The classified report on election hacking is finished, and Obama will receive it on Thursday. The unclassified version will probably be released to the public on Monday.
We’re defunding the UN now?
Having apparently never heard of Merrick Garland and having been in a coma for the last eight months during which his party has refused to hold confirmation hearings, Senate Majority Leader (and previous Fascism Watch star) Mitch McConnell says, “The American people simply will not tolerate” Democrats blocking Trump’s SCOTUS nominee.
Tucked inside the rules package approved by the House of Representatives today: a provision that “expands the powers of committee staff to haul private citizens and government officials to Capitol Hill to be questioned under oath — without any lawmakers present, in some cases.” Gosh, this isn’t ominous at all.
Next up for purges: the intelligence community.
Mark Burnett, producer of The Apprentice and Trump’s inauguration hoopla (and longtime Trump buddy) is also buddies with Putin, and has been trying to get him onto a reality show for at least 15 years.
Transition Team & Cabinet Appointees
Getting 1200 professors to agree about anything other than the dire state of parking is an amazing feat. More than 1,200 law professors nationwide urge GOP to reject Jeff Sessions’ attorney general nomination.
McCain on possibly supporting Tillerson for SecState: “Sure. There’s also a realistic scenario that pigs fly.”
But the legal team behind Whitford is seeking far more than just a court order nixing one set of maps in Wisconsin. They’ve also devised a mathematical formula that will allow courts to determine which states are engaged in partisan gerrymanders. This matters because Kennedy previously said that he is reluctant to strike down gerrymandered maps because “workable standards” have not emerged that courts can use to make such an assessment.
Team Whitford, in other words, may have solved the specific problem the Court’s swing justice identified in challenges to partisan gerrymandering. It’s a potentially nation-changing development that could break the Republican Party’s near-stranglehold on the U.S. House of Representatives.
Pat McCrory, classy as the door hits him, placed a bunch of cronies on state boards and commissions right before his term as NC governor ended.
While McCrory was handing out new jobs, one administration official decided to take matters into his own hands; during the last week of McCrory’s term, Donald van der Vaart, the polluter-protecting secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality who was on Donald Trump’s short list to head the EPA, demoted himself to a position in the air quality division that has civil service protections.
Other Fascist Nonsense
In the waning hours of 2016, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor unleashed a bizarre ruling that fundamentally alters the balance between medical treatment and religious freedom in the United States. O’Connor’s decision blocked a critical regulation enacted pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, which forbade doctors from discriminating against transgender patients or women who’ve previously had abortions. Most disturbingly, O’Connor found that such a nondiscrimination rule violated the “religious freedom” of doctors and insurance companies that consider gender transition and abortion to be “evil.” The ruling marks an extreme extension of the dubious logic behind the Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision—and indicates that conservative courts believe the purported right of health care professionals to discriminate against patients trumps patients’ right to sound medical treatment.