March 17, 2017

Judge Tells ICE to Stop Stalking Court Houses

The chief justice of California's Supreme Court accused federal immigration authorities of "stalking" local courthouses on Thursday, joined a growing chorus of officials objecting to immigration detentions at courthouses. 
In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, state Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye asked the federal government to immediately stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants at courthouses in California. 
Image: California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in 2010. Robert Galbraith / Reuters
"Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair," she wrote. "They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary's ability to provide equal access to justice." 
In recent weeks, state and local authorities in other jurisdictions, including Multnomah County, Oregon, and El Paso, Texas, have gone public with their objections to what they have called "raids" by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement inside courthouses or on courthouse grounds. 
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for ICE's Western regional office, told NBC News on Thursday that the agency had no comment on Cantil-Sakauye's letter. But she confirmed and defended the practice of detaining undocumented immigrants at courthouses in general. 
"While ICE does arrest targets at courthouses, generally it's only after investigating officers have exhausted other options," she said, noting that many local law enforcement agencies refuse to honor ICE detainer requests
Kice said that many of those detained at or near courthouses have previous convictions and that they would have been turned over to ICE upon their releases from jail, anyway. 
"When criminal custody transfers occur inside the secure confines of a jail or prison, it's far safer for everyone involved, including our officers and the person who's being arrested," she said. 
A particularly high-profile detention occurred Feb. 9 at the El Paso County Courthouse, where security video recorded ICE agents arresting Irvin González, a transgender woman from Mexico, who was at the courthouse to seek a protective order against her alleged abuser. 
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, told NBC affiliate KTSM at the time that victims of crime should be able to feel safe inside a courthouse. 
In her letter Thursday, Cantil-Sakauye sounded a similar warning. 
"I am concerned about the impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system if the public feels that our state institutions are being used to facilitate other goals and objectives, no matter how expedient they may be," she wrote. 
The ICE policy mirrors promises President Donald Trump made during his campaign last year, but it doesn't appear to be in response to the president's urgings. 
Local officials have complained about such operations for several years — as long ago as 2014, 20 members of the Wisconsin Legislature objected to the presence of ICE agents who were stopping and questioning Latinos inside county courthouses.
by   and  

Trump’s Is The No1 Beneficiary of His Budget and GOP’s

Between the money he will recoup in taxes he wont have to pay, deductions on posh places to do business and the security expenses of his wife and sons, daughters and grandchildren plus the mopey they will making through benefis in tax law and freedom to do business around the world on the US dime this will probably be the most expensive presidency over. 

What would he do to say thanks? So far he has side tracked the government to bogus allegations of being wiretap by the Previous President (no tangible penalty for this but he got ugly discussions about him off the media and Congress for now) while we are involved in the crisis of North Korea’s nuclear missiles which will be directed to Japan first. Also the Russia’s interfering on our election and sanctions which he stop congress discussing anymore. I understand that Chaffeez was complaining is getting difficult to get information on Hillary’s server……….STILL..Not discussing what was behind the Presidents still assertions of being wiretap and  some reports the Vice President, staff still using private server as of 30 days ago or the connections of Trump and Putin and the emails between Flynn and the Turks and Russians.

Wall st Journal:

The first big tax cut moving through Congress under President Donald Trump would likely benefit the president himself, potentially saving him millions of dollars in taxes on his rental income next year and even more money on other income if he wins a second term.

Mr. Trump’s decision to continue owning his businesses as president without running them expands the tax’s effect on him and thus makes him benefit more from the proposed repeal, which would take effect in 2018, according to accountants and tax lawyers.

“In terms of his rental income, he would have been largely unaffected by repeal” if he were still a private citizen, said Tony Nitti, an accountant at Withum Smith & Brown. “There’s no just practical way he can qualify as a real estate professional now that he’s president of the United States.” 

President Trump's budget seeks increases in the military spending but deep reductions in domestic programs, such as funding for public television and the arts. WSJ's Gerald F. Seib says while these proposals reflect Trump's priorities, many targeted agencies may escape the ax. Photo: AP
The repeal of the 3.8% tax—known as the net investment income tax—is the largest tax cut contained in the Republican health-care bill moving through the House. It would reduce federal revenue by $157.6 billion over a decade, with most of that boost flowing to the top 1% of households.

Trump Budget Likely to See Major Rewrite in Congress

While Republicans lawmakers embraced President Donald Trump’s impulses to cut what some consider wasteful programs, they were quick to lodge objections to cuts in his budget plan that hit close to home. 

Repealing the tax was part of the GOP health agenda long before Mr. Trump won the party’s nomination.

It is impossible to know how much Mr. Trump would actually benefit because he hasn’t released his tax returns and because his financial disclosures appear to conflate revenue and income in places.

But a previous Wall Street Journal review of his financial disclosures found that he had an estimated 2016 pretax income of $160 million, with $83.6 million of that coming from rental income. That would yield an annual tax savings of $3.2 million on rental income alone if the investment income tax were repealed.

The White House and a Trump Organization spokeswoman declined to comment. Mr. Trump’s representatives criticized the 2016 analysis, saying the income number was wrong.

Congress created the net investment income tax in the 2010 health law with two aims: to pay for the expansion of health insurance coverage and to subject what Democrats called “unearned income” to the same 3.8% tax imposed on top earners’ wages. It includes rent, capital gains, interest and dividends.

The tax, which applies to individuals with incomes over $200,000 and married couples with incomes over $250,000, took effect in January 2013. For instance, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton paid $3,517 because of the tax in 2015, according to her tax return.

But the tax’s structure also created a gap, one that the Obama administration tried but failed to close. Wage earners and investors paid it, but business owners could avoid the 3.8% tax on their profits, as long as they were actively involved in their businesses.

That is likely the gap Mr. Trump fell in before he became president, assuming his adjusted gross income was high enough.

He would have paid the investment income tax on any stock sales and some other income but likely avoided it on his business profits, which flow through to his personal tax return and are taxed as ordinary income.

“Up until he became president, he would have met the definition of being an active real estate professional,” said Joe Perry, partner-in-charge at the accounting firm Marcum LLP. Now, as president, “he would probably not meet the definition.”

Two different rules apply, depending on the underlying income. “He’s going to get hurt on both angles,” Mr. Nitti said.

Mr. Trump’s rental income, from office towers and retail stores he owns, is immediately subject to the tax. That is because owners of real estate who don’t meet certain tests about how much time they spend on the business don’t qualify and thus have to pay the tax.

“The case law has proven that it is extremely difficult for anybody with a full-time job outside the real-estate world to meet the real estate professional test,” Mr. Nitti said.

Mr. Trump’s other income—from hotel operations, branding deals and golf courses—likely wouldn’t face the tax until 2022, if he is still not actively running them. That is because of a different rule in the tax law for business profits, which says they are treated as active income if the taxpayer was active in five of the previous 10 years.

“He would be considered to be active for the next five even though he turned over management” of his business operations to his sons, said Mark Leeds, a tax partner at Mayer Brown LLP.

Beyond Mr. Trump, the repeal of the 3.8% tax is likely to deliver significant tax cuts very high-income households, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

In 2022 alone, the repeal would cut taxes by $10.8 billion for households making at least $1 million. That would be 69% of the total tax cut that year.

Croatia, Romania Closer to NATO Alliance Invite and the Nukes?


Croatia and Romania share a similar vision on most European issues, including enlargement and the eastern partnership, according to the countries’ foreign ministers, who met in Bucharest yesterday (14 March). EURACTIV Romania reports.

Croatian minister Davor Ivo Stier and his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Meleșcanu, spoke about further EU enlargement, the future of the bloc and the situation in Ukraine in a meeting in the Romanian capital on Tuesday.

The two foreign affairs chiefs also discussed bilateral cooperation within the framework of the European Union and NATO, as well as their forthcoming stints at the helm of the EU’s rotating presidency.

Romania and Croatia will both hold the presidency for the first time in 2019 and 2020, respectively, as part of the same “trio”, sandwiching Finland, which will hold the presidency for the first time since 2006.

Croatia inches closer to Schengen membership

The European Commission on Wednesday (18 January) proposed the gradual integration of Croatia into the Schengen Information System (SIS), bringing the newest EU member state slightly closer to full membership of the EU borderless area.

Meleșcanu said there is a common interest in “anchoring the region irrevocably and irreversibly on the European path”.

He added that “there is huge potential for further cooperation. Romania and Croatia have similar views on most European issues, especially under the current conditions, as well as the future of the European project itself”.

Moldova and the Ukraine crisis were also on the agenda and Romania’s foreign minister, in agreement with his Croatian colleague, insisted that “the importance and need is for the full implementation of the Minsk agreement”.

Both ministers said they share “views about the eastern partnership and how to bring these countries (closer) to” Europe.

Moldova balks at idea of closer NATO ties

Pro-Russian President of Moldova Igor Dodon yesterday (7 February) warned NATO that the closer ties it seeks with his strategically placed country could undermine its neutrality and threaten its security.

Stier revealed that his visit is the first of a number of trips that will seek to strengthen bilateral ties and he said that the country’s president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, “will visit”.

He added that the two countries’ period holding the rotating presidency will be “challenging” and that “we must support the EU’s enlargement policy”.

Stier also spoke about a number of bilateral agreements including a cooperation agreement and a memorandum of understanding on NATO defence. He also said that there are plans to work together in the Danube port of Constanta.

Nukes Out of Turkey to Romania (last summer of 2016)

 Two independent sources told that the US has started transferring nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, against the background of worsening relations between Washington and Ankara.
According to one of the sources, the transfer has been very challenging in technical and political terms.
“It’s not easy to move 20+ nukes,” said the source, on conditions of anonymity.
According to a recent report by the Simson Center, since the Cold War, some 50 US tactical nuclear weapons have been stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik air base, approximately 100 kilometres from the Syrian border.
Most Americans don’t know this fact but many will be surprised when and if they find out. Turkey has been a bad partner in both NATO with the US and EU with its European partners. This has been traditionally and historically been “Turkey”which has been in a backwards spiral on Human Rights particularly in the  LGBT community. EU rules stipulates not only a good human rights record but same sex unions or marriage. On the NATO front again Turkey has been an impediment to NATO needs dealing with the far east and Russia. Many times flights on US or NATO missions had to be rearranged to not enter their airspace because they would not clear them. Same has been on the ground on the fight against ISIS in Syria. On this front they have been Johnny come lately and only because they and no choice being inundated with Syrian refugees and attacks by ISIS on their Eastern front.

It was to be an expected change of NATO nuke policy for some time. Turkey was the partner no body wanted because it could not be counted on but at the time there was no body else that could take its place. Turkey has always acted for Turkey and that is great unless you enter into alliances in which an attack on one is an attack for all. They signed the document but it looked like they looked the other way on those tricky parts of helping each other out in times of difficulty.

The missiles have been there since the Kennedy administration and it always been a sour point with Russia. It was the break of the Soviet Union that has given the West choices though it has antagonized Moscow from one time having these countries serve as satellites of the Soviets to now being surrounded with nations that have missiles pointed at them to stop a Croatian-Georgia like invasion by the Russians with a promised of NATO to come to their help.

Now you can see why Turkey and Russia wanted to have eyes, ears and moving lips in no other place but the Oval office of the White House. What they misjudged  with Flynn who was getting money from both the Russians and the Turks,  its something the old Soviets were good at and that is secrecy. They went about in an open way for this stuff but Im sure there are other hungry palms that wont think twice to helping out someone who at the moment we are not at war with. Usually the oily field of candidates can be found in the Love America first fellows among others.

Adam Gonzalez
adamfoxie blog

In Australia Big Business Backs Same Sex Marriage Marriage

Australia's most senior conservative politician has lambasted a campaign by the chief executives of 30 of the nation's largest companies for the "near-term" legalisation of same-sex marriage, saying they should focus on running their own businesses instead of jamming "politically correct views down our throats".

Immigration minister Peter Dutton was scathing in his response to a co-ordinated attempt by the chief executives of Telstra, Qantas, Holden, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and others to force Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to pass laws legalising same-sex marriage, prompting Liberal defector Cory Bernardi to describe him as Australia's "emerging leader".

"If people want to enter politics, then do that, but don't do it from the office overlooking the harbour on multi-million dollar fees each year. I just think its high time these people pulled back from these moralistic stances and we'd be a better society without them," Mr Dutton told Radio 2GB.

In the biggest unified push by corporate bosses over gay marriage to date, chief executives from across every industry, super funds and major sporting bodies have written to the Prime Minister calling on parliament to pass laws supporting gay marriage.

 ANZ boss Shayne Elliott is among the many business leaders who signed the joint letter which said marriage equality ...
ANZ boss Shayne Elliott is among the many business leaders who signed the joint letter which said marriage equality would be good for customers, business and the nation. Bloomberg
Business leaders say they want the Prime Minister to deal with the issue urgently so he can get on with economic reform.

The move is designed to put pressure on Mr Turnbull to address the political stalemate on gay marriage after the Senate rejected the government's proposed plebiscite on the issue.

Having spent an hour on the phone last week waiting to fix his Telstra home phone, Mr Dutton directed most of his criticism at Telstra chief executive Andy Penn.

"He's a good bloke but he needs to concentrate, and others in the CEO world who are on big dollars need to concentrate, on their businesses and frankly on the improvement in the economy, contribute to that debate

"But the social issues – and as you say whether it's gay marriage or anything else – leave that up to the politicians, to the leaders, to talkback hosts like yourself, to normal people who can have those discussions without the millions of dollars being thrown behind campaigns because somehow it makes the board feel better or meets their social obligation that they've got."

Mr Dutton was particularly incensed at the companies' chiefs straying into political social issues when - in the case of Telstra - its customers were unhappy about call centre outsourcing to the Philippines.

"Now, here's a suggestion for Telstra. Instead of getting caught up and spending your investors' money, your shareholders' money on all these political causes, what about tidying up your own backyard first and providing a proper standard of care and service to your customers – that actually would be a good starting point – and once all that's done, you've then got time on your hands to concentrate on these other fringe issues," Mr Dutton said.

This week South Australian brewer Coopers became embroiled in the debate after customers boycotted its beer over a marketing tie-up with the Bible Society to create a same-sex marriage video.

The chief executives of Apple, ANZ Banking Group, AGL Energy, Commonwealth Bank, Holden, Qantas, Telstra, Westpac and Wesfarmers were among those who signed the joint letter which said marriage equality would be good for customers, business and the nation.

The bosses of the Business Council of Australia, super funds and sporting bodies like the National Rugby League and Football Federation Australia also signed the joint letter which is backed by more than 1100 businesses. They say they have backed the campaign voluntarily in a personal capacity.

"We believe that equality is everyone's basic human right. Working in an environment where people feel comfortable to make whatever choices are right for them creates a culture of diversity and inclusion. It's cultures like these that foster creativity and often where the very best ideas are formed," Tracy Fellows, the chief executive of digital advertising firm REA Group said.

'Anything less is bad business'

Holden managing director Mark Bernhard said: "We are very proud to have been the first automotive company in Australia to support marriage equality. As a business, and as a team of diverse people, we are committed to lending our voice in support of equal rights for our community."

Todd Greenberg, the National Rugby League chief executive the NRL celebrated diversity: "Enabling loving, committed couples to be married, regardless of their sexual orientation, will help create a more inclusive Australia and as a CEO, that is something I want to support."

Tim Reed, the chief executive of MYOB said: "In a competitive global business environment, nothing is more important than having people be able to be the best that they can be - anything less is just bad business. I'm proud that MYOB supports team members regardless of their sexual orientation, and I call on politicians from all parties to do likewise."

While a growing number of high-profile chief executives such as Qantas chief Alan Joyce and Telstra boss Andy Penn have publicly backed gay marriage since former Prime Minister Tony Abbott opposed legalising the move in 2015, this is the biggest collective statement by business leaders on the issue.

The role of big business in the debate has been a contentious issue, with some chief executives privately worried there would be a backlash against their business if they spoke out. The Catholic Church last year asked some companies to drop their marriage equality campaigns.

Lobby group Australia Marriage Equality (AME) approached corporate Australia in 2015 when the Abbott government opposed legalising gay marriage. The latest campaign is being headed by AME co-chair and a former senior JP Morgan executive Janine Middleton.

"This is the first time that they have come together to support the cause. It is not just gay CEOs. Most of these people are straight," Ms Middleton, who describes herself as a "conservative, Catholic, Liberal-voter" who supports marriage equality, told The Australian Financial Review.

"The bigger version of the conservative voice is corporate Australia and we started the corporate campaign and we now have more than 1100 businesses of all shapes and sizes right across the company who signed.Canberra needs to hear the different voices.

"The letter is important because the CEOs have done so in their personal capacity, they are not singing on behalf of companies."

Brewer Coopers was embroiled in the debate this week after a marketing tie-up with the Bible Society Australia to create a video on same-sex marriage backfired, resulting in pubs boycotting the beer.

The role of big business in the gay marriage debate has been a contentious issue with some executives privately concerned speaking up on the issue could hurt their business. Telstra last year backflipped on its support for marriage equality following pressure from the Catholic Church but later rejoined the campaign.

The business leaders said they believed marriage equality was good for their employees, customers, Australia's global reputation and for their business because companies that embraced diversity performed better than others.

Mr Turnbull has backed a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage, which was opposed by many in the gay and lesbian community in favour of a free parliamentary vote. Labor and the Greens blocked legislation to conduct a plebiscite on the issue.


One of Justice Alito’s Main Worries is Still Acceptance of Gay Marriage

 Samuel Alito should be happy that he and 5 of his peeps changed America by ruling that corporations are people too.
  But these days it seems he is just not happy to see these people he’s never bothered to know can get married because they are people too.  (pic Flicker)

Poor Samuel Alito! The Supreme Court justice has so much to be upset about. Sure, he’s about to gain an ally on the bench in his ceaseless fight against unions, women’s rights, the environment, and LGBTQ equality. But in spite of all that, gay people can get married in America—and that makes Alito very sad. So on Wednesday, he spoke to Advocati Christi, a Catholic lawyers’ association, about the grievous threat that marriage equality poses to religious liberty. From the Associated Press:

Alito used his own words from his dissent in the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage case, telling the gathering he had predicted opposition to the decision would be used to “vilify those who disagree, and treat them as bigots.” 

“We are seeing this is coming to pass,” he said. … “A wind is picking up that is hostile to those with traditional moral beliefs.”
Oh, dear. The dystopia that Alito describes really is quite chilling: a world in which religious conservatives cannot use the law to restrict the rights of minorities without … being criticized. Can you imagine it? Surely our founders did not write the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause with the intent to protect criticism of political beliefs. Have the bounds of discourse really been so corrupted that Americans believe they can publicly denounce anti-gay activists? Using mean words? What has this once great nation come to?

There’s more:

Alito said reactions to Supreme Court decisions such as the Hobby Lobby case, in which a company balked at being required to cover certain forms of contraception in its employee health plan, should spur action.
“We are likely to see pitched battles in courts and Congress, state legislatures and town halls,” he said. “But the most important fight is for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. It is up to all of us to evangelize our fellow Americans about the issue of religious freedom.”
Ah, yes, the Hobby Lobby case, in which the Supreme Court’s five conservatives ruled that for-profit corporations hold a religious right to deny their employees access to contraception through insurance plans that employees help to pay for. Who could react poorly to that?

To be fair, Alito has demonstrated a genuine commitment to a very specific type of religious liberty. He has suggested that regulations requiring pharmacies to carry emergency contraception constitute illegal persecution of Christians. He has argued that rules barring anti-gay discrimination in taxpayer-funded college clubs constitute illegal persecution of Christians. He has argued that same-sex marriage will lead “governments, employers, and schools” to persecute anti-gay Christians. Are you sensing a theme?

Alito, who is Catholic, does have a personal history with religious discrimination. He explained in his speech that, as a child, he felt keenly aware of anti-Catholic bigotry that was once prevalent in the United States. But he noted that the election of John F. Kennedy as the country’s first Catholic president changed his understanding of his place in society.

“I felt it had lifted me up from the status of second-class American,” he said. It is startling to discover that Alito grasps the concept of second-class citizenship given that he had repeatedly voted to relegate gay people to it. What else to call the status of Americans who are denied the fundamental right to marry because of their sexual orientation? Or the children of these couples, who suffer the stigma of having parents who are legally proscribed from marrying? Isn’t that second-class citizenship? If not, what is?

In all, Wednesday’s speech didn’t tell us anything new, but it did confirm that Alito is the most hypocritical justice on the bench today. He mocks college students for their sensitivity to racism then demands a safe space for the special snowflakes who wish to inflict harm on gay people without consequence. He raises valid personal concerns about second-class citizenship then attempts to deny Americans rights on the basis of some arbitrary classification. He spills endless ink over the importance of religious liberty and cares not a whit about the many devout sexual minorities who see marriage as a key means of exercising their faith. And aside from marriage equality, he’s winning! Only a justice like Alito could manage to be so angry when so much is going so well for his cramped, myopic view of the law.

March 16, 2017

Trump Admin Said You Are Not being Served on Meals on Wheels

Fortune magazine said yesterday the popular program M onW wont be cut but today on a news conference with the WH pool of reporters today budget director Mick Mulvaney finally put this to rest. 

Fortune was wrong yesterday about saying this wont happen and so are people over 55  and people with disabilities that voted for a man that promised to cut all of these programs and give it to the military. People still refuse to believe that all the drastic things that Trump promised while running, He didn’t mean because that would be drastic and no president would do that. But if his imagining and tweeting he is being wired-tap by the exPresident or people are following him when is only his secret service detail, then you are thick. Be happy or be gone seems to be what some are saying you bought don’t play dumb now. 

The budget director on the Trump administration Mick Mulvany said that they see don’t see any good out of the Meals program. There should be something we are getting out of the Programs we fund He said. If “the administration has to tell a single poor mom why they are taking her money and spending on M on W  He said that would be irresponsible. He also stated they(admin) don’t administer or really fund wheels on meals but instead they give the money to the states in block grants and the states decide to fund meal on wheels.


Throughout his campaign for president and since his election, Donald Trump has promised to reduce the size of government, cut taxes, eliminate regulations and slash numerous social programs, even as he boosts defense spending by billions.

His recently released budget proposal makes it clear he’s going to follow through on those threats.

One popular program facing elimination is “Meals On Wheels,” which uses federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to mobilize volunteers, businesses and donors to provide nutrition to thousands of senior citizens on a daily basis. It supports over 5,000 community-based organizations across America, reaching people in both urban and rural areas. 
The money for Meals On Wheels is part of the Older American Act, first passed in 1965 as part of LBJ’s Great Society, and endorsed by every president until Trump. The total cost, which includes other programs, is about $2 billion a year, which is less than the government hands out in fossil fuel subsidies every year.

Meals On Wheels alone costs about $3 million a year, which is the cost of just one trip to Trump’s “winter White House.”

On top of that, Trump’s proposed budget would “drastically reduce” the budget of the Food For Peace program, a State Department program that distributes desperately needed food supplies to areas across the globe that have been hit by famine or natural disaster. Since its creation in 1954 by President Eisenhower, it has helped feed more than 3 billion people.

It too has a budget that barely scratches $2 billion dollars – a drop in the bucket compared to the $54 billion that Trump is planning to pour into the military budget. 
Overall, the entire State Department budget also faces the ax, with a proposal to cut the $50 billion budget by almost one-third. It could have been worse, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a plea to ease the cuts, which in an earlier version were at a staggering 37 percent.

The needless cuts to critically important programs like Meals on Wheels and Food For Peace are literally taking food out of the mouths of hungry people. The State Department’s work around the world helps millions of people and builds much-needed goodwill for America’s international reputation, which has been dragged through the mud by President Trump’s abrasive isolationism.

Luckily, there was immediately Republican opposition to many of the proposed cuts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says his party will not go along with the massive cuts to the State Department budget. Among the cuts, he said Republicans will oppose cuts in funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

Elderly people voted overwhelmingly for President Trump – and this is how he’s choosing to repay them. In 2014, 10.2 million American seniors faced the risk of hunger – a staggering 15% of all elder Americans. Trump needs to be pouring money into “Meals On Wheels,” not taking an axe to it.

It is absolutely appalling that in the richest nation in the world, our seniors cannot live their golden years without worrying where their next meal is coming from. Trump’s budget priorities tell you all you need to know about how he really feels about the struggles of the American people.

President Trump has made it clear once and for all that he cares nothing for the American people who are unlikely to ever dine with him at Mar-A-Lago and is willing to send millions of the most vulnerable into food insecurity and poverty just so that he can funnel the public’s money into the pockets of defense contractors and the ultra wealthy.

and adamfoxie blog intro.

ObamaCare Not Dead Yet When12Million Have Signed for It in 2017

More than 12 million people have signed up for Obamacare so far this year, even as Republicans in Congress — backed by the president — fight to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Despite the law’s uncertain future, close to 12.2 million people have signed up for coverage since January 1, according to government figures cited by the AP. An additional 765,000 people signed up for an option called the Basic Health Plan, which is available only in New York and Minnesota, bringing the total number enrolled so far this year to almost 13 million. 

That’s on track with the Jan.-March 2016 enrollment numbers, which totaled about 12.7 million during the first three months of open enrollment but slightly lower than the Obama administration’s projection of 13.8 million for Jan.-March 2017.

But there were some key differences surrounding the program this year, which saw some notable price hikes. The marketplace standard silver plan, for example, surged almost 22 percent.

Republicans have long vowed to dismantle the plan as soon as they get the chance. On Jan. 20, just a few hours after Trump’s swearing in, he signed an Inauguration Day executive order directing his administration to begin unwinding the law.

The White House also took several steps that appeared designed to discourage enrollment, including pulling informational ads, some of which had already been paid for, during the last few weeks of the enrollment season, and discontinuing a program that emailed people to remind them to sign up before the deadline.
At the time, proponents of the ACA worried the president’s actions would dampen turnout during the last five days of the enrollment season, when the marketplace typically sees what Politico referred to as a “last-minute sign-up surge” of young procrastinators.

Vibrator Spying on Its Users Sued

Yes, even your vibrator might be spying on you. Maybe this is what Pres.Trump meant?
A sex toy company has agreed to pay $3.75 million for secretly collecting customers’ data while they were using its vibrators.
Under the agreement, We-Vibe will set aside about $3 million for people who downloaded and used an app that accompanied the vibrator and about $750,000 for customers who just bought its “smart vibrator” before Sept. 26, 2016. Those who controlled the toy with the We-Connect app will get up to $10,000 each, while those who just used the vibrator will get up to $199.
However, people will probably receive much less due to fees, administration costs, and the number of claims submitted.
The amount of the actual payment to Class members will depend on the number of claims submitted and the total amount available in the respective settlement funds after applicable notice and administration costs, the incentive award, and attorney fees have been paid.
The high-end vibrators are designed for couples, enabling partners to text and video chat on the app, as well as adjust and control the toy through Bluetooth. But what they didn’t know was that the Canadian company was tracking how they used their devices, including intimate details like the time and date, the vibration intensity, temperature, and pattern, court documents show.
We-Vibe’s app, We-Connect We-Vibe
The company, which has denied wrongdoing and liability, said it will destroy most of the information it collected.
A woman from Chicago, identified as N.P., sued Standard Innovation Corp., which owns We-Vibe, company back in September. She bought a Rave vibrator for $130 last May and frequently used the app, but said she was never notified We-Vibe was monitoring her. Another woman joined the complaint last month. They both claimed that the “highly offensive” secret data collection caused embarrassment and anxiety.
The women also say We-Vibe violated the Federal Wire Tap Act and privacy law, and made money at their expense.
“(N.P.) would never have purchased a We-Vibe had she known that in order to use its full functionality, (Standard Innovation) would monitor, collect and transmit her usage information through We-Connect,” the claim states.
About 300,000 people purchased We-Vibe devices covered by the settlement, and about 100,000 downloaded and used the app, according to court documents.
We-Vibe said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that it collected “certain analytical information to help us improve our products and the quality” of its app and that users could opt out of this.
The company has now agreed to clarify and be more transparent about its privacy notices and data collecting practices.
Going forward, customers no longer have to register, create an account, or share their personal information. They can also opt out of sharing anonymous app usage data, the company said, noting that they now have “new plain language privacy notices” that outline “how we collect and use data for the app to function and improve We-Vibe products.”

Trump’s Campaign Chair Charged with Child Prostitution with Gay Boy

 An Oklahoma lawmaker was hit with a child prostitution charge Thursday after he was caught in a motel room with a teenage boy. 
State Sen. Ralph Shortey was charged a day after the Oklahoma Senate — by a vote of 43 to 0 — passed a resolution that suspended nearly all his privileges. 
Shortey is charged with engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for prostitution/lewdness, according to the Cleveland County District Attorney's office.  A 35-year-old married father of two, Shortey turned himself in later Thursday at the Cleveland County Jail, local NBC affiliate KFOR reported. 
It remained to be seen whether Oklahoma would move to impeach Shortey, who represents parts of Oklahoma City, now that he has been formally charged. 
They have already stripped him of his capitol office, his parking space and state-owned laptop, scrubbed his name off any legislation he authored or co-authored — as well as his office door. 
Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, who like Shortey is a Republican, said "Oklahomans deserve to be represented by those above reproach." 
"In light of the charges filed against him, Ralph Shortey should resign from his seat so the good people of southwest Oklahoma City can move forward with electing a new state senator," Lamb said in a statement. 
Shortey was busted after police were notified that he had checked into a Super 8 Motel in Moore, Oklahoma — using his own name — around midnight on March 9 and the boy was with him, according to the DA's office. 
When police arrived at room 120, they "observed a strong odor of marijuana" and found Shortey inside with the teenager, who is identified in the charging papers as a 17-year-old named "JM." 

Image: Ralph Shortey

Oklahoma state Senator Ralph Shortey, speaks during a Senate committee meeting in Oklahoma City on Feb. 22, 2017. Sue Ogrocki / AP

Later, they discovered an online conversation between Shortey and JM. 
"Would you be interested in sexual stuff?" Shortey allegedly wrote. 
"Yes," JM allegedly replied. 
From there, the conversation — as described in DA's charging papers — veered off from logistics to graphic lewdness and included a "smiley face emoji." 
Both Shortey and JM admitted to police that they met a year ago through a Craigslist "personal encounter ad," the papers state. And police also found an "open box of condoms" in a backpack. 
When asked what he was doing at the motel with the teen, Shortey said they were "just hanging out." according to a Moore Police report. 
This is not the first time Shortey made national news. Back in 2012, he proposed a bill banning human fetuses from being used in food, even though he admitted he did not know of any company in Oklahoma or elsewhere that was doing this. 
"There are companies that are using embryonic stem cells to research and basically cause a chemical reaction to determine whether or not something tastes good or not," he told The Daily Oklahoman newspaper. 
"As a pro-life advocate, it kind of disturbed me that we would use aborted embryos or aborted human fetuses to extract stem cells and use them for research to basically make things taste better." 
The bill, which could have been lifted from the 1973 science fiction movie "Soylent Green," was referred to the Agriculture and Rural Development committee where it died, according to The Daily Oklahoman. 
Shortey, who identifies himself as a member of the Rosebud Sioux Indian Tribe on his official biography, was also a staunch supporter of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and part of his leadership team in Oklahoma.


March 15, 2017

Two Russian Spies (FSB) are Indicted Over Yahoo Hacking

The FBI issued a series of  anted” posters for Russians accused of cybercrimes 
Wednesday, including Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, who is alleged 
to be a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer.
Courtesy of FBI
Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET
The Justice Department has announced charges against four people, including two Russian security officials, over cybercrimes linked to a massive hack of millions of Yahoo user accounts.
Two of the defendants — Dmitry Dokuchaev and his superior Igor Sushchin — are officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB. According to court documents, they "protected, directed, facilitated and paid" two criminal hackers, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, to access information that has intelligence value. Belan also allegedly used the information obtained for his personal financial gain.
"The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI's point of contact in Moscow on cybercrime matters, is beyond the pale," Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said.

Both Alexsey Belan (left) and Dmitry Dokuchaev (right) were included 
in the series of wanted" posters for Russians accused 
of cybercrimes Wednesday.
Courtesy of FBI
She told reporters that U.S. investigators believe Dokuchaev and Sushchin were working in their official capacity as FSB agents at the time.
Baratov was arrested Tuesday in Canada. NPR's Greg Myre reports that the U.S. plans to seek his extradition, and that three other defendants are in Russia, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

Belan is one of the world's most notorious hackers. There's an Interpol "Red Notice" for his arrest, and he has been listed as one of the FBI's Most Wanted hackers since 2012.
"Rather than arrest him, however, the FSB officers used him," the indictment reads. It alleges that the officers also "provided him with sensitive FSB law enforcement and intelligence information that would have helped him avoid detection by law enforcement."
The massive hack against at least 500 million Yahoo user accounts happened in 2014. The company publicly acknowledged the breach last September, saying at the time that it believed a "state-sponsored actor" was responsible, without naming any foreign government. The disclosure prompted an investigation by U.S. authorities.
Some of the accounts breached had obvious intelligence value. According to court documents, these included: "Russian journalists and politicians critical of the Russian government; Russian citizens and government officials; former officials from countries bordering Russia; and U.S. government officials, including cyber security, diplomatic, military, and White House personnel."
Other targets included businesses, such as a Russian investment banking firm as well as "a French transportation company; U.S. financial services and private equity firms; a Swiss bitcoin and banking firm; and a U.S. airline."
The court documents state that Belan "provided his FSB conspirators ... with the unauthorized access to Yahoo's network." He is also accused of using the access to the network for personal financial gain. For example, he allegedly stole financial and gift card information from the Yahoo accounts, and implemented a spam marketing scheme that impacted millions of users, according to the documents.
Baratov allegedly helped the FSB agents access accounts at other providers such as Google, often assisted by information stolen from the breached Yahoo accounts. He was allegedly paid about $100 per account accessed.  
The company has also indicated in regulatory filings that forged cookies may have been used to access user accounts. It said today that those cookies are also part of the alleged Russian security breach.
"We appreciate the FBI's diligent investigative work and the DOJ's decisive action to bring to justice those responsible for the crimes against Yahoo and its users," the company said in a statement Wednesday. "We're committed to keeping our users and our platforms secure and will continue to engage with law enforcement to combat cybercrime."
This wasn't the only major breach Yahoo has reported in recent years. The company revealed an even larger hacking incident impacting more than 1 billion accounts that occurred in 2013, as we reported. It's not clear whether the intrusions are related.
Today's charges are also distinct from the U.S. intelligence community's conclusionthat Russia launched an "influence campaign" in order to help President Trump win the election.
The Department of Justice is trying to ratchet up pressure on foreign hackers accused of carrying out cyberattacks on U.S. targets. Federal officials have also recently charged individuals from China and Iran over hacking allegations.
In 2014, as NPR's Carrie Johnson reported, the Department of Justice "charged five uniformed members of Unit 61398 of the People's Liberation Army of China with stealing secrets from American business competitors."
Last year, U.S. officials indicted seven hackers with links to the Iranian government for cyberattacks. "Court papers said the intruders attacked the web sites of dozens of major U.S. banks and breached controls at a dam in Rye, N.Y., raising alarms about safeguards in American infrastructure," Carrie reported.

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