of reputedly pro-life Justice Neil Gorsuch, could provide the conditions needed for a successful Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.

The reintroduction of The Life at Conception Act is in alignment with several other pieces of legislation proposed in January that would indirectly limit access to legal abortions. Chief among these is S. Res.15, in which Senator Mike Lee recommended the permanent establishment of Reagan’s ‘Mexico City Policy,’ a block on federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals. President Trump reinstated the policy by executive order just days later.

Additional pending legislative efforts include H.R. 692, a bill that would prohibit minors from crossing state lines to access abortions, H.R. 718, a bill that would criminalize “reckless disposal” of fetal remains, H.R. 354, a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and H.R. 7, a bill to limit taxpayer funding for abortion providers, which has already passed in the House and is heading towards a vote in the Senate.

5. More stringent legislation on immigration and refugee resettlement

While attention focused on Trump’s travel ban, Republican lawmakers introduced a series of amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act that would result in more stringent visa and refugee vetting policies. S.180, introduced by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, would change the eligibility criteria for certain H1b and L1 work visas, making them no longer obtainable without a U.S. degree or equivalent.

S.211, or the “State Refugee Security Act,” introduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, would allow the governor of a state the ability to reject the settlement of any refugee in that state by default “unless there is adequate assurance that the alien does not present a security risk.

H.R. 643, known as the Visa Overstay Enforcement Act, was introduced by Republican Representative Lou Barletta and would increase penalizations for overstaying visa terms. Under the proposed legislation, those who overstay their visas would face a fine and up to six months in jail with up to two years in jail for any subsequent offense.

There are additional efforts to mandate E-verify, the computerized government record system that confirms employees’ authorizations to work in the U.S. The bill, introduced by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, would also require that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) report anyone who receives a final “nonconfirmation” message — signifying that the employee is not authorized to work in the United States — to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

E-Verify has been criticized in the past as a faulty computerized mechanism for mass deportation. Still, it could be broadly mandated as the electronic iteration of Trump’s ‘build a wall’ immigration policy.


6. The House approves nearly 20 Department of Homeland Security bills

Bills that passed include H.R. 505 to “strengthen accountability or deployment of border security technology,” and H.R. 612, which would establish a grant program to promote cooperative research between the U.S. and Israel on cybersecurity.

Among the bills that passed is also H.R. 666, which would establish an Insider Threat Program to identify the threat that an insider will use his or her authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, to do harm to the security of the United States, including damage to the United States through espionage, terrorism, the unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information, or through the loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities.”

The ‘insider threat’ description offered in H.R. 666 draws to mind cases of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, who previously released sensitive information about the government. The act, which never mentions the word “whistleblower,” was passed along with two explicit whistleblower protective bills —  H.R.914 and H.R. 67, a.k.a. the “Thoroughly Investigating Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Act.” The contradictory legislation suggests the DHS has a vested interest in maintaining the outside appearance of a pro-whistleblower stance, even as they devote more resources to identifying whistleblowers within the department.

7. The Legislative Battle to Expand vs. Limit President Trump’s access to Nuclear Weapons

  • The House passed H.R. 590, a bill to foster civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies in an apparent fulfillment of the president’s previously expressed desire to “greatly strengthen and expand” U.S. nuclear capability.
  • Alarmed, Democratic Senator Edward Markey and Congressman Ted W. Lieu quickly countered by introducing legislation to prohibit President Trump from launching a “first-use nuclear strike” without a declaration of war by Congress.

“It is a frightening reality that the U.S. now has a Commander-in-Chief who has demonstrated ignorance of the nuclear triad, stated his desire to be ‘unpredictable’ with nuclear weapons, and as President-elect was making sweeping statements about U.S. nuclear policy over Twitter,” Rep. Lieu said in a statement.

8. New bills on marijuana legalization, re-scheduling, and protection from seizure

Given that marijuana was joked to be ‘real winner’ of the 2016 Election, it seems only fitting that two marijuana bills would appear in the House on Inauguration Day. Republican Congressman Griffith Morgan introduced the two bills in succession. The first, H.R. 714, or “LUMMA,” would “provide for the legitimate use of medicinal marihuana in accordance with the laws of the various States.” LUMMA was followed by H.R. 715, or the “Compassionate Access Act,” which would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and formally recommend to the DEA a rescheduling of marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to another category. A key provision of H.R. 715 would exclude “cannabidiol” from the definition of “marijuana” and remove it from the CSA.

California Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Dana Rohrabacher also proposed separate bills that would protect residents in states where marijuana is legal from civil forfeiture of property and punishment for use and distribution, respectively. As Anti-Media reported, the legislation comes at a crucial moment of uncertainty regarding the future of federal drug policy and enforcement under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


While Trump has been busy eagerly flexing his executive power, a quiet power struggle has begun in Congress between legislators who aim to pass bills that reinforce the efforts of Trump’s administration and legislators frantically introducing bills in attempts to block the administration’s impact. As we head into month two of Trump’s presidency — and as some of these bills head into the next phase of debate — these power struggles will continue playing out, both on Twitter and in Congress


Lithuania Daily Life

By Steve Benen
Donald Trump declared this morning, “I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy – yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!” It’s not clear why, exactly, the president made the comment – he probably saw something on television he didn’t like – and it’s even less clear why he thinks his observation makes sense.

For example, President Obama did not single-handedly reach an effective nuclear agreement with Iran; it was actually an international coalition that struck the deal – including Trump’s allies in Moscow. As for the idea that there was “no problem” in response to the breakthrough policy, the new president may not realize this, but the agreement was the subject of intense debate and controversy.

But it was Trump’s assertion that he has “no deals in Russia” that seemed especially noteworthy. He said something similar last month in a pre-inaugural press conference, telling reporters, “I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away.”

To the extent that reality matters, Trump and his business team did not ”stay away.” The New York Times reported a few weeks ago: Mr. Trump repeatedly sought business in Russia as far back as 1987, when he traveled there to explore building a hotel. He applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996. And his children and associates have appeared in Moscow over and over in search of joint ventures, meeting with developers and government officials.

During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.

As recently as 2013, Mr. Trump himself was in Moscow. He had sold Russian real estate developers the right to host his Miss Universe pageant that year, and he used the visit as a chance to discuss development deals, writing on Twitter at the time: “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”
Trump once told a biographer, “I know the Russians better than anybody.”

What about the president’s specific claim this morning that he currently has “no deals in Russia”? That may be true, but it’s difficult to know for sure. As the Washington Post recently reported, “It is not possible to verify whether Trump does not have current deals or loans with Russian entities because he has refused to release his tax returns.”

As for the Republican’s assertion that he doesn’t know Russian President Vladimir Putin, it’s worth remembering from time to time that Trump has repeatedly said the exact opposite. Trump told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in 2013, “I do have a relationship” with Putin. A year later, Trump said, “I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success.”

As recently as late 2015, Trump said in reference to Putin, “I got to know him very well.”

Trump later decided to reverse course on his own claims on the Russian leader. Will he do the same in reference to his denials about Russian deals?