February 3, 2017

Trump promises to abolish law that prohibits churches from endorsing political candidates. “President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to free churches and other tax-exempt institutions of a 1954 U.S. law banning political activity, drawing fire from critics who accused him of rewarding his evangelical Christian supporters and turning houses of worship into political machines.”   http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-religion-idUSKBN15H2M4   I don’t think presidents have the power to strike down laws though – he’d better check with his new attorney general on this one.

White House advisor reportedly invents “fake news” massacre during interview to justify travel ban. “Despite Conway’s allegations, there was no massacre in Bowling Green, and, according to the FBI’s statement on the matter, there was no plan for a terror attack in that city.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/bowling-green-massacre-fake-kellyanne-conway-immigration-donald-trump-2017-2

House of Representatives votes to restore gun purchasing rights to people deemed mentally incapable of handling their Social Security benefits. “There is, simply put, no nexus between the inability to manage money and the ability to safely and responsibly own, possess or use a firearm.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/02/gun-control-congress-social-security-mental-disorders

Berkeley protesters try to justify shutting down alt-right event. “If you try to come to our communities openly advocating harm to us, our neighbors, family, friends or others in our community, then you will be driven out.”   http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Somerville-Understanding-where-anarchists-are-10905117.php

Mug shot of suspect in murder of Denver transit security guard shows he may have been beaten, although some news accounts quote unnamed witnesses saying his face was swollen before the shooting.   http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/02/mosque-warned-feds-about-suspect-in-killing-denver-transit-officer.html

Police storm Delaware prison, find one guard dead. “During the standoff, inmates called The News Journal of Wilmington and had a hostage state their grievances, including mistreatment and a lack of education and rehabilitation opportunities.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/us/delaware-prison-james-vaughn-correctional-center.html?_r=0

Trump’s new CIA director chooses deputy director who is reportedly deeply implicated in torture scandal and coverup. “Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and later took part in an order to destroy videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations at a secret prison in Thailand.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/us/politics/cia-deputy-director-gina-haspel-torture-thailand.html   and   https://theintercept.com/2017/02/02/trumps-cia-chief-selects-major-torture-operative-to-be-agencys-deputy-director/

Federal judge rules that FEC did not fairly handle Green and Libertarian Parties presidential debate exclusion complaint. She called the 15 percent polling threshold for third-party candidates “arbitrary and capricious.”   https://www.rt.com/usa/376135-debates-unfair-libertarians-greens/   and   http://ballot-access.org/2017/02/01/u-s-district-court-orders-federal-election-commission-to-re-consider-whether-commission-on-presidential-debates-is-breaking-campaign-finance-law/

Jury unable to reach verdict in trial of environmental activist who presented “climate emergency” defense. “…one or more jurors refused to convict Ward on charges of sabotage and burglary for breaking into and shutting down a Kinder Morgan pipeline near Anacortes, Washington last year.”   http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/02/02/just-time-trump-jury-says-defense-planet-no-crime

Trump threatens to cut off federal funds to UC Berkeley for cancelling alt-right speaker. “Roughly 1,500 people turned out to protest Yiannopoulos, who has gained notoriety for inflammatory writings and statements against women, Muslims, and LGBTQ people.”   http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/02/02/responding-protest-against-white-nationalist-trump-threatens-defund-university

“At least 70” students at suburban Houston high school reportedly made Hitler salutes during class photo. “…a student who witnessed the incident but asked to remain anonymous said students were shouting “Heil Hitler” and “Heil Trump”.   http://www.click2houston.com/news/cypress-ranch-high-school-students-in-hot-water-after-hitler-pose-in-senior-pictures

Conservative think-tank VP: Trump turned off recording equipment during Putin phone call. “…while the Kremlin produced a detailed 10-paragraph readout of the call, the White House released only a vague one-paragraph statement saying that Trump received a “congratulatory call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.”   http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/foreign-policy-insider-no-readout-of-trump-putin-call-because-white-house-turned-off-recording/

Treasury Department eases sanctions on Russia but Trump tells journalists it didn’t. “Asked about the easing of sanctions during a meeting with Harley Davidson execs this afternoon, Trump shrugged and said: “I haven’t eased anything.”   http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/donald-trump-team-eases-sanctions-9747341

Russian anti-corruption activist in coma after organ failure. “Opposition activist and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza is on life support in a medically induced coma, his wife said…. Some are concerned that the Kremlin critic may have been deliberately poisoned.”   http://thehill.com/policy/international/317585-prominent-putin-critic-hospitalized-with-sudden-organ-failure-report   This is reportedly the second time this has happened to him.

February 3, 2017

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