New C.I.A. Deputy Director, Gina Haspel, Had Leading Role in Torture

As a clandestine officer at the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002, Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and later took part in an order to destroy videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations at a secret prison in Thailand.

On Thursday, Ms. Haspel was named the deputy director of the C.I.A.

The elevation of Ms. Haspel, a veteran widely respected among her colleagues, to the No. 2 job at the C.I.A. was a rare public signal of how, under the Trump administration, the agency is being led by officials who appear to take a far kinder view of one of its darker chapters than their immediate predecessors.

The C.I.A.’s first overseas detention site was in Thailand. It was run by Ms. Haspel, who oversaw the brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Mr. Zubaydah alone was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide.

The sessions were videotaped and the recordings stored in a safe at the C.I.A. station in Thailand until 2005, when they were ordered destroyed. By then, Ms. Haspel was serving at C.I.A. headquarters, and it was her name that was on the cable carrying the destruction orders.

n Thursday, critics of the C.I.A. questioned the choice of Ms. Haspel.

Mr. Pompeo “must explain to the American people how his promotion of someone allegedly involved in running a torture site squares with his own sworn promises to Congress that he will reject all forms of torture and abuse,” said Christopher Anders, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s office in Washington.

(Excerpted from New York Times 2/02/17)

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MO House Minority Caucus Statement On Greitens Budget

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Gov. Eric Greitens’ budget cuts aid to elderly and disabled

Gov. Eric Greitens laid out his plan for the state’s $27.6 billion budget on Thursday, including an end to in-home care and nursing home services for more than 20,000 people with disabilities.

Among the cost-cutting measures in the governor’s budget is $52 million he plans to save by making it harder for people with disabilities to quality for in-home and nursing care.

A person who is diabetic with high cholesterol, has to see a physician each month and has a complex drug regimen currently qualifies, Haug said, but would lose assistance under the governor’s budget.

Revenues this fiscal year have come in below what the previous governor and legislature estimated, and costs for entitlement programs such as Medicaid have continued to rise — from $10.3 billion in fiscal 2017 to $10.7 billion in fiscal 2018.

Meanwhile, corporate tax collections have seen a dramatic 25 percent drop thanks to bills passed in recent years eliminating the corporate franchise tax and changing the way multistate corporations allocate their profits.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, a St. Louis County Democrat, said lawmakers have no one to blame for the budget problems but themselves.

“As long as we keep cutting taxes, we’re going to be in the hole,” she said. “We have put ourselves in a situation where over the last few years where we’ve passed a lot of tax cuts, and they’re coming home to roost.”

(Excerpted from Kansas City Star 2/02/17)

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February Newsletter Online!

January Issue
February Newsletter
(pdf file – opens in a new tab.)

  • Reflections on the Mid-Missouri Solidarity March by Mark Haim
  • Muleskinners’ schedule for February
  • Meet the Candidate: Michela Skelton for the 50th
  • Annual Chili Supper – Buy Tickets Now!
  • Renew Your Membership Today!
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    Giuliani: Trump asked me how to do a Muslim ban ‘legally’

    Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said in an interview on Saturday that President Trump had previously asked him about legally implementing a “Muslim ban.”

    But Giuliani then disputed the notion that the president’s sweeping executive order barring refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim nations amounts to a ban on Muslims.

    “I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,'” Giuliani said on Fox News.

    “He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’”

    (Excerpted from The Hill 1/29/17)

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    wuc170131-1160.jpg

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    Chili Supper – Monday Feb 27th!

    Add this to your calendar today!
    chili supper ticket
    Click image to enlarge and view all the info
    Make plans to attend our Annual Chili Supper and bring friends!
    Doors Open 5:00 pm  Food 5:30 pm
    Tickets: $20  |  Cash Bar
    Special Guest: Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
    ELKS Lodge,, 4747 E Elk Park Dr, Columbia, MO 65201
    Map
    Purchase tickets at the door or in advance at party headquarters at 912 E Walnut.

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    January Newsletter online

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    Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary is a big ‘screw you’ to the Fight for $15

    Fast food CEO Andrew Puzder opposes higher wages and has supported automating service jobs.

     Fast food workers have yet to gain any significant union representation. But thanks in large part to the movement’s efforts, states and cities across the country have passed minimum wage laws raising pay for millions of people.

    And now, if President-elect Donald Trump has his way, an enemy of the Fight for $15 movement will lead the U.S. Labor Department.

    On Thursday, Trump revealed that he had nominated Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, to be Labor Secretary. CKE Restaurants is the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., two fast food companies that have been targeted by Fight for 15. Puzder himself is on record as an opponent of raising the minimum wage, and has said that he would like to try automating service more service jobs in response to wage hikes

    Unsurprisingly, the fast food lobby was delighted with Trump’s decision to elevate Puzder. International Franchise Association President and CEO Robert Cresanti called Puzder “an exceptional choice to lead the Labor Department” in a statement responding to the news.

    Cresanti also offered up a wishlist for Puzder’s early days in office. The Obama Labor Department issue a rule (currently held up in federal court) that would dramatically expand the number of workers eligible for overtime pay. The department has also fought to expand joint-employer liability, meaning that multinational corporations such as McDonald’s may be held legally accountable for labor law violations committed at their franchised locations.

    “We are hopeful that, if confirmed by the Senate, a top priority [for Puzder] will be rolling back the damaging effects caused by the expansion of joint employer liability to America’s 733,000 franchise businesses, and the too-far, too-fast increase in the overtime threshold that was recently put on hold by a Texas judge,” said Cresanti.

    The progressive National Employment Law Project, on the other hand, described Puzder’s nomination as a “sucker-punch in the gut to all the men and women of good faith who believe in the mission of the U.S. Labor Department.”

    “The job of the labor secretary is NOT to strengthen the power of corporations to reap record profits by squeezing every last drop out of their low-wage workforce — and threatening to replace them with machines if they ask for wages they can support their families on,” said NELP Executive Director Christine Owens.

    (Excerpted from Think Progress)

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    Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general suing EPA on climate change, to head the EPA

    In a move signaling an intention to dismantle President Obama’s climate change and environmental legacy, President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of the oil and gas intensive state of Oklahoma, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Pruitt has spent much of his energy as attorney general fighting the agency he is being nominated to lead.

    Pruit, who has written that the debate on climate change is “far from settled,” joined a coalition of state attorneys general in suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, the principal Obama-era policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. He has also sued, with fellow state attorneys general, over the EPA’s recently announced regulations seeking to curtail the emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from the oil and gas sector.

    In a move signaling an intention to dismantle President Obama’s climate change and environmental legacy, President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of the oil and gas intensive state of Oklahoma, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Pruitt has spent much of his energy as attorney general fighting the agency he is being nominated to lead.

    Pruit, who has written that the debate on climate change is “far from settled,” joined a coalition of state attorneys general in suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, the principal Obama-era policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. He has also sued, with fellow state attorneys general, over the EPA’s recently announced regulations seeking to curtail the emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from the oil and gas sector.

    Environmental groups reacted with alarm Wednesday at the nomination.

    “Scott Pruitt has a record of attacking the environmental protections that EPA is charged with enforcing. He has built his political career by trying to undermine EPA’s mission of environmental protection,” said Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund. “Our country needs — and deserves — an EPA administrator who is guided by science, who respects America’s environmental laws, and who values protecting the health and safety of all Americans ahead of the lobbying agenda of special interests.”

    (Excerpted from Washington Post 12/07/16)

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