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Friday* Trump & Politics Roundup - 14

Donald TrumpOkay, today is Monday, but I meant to post this on Friday and just forgot to. This is my semi-regular feature to post links to articles about Donald Trump along with excerpts from those articles. Trump has the potential to cause so much damage to our country and the world that it's every citizen's responsibility to keep pressure on him and our other elected officials to try to minimize the damage. To read previous entries in this series and other Trump related posts, check out my Trump archives.

Trump's first 100 days: The good, the bad, and the ugly for tech and science

"The president's FCC appointment has pushed net neutrality to the chopping block. Online privacy took a hit as well after Trump signed legislation allowing home Internet and mobile broadband providers to sell or share Web browsing history without consent from consumers. Trump also signed legislation designed to limit federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions. The president ordered the termination of President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, and he rolled back the Obama administration's move to require automakers to increase fuel efficiency."

Vox - The US Department of Justice is literally prosecuting a woman for laughing at Jeff Sessions

"These details [of Fairooz's history and actions] are all salient for the legal case, but it's important not to lose sight of the big picture here: The federal government is literally prosecuting someone for laughing. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Justice Department -- which Sessions now leads as attorney general -- is doing the prosecuting when the laughter was directed at its leader. At the very least, it's not a good look for the top law enforcement agency in the country."

Indivisible - Enough is Enough: Stop TrumpCare

"It's hard to overstate how cruel this bill is. Simply put, Republicans got TrumpCare passed in the House today by making it more extreme. They had to convince the uber-conservatives in the Freedom Caucus to vote for it, so they had to make it even crueler. The original failed TrumpCare bill last month stripped healthcare from 24 million Americans. But that wasn't enough for them. The new bill builds on that by:

•Gutting protections for pre-existing conditions
•Eliminating services for special needs kids in schools
•Letting insurers effectively charge women more than men

In short, TrumpCare is a moral monstrosity."

Related: Vox - The GOP plan for Obamacare could kill more people each year than gun homicides: If 24 million people lose insurance, we'll see more than 24,000 extra deaths per year.

Scientific American - We Must Strengthen the "Science" in Forensic Science: A national commission created to improve the reliability of forensics has been dealt a possibly fatal blow

"In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences evaluated the state of forensic science and, shockingly, concluded that many of the techniques used in court actually have no scientific validity. This means that the science used to convict the accused is neither reliable, nor robust and cannot be trusted in a court of law. In response to this report, the government established the National Commission of Forensic Science (NCFS) in 2013, which was tasked to explore these issues and make recommendations for improvement... Administered jointly by the Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the commission has worked diligently over the past four years to identify problems and propose changes to strengthen forensic science. / This progress is now in danger of being undone. On April 10, the Justice Department, under the leadership of Attorney General Sessions, refused to extend the term of the NCFS."

Vox - Donald Trump's first 100 days have been a moneymaking success story: He's getting what he cares about.

"But Trump isn't failing. He and his family appear to be making money hand over fist. It's a spectacle the likes of which we've never seen in the United States, and while it may end in disaster for the Trumps someday, for now it shows no real sign of failure. " ... "There is something grating about this, especially from a president who is making a big show of donating his salary to charity. Trump is directly pocketing what could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in direct payments from the Treasury, while simultaneously claiming to be serving for free. What's more troubling, however, is indirect financial entanglements into which we have little real visibility. "

Vox - Donald Trump's absurd 100th day week was his presidency in miniature: Trump would be an excellent head of state. He is an awful president.

"Of Trump's term so far, the best that can be said is that the president's incompetence has blunted his danger. 'It could be worse,' wrote Ross Douthat, and he's right. With apologies to Woody Allen, Trump's presidency has been awful, but at least the portions have been small. / This is a thin reed with which to secure the republic, however. America built the greatest superpower the world has ever known and handed it to a man whose own associates say their job is 'to talk him out of doing crazy things.' To be pleased that the Trump presidency has not yet ended in disaster is to set too low a bar for American democracy. Three cheers for electing a leader too easily distracted to be a successful authoritarian!"

Industrial Equipment News - Trump Tax Overhaul Proposes 15% Rate for Business: But critics say a big cut in corporate taxes will add to long-term budget deficits.

"Republicans who slammed the growing national debt under President Barack Obama have said they are open to Trump's tax plan, even though it could add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade. / Echoing the White House, Republicans argue the cuts would spur economic growth, reducing or even eliminating any drop in tax revenue." ... "The argument that tax cuts pay for themselves has been debunked by economists from across the political spectrum. / On Tuesday, the official scorekeeper for Congress dealt the argument -- and Trump's plan -- another blow. / The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said a big cut in corporate taxes, even if temporary, would add to long-term budget deficits."

Religion News - Trump's religious liberty order slammed as 'pretty much nothing'

[This one's a relief, after the language in early leaked drafts.]

" '[C]onstitutionally dubious, dangerously misleading, and ultimately harmful to the very cause that it purports to protect,' David French wrote in a blistering analysis in National Review. 'In fact, he should tear it up, not start over, and do the actual real statutory and regulatory work that truly protects religious liberty.' " ... "Even the ACLU, which initially vowed to file suit against the order, later reversed course because the order had nothing in it that could be challenged. It was, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said, 'an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.' "

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