Home Daily News Clips Tuesday News: Dangerous Bigot/Wacko Flynn Resigns; “Trump, like Nixon, is incapable of...

Tuesday News: Dangerous Bigot/Wacko Flynn Resigns; “Trump, like Nixon, is incapable of change”; Colbert on Trump and “Fake News”

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, February 14.

  • Video: The horrible Tucker Carlson takes on Yorktown High School’s supposedly political “propaganda”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEArGmAjJg4

  • From Virginia AG Mark Herring’s office:

    FEDERAL COURT FINDS THAT TRUMP BAN LIKELY UNCONSTITUTIONAL, ISSUES NATION’S FIRST PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
    ~ Judge finds AG Herring likely to succeed in claim that ban unconstitutionally discriminates against Muslims ~
    RICHMOND(February 13, 2017)–Tonight Judge Leonie Brinkema found that President Donald Trump’s January 27 Executive Order is actually the Muslim ban that he promised as a candidate, and therefore the Commonwealth is likely to prevail on its claim that the order discriminates against Muslims in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Because the Commonwealth is likely to be successful in its claim, the judge granted Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s motion for the nation’s first preliminary injunction to protect Virginia residents and the Commonwealth itself from the harm caused by the ban.

    In finding that the Commonwealth is likely to prevail on its claim that the order violates the First Amendment, Judge Brinkema wrote:

    “The Commonwealth has produced unrebutted evidence supporting its position that it is likely to succeed on an Establishment Clause claim. The “Muslim ban” was a centerpiece of the president’s campaign for months, and the press release calling for it was still available on his website as of the day this Memorandum Opinion is being entered.”
    Attorney General Herring issued the following statement on the nation’s first preliminary injunction:

    “I saw this unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American ban for exactly what it is and I’m glad the Court has, too. We presented a mountain of evidence showing this was the ‘Muslim ban’ that President Trump promised as a candidate, while his administration failed to refute one shred of our evidence or provide any of its own to support its claims. The overwhelming evidence shows that this ban was conceived in religious bigotry and is actually making Americans and our armed forces less safe at home and abroad. This preliminary injunction will protect Virginians while our case is pending, and the opinion explaining it lays out in stunning detail the extent to which the Court finds this order to likely violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

    In light of the existing temporary restraining order in the case pending in Washington/9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brinkema’s preliminary injunction is narrowly tailored to address Virginia’s harms and currently applies only to affected Virginia residents. Under this preliminary injunction, the Trump administration is barred until a trial from enforcing its ban against any Virginia green card holder or Virginia workers or students who were lawfully in the United States when the Executive Order went into effect:

    ENJOINED from enforcing § 3(c) of Executive Order 13,769 against any person who has a Virginia residence or is employed by or attends an educational institution administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and who, as of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, January 27,2017, was lawfully admitted for permanent residency in the United States, held an immigrant visa that would entitle the bearer to be lawfully admitted for permanent residency upon admission to the United States, held a valid student visa (or accompanying family or spousal visa), or held a valid work visa (or accompanying family or spousal visa);

  • Valentine

    A blue valentine for Lowell from the nytimes
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/opinion/no-more-rules-of-the-game.html?ref=opinion
    Check the links

  • Comment from Andy Schmookler (from Israel):

    About Flynn and Trump:

    Howard Fineman — in an article titled “White House Already in Flames,”” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-michael-flynn-flames_us_58a29e1ee4b0ab2d2b187775? — asks the familiar question, “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

    He thinks that Trump must have been made aware of Flynn’s contacts with the Russians at some point. Another question I have: if Trump was told, what are the legal implications of that?

    But I’m wondering about another scenario. What if Flynn’s inappropriate and likely illegal contact with the Russian ambassador, before the new administration was sworn in, was made at Trump’s behest? (Something like, “OK Flynn, call up the Russian ambassador and tell him they don’t have to worry about Obama’s sanctions.”)

    If that contact is against the law, and if Trump — then still not in office — ordered it, what would be the legal ramifications of THAT?

  • Sen. Mark Warner statement on Flynn resignation.

    “Reports that the White House may have been briefed weeks ago on the nature of Gen. Flynn’s calls raise deeply troubling questions. The American people deserve to know at whose direction Gen. Flynn was acting when he made these calls, and why the White House waited until these reports were public to take action.

    “These developments underscore how many questions still remain unanswered to the American people more than three months after Election Day, including who was aware of what, and when. This reinforces both the urgency and the significance of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russian interference, which will include a thorough examination of contacts between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns, as well as interviews with current and former government officials.

    “Nothing about this resignation, or resignations that could occur in the future, precludes the Senate Intelligence Committee from continuing to investigate Gen. Flynn, or any other campaign official who may have had inappropriate and improper contacts with Russian officials prior to the election.

    “It is clear that our task is more urgent than ever.”

  • Statement from Sen. Tim Kaine on Flynn resignation:

    “The resignation of Lieutenant General Flynn cements the worst fears of many Americans and our allies about the connections between this Administration and the Kremlin. His alarming communication with the Russian government underscores the need to complete a full, independent, bipartisan, and transparent investigation of contacts between the Trump campaign and the Trump Administration, and the Russian government. It also raises new questions about why the White House didn’t act on confirmed intelligence regarding Flynn’s outreach to the Russian ambassador weeks ago. Flynn is now the third Trump advisor to resign due to unseemly ties to Russia and yet again President Trump is trying to distract from these serious allegations by railing against leaks in his Administration. We need to get to the bottom of these ties to Russia in order to protect our country.”

  • Progress Virginia Statement On Senate Vote To Defund Planned Parenthood

    Richmond, Virginia–Senators voted this afternoon to pass HB 2264, a bill sponsored by Delegate Cline that would defund Planned Parenthood. We urge Governor McAuliffe to veto the bill when it reaches his desk.

    “Defunding Planned Parenthood is an outrageous attempt to deny Virginia women and families access to health care services they need. Planned Parenthood provides quality, compassionate care to all those who seek it, and it is shocking that members of the General Assembly would seek to cut off access to health care for the most medically underserved Virginians,” said Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia. “The General Assembly should be seeking ways to expand access to care, not cutting Virginians off from trusted providers and interfering in the doctor-patient relationship.”

    Planned Parenthood health centers offer comprehensive health care services to tens of thousands of Virginians annually, including family planning services, contraceptive counseling, STI testing and treatment, and cancer screenings. It is one of the few remaining providers that continues to offer consistent and reliable care to Medicaid recipients, and importantly, often serves as a crucial entry point into the health care system for these and other individuals.

    Nationally, more than one-third of low-income women who receive publicly supported contraceptives receive care at Planned Parenthood. A majority of Virginians agree that a woman who has decided to have an abortion should have access to safe, high-quality, and affordable health care.

  • From the Virginia House Dem Caucus:

    House GOP Kills Three Senate Redistricting Reform Measures

    RICHMOND, Va. – In a packed room of Virginians demanding redistricting reform, House Republicans who sit on a House Privileges and Elections subcommittee today killed three measures that passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

    Del. Margaret Ransone, Del. Mark Cole, Del. Les Adams, Del. Buddy Fowler and Del. Chris Jones voted to kill the following measures:

    SJ 290, sponsored by Sen. Jill Vogel and Sen. Janet Howell, would have amended the constitution to ban the drawing of district lines to favor or disfavor any political party.

    SJ 231, sponsored by Sen. Emmett Hanger and Sen. Glen Sturtevant, would have created a redistricting commission and established criteria for that commission to use when drawing lines.

    SB 846, sponsored by Del. Louise Lucas, would have created an interim redistricting commission to redraw lines in the event that a congressional or state legislative district is declared unlawful or unconstitutional.

    Del. Mark Sickles and Del. Luke Torian, the only two Democrats sitting on the subcommittee, voted in support of the measures.

    “Five Republicans sitting on one subcommittee today killed redistricting reform for millions of Virginia voters,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “The measures that were before the Elections Subcommittee today passed the Senate with bipartisan support. In fact, seventy-four percent of Virginians support giving control of redistricting to an independent board. There’s a rising tide of support for reform, and Virginians deserve a full floor vote.”

    “Virginia is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation, and we had the opportunity today to start to fix that,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Unfortunately, five Republicans sitting on this committee quietly killed proposals that deserve the attention of the entire body. We renew our call to Speaker Howell for a full floor vote on this fundamental issue of the franchise.”

    To cries of “shame,” House Republicans on the Privileges and Elections Committee abruptly adjourned a Feb. 3 meeting without allowing Democrats who sought to revive a redistricting reform measure to speak.

  • KAINE STATEMENT ON VOTE TO CONFIRM DAVID SHULKIN AS SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on his vote to confirm David Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs:

    “I voted to confirm Dr. David Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. It’s critical that the VA continues to implement the reforms initiated by Congress and Secretary McDonald so that thousands of veterans can receive the timely health care they deserve. From his previous role as President Obama’s chief executive of the Veterans Health Administration, Dr. Shulkin has the institutional knowledge and support of Veterans Service Organizations to continue making strides in improving timely access to care and making the VA more focused on specific veterans’ needs. In Virginia alone, we’ve already seen improvement in wait times at the Hampton VA Medical Center—which had one of the longest wait times in the country two years ago—but we must keep working to improve timely access to quality care to those veterans in need. Virginia is home to nearly 800,000 veterans and has one of the fastest-growing veterans populations in the country, so any change disproportionately affects our population. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Shulkin on improving the VA, simplifying the complex disability and benefits claims process, and improving the compatibility of VA, Defense Department, and private sector records systems.”

    Kaine recently sent a letter to President Trump urging him to exempt the VA and all veterans seeking federal jobs from the recent federal hiring freeze, noting that the freeze would exacerbate chronic VA labor shortages and reduce veteran employment. Kaine also reintroduced the bipartisan Providing Veterans Overdue Care Act to authorize pending leases for 24 VA medical facilities, including a 155,000 square foot outpatient facility in Hampton Roads.

    In addition to Dr. Shulkin, Kaine has voted in support of James Mattis, John Kelly, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley and Elaine Chao. Kaine has voted against Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price, and Steven Mnuchin. He has announced his opposition to the nominations of Ben Carson, Mick Mulvaney, and Scott Pruitt. Additional decisions are forthcoming based on ongoing review of the nominees’ backgrounds and confirmation hearings.

  • From “Invest in Fairfax”:
    Grassroots Coalition Rejects Fairfax Budget Proposal, Urges Board of Supervisors to Invest in the Community

    Fairfax, VA – Immediately following Fairfax County Executive Ed Long’s budget proposal to the Board of Supervisors, a grassroots coalition of local families, small business owners, county employees, teachers and firefighters called on the Board of Supervisors to work with the public to pass a budget which “Invests in Fairfax.”

    “It is unacceptable that in the wealthiest county in the nation, the county executive would balance the budget by cutting mental health funding, cutting programs for people with disabilities and breaking promises to our frontline professionals,” said David Broder, of Invest in Fairfax.

    Invest in Fairfax is a grassroots coalition of local parents, small business owners, firefighters and public safety officials, faith leaders, teachers, county employees and community leaders. The coalition advocates for public investment in the community, and greater public engagement on the county budget.

    “As a small business owner, I know we need to invest in our community. That’s why I support our kids, our teachers, our mental health providers and more,” said John Wood, owner of the 29 Diner. “This budget, however, fails our community. So, now we need the Board of Supervisors to step up and support our educators, our firefighters, and our county employees as they serve the community, including small businesses.”

    “Fairfax County has historically made the needs of people with disabilities a priority, in part by funding our FCPS graduates with disabilities who needed assistance with employment supports,” said Rikki Epstein, Executive Director of the Arc of Northern Virginia. “We urge Fairfax County to continue supporting our FCPS graduates with intellectual and developmental disabilities this year. To allow them to graduate ‘to the couch’ without employment supports would be a travesty for them, their parents, their schools, and our community as a whole.”

    I love what I do, helping our community,” said Monique Hampton, Fairfax County employee and member of FCGEU-SEIU. “However, the county executive broke the Board’s promise to fund our pay plan. This will make our high turnover rate even higher, and will make it even harder to serve the public. It also makes it harder for me to afford to send my daughter to college.”

    “We need to build on the progress made last year, when the Board of Supervisors listened to the community, recognized the need to properly fund our schools and county services, and took appropriate action,” said Kevin Hickerson, President of the Fairfax Education Association. “We must push forward for the good of our students and our community.”

    Coalition members will be studying the budget in greater detail as it becomes available, in advance of meetings with Supervisors in the coming days and weeks.

    Community members will mobilize to influence the budget process moving forward, including attending and speaking out on February 28 as the Board of Supervisors authorizes the proposed real estate tax rate; through March as the Board holds budget committee meetings and town halls; and at the public budget hearings April 4 – 6.

  • Lieutenant Governor Northam’s Statement on State Senate Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

    RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement after the Virginia State Senate approved HB 2264 to defund Planned Parenthood. Today’s 20-19 vote sends the bill to Governor Terry McAuliffe who vetoed similar legislation last year.

    “It seems that not a day goes by here in Richmond without more attacks on women’s reproductive healthcare. Yesterday, politicians and special interest groups argued that certain forms of contraception cause abortions. Today, the Senate voted to defund Planned Parenthood,” said Lt. Gov. Northam. “Planned Parenthood health centers provide vital medical services to communities across the Commonwealth, including cancer and STI screenings. In some communities, the Planned Parenthood health center is the only affordable medical provider. I will continue to stand against any attempt to restrict a woman’s access to the healthcare she deserves.”

  • Connolly Statement on Office of Government Ethics Call for Investigation Into Conway’s Actions

    Washington, D.C. – Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) released the following statement today after the U.S. Office of Government Ethics urged the White House Counsel to investigate senior White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway’s potential violation of federal rules:

    “Kellyanne Conway’s infomercial for President Trump’s daughter was an egregious violation of the federal Standards of Conduct. This dereliction of basic ethical conduct from a senior Administration official is behavior that has come to characterize the Trump White House. I applaud the U.S. Office of Government Ethics’ action today and urge the White House Counsel to investigate immediately this unacceptable behavior and exercise appropriate discipline.”

  • Ranking Member Beyer’s Statement in Response to Majority Criticism of Minority’s Cybersecurity Oversight Request

    (Washington, DC) – Today, during the Research and Technology Subcommittee hearing, “Strengthening U.S. Cybersecurity Capabilities”, Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) made the following statement and submitted documents for the record in response to statements made by Majority staff in an article in The Hill yesterday and in a Majority letter. The statements and letter were issued in response to a letter sent by Ranking Member Johnson, Congressman Beyer, and Congressman Lipinski regarding President Trump’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities and practices.

    “My Republican colleagues claimed that the letter we sent to Chairman Smith and LaHood and Chairwoman Comstock last week calling on them to investigate President Trump’s cybersecurity practices was hypocritical since we did not support the Committee’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server.

    “I would simply highlight a few facts:

    By the time the Science Committee launched its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails three (3) government agencies (FBI, State OIG and ODNI OIG)) had already completed investigations of Clinton’s emails and five (5) other Congressional Committees were investigating this same issue.

    The Committee essentially dropped all interest in Hillary Clinton’s emails within days after the 2016 Presidential Election.

    “There was also a quote in The Hill yesterday from an anonymous Science Committee staffer claiming Science Committee Democrats refused to support past investigations into cyber hacks, specifically mentioning the OPM hack and the breaches at the FDIC. I’d like to submit for the record two documents that dispute this alternative fact.

    First, my letter to Chairman Smith requesting the hearing into the OPM hack.
    And second, my opening statement from the FDIC hearing in which I voice explicit support for the inquiry into the FDIC breaches.

    “Donald Trump has been President for less than one month and cybersecurity issues are already plaguing his Presidency, including his use of an unsecure personal cell phone and having his Presidential Twitter account previously linked to a Gmail account.

    “I hope the Majority will continue to show interest in investigating cybersecurity incidents, even when they involve a sitting Republican President.”

    Congressman Beyer went on to ask a number of questions of the witnesses related to the Trump Administration’s cybersecurity practices.

    “This past week the Trump Administration revised and then delayed the release of a new Executive Order on cybersecurity. It was also reported that the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in charge of cybersecurity for the White House and the President was fired. As I pointed out in a letter I signed with Ranking Members Johnson and Lipinski to our Republican counterparts last week, in his few short weeks in office President Trump and some of his senior staff appear to be struggling with implementing proper and appropriate cybersecurity practices. As our letter points out, the President still apparently uses his easily hackable unsecure personal cell phone and his official Twitter account had been linked to an unsecure private Gmail account. And just this weekend it was widely reported that the President held conversations and reviewed documents about the North Korean missile launch in the middle of Mar-a-Lago’s restaurant, potentially within earshot of waiters and fellow diners. According to eye witnesses, aides used their phones as flashlights to illuminate the documents, which could let hackers, if they had compromised those phones, read the material because the phones’ camera was pointed right at them. These actions give the appearance that the Trump Administration’s cybersecurity policies are in disarray and that the personal cybersecurity practices of the President and his senior staff are both unwise and insecure.

    “I am sure you have all seen some of the stories about the questionable cybersecurity practices being utilized by President Trump that I just mentioned.

    Dr. Burley, starting with you, but I’d like everyone to respond, could you speak to this issue, particularly about how effective cybersecurity policy requires buy-in from the top of the organizational chart, whether it is from a CEO, Agency Head, or President of the United States? And secondly what message does the President’s own cybersecurity practices send to federal workers about the importance of cybersecurity?

    What measures should the Administration take to secure the important Twitter accounts used by the President?

    Who in the Administration should be responsible for insuring cybersecurity at the White House and by the President and his senior staff?”

  • Quizzical

    Humana withdraws from Obamacare exchanges
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/aetna-humana-drop-merger-bid-234989
    Not good

  • Quizzical

    Trump campaign in constant contact with Russians —
    Trump aides spoke to Russians during campaign
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/donald-trump-aides-russians-campaign/index.html
    Of course. The Russians were part of the campaign.