President Donald Trump should pardon his former national security adviser and campaign aide Michael Flynn, who "has taken the biggest fall," Flynn's brother said Tuesday. In a since deleted tweet, Joseph Flynn said Trump must get the former Army general off the hook for his December 1 guilty plea stemming from his contacts with the former Russian ambassador. The plea deal is a part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. "About time you pardoned General Flynn who has taken the biggest fall for all of you given the illegitimacy of this confessed crime in the wake of all this corruption," Joseph Flynn tweeted, though the post was deleted after about 15 minutes. read more
President Donald Trump's legal team plans to cast doubt on former national security adviser Michael Flynn's credibility if he makes any claims implicating members of Trump's administration, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the strategy, that Trump's legal team would accuse Flynn of lobbing any such accusations in order to protect himself. In February, after Flynn resigned from the White House, Trump defended Flynn and blamed the media for his resignation. "What he did wasn't wrong, what he did in terms of the information he saw," Trump said at a press conference after Flynn's resignation. "What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves in this room, were given that information."
Nick Hanauer: Three years ago, in these pages, I warned you that the pitchforks were coming. I argued that 30 years of rising and accelerating inequality would inevitably lead to some sort of populist revolt that would disrupt the fantastic lives we elites enjoy. I cautioned that any society which allows itself to become radically and indefensibly unequal eventually faces either an uprising or a police state -- or both. Don't say I didn't warn you. And don't console yourself for a minute that in electing a fellow plutocrat, our side won. President Trump isn't on any side but his own ... After his trickle-down policies -- like ripping away heath care from tens of millions of Americans so plutocrats like us can get giant tax cuts, or just enacting giant tax cuts for us, and calling it tax reform -- inevitably exacerbate the already extreme inequality that helped sweep him into office, those pitchforks will be angrier than ever. read more
The world's richest people got a whopping $1 trillion richer in 2017, according to a new report from Bloomberg News. That's about four times the gains they made last year. That data comes courtesy of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which tracks and ranks the world's 500 richest people. It attributes much of the economic growth to the stock market's record-high year. (The MSCI World and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes grew about 20 percent this year.) The 2017 "World Inequality Report" (compiled by economists such as Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez) found that the 1 percent reaped 27 percent of the world's income between 1980 and 2016. The bottom 50 percent, by contrast, got just 12 percent of the pie. read more
Americans named former President Barack Obama the most admired man in the world for the 10th year in a row, making President Donald Trump one of a handful of sitting presidents who have fallen short of that accolade, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday. Obama narrowly beat current Trump by three percentage points, with 17 percent of respondents naming him the most admired man in the world to Trump's 14 percent. ... Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was Americans' most admired woman in the world, according to the poll. She beat former first lady Michelle Obama by two percentage points, with 9 percent of respondents choosing Clinton. Only one percent of respondents did the same for current first lady Melania Trump.
The oil and gas industry is poised to save $900 million over the next decade thanks to a rollback of offshore drilling safety regulations that have been proposed by the Trump administration, including the elimination of the word "safe" from one rule. The rules in question were put in place following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010, which killed 11 people, injured 16, and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Siding with the fossil fuel industry, which has complained safety regulations are overly broad, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has proposed scrapping or changing some major requirements. The rules to be changed include one that orders companies to take steps to prevent oil-well blowouts, part of what caused British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon disaster read more
A jailed Russian who says he hacked into the Democratic National Committee computers on the Kremlin's orders to steal emails released during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign now claims he left behind a data signature to prove his assertion. In an interview with Russia's RAIN television channel made public Wednesday, Konstantin Kozlovsky provided further details about what he said was a hacking operation led by the Russian intelligence agency known by its initials FSB. Among them, Kozlovsky said he worked with the FSB to develop computer viruses that were first tested on large, unsuspecting Russian companies, such as the oil giant Rosneft, later turning them loose on multinational corporations. Kozlovsky first came to public attention in early December when word spread about his confession last Aug. 15 in a Russian courtroom that he was the person who hacked into DNC computers on behalf of Russian intelligence.
The federal government Thursday lowered a year's worth of Medicare payments to 751 hospitals to penalize them for having the highest rates of patient injuries. More than half also were punished last year through the penalty, which was created by the Affordable Care Act and began four years ago. The program is designed as a financial incentive for hospitals to avoid infections and other mishaps, such as blood clots and bedsores. The penalties again fell heavily on teaching hospitals, although less than before. A third of them were punished this year, a Kaiser Health News analysis of the penalties found. Last year, the penalty was levied on nearly half of the nation's teaching hospitals. read more
How many times have you read a headline and thought: "Only in Florida"? Here are some of the crazy things that Florida Man (and sometimes Florida Woman) has done in the Sunshine State this year alone. One of them is Tony Futch, an Orlando man who tried to park his SUV while drunk. He got into 8 different crashes and hit 17 vehicles in a single lot as he attempted to park.
The president has spent more than 100 days at one of his properties, including more than a month each at his golf course in New Jersey and at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. While Trump frequently criticized President Barack Obama for taking golf outings, and pledged on the campaign trail that he "would not be a president that takes time off," he took to calling Mar-a-Lago the "Winter White House" almost immediately after entering office. Trump's frequent travel has drawn criticism not only for the questions it raises about his use of taxpayer money and his level of interest in the work of running the government, but also for the benefits afforded to his business when he visits his properties. read more
Vietnam veteran Merrill McPeak: We dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos -- something like our total tonnage during all of World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters. We seeded clouds to induce flooding, sprayed Agent Orange, mined the road, installed sensors along the electronic-monitoring McNamara Line. No doubt about it, we extracted a heavy price. In time, the North filled 72 military cemeteries with the remains of those who built, manned and moved over the trail. read more
A video of first daughters Tiffany and Ivanka Trump blowing kisses to their followers in bikinis is being met with mostly criticism in return online. In the short clip uploaded to Twitter Tuesday, the two women can be seen posing in their bikinis as "O Holy Night" is heard playing in the background while lounging by the pool at their father's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Melania Trump wished fans a Merry Christmas with a Santa-themed selfie on Monday which prompted much criticism on social media from users who found the first lady's facial expression "disgraceful," and too sexy. read more
Retailers are enjoying some extra Christmas cheer. Fueled by high consumer confidence and a robust job market, U.S. retail sales in the holiday period rose at their best pace since 2011, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending. Sales, excluding automobiles, rose 4.9% from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, compared with a 3.7% gain in the same period last year, according to the Mastercard Inc. unit, which tracks all forms of payment. E-commerce continued to drive the gains, rising 18.1%.
After four of five statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiatives were approved by voters in 2016, no additional states ended cannabis prohibition in 2017 (though New Hampshire did decriminalize possession of the drug and West Virginia allowed its medical use). Now, a number of states are poised to legalize marijuana and approve other far-reaching cannabis measures in 2018. ... Here's a look at the states that are most likely to enact marijuana reforms in 2018: Vermont, New Jersey, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, Missouri and Virginia.
If you thought NASA was playing the long game with its plan to put people on Mars in the 2030s, you haven't seen anything yet. New Scientist has learned that a team at the administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has started planning a mission that would send a spacecraft to the Alpha Centauri system in... 2069. Yes, that's 52 years away, and timed around the 100th anniversary of Apollo 11's trip to the Moon. The probe would look for signs of life around the potentially habitable exoplanet Proxima b, giving humanity a much better look than it could get with observation from home.