Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

13 days after the National Day of Patriotic Devotion

“U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations. As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists. One of the three U.S. officials said on-the-ground surveillance of the compound was “minimal, at best.” “The decision was made … to leave it to the incoming administration, partly in the hope that more and better intelligence could be collected,” that official said.” Business Insider, 2 February 2017

“A speech by conservative firebrand and British writer Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled at UC Berkeley on Wednesday amid violent protests that sparked a fire in a campus plaza. Yiannopoulos, 32, writes for Breitbart News – a popular website among the far right – and he is an avowed supporter of President Trump. He’s also a flamboyant provocateur who has been denounced for propagating racism, misogyny and anti-Islam views, but he styles himself a champion of free speech.” The Los Angeles Times, 1 February 2017

Trump defends the right to free speech of Milo Yiannopoulos, who was scheduled to make a speech at Berkeley until the university canceled the appearance after students protested and riot police were called in to disperse them. “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Donald Trump, via Twitter, 2 February 2017

“Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch founded and led a student group called the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ at his elite high school … The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors [at] a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C. Gorsuch founded the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ during his freshman year at Georgetown Preparatory … He served as president until he graduated in 1985, according to his senior yearbook.” The Daily Mail, 2 February 2017

“This week, President Donald Trump and his deputies hit out at some of America’s closest friends, blasting a “dumb” refugee resettlement deal with Australia and accusing Japan and Germany of manipulating their currencies. Ties with Mexico have deteriorated to the point its government had to deny reports that Trump told President Enrique Pena Nieto he might send U.S. troops across the southern border. The dilemma for officials globally is figuring out if Trump’s blunt style is simply a tactic to keep them off balance or the start of a move to tear up the rule book that has guided relations with the U.S. since World War II. In the meantime, allies have little choice but to prepare for the worst.” Bloomberg, 2 February 2017

“The U.S. Treasury Department … eased sanctions on [the] Russian intelligence agency … put in place by former President Barack Obama last year over accusations that Moscow launched cyber attacks to try to influence the U.S. presidential election. The Treasury Department said in a statement it would allow U.S. companies to make limited transactions with the intelligence service that are needed to gain approval to import information technology products into Russia.” Reuters, 2 February 2017

At the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump promised to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that, remember.” Time, 2 February 2017

“[The Johnson Amendment] is one of the brightest lines in the legal separation between religion and politics. Under the provision, which was made in 1954, tax-exempt entities like churches and charitable organizations are unable to directly or indirectly participate in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate. Specifically, ministers are restricted from endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. If they do, they risk losing their tax-exempt status.” The New York Times, 2 February 2017

“Uber was under attack – unfairly, many staff members believed – after people accused the company of seeking to profit from giving rides to airport customers in New York during weekend protests against President Trump’s immigration order. But there was another matter disturbing the employees: Mr. Kalanick himself. He had joined Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council in December. After the immigration order against refugees and seven Muslim-majority countries, many staff members wondered why Mr. Kalanick was still willing to advise the president. “What would it take for you to quit the economic council?” at least two employees asked at the Tuesday meeting.” The New York Times, 2 February 2017

“One of the most successful lies in modern US politics has been that of “right to work” laws, which break unions under the guise of protecting workers … A national right to work law has been a pipe dream of corporate lobbyists, the chamber of commerce, the Koch brothers, and the politicians on their payroll for decades, and is about to become a reality. Right to work laws already exist in more than half the states in the country, where unions are weak or nonexistent, wages are correspondingly low, and workers are correspondingly disposable. In theory, these laws are about guaranteeing workers’ freedom of association. In practice, they’re about keeping workers from forming unions, by making unions financially unsustainable.” The Guardian, 2 February 2017

NDofPD Plus 13 | 12:01 am CDT
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