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Published: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:19:44 +0000

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:19:44 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want

Open thread for night owls. Baker: Financial transactions tax would attack income inequality

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:00:58 +0000

Dean Baker at Jacobin magazine writes—A Job-Killing Robot for Rich People: A financial transactions tax would attack income inequality by attacking the finance industry. Some excerpts: In the last couple years, the financial transactions tax (FTT) has moved from a fringe idea to a policy proposal treated seriously by even the mainstream of the Democratic Party. The decision by Senator Bernie Sanders to make it a central part of his presidential campaign certainly helped, but a number of members of Congress, including Keith Ellison and Peter DeFazio, have also pushed FTT proposals for many years. The FTT is also gaining momentum overseas. There’s a push to enact an FTT in the eurozone. And in England, an expanded FTT — the London stock exchange has long levied a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades — was included in the Labour Party’s platform in the recent election. But while the idea of taxing financial transactions is growing more popular, even many of its proponents don’t realize its full benefits. An FTT is usually seen as a way to raise large amounts of revenue (in the US, it could possibly generate as much as $190 billion a year, or 1 percent of GDP). Or it is viewed as a means to limit speculative trading in the financial sector, potentially making markets less volatile. The best argument for an FTT, however, is that it can sharply reduce some of the highest incomes in the economy by curtailing the trading that makes those incomes possible. As a result, it can play a large role in reversing the upward redistribution of income that we’ve seen over the last four decades. [...] Of course, the attack on the financial sector can and should go beyond imposing an FTT. Much of the profit in private equity stems from tax gaming and abusing bankruptcy law. If we eliminated the opportunities for gaming (most importantly, the tax deduction for corporate interest payments), the high earners in private equity would take a big hit. There are other areas in which the financial sector is purely predatory, such as the excessive fees charged on retirement accounts or the management fees charged to public pension funds. If these avenues for getting rich were closed off, the opportunities for very high-paying jobs would be substantially reduced. While this would not directly fix a broken corporate governance structure that allows for outlandish CEO pay or address the arcane licensing rules and immigration restrictions that allow many medical specialists to earn more than $500,000 a year, whacking the financial sector would be a very good start in reversing rising inequality. And as a bonus, we could use the money raised to pay for free college or other good things — rather than letting it continue to line the pockets of investment bankers. • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events • Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES TWEET OF THE DAY xStop saying millions of people will die if they pass this bill - they don’t care. Tell them a bank will die— Hippo (@InternetHippo) June 27, 2017 BLAST FROM THE PAST At Daily Kos on this date in 2006—Campaign Finance Reform: Moving Forward: On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, we don’t let Medicaid repeal distract us from Syria, nor let Syria distract us from Medicaid repeal. Armando joins in to round up the recent SCOTUS activity and comment on the procedure & the chaos, which he does entirely without resort to emojis of any kind. x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash [...]

ISIS reportedly just about finished in Mosul

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 02:31:07 +0000

The BBC and other outlets are reporting street to street fighting may finally be nearing an end in Northern Iraq. ISIS militants over ran Mosul in 2014 and enjoyed a brief period of rule until government led forces with the help of US airpower moved to retake the ancient city last fall. A few groups of fighters are said to be holed up in a small region that is eroding beneath them

We have witnessed a clear change in the tempo of military operations since IS blew up the famed al-Nuri mosque last Wednesday. The push against the militants has gained momentum - with increased ground operations and air strikes.

We counted about 20 air strikes through the day on Sunday, with helicopter gunships pounding IS targets and a great deal of mortar fire. IS fighters are pinned down in a corner of the Old City, where the narrow streets favour the insurgents. The Iraqis believe the numbers are relatively small - about 300 to 450 - but these are battle hardened jihadists, most of them foreign.

Regardless, ISIS forces counter-attacked, which has reportedly been addressed, and now the remaining fighters are said to be huddling awaiting doom. In an article just out, CNN puts the number of those last few ISIS fighters at around 200 hundred, but keep in mind earlier this week Al-Jazeera was saying there are thousands of innocent civilians potentially still in the deadly crossfire.

Any guesses on who will take credit for victory, assuming that’s where this soon goes, after a solid year or more of careful planning and execution?


Republican voters, come closer—this is a message for your eyes only

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:12:54 +0000

Republican voters, this message is for your eyes only. I grew up with so many of you. I’ve lived next door, played with your kids, cheered alongside you for our favorite sports teams, eaten delicious burgers and hot dogs at your backyard party, I even call some of you “family.” Because we are family. How did we grow so far apart when it comes to politics?

I know you hated Obama because he was probably going to come for your guns. You hated Hillary because something, somethinghazi. We don’t like Trump because we view him as an incompetent con man. We can agree to disagree when it comes to the leaders of our parties. But, let’s keep it real for a minute:

Cancer does not care who you voted for in the last election.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are not checking to see whose side you are on. 

Multiple Sclerosis doesn’t give a hoot whose yard sign you stuck in your manicured lawn.

And pediatric cancer treads on whoever the hell it wants to tread on. 

You are healthy … until you aren’t. When one of these things comes for you or a loved one, you will want to be covered. You’ll want to know that if it is your child or grandchild who is disabled, they won’t face lifetime limits. You’ll want to know you can’t be refused coverage because of a pre-existing condition. You’ll want your parent, even yourself, to get quality nursing home care if Alzheimer’s comes a-knockin’.  

The Republican bill on the verge of a Senate vote is a disaster for all of us. Don’t you remember only a few short years ago when families regularly went bankrupt directly due to healthcare debts? When people were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions? Even for minor things like a bum knee? Because that happened and it wasn’t so long ago. Check out this chart detailing the decline in personal bankruptcies.


That is a huge, huge change. Those families saved from bankruptcy weren’t divided into Republicans or Democrats. They’re American families whose lives were changed for the better because of the Affordable Care Act. And the bill under consideration right now would take us back to those golden days of personal bankruptcy and debt. 


Disney's Hall of Presidents in limbo as theme park tries to work out what Robot Trump might say

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:38:56 +0000

You know how Team Trump manages to screw up everything it touches through a combination of bombast, incompetence, and obsessive narcissism from the hairy citrus in charge? You'd think that even they could manage something as simple as promoting the majesty of Donald J. Trump to freakin' Disney World, but nope. They've made a hash of it.

Disney wanted to record a brief, fluffy message of unity 'n hope 'n stuff from Trump to be used in their Hall of Presidents, an attraction featuring animatronic versions of each of the U.S. presidents. Obama recorded a message. Bush recorded a message. When it comes to Trump, however, Team Trump has told Disney to forget the unity and hope and fluff bits: Team Trump be writing the damn speech and Disney can take it or leave it. Motherboard:

"The Imagineers [the researchers and developers behind Disney's theme park attractions] tried to point out that they're typically involved with this process," continued the source. "That they directly collaborated with Clinton, Bush, and Obama's people when it came to figuring out what the President's Audio-Animatronic figure would say. Trump's people said, 'No. We're writing this speech. You guys have no input on this.'"

And so, left to Trump’s own devices, it's entirely likely that some future Trump robot will be telling vacationing children about the size of his electoral college win or about how great his golf courses are. The man doesn't do “unity,” and certainly doesn’t do it upon polite request.

So the Hall of Presidents remains closed while Disney World, of all freakin' places, waits for Team Trump to provide them a usable recording of Donald Trump bragging about being president, which is pretty much what Donald Trump already does every day, all day to begin with. The good news is that this may save us all from the hell of a Talking Robot Trump:

"There are those at Imagineering who hope that if they hold off on doing anything with this attraction until the fall, Trump may have done something so egregious that the general public won't have an issue with putting a non-talking version of [Trump] in The Hall of Presidents," said the source.

Is Seattle's minimum wage hurting low-wage workers? Not so fast

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:18:15 +0000

Just days after a study of the effect of a minimum wage increase on Seattle’s restaurant industry found no negative impact, another study says that the raise has been terrible for low-wage workers—worse even than sworn opponents of minimum wage increases have found in past studies. What should we make of these differing results? The simplest explanation is that the authors of the new study, based at the University of Washington, didn’t adequately account for the results of Seattle’s booming economy. Increased competition for workers in a great economy leads to higher wages, which means that there are fewer low-wage jobs because they have effectively become higher-wage jobs. Like this:

Micah Simler, whose window-washing business in Seattle has three employees and 15 contractors, said he had already been paying much more than $15 an hour because of the local economy, not the wage law.

“Seattle is in a boom time right now, and I’m competing with construction companies” and many other businesses for employees, he said.

That’s basically what the University of Washington study does show: loss of hours worked at the lowest pay rates, and increased hours worked at $19 an hour and above. But the study’s authors want to blame one on the minimum wage and stay silent on the other, even as an Economic Policy Institute analysis of the study finds that the study’s own data suggests that the two should be linked. If the minimum wage increase caused the loss of work for minimum-wage workers, it also caused the increase in work for higher-paid workers—and that’s just not plausible. According to the study’s data, there was an 8.5 percent drop in jobs paying under $19 an hour and a 21.2 percent increase in jobs paying over $19. 


Federal agencies routinely fail to report hate crimes to the FBI—including the FBI itself

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:48:08 +0000

In a country where hate crimes are on the rise, partly due to the xenophobic rhetoric of racist-in-chief Donald Trump, it appears that we have no idea how extensive and widespread hate crimes really are. This is because the federal government is incredibly negligent in keeping accurate records. Despite a legal mandate to do so, it appears that more than 100 federal law enforcement agencies regularly fail to submit statistics on hate crimes to the national hate crimes database run by the FBI. 

The FBI has identified at least 120 federal agencies that aren’t uploading information to the database, according to Amy Blasher, a unit chief at the CJIS division, an arm of the bureau that is overseeing the modernization of its information systems.

The federal government operates a vast array of law enforcement agencies—ranging from Customs and Border Protection to the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Amtrak Police—employing more than 120,000 law enforcement officers with arrest powers. The FBI would not say which agencies have declined to participate in the program, but the bureau’s annual tally of hate crimes statistics does not include any offenses handled by federal law enforcement. Indeed, the problem is so widespread that the FBI itself isn’t submitting the hate crimes it investigates to its own database.

“We truly don’t understand what’s happening with crime in the US without the federal component,” Blasher said in an interview.

The FBI itself isn’t even in compliance with the law. How much more absurd can this get? Clearly, it’s not a priority for our government to prioritize who is being impacted by hate crimes. So much for keeping citizens safe. Likewise, agencies don’t feel a need to press state and local police departments (the majority of the organizations supplying the information) to submit these statistics. And why bother? There doesn’t seem to be any accountability for them violating the law, anyway. 


Fox News gives Dear Leader the softball interview he was looking for

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:32:41 +0000

Donald Trump returned twice in the past week to his favorite place for softball questions. Fox News rewarded him with exactly what he was looking for—these questions weren’t even softballs. They were little fluffy clouds of cotton candy wafted toward him on a breeze of adulation, and Buzzfeed has helpfully compiled them so we can appreciate their brazenness.

In an interview airing June 25, Fox’s Pete Hegseth asked Trump questions including the following:

Mr. President, you face resistance on this bill; but, of course, you’ve faced resistance on the entirety of your agenda. Who’s been your biggest opponent? Has it been Democrats resisting? Has it been fake news media? Has it been deep state leaks? What’s -- when you think about it, what holds it up the most?

Fake news and the deep state, right out of the gate!

How frustrating is it to have former president Obama there, out there leading the resistance?

I mean … leading? He’s spoken out a few times, and no shade, but it’s not exactly like he’s leading die-ins outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office.

How do you overcome that when someone like Senator Warren – Elizabeth Warren literally says 'People are going to die because of President Trump’s healthcare bill'?

In translation: How do you overcome the truth? As it happens, Trump is a practiced liar so that shouldn’t give him pause.


Hillary Clinton and EMILY's List announce 15,000 women interested in running for office

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:33:44 +0000

In the wake of the 2016 elections, EMILY’s List renewed its efforts to recruit women to run for office, and apparently a lot of women are interested:

@HillaryClinton: For more than 30 years, @emilyslist has paved the way for women to run & succeed in elected office, including me.

@HillaryClinton: Today, @emilyslist announced that 15,000+ women have reached out since Election Day about running for office! 7,000+ want to help them run.

@HillaryClinton: Their determination & passion is truly inspiring. And I can't wait to see what this new generation of women leaders accomplishes. Onward!

Safe to say many of those 15,000 won’t follow through, and it would probably be more helpful if those proportions were flipped and twice as many women wanted to help other women run, but for those who are serious about running, EMILY’s List will have resources:

EMILY's List's largest-ever national recruitment program, Run to Win, is focused on training, recruiting, and identifying opportunities for pro-choice Democratic women to run and win in state and local offices across the country. The campaign will train, politically advise and assess candidates from school board to Senate. 

Republicans have been building their pipeline from local office to Congress and governors’ mansions for decades now. It’s past time for Democrats to make a serious effort to do the same.


Brace for food price hikes thanks to Donald Trump's deportation force

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:42:33 +0000

File this one under “This is what you voted forDonald Trump supporters”:

Research by the Farm Bureau suggests that the federal immigration policy Trump is promoting could result in a massive farm labor shortage across the country, causing domestic fruit output to plunge anywhere from 30 to 61 percent and vegetable production to fall by 15 to 31 percent. Industrial-scale livestock operations and slaughterhouses also rely heavily on immigrants, so meat production could tumble by as much as 27 percent. As a result, the group concludes, US eaters are looking at food price hikes of 5 to 6 percent. That might not sound like much, but it’s sure to squeeze families on a tight budget. So Trump’s efforts to save us from “bad hombres” is bad news for farms—and for Americans who are just trying to put dinner on the table.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, up to 2.2 million farm workers are needed across the country for harvesting, with at least half of these immigrant workers lacking any legal status. It’s backbreaking work that even Trump’s own family admits U.S.-born Americans just don’t want to do. When Eric Trump’s winery put out a call for workers, not one U.S.-born person was among the 13 applicants.

Trump Vineyard Estates, better known as Trump Winery, has asked to bring in 29 workers this season through the federal H-2A visa program, The Daily Progress reported.

The Charlottesville-area winery is owned by Eric Trump, whose father has called on businesses to hire Americans.

The H-2A program enables agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or other temporary or seasonal services. To apply, employers say they’ve been unable to find American citizens to fill the jobs. At least three other local vineyards also applied to hire foreign workers.

“It’s difficult to find people,” said Libby Whitley, an attorney who has worked with employers, including Trump Winery.


Man mistakenly detained is tenth immigrant to die under ICE custody this year

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:22:27 +0000

An undocumented man who may have been mistakenly arrested by federal immigration agents is the tenth immigrant to die while under ICE custody this fiscal year. 

Rolando Meza Espinoza was arrested at work at the end of March and had been under federal custody since. On June 8, Meza Espinoza—who suffered from anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, and diabetes—was hospitalized due to "gastrointestinal bleeding,” according to an ICE statement. When Meza Espinoza died in intensive care two days later, ICE never bothered to inform the family, instead letting them find out on their own when they called to check in on him the next day.

During a rally protesting the treatment of detainees, Meza Espinoza’s advocates called for justice:

The Rev. Eugene P. Squeo, pastor at St. Patrick and Assumption All Saints in Jersey City, called for an end to the "cruelty of the detainment and deportation system."

"What care was provided" for Meza Espinoza, Squeo asked today. "What care was denied? Why does ICE not treat people with dignity?"

Making this immigrant man’s death even more senseless is that ICE allegedly misidentified their target, claims attorney Manuel Portela.


Scientist felt 'bullied' when EPA chief of staff told her to mangle her congressional testimony

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:34:53 +0000

As noted here and here, the Trump regime is intent on wrecking the Environmental Protection Agency. And it is clear from the comments of the head of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors that the wrecking will include making propaganda and other lies part of the agency’s mission going forward. How much long-term damage will be done by this and other moves can only be guessed at, even if Donald Trump leaves or is tossed out of office in three-and-a-half years. Although many of the people being appointed to top staff posts—including EPA chief Scott Pruitt—are the sort who would like to see the agency left without one stone atop another and the legislative and administrative ground beneath it salted, eviscerating the staff and budget of the agency is much more effective than abolishing it altogether. The Republicans can claim the EPA is still there, doing the job it was designed to do, even as its guts are ripped out, its institutional memory destroyed, its veteran staff dissed and dismissed, and its public persona mutilated by scrubbing its websites of anything that ticks off the fossil-fuel industry and other polluters. A key aspect of creating this hollow shell has been getting rid of most of the members of the Board of Scientific Counselors. Come September 1, by not having had their agency contracts renewed, all but 11 of the 68 advisers will be gone, according to board chairwoman Deborah Swackhammer. All the summer and fall meetings of the scientific committees have been canceled. No committee has a chair or vice chair. Those empty science adviser slots will now be available to be filled by nominees suggested by Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the loony climate science deniers on Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe’s staff.  We are getting a good idea of what kind of behavior to expect from one of those recently appointed former Inhofe staff members, Ryan Jackson, the EPA chief of staff. That window was cracked open Monday when Coral Davenport at The New York Times wrote about the contents of some Jackson emails in which he told Swackhammer, an environmental chemist, to alter her already submitted testimony to Congress about the role of states in environmental policy. She was told to stick with the agency’s talking points regarding the dismissals of the scientists on the board: Among other requests in his May 22 emails, Mr. Jackson asked Dr. Swackhamer to note that “a decision had not yet been made” about whether to dismiss her colleagues on the agency’s scientific review board. However, at that time, several scientists on the board had already received notices that their terms would not be renewed. Since that testimony, the E.P.A. has sent out dozens more notices to academic scientists that their terms on the board will not be renewed. Swackhammer was gobsmacked by the request to “correct” her testimony in that regard. As well she should have been since the dismissal decision had been already made, and the “correction” Jackson wanted from her was a flat-out lie. [...]

Turf war breaks out, delaying vicious House Republican budget

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:19:24 +0000

An internal fight is holding up the House Republican effort to pass a budget that would inflict the maximum possible pain on working Americans, Politico reports in an article that would have to work hard to get in one more piece of Republican messaging. House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black found a way to get in the military spending to make “defense hawks” happy,

But several committee chairmen are now balking at the second part of the deal: a promise of about $50 billion in additional cuts to mandatory programs to make those very defense increases more digestible for conservatives. [...]

At the crux of the hold-up are chairmen like [Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike] Conaway and [Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg ] Walden who don’t want to slice billions of dollars from programs in their own jurisdiction. Some don’t want to give away valuable offsets that could be used for their other legislative priorities, like Conaway’s upcoming farm bill.

It takes nearly 30 paragraphs of references to “mandatory programs” and “entitlements” and “programs” and lamentation from far-far-right sources about how the committee chairs “that are kind of stonewalling” need to “be part of the team here” before we learn what is at stake for the American people, and one of the reasons this is so fraught for Republicans:

It would hew closely to conservative budgets of years past, including the Medicare premium support model popularized by now-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). It would also roll back huge sums of Medicaid spending while stripping hundreds of billions from anti-poverty programs.

Like past GOP budgets, big federal programs like food stamps, agriculture subsidies and Medicaid would be on the chopping block. But this time, those mandatory cuts could go into effect if the budget plan is adopted by Senate Republicans as well.


Trump's empty National HIV Testing Day statement ignores he's trying to dismantle HIV care

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:14:51 +0000

Sure, Donald Trump wants to cut a huge chunk of funding for millions of HIV/AIDS patients overseas, dismantle the Affordable Care Act for HIV/AIDS patients here, and just lost six experts from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS because he ”simply does not care,” but he issued a statement in support of National HIV Testing Day anyway. And much like his empty statement recognizing the one-year anniversary of the Pulse massacre in Orlando this month, it skips out on some of the most important details, like, you know, which populations remain vulnerable to contracting HIV. It’s almost like he missed the whole fucking point of the day to begin with:

Nowhere in the statement did Trump mention LGBTQ people or people of color, two groups still disproportionately impacted by the virus in the United States. African Americans are most affected by HIV. In 2015, there were 17,670 African Americans diagnosed with HIV, and more than half of them identified as gay or bisexual men. That same year, there were 10,509 new diagnoses among white Americans — 7,000 fewer diagnoses than among African Americans — even though there are more than five times as many white people living in the country. Trump made no effort to recognize these disparities or speak specifically to these populations.

Trump also blatantly lied about how he’s actually helping to diagnose and treat people for HIV. “My Administration is determined to build upon these improvements,” he wrote, “and continue supporting domestic and global health programs that prioritize testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS.” But he’s not actually doing that.

In their group letter announcing their resignation from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, former council members also held no bars: “The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and—most concerning—pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease … the final straw for us, is President Trump’s handling of health care reform.” Among services cut globally, amfAR estimates that over 250,000 HIV/AIDS patients will experience treatment cuts and over 78,000 children will be orphaned due to resulting deaths.


Who's pushing for the Republican healthcare bill? Industries that treat their employees like crap

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:01:11 +0000

Campaign Action One of the most impressive bits about the Republican push to defund Obamacare and thoroughly gut Medicaid is their insistence on doing so despite furious opposition from doctors, medical groups, patients groups, the AARP, and oh-by-the-way the American voting public, and by a very wide margin. Everyone aside from Republican leadership and conservative anti-government groups recognizes that the Republican "plan" will decimate the insurance markets, leave millions uninsured, toss current Medicaid recipients off the rolls, and get people killed. For a tax cut. That's the only upside: Some rich folks get a tax cut. But that doesn't mean every American interest group is against it. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is collecting support from all sorts of business interests who don't care what the medical industry says, they support the Republican plan to "protect the employer-sponsored system" regardless. Shall we take a look? There's the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. It's unclear what their motive is, since people paying $10,000 more per year for health insurance are going to be buying considerably fewer air conditioners. There's the Auto Care Association, and the Food Marketing Institute.  The National Restaurant Association and National Retail Association want this thing done. And, notably, there are multiple construction associations—the National Association of Home Builders thinks laborers in the dangerous industry could use less insurance, thank you very much—and the motives of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America are, we presume, self-evident. Of the 30-ish supporting groups, what stands out the most? That other than the insurance agents themselves, nearly all the groups who’ve signed on are in industries famous for treating their employees like absolute crap. The International Franchise Association, Retail and Restaurant and Club associations, the Wholesaler-Distributors—these are all industries that have been battling tooth and nail to keep employee wages as close to the poverty line as possible, to provide little to no voluntary benefits, and wherever possible to treat laborers as "contractors" rather than employees in order to block them from getting what few benefits would otherwise be required by law. By gum, they are fans of this new Republican plan to cheapen coverage by allowing them to buy insurance for their employees that covers fewer conditions, comes with lifetime limit caps, and which their laborers will still thank their lucky stars to have because if they quit their jobs, they might find themselves locked out of any health insurance altogether for the next half-year. Of course they are. [...]

Republican senators bussed to White House to talk to Trump

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:56:32 +0000

Campaign Action Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to delay a vote on his Trumpcare bill brought out a wave of "I'm opposed to this bill" from some surprising quarters. Like Kansas's Jerry Moran, who is not anywhere near even moderate in his politics, but says the "bill missed the mark for Kansans and therefore did not have my support." Less surprisingly, Shelley Moore Capito (WV) tweets that it "doesn’t do enough to combat opioid epidemic, cuts traditional Medicaid too deeply, harms rural health care providers." She has three heavy lifts she's laying down as her line, so that's a big deal. Susan Collins (ME), too, is saying she's not going to budge, whatever they do with the bill, telling reporters after McConnell announced his delay, "It’s difficult for me to see how any tinkering is going to satisfy my fundamental and deep concerns about the impact of the bill." Rob Portman (OH) is opposed to this version but expresses his willingness to keep working. Nevada's Dean Heller has been pretty mum. Alaska's Lisa Murkowski says she's ready to start working with Democrats on a whole new bill. So with that in mind, check out who had to sit next to popular vote loser Donald Trump in the hastily-convened White House meeting, which is still going on. x.@realDonaldTrump meets with GOP members of the Senate to discuss healthcare. #HealthcareBill— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) June 27, 2017 There's Heller, Collins, and Murkowski planted right there by Trump, and not looking so thrilled at the proximity. Trump might not be providing the pep talk McConnell was hoping for. "If we don't get it done it's just going to be something that we're not going to like and that's OK," he told the senators while reporters were still in the room. It could be an entirely different message once the doors were closed, but that doesn't sound like he's particularly engaged. McConnell's new plan, by the way, is to have a revisions made and the bill ready to go back to the CBO by Friday. That's not a lot of time for a balance to be struck here. Make your Republican Senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to ripping health care away from millions of Americans. No on Trumpcare. Then, tell us how it went. Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 · 9:18:46 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter xBest picture from the Trump health care meeting?— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) June 27, 2017 [...]

Vandals destroyed the Emmett Till marker in Mississippi but they can't erase our racist past

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:27:01 +0000

Just when it was getting hard to imagine that we could sink any lower as a country when it comes to our racism we had to go and outdo ourselves. Apparently, the heartbreaking death of 30-year-old pregnant mom of four Charleena Lyles at the hands of Seattle police wasn’t enough to shock us into finally waking up. Nor was actually watching a police officer murder Philando Castile in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter, which was recently released on video. These are only two recent examples. We are a country with a serious race and racism problem, dating back centuries and we refuse to get help for it. It will most definitely be our undoing. 

The problem is not just that we can’t agree that racism is a current issue that needs addressing. We haven’t even come to terms with acknowledging the importance of our racist past. Perhaps that’s why vandals recently decided to destroy a marker in Mississippi memorializing slain teenager Emmett Till. This is the second time in as many months that the marker has been vandalized.

A civil rights historical marker in Mississippi has been vandalized, obliterating information about black teenager Emmett Till, who was kidnapped and lynched in 1955. [...]

Allan Hammons, whose public relations firm made the marker, said Monday that someone scratched the marker with a blunt tool in May. During the past week, a tour group discovered vinyl panels had been peeled off the back of the metal marker in Money, Mississippi. The panels contained photos and words about Till.

It’s almost tempting to ask “Is nothing sacred anymore?” but we already know the answer. Black lives have never been sacred in this country, so neither are monuments and markers commemorating the sacrifice our lives have paid on behalf of civil rights in this country. After Emmett Till was brutally murdered for supposedly having whistled at a white woman (a story which the woman later recanted), his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, insisted on having an open casket funeral so the world could witness the hideous brutality directed at blacks during that time. But sadly, her effort was for naught. It seems as if witnessing such horror isn’t enough to shame white supremacy out of existence. It is determined to thrive, no matter what.


Must watch: Reporter rips White House for 'inflammatory' rhetoric about news outlets

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:16:05 +0000

A White House reporter excoriated Sarah Huckabee Sanders during Tuesday’s White House briefing for casting Donald Trump's White House as the perpetual victim of fake news.

"If we make the slightest mistake—the slightest word is off—it is just an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room," Huckabee Sanders said, adding that news outlets "get to go on, day after day" citing unnamed sources.

Huckabee Sanders' diatribe from the podium was interrupted by an indignant reporter, Brian Karem, who reminded her that there are actual consequences for reporters who get a story wrong (e.g. three reporters resigning from CNN). Whereas, the White House can just keep on peddling lies and misinformation—as it has consistently done—without any comeuppance at all other than falling approval numbers and ruining America's reputation around the world. Here’s Karem:

“Any one of us are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don't get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us. You have been elected to serve for four years at least. There's no option other than that. We're here to ask you questions. You're here to provide the answers and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, 'See once again, the president is right and everybody else out here is fake media.'

And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job.”

As you might imagine, Huckabee Sanders said she disagreed "completely."

But if you have been waiting to see a reporter castigate the White House for its indefensible double standard about truth and accountability, this is your jam.

Watch it below.


Three CNN reporters resigned due to violating 'standards'—a word Trump isn't familiar with

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:22:26 +0000

Donald Trump doesn't have much to delight in these days other than the misfortune of others, which is why he was positively gleeful over news that three CNN journalists resigned Monday for publishing a story last weekend that wasn't properly sourced.


It's worth noting that Trump actually got at least some facts right—for once. CNN did retract the story, which reported that hedge-fund manager and Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci was being investigated by Congress for his links to a Russian investment fund. Though CNN never said the article was factually inaccurate, it was still cause for Trump revelry. He retweeted a giant red spoof logo in which "CNN" had been changed to "FNN" with the tagline "Fake News Network."

Now that "they caught CNN cold," Trump wrote, "what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost?"

The resignations were prompted by CNN itself.

An internal investigation by CNN management found that some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published, people briefed on the results of the investigation said. [...]

Friday night, once it was determined that editorial processes were not followed, CNN deleted the story from Soon thereafter, the story was officially retracted and replaced with an editor's note.

The piece "did not meet CNN's editorial standards and has been retracted," the note said. "Links to the story have been disabled."


Far-right groups push Senate hard-liners to oppose Trumpcare

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:59:31 +0000

Campaign Action The tea party groups that grew out of opposition to President Obama generally and the Affordable Care Act specifically are rising up again, this time to oppose any "repeal and replace" effort that in their minds doesn't adequately repeal and take health care away from enough people. That pressure is backing up Senate hardliners as they dig in to make the bill even more horrible. “We’re saying it would be better named the ObamaCare Forever Act. We’re not happy with the bill as it is,” said Jon Meadows, a spokesman for FreedomWorks, a prominent conservative advocacy group. Conservative groups say the legislation will do little to bring down premiums, bolstering senators such as Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who are holding out against the bill. FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said in a statement last week that the legislation “breaks” the promise McConnell made to conservatives to repeal the law “root and branch.” Another conservative group, the Senate Conservatives Fund, on Monday said the Senate bill would “lead to higher premiums” and “hurt American families.” It worked on one of those guys—Mike Lee just announced his opposition to the bill, making it five. The Club for Growth hasn't weighed in yet but is expected to also oppose it. Heritage Action and the Koch's Americans for Prosperity are staying engaged—not in full opposition yet, but leaning hard to make the pain for non-prosperous Americans worse. In a statement that rival's anything notorious liar House Speaker Paul Ryan has ever uttered, we’re disappointed lawmakers haven’t done more to improve health care, but we are committed to working with them to make progress, AFP's chief government affairs officer Brent Gardner told The Hill  "We’re disappointed lawmakers haven’t done more to improve healthcare, but we are committed to working with them to make progress." Because the Koch brothers want your healthcare to improve. The end of Medicaid as we know it? No exaggeration. The Senate version of Trumpcare has worse long-term cuts to Medicaid than the House version, to pay for tax breaks to the wealthy. Call your Republican senator at (202) 224-3121, and give them a piece of your mind. Tell us how it went. [...]

Pentagon may thank foreign-born recruits for their service by deporting them

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:11:27 +0000

Foreign-born recruits who signed up for the military with the promise of U.S. citizenship in exchange for their service are finally getting their thanks in the form of deportation. MAGA.

According to a new report, the Pentagon is considering ending the contracts of a large number of foreign-born recruits in the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program—which puts service members with foreign-language and other speciality skills on an expedited path to citizenship—due to an “overtasked vetting process and heightened security risk.” 

But according to one former official, this can be something as innocuous as having a foreign relative, which would be expected of a foreign-born applicant in the first place. And due to the fact that the federal government already has so much of their personal information on file, many of these recruits would be “prime targets” for immediate deportation.

Basically, “Thank you for your service. Now get out”:

Last year, officials heightened security screenings specifically for MAVNI recruits, diverting “already constrained Army fiscal and manpower resources,” the memo said.

The overtasked vetting process and heightened security risk led officials to recommend canceling enlistment contracts for all 1,800 awaiting orders for basic training, and halting the program altogether, according to the memo.

Those recruits are in what the military calls the delayed-entry program, a holding pool of recruits assigned training dates in the future. About 1,000 of them have seen their visas expire while waiting for travel orders, which would put them at risk of deportation if their contracts are canceled.

“It’s terrible,” said Margaret Stock, a retired Army officer who actually helped implement the program in 2009. “You trusted the Army, who delayed the process, and now they’re going to cancel your contract and have you deported.”


Midday open thread: Mayors seek 100% renewables by 2035; good riddance to nonpartisan journalism?

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:01:07 +0000

Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is GOP-care defended: • An Op-ed says good riddance to nonpartisan journalism. •   xCharleston, WV, looks to the sky and asks: "Who's Senator Heller?" Probably not the reaction organizers were seeking. It's @SenCapito, guys.— Rob Byers (@RobByersWV) June 26, 2017 A dumb mistake. But it probably got 100x as much attention as it would have had it been correct. Was there a Sen. Capito banner flying over Las Vegas? •  • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events • Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups • These charts show who you will spend most of your time with as you age. Hint: Look in the mirror. • Resigning Rep. Jason Chaffetz says members of Congress should get $2,500-a-month housing stipend: “I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz told The Hill in an interview in his Capitol office, where he sleeps whenever he’s in Washington. “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.” • U.S. renewables surpass nuclear as electricity source in March-April: The latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information's "Electric Power Monthly" (with data through April 30) reveals that—for the first time since the beginning of the nuclear era—renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar—inc. small-scale PV, wind) are now providing a greater share of the nation's electrical generation than nuclear power. For the first third of this year, renewables and nuclear power have been running neck-in-neck with renewables providing 20.20 percent of U.S. net electrical generation during the four-month period (January to April) compared to 20.75 percent for nuclear power. But in March and April, renewables surpassed nuclear power and have taken a growing lead: 21.60 percent (renewables) vs. 20.34 percent (nuclear) in March, and 22.98 percent (renewables) vs. 19.19 percent (nuclear) in April. • Meanwhile, U.S. Conference of Mayors call for 100 percent renewables in their cities by 2035; The United States Conference of Mayors, which includes both Republican and Democratic mayors from cities across the nation, adopted a series of resolutions that are far more assertive than federal climate policy, including a pledge supporting cities' adoption of 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. [...] Cities have been pushing for stronger action on climate change for years, but the efforts have taken on new urgency since President Donald Trump took office in January. After Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, more than 200 cities joined with nearly a dozen states and hundreds of businesses to announce that they would remain committed to the goals of the agreement. • Three cases of the plague diagnosed in New Mexico. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, we don’t let Medicaid repeal distract us from Syria, nor let Syria distract us from Medicaid repeal. Armando joins in to round up the recent SCOTUS activity and comment on the procedure & the chaos, which he does entirely without resort to emojis of any kind. x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash [...]

Senate Republicans just blinked on healthcare repeal. Here's how we make them think twice.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:23:43 +0000


John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate, had been brashly predicting that the GOP would move forward with its bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act this week and no later. But the number one Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, reportedly just blinked and said that’s not going to happen: He’s delaying any vote until after Congress’s July 4 recess, which doesn’t end until July 10.

So unless McConnell’s acting out 11-dimensional kabuki (and anything's possible with this guy), that means he’s struggling to corral the 50 votes he needs for this monstrosity.

And we can make it even harder.

Right now, there are three Republican senators up for re-election in 2018 who could face competitive races:

  • Dean Heller in Nevada
  • Jeff Flake in Arizona
  • Ted Cruz in Texas

Daily Kos is raising money for ActBlue’s “nominee funds” for each of these races, and you can contribute to these funds right now. All money is held in escrow until after each state’s primary, when the cash is transferred in one fell swoop to the Democratic nominee, who can then start using the money for his or her general election campaign right away.

If we can make the digital mercury in that thermometer soar, Democrats, Republicans, and the media will take notice. GOP senators who are already on the fence about this cruel piece of legislation will have to think twice about whether they want to keep courting electoral oblivion. None of them want to face well-financed opponents—and none of them will want to keep giving the resistance more motivation to keep donating.

This is only one front in a much larger battle. Keep on calling, faxing and emailing your senators and attending their town halls. But also contribute to defeat these Republicans.

Please give $1 to each of our Senate funds so that Republican senators know there’ll be a price to pay for repealing health care.


Republican senators are getting calls opposing Trumpcare, but they need to get more

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:32:08 +0000

Polls tell us that the House version of Trumpcare is unpopular, and the Senate version can’t be much more popular. But are people calling their senators to let them know how hated the bill is?  Democratic senators have started reporting the number of constituents they’re hearing from for and against the plan to uninsure 22 million people—and it’s mostly against. New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, for instance, said she’d gotten 5,569 contacts about the bill and 5,461 of them had been opposed. Republican senators haven’t been as forthcoming. Politico got a staffer for one Republican, Mississippi’s Thad Cochran, to offer some numbers: “Since last Thursday, the Cochran offices have received approximately 224 constituent calls against and two in favor of discussion draft of the healthcare bill,” Gallegos wrote in an email Monday. But others were a lot fuzzier: “We’ve had several phone calls — there’s still a mix,” [Sen. Mike Crapo’s communications director Lindsay] Nothern said. “But they probably run stronger against the Republican bill than for it. Most of them want to see changes in the bill.” He said the majority of calls concerned Medicaid, though Nothern did not specify any numbers when asked. Probably stronger against than for … and most of them want to see changes. It sounds like that’s a strategic refusal to give solid numbers because Crapo is about to do something very unpopular. You know what this says, of course. Keep calling. Call more often. Your Republican senator might not be willing to say publicly how much opposition they’re hearing on this bill, but they’re keeping track of those numbers.  Make your Republican senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to ripping health care away from millions of Americans. No on Trumpcare. Then, tell us how it went. Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 · 6:21:31 PM +00:00 · Laura Clawson Boom. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly delayed the vote to try for a new CBO score and more Republican support. Your calls are working, but don't stop now. Make sure your Republican senator knows you're not going to shut up and go away because of a few cosmetic tweaks. [...]

Reports: McConnell will delay Trumpcare vote, wants rewrites and new CBO score

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:55:34 +0000

With enough probable or even possible defections from Republican senators, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told senators he will delay the Trumpcare vote until after the July 4 recess.


The other big breaking news of the last half hour is that popular vote loser Donald Trump has invited all the Republican senators to the White House for a meeting this afternoon.

This doesn’t mean it’s over, by any means, because this is what happened in the House, too. But it gives us another week to raise some hell.

All we need is 3 Republican senators to block Trumpcare. If you have a GOP senator, we need you to call their office at (202) 224-3121. Demand that they put their constituents above their party. After the call, tell us how the call went.


Hmm: Paul Ryan's op-ed touting all the GOP's 'good news' doesn't mention health care even once

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:59:52 +0000

Back in the day, House Speaker Paul Ryan likely spent college keggers dreaming of shredding the social safety net. Now that he's delivering legislation that could do just that, he just doesn't think his good work is getting its due. So Ryan put pen to paper in an op-ed in the Independent Journal Review:

Sometimes the noise drowns out the good news.

And it certainly is right now. It would be hard to fault the average American for thinking all that’s going on in Washington these days is high-drama hearings and partisan sniping. But amid the countdown clocks and cable news chatter, something important is happening: Congress is getting things done to help improve people’s lives. (emphasis added)

Let's stop right there. Honestly, it's unclear what he means by "getting things done" since Republicans haven't gotten any major pieces of legislation signed into law yet, but one might wager that he means passing a House healthcare repeal bill that would cut the number of insured Americans by 23 million. That would be logical, right? It is the biggest piece of legislation the House has passed—the one that warranted a big trip to the White House Rose Garden for a round of self-congratulatory glad-handing and backslapping.

But apparently even Ryan couldn't find a way of framing that unconscionable monstrosity as an effort that would "improve people's lives."

Of course, many of the people who would be stripped of healthcare insurance by Ryan's bill are on Medicaid, a program designed to help poor and disabled folks who for one reason or another can't afford to pay for health care themselves. But this must be the "good news," folks. It's all relative, and Ryan's a glass-half-full kinda guy. The more you can deprive indigent folks of basic care, the more money you can stuff back into the pockets of people who already have more wealth than they know what to do with. "Good news."

Because other than robbing poor people of lifesaving care to further enrich the richest Americans, there's no "good news" to be had in that bill. It doesn't fix any of the problems Republicans have complained about for years. Deductibles will be higher, the individual markets will become less stable, people with pre-existing conditions will be priced out of the market, and premiums might go down but only because people will be getting less coverage.


The local papers' reviews for McConnell's Trumpcare bill are in, and are they brutal

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:18:46 +0000

The great thing about Congressional Budget Office scores on the truly awful stuff, like Trumpcare, is that they write their own headlines. Like this:


And this:


Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) haven’t yet said what they’ll do on Trumpcare. Maybe these headlines will help them decide. There’s even more pain for Republicans back home.

The end of Medicaid as we know it? No exaggeration. The Senate version of Trumpcare has worse long-term cuts to Medicaid than the House version, to pay for tax breaks to the wealthy. Call your Republican senator at (202) 224-3121, and give them a piece of your mind. Tell us how it went.


Mitch McConnell issues dire warning: If Trumpcare fails, Republicans might have to talk to Democrats

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:18:44 +0000

What happens if Republicans can’t get enough Republicans to vote for their all-Republican bill? The greatest horror imaginable.

Mitch McConnell is delivering an urgent missive to staffers, Republican senators and even the president himself: If Obamacare repeal fails this week, then the GOP will lose all leverage and be forced to work with Chuck Schumer.

Yes. If Republicans don’t pledge allegiance to Trump and sign on to condemn millions of Americans, they could be forced to talk to Democrats. That doesn’t mean Democrats will get anything they want, but … they’d have to talk to them. They might even get some of that democracy all over their tax cut plan.

Voters expect Republicans to deliver on their long-held promise to repeal the law, McConnell said, according to those people. And failing to repeal the law would mean the GOP would lose its opportunity to do a partisan rewrite of the law that could scale back Medicaid spending, cut Obamacare’s taxes and repeal a host of industry mandates.

Instead, Republicans would be forced to enter into bipartisan negotiations with Democrats to save failing insurance markets.

It takes a very special kind of mind to think that “lose its opportunity to do a partisan rewrite” is a problem that should make people scramble. Of course, there’s only so long Republicans can keep maintaining the fabrication that the Affordable Care Act is dead

Of course, it’s also a big week for healthcare with an anticipated vote in the Senate later this week on the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Trump administration is holding events around the country highlighting the failure of Obamacare and what that failure has cost American families. 


The GOP bill isn't just 22 million Americans losing health insurance—it's 28,600 murders

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:23:59 +0000

In what may be the year’s most timely study, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a study on Monday showing something that should be obvious, but needs to be stated: Insurance saves lives.

The evidence strengthens confidence in the Institute of Medicine's conclusion that health insurance saves lives: The odds of dying among the insured relative to the uninsured is 0.71 to 0.97.

What does that mean? It means that for every 1 million people who lose health insurance, 1,300 will die early. Combine that with the CBO score of the latest Senate healthcare bill and the cost for Republicans meeting their “repeal and replace” talking point isn’t just measured in the huge increases in cost to individuals. It’s 28,600 dead Americans who would be alive if Obamacare stays in place. It’s murder to score political points with their base.

Where do those deaths come from? Uninsured people are less likely to engage in preventative care. They’re more likely to wait until conditions are more serious before seeking treatment. They’re less likely to get the best quality care or necessary follow-up care.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the ranks of the uninsured have been cut by 20 million. That’s 26,000 lives saved. But Trump and the Republicans are ready to throw those lives and more down the drain … because that’s the real price of getting revenge on Barack Obama.

Doctors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, the authors of the study, served as unpaid advisers to the Bernie Sanders campaign where they helped to evaluate health policy. They point out the difficultly of doing such a study, considering all the different variables for which it’s hard to control, but searched the literature for situations where populations were similar except for whether or not they held health insurance. The result they achieved reflects the outcome of previous studies: health insurance saves lives.


The GOP has a stranglehold on 25 state governments. We can start to shatter one of them next month

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:00:04 +0000

After a painfully successful 2016 that saw them hold both houses of the legislature and pick up the governorship, Republicans now run the show in New Hampshire. And predictably, they immediately proceeded to push the same policies Republicans do everywhere as soon as they take control of a state's government: defund Planned Parenthood, restrict voting rights, and attack labor unions and working families.

But Democrats will soon have a chance to unlock the GOP's stranglehold on this volatile swing state, and it starts with the state Senate. At only 24 seats, it's among the smallest legislative chambers in the country, so just one race can have a major impact, especially in a body as closely divided as this one.


The New Hampshire Senate had a 14-to-10 Republican majority until recently; it's now 14-to-nine following Democratic Sen. Scott McGilvray's untimely death earlier this year. That means there will be a special election to fill his seat—the 16th District, which includes Dunbarton, Bow, Hooksett, Candia, and parts of Manchester—and it's coming up soon, on July 25.

This seat is a key hold for Democrats, and keeping it won't be easy. Last fall, this district was Democrats' only red-to-blue flip in this chamber, with McGilvray defeating his GOP opponent by a narrow 51-49 margin. At the top of the ballot, the spread was even closer: Clinton eked out a 47.7-47.4 win. But this is exactly the kind of district Democrats need to retain in order to have a chance of flipping the state Senate in 2018, a realistic goal that's crucial to breaking the GOP's grasp on the state government "trifecta.”

Manchester Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh won the primary earlier this month, and Daily Kos is pleased to give him our endorsement in this key contest. Cavanaugh is a product of local public schools, has been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for 32 years, and also coaches Little League.


Trump's unpopularity around the world is dragging down America's image

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:03:32 +0000

Donald Trump is massively unpopular around the world and he’s bringing America’s image down with him, new set of polls finds:

According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. This stands in contrast to the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world.

Only in Russia and Israel do people have more confidence in Trump than they did in President Obama at the end of his presidency. Russia shows up again as one of the only two countries—along with Vietnam—where the favorability rating for the United States as a whole has increased.

In Canada, this is the first time a poll has found a majority having a negative view of the U.S., and: 

The rise of Trump has almost certainly caused the precipitous fall. Under Obama last year, 83 percent of Canadians had confidence in the president to do the right thing in world affairs. Under Trump this year, it is a mere 22 percent.

Of course, Trump probably thinks that being disliked around the world is a sign he’s doing something right. (Then again, what doesn’t Trump think is a sign he’s doing something right?)


McConnell hits snag on moving Trumpcare forward

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:36:08 +0000

Campaign Action Four Republican senators—Dean Heller (NV), Susan Collins (ME), Rand Paul (KY), and Ron Johnson (WI)—have announced they will vote against the procedural motion to proceed on the "Better Care Act," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's version of Trumpcare. One of those votes, Johnson's is . . . let's say "fluid." He's taken about four different positions in the last month and is frankly incoherent. Even after saying Monday night that he was a "no," he's telling CNN that he's "not opposed to this, I just said I'm not a yes yet." Johnson aside, there are still three votes that could torpedo the bill today or tomorrow, and two of them (Heller and Collins) seem pretty locked in. That leaves McConnell in full arm-twisting mode to get the necessary 51 votes for the bill to advance to a floor debate. GOP leaders said ultimately that even lawmakers who oppose the bill in its current form could be persuaded to allow the debate over the party’s long-sought Obamacare rollback to begin. “I would hope … our members would at least let us get on it,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 GOP leader. “Everybody wants to exert whatever leverage that they can, where they can get the most leverage, but I would expect we’d be able to get on the bill.” “I think we’re going to be in a good place,” added Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), the party’s chief vote counter. […] Senators from Medicaid expansion states huddled on Monday evening, hoping to persuade McConnell to pour more money into Medicaid and opioid treatment, but budget hawks are eyeing an opportunity to pocket the savings and decrease the deficit. That $188 billion McConnell has to play with in the Congressional Budget Office's score of the bill is the crux there. McConnell probably counted on having that surplus to use to bribe the Medicaid senators—more funding to respond to the opioid crisis, maybe another "Klondike Kickback" type of tweak for Ohio and West Virginia, where Sens. Rob Portman and Shelley Moore Capito are under massive pressure to preserve Medicaid expansion. All we need is 3 Republican senators to block Trumpcare. If you have a GOP senator, we need you to call their office at (202) 224-3121. Demand that they put their constituents above their party. After the call, tell us how the call went. [...]

McConnell's response to CBO Trumpcare score: Clap harder ... and don't say the number 22 million

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:34:40 +0000

It took Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a few minutes to release a statement after the Congressional Budget Office released its verdict on the Senate Republican healthcare bill, and no wonder. When your bill will leave 22 million people without health coverage within a decade, 15 million of them by next year, you have to be careful what you say. Here's what McConnell came up with:

Americans need relief from the failed Obamacare law. The Senate will soon take action on a bill that the Congressional Budget Office just confirmed will reduce the growth in premiums under Obamacare, reduce taxes on the middle class, and reduce the deficit. The American people need better care now, and this legislation includes the necessary tools to provide it.

About that reduction in premium growth:


And reduced taxes on the middle class? If you consider people making $200,000 and above to be middle class, then sure. Because tax cuts start at income levels of $200,000 a year—not exactly middle class if you’re living in reality—and while people making between $200,000 and $500,000 a year get a tax cut of 0.2 percent of their income, that number rises to 0.8 percent of income for people making between $500,000 and $1 million, and two percent for people making more than $1 million. So even if you’re rich enough to get anything at all—and $200,000 a year places you solidly in the top 10 percent of American incomes—the real money goes to people making more than $1 million.

Also, don’t you love how “better care” is almost an afterthought in McConnell’s statement? Which is still more of an emphasis on good care than exists in his actual bill—the Senate’s Trumpcare would make health coverage worse for most of us even after it’s done booting 22 million people off of insurance.


Cartoon: GOP-care defended

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:51:01 +0000

Follow Jen on Twitter at @JenSorensen


Republicans have a solution to finding the votes they need for their healthcare bill—massive bribery

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:58:18 +0000

The bad news? The evaluation of the new Senate Republican health care bill by the Congressional Budget Office shows that 22 million people will lose their health care over the next decade, most of those in the next year. 

But there’s good news. Stripping Americans of their health care turns out to be more lucrative than expected. With the massive cuts to both individual subsidies and even more massive cuts to Medicaid, the Republicans looked into the bottom of the their plan and found some change left over.

Republicans in the White House and in Congress were pleasantly surprised that the bill included more savings than they expected — and are trying to figure out if they can dole it out for votes.

The Senate has about $188 billion to play with

$188 billion represents a fraction of the cost of the plan. It’s not enough to reverse the cuts to Medicaid. It’s not enough to reverse the increase in what individuals would pay. It’s not enough to stem the bleeding, figurative and literal, that the bill will create. But while it won’t buy Americans health care, it can buy Republicans some votes.

White House and Capitol Hill officials are exploring potential deals to divvy up billions of dollars to individual senators’ priorities in a wide-ranging bid to secure votes for the imperiled GOP health care bill.

That makes today officially “side deal Tuesday,” as Mitch McConnell goes from senator to senator, offering to sweeten the deal. Which means that Republicans are moving toward a place where the bill not only puts 22 million Americans lives on the line, it does it to buy a few Republican senators something nice.


Morning Digest: Nevada Democrats beg Danny Tarkanian not to throw them into briar patch

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:00:49 +0000

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, and David Beard. Leading Off ● NV-Sen, NV-03: Wealthy perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian helped gift Democrats a swingy House district in the Las Vegas suburbs last year, so we may be pushing our luck in hoping he'll also give Team Blue a boosting in winning Nevada's Senate seat in 2018. But he just might! The Nevada Independent's Jon Ralston reports that unnamed sources tell him Tarkanian is indeed mulling a primary bid against Republicans Sen. Dean Heller, who outraged Trumpworld when he said on Friday that he couldn't support the Senate GOP's bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (at least "right now"). However, Heller's failure to display slavish fealty to Republican leaders may only be part of Tarkanian's consideration here: He might also be looking to settle a score. Last year, Democrat Jacky Rosen beat Tarkanian 47-46 in Nevada's 3rd District, which Trump narrowly carried 48-47. Tarkanian, who is currently suing his old foe for defamation, is reportedly interested in challenging Rosen for re-election, but last week, Rosen said she was planning to take on Heller. According to Ralston's source, if Rosen runs for the Senate, Tarkanian feels he "must" consider doing so as well. As recently as Sunday, Ralston wrote that Tarkanian had ruled out a Senate bid, but he seems to have had an abrupt change of heart. Nevada Republicans can only hope he changes right back. Tarkanian has unsuccessfully run for office five times now, but his wealth and family name—his late father was the legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian—have elevated him above the rank of Some Dude. And powered by his belligerent conservatism, Tarkanian defeated state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, the choice of the GOP establishment, in the primary for the 3rd District last year. Tarkanian's many liabilities were well-known from his four prior campaigns (he was the nominee for a state Senate seat in 2004, for secretary of state in 2006, and for the 4th District in 2012, and he lost the primary for U.S. Senate in 2010), making it all too easy after the primary for Rosen and her allies to portray him as a shady businessman and non-stop office-seeker. Most notably, Tarkanian and his family guaranteed several bad loans in their failed effort to build an "equestrian destination resort." In 2012, Tarkanian was hit with a $17 million judgment as a result of that debacle, leading him to declare bankruptcy, because of course he didn't have anything like $17 million on hand to repay his creditors. (He finally settled the matter for just $525,000.) Tarkanian emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2015, just in time to launch yet another campaign. Democrats were only too happy to bludgeon him with the equestrian loan disaster. In the end, Tarkanian narrowly lost even though Trump carried his district—a rare Republican in a competitive seat who underperformed the top of the ticket. Who knows if he'll really do us a soli[...]

Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:15:53 +0000

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Energize An Ally Tuesday It was a tough scene to watch last week when Capitol Police started dragging out dozens of physically disabled protesters who had gathered at Mitch McConnell's office door to protest the monstrous money grab for the wealthy he was trying to disguise as a health care bill. Leading the protest were members of ADAPT (Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit, so named for their original issue in the 70s and 80s: making city buses wheelchair-accessible), and it was both heartbreaking and inspiring to watch them, in spite of their vulnerabilities, fight the evil power right there at the source, and for good reason: “The American Health Care Act caps and significantly cuts Medicaid which will greatly reduce access to medical care and home and community based services for elderly and disabled Americans who will either die or be forced into institutions,” said Bruce Darling, an ADAPT organizer taking part in the protest. “Not only will AHCA take away our freedom,” said Dawn Russell, an ADAPT organizer from Colorado. “That lost freedom will also cost Americans much more money. The nursing facilities that people will be forced into are much more expensive than community-based services that AHCA would cut.” At the heart of the GOP heartlessness---aka "Trumpcare"---are drastic cuts to Medicaid. As Laura Clawson shared last week, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is stark in its assessment if this tax cut for the rich passes this week (or any week): People with disabilities account for more than 1 in 5 Medicaid beneficiaries under age 65.  Nationwide, nearly 13 million non-elderly Americans with disabilities receive health coverage through Medicaid, including more than 2 million children. Nearly half of non-elderly people with disabilities have their health care covered through Medicaid. Heckuva job, McConnell, Ryan and Trump. Way to punch down. Medicaid is crucial for people with disabilities. It provides comprehensive health benefits and serves as the primary payer for essential long-term services and supports that help people with disabilities stay independent in their homes. Can't put it any plainer than that. For the love of all that is godly and just, pick up your phone today and call your senators---both of them, even if they're asshole Republicans---and ask how they can justify upending and endangering people's lives like this. Then, if you're so inclined, reach into your wallet and make a donation to ADAPT here. (C&J, as with all of our Energize an Ally organizations, is tossing in $25.) For showing, once again, great courage and determination as they fight for so many rights we non-disabled take for granted, they deserve it. Like ADAPT on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!] [...]

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:00:52 +0000

Republican Senators are beginning to either defect or troll us on the Medicaid repeal bill. Meanwhile, Trump is beginning to either unilaterally declare war with no notice to anyone, or troll the Pentagon. We’ll see what we can sort out before he kills us all. Listen LIVE (from your perspective, anyway), right here at 9:00 AM ET! Where else can you get live, unvarnished news, commentary and opinion from Daily Kos editors David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando? Well, sure, you could get that at Daily Kos. And this is Daily Kos. But that doesn’t count, because reasons. Besides, reading is overrated! Except for what you’re reading right now, that is. Especially this part: Help make the media you want, with a monthly, sustaining donation to our Patreon account! Or choose your own schedule with our Square Cash account. How can you be sure it’s worth your support? How about I let you check out our last show, for FREE: x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash Put on more sunscreen than David Waldman, get outside and have fun! Remember to pack your earbuds though—you don’t want to miss today’s KITM: Trumpcare is incredibly awful, astonishingly unpopular, and a failure all around. It is feared and hated coast to coast, but remains a make or break moment for Trump et al. So, how do the Republicans sell this nasty health care tax bill? Lie about it. Here are 3 lies they are using. Here’s another. Mitch McConnell also has designed the bill to let crocodile-tear senators amend it and claim victory. Greg Dworkin is here to explain that this is precisely the reason that backchannel negotiations might be the way Obamacare is rescued. It’s why Greg whispers “Cassidy-Collins” into ears at cocktail parties. Meanwhile, the CBO score will be the topic to bring up. The CBO score will show millions will lose coverage under the Senate health care tax bill. The Medicaid cuts will hurt even more. The largest gun organizations in Connecticut are getting behind Remington to fight families of 10 Sandy Hook shooting victims. Ivanka Trump, Senior Adviser to the President, with her own White House office, secure phone and such, tries to stay out of politics. So, when does her dad get out? Be patient, it’s coming. The current Russia fetish on the right is about white supremacy. White supremacy has been a priority for many in the US for a long while. Six Nazi spies were executed in Washington DC and white supremacists gave them a memorial on federal land. Russian bikers are connected to Putin. American bikers to Trump. Putin’s connected to American bikers. They are all connected to Trump. All this, plus Rosalyn MacGregor reports on the upcoming 2118 Gubernatorial race, and the issue of a “part-time legislature”, and who stands to gain. (Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]

Abbreviated pundit roundup: CBO confirms Senate GOP health care bill is a disaster

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:31:09 +0000

Higher deductibles? Check. Millions more uninsured? Check. Unaffordable plans that offer skimpy coverage? Check. Skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs? Check. The Congressional Budget Office confirmed that the Senate’s version of the House’s “mean” bill (to use Trump’s own description) is still a policy and political nightmare. We begin today’s roundup of the reaction to the CBO score with Michael Tomasky at Newsweek:

The bill is a policy monstrosity. A health-care monstrosity. It will dramatically increase the number of uninsured, by 22 million over 10 years, as you’ve heard. But it will also increase premiums for most people, at least at first. [...] 

All the cable networks on Monday night led with the 22 million uninsured, because it’s the biggest number and because it’s the “out-year” projection, which is what these reports always emphasize. But politically, the far more important number is 15 million. The CBO projects that the Senate bill would create 15 million more uninsured in 2018. That’s next year. An election year.

That is to say that 68 percent of those expected to lose their coverage are going to lose it in the bill’s first year. The Republicans are gonna throw 15 million Americans off the insurance rolls in an election year? That’s a lot of people. Divided by 435, it’s around 34,000 people per congressional district, but of course the distribution won’t be even, and there will be many districts—toss-up districts—where 60,000 or 80,000 people will stand to lose their coverage. And states where half a million will lose coverage. How’d you like to be a Republican incumbent House member or senator defending that next fall?


Open thread for night owls: Nowhere in GOP's 142-page healthcare bill does the word 'women' appear

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:00:55 +0000

Heather Timmons is White House correspondent for Quartz, where she writes—The word “women” literally never appears in the US Senate’s 142-page health-care bill: Women have babies. If they didn’t, first the economy would collapse, and then the species would die out. But because they do, from their late teens to their early forties, women have higher health-care costs than men of the same age. Carrying and birthing a child is a sometimes difficult, dangerous, complicated business, and one that, in America, can be incredibly expensive. Despite the incontrovertible fact that men are biologically just as responsible as women for a pregnancy happening, before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, women in the US paid more for health care and insurance because they are the ones who can get pregnant. Specifically, American women of child-bearing age paid somewhere between 52% and 69% more in out-of-pocket healthcare costs then men. The Trump administration’s health-care reform bill now in the Senate, and the version that passed the House this May, will force some women to pay more again. Specifically, it strips out hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, the insurance for the poor, which now covers over 50% of all births in many US states, and allows states to opt out of covering “essential” healthcare that includes maternity and newborn care. The Senate bill was crafted behind closed doors, by 13 men and no women. A search of the language used in the 142-page draft document (pdf) shows that womanhood and motherhood are, quite literally, also omitted from most of the bill itself. [...] • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events • Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “A billion people depend on fish for their main source for animal protein. At the rate at which we are losing fish, it is a human problem of enormous dimensions, a health problem of a kind we haven’t seen before.”                     ~Pavan Sukhdev, 2011 TWEET OF THE DAY xI'm unfamiliar with the economic theory that says tax cuts for billionaires trickle down to working people in the form of health insurance.— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) June 26, 2017 BLAST FROM THE PAST At on this date in 2008—SCOTUS Overturns Millionaire’s Amendment: Remember the Millionaire's Amendment?  Basically, it says that if a candidate self-funds his House or Senate campaign beyond a certain level (and the math is complicated) and makes the race less competitive, the challenger can start raising funds at twice or even three times ($6900/election) the contribution limits otherwise applicable, and the self-funder becomes subject to various mandatory disclosure requirements regarding his use of his own funds. Well, based on today's 5-4 Supreme Court decision authored by Justice Alito, it's just a memory now.  Since I can't imagine Congress acting anytime soon, in the 2008 cycle millionaire self-funding candidates can [...]

Two major newspapers have catalogued 337 lies (and growing) from Trump since he took office

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:18:00 +0000

Is Trump a pathological liar? Probably? It’s hard to say since everything about him is a lie, a manufactured untruth. His prowess as a businessman is a lie, he inherited his wealth from his father. His friends are bullshit. His face and hair are their own misadventure in truth telling. The Toronto Star has been keeping a tally of the falsehoods being told by our current president. With Trump’s return to the “campaign/not campaign trail” last week in Iowa—his bullshit game is back into fifth gear.

We are keeping track. Below is a list of every false claim Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

Trump is averaging 2.1 false claims per day.

They have the list which can also be sorted by topic. Some of the choicest from the list:

"Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is the latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia."

Source: Twitter

In fact: Johnson was Secretary of Homeland Security, not “Advisor,” and Trump’s claim is inaccurate even leaving that aside. Testifying before a House committee, Johnson was not nearly so definitive; asked if he had any evidence of Trump collusion with Russia, he said: “Not beyond what has been out there, open-source, and not beyond anything that I'm sure this committee has already seen and heard before directly from the intelligence community.” He then added that he hadn’t had access to intelligence “over the last five months,” as the investigation has continued.


Is that an Easter egg in your pocket, or are you just happy to be armed in church? GunFAIL CCXLII

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 13:15:05 +0000

Hi. We’re back again with another couple dozen accidental shootings. Because time marches on, and the same things keep happening over and over again, but to a mostly different set of people. Fifteen people accidentally shot themselves during the week, and two people were accidentally shot by family members or significant others. And one man, out target shooting with his son, either accidentally shot himself or was accidentally shot by his son, but we don’t know which. Unless he was accidentally shot by someone else, entirely, which I guess is a possibility. But hey, guns! So LOL YOLO ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ! “Only” five kids were accidentally shot this week. And one injured himself by getting pinched by the slide of the semi-automatic handgun he accidentally fired. The recurring theme for this week seemed to be the guns that are fired accidentally while their owners (or bearers, anyway) are out and about among the rest of us, while we’re shopping, dining, or otherwise going about our daily business. Four people were accidentally shot during the week—three fatally—by guns brought to the workplace. Several states now prohibit businesses from banning their employees’ guns from their property, so long as they’re stored in their (locked) personal vehicles. In Daviess County, Kentucky, a man who’d brought his gun with him to work decided, for whatever reason, to handle the weapon while sitting in his truck during his lunch break, and ended up shooting himself in the upper leg/pelvic area. I imagine he required family/medical leave, at least for the afternoon. It’s a good thing Democrats fight for such benefits. I hope it was there for him to take advantage of. There are certainly some businesses where there’s some reasonable expectation of danger, and the management and employees there often choose to keep firearms on site for their own safety. But sometimes it doesn’t work out as planned. In Dalton, Georgia, a man was fatally wounded by a gun kept in a desk at the auto towing & recovery lot where he worked. And in West Palm Beach, Florida, a man working at a strip club was killed when a fellow employee moved and accidentally fired a gun on a shelf in the storage room. (This story gained some additional notice because the man killed was the father of a NFL football player.) And in Rainbow City, Alabama, the manager of a local bank, who carried a gun for protection when he opened the branch early in the morning, was found dead by the next employee to arrive, having accidentally shot himself. In Columbia, South Carolina, a man shopping at the Dutch Square mall dropped the bag in which he was carrying his concealed firearm. It discharged and fired a round through the shop window. Thankfully, no one was injured. And churchgoers in Gladeville, Tennessee, likewise lucked out when a concealed carrier, for the second time in our GunFAIL history, accidentally discharged a firearm during Easter services. What a time to be alive. [...]

For its final act this term, conservative Supreme Court majority resets church-state balance

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:08:59 +0000

One more big fissure has been opened up in the wall of separation between church and state. As Justice Sotomayor (for herself and Justice Ginsburg) wrote in dissent today: This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government—that is, between church and state. The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church. Its decision slights both our precedents and our history, and its reasoning weakens this country’s longstanding commitment to a separation of church and state beneficial to both. For generations, the basic rule when it came to the separation of church and state was that the government could not fund any religious entities or programs. That wall developed some cracks over the years, with decisions holding that a school district had to provide a sign language interpreter to a deaf student at a Catholic high school as part of a federal aid program, or that governments could choose to fund religious programs as part of an overall school tuition voucher scheme. In the latter case, the court reasoned that it was effectively the parents, not the government, choosing to fund these schools, and government’s purpose in having the voucher program was not the advancement of religion. Two years later, though, the court again recognized that there was “play in the joints” between the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses, holding in a 7-2 decision that states could choose to not fund students pursuing devotional theology degrees as part of a neutral aid program, to avoid advancing religion. Today, the court went one step further, constraining the reach of that 7-2 precedent and instead holding that the State of Missouri is required to include religious schools in a state program which provides grants to nonprofits to allow them to resurface their playgrounds with recycled tires. Missouri’s objection was rooted in a state constitutional provision, passed in 1875 as part of a general anti-Catholic wave across the country, which stated that no money from the state treasury could go “directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, or denomination of religion.” The chief justice wrote for the court, joined by Justices Kennedy, Alito, and Kagan in full; by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch for the most part (and get to used to hearing this: “though they would have gone further”), and Justice Breyer for separate reasons. In addition, the court announced today that they are taking up the case of whether Colorado can compel a bakery to make a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. [...]

Senate Democrats hold another talk-a-thon for healthcare in America

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 01:34:56 +0000

Campaign Action Senate Democrats have held the floor for the last several hours, and promise to go into the night to talk about the danger Trumpcare poses to the American people. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer provided gallery passes from his office for advocates to watch the Senate proceedings. Several Senators—Cory Booker (NJ), Jeff Merkley (OR), Chris Murphy (CT), Bob Casey (PA) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) are holding a sit-in on the Capitol steps, with Booker writing this on his Facebook page. Health care is a human right. So this week we face a defining moment: we are perhaps days away from a vote on a devastating health repeal bill in the United States Senate that threatens the health and financial security of millions of Americans. We must fight harder for the American people who will suffer, who will get sicker, who will lose loved ones if the Senate Republican plan goes through. Because right now, the fate of millions of Americans and future generations are at stake in this fight – a fight Americans cannot afford to lose. Congressman John Lewis said it well: “Affordable health care is the birthright of every American. At stake are not just the details of policy but the character of our country.” So John Lewis and I are going to sit down on the Capitol steps for a while to protest Senate Republican’s efforts to repeal health care and give voice to millions of Americans who believe that affordable health care is a human right. Watch, share & join us. You can watch live on Facebook. Make your Republican Senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to ripping health care away from millions of Americans. No on Trumpcare. Then, tell us how it went. Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 · 1:43:11 AM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Schumer has joined his colleagues on the Capitol steps, while Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is giving rousing floor statement against this bill. Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 · 1:48:03 AM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Meanwhile, and this is weird, there are now four Republicans who say they will vote against the motion to proceed to this bill—GOP Sens. Dean Heller (NV), Susan Collins (ME), Rand Paul (KY), and Ron Johson (WI) (this is like his fourth position on the bill in the last two weeks). If they hold, if a few more join them, this is done. Call your Republican senators. Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 · 1:55:35 AM +00:00 · Joan McCarter xYou don't have to be in Washington tonight to share your story. Tweet, post, record using #AmericaSpeaksOut— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) June 27, 2017 [...]

Ivanka Trump, Donald-whisperer: 'I try to stay out of politics'

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:02:37 +0000

Ivanka Trump is notable for her omnipresence in Trump meetings with foreign and business leaders. She has an office in the White House. She has an official title. She has a staff. She is widely held up as the moderating force that will any day now convince her father that climate change is real, or that defunding women's health programs is bad, or that maybe we should feed American children even if they aren't able to score good-paying jobs in America's remaining coal mines. She has been successful at none of this, as far as we know.

Ivanka Trump has thoughts.

"I try to stay out of politics. [...]

We probably should just stop there, with that hanging over our heads like the butter knife of Damocles. But we are gluttons for punishment so we will lie here patiently while she explains the awesomeness that is her narcissistic, dementia-addled father.

[...] His political instincts are phenomenal. He did something that no one could have imagined he’d be able to accomplish,” the first daughter told Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” in response to a question about her father’s oft-controversial Twitter habit. “I feel blessed just being part of the ride from day one and before. But he did something pretty remarkable. But I don’t profess to be a political savant."

Scheduling an interview with Fox & Friends to explain how un-political you are is not Peak Trump Family, not by a long shot, but it is a good effort for a Monday. It also is good cover for protecting your own brand name even as daddy dearest continues to savage the nation's laws, reputation, and common sense. Anything father does that could be painted as good is due in part to your guiding input; anything father does that is humiliating and terrible and wrong is just "politics," which we will put in a neat little pile over there for the help to deal with.


Anti-tax guru Grover Norquist gets Twitter-owned

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 01:01:04 +0000

Grover Norquist is "the" Republican anti-tax guru. That is all he does; that is all he is known for. His organization, Americans for Tax Reform, exists for the purpose of grousing that all taxes are too high and all government is too big. So he probably imagined he was making a terribly clever point when he took to Twitter to share an anecdote on his parenting skills.


It did not go well, which on Twitter can be a truly glorious thing. Shall we bask in just a few of the many, many replies?


Criminal trial for disgraced former sheriff Joe Arpaio begins today

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:32:58 +0000

The criminal trial for Joe Arpaio begins today, with the birther and disgraced former Maricopa County sheriff facing a charge of federal criminal contempt of court for defying a judge’s order to stop targeting Latino and immigrant drivers. If convicted, the “bad hombre” faces up to six months in the slammer. No word if he’d still make it in time to sit in pink underwear in the notorious “Tent City” that his successor is shutting down by the end of this year: The eight-day trial that begins Monday in federal court in Phoenix will determine whether the 85-year-old retired lawman is guilty of misdemeanor contempt of court for disobeying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. The judge later found his officers racially profiling Latinos. The former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix has acknowledged defying the judge’s 2011 order in a racial profiling lawsuit by prolonging the patrols for months. But he insists it was not intentional. To win a conviction, prosecutors must prove he violated the order on purpose. For the advocates on the ground who spent years fighting back against Arpaio’s anti-immigrant nativism and helped hand him a long-awaited defeat last November, there’s no doubt in their minds about his intent. "His legend will be that he destroyed our community and he got busted for it,” said Lydia Guzman, a plaintiff in the lawsuit against Arpaio. According to USA Today, more than 700 undocumented immigrant workers in Maricopa County were swept up in immigration raids and turned over to federal immigration agents during Arpaio’s reign of terror. One of the immigrants arrested during one of Arpaio’s first raids also became one of the first immigrants to be deported following Donald Trump’s inauguration, leaving behind two U.S. citizen children. [...]

In Georgia, undocumented moms are facing deportation for driving without a license

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 01:09:14 +0000

Allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s common sense. Despite the fact that research has shown public safety improves when drivers have to undergo road tests and insure their vehicles in order to share our roads, only 12 states and D.C. allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. In states where they are outright banned from doing so—almost always a Republican-led effort—undocumented immigrants are forced to make something as ordinary as driving to work so they can support their families or dropping their kids off at school a risk, oftentimes one that can upheave entire lives and leave U.S. citizen kids without their mom: Alicia Ortiz-Mojica, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was driving with her two daughters for a day out in April when she allegedly ran a red light in Hall County, Georgia. A police officer pulled her over and found out she had been driving without a license, a privilege not granted for people without Social Security numbers. Over the course of the encounter, the officer allegedly found out about a prior arrest from November 2016, immigrant advocacy groups say, for another instance of driving without a license. Ortiz’s 15-year-old daughter Lizbhet and a younger daughter were in the backseat and witnessed the arrest. With Ortiz in handcuffs, the officer reportedly waited for Lizbhet to call a licensed friend to drive them in the car to a relative’s home. “It was really hard when she got arrested. I cried a lot,” Lizbhet told ThinkProgress in a phone interview. (Her uncle, who is now her guardian, granted permission for the phone call). Alicia’s family, unable to pay the $12,000 bond set by an immigration judge, set up an online fundraiser to raise the needed money, but she remains in detention after two months. Alicia’s eldest child, Lizbhet, has been forced to become the parent figure to her three younger siblings, all U.S. citizens. Sadly, undocumented immigrants not being allowed to apply for a driver’s license and then getting punished for driving without a license is not a unique disgrace, with Think Progress finding two other undocumented moms facing deportation after driving without a license. In one instance, a daughter has taken on her detained mom’s night shift at an aquarium. Feeling safer yet, America? [...]

Rev. Barber calls voter suppression 'a greater threat to U.S. democracy' than Russian hacking

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 00:00:57 +0000

Voting rights advocate Rev. William Barber was in Washington Friday marching with other activists to raise awareness about voter suppression on the fourth anniversary of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

In Barber's home state of North Carolina, activists have notched two recent victories in the courts that have struck down a discriminatory law targeting voters of color and found lawmakers relied too heavily on a race to draw the state's congressional districts. Nonetheless, the 2013 Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act suggested Congress could derive a new standard for discerning which states require extra scrutiny. That still hasn’t happened.

Additionally, Barber told a group of reporters that Attorney General Jeff Sessions can't be relied upon to challenge any new voter suppression laws coming from GOP-controlled legislatures, and he's worried that roadblocks for voters of color could be overshadowed by all the attention being paid to cyberattacks on our elections. Vanessa Williams reports:

“The truth is homegrown voter suppression poses a greater threat to U.S. democracy than Russian election tampering,” Barber said. [...]

“For nearly four years, the leadership of the Senate and the House have not brought for one bill to fully restore the Voting Rights Act,” said Barber said. “This is the real hacking of our democracy; the real hacking of our election system.”

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, as of May, at least 99 bills to restrict registration and voting have been introduced in 31 states, and more than a third of those bills have seen some type of legislative action. The center notes that although bills introduced to expand voting access outnumber those that would restrict access, “more legislation to limit participation is advancing toward passage.”


California bans state-funded travel to Texas over anti-LGBT adoption bill

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 19:34:29 +0000

The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has banned any state-funded travel to Texas over bigoted legislation signed by the atrocious Greg Abbott that will not only discriminate against LGBT and non-Christian couples who want to adopt, but also vulnerable LGBT children under state care: The attorney general's office said in a news release that Texas' House Bill 3859"allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBT families from the state’s foster and adoption system." Therefore, California agencies, public universities and boards won't be able to pay for their employees or board members to travel to Texas for work-related trips, the state's attorney general declared. "While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back," said Attorney General Becerra. "That's why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it." While “it's not immediately clear what the economic impact of the decision will have on Texas,” notes the Texas Tribune, it certainly adds to the backlash the state has experienced over a recent onslaught of hateful legislation, including a “show me your papers” law that is being challenged in the courts by some of the largest cities in the state. More on California’s move: One of the key consequences could involve higher education — and college sports in particular. Researchers and staff members from universities often travel to Texas for conferences. And California college sports teams play in Texas fairly regularly. Several major sports bowl games and tournaments are played here — including the men's college basketball Final Four in San Antonio in 2018. The University of California, Los Angeles played a road football game at Texas A&M University last season. The University of California, Berkeley played at the University of Texas at Austin a year earlier. The California law allows for exceptions for contracts that are already in place, and it's unclear whether the state's teams would be banned from playing in the Final Four. But the Los Angeles Times reported in February that UCLA has stopped scheduling games against teams in banned states. [...]

GOP Sen. Susan Collins a 'no' on Trumpcare, as Senate path narrows

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:13:42 +0000

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine sent three tweets Monday evening that made Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s path to 51 votes a lot tougher. “I will vote no on mtp,” Collins wrote of the GOP health care repeal bill, using the acronym for Motion to Proceed. Collins added she wanted to work with Democrats and Republicans to “fix” the Affordable Care Act but noted that the Republican bill wouldn’t do that. She followed with these tweets: xSenate bill doesn't fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid. 3/3— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 26, 2017 There’s no wiggle room there for changing her mind. That puts her in step with another relative GOP moderate, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, who last week said he couldn’t vote for a bill that “takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans.” Four conservative Republicans have also signaled misgivings about the bill, but the statements from Collins and Heller are much more convincing. If McConnell also loses Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski, that could be a wrap since he can’t afford to lose more than two GOP votes. Monday, Jun 26, 2017 · 11:28:57 PM +00:00 · Kerry Eleveld UDPATE: “Stalled” is probably a good estimation of the state of play on the GOP bill, since Rand Paul is the most likely GOP conservative to actually vote “no.” His “no” vote, plus Collins and Heller spell trouble... x***The Senate health care bill is STALLED.🔥Opposing the motion to proceed w/o changes:DEAN HELLERRAND PAULSUSAN COLLINS— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) June 26, 2017 [...]