Daily Kos Feed

  • Open thread for night owls: Terrifying Hawaii false alarm underscores need for nuclear disarmament
    For many residents of Hawaii and their family members living elsewhere, it was 38 minutes of terror this weekend when an employee at the Emergency Alert System sent a mistaken message to the islanders’ cell phones saying a ballistic missile was headed their way and that this was “NOT A DRILL.” Since then, there have been dozens of poignant and terrifying stories, of people, having figured they were going to die phoning their parents, children, spouses, and other loved ones to say goodbye, of a dad and his son deciding to continue the art project the boy had started, of hiding in whatever seemed to offer at least some shelter, of speeding through red lights in an effort to reunite with their families before the missile and its presumably nuclear warhead struck. It was the worst minutes of their lives, according to more than one Hawaiian.  It turned out to be a false alarm, something authorities knew fairly soon after the mistake was made but not corrected with a follow-up message for those 38 agonizing minutes.  Ray Acheson is the director of Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She represents WILPF on the international steering group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. At The Nation, she writes—We Need a Complete Nuclear-Weapons Ban. That puts her in the same company as Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, both of whom called for zero nukes during their two terms in office: The sentiment expressed by many Hawaiians in the days following was that they had no idea where to go or what to do. They were not prepared for nuclear war. How could they be? There really is no way to prepare for a nuclear blast, nor for the radioactive fallout. Shelters, iodine pills, or duck-and-cover routines can only get you so far. If multiple nuclear weapons are exchanged, all of the preparation could can dream of would not be sufficient. We are also not emotionally prepared. From the 1950s to the ’80s, the threat of nuclear war was part of our cultural experience. Films, books, and television programs exposed the risks and the possible consequences of the nuclear arms race. Activism against the bomb was at an all-time high: In 1982, 1 million people marched in Central Park to demand nuclear disarmament. Today, most people rarely think about nuclear weapons. With “fire and fury” back in the headlines, this may be changing, but we are still largely in collective denial about the risks. We have been taught that these weapons are not meant to be used. We are taught that they protect us from conflict, war, and further nuclear proliferation. This lethal myth is based on the premise that in order to maintain international peace and security, we need certain countries to wield the capacity to slaughter civilians, incinerate cities, and destroy the entire planet. We believe that nuclear war will never happen, that nuclear weapons prevent it. But many of us—including the majority of the world’s governments—understand that the only way to prevent nuclear war is to eliminate nuclear weapons. The alert in Hawaii could have prompted a nuclear war. So could a tweet from a president with a bruised ego. And so could any number of things. As then–UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in 2013, “There are no right hands for wrong weapons.” It is in this spirit that 122 governments voted to adopt a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons on July 7, 2017. While the nuclear-armed states currently oppose it, this treaty offers an alternative to nuclear war. This is a visualization of the 400 land-based ICBMs the United States has at the ready. Each carries a single warhead with an explosive yield of 20 to 31 times the 14-15 kiloton yield of the Hiroshima bomb. It prohibits the use, threat of use, and possession of nuclear weapons, and sets out a process by which states with such weapons can join and eliminate their arsenals. Significantly, it recognizes that any use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to international humanitarian law. It puts nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as the other weapons of mass destruction (biological and chemical). The treaty makes no attempt to justify the possession or use of these weapons and makes no arguments in favor of deterrence doctrines. Nuclear weapons have been granted an exception for far too long. [...] Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “Support for a first strike extended far beyond the upper ranks of the U.S. military. Bertrand Russell—the British philosopher and pacifist, imprisoned for his opposition to the First World War—urged the western democracies to attack the Soviet Union before it got an atomic bomb. Russell acknowledged that a nuclear strike on the Soviets would be horrible, but “anything is better than submission.” Winston Churchill agreed, proposing that the Soviets be given an ultimatum: withdraw your troops from Germany, or see your cities destroyed. Even Hamilton Holt, lover of peace, crusader for world government, lifelong advocate of settling disputes through mediation and diplomacy and mutual understanding, no longer believed that sort of approach would work. Nuclear weapons had changed everything, and the Soviet Union couldn’t be trusted. Any nation that rejected U.N. control of atomic energy, Holt said, “should be wiped off the face of the earth with atomic bombs.”                 ~Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (2013) TWEET OF THE DAY xJust came back from a visit with Dr. Ronny Jackson, turns out I'm not dead after all.— Frederick Douglass (@gettinnoticedmo) January 16, 2018 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2009—As of This Minute, The Bush Administration Has Effectively Ended: It's 5:00 PM in the Eastern time zone, which includes Washington DC.  5:00 PM is the standard end of the workday.  It's Friday, the end of the week.  Monday is a federal holiday, so the mass of federal employees will not be working.  On Tuesday President-elect Barack Obama will become President Barack Obama, our nation's 44th president.   Some White House staff will be kept on for the next few days.  Certainly in the defense, foreign policy and domestic security areas there are Bush appointees who will--and should--remain on call or at their desks between now and Tuesday.  The could still be some late-night activities happening with some of the legal staff.  But in terms of devising, implementing and enforcing policies, as of this moment, the Bush administration is effectively over.   It was exhausting, it was most of the time maddening, infuriating and often embarrassing and even shameful for our government to be led by George W. Bush and his administration.  But we have endured.  The country is damaged, but not destroyed.  President Obama and the Democratic people, the massive and professional civil service, and especially the American people have a great deal of work and struggle before us to restore our country's honor, prestige, respect, security, prosperity and opportunity.   We're all up to that challenge.  But before we embark on that, let's let out a sigh of relief, and if you're inclined, now or later tonight, raise your glass and toast to the effective end of the administration and presidency of George W. Bush.  On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Four cops shot, but the shooter was named Christian. The Greitens story takes a turn for the worse, and ensnares the Luetkemeyer family. DOJ is cooking terrorism stats, and Armando has something to say about it. Trump, in a house, keeps digging. x Embedded Content YouTube|iTunes|LibSyn|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)
  • Roy Moore supporters looking to censure Sen. Richard Shelby for not endorsing their child predator
    After nominating a Talibanesque religious zealot twice removed from his judicial duties for ignoring the United States Constitution and who somewhat predictably also turned out to be a notorious child sexual predator (aka would-be cult leader Roy Moore), Alabama Republicans continue to be furious that the state's voters voted against putting the child predator into the United States Senate. So now they're blaming Alabama's other senator, Sen. Richard Shelby, for not robustly endorsing the child predator after Moore's victims began to come forward. Moore’s supporters are furious with Shelby over his remark days before the Dec. 12 election that he “couldn’t vote for Roy Moore,” a controversial former state judge who was facing allegations of child molestation. Instead, Shelby said he would write in the name of another unnamed Republican. [...] This week, three Moore supporters submitted a resolution to the Alabama Republican Party executive committee calling for Shelby to be censured. It argues that Shelby “publicly encouraged Republicans and all voters to write in a candidate instead of voting for the Republican Candidate Judge Roy Moore,” and that his “public speech was then used by the Democrat Candidate in robocalls to sway voters to not vote for Judge Roy Moore.” The move came after a pro-Moore outside group, Courageous Conservatives PAC, ran robocalls last month describing Shelby as a turncoat and calling on him to resign. This, Alabama Republican Party, is why 48 other states make fun of you. For the notion that a man credibly accused of being a child predator could have and should have represented you in the U.S. Senate, if not for those turncoat conservatives who outrageously drew the line at child predation. The casual illiteracy of the resolution is a nice tree-topper as well.
  • Disrespectability Politics Season 1, Ep. 6: President Winfrey
    Content warning: This post, or pages it links to, contain information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors. x Embedded Content Or, click here to listen. Fresh off a mid-season break, hosts Wagatwe Wanjuki and Irna Landrum discuss the Golden Globes, the moving speech from Oprah Winfrey, the assertion that she should run for president, the massive wave of counterarguments, and why we are not allowed to enjoy black people for too many consecutive seconds. Note: This episode was recorded on Jan. 10, 2018. Things may have changed by the time you listen—but our core points still stand!
  • Sen. Jeff Flake to give speech comparing Trump's attacks on the press to dictator Joseph Stalin
    On Wednesday or thereabouts Republican Sen. Jeff Flake plans to waste all our time blasting Donald Trump for being a divisive anti-American shithole, or maybe shithouse, while continuing to do nothing much to oppose Trump's actual divisive anti-American policies. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) plans to give a speech in the coming days that compares President Trump’s public criticism of the news media to similar comments once made by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Whether you welcome this move or just consider it a publicity stunt on Flake's part is probably a good measure of your general cynicism, at this point. Flake has a history of talking big and then voting for whatever Trump and the rest of his Republican Party wants; his willingness to be a thorn in the side of his party extends only to speech-making. But on the other hand, Flake is the only member of a Republican Senate full of cowards unwilling to do even that much. Flake plans to use his upcoming speech to denounce Trump for calling the news media “the enemy of the American people” last year. [...] “It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies,” Flake will say, according to the excerpts. “It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.” Flake is attacking rather narrowly here. The declaration that a free press is the enemy of the state is not a Soviet invention, but the hallmark of authoritarian regimes worldwide.
  • Jared Kushner needs lawyers and money ... guns optional
    After multiple instances in which Jared Kusher’s family attempted to trade on his role in the Trump White House to sell United State visas and a failed multibillion-dollar deal to bring a Chinese company in to save Kushner’s 666 Fifth Avenue disaster comes word Kushner was warned that one of his friends was using him as a tool for the Chinese government. U.S. counterintelligence officials in early 2017 warned Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that Wendi Deng Murdoch, a prominent Chinese-American businesswoman, could be using her close friendship with Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to further the interests of the Chinese government, according to people familiar with the matter. Kushner’s pal was promoting a project that installed a 70-foot tall tower on high ground overlooking the heart of Washington, D.C.  It doesn’t seem that Kushner was concerned by the briefing. But then, Kushner is just a bit desperate. Jared Kushner’s $7.5 billion plan to transform a Manhattan skyscraper into a mix of high-end residences and retail has been deemed “not feasible” by the project’s partner, putting the future of the property — saddled with $1.2 billion in debt — in doubt. The 666 Fifth Avenue purchase is one of the greatest white elephants in real estate history. Unable to unload the property, Kushner has been beating the world’s bushes in an increasingly hopeless search for funds. It’s just the kind of pressure that makes Kushner an excellent target for anyone who needs an in with Trump.
  • Senate Democrats are unanimous in fight to preserve net neutrality
    Campaign Action Every Democratic senator, along with Republican Susan Collins, have endorsed a Congressional Review Act that would overturn the FCC recent reversal of net neutrality rules. Welcome to the fight, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) ! Democrats met the threshold to force a vote—30 cosponsors—a few weeks ago, but now are just one vote shy of the majority necessary to reverse the rule change. The resolution aims to overturn the FCC's decision and prohibit the agency from passing similar measures in the future. It has the support of all 49 Democratic senators as well as one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. “With full caucus support,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the lawmakers spearheading the effort, “it’s clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the Internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options.” […] Democrats have said they plan to make net neutrality a midterm campaign issue, forcing vulnerable GOP candidates to stand with their party and adopt a position that, according to some surveys, is at odds with that of the broader public. According to surveys and to the actual response of the public, the highest level of engagement the FCC has ever seen on anything. Ever. It makes perfect sense to make this an election issue and it makes sense to do that loudly now, while enough Republicans could be scared into doing the right thing and preserving the open internet. As it is, they have to make what should be a simple choice—their constituents or big telecom—and we will all be watching. Once the FCC clears its new rule through the Office of Management and Budget, and then prints it in the Federal Register, the clock starts ticking in Congress. The Senate will have to vote on the CRA within 60 working days—and in Senate time that means three or four months. Plenty of time to hammer Republicans. Trump's FCC and Big Cable are trying to destroy net neutrality—but we can still stop them. Tell Congress to oppose Trump FCC's plan to destroy net neutrality and the open internet.
  • Republican senator nearly gets laughed out of rural town hall for defending Trump
    Republican senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have been back home in Iowa to hold small town halls in rural areas, places they probably thought would be ‘safe spaces’ from angry voters. WRONG. The rural voters who turned out were not happy with Donald Trump and they unloaded on Ernst and Grassley. In one particularly embarrassing moment for Sen. Ernst in Red Oak, Iowa (population 5,476), she drew laughter and scorn after this exchange: SEN. ERNST: “He is standing up for a lot of the countries, um... where we have seen...” CONSTITUENT: “Name a few, could you name a few?” SEN. ERNST: “Yeah, you bet. Norway...” Cue the guffaws and laughter. Watch the local report on the town hall and see Iowa voters asking Ernst over and over again to stand up to Trump, and then jump below to see how Sen. Grassley’s town hall went (hint: not good!)
  • Justice Department hands over files to Republicans, invites them to go after the FBI
    The Jefferson Sessions Justice Department has agreed to hand over files on FBI operations to congressional Republicans. The decision, which comes in response to constant Republican claims that the FBI is prejudiced against Donald Trump, thrills Republicans. It gives them unfettered access to information they can use to paint the agency in any way they want, along with the opportunity to interfere with the Trump–Russia investigation directly. As Bloomberg reports: The Justice Department’s decision to give congressional Republicans access to documents about FBI investigations risks exposing sensitive sources or material and poses a critical early test for bureau Director Christopher Wray, current and former U.S. law enforcement officials say. It’s the latest setback for a law enforcement agency that has long held itself out as doggedly independent and above partisan politics ... It’s not unusual for people to claim that the FBI is secretive, overzealous, and just plain wrong. And considering the agency’s history, it would be impossible to claim that there was any period in which it was either genuinely nonpartisan or apolitical. But handing over the files on an FBI investigation in the middle of that investigation risks the whole concept of the organization, and questions whether the nation can have any “outside” agency if that agency can be gutted on demand. As the Russia investigation continues to hang over the White House, Republicans in Congress have sought to turn the tables on the FBI by calling into question the fairness and methods of senior agents. They’ve been requesting documents and holding public hearings that focus on alleged wrongdoing or political bias by agents. If the destruction of the FBI is the cost of protecting Trump … Republicans are willing to pay that cost.
  • Trump's fake 'Fake News Awards' could violate ethics rules ... if they even happen
    Donald Trump has already postponed his "Fake Media Awards" once so we’re all waiting with bated breath … to find out if he’ll postpone them again. The current plan is that on Wednesday Trump will repackage his usual anti-media ranting as “awards” to news organizations that report things he doesn’t like. It’s nearly Wednesday, and no word from the White House on the specifics of how the former reality show host will transform himself into an awards show host. And—surprise!—ethics experts say there could be problems. The White House has not yet said what form the awards presentation, scheduled by Trump for Wednesday, may take. But Norman Eisen, the former special counsel for ethics for President Barack Obama, and Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, have both tweeted that if White House staff members were involved, they would be in violation of the executive branch’s Standards of Ethical Conduct, which ban employees from using their office for “the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise.” Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, agreed, telling POLITICO that there were plenty of valid reasons for executive branch employees to use their position to criticize private enterprises — if a bus company were violating federal safety regulations, for instance — but that helping put on an event to bash the media would not qualify. “There has to be a legitimate official government reason for the position you’re taking with the respect to the particular company,” Painter said. “But here the only reason is they don’t like the coverage of the president.” Since ethics rules don’t apply to Trump—something no president was ever expected to take such advantage of—there wouldn’t be a problem if all the staff who help him on the “awards,” if they ever even happen, were from Trump’s campaign or the Republican National Committee. On the one hand, only a fool would believe Trump would take the time to do things ethically. On the other hand, this one would be just one more minor offense thrown on a towering, stinking pile of ethics violations Trump is already getting away with.
  • Eric Trump is turning a sweetheart deal from daddy into an eight-figure penthouse
    Campaign Action What looked like a sweetheart deal from Donald Trump to his son Eric when it happened in 2016 is starting to look like a full-on giveaway. Trump the father sold Eric a pair of apartments for the under-market price of $350,000 apiece, less than half of what they’d previously been listed for. Obviously we don’t know whether Trump reported that deal as the gift it clearly was, since he won’t release his tax returns—though Trump did fail to mark the sale as being between relatives. Now, Eric is combining one of the two apartments with two others to create a penthouse, which could dramatically increase its value In fact, the amount such a penthouse might sell for could be nearly three times what Eric paid for the component apartments and the work to combine them, which makes the tax questions on the deal even bigger: The $350,000 deal he got from Trump “might not only have been a fire sale,” [Valparaiso University Law School tax professor David Herzig] said, “but if this is a key component that you would need to combine them together to make a penthouse, to get the requisite number of rooms, that actually means that this property should have been sold at a premium, not a discount.” It’s not clear why Trump sold unit 14G to Eric for just $350,000, when he sold another unit, the 1,350-square-foot 14D, to Eric for $2 million in 2008. That was much closer to its likely market value. If he had simply given the apartment to Eric for free, Trump could have incurred up to 40 percent tax on its market price. But the sale for $350,000 could have been arranged to look like a “fair market sale” and not a gift. As the developer of the building, Trump had some leeway with how he priced unsold apartments. He could have demonstrated that the real value was very low if, for example, the apartment was still subject to city rent regulations or was in need of significant repairs. The apartment’s new function as the keystone for a penthouse, however, makes that a difficult case to argue, Herzig said. It’s always possible that Trump has damaged the family brand enough that Eric will have trouble unloading an apartment in a building named Trump Parc East. But then again, he has a whole lot of leeway to make money with as good a bargain as daddy gave him. And when the Trumps are involved, it seems like there’s always someone looking to launder money through a luxury real estate purchase. All in all, the most surprising thing here may be that Donald Trump gave even one of his kids this much of a deal.
  • Trump regime on the verge of okaying two new warheads that could make nuclear war more likely
    As has been reported since last summer, the Trump regime seeks to build two new nuclear weapons, one of which—a low-yield warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles—could make nuclear war more likely, say critics. The other warhead would be developed to be carried by submarine-launched cruise missiles, which haven’t been equipped with nukes since 2010.  Developing and building these new nukes are elements included in the not-yet-finalized 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. The last NPR was released in 2010. If approved by Pr*sident Trump, a move which is expected later this month, it would mark a significant change from the Obama era when the emphasis on nukes as part of U.S. strategy was reduced. That white dot shows the Hiroshima blast, and the red surrounding it is the explosive power of the W78 workhorse bomb that is currently fitted on 149 of the 399 land-based U.S. ICBMS. The Union of Concerned Scientists that created the image note that the W78 has a yield of at least 335 kilotons; Hiroshima was 14-15kt. In addition to the ICBMs, the U.S. has hundreds of missiles equipped with the W76 warhead at 100 kilotons, and the W88 at 475kt (31 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb). Advocates of installing the lower-yield warhead on the submarine-launched Trident ballistic missile say it is a good thing specifically because it would mean the warhead would be more usable. Currently they complain, there is reluctance to actually launch any nuclear-tipped missiles because their yields make them so incredibly destructive. In other words, having a lower-yield weapon at hand would make it easier to “push the button.” The draft NPR has trickled into the news since September when Bryan Bender first wrote about it at Politico. On Thursday, Ashley Feinberg took up the matter at The Huffington Post, posting a lengthy analysis of what the Pentagon calls a  “pre-decisional” draft of the NPR along with a complete copy of it. On Monday, Michael R. Gordon at The Wall Street Journal reported from behind a paywall on the subject: Supporters of the Pentagon’s plan say it is time for the U.S. to update its nuclear forces to deal with changing threats some three decades after the end of the Cold War. Critics worry that the Pentagon’s search for more flexible nuclear options could lower the threshold for their use.
  • Cartoon: G.O.P. Games
  • Undocumented dad, too old to qualify for DACA, deported after three decades in the U.S.
    Campaign Action Too old to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), 39-year-old Jorge Garcia was deported Monday to a country he had not stepped foot in for nearly three decades. Garcia is married to a U.S. citizen, has two U.S. citizen kids, and no criminal record. It didn’t matter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who told the man during his regular check-in this past November to prepare for deportation. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this week, his heartbroken family and supporters accompanied him to Detroit Metropolitan Airport to say goodbye: “We did not want to put up a Christmas tree because it was way too sad to even get to that point,” Cindy Garcia told the Detroit News. “It was rough because we knew he was going to leave eventually. All we could do is make memories.” The night before he was ordered to leave, Garcia’s friends held a farewell party for him in southwest Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I feel kind of sad,” he told the newspaper. “I got to leave my family behind, knowing that they’re probably going to have a hard time adjusting. Me not being there for them for who knows how long. It’s just hard.” At the airport on Monday morning, a group of friends and supporters from UAW 600 and the advocacy group Michigan United turned out with Garcia and his family, some carrying signs reading “Stop Separating Families.” They watched quietly as the family said their goodbyes. Video of the tearful scene was shared widely on social media. Garcia had begged ICE to hold off his deportation just long enough to see if Congress could act on a permanent DACA fix, but federal immigration officials refused. So after spending over $125,000 in legal fees and costs for over a decade in an attempt to find legal status, Garcia was ordered to leave despite Donald Trump’s claim that ICE was prioritizing “bad hombres” for deportation. “How do you do this on Martin Luther King Jr. Day?" Michigan United’s Erik Shelley asked Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press. "It's another example of the tone-deafness of this administration. If Jorge isn't safe, no one is safe."
  • Trump admin to appeal court order that forced them to resume accepting DACA renewals
    As expected, Donald Trump’s Justice Department is set to appeal the court decision that forced United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to resume accepting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal applications: The Justice Department on Tuesday announced plans to appeal a judge's ruling that blocked President Donald Trump from shuttering a program that gave protections and work permits to some people who entered the U.S. illegally as children. In a ruling last week, San Francisco-based U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ordered the administration to resume accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. “It defies both law and common sense for DACA ... to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Tuesday. So long as this mass deportation administration is in power, DACA protections will continue to remain under constant threat. Immigrant youth should not have to live their lives in limbo, uncertainty and fear—they need permanent protections in the form of the DREAM Act, and they need them now.
  • Sociopathic Republicans leaning toward pitting CHIP kids against DACA kids in shutdown fight
    It's been 108 days since the Republican Congress allowed funding to expire for the Children's Health Insurance Program and community health centers and only Republicans can be this monstrous. xWhat House GOP leadership is likely to propose to rank and file tonight in a conference meeting for the CR: - 6 year extension of CHIP- 5 year suspension of medical device tax- One year suspension of the Cadillac tax- One year suspension of the health insurance tax, or HIT.— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) January 16, 2018 Oh, and note that that's six years of CHIP funding, when the Congressional Budget Office has told them they can pass a 10-year funding extension and save the government $6 billion. They're not only monsters, they're monsters who can't do math. They believe that this will force Democrats to vote for the continuing resolution without an agreement on the Dream Act and immigration. Implied in this is a willingness to shoot the CHIP hostage, to just write it off if Democrats don't capitulate, even while they load it up with other Obamacare sabotage measures. Democrats need to call their bluff. The fact that they are using CHIP shows it is also important to them. That they don't want to be taking health coverage and are away from 9 million kids and catch the heat for doing it. A stand-alone, clean CHIP funding bill would pass in minutes, in both chambers. It needs to be done on its own. Democrats should force the issue. Make them do it. Make them use their majority to negotiate responsibly or face the consequences. Jam the phone lines of House and Senate Republicans. Call (202) 224-3121, and tell them to stop holding kids hostage and to pass a clean funding bill for CHIP and community health centers.
  • Good news: Trump's in 'excellent' health, meaning he comes by being a petulant man-child naturally
    Dr. Ronny Jackson, the same doctor who did President Obama's exam, gave Donald Trump a clean bill of health during Tuesday's White House briefing. ”Overall his health is excellent,” Jackson declared. No cognitive issues (he did test at Trump's request), just dry mouth from a round of Sudafed. xDr. Jackson said he thinks Trump just needed water when he recently slurred his words.— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 16, 2018 Only real problem is, at 75” and 239 lbs., he’s borderline obese. x(Cut-off for obesity at that height would be 240lbs) https://t.co/z3G3cmTlz6— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) January 16, 2018 Also, Trump reportedly didn’t used to be 6’3”, he used to be 6’2”… huh. Go figure. Anyway, on the bright side, Jackson assured us he’s got incredible stamina—“He has a lot of energy and he has a lot of stamina”—and stamina is important, ya know. That leaves only one conclusion: xTrumps in excellent health! So all of his behavior is actually because he’s just a malevolent, angry, arrogant, imbecilic, illiterate, racist, a-hole. Who lies about his golf game.At least now we know there’s no excuse.— Christopher Titus (@TitusNation) January 16, 2018
  • Trump was pretty pleased with his 'shithole' comment before people started calling him 'racist'
    Donald Trump may have finally had enough of White House reporters yelling questions at him like the ones they began hurling last Friday: “Mr. President, are you a racist?” Perhaps, that was one of his first clues that calling African countries "shitholes" wasn't going over so well. By this Tuesday, he had evolved so far away from his own “shithole” remarks that he even started embracing the concept of immigrants from places besides Norway. Here’s a glimpse of a brief Q/A Tuesday following his meeting Tuesday with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan: Q   Mr. President, did you say that you want more people to come in from Norway?  Did you say that you wanted more people coming in from Norway? PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Q    Is that true, Mr. President? PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I want them to come in from everywhere -- everywhere.  Thank you very much, everybody. Everywhere, eh? Of course, Trump's evolution on whether he really called African nations "shithole countries" was slow in coming. Last Friday, he didn't actually deny it, rather he embraced using what he called "tough" language; by Saturday he was a bit more touchy, claiming Dick Durbin "totally misrepresented" what he said. And by Sunday, he was "the least racist person” ever interviewed by reporters.  Why the slow escalation? Because initially he thought pretty highly of his comments at the meeting—that is, until they became an international incident and it occurred to him that maybe, just maybe, they weren't so great after all.
  • Suicides are up in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria, as the government abandons the island
    While Donald Trump and the Republicans spend this week fighting with Democrats over the DACA program and curbing migration from “shithole” countries, one particularly marginalized group of Americans remains in crisis yet completely ignored. Puerto Ricans continue to suffer life-threatening conditions due to the impact of Hurricane Maria—although you wouldn’t know it since we haven’t heard anything about it recently. Tuesday marks 118 days since the hurricane. Nearly half of the main island of Puerto Rico remains without power. Many of the residents of the islands of Vieques and Culebra (both parts of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) not only lack power but also reliable ferry service—which is the main source of food, supplies and transportation on and off those islands and San Juan. At present, there is no answer as to when power will return or when tourism (the main source of income for both) may resume. Last week, Puerto Rico’s police chief resigned because almost 3,000 officers a day have called in sick in protest of not receiving overtime pay while the murder rate on the island has increased. It’s about as desperate a situation that one can imagine.  Yet, Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted about Puerto Rico or mentioned it since October. That’s right. In the midst of this worsening tragedy, Trump hasn’t talked about the dangerous conditions facing over 3 million Americans in almost three months. When he did, he was full of self-congratulatory praise for the “great” job he’s doing. xIt was great to have Governor @RicardoRossello of #PuertoRico🇵🇷with us at the @WhiteHouse today. We are with you! #PRStrong pic.twitter.com/Op2xDZxvNc— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017 Meanwhile, a new mental health crisis has occurred on the island. Suicides in Puerto Rico are up by 16 percent and some health specialists are making the link to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
  • Trump's clumsy press Q & A had just one little question that Robert Mueller will also be asking
    Donald Trump’s Tuesday press gaggle was most notable for its continuation of Trump’s casual racism and for how quick he was to toss a reporter from the White House for asking the wrong question. But down there at the very tail end of the whole session was one apparently disconnected bit … Q: Just the Caucasian or white countries, sir?  Or do you want people to come in from other parts of the world? TRUMP:  Out. Q: Mr. President, is there any Kazakh money in Trump Soho? TRUMP:  No idea.  Really no idea. No idea? That’s odd. Because anyone who has ever looked at the Trump Soho has a very, very good idea. Ever since a series of bankruptcies left banks unwilling to lend to him, Donald Trump has been on the lookout for partners willing to fund the buildings that bear his name. … A Financial Times investigation has found evidence that one Trump venture has multiple ties to an alleged international money laundering network. Title deeds, bank records and correspondence show that a Kazakh family accused of laundering hundreds of millions of stolen dollars bought luxury apartments in a Manhattan tower part-owned by Mr Trump and embarked on major business ventures with one of the tycoon’s partners. The question is not whether there was Kazakh money in Trump Soho. It’s whether there was any Trump money. But while it’s not certain that Donald Trump put any money in, he certainly got plenty out. Because the Trump Soho was built as a money-laundering engine.
  • Midday open thread: Half new solar in 2017 was China's; uranium corp. lobbied to shrink Bear Ears
    Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is Worse than idiocracy:  • Seriously, Senator? Constituent Barb Melson confronted Republican Sen. Joni Ernst at a “Coffee with Joni” event in Red Oak, Iowa, on Sunday, about Pr*sident Trump’s comment on “shithole” countries, asking about “the damage that Trump is doing to our neighbors around the world with his white supremacy talk.” Ernst said he enjoys support because “He is standing up for a lot of the countries.” Asked to “name a few,” she said “Norway” unironically, eliciting a laugh from the crowd. • China’s investment in solar accounted for half the world’s $160.8 billion 2017 total: Bloomberg New Energy Finance said the country increased its total clean energy spending last year by 24 percent, to $132.6 billion, $86.5 billion of which went to solar. BNEF estimates China installed 53 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, about 20 more gigawatts than analysts originally projected. Australia expanded its renewables investment by 150 percent, to a record $9 billion. Analysts had previously projected that China’s solar market would decline after 2016, with 2017 installations estimated at around 30 gigawatts. Instead,  • Japan TV sends erroneous alert about North Korean missile attack. • MIDDAY TWEET x"Your silence and your amnesia is complicity”: Sen. Cory Booker unleashes on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen after she says she doesn’t remember President Trump using the word “shithole” to refer to African countries at the DACA meeting https://t.co/tPCw1t4SSR pic.twitter.com/HY3ff6M637— CNN (@CNN) January 16, 2018 • North Korea takes another poke at Trump’s nuclear button tweet: A summary of the [Tuesday] commentary by North Korea’s official news agency described the tweet as “the spasm of a lunatic.” “The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the DPRK,” the Rodong Sinmun commentary said, using the acronym for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “He is making (a) bluff only to be diagnosed as a psychopath.” • On this day in 1901, Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American to serve in Congress, died. • Uranium company pushed lobbied hard for reduction of Bear Ears National Monument: Energy Fuels Resources prepared maps of the areas it wanted removed from Bears Ears and distributed them when Secretary Ryan Zinke of the Department of the Interior visited the area last May, The New York Times reported. The firm's vice president and lobbying team -- which included a former member of Congress who once disparaged Native activism -- later met with Zinke's top staff to discuss the monument, The Washington Post reported. Zinke has denied that mining interests played a role in his recommendation to reduce the size of the monument. But Energy Fuels happens to own a third of the uranium claims within the original Bears Ears designation, The Times reported. The firm already operates the White Mesa Mill, which the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has opposed, and the Daneros Mine on the outskirts of Bears Ears. Overall, there are more than 300 uranium claims within the original monument boundaries, The Times reported. • 2018 will be another big year for U.S. arms makers: As Donald Trump might put it, major weapons contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin cashed in “bigly” in his first year in office. They raked in tens of billions of dollars in Pentagon contracts, while posting sharp stock price increases and healthy profits driven by the continuation and expansion of Washington’s post-9/11 wars. But last year’s bonanza is likely to be no more than a down payment on even better days to come for the military-industrial complex. President Trump moved boldly in his first budget, seeking an additional $54 billion in Pentagon funding for fiscal year 2018. That figure, by the way, equals the entire military budgets of allies like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Then, in a bipartisan stampede, Congress egged on Trump to go even higher, putting forward a defense authorization bill that would raise the Pentagon’s budget by an astonishing $85 billion. (And don’t forget that, last spring, the president and Congress had already tacked an extra $15 billion onto the 2017 Pentagon budget.)  The authorization bill for 2018 is essentially just a suggestion, however — the final figure for this year will be determined later this month, if Congress can come to an agreement on how to boost the caps on domestic and defense spending imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The final number is likely to go far higher than the staggering figure Trump requested last spring. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Four cops shot, but the shooter was named Christian. The Greitens story takes a turn for the worse, and ensnares the Luetkemeyer family. DOJ is cooking terrorism stats, and Armando has something to say about it. Trump, in a house, keeps digging. x Embedded Content YouTube|iTunes|LibSyn|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)
  • Senate votes Tuesday on bill to give Trump's racist administration surveillance power
    Campaign Action Tuesday afternoon, the Senate will convene and have a vote to move forward to give the Trump administration, in the hands of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, nearly unfettered access to Americans’ electronic data. Their emails, chats, photos, videos and phone calls will be swept up and put in a database where they can be trawled through by law enforcement without warrants. Congress could have closed the loophole in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that allowed this unconstitutional data collection and surveillance. But these "backdoor searches" of Americans, without any evidence of wrongdoing, will stop being "incidental" and "backdoor" and will be codified by this legislation. This didn't have to happen and still doesn't. First, Congress ought to narrow the type of information that can be collected under Section 702, and permanently end collection “about” a foreign intelligence target—which the NSA has already halted for inadequately protecting user privacy. Second, Congress should require judicial oversight for searches of Americans’ communications collected incidentally—as non-U.S. persons are the primary target of 702 surveillance. Finally, in the interest of improved transparency and oversight, Congress should increase the detail with which private companies can disclose the number and type of government requests they receive, permit additional declassification of FISA court orders, and require more reporting on how U.S. persons’ communications are queried and used by the government. The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act currently before the Senate accomplishes none of these things. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Bipartisan members of the House and Senate have offered two bills that would go a long way towards improving the protections and oversight surrounding Section 702 surveillance. Sign and send a message to your senators telling them to step back from this brink and oppose the bill, and call them as well.
  • Anti-immigration hardliners Stephen Miller and John Kelly worked furiously to sink the DACA deal
    Before Sens. Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham could get to the White House last Thursday to relay their bipartisan deal on DACA and border security to Donald Trump, two Trump aides took a hatchet to the deal, which had originally been received quite well by Trump. The Washington Post reports: In the late morning, before Durbin and Graham arrived, Kelly — who had already been briefed on the deal — talked to Trump to tell him that the proposal would probably not be good for his agenda, White House officials said. Kelly, a former secretary of homeland security, has taken an increasingly aggressive and influential role in the immigration negotiations, calling lawmakers and meeting with White House aides daily — more than he has on other topics. He has “very strong feelings,” in the words of one official. But he’s not a lone voice. Trump in recent weeks has also been talking more to conservatives such as Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) on immigration, these people said. [...] “Once we saw what was going on in the meeting a few days earlier, we were freaked out,” said immigration hard-liner Mark Krikorian, who runs the Center for Immigration Studies. Trump, he said, “has hawkish instincts on immigration, but they aren’t well-developed, and he hasn’t ever been through these kind of legislative fights.” After the Thursday meeting, Trump began telling allies that the proposal was a “terrible deal for me,” according to a friend he spoke with, and that Kelly and other aides and confidants were correct in advising him to back away. The Center for Immigration Studies, which clearly has its hooks deep inside the White House, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • DHS Secretary tries to excuse Trump's racist statements ... and only makes everything worse
    Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has an explanation for why Trump’s request that we stop allowing people to immigrate from “shithole” countries and bring in more people from Normay Norway isn’t racist. Trump wasn’t thinking about the color of the people he was willing to import. He was looking at their work ethic ... "The people of Norway work very hard. What he was referencing is, from a merit-based perspective, we'd like to have those with skills" who can contribute to U.S. Yeah. About that. Norway actually has the world’s shortest work week. Norway's labor laws are among the most generous in the world, granting workers a minimum of 21 paid vacation days a year and often allowing parents with young children the right to reduce their hours. In addition, maternity leave can extend to 43 weeks at full pay, or 53 weeks at reduced pay. Republicans might also want to talk about how Norway has only three tax brackets. Except those brackets include 50 percent on all income over $124,000. People in the top 1 percent pay millions more in Norway than in the U.S., which helps explain why income inequality in the United States is three times worse than in Norway. Corporate taxes in Norway run up to 54 percent, with extra high taxes for fossil fuel companies. Despite those supposedly economy-crushing taxes, Norway has the highest average household income in the world—almost 20 percent higher than the United States. And since everyone pays 8 percent into a very good healthcare system, the average life expectancy is more than two years longer than in the United States, while women are three times less likely to die from complications related to pregnancy. All of this contributes to Norway being the happiest country on the planet. It also explains why more Americans migrate to Norway than the other way around, and why they’re all too busy being happy to point out that Donald Trump lives in a shithole.
  • Homeland Security chief says Dreamers won't be ICE priority, but ICE has already been targeting them
    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen went on national television Tuesday morning to lie about Donald Trump’s racist “shithole countries” rant, so why in the world would anyone believe her claim that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients won’t get swept up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) thugs if they lose their protections? xDHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen says re: DACA renewal, "I hope it will" get done -- but if program ends, "it's not going to be a priority of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize their removal." (@CBSThisMorning)— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) January 16, 2018 Wait—deferring the deportation of young undocumented immigrants? If only there were some sort of government program that did this in the first place. According to CNN’s David Wright, Nielsen also claimed that "if you are a DACA that's compliant with your registration, meaning you haven't committed a crime, and you in fact are registered, you're not priority of enforcement for I.C.E. should the program end." Tell that to University of California, San Diego student Orr Yakobi, a DACA recipient who taken into ICE custody this month for taking a wrong turn at the border. Or Juan Manuel Montes, who last year became the first Dreamer deported in the Trump era.  And, despite Nielsen’s claim, there are no enforcement priorities because Trump threw them out. “Nielson’s assurances to Dreamers isn’t worth a damn,” tweeted immigration attorney David Leopold. “Her own statements contradict everything [Jeff] Sessions and [John] Kelly have said to justify the mass round up of immigrants; her comments also flatly contradict the Interior Enforcement Executive Order and DHS Immigration Enforcement priorities. Stop the lying.” And pass the DREAM Act now.
  • Steve Bannon subpoenaed by Robert Mueller
    While Donald Trump’s former chief strategist is testifying behind closed doors in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, it appears he’s already been served with a request for another closed-door session. Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. This isn’t a nice chat at Bannon’s office with a pre-agreed scope. This is a deposition in front of the grand jury. Although if Bannon agrees to appear, it’s possible that Mueller will spare Bannon the full grilling in front of the jury and turn this into more of a standard interview—for now. The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle. The special counsel’s office has used subpoenas before to seek information on Mr. Trump’s associates and their possible ties to Russia or other foreign governments. Bannon’s recent statements in which he called the Trump Tower meeting “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” could lead to questioning around just how much Bannon knew about that meeting and how much it, and any follow-up, was discussed within the campaign. Bannon’s comments, which also included suggestions on how any meeting with the Russians should be done, might also lead to inquiries about how much he helped the Trump campaign clean up and hide its communications.  But whether he appears in front of the jury or in Mueller’s offices, we’re going to have to wait to see Steve Bannon crack like an egg in public.
  • Bumbling Republican leadership still scrambling to avoid shutdown
    Republican incompetence, ill will, and general awfulness are steering the country toward a government shutdown. If it happens, it will be the first time in the modern era that a unified government—one party controlling the House, Senate, and White House—couldn't get its shit together enough to carry out the basic functions of governance. Because they can't do so, they're now going to try for another short-term bill ahead of Friday's deadline, and Democrats are challenging them to pull up their big politician pants and do it on their own. GOP leaders are now turning to a short-term funding measure in hopes of keeping agencies open while talks continue, but Democratic leaders say they are unlikely to support any deal that does not protect young illegal immigrants. Republicans are thinking about using the hostage they took 108 days ago—Children's Health Insurance Program funding—to try to force enough Democrats to support the bill, pitting one group of young people (Dreamers) against another (sick kids). Because they are sociopaths. As critical as CHIP funding is, Democrats should not be dealing with hostage takers. As Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who has been valiantly negotiating on behalf of the Dreamers, said Tuesday morning, a shutdown is "preventable." "The Republican majority is in control of the House and Senate. They have the White House. We are prepared to work with them. And we put down a list of things that should be included. And they've had it for weeks.  […] We spent four months to reach an agreement on immigration, and on DACA. It wasn't easy. I had to give a lot. I didn't want to give. But so did the Republicans. But we did what the president challenged us to do and now I hope that Senator McConnell as well as Speaker Ryan will move forward in that spirit. That's a clear message to McConnell and Ryan: it's in their hands, and they will own the outcome.
  • DEFCO[URTS] 1: Senate Democrats rallying to fight Trump's judges and the stakes couldn't be higher
    Senate Democrats are finally in a position to push back against Republicans’ campaign to take over the judiciary. It’s not a moment too soon. Justice Neil Gorsuch was President Donald Trump’s worst blow to the judiciary, but that’s not to say his other nomination “wins” haven’t been devastating.  Mr. Trump has repeatedly cited the elevation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Less noticed is the confirmation of 12 judges to the influential U.S. courts of appeals, whose rulings are the final word in the overwhelming majority of cases in the federal system. It’s odd Trump only brags about Gorsuch—unless he just doesn’t understand the magnitude of the damage he’s done at the federal appellate level. Every nominee confirmed is a victory for Trump, but, when it comes to judicial nominations, some wins are more momentous than others. Blocking additional confirmations is now critical.   Some background: The assignment process can vary by circuit, but the three-judge panels that decide appeals in circuit courts are generally selected at random from the circuit’s active judges. (Each circuit has both active and senior judges, or judges who have taken “senior status” and can opt to hear fewer cases.) Each three-judge panel hears multiple cases in that format—Judge A, Judge E, Judge G—not just one case.  To say that the party of the president who appointed a judge will determine how they’ll rule is to oversimplify. Just ask former President George H. W. Bush, who nominated retired Justice David Souter only to see him drift left. Yet, party provides a useful metric. Trump’s already gotten three seats on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over federal appeals in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. Major cases could now be decided by an all-Trump panel; of course, it only takes two Trump judges to determine the outcome of a case. The Sixth Circuit has only 16 active judges—and just five were appointed by Democrats. The balance of the Sixth Circuit went from 5-to-8 to 5-to-11, Democratic-appointed to Republican-appointed judges, likely drastically changing the net direction of the court’s jurisprudence. Trump’s gotten two seats on the Fifth Circuit—that’s Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas—and has two nominees in the confirmation queue. That’s a 17-judge circuit with just five Democratic-appointed judges. It was 5-to-8. It’s now 5-to-10. If Trump gets his way, it’ll be 5-to-12.
  • Thanks, Trump. 3.2 million people lost health insurance in 2017
    For the first time since the Affordable Care Act began, the uninsured rate went up in 2017, despite surprisingly robust Obamacare enrollments at the end of the year. Gallup has been tracking the uninsured rate since the beginning of 2008 every quarter, showing steady increases in the number of people who have health insurance since 2013, when the Affordable Care Act kicked in. Then Trump got elected and as with everything else good, it's eroding. Who is losing insurance? Just who you'd expect. Black and Hispanic adults saw a 2.3 and 2.2 point increase in their uninsured rate in 2017, respectively. By comparison, the uninsured rate for whites grew less than 1.0 point over that same period. The percentage of low-income adults without health insurance in 2017 rose 2.0 points, while middle- and high-income Americans' saw their uninsured rates increase by 1.4 and 0.8 points, respectively. People of color and people with an household income of less than $36,000 per year are most at risk to lose insurance or be unable to get it. Additionally, "the uninsured rate among adults aged 18-25 rose by 2.0 points" which will further destabilize the market as insurers have to raise rates on the older and sicker people still in it. But the most significant change is "the decline in the percentage of Americans purchasing their own plans, likely through ACA healthcare exchanges," a reversal of positive trends of people using the exchanges, where about 80 percent of customers qualify for federal subsidies. This despite an economy that continues to be strong. Between the out-and-out sabotage that drove insurers out of some markets or to raise premiums, the continued "Obamacare is dead" refrain from Trump and Republicans, and in general rising uncertainty, don't expect this bad trend to stop. Now that the individual mandate has been repealed in the last-minute tax giveaway to the rich, it's definitely going to continue.
  • Donald Trump will not apologize ... because rich media figures can't be wrong
    The AP has put together a running series of comments from the White House on Tuesday morning where Sarah Huckabee Sanders upholds Donald Trump as America’s unrepentant ‘hole. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump is “not going to apologize for trying to fix our immigration system,” as the fall-out continues from Trump’s reported use of a vulgarity to describe some African countries. Sanders tells reporters that Trump “hasn’t said he didn’t use strong language” in the meeting with bipartisan in the heated immigration debate last week. He was said to have used “shithole” to describe some nations in Africa. Admitting that he actually did say “shithole” is the logical next step for Trump. It would bring the White House around to the full Fox News position—the one that says African nations, Haiti, El Salvador, and roughly half the planet, really are made up of fetid swamps, crumbling huts, and people infected with AIDS. At which point Republicans who have remained silent to this point can embrace the “tough” language of Trump, Senators Cotton and Perdue can deny they ever denied Trump’s words, and the Fascism Watch can tick another minute toward putting a nice eagle at the end of the national mall. But while we wait for that magic moment, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has the Best Argument Ever to convince you that none of this is racist. Responding to Democrats’ assertions that Trump’s comments were “racist,” Sanders calls the claim “outrageous,” citing their previous embrace of Trump. She said: “Why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV. Why did Chuck Schumer and all of his colleagues come and beg Donald Trump for money?” Seriously. That’s Huckabee’s argument. Trump can’t be racist because: Someone gave him a TV show and he was rich. And if there’s anything the last few months have proven, it’s that rich people in the media can’t possibly do anything wrong. Right, Harvey? Isn’t that so, Charlie? Hey, why don’t we get Matt to tell us what excellent decisions NBC makes about who gets a show?
  • Attention media: Only the Republicans can shut down the government
    Dear media: When Donald Trump shoots down a bipartisan immigration proposal because it would allow in too many (black) people from “shithole countries” when he wants more (white) people from Norway, it is not the Democrats’ fault if the government shuts down over the issue. When congressional Republicans will not allow a vote on a bipartisan proposal to prevent Dreamers from being deported, it is not the Democrats’ fault if the government shuts down over the issue. Media organizations in need of getting this message include the New York Times and the Washington Post. According to the Post, "A division for Democrats: Force a shutdown, or push for a political victory?" Which … guys, what political victory do you imagine if Democrats sacrifice one of the few small pieces of leverage they have? The Times, too, follows a similar line. The key division that matters in their telling is between Democrats “on the ballot this November in states that are heavily white, have little sympathy for undocumented immigrants and that Mr. Trump won” and “some Democrats considering presidential runs.” Funny story, though. There are bills out there that all Democrats would vote on. There are bills out there that the vast majority of Democrats and at least a few Republicans would vote on. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, the Republicans who lead the House and Senate, will not allow those votes to come up for a vote. Which means that the key division is not actually between Democrats. Here’s a thought: If Republican leadership would simply allow a vote on bipartisan legislation to prevent hundreds of thousands of Dreamers from being deported thanks to Donald Trump’s actions, we would not be having this discussion. It’s in their hands morally. And politically, as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham—one of the Republicans working on the bipartisan approach—said, “To believe that you can successfully blame Democrats for a shutdown over the DACA debate is naïve.” Donald Trump thinks he can. We don’t need the media enabling him.
  • Steve Bannon now testifying before the House Intelligence Committee
    Steve Bannon will appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning, supposedly to answer questions about his role in Trump’s campaign and any connection to Russian operatives. This comes after Bannon first described the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump’s top campaign staff and a group of Russian representatives as both “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”—and then went on to explain how to do secret meetings with the Russians correctly. Bannon went on, Wolff writes, to say that if any such meeting had to take place, it should have been set up “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people”. Any information, he said, could then be “dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication”. Did Bannon follow up on these oddly specific thoughts? We won’t know right offhand, because today’s interview will be another of those held behind closed doors. Which is a real shame, not only because of the way that Congress has consistently shielded Trump insiders from public scrutiny, but also because this is the first time Bannon has testified before any group. Is Steve Bannon a tight-mouthed witness who has to be led to each point, or a babbler who just can’t help letting everything out in a rush? Evidence suggests the later. But keeping Bannon’s testimony locked up means that Republicans will be able to do what they’ve done in every interview—spend their time looking for ways to attack the witness and demean the investigation while asking not one question related to the erstwhile topic of the investigation. It also means they’ll be able to selectively leak out of context snippets from the interview to create a Trump-supporting narrative, no matter what actually gets said in chambers.  On the other hand, Democrats are likely to ask Bannon about this: "You realize where this is going. ... This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose (senior prosecutor Andrew) Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy," Bannon is quoted as saying in Wolff's book. "Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner. ... It's as plain as a hair on your face."
  • Donald Trump claims that he is not a racist. So do most Americans. How true is it?
    Since the comments in which he called Haiti, El Salvador and every single nation on the African continent a “shithole,” much of the country has spent the last five days debating whether or not Donald Trump is a racist. Frankly, this debate is a complete and utter waste of time since we know, through his very own words and deeds, that Trump is a racist and has demonstrably been so for his entire adult life. Of course, he claims to be the “least racist person” ever interviewed. This is not at all surprising. Even though Trump lies as easily as most people might breathe, we have no reason to not believe that he doesn’t think that he is racist. One of the realities of racism in the United States is that very few people actually believe that they are racist, even though they were absolutely socialized into a racist country and world. “I’m not racist” or “I’m not prejudiced” is a disclaimer that far too many white people proclaim often, particularly in conversations with people of color. Upon hearing those three little words, most of the time, people of color instantly brace ourselves for a racist, insensitive or willfully ignorant comment from the speaker that we have to decide whether to address or ignore. After a while, this becomes exhausting—as we are consistently burdened with enduring countless microagressions, indignities and outright hostility from white people who believe themselves, above all, to be “good people.” This investment in being a good person essentially positions racism as the beliefs and behaviors of “others”—absolving said person of the responsibility of having to look in the mirror. Good, bad, or indifferent, almost zero white people will own up to being a racist. So it should not surprise us that Donald Trump thinks that he isn’t a racist either, though he clearly does and says racist things.  Part of the issue is that racism has come to mean many things in the United States. It has been so diluted and manipulated over time that we don’t fully understand what it means and who is responsible for it. To a certain extent, we freely admit that racism has existed in the past and that aspects of our country were built on it. We know that racism is bad. But, somehow, in our wishful thinking about what America should be, instead of what it actually is, we have created the conditions where many believe that racism no longer exists and where people no longer practice it.
  • Behind the 'shithole' meeting, a pathetic Trump and toxic Republicans
    How did Donald Trump end up calling a host of nations “shithole countries” whose (mostly black) people were undesirable immigrants to the U.S.? The overarching answer, of course, is that he’s a vile racist. But to get to the specifics, the Washington Post has assembled a detailed, leak-heavy account of the immigration meeting at which Trump went off. Two telling things jump out about the relationship between Trump and congressional Republicans: they can manipulate him, and in exchange for what he offers them, they’ll sacrifice any pretense of integrity. The second thing first. You may recall that Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) issued a statement denying that Trump said what he said. Well, here's the backstory on that: Three White House officials said Perdue and Cotton told the White House that they heard “shithouse” rather than “shithole,” allowing them to deny the president’s comments on television over the weekend. The two men initially said publicly that they could not recall what the president said. Oh, so they think maybe he said “shithouse” rather than “shithole” and so the way they presented that was “we do not recall the president saying these comments specifically.” How truthful and forthcoming of them! As for Trump’s side of the deal … wow, is he a pathetic, easily manipulated man-child. When President Trump spoke by phone with Sen. Richard J. Durbin around 10:15 a.m. last Thursday, he expressed pleasure with Durbin’s outline of a bipartisan immigration pact and praised the high-ranking Illinois Democrat’s efforts, according to White House officials and congressional aides. The president then asked if Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), his onetime foe turned ally, was on board, which Durbin affirmed. Trump invited the lawmakers to visit with him at noon, the people familiar with the call said. But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was “fired up” and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting. What happened in the interim is that Trump’s hardline racist, anti-immigrant aides like Stephen Miller put out the bat signal, got Trump all lathered up, and brought in extremist members of Congress like Cotton, Perdue, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). So between 10:15 AM and noon, Trump completely changed his tune from “let’s have bipartisan talks to a productive deal” to “shithole countries.”
  • Morning Digest: False missile alert already a real campaign problem for Hawaii Gov. David Ige
    The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● HI-Gov: On Saturday, a stunning set of failures led to the state of Hawaii to issue an emergency alert warning of a ballistic missile attack, and the debacle almost immediately became a campaign issue. First-term Gov. David Ige was already facing a very serious challenge in the Democratic primary from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and now he's facing extraordinary scrutiny over the incident. The trauma the event instantly generated for residents will not soon be forgotten: As one Hawaii political scientist, Colin Moore, put it, "Everyone is going to want to talk about their story—that morning when they were terrified, and why it took the governor so long to respond." Campaign Action Indeed, Hanabusa immediately began criticizing Ige, focusing on the extraordinary fact that it took officials 38 minutes to retract their false alarm, specifically blaming the governor and saying the fiasco could harm the state's all-important tourism industry. In response, an Ige spokesperson complained, "It is unfortunate that she is using yesterday's event to draw attention to herself while offering no solution." It's more than just a war of words, though: One local pollster noted that Hanabusa appeared on TV to reassure the public before Ige himself did, reinforcing questions about his "lack of leadership." While Hanabusa probably wouldn't want to turn an issue like this into an attack ad—voters likely wouldn't take kindly to stark reminders of such a frightening event—she also doesn't have to. Pretty much everyone in Hawaii politics is piling on Ige right now, and as the New York Times notes, he faces the prospect of a lengthy series of public investigations on both the state and federal level. There's a good chance this story will dominate right through the August primary, and if it does, that can only be bad news for Ige.
  • Cartoon: Worse than Idiocracy
    I realize I'm hardly the first person to make an analogy between the Trump administration and Idiocracy (one of my favorite movies of all time, it must be said). While doing some Googling, I found that Cracked made the case for Idiocracy being superior to our current state of affairs. But given Trump's recent comments and porn star revelations, it seemed a direct comparison with Camacho was in order, one that went beyond merely pointing out their similar lack of qualifications and flamboyance. And the verdict is: I'll take Camacho, thanks! Follow Jen on Twitter at @JenSorensen
  • Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday
    From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Pussyhats on the March, Part II We marched the two-mile route downhill from [Portland’s] Eastern Promenade west to Congress Square. An attendee at last year’s Portland, ME march. Then we looked back and saw a sea of people still spilling down from the top of the hill. We walked a mile back to where our parking garage was, and people were still pouring down. Then we stood on a corner and watched the merry marchers cascade down for another hour. It was one of those rare moments when it didn’t seem entirely crazy to question your own lying eyes. And knowing it was happening all over the country made it even more wonderfully surreal. It felt like we were all one gigantic extended family gathering from all points in huge numbers to circle the wagons, lock arms, and prepare to defend our democracy under the banner of the pink, hand-knitted pussy hat. Long may it wave. ---C&J, January 21, 2017 One year ago this Sunday, a day after one of the smallest and most dour (both the weather and the assembleds’ faces) inaugurations in U.S. history, the weather gods parted the clouds across the country and let the rays of hope shine down as millions of Americans poured into the streets everywhere. There could not have been a more perfect signal to Russia’s guy (Trump, I mean, not Putin) that he was in for a rough ride. So let’s do it again. The main Women’s March this year is happening Sunday in Las Vegas, a rather significant watering hole in swing state Nevada. The theme is perfect: “Power to the Polls.” Among the speakers will be Congressman John Lewis, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Harris-Perry, Rev. William Barber, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. But there are also plenty of marches happening elsewhere the day before the Vegas event. If you’re looking for a major city to head to Saturday, you’ll find a list here, and a greatly-expanded list of sister marches is here. If you’re planning to attend one, remember to wear comfortable shoes, spell-check your sign, hydrate, and tattoo NOVEMBER 6 on every forehead in sight. Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
  • Abbreviated pundit roundup: Massive conflicts of interest at Trump's properties
    We begin today’s roundup with this analysis of the massive amount of money spent at Trump Properties by foreign governments, candidates, etc.: Sixty-four trade groups, foreign governments, Republican candidates and others stayed at or held events at properties linked to U.S. President Donald Trump during Trump’s first year in office, a political watchdog group said in a report released on Tuesday. The arrangements represented “unprecedented conflicts of interest” because Trump oversees the federal government and has not divested from properties he owns or that carry his name, Public Citizen, a nonpartisan group, said in the report. Shortly before taking office last year, Trump said he would hand off control of his global business empire to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and move his assets into a trust to help ensure that he would not consciously take actions as president that would benefit him personally. On the issue of a government shutdown, Margaret Hartmann has the details: In recent years Congress has become accustomed to the constant threat of government shutdown, but no president had openly called for one until President Trump tweeted in May that perhaps “our country needs a good ‘shutdown.’” Like so many things that appear on Trump’s Twitter feed, bringing the federal government to a grinding halt did not become official White House policy. Yet thanks in part to the president’s inability to refrain from complaining about the number of people who immigrate to the U.S. from “shithole” countries, we’re now closer to a shutdown than we have been at any point during this administration.
  • Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9AM ET!
    Slow start to the week, since Trump stayed on vacation, playing golf again on Monday. That usually keeps him from rage-tweeting, for a while. If an extra 18 houses of golf is all it takes to keep him quiet, I guess we can’t complain too much. Minus the tax dollars he’s thieving while he’s at it, of course. Let’s see what his “workday” brings. Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET! Podcasts! Am I right, people? Ha ha! I know, right! Well, screw all of those other ones! This one has Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando. Plus also, me. And you! Yes! You know how things are, these days. If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself. Sit down with your smart phone or other electronic recording device and send us your stories and commentary to share with the audience. There’s no easier way to try your hand at podcasting, without all the hassle! Of course, even if you do do things yourself, the modern condition is the same everywhere: We need money to do it. Create the media you’ve always wanted! Join us with monthly donations via Patreon, or one-time contributions via Square Cash. (And hey, if you want a cool trick for donating sorta-kinda cost free, get their cash.me app and use this share code to get $5 in your account (plus $5 in mine) when you send your first $5 (to anyone)! Not sure yet whether we’re really the greatest thing since sliced bread? Check out our last LIVE show and see for yourself: x YouTube Video YouTube|iTunes|LibSyn|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!) What a weekend! At least we weren’t nuked! And most of us didn’t even have the super-downer of thinking we were being nuked. Most. Greg Dworkin had plenty of outrageousness to round up. There were plentiful indications of Trump’s racism, as well as plenty of rejections of it. Then there was the farce of supporters (and some journalists) trying to hide from it. But nobody’s buying it. Not coincidentally, the certain and impending doom of Congressional Republicans was a big weekend theme. As was Hillary Clinton’s role in forming another silver lining. And no one has forgotten the book. Armando didn’t join us, but he did share some thoughts with us, including wondering what ever happened to those celebrated “moderate” Republicans (which sent us off on a KITM tangent), and “the first scholarly account of why tweets lack the legal status of formal presidential directives.” (The answer is, “they’re tweets,” plus several thousand other words.) Another day, another terrible Trump appointee. Another day, another terrible Trump racism story. Another day, another instance of Trump toady hypocrisy. Another day, another media outlet comes to understand the extent of Trump’s money laundering. And finally, another day, another nausea-inducing Kaspersky story. Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.
  • Open thread for night owls: Excerpts from the February Harper's Index
    Here are some excerpts from the latest edition of the Harper’s Index: • Number of helicopters the United States announced that it would give to Afghanistan’s air force: 159 • Number of trained flight crews in the Afghan military: 4 • Minimum number of U.S. civilian universities that received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation in 2016: 300 • Number of classroom teachers on Forbes Magazine’s 2018 30 Under 30 Education List: 0 • Percentage of Britons aged 18 to 25 who find it easier to express themselves in emoji than in words: 72 • Amount the federal government spent between 2006 and 2016 responding to extreme weather: $357,000,000,000 • Number of days by which U.S. winters have grown shorter since 1895: 14 • Percentage change in the level of glyphosate, an herbicide, in Americans’ urine since 1993: +1,200 • Date on which Virginia opened express toll lanes to ease traffic on I-66: 12/14/17 • Maximum price of a one-way commute into Washington that day: $34.50 TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES • OVERNIGHT NEWS DIGEST QUOTATION “We are not anti-American. we do not dislike Americans though we abhor American imperialism in all its manifestations. But then, so do many Americans. Many of them have said that even more forthrightly than we have, and many of them have suffered more than any of us for their plain speaking.”                ~Tommy Douglas, at the Canadian New Democratic Party convention, April 1971 TWEET OF THE DAY BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2003—Bush Hands Gephardt a Big Issue: Without proposing an alternative of his own, and as another sop to the Trent Lott Republicans he steamrolled last month, President Bush came out against the University of Michigan Law School's admissions policy today, claiming that the current system calls for quotas and makes race "the" factor in admissions. Dick Gephardt will file an opposing brief. In the big scheme of things facing this country right now, it is hard to see, outside of pure, craven pandering to a base he pissed off last month, why the President feels it is important for the White House to weigh in on this. Apparently John Ashcroft had free time apart from INS illegal detentions, the on-the-loose Democrats-only anthrax terrorist, and his singing engagements. To demonstrate his opposition against race-based actions and policies, Bush announced that he would ask Clarence Thomas to resign from the Supreme Court, withdraw the nominations of Alberto Gonzales and Miguel Estrada from considertion for federal appeals court consideration, and directed Bill Frist and the NRSC to broaden their previous voter suppression efforts beyond African-American precincts in future elections. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: A hell of a weekend. And for Trump, it’s not even over yet. At least some—some!—of us didn’t think we were getting nuked. Trump’s a racist asshouse. The blue wave keeps swelling. Another terrible Trump appointee. KITM Told You: Trump’s money laundering. x Embedded Content YouTube|iTunes|LibSyn|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)
  • Tom Cotton, racist Arkansas senator, threatens government shutdown over immigration
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has made it his current mission in life to derail any hopes of an immigration compromise that allows Dreamers to stay in the only country they’ve ever know. Now he’s trying to put all the blame for that on Democrats. xSo Democrats are now threatening to shut down the government if they don't get amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. Let's see how that works out for them, especially in places like WV, IN, MO, ND, & MT.— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 15, 2018 A bipartisan group of senators came up with an agreement last week that would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. There are enough Republicans who would vote for it in both the House and the Senate for the entire Congress for it to pass.  You, Mr. Cotton, and your shithole president are who are standing in the way, and who will force a government shutdown. Your party is the one in control here. It is your party’s responsibility to find a way to govern. The whole nation. Not just for the white people.
  • Romney reportedly running to become next 'never-Trump' senator to give in to Trump's will
    According to Utah's Gov. Gary Herbert, he has confirmation third-hand that Mitt Romney is indeed going to run for the Senate seat Orrin Hatch is finally vacating. Now all of Republican-land is wondering what kind of race Romney will run: Trump or anti-Trump. His boosters are certain he'll reflect his state's values and anti-Trump leanings and be a brave, stand-up kind of guy. “I think if he wants to be a check, it won’t hurt him here like it has others,” [Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox] said, noting the Republican lawmakers who have been politically damaged for their criticism of Mr. Trump, such as Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, both of whom are retiring. “He could do it from Day 1 and he’d be fine.” Mr. Cox joins Mr. Herbert in certain delusions about the principles and the stature of Romney. Some Republicans here see Mr. Romney’s ascent to the Senate as only the first step. Mr. Herbert said he "can accelerate" and become Senate Republican leader. Daniel Hemmert, a state senator who last year began a Draft Romney effort, went further, suggesting that if Mr. Trump is damaged or does not run again in 2020, the party should turn to the freshman senator from Utah. ‘Cuz Mitch McConnell will let that happen. By the way, Romney will be 74 years old in 2020. If he's going to accelerate to be the savior of the whole Republican thing, damn, he's going to have to work fast. All these guys would be advised to remember not just 2012, the last time Romney was on the national stage, as well as how things have been going so far for this ardent opposer of all things Trump. Just how far Mr. Romney is willing to go to confront Mr. Trump, though, is very much in question. After his Salt Lake speech, Mr. Romney embraced Mr. Trump when it appeared he was in the running for secretary of state, even submitting to a frog leg dinner with Mr. Trump at Jean-Georges in Manhattan. […] Mr. Trump telephoned Mr. Romney in recent days, and they had a pleasant conversation, according to two White House officials, but, they added, the president did not explicitly offer his support. Romney might bigfoot his way into the Senate. He's not going to be the guy who fixes everything for Republicans. None of them can. They have to destroy themselves to rebuild the party, and Romney is not going to be that bomb-thrower.
  • Convicted criminal Joe Arpaio found out on live TV that he admitted guilt by taking Trump's pardon
    Campaign Action Did noted racist, convicted criminal, U.S. Senate candidate, and disgraced former sheriff Joe Arpaio really find out on live television that by accepting Donald Trump’s presidential pardon after being found guilty of criminal contempt of court, he was admitting guilt? It sure looks like it. Arpaio has been adamant that he did nothing wrong, and has actually boasted about flouting a federal judge’s order to stop racially profiling brown drivers. During an MSNBC appearance with Ari Melber, he continued to insist on his delusions: Arpaio appeared on MSNBC's The Beat, hosted by Ari Melber, and discussed the pardon. "The president—I never asked for the pardon—pardoned me because he knew that this decision was wrong," Arpaio said before claiming he had some sort of appeal in the works for the future. Melber then sprung into the facts surrounding Arpaio's case, reminding viewers (and Arpaio) about the tent-city jail the sheriff once called "concentration camps" and an apparent $48 million legal bill run-up by Arpaio. The former sheriff responded by saying the folks in his jails violated the law, and if they didn't want the conditions they shouldn't have engaged in crimes. "You said they violated the law," Melber responded, then bringing up Arpaio’s intentions to bilk dupes for cash—er, intentions to run for the Senate. "You're seeking a promotion and a judge found you violated the law. That raises the question: Why do you want to go to the Senate and write laws if you wouldn't follow a judge's order to uphold them?" That’s where it all started to go downhill for poor old Joe. Arpaio responded that "a judge found me guilty of a misdemeanor and I'm not going to go into the politics of that,” which led to Melber informing Arpaio of what exactly happens when you accept a pardon. Arpaio has either the world’s worst legal team, or ignored what his legal team told him.
  • Hospital, physician groups sound urgent alarm over CHIP defunding
    It's been 107 days since the Republican Congress allowed funding to expire for the Children's Health Insurance Program and community health centers. Here's today's headline about the havoc that is wreaking: “Hospitals, Doctors Brace For Loss Of Children's Health Funds.” "Much of the high complexity and high cost of care provided to children in the U.S. occurs at dedicated children's hospitals," The Chartis Group's pediatric services leader Brian Thygesen said. "Any reductions in utilization or funding from CHIP will immediately impact the bottom line of the nation's children's hospitals, not to mention the families who will feel the pain first." […] "A continued delay in passing legislation to fund these programs for the long term is unacceptable—the negative consequences of Congressional inaction already are being felt and will be compounded in the coming weeks," a letter from six doctor groups including the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics says. "While Congress expresses support for these programs, the failure to provide long-term funding sends a very different message to states and families," the doctor groups wrote Congressional leaders. "Confidence in the future of these vital programs cannot be restored with short-term funding measures, and congressional delays jeopardize the long-term health and wellbeing of patients, providers, states, stakeholders, and our country at large." Those pleas are falling on deaf ears. Republican leadership is working too hard to prop up the racist in the Oval Office and do his bidding on immigration to spend any time on the nation's children. Jam the phone lines of House and Senate Republicans. Ruin their holiday weekend. Call (202) 224-3121, and tell them to stop holding kids hostage and to pass a clean funding bill for CHIP and community health centers.
  • Trump's unqualified choice to be NASA chief runs into turbulence
    The signature requirement of any Trump staff member is that they be unqualified—or better yet, ironically unqualified, like Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Betsy DeVos at Education. These aren’t bad nominations: they’re giant middle fingers to America. In comparison, Trump’s selection of Rep. James Bridenstine to run NASA may seem more like the choice of Rick Perry for the Department of Uhhh I Forget the Third One: not maliciously perverse, just actively uninspiring and undeserved. After all, even on the road to hell, most of the bricks are just meh. Of course, the part where NASA is involved in launching large, complex objects into space with both the technical future of the country and a substantial number of lives at stake might tend to make “unqualified” more “UNQUALIFIED,” and that’s definitely part of Bridenstine’s rough launch. Rep. James Bridenstine’s controversial nomination to head NASA faces mounting troubles, and the uncertainty threatens to further delay potentially major changes in agency programs favored by the White House. Bridenstine squeaked through his first committee vote. But as the countdown continues toward a second vote later this week, there’s another factor that’s threatening to stop the clock. His name never came up for floor action in 2017 because not a single Senate Democrat signaled support and Republican leaders were worried about rounding up the necessary votes on their side of the aisle. Mr. Bridenstine turned into a controversial choice due to what critics assailed as his extreme social views. Bridenstine’s insupportable views aren’t just ‘social,’ but they are extreme and they are critical to why he should not get this position.
  • Aziz Ansari and the perils of implied consent
    Campaign Action On Saturday, a web publication by the name babe published a woman’s account of the worst night of her life, as she calls it. “Grace” was excited to go on a date with Aziz Ansari, an actor, comedian, and author she greatly admired. The evening ended with what she now understands to be sexual assault.  Grace says her friends helped her grapple with the aftermath of her night with Ansari. “It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,” she told us. “I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that’s why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.” Grace decided to share her story following Ansari’s Golden Globe win for his show, Master of None. “I believe that I was taken advantage of by Aziz. I was not listened to and ignored. It was by far the worst experience with a man I’ve ever had.” The ensuing furor has been dramatic and disturbing. For every outraged reader, there’s at least one caustic commentator with an elevated platform waiting to scorn Grace and those behind her: Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember.
  • VP Pence became 'visibly red-faced' at a Sunday service when the pastor denounced Trump's racism
    Campaign Action Vice President Mike Pence visited a historical black church over the weekend and probably got more than he bargained for when Pastor Dr. Maurice Watson of the Metropolitan Baptist Church directly denounced Donald Trump’s hateful words toward Haiti and African nations. From WUSA9: In his speech, the pastor mentioned that some congregation members were from Haiti and African countries. He called the president’s comments “hurtful” and “dehumanizing.” He went on to call for the president to be held accountable for his words. The Vice President reportedly became visibly red-faced at times throughout the speech. Following his comments, members of the congregation rose out of their seats in support. Pastor Watson cited Trump’s comments welcoming people from Norway and went on to say, “I stand today as your pastor to vehemently denounce and reject such characterizations of the nations of Africa and our brothers and sisters in Haiti.” Listen to the thoughtful words that apparently make Mike Pence red in the face.
  • Caregiver of 6-year-old paraplegic boy wins temporary stay of deportation
    Yancarlos Mendez Perez, the caregiver and father figure of a six-year-old paraplegic boy, has won a stay of deportation from a federal appeals court. While only temporary, it could buy some precious time for Mendez Perez, who remains in federal immigration custody and faced imminent deportation: Mendez Perez, 27, of Springdale, Ohio, is engaged to the mother of 6-year-old Ricky Solis, who was seriously injured and paralyzed from the waist down in an auto accident in February in nearby Fairfield, Ohio. Staff at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center trained him on how to care for Ricky's complex medical needs, and Mendez has helped Ricky and his mother since 2014. Friday’s ruling is temporary. Mendez will stay in federal custody in Ohio. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati delayed the deportation, it wrote, "in order to provide sufficient time to consider our jurisdiction, as well as the motion." "We are very thankful they stayed through snow and processed the stay,” said attorney Nazly Mamedova. While not his biological dad, Mendez Perez has cared for six-year-old Ricky since 2014, and has been his caregiver since February, when the boy was tragically paralyzed in a car crash: Mendez could have been deported to the Dominican Republic as early as Saturday, according to documents filed with the Sixth Circuit. Lawyers Charleston Wang and Mamedova asked the court to postpone Mendez's deportation until the court could consider his case. The filing states that the normal course for appeal, through the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, has been closed off to Mendez. “His attorneys refiled the appeal to ICE in Detroit as well as to federal immigration officials in Washington, D.C., on Friday.” The requests are all the more urgent following Ricky’s readmission to the hospital due to ongoing complications from his accident. “Lawyers are asking that he be allowed to come home to be with his family during Ricky's surgery and recovery.”
  • Republicans plan on salvaging the midterms with their ace in the hole—Trump!
    Woo boy—Donald Trump spent two weekends ago declaring himself a "stable genius" in response to snowballing questions about his mental fitness and he followed up last weekend with denials that he's a stone cold racist.  After nipping those rumors in the bud, he's moved on to solving the GOP's looming midterm crisis, writes the Washington Post: The concern has grown so acute that Trump received what one congressional aide described as a “sobering” slide presentation about the difficult midterm landscape at Camp David last weekend, leading the president to pledge a robust schedule of fundraising and campaign travel in the coming months, White House officials said. Absolutely! He’s the least popular pr*sident entering year two in polling history, but let's get that guy out on the road—he can deny his racism and play up his mental stability while leading chants of "build the wall!" and skewering "little rocket man" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.  But it's not just Trump himself who's bought into the notion that he "alone can fix it." Here's an unnamed GOP consultant: “The big question is: Is everything different with Trump? Because the major metrics point to us losing at least one house of Congress.” That sliver of optimism extends to the top of the Republican leadership who are hopeful that Trump’s disruptive effect on the political landscape can once again surprise the nation this fall. “Who knows what 2018 will be like? Nobody called 2016, right?” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), the second-ranking Republican in that chamber. “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was going to get elected and that Chuck Schumer was going to be the majority leader. And none of that turned out to be true.” Will you help kill that GOP “sliver of optimism” by donating $3 to the slate of Daily Kos endorsed candidates?
  • Paul Ryan shows his true colors, refuses to shut extremists out of immigration debate
    So House Speaker Paul Ryan started this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with this: xToday we remember a great man and his work. We read his sermons. We recall his sacrifices. We give back. In doing these things, we raise our gaze and renew the spirit in which we serve one another. Such is the calling of #MLKDay. pic.twitter.com/UpNNtZJ8n5— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) January 15, 2018 Meanwhile, Ryan is refusing to shut out the hard-liners in his conference, and his openly racist president, flirting with a government shutdown. House Republicans are pressing Ryan for a vote on a partisan immigration bill that has little chance of passing the Senate. They want floor action on legislation by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), which goes well beyond what the White House has said should be in a deal codifying the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program into law — and which is unlikely to garner a single Democratic vote. "It's a good bill…I think it's something that bears consideration by the entire House," said Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), a former leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee. "If I were the majority leader… I would recommend that we bring it" to the floor. Ryan and his top lieutenants have not committed to a vote on the Goodlatte bill, which GOP leaders worry could undermine bipartisan negotiations. And they're not even sure the text could garner the 218 GOP votes needed for passage in the House. Still, he's risking a backlash from conservatives if he doesn't put it forward for a vote.
  • Mitch McConnell wants you to forget that time he banned Coretta Scott King's words in the Senate
    Mitch McConnell is not going out of his way in public to recognize the significance of this day, when the nation honors Martin Luther King, Jr. He did, however, put up a Facebook post which reads in part: As we celebrate Dr. King's birthday today, we must remember we are not only the beneficiaries of Dr. King’s efforts. We are also responsible for continuing his work, "transforming jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood." Let us mark this occasion by recommitting ourselves to Dr. King's vision for a future that fulfills the very highest ideals of our nation. Right. Like when he was rushing through the confirmation of well-known racist Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to be attorney general. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tried to enter the words of Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, about a previous confirmation of Sessions. These words: I write to express my sincere opposition to the confirmation of Jefferson B. Sessions as a federal district court judge for the Southern District of Alabama. My professional and personal roots in Alabama are deep and lasting. Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship. And when he refused to allow Sen. Warren to read these words. When he told her to shut up and sit down. And when he censured her for attempting to continue to speak Coretta Scott King's truths about Sessions. When he uttered that phrase that will continue to resonate through American politics, galvanizing women. "Nevertheless, she persisted." McConnell can't ever claim to be "recommitting" himself to Dr. King's vision. He's never worked toward it in the first place.