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Thursday, January 19, 2017

A bill that would require public officials in Indiana to dispatch law enforcement swiftly to remove any protesters blocking traffic by "any means necessary" prompted uproar on Wednesday.

Opponents of the bill, introduced by a Republican state senator, rushed to the general assembly in Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon to attend a hearing for the legislation, arguing that it could give a green light to the police to shut down protests harshly "even to the point of costing lives".

The proposed law, simply labelled Senate Bill 285, or SB 285, and designed to deal with "traffic obstruction by protestors" would go into effect in July if passed.

It calls for officials, such as a city mayor or county sheriff, to be required to quickly clear any mass traffic obstruction – defined as 10 or more protesters – blocking roads.

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Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending.

The changes they propose are dramatic.

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump's team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition. read more

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said. The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said. Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said. read more

Friday, January 13, 2017

Congratulations, US media! You've just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We in Russia have been doing it for 12 years now  --  with a short hiatus when our leader wasn't technically our leader  --  so quite a few things during Donald Trump's press conference rang my bells. Not just mine, in fact  --  read this excellent round-up in The Moscow Times. read more

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

After eight years of bashing Obamacare, congressional Republicans still haven't come up with a plan to replace it. They are, however, essentially unified in wanting to stop the Congressional Budget Office from estimating how much a repeal might cost. While the media and most Democrats were focusing on the House of Representatives voting to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics (a measure that was subsequently retracted), the larger document that the initiative was part of also prohibited the office from analyzing proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Almost no one seems to have noticed this. read more


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