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Published: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:48:15 +0000

Last Build Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:48:15 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Resistance FRIDAY!

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:30:07 +0000

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Friday Night Obama-Ha-Has Knowing full well that his lack of Barack Obama's comic timing is surpassed only by his lack of Obama's intellect, charm, empathy, honesty and stamina, Donald Trump will fail to show up this weekend at the White House Correspondents Dinner. So, to fill the void that's admittedly as tiny as Trump's hands, enjoy some barbs from the master through the years… 2009  ”Dick Cheney was supposed to be here but he’s very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively titled: How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.” 2010  "A few weeks ago I was able to throw out the first pitch at the Nationals game. I don't know if you saw it, but I threw it a little high and a little outside. This is how FOX News covered it: President panders to extreme left-wing of batter box." Not many presidents with better comic timing than this guy. 2011  “Where is the National Public Radio table? You guys are still here? I know you were a little tense when the GOP tried to cut your funding, but personally I was looking forward to new programming like No Things Considered or Wait, Wait…Don't Fund Me.” 2012  "Congress and I have certainly had our differences---yet I’ve tried to be civil, to not take any cheap shots.  And that’s why I want to especially thank all the members who took a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here tonight." 2013  "I know CNN has taken some knocks lately. But the fact is, I admire their commitment to cover all sides of a story just in case one of them happens to be accurate." 2014  "I'm feeling sorry, believe it or not, for the Speaker of the House. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black." Reminder: Won 365 electoral votes in ‘08 and 332 in ‘12. Trump got 304. Sad! 2015  “Just this week, Michele Bachmann predicted I would bring about the biblical end of days. Now that’s a legacy. That’s big. I mean, Lincoln, Washington, they didn’t do that.” 2016  “And then there’s Ted Cruz. Ted had a tough week. He went to Indiana---Hoosier country. Stood on a basketball court and called the hoop a ‘basketball ring.’ What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? But sure, I’m the foreign one.” I don’t give two coconuts if they're doing a WHCD this year or not. But I know Samantha Bee is doing an alternate one tomorrow night at 10 on TBS (and a version with all the cuss words un-bleeped on twitter at 11). That’ll be worth a look. And a quick reminder that the current registration-rate tier for August's Netroots Nation convention in Atlanta will evaporate at midnight tonight. So if you're planning to go, you still have a few hours to save some green before the rate goes up. Click here for the registration page. As a bonus, Nolan Treadway will give you a piggyback ride from the airport. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!] [...]

What is a 'sanctuary city' exactly? An immigrant rights group explains

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:26:07 +0000

There’s been a massive effort from popular vote loser, Donald Trump, and America’s most racist Keebler elf, Jeff Sessions, to demonize and twist sanctuary cities into lawless war zones where “bad hombres” run amok (that’s actually his cabinet, but that’s another story). The truth is that sanctuary city policies are locally decided actions that make cities safer, because local law enforcement agencies are able to build trust with undocumented immigrant residents. The result is a safer community. Of course, that goes against the entire smear campaign that Trump and Sessions have tried to set up. Here are some plain facts about what a sanctuary city is, courtesy a must-read explainer from immigrant rights group America’s Voice:

Sanctuary cities come into play when an undocumented immigrant comes into contact with the police. A very common occurrence of this happens on the road – someone is speeding, has a broken taillight, or has a broken license plate light, and is pulled over. If a person is undocumented, chances are they do not have a valid driver’s license – only twelve states and the District of Columbia allow immigrants to legally drive. Immigrants still have to get to work and school somehow – but being found without a valid driver’s license can get an individual arrested.

Other reasons immigrants (just like native-born Americans) come into contact with the police include an immigrant calling the police to their house (for example in the case of a domestic dispute), a car accident, drug usage, police checkpoints, so forth.

Once an immigrant is arrested, their information gets put into a federal database that is shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE can then issue a hold, also called a detainer, asking the police to hold that person in custody until ICE can come pick that person up for immigration detention and eventual deportation.


Lead poisoning in American children reaches frightening levels—and only half get treatment

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:08:36 +0000

The United States is doing a pitiful job of treating lead poisoning in children. We’ve spent decades talking about cleaning up lead but apparently we forgot that we also needed to worry about its impact on our kids. And a new report shows that the numbers are actually much worse than we thought. 

Researchers at the Public Health Institute reported Thursday in the journal Pediatrics that the overall number of children with elevated blood lead levels as of 1999-2000 in the US was 1.2 million, or double what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported. (The number is likely even higher now, since testing rates have only declined since 2000.) These kids who are never tested or reported to the CDC also aren’t receiving treatment.

Currently, testing children for lead isn’t required by law and in 11 states (including Arizona and Florida), 80 percent of children were not tested by pediatricians or health departments. This means that doctors miss children that are exposed to lead poisoning and they don’t get treatment. Lead paint was banned in the late 1970s and as a result the percentage of children who blood lead levels has declined. However, researchers have learned in recent years that no level of lead in the blood is safe for children. 

Studies have even shown lead concentration in the blood as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter of blood (μg/dL) can lower IQ in children. And once children have blood lead levels of 5 μg/dL and above (what’s now considered lead poisoning), they can suffer severe neurological damage in the form of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.


Cartoon: Celebrate President Trump's first 100 days

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:50:45 +0000

The first 100 days milestone is largely arbitrary, but Trump made a big deal about it during the campaign. Now he’s downplaying it since it’s been such a disaster. 100 days is a blip in time when you realize Neil Gorsuch will be on the Supreme Court for probably the next thirty or forty years.


Republicans admit no Democrats will vote for their deficit-exploding corporate tax giveaway

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:44:51 +0000

Democrats just aren't going to help Republicans blow a hole in the deficit with tax cuts that amount to a huge boon for billionaires and corporations, and both the White House and GOP leaders know it. The AP writes:

A senior administration official said Thursday the White House plans to push its tax overhaul without any support from congressional Democrats. [...] On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he planned to pass a tax overhaul without Democratic support, but only if it didn't add to long-term deficits.

Good luck with that. If the tax bill looks anything like the notes Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin scribbled down on a beverage napkin earlier this week, the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says federal revenue will take a $5.5 trillion nosedive over 10 years and explode the deficit.

Besides the debt/deficit disaster it will inflict, the giant corporate tax bonanza that serves of the centerpiece of Trump's "plan" repels voters, writes Politico. 

“It just doesn’t sell,” said one former longtime Republican tax aide. “Most [Republican lawmakers] come from rural districts. They don’t have big corporate headquarters in their districts, and their constituents don’t care if GE gets a 25 percent rate.”

“If anything, there could be a backlash,” he said.

That's exactly what a recent Pew Research poll found.


Rob Quist speaks out in defense of Montana's public lands

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:30:45 +0000


Rob Quist was recently endorsed by Montana Conservation Voters in his campaign to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in Montana’s lone House seat, and he expands on his views on natural resources in an interview with the Helena Independent Record. Quist hasn’t hunted or fished in recent years, but says he frequently canoes and camps, and describes access to public lands as “the No. 1 issue for me … probably why I’m in this race.”

To improve access, Quist supports funding and authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund taps royalties on offshore oil as grants for community projects and conservation, including land acquisition.

“We need to push the narrative about what an economic driver (public lands) is for the state of Montana,” he said, with recreation jobs and an influx of tourists each year.

The Trump administration proposes slashing the budgets of several public land management agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. Quist says he opposes those cuts.

“These are vital programs for the state of Montana and I would definitely push back on those,” he said.

Quist also opposes Trump’s recent executive order calling for review of national monuments established over the past two decades, while he supports Sen. Jon Tester’s bill banning mining near Yellowstone National Park. He’s a bit more wobbly on some issues, saying he wants to hear more about so-called clean coal, but he also points out that “the coal market will be drying up” and “Montana needs to be proactive and get out in front of it.” 

And on the subject of climate change, Quist is clear:

“Hiking through Glacier when I was 13 years old and I saw all those glaciers, and now you walk in those same places and they’re a third of the size they were when I was a kid,” he said. “So that’s definite evidence for me that we are dealing with climate change.

Can you chip in $3 to help Rob Quist make it to Congress?


Conservative commentator has a sad that Republicans never really wanted to repeal Obamacare

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:26:01 +0000

Campaign Action

Byron York is not happy. He's realizing that his Republican idols in Congress have feet of clay. That when they promised to repeal Obamacare, they didn't really mean it. And he shares his sad with a bunch of crazy other Republicans.

[...] The lawmaker said, "It is a problem that we have members in the Republican conference that do not want Obamacare repealed, because of their district. That's the fundamental thing that we're seeing here."

"I thought we campaigned on repealing it," the lawmaker continued. "Now that it's our turn, I'm finding there's about 50 people who really don't want to repeal Obamacare. They want to keep it." […]

Another Republican, Rep. Steve King, quibbled a bit with the number of House Republicans who don't want to repeal Obamacare — he would put it in the 40s — but felt certain there are lots of Republicans who don't want to repeal. "If you don't want to get rid of federal mandates to health insurance, then it's pretty clear you don't want to get rid of Obamacare," King said.

"Whatever we come out with, it will say to the American people that a full repeal of Obamacare is no longer in the cards," King added. […]

"It's not full repeal. I will be honest, it's not," Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News on Wednesday. "But it's as good as we think we can get right now."

"We've given up on trying to get this bill repealed, basically," Rep. Louie Gohmert told Fox Business on Tuesday. "But we've been demanding at least let's repeal some of the provisions that we know will bring down rates.


The implosion of Trumpcare and Trump's border wall funding cap his 100-day debacle of a debut

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:14:02 +0000

It's hard to overstate just how devastating this week was to popular vote loser Donald Trump. If anything captures the implosion of Trump's first 100 days in office, it's the downfall of his two biggest campaign promises: building a wall and repealing Obamacare.

The fact that his presidential debut culminated in total retreat on both issues reflects just how little pull Trump has demonstrated at a time when presidents are supposedly at the peak of influence. 

We all know this, of course, but congressional Republicans have been promising repeal for seven years straight—they've bet and largely won the last four election cycles on it. When their first effort crashed and burned in front of the disbelieving eyes of their base, Trump himself picked it up, dusted it off and took it back into battle, for another high-profile collapse.

There went the congressional Republicans’ most beloved rallying cry. No one can say they didn't try. They're just unbelievably incompetent, and no one is more grateful for that than the 24 million who GOP lawmakers intended to strip of their health coverage.

And then there's Trump's border wall—his baby—which he was forced to abandon after pressing a funding bid that looked a lot like the brainchild of a two year old. When you can't get something you want so very badly, threaten everyone within earshot until the grown ups send you to your room screaming and crying till you can get ahold of yourself.

In fact, the entire week featured hallmarks of the Trump's first 100 days in office, all of which fall into the categories of Scandal, Incompetence, and Jazz Hands:

•Continued Russia revelations: Michael Flynn likely broke the law

•White House cover ups: Everything Flynn

•Campaign promise retreats: The Wall

•Legislative Collapses: Trumpcare

•Executive incompetence: Another blocked anti-immigrant executive order

•Trump buffoonery: Admitting total ignorance in two interviews (governing is hard, government is big, I knew nothing about NAFTA, etc.)


Trump promises to work 'side by side' with the NRA, warns 2020 could bring 'Pocahontas'

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:26:21 +0000

Is there a place in your home, school, or business that isn’t already covered with a gun? That can be fixed.

"The eight year assault on your second amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," Trump told the members of the National Rifle Association, assuring them that they now "have a true friend and champion in the White House."

Desperate to start all that winning, Trump went down to Georgia, looking for … anyone, anyone at all still willing to believe his promises. With a crowded agenda of allowing more methane in the air and more coal slurry in the water, the NRA hasn’t managed to snag an executive order. However, Trump did sign a bit of legislation reversing an Obama rule that people with serious mental issues should likely not be purchasing firearms. So their record contributions haven’t been for nothing.

To stir up some NRA cheers, Trump invoked the mythical coming-for-your-guns image of Obama that the NRA used to push assault rifles, and promised ...

"I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms," Trump said. "Never ever."

Based on Trump’s record, that should send people scrambling for the gun store. 

The NRA went all in for Trump, spending record amounts to support his candidacy; a tactic that may not look so smart now that gun sales have crashed. But Trump did have some help there. He brought in a replacement boogeyman—or boogeyperson.


Midday open thread: Humpback whales and a discussion about Scott Baio's penis

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:00:51 +0000

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is The best first 100 days ever:  What’s coming up on Sunday Kos … 100 days of a very terrible, not good, really bad president, by Frank Vyan Walton Let’s stop being played by the corporate state, our puppeteers, by Egberto Willies National monuments are public lands, not profit centers, by Sher Watts Spooner Turkey, Trump’s friend, bombs people fighting ISIS, our enemy. Making foreign policy great again, by Ian Reifowitz A free press: Part one, by Susan Grigsby Trump’s tax plan is a Laffer, by Jon Perr Joan Trumpaur Mulholland—the civil rights activist you may not know about, by Denise Oliver Velez Are we regressing toward being a developing nation, by Mark E Andersen Offered without comment: After a grueling 10-day trial, a jury has ruled in favor of Infowars founder and CEO Alex Jones' ex-wife, Kelly, in the custody of their three children. Terrible (and hopefully this investigation won’t be done by Republican-type “scientists”): Government scientists launched an investigation Thursday into an unusually large number of humpback whale deaths from North Carolina to Maine, the first such “unusual mortality event” declaration in a decade. Forty-one whales have died in the region in 2016 and so far in 2017, far exceeding the average of about 14 per year, said Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries. So, this is going on: Renee Baio, the wife of Trump-supporting actor Scott Baio, has taken to social media to defend the size of her husband’s penis. Questions about Baio’s manhood first arose when Tony Moran, the brother of the late Happy Days actress Erin Moran, slammed him in a Facebook post after Baio said that he wasn’t surprised that she died given her addiction to drinking and drugs. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Donald Trump joins the show to explain why he thought being POTUS would be so easy. We finally enter the exhibits against Sebastian Gorka into evidence. Trump Tower/Mos Eisley has a sister spaceport at Mar-A-Loco & it’s scumbags all the way down. x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash [...]

Why do Republicans hate veterans? Zombie Trumpcare edition

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:32:47 +0000

Campaign Action

There's so much in Zombie Trumpcare that's a disaster that popular vote loser Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan might never get the Republican party unified behind it. The 24 million, at least, who will lose health insurance in the next decade, the gutting of Medicaid, the end of protections for pre-existing conditions—it's all really horrible. But there's a few things that have been flying under the radar that are particularly awful, even if you're a Republican. Especially if you're a Republican. Like the one highlighted by Democratic Rep. Mark Takano on Thursday, that still hasn't been fixed. Trumpcare actually strips tax credits away from as many as 7 million veterans, with a technical amendment that has not been rectified. Here's the reporting from last month:

This year’s speed also risks unintended consequences, similar to the ones that spawned lawsuits and legislative fixes after the passage of the ACA. Using the budget reconciliation process for what Republicans call the first of three phases to repeal and replace Obamacare allows them to pass their first bill with just 51 votes, but it leaves it open to challenges that it does not meet the “Byrd rule,” which requires such bills to pertain only to budget matters. An amendment, expected to be added on the House floor Thursday to mollify conservatives, changed the language about group plans in a narrow way that might make many veterans ineligible for a tax credit.

House Republicans are hell-bent on ripping away our health insurance. Call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121, and demand they vote NO on a renewed Trumpcare that is worse than the one before. Remind them they work for you.


Trump appoints woman who believes abortion causes breast cancer to top post at HHS

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:32:13 +0000

Here we go again. Pretty much all of Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments are troubling and problematic so it’s hard to know where exactly to start with this one. On Friday, he announced that he will be appointing Charmaine Yoest as the assistant secretary for public affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She is the former president of the anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life: 

Yoest is currently a fellow at American Values, a conservative group that opposes abortion and supports “traditional marriage.” She got her start in politics during the Reagan administration. From there she moved to the ultra-conservative Family Research Council and later served on Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.

While she served as president of Americans United for Life, one of the most well-known anti-abortion groups in the country, Yoest was a prominent leader for the anti-abortion movement. As the New York Times noted in a 2012 profile of Yoest, AUL was responsible for one-third of state legislatures’ anti-abortion bills between 2011 and 2012.

Yoest’s stance on abortion isn’t particularly surprising given that Trump’s cabinet is shaping up to be a veritable smorgasbord of deplorable, out of touch folks who seem hellbent on taking women’s rights back to the era of Mad Men. But her views on science … now those are downright scary. 

In 2012, Yoest told the New York Times that she believes abortions can cause breast cancer. When the Times noted that data show that claim isn’t true, Yoest would not back down and said that scientists are “under the control of the abortion lobby.”

“As a breast cancer survivor, the spin on abortion and breast cancer really troubles me,” she told the Times. “Why can’t you report what the research actually shows?”

This is a position that does not require Senate confirmation—which probably wouldn’t have mattered at this point anyway. And in her new role, Yoest will be responsible for helping to craft the communications strategy for HHS.  This is not good news. A woman who actually believes that abortions cause breast cancer and that once described IUDs as having “life-ending properties” is now the top communicator for the government agency responsible for protecting the health and well-being of all Americans. Wake us up when this nightmare is finally over. 


The Donald's going down to Georgia, and he's going to raise a lot of money for Karen Handel

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:13:48 +0000

Donald Trump is in Atlanta Friday to speak at the NRA convention—the first president to do so since Ronald Reagan—and to raise still more money for Karen Handel, the Republican in the June 20 run-off election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

Trump’s aggressive backing of Handel, for whom he’s already sent out a fundraising email in addition to several tweets, betrays Republican nerves over the race. Though they claim to have seen the April 18 primary election, in which Democrat Jon Ossoff got 48 percent of the vote in an 18-candidate field, as a win, reality is that Republicans have held this seat for decades and its loss would concretely show what a drag Trump could be on Republicans in 2018.

Handel has tried to keep her distance from Trump while benefiting from his support, but Matthew Chapman points out that the two are closer ideologically than Handel might want to admit. They share a nasty, personal opposition to reproductive rights, of course. They’re both strong opponents of voting, at least by people in groups that lean Democratic. And Handel, like Trump, has faced ethics complaints.

So the big question for Friday is whether Handel will hug Trump as tightly as she hugs the money he raises for her, or whether she’ll take the money but keep trying to pretend she’s not trying to get to Congress to back his agenda.

Karen Handel has Donald Trump raising money for her. That’s why Jon Ossoff needs you. Can you contribute $5 to help Ossoff defeat Handel?


Trump 'looked forward to terminating' NAFTA, but then someone showed him a map

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:41:48 +0000

When it came to withdrawing from NAFTA, Donald Trump brought his trademark decisiveness and strong grasp of policy. Which is to say that he wanted to rush into something he knew nothing about, then got talked out of it by people offering him basic information that had somehow never gotten through to him in his year and a half of campaigning, transition, or first nearly 100 days of presidenting. And then he told the Washington Post all about it:

“I was all set to terminate,” Trump said in an Oval Office interview Thursday night. “I looked forward to terminating. I was going to do it.” 

He looked forward to it, like a child looks forward to Christmas, but then some of his advisers who didn’t like the idea got ahold of him, and one of them knew how to appeal to Trump.

[Agriculture Secretary Sonny] Perdue even brought along a prop to the Oval Office: A map of the United States that illustrated the areas that would be hardest hit, particularly from agriculture and manufacturing losses, and highlighting that many of those states and counties were “Trump country” communities that had voted for the president in November.

“It shows that I do have a very big farmer base, which is good,” Trump recalled. “They like Trump, but I like them, and I’m going to help them.”

Go figure. The guy who is still handing out copies of the electoral map showing the states he won was convinced by a map highlighting places he won. But Trump is still the decider and the decision about NAFTA will still be based, essentially, on his whims:

In the interview, Trump recounted his internal deliberations: “In one way, I like the termination. In the other way, I like them — a lot, both of them. We have a very good relationship. And it’s very hard when you have a relationship, it’s very much something that would not be a nice act. It would not be exactly a friendly act.”

But, the president added, he reserves the right to change his mind. “I can always terminate,” Trump said. “They called me up, they said, ‘Could we try negotiating?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, yes.’ If we can’t come to a satisfactory conclusion, we’ll terminate NAFTA.”

Next up, Trump will run the country through use of the time-tested method of pulling petals off a flower while saying “they love me, they love me not.”


ICE really hates all your 'criminal space alien' prank calls. Good.

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:39:47 +0000

Campaign Action There are so many things that are wrong with ICE’s VOICE office. It’s an anti-immigrant smear campaign thinly veiled as a “public safety office.” It has historical roots in Nazi Germany, where a similar campaign was launched against Jewish citizens. Yesterday, an immigration attorney discovered that babies were mistakenly included in VOICE’s “criminal immigrant” database, because ICE is fucking incompetent. So it’s no surprise, then, that outraged Americans pranked the office’s 1-855-48-VOICE (6423) hotline with calls about criminal space aliens, something ICE did not quite appreciate. In fact, according to Fusion, ICE “kind of lost their shit.” “This is the email I got from an ICE official,” writes Fusion’s Rafi Schwartz, “when I asked the agency for comment on the prank calls (emphasis mine)”: The VOICE line remains in operation. As yesterday was its first day I can’t give you any sense of whether this group had any impact at all on wait times or call volume because there’s no prior data to compare. I hope you won’t dignify this group with the attention they are seeking. But if you choose to do so...this group’s cheap publicity stunt is beyond the pale of legitimate public discourse. Their actions seek to obstruct and do harm to crime victims; that’s objectively despicable regardless of one’s views on immigration policy. The VOICE Office provides information to citizens and non-citizens alike regardless of status, race, etc., whose loved ones have been killed or injured by removable aliens. VOICE provides access to the same information you and other reporters are already able to obtain. Yet this group claims it’s somehow racist to give the same to victims of all races and nationalities? That is absurd. Further, openly obstructing and mocking victims crosses the line of legitimate public discourse. VOICE is a line for victims to obtain information. This group’s stunt is designed to harm victims. That is shameful. What is “shameful,” “absurd,” and “despicable” is trotting out a “cheap publicity stunt” like VOICE and pretending to care about “victims” while simultaneously trying to strong-arm local law enforcement agencies over sanctuary cities and driving so much fear in immigrant communities over deportations that they are no longer reporting when they’ve been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Oh, Donald Trump cares about victims alright—if they’re white. [...]

House Democrats ride to rescue to keep government open after Republican fail to govern ... again

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:55:24 +0000

The House passed a one-week spending bill Friday morning, 382 to 30, with 207 Republican votes and 175 Democratic votes, meaning the Democrats were necessary to keep this government afloat. Again. That's despite the declaration by Republican leadership that they would have the votes to do it all on their own. After holding the vote open for nearly an hour, they gave up on getting those last 15 Republicans on board and gaveled the vote. Some governing party this is. It’s significant because it means that House Speaker Paul Ryan—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—are going to need Democratic votes for the long-term spending bill. As to that, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has been flexing his muscle. When McConnell moved Thursday to set the Senate up to essentially automatically pass this one-week funding bill once the House had sent it over, Schumer objected to ensure that negotiations on the longer term bill continued. They did continue, and Schumer is now ready to lift his objection to the one-week bill. "We’re willing to extend things for a little bit more time in hopes that the same kind of progress can continue to be made," Schumer told reporters. […] "They made a good deal of progress, but we still have some progress to go. Not all the poison pill riders have been eliminated, some have, a good number have," he said. "But we still have a little bit of a ways to go." Between this Republican unity failure and the third Zombie Trumpcare fail last night, when Ryan failed to get enough of his members on board to even bring the bill to the floor, it's becoming clear that this is not a governing party. His efforts so far on behalf of popular vote loser Donald Trump seem to be succeeding only in driving deeper wedges in his already fractious party. Ryan is not going to be able to accomplish anything without Democratic help. Which means he's not going to be able to accomplish his and Trump's most nihilistic goals. Friday, Apr 28, 2017 · 4:02:23 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter And the Senate has passed it with a voice vote. With a warning from Schumer. x.@SenSchumer Schumer: But as I said last night, there are still a handful of unresolved poison pill riders. ... we don't want them - Zero.— Senate D Floor Watch (@DSenFloor) April 28, 2017 [...]

Trump tries to hide his lack of wins behind executive order signing ceremonies

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:45:34 +0000

As his first 100 days in office draws to a close, Donald Trump has basically no legislative wins to speak of. So what’s a man with a compulsive need to be seen as a winner to do? Trump’s answer—or the answer of the staff tasked with making him feel like people think he’s getting stuff done—has been to make a big deal about issuing executive orders. But while Trump’s executive orders show his desire to create a meaner, uglier America with a lot less protections for workers, consumers, and the environment, many of them don’t do much more:

… more than half of the 29 orders issued as of Thursday have merely called for reviews, have commissioned reports or established panels to issue recommendations. The documents lay out a dizzying schedule of 90-, 120- and 180-day increments for federal agencies to evaluate the feasibility of White House policy goals and report to the president. [...] 

Some senior White House officials have acknowledged that the executive orders are intended in part to signal Trump’s priorities to his supporters.

“The purposes of the orders are to make clear what the president’s and the administration’s priorities are and to signify the importance of these issues to the American people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week as he rolled out the executive order on reducing the burden of tax regulations.

Okay … Trump’s big accomplishments of his first 100 days are making clear his priorities and signifying their importance. So basically, something his presidential campaign should have done. That seems about his speed.


Zombie Trumpcare dies again, at least for this week

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:37:37 +0000

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The third time was certainly not charmed for popular vote loser Donald Trump's demand that Obamcare be repealed in his first 100 days. For the third time his Republican colleagues in the House failed. After an insane few days of pretending that a bill that has been made even worse than the one House Speaker Paul Ryan had to pull from the floor in March would come to the floor Friday, while Congress also has just hours to keep government funds flowing, they threw in the towel. And then pretended like it was no big deal.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) confirmed Thursday night that GOP leadership will not bring a revised ObamaCare repeal bill to the floor this week. […]

"We are not voting on healthcare tomorrow or Saturday," McCarthy told reporters after a nearly two-hour leadership meeting in Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office in the Capitol.

McCarthy downplayed the healthcare development, saying leaders had been discussing the short-term stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

Oh no, after a full day of whipping members on the bill (chronicled by HuffPost's Matt Fuller on Twitter) leadership wasn't even thinking about having a vote on Zombie Trumpcare. They weren't having an eleventh hour meeting to try to round up and strong-arm votes.

It'll be back. They don't have the votes now but they'll keep trying, possibly as soon as next week. So we keep calling.

House Republicans are hell-bent on ripping away our health insurance. Call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121, and demand they vote NO on a renewed Trumpcare that is worse than the one before. Remind them they work for you.


Michael Flynn is another thing the attorney general won't be investigating

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:56:54 +0000

Donald Trump was angry when Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III recused himself from any investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Now Sessions has also decided he has to opt out of a related matter.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that his recusal from Justice Department investigations into the 2016 campaign for president will extend into inquiries into the activities of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, under fire for his ties to foreign governments.

Sessions was all over the map in signaling whether or not there was an ongoing investigation into Flynn at the Justice Department, and no-commented his way through any discussion of Flynn’s already revealed violations. But there’s a better reason for Sessions to step away from all this than just sharing a few off-color jokes with the ex-national security advisor.

Sessions, too, has been tied to Russia: The attorney general recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election amid reports that he had met on multiple occasions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the campaign even though he had testified during his Senate confirmation hearing that he had not interacted with Russian officials.

This isn’t all bad for Sessions. Unable to look into a potential national crisis, the attorney general is freed up to concentrate on distorting statistics, attacking immigrants and eroding voting rights. And really, that’s the only reason anyone would hire Sessions to begin with.

Sessions isn’t investigating Trump–Russia. Devin Nunes has stepped aside at the House Intelligence Committee, but only after driving that committee into the weeds. Richard Burr has slowed the Senate Intelligence Committee by hiring no staff, but did just finally agree to schedule a public hearing for May. Republicans have done their best to slow the investigation, providing the cover-up plenty of time to bury the bodies and scrub down the evidence.


Cartoon: The best first 100 days ever

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:50:52 +0000

Here’s hoping we make it through President Trump’s first 100 days quickly, before he tries to ram through any additional executive orders, tax cuts or health care policy. For a guy who doesn’t think the grand measure of First One Hundred Days doesn’t mean anything, he sure looks like he’s a kid cramming to do his homework at the last minute on the bus. (Or in the limo, as the case may be.)

Today the Trump administration issued a one-pager complete revision of the US tax code. Scratch that, it was a bullet point list that looked like someone’s first resume detailing all the neat tax cuts Trump wants. Earlier in the week he made a mad dash to get some funding for his big beautiful wall but backed down after realizing that legislation stuff takes, um, time.

Most of his presidency to date has been one big executive order/press release that has been blocked by the courts or stalled in Congress. (However, some of the most troubling bills or orders—besides those pesky racist ones—have been rollbacks of previously-sane policies like national monuments.) Enjoy the cartoon, and remember you can see more of my work and go behind-the-scenes here on Patreon!


Schumer refuses to rubber stamp House's short-term spending bill

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:38:55 +0000

With the clock running out on government funding—literally, midnight Friday—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to make it easy on the Senate. He put forward a unanimous consent request that the Senate just automatically pass whatever the House kicks over to them Friday to keep the government running into next week, while Congress works out the details of a longer-term spending measure. It's what happening in those spending talks that made Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer block McConnell's motion.

Schumer said there were still unresolved "poison pill riders" being worked out on a longer spending deal that would fund the government through Sept. 30.

"Our position has been clear and it's nothing new. No poison pill riders. The sooner we can resolve this issue, the quicker we can have an agreement on appropriations for 2017, so I object," he said from the Senate floor.

He added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been "cooperative and extremely helpful" but Democrats want to work on the remaining hurdles to a long-term deal before they can agree to pass the short-term continuing resolution (CR). […]

Schumer has pointed to concerns about environmental regulations, Dodd-Frank protections and rolling back healthcare as outstanding issues on the long-term talks.

Schumer is using all possible leverage to keep those poison pills out of the funding bill, which is smart considering what House Republicans have been up to lately.


Trump on presidenting: 'I thought it would be easier.'

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:39:22 +0000

Donald Trump had North Korea all figured out … until Chinese President Xi Jinping gave him a ten minute lesson in the history of the region. Trump was ready to destroy NAFTA … until Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave him a ten minute talk on the damage such a move would generate for the regional economy. Thanks to other world leaders stepping up to take Trump’s tiny hand and guide him forward in baby steps, the world has so far avoided irreversible disaster. But all this learning and not just doing the first thing that comes to mind … it’s all so hard.

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."

Trump isn’t getting to sleep until noon. He never gets to go on the radio and brag about the women he’s assaulted. And while there’s good money in strong-arming foreign governments to give him things, it’s just way slower than duping a bunch of investors into paying for some never-to-be-built condos. Seriously, this job is a drag.

He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

Since Trump’s election, a lot of effort has gone into pouring over the 25th Amendment, and Reuter’s fresh Trump interview demonstrates just how badly it’s needed. But maybe those never-used paragraphs won’t be needed. Because Trump could just follow one of his heroes. Richard Nixon has already demonstrated that the president can simply leave.


Morning Digest: Foreclosure king Dave Trott may face a real fight in gerrymandered Michigan seat

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:00:57 +0000

Leading Off ● MI-11: Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Trott won his second term 53-40 last year in a contest that attracted little outside attention while Trump was taking his suburban Detroit seat 50-45. Democrats would love to target Trott, who made his fortune through foreclosures, and he's now got his first noteworthy opponent. Haley Stevens, who was chief of staff to President Obama's Auto Task Force in 2009 when it was overseeing the financial rescue of Chrysler and General Motors, announced she was in on Thursday. Stevens is well-regarded by her old boss, businessman and ex-auto rescue czar Steven Rattner, and she may indeed have the connections to raise enough money to stand up to the very wealthy Trott. Campaign Action This seat, which awkwardly loops around the Detroit area to take in Troy, Novi, and Livonia, has been in GOP hands for a long time, and the Republican legislature did all they could to draw it so it stayed that way. Trott himself won't lack the resources to defend himself, and he's wasted no time arguing that Stevens, who recently moved back to Michigan from Chicago, is a carpetbagger. Still, if Stevens has the resources to get her message out, she may finally be able to make Trott's long and ugly business history stick. And she won't lack material. Perhaps most notoriously, Trott's law firm foreclosed on a 101-year-old Detroit woman named Texana Hollis in 2011 after her son failed to pay her mortgage, which evicted her from her home. Hollis was able to reclaim her home of 60 years thanks to a campaign led by writer Mitch Albom, and she died a few years later. This ugly story surfaced during Trott's 2014 primary campaign against then-Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, but Bentivolio (a true accidental congressman if there ever was one) didn't have the ability to run a serious race against Trott. Trott's Democratic opponent that fall did try to make this an issue, but he also didn't have much money available to broadcast it far and wide, and national Democrats triaged this race as the political climate got worse and worse; last year, Trott won without any real fireworks. While Trott's foreclosure horror stories aren't new news, there are undoubtedly plenty of local voters who have forgotten about them since 2014, or never learned about them at all. If Democrats can make a serious play for this seat and 2018 is a bad year for the GOP, Trott could very well be in for a rough ride. [...]

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:00:57 +0000

Friday! It’s a wrap on another week of The Presidential Apprentice, and it’s looking like it ends with yet another failure on the “repeal & replace” front, as Trumpcare 3.0 appears headed back to the sidelines for now. Let’s catch up on the other bits and pieces of this collage of insanity as we wrap up the “First 100 Days,” despite The Donald’s middling efforts to kill the concept. No stamina. Low energy! Listen LIVE, right here at 9:00 AM ET! Is the Kagro in the Morning show keeping you sane in these troubled times? Well, we’re pretty good in decent times, too! But the troubled ones are what we have now. If we’re helping you wake up and face the day, you could help do the same for us, with a monthly, sustaining contribution to our Patreon account! Or, if a one-time donation is the way you like to roll, try our brand-new Square Cash account. Not convinced? How about a FREE listen to our most recent live show? Ha ha, sucker! Now you’re trapped! Er, I mean… Enjoy! And welcome! x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash Greg Dworkin, M.D., advocate, activist, and budding foley artist, aspires to be a Senate procedural expert. If you do too, today’s KITM is a great place to start! David Waldman leads today’s “Understanding the Tax Reform Process” seminar touching on the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which contains the Byrd Rule, which brings a sunset provision to when the reconciliation process can and cannot be used, which is all very interesting for those interested in playing by the rules. Donald Trump has no particular intention to follow or not follow rules. He’ll do what we make him do, eventually, or just change the rules. Greg rounds up the stories of us Trump wranglers. Then there are the Trump supporters, ruining America for all of us. You can damage your brain reading what they say they believe, or just cut to the chase with Armando. Honestly, some of them are idiots. Lucky for us Democrats are all smart and unified. The Trump Tax Plan is so well crafted, it can fit on a single sheet of toilet paper. Is Ivanka really, officially setting up a bribery fund, or not quite officially? Is Donald really breaking up the 9th circuit court, or in his dreams? Is he bored with blowing up North Korea? Is he terminating NAFTA, or maybe not? Is this an f***ing game? Wait—is the Troll Administration’s 4 Chan staffers maybe pulling our leg for… the LULZ? The entire Senate sits on a whoopee cushion. Justice John Roberts has no sense of humor. Physicians show interest in the health of their patients. Jesse Watters takes some time off to be with his family, if they haven’t already left him for a better microphone. (Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]

Abbreviated pundit roundup: 100 days of chaos and failure

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:36:32 +0000

With headlines like these, you have to wonder if Donald Trump is tired of “winning” yet...first up, The Washington Post:

Mr. Trump has reversed a generation-old trend toward openness, becoming the first president in modern times to conceal his tax returns and scrapping an Obama-era policy of publishing a list of White House visitors. He and his spokesmen frequently ignore facts and embrace misinformation. If he gets his way on policy, the nation will plunge more deeply into debt, global warming will accelerate and millions of vulnerable Americans will lose access to health care while the wealthy are further enriched. 

But some of these policies are meeting resistance. When the nonpartisan CBO estimated that 24 million Americans would lose health coverage under Mr. Trump’s plan, even Republicans in Congress balked. Opposition bloomed at town hall meetings across the country. There have been women’s marches and scientists’ marches — and some politicians have listened. Federal judges have slowed Mr. Trump’s efforts to go after immigrants and immigration, efforts that at least in their early versions were closer to demonization than serious policy. Meanwhile, voters in Europe, perhaps sobered by what they see in the United States, have been choosing centrist internationalism and rejecting the kind of ethno-nationalist politics that animated the most dangerous of Mr. Trump’s supporters.


Open thread for night owls: But Democrats are using swear words...

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 03:00:49 +0000

There has long been a Great Pundit Uncomfortableness with the public use of swear words. It has been seen as the domain of uncouth bloggers for some time now; during the run-up to the Iraq war it was clear that the Bush administration was manipulating evidence in an attempt to justify their desired military conflict—but the opposition, on the streets and on the internet, were pooh-poohed for not being gentlemanly in their objections to such a thing. The signs! The shouts! How very unfortunate. Similarly, when it was revealed that the United States was torturing prisoners of war in an effort to extract information administration officials wanted extracted—a war crime—it was treated as a scandalous thing, but you still weren't allowed to say that torturing prisoners of war was a fucking monstrous thing to do. To be honest, you weren't even taken seriously if you merely called it a monstrous thing to do; the prevailing pundit belief has long been that whatever nearly criminal or shudderingly unethical or crime against the Geneva Conventions a powerful might propose or actually do, those things were now proper discourse, by virtue of a serious person saying them or doing them, and objecting to such things with genuine, unfiltered anger was an entirely unserious thing to do. You're never supposed to be quite that visibly invested in the moral, ethical, and legal underpinnings of our society, you see. You're supposed to comment on them from above, as if they were merely the landscape under the hot-air balloon in which you're currently sipping tea and unpacking your picnic lunch. We're all supposed to be friends here, on the op-ed pages, and if you're going to get all puffy and red-faced about cutting off medical aid to poor children or subjecting war prisoners to a few war crimes here or there then nobody is going to invite you to the next White House Correspondents Dinner now, are they? This has long been one of my more obscure furies with the pundit class, not because I am uncontrollably enamored with th' swear words but because it never failed to give the game away; punditry is not serious. Punditry is a farce. Our allowable public discourse is stage-managed to the last spotlight and shoe-scuff. None of the people bleating in the papers about this or that injustice truly give a damn about any of them—you cannot "both sides" the impropriety of war crimes against the impropriety of saying shit on a public sidewalk, not without obliquely admitting that you haven't ever cared enough about either to have sat down with a moral yardstick and compared them. But that was, indeed, the pundit message. We may have been lied into war—but saying so was, if anything, equally uncouth. We may have tortured—but being truly angry about that only proves you to be immature. So it's a bit odd to see the return of the should Democrats use swear words genre in our public discourse of late, after a long two decades of insistence that such things only proved you to be temperamentally unfit for the public sphere. The good news is that people are beginning to give less of a damn. The bad news is that this, too, may just be the result of things being so truly enfuckened these days that mere foul language can't compete. Politicians have never been saints when it comes to salty language. Roll through the archives and you’ll find John F. Kennedy chewing out a[...]

Confirmed: House Republicans will not hold vote on Obamacare repeal this week

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 02:36:32 +0000

Once again, Republicans are teetering on the brink of failure—sweet, delicious failure:

Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they don’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and will not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday.

This is a bit like a patient with stage four brain cancer deciding to put off surgery because it might hurt: The prognosis isn’t going to get better if you wait, and it’s still going to be painful as hell.

We’ll see these clowns on Monday.


Cartoon: Borderwall fundraiser

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:09:47 +0000

Trump cannot seem to get his border wall adequately funded. Heck, he doesn’t even know who’s going to pay for the stupid thing, since amazingly Mexico said, “NO MAMES, CABRON”, which means, “We will not be paying for that f***** wall.” He is reduced to selling Chiclets at the border, to get some funding for his historic boondoggle.


Hey, working class Trump voters. Remember when Trump promised tax cuts for you and not the rich?

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:21:33 +0000

Donald Trump, The Today Show, April 21, 2016:

Q: Do you believe in raising taxes on the wealthy?      

A: I do, I do, including myself. I do.     

Donald Trump, November 7, 2016, Scranton, PA:

[I will] massively cut taxes for the middle class, the forgotten people, the forgotten men and women of this country, who built our country.

Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, “Squawk Box,” CNBC, November 30, 2016:

Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions so that there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.

Donald Trump Tax Plan for individuals, released April 26, 2017. Whom does it benefit?:

High-income earners. The plan would reduce the top rate on individual income tax — now 39.6 percent for income over around $470,000 for a married couple — to 35 percent. But that’s only part of the gain for high-income earners. It also would eliminate a 3.8 percent tax, used to help fund Obamacare, that applies to investment income over $250,000 for a couple.

Multimillionaires who want to pass money to their heirs tax-free. The plan would eliminate the estate tax, which currently applies to individuals with estates of $5.5 million or couples with estates worth $11 million.

Donald J. Trump. It is striking how many of the categories listed above affect the president and his family. He is a high-income earner. He receives income from 564 business entities, according to his financial disclosure form, and could take advantage of the low rate on “pass-through” companies. According to his leaked 2005 tax return, he paid an extra $31 million because of the alternative minimum tax that he seeks to eliminate. And his heirs could eventually enjoy his enormous assets tax-free.

Was there ever really any doubt?


Infamous Alabama judge Roy Moore kicks off GOP primary challenge against Sen. Luther Strange

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:48:23 +0000

Roy Moore, who was suspended as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court last year for defying federal court orders regarding same-sex marriage, announced on Wednesday that he would challenge appointed Sen. Luther Strange in this August’s GOP primary ahead of December’s special election. Moore has made it plain that he plans to rally his religious conservative base. Last week, after the state's high court upheld his suspension for the rest of his term, Moore cast himself as a martyr, arguing that the case against him “was a politically motivated effort by the Judicial Inquiry Commission and certain homosexual and transgendered groups to remove me from office because of my steadfast opposition to same-sex marriage.” For good measure, Moore argued at his campaign kickoff that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t mention public education, and that schools are “used as an indoctrination of our children.”  Back in 2003, Moore was also kicked off the bench after he refused to comply with a federal judge's order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the state Supreme Court. For a while after that, Moore’s political career stalled. In 2006, he challenged Gov. Bob Riley in the Republican primary and lost 67-33. Then, in 2010, Moore ran to succeed the termed-out Riley, taking just 19 percent in that year’s primary, enough for a weak fourth-place finish. Moore even flirted with a 2012 presidential bid, but he decided to run for his old spot as chief justice again instead. Moore took just over 50 percent against two primary opponents, allowing him to win without a runoff. However, he struggled in the general election, beat his Democratic foe by just a slim 52-48 margin even as Mitt Romney was winning Alabama 61-38. Still, Moore was finally back—and he quickly made waves once again. In early 2016, months after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, Moore told state probate judges that they “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary” to Alabama’s now-defunct law banning it. The state’s Court of the Judiciary unanimously voted to suspend Moore from office for the remainder of his term as a result. State law already prevented Moore from running for re-election in 2018 because of his age, so this decision effectively banned him from the court for life. [...]

Still a long, long way to go to fill U.S. attorney posts left open by Trump's purge

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:48:18 +0000

The Trump administration is reportedly "moving" to fill some of the nearly 50 U.S. attorney posts left open after a massive March purge, but don't expect a flurry of confirmations any time soon. Though the White House is supposedly set to nominate as many as a dozen-plus U.S. attorney picks in the coming weeks, getting a vote on them could be a long haul, especially in blue states. Politico writes:

It’s still likely to be months before appointees can be confirmed, according to longtime observers and former U.S. attorneys. Appointees have to be screened and vetted by the FBI, and the Senate has to schedule hearings.

Democrats are also threatening to slow the process, according to people familiar with the talks. While the filibuster has now been completely dismantled for both judicial and executive branch nominees, senators retain an effective veto over U.S. attorney, judge and marshal nominations in their states through a Senate procedure known as the blue slip.

The “blue slip” policy gives every senator an opportunity to gum up the works at will. It's exactly what Republicans used to block President Obama from filling a great number of judgeships in the lower courts.

In the meantime, most of the U.S. attorney positions continue to fall to the stewardship of acting U.S. attorneys, who aren’t as beholden to Trump as an appointee would be. That could be especially important in New York.

Trump cares more about some picks than others. None are more important to him than the U.S. attorney posts in Manhattan and Brooklyn, two of the most prominent offices in the DOJ, which are known for handling white-collar crime and terrorism cases.


Audit of Ferguson court system proves it's a complete and total disaster after Mike Brown's death

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:42:22 +0000

The news from Ferguson, Missouri, just gets worse and worse. You may remember that after the killing of Michael Brown, the Justice Department launched an investigation into the Ferguson Police Department which proved that in “nearly every aspect of Ferguson’s law enforcement system” blacks were impacted severely and disproportionately. This included arrests, jail time, and practices shaped based on revenue needs rather than public safety. And now, the latest news from the beleaguered city comes from a recently released audit which finds that its court system is in “disarray.” The audit was launched in the wake of the protests surrounding Brown’s death. 

State Auditor Nicole Galloway was in St. Louis to release details of the audit, which gave Ferguson courts a "poor" rating — the lowest available. The performance was so bad, Galloway said, that her office will conduct a follow-up review later this year. [...]

Among the problems cited: Files stored in an unsecured storage garage and damaged by water and mold, and $26,000 in illegal fees. She also said uncooperative and "at times combative" court and city personnel that caused delays in access to files.

Water and mold? Disgusting. These are court records we’re talking about—not a family album in someone’s basement. Surely, the city could have taken better care of its citizens important documents. And it also appears that files were also in multiple locations. Galloway’s office’s audit found files in storage garages, the police and courts buildings with no process to track records. Some were also not secured, despite having personal information such as social security numbers and driver’s license information. Some records were so damaged that they are lost forever. Some were simply misplaced.

Some records were never recovered, Galloway said, presumably because they were lost or misplaced. Enough records were uncovered to show that at least $1,400 in cash was missing, "but the careless way these records were kept may prevent us from ever knowing the total amount," she said.

So that’s unsecured files, water and mold damaged files, lost files, and missing funds. This is not just disarray and disorganized. This is negligent. The people of Ferguson deserve better. 


Trump rails against 'abusive' national monuments while his interior secretary downplays his plan

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:22:13 +0000

Donald Trump’s interior secretary does not seem to be reading from the same script as Trump on the recent executive order calling for a review of national monuments created since 1996. Though Ryan Zinke’s remarks at the signing ceremony did suggest that some recent monuments were too large, he also downplayed the impact of Trump’s order:

Let’s be clear,” Zinke said Wednesday. “This executive order does not remove any monuments. And this executive order does not weaken any environmental protections on any public lands. Under President Trump’s leadership, I’m looking forward to working with and being an advocate for local, state and tribal representation, and to review the designations and provide recommendations for action where appropriate.”

Trump, by contrast, railed against an “egregious abuse of federal power”:

“The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water, and it’s time we ended this abusive practice,” Trump said. “I’ve spoken with many state and local leaders, a number of them here today, who care very much about preserving our land and who are gravely concerned about this massive federal land grab. It’s gotten worse and worse and worse. And now we’re going to free it up.”

Ah, yes. “Free it up.” I’m sure that’s about preservation! So which will it be? Freeing it up or not weakening any environmental protections? (That was a rhetorical question. We’re talking about Donald Trump and his underlings.)


Incompetent ICE includes babies, toddlers in VOICE database of alleged immigrant criminals

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:56:49 +0000

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was recently forced to abruptly halt the agency’s reports shaming sanctuary cities after only three weeks because they were filled with so many errors. Now in yet another ICE fuck-up, “a database the Trump administration said would help victims of crimes track the custody of suspected criminal immigrants mistakenly listed babies and other children”:

When alerted Wednesday evening, Department of Homeland Security officials said the release of children’s names was a lapse in policy. The agency is not supposed to release information on children in immigration custody, said Gillian M. Christensen, acting Homeland Security press secretary.

Well, guys, you totally just did. Among the identities revealed were those of unaccompanied minors in group homes and a “bad hombre” toddler who is currently in a Texas detention center. According to the Los Angeles Times, a sharp-eyed immigration attorney was the one to catch the security lapse. Bryan Johnson, “who frequently defends children brought into the U.S. illegally, called it ‘reckless incompetence on the part of the Trump administration’’:

“In their haste to pretend like they care about victims of immigrant crimes, the Trump administration released personally identifiable information regarding vulnerable children at risk of human trafficking and other crimes,” he said. “They should just take it down.”

ICE is as incompetent as it is powerful. It’s bad enough that Donald Trump and his agency want to demonize million of immigrant adults, but now vulnerable children too? Here’s to VOICE soon joining those shaming reports in the trash bin.


Trump's staff tries to 'talk him out of doing crazy things?' So this is the non-crazy version?

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:54:40 +0000

I know we've already talked about this amazing Politico look behind the White House drapes but honestly, it's hard to look away.

I'm not talking just about the apparent inability of Trump's advisers to keep him focused on his day job, or his team's professed surprise that, BY GOLLY, the opposition would continue to oppose a president even after the election, or even the sense of astonishment permeating Team Trump as to how this whole running the government of the most powerful nation on Earth turns out to be a big freaking deal:

“I kind of pooh-poohed the experience stuff when I first got here,” one White House official said of these early months. “But this shit is hard.”

Who? Who said that? Which person, among the current appointed White House officials, was the goober who didn't think experience was a helpful thing to have when running a government? What gold-leaf-chewing twit is now rethinking their whole position on whether or not running the entire damn government is, as they had previously presumed, something a person of their considerable ego could just pick up on the fly? This does not deserve to be an anonymous quote. That a "White House official" got blindsided by their new job being "hard" seems to be one of those things the public ought to be clued in on. Hopefully it's not someone making nuclear decisions, right? Not one of the military guys? Nobody mucking about with whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency will continue to exist?

No, it’s not even that. It's this gem that really caps the whole piece:

As Trump is beginning to better understand the challenges—and the limits—of the presidency, his aides are understanding better how to manage perhaps the most improvisational and free-wheeling president in history. “If you’re an adviser to him, your job is to help him at the margins,” said one Trump confidante. “To talk him out of doing crazy things.”

Wait, wait, wait. Wait. Trump's advisers are currently tasked with talking him out of doing crazy things?


North Carolina woman voted illegally for Trump but won't be charged for 'compassionate' reasons

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:05:23 +0000

Donald Trump has made a whole lot of noise about voter fraud in last year’s presidential election. The fact that he lost the popular vote continues to drive him absolutely nuts and, though he’s already been in the White House for almost 100 days, he continues to talk about how millions of people cast illegal votes. Well, he’s right. Not about the millions, but there is proof that some people voted illegally and most of them seem to have been for him. In North Carolina, for instance, a woman admitted that she cast an illegal vote for Trump in the presidential election, in order to fulfill her mother’s dying wish. The state prosecutor, a Republican, announced that she is not going to be charged for this crime. Big surprise, huh?

District Attorney David Learner, chief prosecutor for Catawba, Burke and Caldwell counties, announced his decision Wednesday not to pursue the case, which had been referred to him by the State Board of Elections.

Learner, a Republican, withheld the name of the voter but said she had cast the improper vote for Trump last November “out of sheer ignorance” of the law and while “grieving the loss of her mother.”

Anyone who has ever lost a parent can totally understand a child being overcome with grief. And people cope with death and dying in many different ways. But let’s not forget one small thing in this scenario—this is against the law. And can you imagine if this were a Clinton voter? Or if this woman were an immigrant? They’d have tried to put her away for life.

The voter said her 89-year-old mother was an enthusiastic Trump supporter who felt the Republican presidential candidate could “save our country.” The mother donated to Trump’s campaign and stayed glued to Fox News to watch his debates and follow the presidential election.

The mother also suffered from a serious heart condition. In late October, the daughter says she asked her mother to fill out an absentee voter request – just in case her health kept her from making it to the polls in November. The mother agreed, but added: “If anything happens to me, you have my power of attorney, and you be sure to vote for Donald Trump.”

The next day the mother suffered a massive stroke and died three days later, her daughter said, in a statement included in Learner’s release.


Despite inmate deaths, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says Sheriff David Clarke gets to keep his job

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:08:43 +0000

Sheriff David Clarke is bad at his job. The Milwaukee County Jail is a mess and is in serious need of reform. There are several lawsuits against the jail from women who say they were abused during their incarceration, including being forced to give birth while shackled. There’s also the fact that inmates seem to keep dying. And even though the last death was by dehydration and seems to be caused by officer neglect (and could be considered cruel and unusual punishment), Clarke amazingly still has a job. On Wednesday, Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said that he will not remove Clarke from office—because he doesn’t feel it’s his job. Let that sink in.

Walker said while he has the authority to remove Clarke, he doesn't feel it's his job. He acknowledged that reports about the 2016 dehydration death were concerning, but said it's up to voters to decide Clarke's fate and judge his oversight of the jail. "I'm not in a position to say," he said, adding that historical practice has been to defer to voters.

Um, hello? While voters, of course, should be the ultimate decision makers about who holds this office since its an elected position, its is well within the governor’s purview to ensure that gross negligence, mistreatment of inmates, and random deaths are not occurring on Clarke’s watch. Still, Gov. Walker seems unwilling to remove Clarke—who clearly has some kind of magical hold over the GOP because they seem to think he can do no wrong.


Obamacare insurer to Congress: Fund our payments or as many as 700,000 lose insurance—immediately

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:55:22 +0000

Molina Healthcare, a major insurer in the Obamacare exchanges, has now issued a major threat of its own: if Congress doesn't fund the Affordable Care Act cost-sharing reduction subsidies, the company will leave the markets immediately. That would result in about 700,000 people losing their insurance now.

Molina—a Medicaid-based insurer that has thrived in the exchanges—is threatening to throw people off of their health coverage this year and also refuse to participate next year. Roughly 1 million people have a Molina ACA plan. Molina's letter adds a fresh sense of urgency and embodies what the entire health care industry wants: certainty that funding will continue.

In a letter to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, Molina CEO Dr. J. Mario Molina writes that the CRSs "have been essential for making coverage affordable for many members. Sixty-five percent of Molina Marketplace members are enrolled in plans with cost sharing subsidies." He goes on:

We entered into these Marketplace contracts with the expectation that the cost sharing reductions would continue to be fully funded. If the CSR funding continues, we intend to maintain are participation in the Marketplace for 2018. […]

If the CSR is not funded, we will have no choice but to send a notice of default informing the government that we are dropping our contracts for their failure to pay premiums and seek to withdraw from the Marketplace immediately. That would result in about 650,000 to 700,000 people losing insurance coverage in 2017, and we would not participate in Marketplace in 2018 resulting in over 1 million Americans losing health insurance coverage.

Molina is the first one to put such a bold statement out there, but it's not the only insurer in this position.


House leadership eyeing Trey Gowdy to spearhead oversight ruse of GOP investigating Trump

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:22:47 +0000

The power vacuum created by Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s announcement that he might resign early from his “oversight” post along with his perfectly timed medical emergency has left Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders facing a horrifying prospect: Freedom Caucus control of the Oversight Committee. Politico writes:

The committee, which is charged with investigating the executive branch, is stacked with prominent Freedom Caucus members whom House GOP leadership doesn’t trust. Chief among them is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a ringleader of the group of far-right agitators. Jordan has made a name for himself as one of the most aggressive Oversight interrogators, but he’s also been a huge problem for leadership over the years.

Jordan is next in line if the most senior member, Rep. Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, decides not to run.

And who wants the thankless role of investigating a Republican president running one of the most scandal-ridden administrations in the nation's history? Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford (of Appalachian trail fame), who's fourth in line for the gavel, explains the potential pitfalls of Freedom Caucus-driven oversight—goodness knows what they'll do.

"I've been fairly robust in calling for the president [to release] his tax returns. I think historically in that [OGR] role, they've generally wanted someone quiet, or compliant, you pick the word, as it relates to the administration in power" being from the same party.


Trump says he's 'absolutely' considering proposals to dissolve court blocking his executive orders

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:41:15 +0000

Donald Trump's so-called "travel ban" barring Muslim visitors and refugees from entering the country has been blocked by several courts. Because Donald Trump is (1) incompetent, (2) an idiot, and (3) under the impression our nation should grant him dictatorial powers, Donald Trump has a solution to this: Simply dissolve the courts causing him trouble, thus making the law whatever he wants it to be.

Asked by the Washington Examiner if he had considered proposals to split the court, Trump replied: “Absolutely, I have.”

“There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It’s outrageous,” Trump told the website. “Everybody immediately runs to the 9th Circuit. And we have a big country. We have lots of other locations. But they immediately run to the 9th Circuit. Because they know that’s like, semi-automatic.”

And now we're going to all sit here and ponder for a minute over the chief officer of a so-called democracy musing that if the nation's judges are going to start insisting his various pronouncements follow the rule of law, well then he's going to just get rid of those judges and do what he wants anyway. Because that is now, in the United States of America, a thing.

We'll ignore Trump's judge-shopping claims, which are false but which Trump is probably convinced of because Donald Trump has spent a hell of a lot of time being sued for things and that's one of the few phrases he remembers from the experiences. We should probably not ignore that during Trump's tantrum and threats to disband an entire federal circuit, he doesn't seem to know the difference between the court he's attacking and the court that actually offended him.

The most recent ruling against Trump, in which Judge William Orrick issued an injunction blocking his executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities, didn’t occur in the 9th Circuit. It was in the United States District Court in San Francisco, which is one level below.

Rep. Elijah Cummings: 'The White House is covering up for Michael Flynn'

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:26:02 +0000

The Thursday revelation that Michael Flynn was warned he couldn't take foreign payments came to the House Oversight Committee courtesy of the Department of Defense. But the White House team that put Flynn in charge of national security still hasn't released a "single shred of paper" in relation to the committee’s investigation, says the ranking Democrat. The Hill writes:

“I honestly do not understand why the White House is covering up for Michael Flynn,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said at a joint appearance with other Democrats criticizing President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

“It makes the American people think the White House has something to hide. There is obviously a paper trail that the White House does not want our committee to follow.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer added to that cloud of suspicion Thursday when he pinned the approval of Flynn's security clearance on the Obama administration and the Department of Defense, as if team Trump bore no responsibility for vetting the guy Trump chose to head his national security team.

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said the committee is requesting documents that are not in the possession of the White House because they involved Flynn’s activity prior to Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Other documents sought by the committee from after Jan. 20 involve sensitive information, he said.

In other words, you can’t see documents from before or after we hired Flynn. Cummings said Thursday that the White House is clearly "stonewalling.”

"I gotta tell you," he said, “you cannot allow situations where the Congress requests documents and basically the White House says, 'Take a hike.' That's simply unacceptable and a dangerous precedent."

It's also known as an autocracy. So much for checks and balances.


Texas House approves anti-sanctuary cities bill that amounts to 'a white supremacist’s field day'

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:59:15 +0000

Campaign Action Despite fierce blowback from immigrants and their allies in the state, a Republican-led Texas House shamefully approved an anti-sanctuary cities bill that amounts to nothing more than a racist, Arizona-style “show me your papers” law meant to terrorize and criminalize hardworking immigrant families: The Texas House of Representatives voted 93-54 Thursday night to pass a measure banning sanctuary cities which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the state. Alarmingly, the measure also gives law enforcement the power to demand to see the immigration status of anyone they detain—whether or not they are arrested or ever charged with a crime. The bill, SB 4, essentially forces local jurisdictions to comply with immigrant detainer requests issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. A version of the measure was approved by the Texas State Senate in early February. The bill also “threatens sheriffs, constables and police chiefs that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials with removal from office,” according to reports. “SB 4 is nothing but Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and certain legislators’ hate-filled crusade for mass detention, incarceration and deportation,” said Adonias Arevalo, an organizer with United We Dream. “This bill is a white supremacist’s field day.” According to the AP, “the vote came just before 3 a.m. and followed 15-plus hours of heated, sometimes tearful debate, much of it from outnumbered Democrats.” [...]

Zombie Trumpcare 3.0 stumbling around the House, doomed in the Senate

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:20:54 +0000

Campaign Action The current exercise of reviving Zombie Trumpcare in the House is looking increasingly like a blame-shifting attempt to make House moderates buckle, as the Washington Post's Paul Kane writes. On Wednesday, however, after a few changes to the legislation that modestly tilted the bill more to the right, the Freedom Caucus issued a forceful endorsement of the new package. Outside allies issued declarations that the bill’s fate now fell entirely on the shoulders of moderate Republicans. It was a whiplash moment for a group that has previously based its existence largely on opposition in the pursuit of purity — and it set off alarm bells among other Republicans. “A lot of them were taking a lot of heat for the failure of the bill, and they didn’t like it. It’s an exercise in blame-shifting,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), a leading member of the Tuesday Group, the collection of more than 50 moderate Republicans. Should Ryan overcome moderate opposition and get the votes to pass it, either now or possibly next week as seems more and more likely this blame-shifting will switch to the Senate, where the bill is almost certainly doomed. The Freedom Caucus boosters in the Senate—Sens. Rand Paul (KY) and Ted Cruz (TX)—are applauding the maniacs for making this bill considerably worse, but the hurdles on this bill are just increasing in the Senate. Mostly, the don't want anything to do with it and are coming up with excuses. House Republicans are hell-bent on ripping away our health insurance. Call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121, and demand they vote NO on a renewed Trumpcare that is worse than the one before. Remind them they work for you. [...]

Trump's inner circle continues to dish: The key job is 'To talk him out of doing crazy things'

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:05:11 +0000

Brace yourselves. It’s time for another story about the dysfunction and incompetence of Donald Trump’s White House, from the popular vote loser himself on down. The opening anecdote of the latest installation is fantastic: [Trump] took it upon himself to explain that his presidency was actually on track, inviting a pair of POLITICO reporters into the Oval Office for an impromptu meeting. He sat at the Resolute desk, with his daughter Ivanka across from him. One aide said the chat was off-the-record, but Trump insisted, over objections from nervous-looking staffers, that he be quoted. And then, we can only presume, those nervous-looking staffers buttonholed the reporters on their way out to offer up anonymous quotes about how terrible everything is. Anyway, plenty of White House staffers talked anonymously to Politico’s Josh Dawsey, Shane Goldmacher, and Alex Isenstadt, allowing them to make Trump’s insistence on being quoted bragging about himself and his operation look especially foolish. The biggest thing—a recurring theme of behind-the-scenes reporting on the Trump White House, but shocking every time it’s reported—is the way staffers have learned to treat Trump like a child: “If you’re an adviser to him, your job is to help him at the margins,” said one Trump confidante. “To talk him out of doing crazy things.”[...] But they’re learning. One key development: White House aides have figured out that it’s best not to present Trump with too many competing options when it comes to matters of policy or strategy. Instead, the way to win Trump over, they say, is to present him a single preferred course of action and then walk him through what the outcome could be – and especially how it will play in the press. “You don’t walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t consume information that way,” said one senior administration official. “You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like.” Downplaying the downside risk of a decision can win out in the short term. But the risk is a presidential dressing-down—delivered in a yell. “You don’t want to be the person who sold him on something that turned out to be a bad idea,” the person said. And Trump obviously isn’t responsible for making decisions based on his inability to consider competing options and make reasoned decisions. It’s like Trump’s own aides are determined to let the world know that however incompetent and unstable and just plain stupid the casual observer might believe Trump to be, reality is worse.  [...]

Midday open thread: The Simpsons, United and Pete Souza

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:10:56 +0000

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is Across the globe, with Jeff Sessions: Well, this could be fun: "The Simpsons" teased its newest episode on Facebook Wednesday, which looks at President Trump's first 100 days in office. [...] The clip of the episode starts off showing a cartoon Spicer in the White House briefing room dead, hanging from the ceiling with a sign on his body saying "I quit" as an onlooking cartoon Conway says, "I am not replacing him." The clip also shows advisers Steve Bannon and Renice Priebus strangling one another, an apparent reference to reports of infighting between the two, and Trump tweeting from bed while watching the news. Ya think?!? Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Continental Holdings Inc., talked to The Associated Press about the incident and new airline policies designed to deal with overbooked flights. [...] Q: Is this hurting ticket sales? A: We have such big numbers that I suspect there are places where things have fallen off a little bit … It’s a little too early to tell. We will watch that and closely monitor. My going-in perspective is one of paranoia. I breached public trust with this event and how we responded. People are upset, and I suspect that there are a lot of people potentially thinking of not flying us. Good for him: Pete Souza, the former chief White House photographer who became so close to President Obama that he held his wedding in the Rose Garden, is encountering newfound notoriety on social media for a personal Instagram account that has subtly taken aim at President Trump since Inauguration Day. Now, after nearly 100 days and over one million Instagram followers, the natural next step, it seems, is a book deal. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin leads an explainer of the Byrd Rule trap that forced Republicans to exempt Congress from ACA repeal. Then, a recap of the day’s crazy on Korea, NAFTA, gov’t funding & Ivanka. And a failed attempt to reach out & understand one Trump voter. x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash [...]

Obama fired Michael Flynn. Trump made him national security adviser. Guess who Spicer blames.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:35:21 +0000

In 2014, Michael Flynn abruptly announced that he was retiring from the Army ahead of schedule. It was the polite way of saying that he was canned for doing a miserable job at the DIA. From there, Flynn embarked on a career as an unregistered foreign agent, traveling the world to complain about the Obama administration and picking up paychecks despite warnings from the Defense Department. None of this kept the Trump campaign from latching onto Flynn. Trump proudly pointed to Michael Flynn as his top military adviser and considered him for vice president.  NBC News confirmed that the three-star general is being vetted by the Trump campaign. He is the first non-politician known to be under consideration by Trump and would put national security at the forefront of the real estate mogul's campaign. While Flynn didn’t get the VP nod, he got a prominent role at the GOP convention, where he led the “Lock her up” chorus and attacked Obama as a “weak, spineless president.” After the election, Trump installed Michael Flynn as national security adviser, leapfrogging him over the people who had ushered him out the door.  So who is to blame for the fact that Michael Flynn was given the keys to America’s highest office of intelligence after he’d pocketed hundreds of thousands from foreign governments and sipped champagne with Putin? Reporter: Are you satisfied with the vetting that was done of General Flynn by the transition team before he came on board as the national security advisor? Spicer: So, that’s a great question and I appreciate you bringing it up…. General Flynn was a career military officer who maintained a high level clearance throughout his career in the military. His clearance was last reissued by the Obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015, as you point out. So, the issue is he was issued a security clearance under the Obama administration in the spring of 2016 … all of that clearance was made by the Obama administration. Welcome to the new “unmasking.” There’s no screw-up, disaster, or just plain crime for which the Trump regime won’t cook up a reason to blame Obama. [...]

Tens of thousands across 35 states plan to rise up on May 1 national day of action

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:37:16 +0000

Tens of thousands of people in 120 cities and across 35 states are estimated to participate in strikes, teach-ins, rallies, and marches during a RISE UP! national day of action “to demonstrate the power, resilience and strength of immigrant communities and progressives in America.” Thomas Kennedy, an immigrant rights organizer from Florida, writes in the Huffington Post: This May Day we will continue to take to the streets to call for what we believe is a progressive platform centered on people that truly empowers and looks out for our communities. We call for a return to real and humane debate over immigration, a raise in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, the end of the for-profit prison system, affordable college education, voter restoration rights to the thousands of disenfranchised voters across the country, equal rights for the LGBTQ community, and climate justice to protect communities, such as those in Florida, that are on the front lines of climate change and sea level rise. Over 90 national organizations are throwing down, including the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, MoveOn, Indivisible, the American Federation of Teachers, the Service Employees International Union, the Human Rights Campaign, Bend the Arc, America’s Voice, and dozens of other progressive champions. While popular vote loser Donald Trump has pursued a racist anti-immigrant agenda, a fierce resistance from the grassroots has also dealt him setback after setback. Participants aim to keep that up. Americans are supporting immigration at record levels—while handing Trump record-low approval numbers—and people power has fought back his failed Muslim bans, his racist border wall, defended the Affordable Care Act, won historic anti-deportation legislation in states like California, kept DACA for Dreamers alive, and made clear that attacking and tearing apart hardworking immigrant families goes against the very moral fiber of our country.  [...]

AARP, AMA, March of Dimes and others weigh in on Zombie Trumpcare 3.0, and the reviews are brutal

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:40:06 +0000

Campaign Action Politico's Dan Diamond has been keeping track of the response from industry and interest groups to the Zombie Trumpcare 3.0. All the talk of a possible vote on Friday has created a swarm of opposition from every heavy hitter, enough to make any slightly vulnerable House member quake. The AARP says the changes in the amendment they would vote on would "make this bad bill even worse." Specifically, we are concerned that the American Health Care Act will weaken the fiscal sustainability of Medicare; dramatically increase the premium and out-of-pocket costs for 50-64 year olds purchasing coverage on the individual insurance market; substantially increase the number of Americans without insurance; and put at risk millions of children and adults with disabilities and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program to access long-term services and supports and other benefits. In addition, changes under consideration that would allow states to waive important consumer protections—such as allowing insurance companies to once again charge Americans with pre-existing conditions more because they've had cancer, diabetes, or heart disease—would make this bad bill even worse. The March of Dimes slams the proposal, saying "It's easy to offer inexpensive health coverage if it doesn't cover the benefits people need." Women and children need quality, affordable insurance coverage to be born healthy and lead healthy, productive lives. Unfortunately, in its current form, the MacArthur amendment to American Health Care Act will deny millions of pregnant women, babies and their families the affordable coverage and quality services they need. As if taking away health care from 24 million people wasn’t bad enough, House Republicans have a new plan that would be even worse. Call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121, and tell them you expect them to FIGHT Trumpcare. [...]

Trump demands moderate Republicans walk the plank on his futile Trumpcare 3.0 effort

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:37:15 +0000

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, not necessarily known as a GOP whisperer, summed up nicely Republicans’ predicament on the Trumpcare 3.0 vote being demanded by their witless leader. "He's asking them to vote for a bill that is wildly unpopular in the country," she said, adding, “The minute they cast that vote they are putting doo-doo on their shoe." Translation: Hello 2018 attack adds!   While the White House has gone to great lengths to give Freedom Caucus members cover for a "yea" vote, Trump has left GOP moderates dangling like a piñata as he demands a Trumpcare 3.0 vote this week in service of his big 100-day fireworks display. And moderates know who's gonna take the fall, writes Politico: Late Wednesday, House leaders held a listening session for moderates who were still publicly undecided on the bill. Tuesday Group co-chair Rep. Charlie Dent has been particularly frustrated by what he argues is a flawed process that led to the latest proposal. He said it appeared to be more about Freedom Caucus conservatives -- who came under fire for sinking the last version of the health care bill -- attempting to shift blame toward moderates. Several conservative advocacy groups -- like FreedomWorks and the Club For Growth -- opposed earlier versions of the bill but endorsed the new measure. The White House has seized on the conservative momentum to call for a vote this week, ahead of President Donald Trump's 100th day in office on Saturday. But as of Thursday morning, no vote had been scheduled as leaders continued to take the temperature of skittish members. Paul Ryan needs 216 votes for passage and can't lose more than 22 Republicans, yet the bill has no path forward in the Senate. So passage, if it even happens, will amount to a Pyrrhic victory for the GOP caucus come 2018. But Trump doesn't care. He specializes in the short game—extremely short. The only question is whether Ryan is really that crazy. [...]

Democrats to Ryan: You want our help to keep government open? Don't rush Trumpcare

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:40:39 +0000

House Democratic leadership is challenging Speaker Paul Ryan to use his leadership and the fact that Republicans have the White House, Senate, and House. If he wants to pass a short-term funding bill this week, he'll have to either do it entirely without Democrats, or put an end to the Zombie Trumpcare rush.

House Democrats will oppose a short-term spending bill if Republican leaders attempt to expedite an ObamaCare repeal bill this week, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) warned Thursday. […]

"If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well," Hoyer said in an email.

"Republicans continue to struggle to find the votes to pass a bill that will kick 24 million Americans off their health coverage, allow discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, and impose an age tax on older Americans. That's why they are trying to jam it through the House before their Members can hear from the American people this weekend about their opposition to this horrible legislation."

Hoyer gave Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that message Thursday morning and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi repeated it in her briefing Thursday morning, telling reporters "I assume they have the votes to pass their extension…. [T]he ball is in their court." If Republicans want to keep government open, they're going to have to figure out how to do it without Democratic help.

House Republicans are hell-bent on ripping away our health insurance. Call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121, and demand they vote NO on a renewed Trumpcare that is worse than the one before. Remind them they work for you.