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How Biden can potentially freeze dozens of Trump's 'damaging' last-minute policies

March 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

Public Citizen revealed Monday that President Joe Biden can potentially freeze—and more swiftly reverse—over two dozen more regulatory rollbacks forced through at the last minute by his predecessor’s administration due to violations of federal law.

“The Trump administration’s moves to lock-in last-minute regulatory rollbacks were plagued with unprecedented and unlawful legal tactics that make them much more vulnerable to reversal,” said Matt Kent, regulatory policy associate for Public Citizen and co-author of the group’s new report.

The progressive advocacy organization is urging Biden to expand the scope of his freeze memo from January 20 to include 25 more midnight regulations issued under former President Donald Trump—”many of which will harm consumers, workers, the public’s health and safety, and the environment.”

Those 25 deregulatory actions, “including some of the most egregious and damaging rollbacks of public protections produced during the entire Trump administration,” violated the “obscure but powerful” Congressional Review Act (CRA), according to Public Citizen.

Under the CRA, regulations only take legal effect after they are published in the Federal Register and submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Public Citizen’s report highlights regulations that weren’t sent to either or both bodies of Congress before Biden issued his memo shortly after taking office.

There are also multiple rollbacks, “particularly from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that were made legally effective immediately in potentially unlawful fashion and would have been subject to the regulatory ‘freeze’ if those rollbacks had legally proper effective dates,” the report says.

As report co-author and Public Citizen regulatory policy advocate Amit Narang put it: “Trump’s sloppiness and incompetence has created an opening to undo some of the damage caused by his destructive anti-regulatory agenda.”

“Since many of Trump’s last-minute regulatory rollbacks technically were not on the books when Biden took office, Biden can immediately freeze potentially dozens of them, making it easier to eventually undo them,” Narang added.

The report explains that applying the memo to these 25 regulations follows precedent:

If the Biden administration was to take this action, not only would it be a natural and non-controversial reading of the scope of Biden’s regulatory “freeze” memo, but it would also rest on the very same interpretation of the CRA that conservatives and Republicans in Congress asserted back in 2017. For example, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) argued that because a guidance document issued by …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'He did it!': Why a surprisingly bold move from Biden is winning big cheers from the left

March 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

In Alabama — a deeply Republican state known for its anti-union right-to-work laws — Amazon employees are voting on whether or not to organize a union. And President Joe Biden offered support for the push Sunday night in a pro-union video that many progressives and labor advocates are applauding.

In the video, Biden declared, “I’ve long said that America wasn’t built by Wall Street. It was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class. Unions put power in the hands of workers. They level the playing field. They give you a stronger voice for your health, your safety, higher wages protections from radical discrimination and sexual harassment. Unions lift up workers, union and non-union.”

Although Biden didn’t specially mention Amazon by name, the president mentioned “workers in Alabama” and stressed that workers who want to unionize shouldn’t be intimidated by management.

“Let me be really clear: It’s not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union,” Biden said in his video. “But let me be even more clear: It’s not up to an employer to decide that either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers full-stop. Full stop. Today and over the next few days and weeks, workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether or not to organize a union in their workplace. This is vitally important.”

The Democratic president went onto say, “There should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda. No supervisor should confront employees about their union preferences. You know, every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union. The law guarantees that choice.”

Here are some responses to Biden’s video:


<div class="twitter-tweet twitter-tweet-rendered" style="width: …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump supporter who issued challenge to investigate 'deez nuts' gets indicted by feds in Capitol riot case

March 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Raw Story

A Trump supporter who took part in the January 6th riots at the United States Capitol building has been indicted weeks after he challenged federal law enforcement officials to “investigate deez nuts.”

In a new court filing released Monday, an FBI special agent details the social media posts of a man named James Matthew Horning who repeatedly photographed and took video of himself during the Capitol riot while also throwing taunts at law enforcement officials.

In one video, Horning lights up what he says is a marijuana cigarette and then says, “F*ck it, smoking a joint on the Capitol steps right now.”

Horning then posted on Facebook after the riot in which he said he was proud to take part in an event that he hoped would intimidate Congress into installing former President Donald Trump in the White House.

“To anyone on my list who has a problem with what happened in DC today.. I am damn proud I was there,” he wrote. “If you have a problem with that, hit the inbox if you want.. or use the unfriend feature if you ain’t bout it. Those of you calling for an investigation, why don’t you try investigating deez nuts with ya chin.”

Based on the evidence, the FBI agent recommends that Horning be charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do, and with engaging in disorderly conduct with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business.

Read the whole filing here (PDF).

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Reporter reveals Donald and Melania Trump secretly got vaccinated at the White House — but kept it quiet

March 1, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

Before leaving the White House as president, Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump chose to be inoculated from the deadly coronavirus, but opted to keep it a secret. Republicans represent the largest group of Americans who say they will not or are unsure if they will get vaccinated.

As head of a very loyal group of supporters, Trump could have gone on national television, as President-elect Joe Biden did, to receive the vaccine, which would have helped convert many opposed to the life-saving shot.

On Monday The New York Time’ Maggie Haberman reported the news that Trump was vaccinated, citing an advisor to the former president.

Some may have noticed that during his Sunday speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump in a rare move gave lip service to getting the vaccine, although couching it in an attack against President Biden. He told supporters to “go get your shot.”

“Remember, we took care of a lot of people, including, I guess on December 21st, we took care of Joe Biden, because he got his shot,” Trump told the CPAC crowd in Orlando at his speech that was widely panned. “He got his vaccine. He forgot. It shows you how unpainful that vaccine shot is. So everybody go get your shot. He forgot. So it wasn’t very traumatic, obviously. But he got his shot. And it’s good that he got his shot.”

Axios reported last week that 41 percent of Republicans say they will not get the coronavirus vaccine. That number jumps to 56 percent when including Republicans who say they are unsure. Just one-third of Republicans (33%) say they will get vaccinated. Compare that with 70 percent of Democrats who say they will get vaccinated.

“White Americans are now less likely than Black and Latino Americans to say they plan to get the vaccine,” Axios notes.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Fox News contributor gets set straight after he says mainstream outlets are 'far behind' on Cuomo scandals

March 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Anyone who reads the New York Times knows how much New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been in the hot seat lately, over the COVID-19/nursing homes scandal, alleged attempts to bully lawmakers, and the sexual misconduct allegations of former aide Charlotte Bennett. But when Jason Chaffetz made a Fox News appearance on Monday, the former Republican congressman turned far-right pundit claimed that the Times was showing its liberal bias by going easy on the New York governor — and Chaffetz looked ridiculous when a colleague pointed out how much Cuomo-related reporting the Times has done.

“We’ll see what the media does,” Chaffetz told a panel that also included Gillian Turner and Lisa Kennedy Montgomery. “They’ve been very tepid in doing this. Only the New York Post and a handful of others have actually covered this with the seriousness that it takes. The New York Times and other big media outlets have been far behind.”

That’s when Turner set Chaffetz straight, telling the former Utah congressman, “But the Times broke the most recent story about the victim Charlotte Bennett, the second woman. They broke that story. We wouldn’t even be talking about it if it wasn’t for the New York Times reporting.”

The Daily Beast’s Max Tani weighed in how embarrassing Chaffetz’s comments about the Times were:

Here are some other reactions to the former congressman’s remarks about the Times:

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How Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’ Confronted an Ugly Era of Lynchings

March 1, 2021 in History

By Karen Juanita Carrillo

During a time when violence against Black Americans was devastatingly common, Holiday’s haunting rendition of the song often left audiences uncomfortable.

The haunting lyrics of “Strange Fruit” paint a picture of a rural American South where political and psychological terror reigns over African American communities.

“Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze,” blues legend Billie Holiday sang in her powerful 1939 recording of the song, “Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.” The song’s lyrics portray the everyday violence that was being inflicted on Black people. And Holiday dared to perform it—in front of Black and white audiences, alike.

“She wanted to make a statement with that song. There was something about standing in front of white audiences and being brave enough to confront America’s ongoing crime,” says Loyola University Maryland associate professor of African and African American studies Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead. “The writing wasn’t simply about the past—it was happening at that moment.”

READ MORE: . “This made Billie a Black performer who had something to say and was saying it, had the nerve to say it, to sing it.”

‘Strange Fruit’ Named Song of the Century

Holiday may not have predicted the impact her Time magazine review would have, but she did understand the power of the song. Holiday’s vocalizing and improvisational abilities gave Meeropol’s poetry force and emotional impact.

“The first time I sang it I thought it was a mistake and I had been right being scared,” Holiday writes in her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues. “There wasn’t even a patter of applause when I finished. Then a lone person began to clap nervously. Then suddenly everyone was clapping.”

Holiday went on to record “Strange Fruit” with the Commodore Records jazz label on April 20, 1939. The song helped raise Holiday to national prominence—at just age 23.

Not all audiences appreciated Holiday’s performance of the song. Among them was the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger. Anslinger, who openly espoused racist views, saw to it that Holiday, who struggled with drug use, was targeted, pursued and arrested in 1947 for possession of narcotics. She was sent to Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia for a year. Upon her release, Holiday was barred from securing a cabaret performer’s license.

Despite her struggles, Holiday’s performance of “Strange Fruit” continued to resonate—and it remains among her bestselling recordings. In 1999, Time …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why the 19th Amendment Did Not Guarantee All Women the Right to Vote

March 1, 2021 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

Despite the adoption of the 19th Amendment, many women of color, immigrant women and poorer women continued to face barriers at the polls.

With the certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920, women secured the right to vote after a decades-long fight. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” it reads.

But while the passage of the 19th Amendment enabled most white women to vote, that wasn’t the case for many women of color.

“For Black women, their votes weren’t lifted by that tide in the South,” Christina Rivers, associate professor of political science at Depaul University, says. “Their votes were suppressed solely on the basis of race.”

Also prevented from voting: Native Americans—both men and women—did not gain the right to vote until the Snyder Act of 1924, four years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment and more than 50 years after the passage of the 15th Amendment. Even then, some Western states, including Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, didn’t grant Native Americans the right to vote until the 1940s and ‘50s. It wasn’t until the Cable Act of 1922 that women were allowed to keep their citizenship—and gain the right to vote—if they were married to an immigrant (who had to be eligible to become a U.S. citizen).

In Puerto Rico, literate women won the right to vote in 1929, but it wasn’t until 1935 that all women were given that right. And Asian American immigrant women were denied the right to vote until 1952 when the Immigration and Nationality Act allowed them to become citizens.

READ MORE: A Timeline of the Fight for All Women’s Right to Vote

A Divided Suffrage Movement

But even with the passage of these amendments and acts, a number of nefarious methods were used to keep segments of the population from voting. Most of these measures targeted Black Americans in the Jim Crow South, but Latinx, Native American and Asian Americans also faced obstacles to voting in the Southwest and West.

“When you combine literacy tests, invasive registration forms, interpretation tests, poll taxes and outright violence, this kept Black voting registration percentages down to the single digits in most of the Confederate South,” Rivers …read more

Source: HISTORY