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Dakota Access Motion To Dismiss Denied

DAPL update from Ed Fallon:

To those who say, “The fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is over, so just move on,” we pipeline fighters and water protectors say, “Not so fast!”

Tuesday, the Iowa Supreme Court sided with nine Iowa landowners and the Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, rejecting Dakota Access’ request to have the landowners’ lawsuit dismissed!

The Court’s order reads: “Dakota Access contends this appeal should be dismissed because the appellant, Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, has failed to establish proper standing in this matter and the remaining appellants’ claims are moot. Upon consideration, the motion to dismiss is denied. Dakota Access may raise the issues regarding standing and mootness in its appellate brief.”

Click here to read the complete order: 17. Order – Motion to Dismiss Denied

This is a really big deal. It means the case against the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and Dakota Access will move forward, with a schedule for court filings being established and a trial likely later this year or early in 2018.

The Court’s order revealed another important and disturbing development. Richard W. Lozier, Jr. requested permission to withdraw as counsel for the MAIN Coalition — a front group for Dakota Access. The Court rightfully granted that request. What’s incredible is that Governor Branstad recently appointed Lozier to the IUB, filling the seat vacated by Libby Jacobs, despite this clear conflict of interest!

If Branstad wanted to inflame pipeline opponents and encourage further criticism of the rampant corruption within his administration, putting Lozier on the IUB was the perfect way to do that.

Now the burden of defending this wolf-guards-hen-house appointment falls to Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. It’ll be interesting to see how Reynolds responds. If she kowtows to Big Oil and keeps Lozier on the IUB, don’t be surprised if her Republican opponent(s) make hay with it leading up to next June’s gubernatorial primary.

*******

Click here for original blog on Bold Iowa website.

Listen to the Fallon Forum:

 – Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM

– Listen on other local affiliates:
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Socialized Weather Service Saves Our Butts Wednesday

House of non-subscriber burns down while firefighters watch

Back in October of 2010, the story of firefighters watching a home burn down rather than stepping in to stop it spread throughout the internet like, well, wildfire. It was nearly impossible to understand how members of of firefighting unit could watch a home burn to the ground over a few dollars subscription fee.

As the Republican dream of privatizing everything slowly spread like a cancer across the country, a few houses will have to burn down that shouldn’t have, in order to scare enough folks into ponying up their subscription money. The idea of a community fire fighting unit came from Benjamin Franklin, as did some of the early research into weather.

Franklin was not a person who tried to extract every nickel out his numerous inventions and ideas. Franklin was much more interested in the common good than he was his sown wealth.

Wednesday night a line of storms crossed Iowa that produced some pretty severe weather. Thanks to the National Weather Service and through our local TV and radio stations which are supposed to contribute community time to maintain their licenses, we, along with all Iowans, were able to watch the advance of the storms as they moved across the state.

The NWS is a no nonsense group that isn’t trying to sell anything. Their mission is, as accurately as humanly possible, to predict the weather. Forecasting has improved dramatically over the decades to the point where warnings can be given within a few minutes of actual events.

A few years back self styled capitalist hero Rick Santorum tried to sneak a bill through congress that would move weather forecasting from government auspices to private concerns. Would the push for advancement of the science of meteorology be as important for a private company where profit is always the top concern? How long before getting weather forecasts would be a subscription service that families would have to pay for? Planning a trip? Better buy a weather forecast.

Forecasting the weather seems like a common good that should be paid for by all. Each of us in our own way has some need for some weather forecasting from knowing when to head for cover to planning the company picnic. Making a profit by somehow withholding important information from citizens seems backwards. Using our collective resources to better everyone seems like a much better use of resources.

Similarly, making our public school system falter so a privatized system can appear better is an incredibly cynical position for any politician to take.

Our founders had the concept that America would be a country where the common good would prevail over the desires of the few.

One of the first weather researchers in this country was a very curious man name of Ben Franklin. Franklin was one of the first to note the movement of storm systems and helped develop theories of high and low pressure systems.

As noted above, Franklin passed his knowledge on rather than trying to make a buck off of it. Nearly 300 years later, we are thankful to him once again.

However, our current president isn’t quite as generous as Mr. Franklin. As part of the Republican war on science, the administration’s proposed budget slashes funds from one of the major atmospheric and climate research arms of the government. In the video below, Kait Parker of the Weather Channel explains why this is a very bad idea:

NOAA cuts proposed:

Sunday Funday: Roger Ailes Dies Edition

When history records the most influential people of the late 20th century it will be a sad reflection on these times and this country that Roger Ailes should be mentioned as one of the most influential. Like so many before him, Ailes exploited fear, hate and greed to build an empire with little concern about the good of the whole. When we look to see what led to the rise of political creatures like Donald Trump, Ailes’ Fox News has to be the main driver.

Ailes helped resurrect and exploit the very fears and hate that drove this country apart 160 years ago. Sadly he is hardly the last of his breed, just one of the more successful.

The old saying goes that one must speak only good of the dead. Roger Ailes is dead. Good

The Rude Pundit has an excellent Sunday morning analysis of Ailes legacy.

Were you paying attention? It was really hard to keep up last week.

1) The impenetrable fortress where the Global Seed Project keeps its seeds had what near catastrophe happen to it this week?

2) Residents of a neighborhood in Muscatine was granted class status in an air pollution law suit against what company?

3) Hardly getting any notice at all this week, the US once again launched air strikes against what country?

4)” He was crazy, a real nut job” said Donald Trump about who?

5) 90 years ago yesterday, what aviator took off from New York and landed 33 hours later in Paris, France to complete the first trans-Atlantic flight?

6) Rumors abound that what cable news host may be replaced when his contract expires in a couple of weeks (June 4th)?

7) The SCOTUS surprised watchers when it let stand a lower court ruling that key parts of a voter suppression law from what state were unconstitutional ?

8) A ransom ware attack targeted computers with what operating system?

9) A massive 50th anniversary reissue of what ground breaking rock album goes on sale next Friday?

10) Surprising everyone including the president, who was named as a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in our election?

11) What major politician announced formation of a political resistance group called Onward Together?

12) What Iowa city received national notoriety when its city council removed its mayor 10 days ago?

13) What Iowa senator claims “there is no evidence go Russian influence” in the last election?

14) Alabama rep. Mop Brooks says what disease is caused by a person’s actions and therefore should not be covered by insurance?

15) Tribune Company sold it 42 TV stations around the country to what right wing media company?

16) The FCC voted to end net neutrality Thursday. However that began a public comment period that will last how long?

17) The U of Iowa reached an agreement in a gender discrimination lawsuit with the coach of which athletic team?

18) The highly classified secrets that the president revealed to the Russians was gathered by spies from which of our allies?

19) Almost as surprising as his sudden opportune foot surgery, what congress member announced he will be leaving congress at the end of June?

20) Often an early sign of a weakening economy, what leading indicator unexpectedly fell in April for a second straight month?

Joy Ann Reid tweet on the death of Roger Ailes:
Ailes built an empire by creating a fantasy world for white, conservative men, where women are agreeable sex objects and POC are predators.

Answers:

1) It was flooded from melting permafrost. Fortunately no seeds were damaged.

2) Grain Processors

3) Syria

4) James Comey. Trump was telling the Russian visitors that the pressure of investigation was off with Comey gone.

5) Charles Lindberg. May 20, 1927

6) Lawrence O’Donnell

7) North Carolina

8) Microsoft Windows

9) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band originally issued on June 1, 1967

10) Former FBI director Robert Mueller

11) Hillary Clinton

12) Muscatine

13) Chuck Grassley – guess he won’t be too open to the investigation.

14) type 2 diabetes

15) Sinclair Broadcasting

16) 90 days or until the middle of August.

17) women’s field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum

18) Israel – and they are pissed

19) Jason Chaffetz

20) Housing starts

Rachel Maddow is now the most watched cable news show.

Republicans Want To Get Back To Work

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017417515

Mitch McConnell says that Republicans want to get back to their agenda, so they could do with less “drama” from the White House.

Since it has been a while, maybe we should remind ourselves just what that agenda is.

Remember, they claim to be doing the work of ‘the American people.’


So ask around and see if you know anybody who is clamoring for this agenda:

– Ending the ACA and putting up to 30 million back to being without insurance

– Bringing back the pre-existing conditions exclusions on health insurance

– a huge tax cut for the wealthiest (including the Trump family)

– Cutting aid to public schools while sending public dollars to religious schools

– Cutting scientific research, especially into climate change and renewable resources

– Cutting Medicare (ending the ACA itself will have a huge effect on hurting Medicare) and privatizing it.

– Ending Social Security as we know it, tying it to the stock market.

– Ending environmental regulations

– Allowing oil drilling on federal lands

Ending net neutrality. Putting telecommunication corporations in charge of access to the internet

– Making voting harder nationally.

– Cutting food aid programs for the poor
.

– Cutting any assistance to the poor.

– Building a border wall between the US and Mexico.

This is only a partial list off the top of my head, so I am sure there is much more. Nothing in that list that is going to create a job or somehow make life any better for any American, except for the super wealthy.

Is this what they believe America wants? Because that is what they are aiming to stick it to America with. Their stars are aligned – they have the House, the Senate, The White House to sign anything and a Supreme Court ready to repel any challenges to the constitutionality of any legislation. They have waited decades for this opportunity and they do not want to waste it because of some illegalities by the president.

Planned Parenthood Closing Four Clinics In Iowa

The religious crazies that inhabit the Iowa legislature have reached part of their goal – they have caused some closings in Iowa of what they view as the mortal enemy of their God – Planned Parenthood. While they are no doubt claiming a great victory, women especially on Iowa’s east coast will suffer.

Clinics will be closing in Sioux City, Iowa’s 6th largest county, the Quad Cities, Iowa’s 3rd largest county along with two other Mississippi River cities, Burlington and Keokuk. Last year these clinics served nearly 15,000 women.

Closing Planned Parenthood clinics is all the rage among those on the right who want to establish a form of Christian sharia laws to run our government. The goal is ostensibly to stop abortion. Their claim is that any money that Planned Parenthood takes in from a state source for any service frees money up in the PP organization that can be used to provide an abortion. Thus their goal has been to cut off any state funds to PP no matter what the service. Terry Branstad as one of his last acts signed the bill and put the law into effect. Thus Iowa joins a list of states that imposes Christian morality on its citizens.

PP does provide abortions, but no state dollars are involved in that process. So instead of actually stopping their hated prey they will greatly lessen access to health care designed for women, especially for the poor. It is like shooting a shotgun at a target and hitting everything but the target. PP has been instrumental especially in the early detection of breast cancer for women.

So we can look forward to an increase in breast cancer for women in areas where the clinics are closing. Also, based on the experience of Indiana we can expect an explosion in venereal disease. VD used to be a scourge in the US back in the bad old days of the 1950s and before. Medicines to stop the spread of VD were just coming into use and hygienics and knowledge kept most people very vulnerable to a VD epidemic.

However, public health care fought a valiant fight to keep VD at bay. Medications, sexual knowledge transmitted in public schools, increase emphasis on hygiene including increased use of condoms and most importantly access to health care for all have dramatically decreased the fear of VD. Yet just last year we saw Indiana undergo a small epidemic of VD in areas where PP clinics were closed.

In the place of PP clinics that are geared to full health care for women, the Iowa legislature thinks that some amalgamation of other type of clinics will fill in for services offered by PP. For the most part they will be poor substitutes and may be hard to access for poor women. Remember also that there will be 15,000 additional patients for these substitutes to shoehorn in.

A story on Iowa’s situation in the Atlantic offers this sobering analysis:

In recent months, Republicans have offered lists of alternative clinics where IFPN patients can receive family-planning care. An initial list released by Republicans included a dentist’s office, a school nurse, and a youth shelter. A more recent list, sent to me in February by Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s office, was more thorough: an Excel spreadsheet containing 47 federally qualified health centers and 170 rural health clinics. Many of the providers listed were duplicates, at least one clinic was permanently closed, and several told me they didn’t actually provide family-planning services. On the rural-clinic side, only a few would likely be used by patients as alternatives to Planned Parenthood, since most were at least an hour’s drive from the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic.


Now, consider what Republicans have done to access to health care in Iowa in just a little over a year. Branstad unilaterally took a huge chunk (15% or more) of the money that was going to actual health care from medicaid in Iowa to give it to the Managed Care Operators (MCOs). Now we are facing the closing of health clinics for women.

This is only the cutting edge of what Republicans want to do nation wide. Republican proposals to reform health care nationally include huge cuts to medicaid, the return of exceptions for pre-existing conditions and pricing as much as 25% of the public out of health insurance.

There may be a few people, mostly men, who think this Republican assault on the nation’s health will not affect them they may want to think again. The assault on women’s health can easily be turned on anyone who the christian jihadi’s feel have been afflicted with a disease that was caused by a person’s lifestyle or bad decisions.

Just Monday, first Alabama representative and then administration budget director Michael Mulvaney expressed the thought that type 2 diabetics should not be covered since their disease is (purported to be) caused by laziness and food choices. No doubt that list can easily be expanded to include heart disease, alcohol consumption problems, accidents due to poor judgment and on and on. Surely each of us has something that could be said to be caused by some poor decision.

So if your celebrating the closing of PP clinics, be advised you may be next.

On a personal note I just want to say that it is hard to write something when what I really want to do is get in the face of those who caused this to happen and just scream! Do you have any idea what the consequences are??? And why should you impose your religious convictions on the rest of us???

How The Sinclair Deal Affects Iowa

http://iowahighwayends.net/blog/

The Iowahighwayends blog has no share widgets and does not offer an RSS feed.  There is no affiliated Facebook page.  If you want to follow, you just have to go the website. We appreciate Jeff Morrison’s reporting on the Sinclair deal.

###

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, an owner of TV stations across the country that’s going to get more coverage about its visible political stances but is better known to consumers for repeatedly playing hardball on cable and satellite retransmission agreements, is about to get bigger.

Tribune Media, created when the Tribune Company split* into print and broadcast companies in mid-2014, owns WHO in Des Moines and WQAD in the Quad Cities. (This is readily evident in the identical website design, just as you can tell all the Hearst stations’ websites.) Sinclair owns stations in four other Iowa media markets, including the semi-recent acquisition of both KTVO and KHQA in the state’s southeast corner.

If this deal were to go through without any area divestments, Sinclair would have at least one foothold in every Iowa media market except Mason City. Sinclair would own and/or operate 10 of 28 main Iowa-related TV stations (seven markets times four affiliates). It would have two in central Iowa (Sinclair already owns KDSM) and the Keokuk/Hannibal/Quincy area. It would have “one and a half” in Sioux City because it owns Fox station KPTH and operates but does not own CBS station KMEG, and also in eastern Iowa because it owns KGAN and operates but does not own KFXA. Three of those duplications have a “UHF discount” factor; all the Fox affiliates are UHF, way back to when Channel 17 was full of old movies and ads for Big Sur Waterbeds.**

Sinclair yanked its stations off Mediacom in early 2007, then nearly did it again in 2009; it nearly did it to Dish in 2012 and actually did it in 2015. Since then, Mediacom has passed on the increased “local broadcast station surcharges” to its customers. Sinclair is going to get a LOT more leverage, and consumers will incrementally pay the price.

Click here to read the entire article.

Tell The FCC: Block The Sinclair Deal

Action alert from CREDO

A conservative media empire that reportedly cut a shady 2016 deal with the Trump campaign is poised to grow even larger – giving it the power to distort news coverage in markets all across the country.1

Sinclair Broadcast Group (“Sinclair”) recently agreed to purchase Tribune Media, a merger that would put Sinclair in front of more than 70 percent of households at a time when most Americans still get their news from local stations.2 All media consolidation is dangerous, but this deal is even more terrifying because Sinclair has a long record of biased, conservative editorial decisions.

In 2016, Jared Kushner bragged that the campaign had struck a deal with Sinclair to provide access to his father-in-law, Donald Trump, in exchange for broadcasting the segments without commentary.3 With an illegitimate regime occupying the White House, we need more media freedom – not less.

Tell the Federal Communications Commission: Block the Sinclair deal. Click here to sign the petition.

Sinclair has a long history of force-feeding local stations “must-run” segments from its national headquarters that often have a conservative bent. The company’s disturbing track record includes:4,5,6

  • Striking a sweetheart deal with the Trump campaign, with Jared Kushner claiming that they provided Sinclair greater access in return for less commentary or potentially critical coverage.
  • Trying to air a negative documentary attacking Sen. John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign, scaling back the plans only after public outrage.
  • A 2016 “news package” implying that, since the Democratic party had been pro-slavery in the past, people should not support Sen. Hillary Clinton.
  • Accusing the national news media of airing “fake news,” directly parroting Trump’s favorite lines
  • Requiring local news anchors to announce their support for President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism following the September 11 attacks.
  • Sending a crew to Iraq in 2004 to find more “positive” Iraq War stories to report.
  • Airing a 2008 special criticizing then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Sinclair executives are already bragging that this deal would create “the largest TV broadcast company in the country.7 That prospect is terrifying to anyone who cares about the role of an unbiased, free and independent press in preserving our democracy. We must speak out against this deal.

Tell the Federal Communications Commission: Block the Sinclair deal. Click here to sign the petition.

Television is the main source of news for nearly 60 percent of adults according to Pew Research, and half of those adults depend on local TV.8 For all the richly deserved criticism of Fox News’ biased coverage, a bigger Sinclair would be just as bad. Approving this deal would also send a signal throughout the market and unleash even more corporate media consolidation. Though both seem inclined to help corporations grow even larger, the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division do have the power to block this deal.

We cannot stay silent and allow corporate media mergers to imperil our democracy. We need to make it clear to antitrust enforcers that Americans are tired of ever-more monopolies leaching money out of our pockets and leaving us with fewer choices and less control.

Tell the Federal Communications Commission: Block the Sinclair deal. Click here to sign the petition.

  1. Josh Dawsey and Hadas Gold, “Kushner: We struck deal with Sinclair for straighter coverage,” POLITICO, December 16, 2016.
  2. Sydney Ember and Michael J. de la Merced, “Sinclair Unveils Tribune Deal, Raising Worries It Will Be Too Powerful,” The New York Times, May 8, 2017.
  3. Dawsey and Gold, “Kushner: We struck deal with Sinclair for straighter coverage.”
  4. Ibid.
  5. Sydney Ember, “Sinclair Requires TV Stations to Air Segments That Tilt to the Right,” The New York Times, May 12, 2017.
  6. Michael Calderone and Lydia O’Connor, “A Trump-Friendly Media Company Is About To Get Even Bigger,” HuffPost, May 9, 2017.
  7. Ember and de la Merced, “Sinclair Unveils Tribune Deal, Raising Worries It Will Be Too Powerful.”
  8. Ibid.

 

Kris Kobach Mastermind Of Interstate Crosscheck

Kobach screams at Greg Palast

Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, now out as major motion non-fiction movie.

Trump picks Al Capone of Vote Rigging
To investigate Federal Voter Fraud

by Greg Palast for Alternet

Kris Kobach was spooning down vanilla ice cream when I showed him the thick pages of evidence documenting his detailed plan to rig the presidential election of 2016.

The Secretary of State of Kansas, sucking up carbs at a Republican Party Fundraiser, recognized the documents – and yelled at me, “YOU’RE A LIAR!” and ran for it while still trying to wolf down the last spoonful.

But documents don’t lie.

That was 2015 (yes, the ballot heist started way back). Today this same man on the run, Kris Kobach, is now Donald Trump’s choice to head the new “Voter Integrity Commission.”

It’s like appointing Al Capone to investigate The Mob.

How did Kobach mess with the 2016 vote? Let me count the ways—as I have in three years of hunting down Kobach’s ballot-box gaming for Rolling Stone and Al Jazeera.

Just two of Kobach’s vote-bending tricks undoubtedly won Michigan for Trump and contributed to his “wins” in Ohio, North Carolina and Arizona.

First, Interstate Crosscheck.

Kobach is the GOP mastermind behind this secretive system which purged 1.1 million Americans from the voter rolls.

When Trump said, “This election’s rigged,” the press ignored the second part of his statement: “People are voting many, many times.” Trump cited three million votes illegally cast.

The White House said Trump got this information from Kobach. Indeed, it specifically comes from a list of 7 million names—or, as Kobach describes it, a list of 3.5 million “potential double voters.” How did Kobach find these three million double voters?

He matched their names, first and last. And that’s it.

Here’s an unedited screen-shot of a segment of his list:

James Edward Harris Jr. of Richmond, Virginia, is supposed to be the same voters as James R. Harris (no Jr.) of Indianapolis, Indiana. Really? Note that not one middle name matches.

And here’s the ugly part. Both James Harris (in fact, hundreds of them) are subject to getting scrubbed off the voter rolls.

And these are Kobach’s lists, tens of thousands of names I showed Kobach, falsely accused of the crime of double voting.

And that’s why Kobach was stunned and almost dropped his vanilla, because he and his GOP colleagues kept the lists of the accused strictly confidential. (The first of the confidential lists was obtained by our investigative photojournalist, Zach D. Roberts, through legal methods—though howling voting officials want them back.)

In all, about 1.1 million voters on that list have been scrubbed already—and they don’t know it. They show up to vote and they’re name has simply vanished. Or, the voter is marked “inactive.” “Crosscheck” is not marked on the victim voter’s record. It’s a stealth hit.

And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.

And not just any voters. Mark Swedlund, a database expert who advises companies such as Amazon and eBay on how not to mis-match customers was “flabbergasted” to discover in his team’s technical analysis, that the list was so racially biased that fully one in six registered African-Americans were tagged in the Crosscheck states that include the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona and more.

The effect goes way beyond the Trump v. Clinton count. I spoke to several of the targeted voters on the list in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional district where the Democratic candidate fell just short of the margin to win a special election. Especially hard hit in the northern Atlanta suburbs were Korean-Americans, like Mr. Sung Park, who found he was tagged as voting in two states in 2012 simply because he had a name that is as common in Korea as James Brown.

And Kobach, in fact, tagged 288 men in Georgia named James Brown on his Crosscheck blacklist.

As Crosscheck spreads—and it was just signed into law in New Hampshire in the last days of a lame-duck Republican governorship—it will undoubtedly poison the count in the fight for Congress in 2018.

And that’s why Trump needs Kobach on his “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity”: To spread Crosscheck with an official federal endorsement and, likely, Congressional legislation.

And if Crosscheck isn’t enough to scare you, Kobach is also pushing Trump to require voters to prove their citizenship.

At first blush, it seems right to demand people prove they are US citizens to vote. But here’s the rub: We are not Red China and don’t carry citizenship cards. Resident Aliens holding Green Cards have, indeed are required to have, Social security cards and drivers’ licenses, if they drive or work.

The readiest proof of citizenship is a passport. And what is the color of the typical passport holder, their income—and the color of their vote?

The other form of proof, besides naturalization papers, is your original birth certificate.

And there’s the rub: the poor, minorities and especially new young voters do not have easy access to a passport or their birth certificates. Kobach took his citizenship proof requirement out for a test drive in Kansas. The result: 36,000 young voters were barred from voting… that is, until a federal judge, citing the National Voter Registration Act, told Kobach that unless he could produce even one alien among those 36,000, she was ordering him to let them vote.

Kobach’s response: a private meeting with Trump at Trump Tower where he proposed changing the Act.

All of this to eliminate a crime which does not occur. Besides Trump’s claims of alien voters swimming the Rio Grande to vote for Hillary, I have found only two verified cases of votes cast by aliens in the US in the last decade. (One, an Austrian who confessed to voting for Jeb Bush in Florida.)

Don’t laugh. The threat of “alien voters” – long a staple claim by Kobach on his appearances on Fox TV – will be the Kobach Commission’s hammer to smash the National Voter Registration Act’s protections. Based on the numbers from Kansas, and its overwhelming effect on young – read “Democratic” – voters, this shift alone could swing the election of 2018.

Indeed, Kobach’s Crosscheck con together with his “alien” voter attack, could mean the choice of the electorate in 2020 may already be trumped.

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Say No To Trump TV

Action alert from FreePress

Donald Trump’s favorite local-TV chain is about to get a lot bigger thanks to … Donald Trump!

Trump’s FCC is paving the way for Sinclair Broadcast Group — already the nation’s largest TV conglomerate — to take over Tribune,1 which owns 42 stations in many of the country’s big cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and Denver.

This deal would have been DOA in any other administration. It would create an unthinkable level of media consolidation by a company that’s used the public airwaves to push a conservative political agenda. But Trump’s FCC is actually rewriting the rules to make it happen2 — and to give one of the administration’s loudest media boosters an even bigger megaphone.

This is a major scandal. Sinclair is trading favorable coverage for policy favors.

Help stop this mega-merger: say no to a super-sized Sinclair

Sinclair is notorious for slipping right-wing views and Republican talking points into its newscasts. The company overrides the objections of local journalists and forces its stations to run conservative commentaries and slanted stories on the local news.

This is the same company that aired the distorted Swift Boat movie that helped sink John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election. Sinclair also refused to fire commentator Armstrong Williams after the FCC fined the company in 2007 for airing government propaganda and failing to disclose his conflicts of interest. Instead, Sinclair put Williams in charge of one its front companies.

And, of course, they went all out for Trump in 2016. Jared Kushner, the president’s adviser and son-in-law, boasted about the special deal he struck with Sinclair to get Trump uninterrupted favorable coverage.3 And Sinclair has been hiring Trump campaign spokespeople as analysts ever since.4

Now Sinclair’s getting its payback.

Add your voice: Oppose Trump TV

If this deal goes through, Sinclair’s cookie-cutter, Trump-boosting content could reach more than 70 percent of the U.S. population.5 But to pull off its takeover of Tribune, Sinclair needs the FCC to change the rules.

So that’s exactly what Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is doing: As one of his first acts, he changed how the agency calculates station reach so Sinclair could skirt ownership limits. While Sinclair is pretending to be smaller in FCC land, it’s boasting to investors in the real world about just how bigly its reach will be.

The FCC’s ownership limits were designed to ensure a diversity of local voices and opinions but very few TV stations are owned by women or people of color. Instead of creating policies that promote equity and opportunity, the Trump FCC would rather super-size Sinclair.

For years, Sinclair has been using every trick in the book to evade and undermine the rules. Now the game has changed: Instead of appointing a referee to call corporate fouls, Trump gave the whistle to Chairman Pai, a full-throated cheerleader for runaway consolidation.

Free Press has long been an outspoken critic of Sinclair. Our policy team is already hard at work building the case against the deal and exploring legal options to challenge it. But to win this fight, we need to show Washington just how outraged people are by this kind of back-room dealing.

Stop the Sinclair merger and unplug Trump TV.

Craig, Amy, Tim and the rest of the Free Press team
freepress.net

P.S. If this deal goes through, Sinclair’s right-wing commentary will take over the local news more than 70 percent of Americans see. Speak out to stop this merger today.

1. “Sinclair Announces Station Takeover One Day After Trump’s FCC Votes to Loosen Ownership Rules,” Free Press, April 21, 2017: https://act.freepress.net/go/16843?t=8&akid=6400.8802877.M_jUk_

2. “Trump’s FCC Chair Continues to Shaft the Public, Offer Major Handouts to Big Media,” Free Press, April 20, 2017: https://act.freepress.net/go/16844?t=10&akid=6400.8802877.M_jUk_

3. “Jared Kushner: We Struck Deal with Sinclair for Straighter Coverage,” Politico, Dec. 19, 2016: http://act.freepress.net/go/16845?t=12&akid=6400.8802877.M_jUk_

4. “Ex-Trump Spokesperson Joins Sinclair Broadcasting,” CNN, April 17, 2017: http://act.freepress.net/go/16846?t=14&akid=6400.8802877.M_jUk_

5. “Trump-Friendly Company Buys Rights to Deliver Local News to 70 Percent of U.S. Households,” New York, May 9, 2017:  http://act.freepress.net/go/16847?t=16&akid=6400.8802877.M_jUk_

Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund are nonpartisan organizations fighting for your rights to connect and communicate. Learn more at www.freepress.net.

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