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Thursday
Feb232017

SACRAMENTO: "Republicans are fighting to reduce union influence over California's biggest employee pension fund"; AB 221, "Workers' compensation factions maneuver on bill"; "California's poor leave $2 billion in tax credits unclaimed" .... 

***Various items relating to doings in and/or around the Capitol....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Republicans are fighting to reduce union influence over California's biggest employee pension fund"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "California's poor leave $2 billion in tax credits unclaimed"

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Workers' compensaction factions maneuver on bill"

Thursday
Feb232017

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT (National): President Donald Trump, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt: "Thousands of emails detail EPA head's close ties to fossil fuel industry"; "The Pruitt E-Mails: EPA Chief Was Arm in Arm With Industry"; "Emails reveal Pruitt's behind-the-scenes collaboration with oil and natural gas giant" ....

***President Donald Trump, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt....

* Washington Post:  "Thousands of emails detail EPA head's close ties to fossil fuel industry"

* New York Times:  "The Pruitt E-Mails: EPA Chief Was Arm in Arm With Industry"

* POLITICO:  "Pruitt emails show close ties to oil, gas interests" - "Many of the regulations discussed in the emails still sit before EPA today, putting them squarely in Pruitt's lap."

* CNN:  "Emails reveal Pruitt's behind-the-scenes collaboration with oil and natural gas giant"

Wednesday
Feb222017

POLITICS (National, International/ Great Britain): President Donald Trump, formal state visit to U.K.?: "'I Am Ashamed' vs. 'Get Over It': U.K. Parliament Debates Trump Visit" ....  

* New York Times (Steven Erlanger):  "'I Am Ashamed' vs 'Get Over It':  U.K. Parliament Debates Trump Visit" - From the NYT:

LONDON — With thousands of people demonstrating against President Trump outside Parliament, British lawmakers on Monday debated whether to deny him a formal state visit because — in the eyes of nearly two million Britons in an online petition — it would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the queen.”

The debate included the kind of political showmanship and heated language that members of Parliament often do well, with dueling lawmakers invoking Mr. Trump’s impetuousness, his strategic importance to Britain or even his willingness to misrepresent the weather during his inauguration as reasons to cancel or go ahead with the visit.

“The intellectual capacity of the president is protozoan,” said Paul Flynn, an opposition Labour lawmaker who led the argument against a state visit. In making his case, Mr. Flynn quoted a journalist’s remarks about the disgrace of “pimping out the queen for Donald Trump” — a remark that the Conservative legislator Jacob Rees-Mogg condemned as unworthy, even as a quotation.

Mr. Trump would hardly be the first contentious leader to be honored with a state visit . . . . . . . .

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Still, the prospect of Mr. Trump’s visit has stirred great passion in Britain. The online petition, backed by 1.8 million people, does not call for Mr. Trump to be barred from Britain altogether, only that his visit be a political one, without the involvement of Queen Elizabeth II.

Another online petition, signed by more than 300,000 people, called for the state visit to take place. Petitions with more than 100,000 signatures are eligible for parliamentary debate, and any vote would not be binding. The government of Prime Minister Theresa May has been firm in saying that the invitation to Mr. Trump for a full state visit this year will not be withdrawn.

In Parliament, Mr. Flynn cited the need to keep public trust in politicians and noted that . . . . . . . .

But a Conservative legislator, Nigel Evans, said that Mr. Trump was the president of a great ally of Britain and that the critics should “get over it.” .............

Wednesday
Feb222017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Port of Los Angeles, "Investor pleads guilty to withholding email during grand jury probe of Port of L.A. police chief"; commentary (Steve Lopez), LAUSD, March 7 election, "Steve Lopez wanted to talk to 18 students with $1 million to spend on an election. Then his invite was yanked"; LAPD, "L.A. officials ask LAPD to find ways to put more officers on city streets" .... 

Wednesday
Feb222017

POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, U.S. intelligence agencies, "fake news"?: Commentary (Op-Ed: Michael Gerson), "Reality will get its revenge on Donald Trump" ....

* Washington Post (Op-Ed: Michael Gerson):  "Reality will get its revenge on Donald Trump" - From the WP:

In mid-January, after the appearance of some embarrassing material or another (it is hard to keep track), President-elect Trump tweeted: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” That charge has made escalation of the Trump/intelligence conflict difficult. What is the next step after the Nazi card?

More recently, President Trump has called leaks from the intelligence community “un-American” and “just like Russia.”

It is difficult to imagine a set of attacks more likely to be galling to intelligence professionals, some of whom risk their lives with no prospect of credit, in one of the purer forms of patriotism.

Now Trump appears utterly shocked that he does not hold the copyright on counterpunching. And the intelligence community is particularly good at it. During my time in the George W. Bush White House, there were also some damaging intelligence leaks. I have no intention of excusing them. I only point out that it is daunting to argue with people who weaponize information for a living — like challenging a Navy SEAL to a fight.

There is a certain kind of New Yorker who really believes Frank Sinatra: “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.” The world of Manhattan real estate must have seemed to Trump like the big leagues. It wasn’t. And the techniques that succeeded in his little world — the taunting, the exaggerations, the bluster, the threats, the bullying — do not translate well in dealing with real professionals. The ones who fight Russian influence.

With less than a month in office, Trump is beginning to see reality’s revenge. His overall strategy seems disturbingly ambitious. Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who directed both the CIA and the NSA, describes it this way in an interview: “A systematic effort to invalidate and delegitimize all the institutions, governmental and nongovernmental, that create the factual basis for action . . . so they won’t push back against arbitrary moves.”

That is, well, terrifying. But American institutions, it turns out, are pretty durable, at least so far. The checks have checked. The balances have balanced. In this scenario, it is good news that the Trump administration has been so inept, at least in conflicts with other institutions. We should be thankful that Trump is a figure much smaller than his schemes.

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So far, the reaction to Trump’s attacks on institutions has ranged from ...............