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New Interior head lifts lead ammunition ban in nod to hunters

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New U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday issued an order overturning an Obama administration ban on the controversial use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle used on federal lands and waters, in a nod to hunters and fishermen on his first day on the job.

Zinke, who was a first-term Montana Congressman and a former Navy SEAL, arrived for his first day at work at the Interior Department in Washington on a horse named Tonto escorted by mounted U.S. Park Police officers.

Zinke, an avid angler and hunter, lifted the lead ammunition ban in one of two secretarial orders, which he said were meant to “expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities nationwide.”

President Barack Obama’s Fish and Wildlife Service had issued the lead ban on Jan. 19, one day before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, to protect birds and fish from lead poisoning. The move was met with sharp criticism from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which called it Obama’s “final assault on gun owners’ and sportsmen’s rights.”

The Interior Department, which is in charge of conserving fish, wildlife and their habitat, manages one-fifth of the land in the United States. It employs more than 70,000 people across the United States.

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Zinke also signed an order on Thursday that would direct federal agencies to identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded and sought recommendations for expanding access to public lands and improving fishing and wildlife habitat.

“This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard,” he said.

The NRA, as well as hunting and fishing groups including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership attended the signing of the orders.

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Zinke said that fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreation activities “generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.”

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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White nationalism is ‘the greatest threat to American democracy’: Fascism expert

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," The Atlantic staff writer and fascism expert Adam Serwer laid out in grim terms the stakes of President Donald Trump's incitement of racist anger against Democratic congresswomen of color.

"From the beginning, we have been haunted by this question: Is America a white man’s republic or a nation for all of its citizens?" said Serwer. "Throughout the last 200-some odd years, the greatest threat to American democracy has always been white nationalism, the defining of American citizenship in racial terms. It almost destroyed the country on multiple occasions. Now President Trump has drawn a line. He has now made it clear that the citizenship of American citizens who are not white is conditional and can be revoked. Quite frankly, there is lots of disagreement between the two political parties. There are lots of issues on which we differ, but this is not a question on which there can actually be disagreement. The choice is now quite clear."

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‘A failure in judgment by every single Republican leader’: Ex-GOP congressman scorches Trump’s racism

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) laid into his erstwhile party for its embrace of President Donald Trump's racial hatred and intolerance, as exemplified by the crowd of Trump rallygoers in Greenville, North Carolina chanting "Send Her Back!" of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

"It was heartbreaking," said Jolly, who renounced the Republican Party and became an independent last year. "In terms of what I felt, it was heartbreak, both last night and then to see the likes of Lindsey Graham [(R-SC)] today suggest that the only problem is Omar doesn’t wear a MAGA hat. If refugees would just wear MAGA hats, they could stay. The others deserve to go."

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The racist Republican Party must be ‘utterly confronted and destroyed’: Chris Hayes

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On Thursday evening, MSNBC's Chris Hayes tore into the Republican Party for accepting and legitimizing the racism of President Donald Trump and his supporters.

"'Send Her Back.' The darkest, ugliest impulses that a political movement can cultivate on full unapologetic display," said Hayes. "That's what Donald Trump has been cultivating all along. Whether the Republican Party likes it or not, it stands for it now. Most of us across the ideological spectrum feel, viscerally, a kind of moral revulsion when we hear and see an angry mob braying 'Send Her Back' about a fellow American. But the reaction from Republicans today was basically a foregone conclusion."

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