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Published: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:13:49 +0000

Last Build Date: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:13:49 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want

Trump wants to read your messages. Download Signal to thwart him

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:30:46 +0000

When President Barack Obama won, conservatives stocked up on guns and ammunition which were never taken away. Now, with big-time popular-vote loser Donald Trump headed to the White House thanks to our bullshit undemocratic system, people are stocking up on different things, such as health care, and … communication encryption tools

By the time you finish reading this column, you would be foolish not to download the messaging app Signal onto your smartphone and computer.

The free encrypted messaging service has won the acclaim of security researchers and privacy advocates, including Edward J. Snowden. All have said that Signal goes above and beyond other chat tools in keeping electronic communications private [...]

Some people have already cottoned on to this. Signal experienced a 400 percent jump in daily downloads since Mr. Trump won the election, according to Moxie Marlinspike, who founded Open Whisper Systems, the nonprofit that developed Signal. To Mr. Marlinspike, the surge in downloads reflects anxiety among Americans about the implications of Mr. Trump’s presidency for personal privacy.

This is consumer-friendly encryption, working like any other messenger apps. So if you know how to message, you can use this app without worrying about complicated tech. In fact, the Signal tech is open source, and has been incorporated into several apps like WhatsApp and Google Messenger. But none are as secure as Signal itself.

My biggest gripe about it is the lack of a Mac desktop app, since I actually do most of my chatting on my computer. There is an extension for Chrome, but I prefer Safari, so that doesn’t work so great for me. Also, I can’t install it on both my phone and iPad, though support for multiple devices is coming soon (supposedly). On the other hand, you can even make secure encrypted voice calls on Signal, which is pretty awesome. 

The security ramifications of our incoming neo-fascist president (not to mention Russian hackers, malicious Wikileaks, etc.) are severe enough that I’ll definitely be conducting my chatting and voice calls on Signal. You can download the app, which is free, here


Per usual, Trump taking sole credit for SoftBank's $50 billion U.S. investment doesn't add up

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:10:27 +0000

Donald Trump jumped at the chance earlier this week to parade the chief executive of SoftBank past the Trump Tower media spread and claim sole responsibility for the Japanese company's $50 billion investment in the U.S.

“He’s just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and 50,000 jobs," Trump said Tuesday after meeting with Masayoshi Son (“Masa”). Later Trump would tweet, "Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!”

In case you weren't sure who "we" was, Trump managed to work his own name into his tweet—making it extra Trumpelicious. Anyway, per usual, Trump's claim is falling apart under scrutiny. A month before the election, Son had already announced a $100 billion investment in the SoftBank Vision fund, a collaboration with Saudi Arabia and other investors. Son promised, "Over the next decade, the SoftBank Vision Fund will be the biggest investor in the technology sector.” The technology sector, eh? Michelle Ye Hee Lee writes

The Journal noted that SoftBank “announced the $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund nearly a month before the election, when most pundits expected Mr. Trump to lose. Given its size, the fund was likely to put most of its money in the U.S., still home to the world’s most-promising technology companies. Last quarter, 60% of the money raised by companies backed by venture capital was in North America, according to a report by KPMG and CB Insights.”

“Son must have intended as much as half of the Vision Fund to go to the U.S., as he’s aware that there are great companies in Silicon Valley. But he chose this time to announce it as Trump is now going to be the next president,” Jun Tanabe, a SoftBank analyst at JPMorgan Securities in Tokyo, told The Post.

But hey, no one knows how to take credit where it isn't due like Trump.


Ohio gov might veto heartbeat bill and sign forced-birthers' real desire: a 20-week abortion ban

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:19:31 +0000

Irin Carmon at NBC News has an interesting take on the so-called “heartbeat” abortion bill that made its way to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s desk this week, as my colleague Liz Birge has reported. If Kasich signs the bill, it will ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically in the embryonic stage of development, as early as six weeks’ gestation. That is before many women even know they are pregnant.

The bill is utterly unconstitutional because it cuts against Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that states cannot ban abortion before fetal viability. Similar bills have fallen to federal district court rulings in North Dakota and Arkansas. But Carmon reports that Kasich, a staunch forced-birther, might very well veto the heartbeat bill. That wouldn’t upset the leader of Ohio Right to Life.

That’s because that organization, networked with forced-birthers across the nation, doesn’t support the fetal heartbeat bill. They know it would not survive the high court’s scrutiny. Instead, they want Kasich’s signature on a bill imposing a 20-week abortion ban, and he seems likely to make them happy. 

The 20-week ban is also unconstitutional because fetal viability is several weeks later. But advocates in Ohio, and 18 other states where a ban has passed in one form or another, have been maneuvering to get a favorable Supreme Court ruling on such a law specifically because it is not as extreme as the heartbeat bill: 

Nationally, Kasich has sought to present himself as a moderate. He told CNN in August, referring to abortion, that Republicans "focus too much on just one issue." The dueling abortion bills arguably present him with an opportunity to split the difference. If Kasich vetoes the heartbeat bill while quietly signing a 20 week ban into law, he would seemingly take the more measured path.

"Speaking just as Mike Gonidakis," said the Ohio Right to Life President, "I think that would set him up well." 

The Supreme Court has rejected appeals seeking to overturn lower court orders barring the 20-week ban in Arizona, Georgia, and Idaho. But it hasn’t ruled to overturn the bans nationwide. That would take two new anti-abortion justices on the court, one to replace Antonin Scalia and another to replace a justice not already on board to attack Roe. As president, Donald Trump may very well get the opportunity to appoint two or more new justices. If a reconstituted court majority were to remove fetal viability from consideration, which approving a 20-week ban would certainly do, the underpinnings of Roe would be wrecked.


Republican's repeal plan could make 30 million uninsured, more than pre-Obamacare

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:36:55 +0000

When they destroy stuff, they really mean it, those Republicans. A new study from the Urban Institute, based on the repeal bill passed by Congress earlier this year (it's all we've got to go by, since they haven't come up with anything else), finds that the plan would end insurance for more than 30 million people.

Here's just a snapshot of the wreckage.

  • The number of uninsured people would rise from 28.9 million to 58.7 million in 2019, an increase of 29.8 million people (103 percent). The share of nonelderly people without insurance would increase from 11 percent to 21 percent, a higher rate of uninsurance than before the ACA because of the disruption to the nongroup insurance market.
  • Of the 29.8 million newly uninsured, 22.5 million people would become uninsured as a result of eliminating the premium tax credits, the Medicaid expansion, and the individual mandate. The additional 7.3 million people would become uninsured because of the near collapse of the nongroup insurance market.
  • Eighty-two percent of the people becoming uninsured would be in working families, 38 percent would be ages 18 to 34, and 56 percent would be non-Hispanic whites. Eighty percent of adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees.
  • There would be 12.9 million fewer people with Medicaid or CHIP coverage in 2019.

What would happen is that immediate repeal would take the subsidies away from everyone, they wouldn't be able to afford it, and only the sickest people would stay enrolled. The end of the mandate to buy insurance would mean fewer would sign up in the first place. The mandate on insurers to keep people with pre-existing conditions would still stand, and these factors combined would cause the collapse of the individual market. It would start immediately, Urban predicts, with 4.3 million dropping their coverage and becoming uninsured next year. But that's not all!


Midday open thread: Normalizing 'fake news'; Pizzagate writer has no regrets; yes, cats control us

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:00:18 +0000

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is The world at a crossroads... • Trump’s pick for the EPA is worse than you probably thought. • Clueless 24-year-old kindled the flames of Pizzagate: Despite the fallout of Pizzagate (as it’s come to be known) that resulted in an armed man entering Comet Ping Pong in search of alleged child sex slaves, MacWilliams said she has no regrets. “I really have no regrets and it’s honestly really grown our audience,” she said. • Newly published study says Greenland was ice free during Ice Age warming periods. That means it could melt faster than expected, which could have a greater impact over the next 50-100 years than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted. The IPCC calculated a 3-4 foot sea-level rise because they thought that Greenland’s ice mostly remain intact during warming periods. Since it didn’t, that could mean a sea level rise of 24 feet. • Activists shame Democrats for their nearly all-white top staffers: Senate Democrats are facing growing pressure to break the white male stranglehold on senior staff positions in their ranks — a push that's uniting consultants and lobbyists inside the Beltway with Black Lives Matter and other minority leaders who are accusing the party of “soft bigotry." The attacks are prompting uncomfortable discussions among Democrats even as they welcome their historic Senate freshman class, which includes the chamber’s first Latina and Indian-American members. • So how did cats trick us into feeding them and taking care of them? For a long time, it was probably just an accident. But there are reasons that cats made the transition, but we don’t have badgers or foxes as pets today. One reason is that cats have a set of physical features that, for completely accidental reasons, remind us of human babies. Cats have big round eyes located right in the middle of their faces, because they’re ambush predators and need good binocular vision. They have little noses, because they don’t hunt by smell. They have round faces because they have short, powerful jaws. This set of features, which is actually just an expression of the way the cat hunts, looks to us like our infants. That gave them a leg up on the competition, and made them an intriguing and charming presence, rather than a straight-up nuisance, like a raccoon. •  xWeirdest thing: I just watched Obama meet journalists who have criticized him — and he simply shook hands and thanked them for their work.— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) December 8, 2016 • The result of making “fake news” meaningless is to raise suspicions about all sources: Is “fake news” a reference to government propaganda designed to look like independent journalism? Or is it any old made-up bullshit that people share as real on the internet? Is “fake news” the appropriate label for a hoax meant to make a larger point? Does a falsehood only become “fake news” when it shows up on a platform like Facebook as legitimate news? What about conspiracy theorists who genuinely believe the outrageous lies they’re sharing? Or satire intended to entertain? And is it still “fake news” if we’re talking about a real news organization that unintentionally gets it wrong? (Also, what constitutes a real news organization anymore?) Finally, do any of these distinctions matter if the end result—widespread confusion and disagreement over what’s real and true—is the same?  • On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: More Trump cabinet picks & contenders. Conflicts of interest are here to stay. A #GunFAIL roundup, including concealed carriers as a protected class. The double standard & embedded bias against the left. More thoughts on Jan. 3rd & High Noon. x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Support the show via Patreon [...]

CIA's torture architect says 'Mad Dog' Mattis isn't as opposed to waterboarding as the media report

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:12:16 +0000

James Mitchell, the psychologist who with his business partner Bruce Jensen designed and implemented the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program used on suspected terrorists after the September 11 attacks, was talking it up at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday. In fact, the two men brought in oodles of CIA cash with their program. Your dollars and mine, $81 million worth.

Mitchell isn’t advocating torture, he told the AEI audience. He just thinks we should have a “civil debate” about it. Legal coercion, he said, should be part of our arsenal. But he’s not advocating torture. Nuh-uh. He said he’s not even advocating waterboarding, a practice he personally employed against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—the mastermind of the attacks 15 years ago. Ali Watkins reports:

“The word ‘torture’ has become like the word ‘racist.’ It’s been used so many times it loses its meaning,” [Mitchell] said. “If this political correctness continues, we’re going to be standing on a moral high ground looking down into a smoking hole that used to be Los Angeles.”

The program engineered by Mitchell employed the use of tactics like waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions and rectal feeding on detained terror suspects in secret overseas prisons run by the CIA. Agency interrogators are documented to have slammed suspects into walls, chained them from the ceiling and played loud music to keep them from sleeping. Those tactics have been condemned by critics who say they’re inhumane and illegal, and the 2014 Senate investigation found the tactics were ultimately ineffective at eliciting intelligence.


Trump picks anti-labor Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor. He'll be in charge of impoverishing you.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:28:44 +0000

For today's entry into Trump appointments so ridiculous that they would have been considered satirical a scant few months ago, we bring you Donald J. Trump's new Secretary of Labor: Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of Hardee's and Carl’s Jr and, as can be expected from that resume, a longtime opponent of any labor protections you might name.

Mr. Puzder has spent his career in the private sector and has opposed efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay, arguing that large minimum wage increases hurt small businesses and lead to job loss among low-skilled workers.

He strongly supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which he maintains has helped create a “restaurant recession” because rising premiums have left middle- and working-class people with less money to spend dining out.

Mr. Puzder will arguably have less experience in government than any labor secretary since the early 1980s [...]

Puzder took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages two years ago to blast the Obama administration's idea of giving overtime pay to his low-wage fast food "managers," claiming that his $24,000 a year "managers" would far rather have the important-sounding title than, you know, a living wage. He doesn't want Americans to have health insurance because he believes it cuts down on their burger spendin' money. He shares Donald Trump's taste for corporate-backed misogyny, preferring corporate commercials in which scantily clad women eat burgers as if the very notion of burgers sexually arouses them beyond their control.

As you would expect, he is a fierce opponent of the Fight for $15 movement.


Trump goes ballistic on Indiana union guy, but dead silent on GOP scrapping 'Buy America' provision

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:58:37 +0000

Fresh off his victory tour of lying about how many jobs he saved in Indiana, Donald Trump found time Wednesday to attack the president of United Steelworkers 1999, Chuck Jones, for calling his bluff. Trump's deal had saved 800 Carrier jobs, not 1,100-plus, and Jones had the nerve to correct Trump, eliciting two nasty tweets from Trump about what "a terrible job" Jones was doing representing Carrier employees.

But when it came time for Trump to stick up for tens of thousands of American steelworkers, he couldn't spare a second. He just sat by and watched congressional Republicans strip the "Buy America" provision from a water bill that would have required infrastructure projects to use American steel. 

Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown even organized a tweet storm with other senators to alert Trump and ask him to intervene, but they got no response. Zip. Not a peep from the self-styled billionaire champion of the working man. 

"If tax dollars are being spent for a project, they ought to be buying American iron and steel made by American workers," Brown told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Wednesday. "That's sort of fundamental. Trump failed his first test, Ryan failed another test in protecting American workers."

This was an easy get. The "Buy America" provision was already included in the Senate version of the water bill and had passed with bipartisan support. GOP Speaker Paul Ryan stripped it out when the House and Senate versions of the bill were being reconciled.

If Trump cared about anything other than stroking his own ego with a headline, he could have reached out to Ryan and said, "Don't do that. There's a new sheriff in town and we're going to defend the jobs of American workers—that's the platform I won on and that's got to be our priority."

But instead, Trump found time to criticize a union guy who was forced in good conscience to call B.S. on Trump's inflated numbers. That’s probably because Trump has always preferred Chinese steel.

Check out Sen. Brown’s interview below about the GOP screwing American steel workers.


The press is ignoring it, but Democrats told the GOP to get bent, and Republicans did as instructed

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:51:20 +0000

Earlier this week, Republicans threatened to throw one of their patented—and very dangerous—tantrums: Allow us to ram through a special amendment to allow retired General James Mattis to serve as Donald Trump’s secretary of defense—or else we’ll shut down the government. But guess what happened? Democrats told Republicans to get bent, and the GOP meekly complied.

That’s not how it’s getting reported in D.C., though. Inexplicably, Politico’s headline claimed that Democrats “waved the white flag” on Mattis. That has it literally, exactly, and 100 percent wrong. Is it because the Beltway press can’t fathom the possibility that Democrats actually showed some spine? Or is it because they simply don't grasp what went down?

Whatever the explanation, and whatever the traditional media prints, it’s still a win. Here’s what really took place: Led by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrats said they’d filibuster a special amendment that would let Mattis take the defense secretary job even though he only retired from active duty three years ago. For very good reason, federal law requires that members of the armed forces wait seven years before taking senior defense posts, to ensure firm civilian control over the military—a bedrock foundation of democracy.

Trump and the GOP don’t care about such principles, of course, so they’re raring to pass a special piece of legislation to lift this seven-year restriction for Mattis. But with Democrats set on filibustering the amendment, Republicans then suggested they’d attach it to a must-pass spending bill that would keep the government running past Friday. In other words, give us our way on Mattis, or we’ll shut the federal government down.

The threat proved to be hollow, though. Democrats all but invited Republicans to bring it on, remembering just how poorly things went for the GOP the last time they closed down the government. And guess what? When Republicans released the text of their spending bill, the special amendment for Mattis was nowhere to be found—a victory for the Democrats.

Trump will still push Mattis next year, and he may yet get confirmed. But in order to do so, he’ll need 60 votes, rather than the usual 50 for cabinet appointees. That’ll be a much tougher lift, because Republicans will need at least eight Democrats to cross the aisle—and that’s if there are no GOP defections. But come what may, Democrats have stood up for the principle of civilian control of the military, and they scored an important win.

Call your senators and urge them to support Sen. Gillibrand’s filibuster of the special Mattis amendment.


Durbin, Graham welcome Trump's pledge to 'work something out' for DREAMers

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:12:10 +0000

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham were quick to embrace comments from Donald Trump suggesting that he would back off part of his deportation pledge and "work something out" for undocumented immigrants brought here as minors. Durbin and Graham, who have been working on legislation to protect some 744,000 DREAMers who signed up for President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, immediately sent out a joint statement in response to Trump's remarks. 

"We're encouraged by these comments by President-elect Trump — they present an opportunity to do the right thing for more than 744,000 young people who grew up here. There is bipartisan support for this in the Senate and we will soon have a legislative response ready if needed.  They have much to contribute to the country they love."

Trump made the comments in an interview with TIME magazine released Wednesday, writes Eliza Collins.

Trump didn't back down from his promise to end Obama's executive orders on immigration, but he did offer an opening for people who qualified for Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump said. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.

But Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director for United We Dream, didn’t sound particularly impressed in her statement.


Dem senator slags Trump's EPA pick as 'science-denying, oil-soaked, climate change-causing polluter'

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:38:18 +0000

Yes! This is exactly the kind of backbone we want to see from congressional Democrats! Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, a longtime leader on the environment and a member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, is saying “hell no" to Donald Trump’s pick of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency:

“I will vigorously oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination and urge President-elect Trump to stop nominating science-denying, oil-soaked, climate change-causing polluter allies to his cabinet. The American people want clean air and water and to protect the health of their kids. Those are the time-honored American values that President–elect Trump’s cabinet should reflect.”

More like this, please. Make no mistake: We’re going to lose a lot of battles over the next four years. But we have to show we can fight, because if we don’t fight, we’ll never win.


Schumer to Republicans: We're going to 'fight tooth and nail' to protect Medicare

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:42:22 +0000

Democrats aren't just ready for a fight to keep Paul Ryan and Donald Trump from privatizing Medicare and destroying Medicaid, they're spoiling for it. There's no cowering and licking their wounds after the election, but a recognition that the majority of the American public rejected Republicans and rejected Trump—Hillary Clinton is leading by 2.7 million votes at this point—and that they have a patriotic responsibility to fight. It starts with Medicare.

“I say to my Republican colleagues: Turn back, because we will fight you on this tooth and nail, we will win, you will lose,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the incoming Democratic leader said at a press conference.

He was joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as well as liberal groups that were delivering over 1 million signatures on a petition to Republican leaders against Medicare cuts.

Democrats have been sensing political advantage amid talk of Republicans overhauling Medicare.

Schumer promised “some heck of a hearing” for Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President-elect Trump’s nominee to be Health and Human Services secretary.

Schumer and Sanders both pointed out that while Trump campaigned on a promise to not touch critical social insurance programs, he's putting Price—an avowed Ryan disciple in gutting Medicare and Medicaid—in a powerful position. Trump "nominated one of the most avowed enemies of Medicare in the country to be secretary of HHS," Schumer said, "and he's going to get some heck of a hearing." Sanders added a direct message to Trump: "He said 'I am not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,'" […] "Mr. Trump, we are going to hold you accountable."

While Republicans' zeal for cutting Medicare seems to be waning, Schumer points out that "I haven’t heard any notable Republican voices strongly saying they’re going to fight it and join us in fighting it." And they're not going to let the American people forget that.


Donald Trump's limited liability companies give him unlimited opportunities to hide the facts

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:19:56 +0000

Examine Donald Trump’s financial statements and you’ll find he’s in charge of an incredible 516 companies, almost all of them traditional “class-C” corporations or limited liability corporations (LLCs). That’s just the start of the complexity. Some of these corporations own all or part of other corporations on the list. Some of them own all or part of corporations not on the list. Just look at the labyrinth involved in tracking down how Donald Trump owns a single helicopter.

President-elect Donald Trump owns a helicopter in Scotland.

To be more precise, he has a revocable trust that owns 99% of a Delaware limited liability company that owns 99% of another Delaware LLC that owns a Scottish limited company that owns another Scottish company that owns the 26-year-old Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, emblazoned with a red “TRUMP” on the side of its fuselage.

A trust that owns a company, that owns a company, that owns a company that owns a helicopter. That’s one asset down, who knows how many more to go. 

As Trump continues to make misleading statements about how he will handle his organization, the truth of the matter is that the public has only a vague idea of what that organization is, what it owns, or who it owes. Some of that comes because Trump has taken advantage of America’s own little corporate Switzerland.

Unlike publicly traded companies, Delaware LLCs don't have to publish any financial information or even disclose the identity of the owner. 


Donald Trump just attacked a local union leader for telling the truth

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:14:55 +0000

Chuck Jones is the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents the workers at the much-discussed Indiana Carrier plant. That put him in the spotlight when he had to be the person to correct not just Donald Trump but much of the media by pointing out that Trump’s deal with Carrier had saved not the thousand-plus jobs claimed but just around 800. And calling out a Trump lie made Jones Trumpic Enemy Number One, at least for Wednesday night: xChuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016 Chuck Jones didn’t start his work life with a seven-figure loan from his daddy. He doesn’t have tens of millions of Twitter followers. He can’t offer Carrier hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in tax breaks. He can’t threaten its parent company’s federal contracts, or promise to rewrite the laws governing corporations in ways it likes. He is not the president-elect. So, no. Chuck Jones could not singlehandedly save jobs at Carrier that, by the way, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had not been able to keep in the state when he was a mere governor without a notorious bully backing him. Jones could only negotiate the best deal he could backed by the power his workers and his union had been able to build, person by person—and he was doing that in the face of an economy shaped by union-busters and greedy billionaires like Donald Trump.  Now, thanks to the president-elect deciding it’s a reasonable use of his power to attack a private citizen, Jones has a little bit of a platform. Let’s hear what he has to say: Jones then responded to the tweet on CNN, saying of Trump: "If he wants to blame me, so be it, but I look at him and how many millions of dollars he spent on his hotels and casinos, trying to keep labor unions out, you know, so, I like my side, trying to work to make people's lives the best they can be," Jones said. And: Jones, who said the union wasn't involved in the negotiations, said he's working to lift his members' spirits. He said he didn't have time to worry about Trump. “He needs to worry about getting his Cabinet filled,” he said, “and leave me the hell alone.” Don’t forget—Jones is working to lift his members’ spirits because more than a thousand of them will be out of work while the president-elect runs around claiming to have saved their jobs. And by the way, CNN and Politico, Jones is not a “union boss,” unless you want to start calling Trump “U.S. boss” (not that he’d mind). Jones is the elected president of his union local, not an autocrat. [...]

Cartoon: The world at a crossroads...

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:50:17 +0000

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book.

If you’ve ever considered joining Tom the Dancing Bug's subscription club, the INNER HIVE, now’s the time to do it.  Sign up today, during the INNER HIVE DRIVE, and not only do you get exclusive access to each week’s comic before anyone else, but more than double your sign-up charge will be donated to promote Freedom of the Press.    Info here.


State of the Recount: Michigan halted, hearing in PA, WI 70% complete

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:45:00 +0000

In Michigan a ruling from a federal judge has ended any real hope of a complete recount.

A recount that started Monday ended Wednesday night. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith set aside his earlier order that got the recount moving, acting after the state appeals court said Stein doesn’t qualify as an “aggrieved” candidate under Michigan law.

The initial order from Judge Goldsmith promised he would review his decision if there was a ruling from the state court. There was. He did. It’s over.

A federal judge’s ruling that effectively halted Michigan’s presidential recount after three days assures Republican Donald Trump’s narrow victory in the state.

Considering Michigan’s ruling that districts with even one ballot difference between paper ballots and reported totals couldn’t be counted knocked out over 370 districts in the Detroit area alone, it’s not clear that a recount would have actually addressed any genuine issues.


In Wisconsin the count is 70 percent complete, but it hasn’t produced much difference in the outcome.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Democrat Hillary Clinton has gained 82 votes so far on Trump, a Republican who won the Nov. 8 election in the state by more than 22,000 votes.

That’s a reversal of an earlier report showing a 140 vote gain for Trump, and it comes after 309 uncounted votes were discovered. Some voters in one Wisconsin district were given the wrong kind of pen, one that couldn’t be scanned by the optical scanners, causing their ballots to be missed until the hand count.


Morning Digest: Our least favorite Republican from 2012 is running against Sherrod Brown again

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Leading Off

OH-Sen: As expected, Republican Josh Mandel, whose formal title is Ohio state treasurer but whose real job is running against Sherrod Brown every six years, has kicked off another bid for Senate. Mandel is a hyper-ambitious, mendacious piece of shit, but we aren't going to do a deep recap of his previous run since we know we'll have plenty of opportunities to discuss what a jagoff he is in the future. And here's one sign: He immediately earned the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a nihilist group founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint that supports the most radical candidates it can possibly find and has even earned the ire of fellow Republicans for supporting challenges to sitting senators.

But while Mandel had no serious intra-party opposition back in 2012, this time, he very well might. Rap. Pat Tiberi, who was reportedly weighing a bid of his own, has now confirmed on the record that he's "pretty serious" in considering the race. And he's not the only congressman hovering over the contest. Rep. Jim Renacci now says he's "looking at options" for a "potential statewide run," and when asked specifically if he was eyeing the open governor's race, he refused to specify. (Tiberi represents a seat in the Columbus suburbs, Renacci one in the Cleveland suburbs.)

That said, a three-way primary battle between three sitting office-holders seems unlikely, though it's certainly happened before. (Georgia's 2014 GOP Senate primary featured just that.) Brown would certainly love to see Republicans whale on Mandel, and so would we.


Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:30:17 +0000

xWhy yes, it does "look" like he's planning the dissolution of each dept of the government, and that he's surrounding himself with generals.— Alexander Chee (@alexanderchee) December 7, 2016 Listen LIVE right here at 9:00 AM ET! Well, we went ahead and did it. We “went commercial.” Sort of. That is, we turned on ads in the YouTube version of our podcasts. So everyone here should make a point of going there, “watching” the podcasts, and clicking on all the ads, or whatever it is you have to do to make money magically appear in our account. The YouTube channel is actually a remarkably easy way of listening to the podcast on your mobile device, too. And we might even make a dollar! Don’t want to play that game? Well, there’s always good, old fashioned donations! Please consider  subscribing to provide ongoing, monthly support via Patreon. Not sold yet? Surely the below FREE SAMPLE of our show will convince you! x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Support the show via Patreon David Waldman takes on the tough job of helping us over another Wednesday hump. It’s even tougher after Trump steals your patented over the shoulder look. Donald Trump wears the greatest horns, though. Donald knows you love him, but he still has some complaints. Trump is a pretty sensitive guy, as Boeing stockholders and employees are finding out. The U.S. Secret Service is the hot, new “amenity” at Trump Tower. Greg Dworkin had news and punditry all rounded up, but was unable to call in. Hillary Clinton did not ignore the working class. Policy and experience didn’t matter. The press failed the voters. Still, after all that, it looks like we got a pretty typical presidential election outcome. At  least we know the Bathroom Bill cost Pat McCrory his job. Joan McCarter calls in to discuss the nitty-gritty of American politics, including what hopefully history will recall as the Waldman Gambit. While we are all looking at the big clown show in the center ring, Ohio slips a “heartbeat” abortion bill to Gov. John Kasich to sign. In Washington they aren’t so handy, in fact they aren’t agreeing on how to repeal Obamacare, let alone replace it. Actually, half of the votes for advancing to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen came from outside the Freedom Caucus. A 70-year-old federal law forbids anyone who has served on active duty in the armed forces in the last seven years from holding a senior defense post. The Republicans don’t need rules where they’re going, so they are eliminating any when they get in their way. It’s the Moral vs. Faithless electors vs. Donald Trump and for the Unknown Republican in the Electoral College. (Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]

Cheers and Jeers: Thursday

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:16:18 +0000


Oh! More Things I Know

<> When one of the dendrites in a House Freedom Caucus member's brain goes out the whole string goes out.

<> During the Trump years, I'm putting all my investments in the soon-to-be-booming environmental disaster cleanup sector.

<> Eight years later, the guy who compiled multiple books of embarrassing, language-mangling, gaffe-filled "Bushisms" didn’t even make it to page two of his book of Obamaisms.

<> It's the emoluments, stupid.

Also what I know: any child who tries this with Donald Trump will end up in Gitmo.

<> Our war in Afghanistan is now in its 15th year. I have no idea who we're fighting anymore.

<> Santa is going to leave copies of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Running A Federal Agency" under all Trump nominees' trees. Plus the coal.

<> Poor Van Jones. He got CNNized.

<> "What do we want?" "To pay more for everything through isolationism!" "When do we want it?" "Um, er, well, let's not be too hasty..."

<> The guy who invented General Tso's chicken lived to be 98. So did the inventor of the Big Mac. I'm going to double my consumption of both and live to be 196.

<> Today's Trump survival tip: have some of your optimism cryogenically frozen for at least the next 4 years. Sign an extension clause for 8, just in case.

<> I sold my precious pocket watch so I could afford to buy my partner Michael a set of hair brushes. But unbeknownst to me he sold his precious hair so he could afford to buy me a watch fob. He laughed and said at least we've got each other. I threw a chair across the room and declared Christmas ruined.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]


Abbreviated pundit roundup: NC a model for resisting; 6 million part-time workers don't want to be

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:30:17 +0000

Ben Adler at The Guardian says in Want to discredit Donald Trump? Show his base he's part of the elite that Democrats are missing the boat in the manner they are criticizing the president-elect and should shift gears:

Like Karl Rove’s fiendishly brilliant decision to attack John Kerry’s heroic war service during the 2004 campaign, Democrats should go after their opponent’s strength. He won the crucial Rust Belt states by being perceived as an outsider, an agent of change and a friend of blue-collar white people between the coasts.

Democrats must expose Trump for what he really is: a self-dealing political profiteer and a tool of the business and political elite.

Trump is making that job easy by nominating generic establishment Republicans and Wall Street insiders to fill his White House and using his meetings with foreign dignitaries to pressure them for favorable treatment of his businesses. If Democrats are to gain anything from Trump’s abandonment of his campaign promises to oust the establishment and clean up the capital, they need to develop and repeat a negative narrative about Trump.


Open thread for night owls: Flanders—How a worker-owned co-op lifts people out of poverty

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:00:18 +0000

The following article written by Laura Flanders was published in August 2014 in Yes! magazine. But it’s still worthy of a read for those who haven’t seen it:  Before Zaida Ramos joined Cooperative Home Care Associates, she was raising her daughter on public assistance, shuttling between dead-end office jobs, and not making ends meet. “I earned in a week what my family spent in a day,” she recalled. After 17 years as a home health aide at Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), the largest worker-owned co-op in the United States, Ramos recently celebrated her daughter’s college graduation. She’s paying half of her son’s tuition at a Catholic school, and she’s a worker-owner in a business where she enjoys flexible hours, steady earnings, health and dental insurance, plus an annual share in the profits. She’s not rich, she says, “but I’m financially independent. I belong to a union, and I have a chance to make a difference.” Can worker-owned businesses lift families out of poverty? “They did mine,” Ramos said. Should other low-income New Yorkers get involved in co-ops? She says, “Go for it.” New York City is going—in a big way—for worker-owned cooperatives. Inspired by the model of CHCA and prodded by a new network of co-op members and enthusiasts, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council allocated $1.2 million to support worker cooperatives in 2015’s budget. According to the Democracy at Work Institute, New York’s investment in co-ops is the largest by any U.S. city government to date. Cooperatives are businesses owned and controlled by their members on the basis of one member, one vote. Given enough time, worker-owned cooperatives tend to increase wages and improve working conditions, and advocates say a local co-op generally stays where it’s founded and acts as a leadership-building force. “There is no greater medicine for apathy and feelings of living on the edges of society than to see your own work and your voice make a difference,” says a report on co-ops by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies in New York. [...] HIGH IMPACT STORIES • TOP COMMENTS TWEET OF THE DAY xNo growth for bottom 50% incomes in the US since 1980. In France: +32%, despite same trends in trade, technology--& that's before transfers!— Gabriel Zucman (@gabriel_zucman) December 7, 2016  BLAST FROM THE PAST At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Obama's Chamberlain impersonation fuels new progressive uprising: Summer of 2009, Democratic lawmakers were swarmed by phone callers and town hall attendees by the then-nascent teabagger movement, furious at the creeping socialism of a government-run health insurance option. You see, Republicans were so worried that the government-run program would be so efficient, effective, and affordable that it would drive the private insurers out of business. And their teabagger allies rose up in unison to defeat this great threat while progressives, burned by serial Democratic capitulation, essentially sat disgusted on the sidelines. Democratic leaders ignored signs of an intensity gap in 2010, and proceeded to further capitulation and inaction on issue after issue important to base Democrats. In December 2009, I literally had David Axelrod argue with me in the Green Room of ABC News' This Week that the base would come home because — I shit you not — Obama would score big points for negotiating the START treaty. That's when I knew we were doomed in 2010.[...]

Cartoon: Best case scenarios under Trump

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:08:57 +0000

Follow me on Twitter at @MattBors and sign up to The Nib’s newsletter for daily comics.


Report: Bob Dole organized the Taiwan call, Dole's firm is paid $20K per month to lobby for Taiwan

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:00:56 +0000

Last night the Wall Street Journal reported on Twitter that Bob Dole helped set up the controversial call between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Donald Trump. Chinese officials were not happy and lodged an official diplomatic complaint with President Obama's White House over the call. Buzzfeed is out with details showing Bob Dole’s Washington law firm is being paid by the government of Taiwan:

Dole told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that his law firm “may have had some influence” on the phone call, which broke decades of diplomatic precedent, but has been widely praised by China hawks for the tough signal it sends to Beijing. An unnamed Trump transition team official told the paper that Dole had arranged the call.

Don’t be so modest, Bob. Why else would the Taiwanese officials be paying your law firm? Why else would Donald Trump accept such a controversial call before he even becomes president? Dole’s law firm, Alston & Bird, are pulling in $20,000 a month to lobby for Taiwan:

Alston & Bird LLP’s client is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the U.S. — the stand-in for an official Taiwanese embassy following the severance of diplomatic relations. In the letter, Dole and Shen agreed that TECRO would pay Alston & Bird $20,000 a month as a retainer in 2016, as well as an unspecified hourly rate for lawyers assisting with additional services.

Dole’s firm would also help TECRO schedule meetings with Republican Party officials and candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, the letter adds, as well as facilitating involvement in the Republican National Convention, and “advancing your agenda on other party-related issues.” Dole endorsed Trump in May.

Mission accomplished, Bob Dole! Taiwan sure appears to be getting their money’s worth. 


Texas A&M students protest neo-Nazi Richard Spencer

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:51:27 +0000

Texas A&M isn’t often known for being a hotbed of either activism or liberalism, but it certainly didn’t roll out the maroon carpet for Trump supporter Richard Spencer.

When white nationalist Richard Spencer took the stage at Texas A&M University on Tuesday, about two dozen of the 400 people in the room stood and applauded. Many others hissed.

“That means you love me,” he said to the hecklers. “Hisssss back to all of y’all.” 

National Policy Institute president Spencer showed that he’d been watching Trump closely, as he followed his mentor’s lead to fat shame a woman in the audience and call a man a coward in an attempt to initiate violence. 

The university didn’t invite Spencer to speak. Instead, a local white supremacist lined up the room and arranged the NAPI leader’s speech. Outside, groups arranged a variety of protests from a silent, candlelight vigil, and services from religious leaders to more active protests.

A school-sanctioned counter event at Kyle Field featured a string quartet made up of black faculty members. The quartet performed "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song often referred to as the Black American national anthem. Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp denounced Spencer.

But as the school was encouraging unity, the leader of the “alt right” was showing the movement’s true nature.


The GOP's total takeover of Washington looking to be a lesson in 'careful what you wish for'

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:31:19 +0000

Remember all the possibility of January 2015, with bi-cameral control of Congress and GOP promises that they would prove they could govern? Then, within a few short weeks, the House erupted into knock-down, drag-outs over an extreme anti-immigrant measure followed by a radical anti-abortion bill along with John Boehner's rocky leadership vote that foretold the fizzling of his career. Well, the GOP is back—this time with executive control thrown into the mix! And now that they're revving up for their glorious run in 2017, the wheels are starting to come off the cart. Their biggest priority—repealing Obamacare—is already splintering, with an early plan to repeal without a replacement meeting resistance from the House freedom caucus. And in the Senate, perhaps sensing trouble, Mitch McConnell is starting to call on Democratic "cooperation" to help replace Obamacare. (Right, cuz Republicans have been such a big help to Democrats for that past eight years.) Meanwhile, Paul Ryan's big dream of privatizing Medicare is also becoming a point of contention, with several GOP senators sending the message that it's a nonstarter for them. Finally, they can't even get it together on Governing 101: the budget. They may indeed manage to pass a measure this week that keeps the government funded through early next year. But some GOP members are even questioning the wisdom of that, envisioning the squabbles that will surely emerge next year between defense hawks in the House who want more money for the military and the fiscal hawks who prefer the across-the-board cuts put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011.  This isn't some minor proposition. Whatever Republicans manage to pass now will have a built-in deadline sometime in the spring, by which point they will have to reconcile with the sequester-level spending limits. On top of the hurdles in the House, in the Senate the GOP will need the help of Democrats, who will demand that spending for domestic programs rises along with spending for defense. Here's GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday handicapping their chances of rolling back the sequester’s 10-year cut in defense spending. “I don’t how we buy it back without a real bloodbath,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham. The GOP is starting to remind me of a couple that doesn’t quite get along thinking that adding a baby to the mix will solve all their problems. They had control of two chambers of Congress—if only they could just get the White House too, they could find a way to make it work! It never happens like that. [...]

In foreign policy speech, Obama gives tips to Trump without mentioning his name

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:13:30 +0000

His name wasn’t mentioned once in the address, but it’s clear to whom President Barack Obama was speaking during his last planned speech on national security—the guy who has reportedly had only one national security briefing since his election last month.

“We’re a nation that believes freedom can never be taken for granted and that each of us has a responsibility to sustain it,” Obama said Tuesday (from the MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, Fla.). “The universal right to speak your mind and to protest against authority, to live in a society that’s open and free, that can criticize a president without retribution,” he continued, in an apparent jab at Trump’s tendency to threaten legal action against his critics. 

In his speech, Obama defended his legacy from hawks and liberals, saying he’d struck the right balance in his foreign policies, and encouraged his successor to do the same.

...Obama zeroed in on several areas where Trump had promised to reverse current policy. Presented as a numbered list, it felt at times like an inventory of the achievements Obama felt were most vulnerable.

Obama defended the Iran nuclear agreement as an international effort that made the world safer ― knowing that in a little over a month, Trump will have the ability to unilaterally scrap years’ worth of diplomatic wrangling.

Obama also noted that as soon as he entered office he banned torture as a form of interrogation.

While campaigning, Trump repeatedly said he would command subordinates to use waterboarding “and worse” to extract information from enemies ― but that move would likely face resistance within the military and intelligence community, and would run counter to U.S. and international law.

In his speech, Obama said using the American court system was the preferable way to deal with terrorists.


Senate Democrats to McConnell: You want help repealing Obamacare? Yeah, get f*cked.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:11:13 +0000

Senate Democrats are doing just what they need to do on Obamacare repeal: telling McConnell to get fucked. Though in less colorful terms.

If Republicans are planning to repeal Obamacare on Jan. 3 and then come looking for help from Democrats to replace it down the road, Senate Democrats have a message for them: It's not happening. […]

"Just an across-the-board repeal without any idea of how we are going to provide health care for millions of Americans is simply irresponsible," Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) told TPM in an interview. "If they repeal it, it's going to be on them." […]

"To our Republican friends across the aisle, bring it on," Schumer said.

McConnell announced Tuesday that the repeal would be the first order of business in January, but Republicans are still light on the details of how long the phaseout of Obamacare would take, what the fall out would be and how they plan to preserve popular aspects of the law like ensuring people with pre-existing conditions can get health care without seeing premiums skyrocket.

"It's hard to figure out how to respond to something that is just vague as where they are right now," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). "We've heard them talking about repeal and replace now for seven years and they've never had a replacement in seven years. I think the hard part for them is that there are elements of the bill that they know they would be crazy to try to undo." […]

"I think they're setting a trap for themselves," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). "I can't understand how this either goes well for them politically or it goes well for the tens of millions of people who depend on the Affordable Care Act."

Yep, it's going to be all on them. As one Democratic leadership aide put it,  Republicans "campaigned on this for three straight election cycles, its time for them to own the consequences." They won't be getting any help from Democrats in cleaning up afterward.


GOP preps to overhaul food stamp program under Trump

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:33:09 +0000

Republicans are eyeing changes to the the food stamp program that will surely be designed to trim the number of people eligible for the assistance. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps nearly 44 million Americans get food they might not otherwise be able to afford at a cost of $74 billion annually, a price tag that’s doubled since 2008 due to the recession. The AP writes:

The GOP majority of the House Agriculture Committee is releasing its two-year review on Wednesday. It stops short of making specific policy recommendations, but it does hint at areas that congressional Republicans could focus on with their GOP monopoly under Trump: strengthening current work requirements and perhaps creating new ones, tightening some eligibility requirements or creating new incentives to encourage food stamp recipients to buy healthier foods.

"There's nothing off the table when it comes to looking at solutions around these areas where we think improvements need to be made," House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said in an interview with The Associated Press. [...]

The report, based on 16 hearings by the committee, recommends better enforcement of some SNAP work programs in certain states, and finds that 42 states use broad eligibility standards that some Republicans have criticized as too loose.

With a GOP monopoly on the federal government, "there's nothing off the table"—that's public enemy No. 1. In the interview, Conaway said that block granting the program wasn't a priority of his even if it has been a pet project of House Speaker Paul Ryan. In fact, changing the program doesn't appear to be an immediate priority for Republicans, but the report's release suggests they are laying the groundwork for a future fight.


Hospitals warn Republicans of 'unprecedented public health crisis' from Obamacare repeal

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:42:36 +0000

Repealing Obamacare is going to be a disaster on just about every level: for individuals, for state and local governments, for healthcare providers and insurers, and thus for the politicians who are doing it. That's the message that the insurance industry has been giving President-popular-vote-loser-elect Trump and congressional Republicans. Now the nation's hospitals are putting a number on it: at least $165 billion in losses, just to hospitals, in the next decade unless something equally as good replaces it.

The two main trade groups for U.S. hospitals dispatched a letter to the incoming president and Capitol Hill’s top four leaders, saying that the government should help hospitals avoid massive financial losses if the law is rescinded in a way that causes a surge of uninsured patients.

The letter, along with a consultant’s study estimating the financial impact of undoing the Affordable Care Act, makes hospitals the first sector of the health-care industry to speak out publicly to try to protect itself from a sharp reversal in health policy that Trump is promising and congressional Republicans have long favored. […]

[T]he American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) convened a news conference Tuesday to release the study’s findings and draw attention to their concerns. […]

Joann Anderson, president of Southeastern Health, a financially fragile rural hospital in Lumberton, N.C., one of that state’s most economically depressed areas, said the prospect of repealing the health law without a replacement to keep people insured is “gut-wrenching. . . . We cannot take additional cuts.”

The study used the only thing available for its analysis, the repeal bill Republicans pushed through this January, vetoed by President Obama. Since in the intervening year, Republicans haven't come up with a scrap of anything else, this is what they're going with. That bill, since it had to pass through budget reconciliation to avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats, stayed on the taxing and spending parts of the law and eliminated the federal subsidies for people purchasing private insurance on the exchanges, the penalties for individuals and employers who don't comply with its coverage mandates, and the Medicaid expansion in 31 states.


Study shows media defined Trump based on what Trump said, and Clinton based on ... what Trump said

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:47:00 +0000

Called for banning people from entering the country based on religion. Email. Endorsed torture. Email. Called a deaf actress “retarded.” Email. Declared he would make the military commit war crimes. Email. Said a reporter was lying because she wasn’t attractive enough to be sexually assaulted. Email. Urged supporters to attack protesters at his rallies. Email. Mocked a reporter with a disability. Email. Called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Email. Said he’d release tax returns, then refused. Email. Repeat ad infinitum.

A study for Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy put some numbers to what we already knew: media coverage in 2016 was filled with false equivalency.

“False equivalencies abound in today’s reporting,” writes Patterson. “When journalists can’t, or won’t, distinguish between allegations directed at the Trump Foundation and those directed at the Clinton Foundation, there’s something seriously amiss. And false equivalencies are developing on a grand scale as a result of relentlessly negative news. If everything and everyone is portrayed negatively, there’s a leveling effect that opens the door to charlatans.” 

A foundation that did genuinely good works and which violated no rules was treated the same—or worse—than a personal foundation that was treated as a slush fund and primarily served to help Donald Trump. Arcane details of handing email were treated as equivalent of … anything at all.

The result was that despite the clear differences, the media coverage came down the same: 87 percent of stories about Trump and Clinton indicated they were not fit for office. 

But it was more than just the numbers that Clinton and Trump shared. It was the source. Donald Trump was allowed to define himself. He was also allowed to define Hillary Clinton.


Schumer to Republicans on Obamacare repeal: You break it, you own it

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:15:51 +0000

This is what Chuck Schumer needs to keep saying, and what Mitch McConnell needs to hear: Democrats aren't going to do anything to mitigate the disaster Republicans are going to create by repealing Obamacare. "They will own it," he tells Greg Sargent.

The emerging GOP plan to repeal Obamacare on a delayed schedule—and then maybe kinda sorta replace it later—has raised a big question: Will Democrats help Republicans pass a replacement that is far less generous and comprehensive than the health law is, allowing Republicans an escape from the political fallout from repeal?

In an interview with me, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer answered this question with a resounding No. Under no circumstances, he vowed, would Democrats throw Republicans such a political lifeline.

"We're not going to do a replacement," Schumer said of the Senate Democratic caucus. "If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs."

That seems pretty damn clear, even if maybe we would opt to put it more colorfully.


House Democrats call for bipartisan commission to investigate hacking

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:44:28 +0000

If emails that didn’t leave the personal server of an acting cabinet official are worth years of investigation, shouldn’t an effort to hack not just emails but the outcome of the election be worth checking out?

Two House Democrats called Wednesday for the creation of a bipartisan national commission — modeled after the one that investigated the Sept. 11 terror attacks– to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 election.

However, just because something seems reasonable doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. In fact, reasonableness might be the best way to filter out anything that has a fighting chance over the next four years.

President-elect Trump said Wednesday he still rejects, as he did during the campaign, the publicly stated conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community that the Russian government “directed” cyber attacks against political organizations as part of an effort to “interfere with the U.S. election process.” …

Trump’s unyielding view would seem to make it less likely there will be any sort of public probe.

Funny. I think if you had asked President Obama what he thought about the value of eight separate investigations into Benghazi, he might not have been wildly enthusiastic. But then, no one asked.

Only this time the candidate who benefited from these attacks appears to have the say over whether or not the acknowledged crime gets investigated. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to be the way that investigations are supposed to work.


Today in Trump appointments: Trump taps virulently anti-EPA Scott Pruitt as EPA chief

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:21:23 +0000

With hundreds of important administration appointments still percolating under Trump’s hairpiece, you might be feeling the need to conserve your outrage. You needn't bother. Short of appointing stuffed animals or corporate logos to cabinet posts, there’s no way the picks are going to any get worse than the choice of virulently anti-EPA Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head, yes, the Environmental Protection agency.

To say he's in the pocket of America's most polluting companies is an understatement. He was quite literally caught copying industry-written letters onto his own stationery and sending them to other government agencies as the opinions of his own office.

He's a crook, in other words. In exchange for pushing industry-written legal arguments as his own, he and other coordinating Republican attorney generals got, at last count, $16 million from those companies for their political campaigns. It's even fair to say that he only got on Trump's radar due to the ample financial padding provided by those firms.

Lobbyists and company officials have been notably solicitous, helping him raise his profile as president for two years of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a post he used to help start what he and allies called the Rule of Law campaign, which was intended to push back against Washington.

What does it profit a man to outsource his public duties to energy industry lawyers who will write up their preferred stance on issues for him to send out? It profits him plenty. We'll also be putting him near the top of the list of people who might end up facing indictments in the next two years.


Republicans back off threat to shut down government to undermine civilian control of the military

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:03:54 +0000

Despite what you might read in the Beltway press, let’s be crystal clear about this: The Republicans blinked. On Tuesday, congressional Republicans began threatening to shut down the federal government if Democrats didn’t buckle under and allow them to ram through Donald Trump’s nomination of retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as secretary of defense. On Wednesday, though, the GOP backed down, meaning Mattis’ appointment won’t sail through the way they wanted—and that the government’s doors will stay open. But much of the D.C. media that covers this kind of thing has had a hard time grasping how, precisely, events have played out, so here’s a timeline: Last Thursday, Trump said he’d tap Mattis as his defense secretary. But there’s a big problem with this proposal: A 70-year-old federal law forbids anyone who has served on active duty in the armed forces in the last seven years from holding a senior defense post. Mattis only retired three years ago, so he's not eligible. This longstanding law exists to preserve the doctrine of civilian control over the military, a bedrock principle of democracy: Only elected officials, not generals, should make decisions about how to use our armed forces, and that means keeping a healthy separation between active duty service and civilian life. So for Mattis to serve as secretary, both houses of Congress would have to pass a special amendment to that law. Republicans, of course, are only too willing to undermine civilian control of the military, but Democrats are not. The same day Trump rolled out his Mattis pick, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced that she’d filibuster any effort to pass a special amendment for Mattis. That means Republicans would need 60 votes in the Senate in order for Trump’s nomination to succeed, but they’ll only hold 52 Senate seats next year, so they’d need the support of at least eight Democrats, assuming the GOP sticks together. (Note: While cabinet nominations cannot be filibustered and thus only require 50 votes, the special amendment Mattis would need can indeed be filibustered.) This week, congressional Republicans then prepared to throw one of their patented—and dangerous—tantrums, saying they’d attach this special Mattis amendment to a must-pass spending bill that would keep the federal government operating past Friday. In other words, if they didn't get their way on Mattis, they’d shut down the government. Democrats told Republicans to get fucked. In response, on Tuesday night, Republicans caved. [...]

Why Obama, Biden, and Senate Democrats should be plotting a Jan. 3 Garland SCOTUS confirmation

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:26:06 +0000

Campaign Action

In case you've lost track, it's Day 297 since Justice Antonin Scalia died, and Day 266 since President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill his seat. on the Supreme Court. Republicans held firm on their contention that a sitting president shouldn't be able to have a SCOTUS nominee confirmed if that president is a Democrat, so here we are. But there are some very good reasons—for Republicans and Democrats—to seriously consider the new nuclear option proposed by David Waldman.

To briefly recap—and for the procedural background reading David's piece is critical—there's a window on Jan. 3 when Vice President Joe Biden will be presiding over the Senate to swear in the new and just re-elected senators in which Democrats have a 36-30 majority. If President Obama chooses to do so, he could renominate Merrick Garland. If Biden chooses to do so, he could recognize Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin as the de facto Senate leader (Chuck Schumer won't be sworn in yet, and remember, in this window Democrats have the majority). If he chooses, Durbin could "go nuclear" and seek a ruling from Biden that the Senate was not bound by the rules of the previous session. Biden could rule thusly, and give Durbin a message from President Obama that he has renominated Garland. Durbin would put it to the current 66 senators for a vote, and the majority Democrats would confirm Garland.

There's a whole mess of ifs involved in that scenario, but there are very good reasons why Democrats should be considering it—and even one for Mitch McConnell.


Mike Pence declares Trump 'mandate' at Trump-hosted Heritage Foundation dinner

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:59:54 +0000

Vice President-Elect Mike Pence continues to prove himself the right man to be Trump's right-hand man. There's no lie a petulant Donald Trump can demand that Pence won't promptly jog out on stage and repeat like he's Trump's personal Bullshit Butler.

Vice president-elect Mike Pence claimed Tuesday night that President-elect Donald Trump has a “mandate” to lead the country, as he ticked through a long list of conservative priorities for the new administration in what he vowed would be a busy first few months in office.

Only in Republican-land can losing the popular vote by millions still be considered a "mandate." George W. Bush considered it a "mandate" when he was chosen by Supreme Court decree; Trumpence's victory over the popular vote led to massive protests around the nation and they're still insisting it must be a "mandate" because—well, we could psychoanalyze this all we want but the short version will always be that it's because that's what liars do. Donald Trump's ego can't handle being the most unpopular president-elect in modern history, and Donald Trump's ego is the thing the Republican Party is determined to restructure the entire new American government around.

Mike Pence is damn lucky, because Chris Christie would have been great at his job. Chris Christie could have lied his ass off twelve times before lunch and still have ass left to contribute to the afternoon's efforts.

In a speech inside a hotel ballroom at the new Trump International Hotel just blocks from the White House, Pence vowed that the new team will quickly embark on a to-do list that includes repealing and replacing the federal health-care law, beefing up national defense and nominating a staunchly conservative Supreme Court justice.

Midday open thread: Our failed media, a scary FBI investigation, and a whole lot of earthquakes

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:00:31 +0000

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Best case scenarios under Trump: ● The FBI is investigating a reporter because he tweeted a joke about fake news: The FBI has limited resources and must choose its targets carefully. As fake-news websites grow in influence, and people on the president-elect’s transition team spread ludicrous and dangerous claims — like the idea that a pizza place in Washington, D.C., is the site of a Clinton child-sex dungeon — it’s crucially important that the agency charged with investigating terrorism be able to tell the difference between what is a joke and what’s not. An agency that is using people’s tweets — and retweets — as evidence in terror trials should probably understand how Twitter works. The bureau needs a bullshit meter. ● That is a lot of earthquakes. (Watch until at least two minutes in, because wow.) ● How the media is abetting Trump's "Mission Accomplished" transition: As Politico’s Ben White says, Trump is inheriting the “Obama boom.” Perhaps Trump will preserve or build upon all of these gains. But in the likelier event that he screws some things up—if unemployment or the uninsured rate climb significantly—boasting about saving 300 Rexnord jobs will be whistling past the graveyard. Indeed, like George W. Bush’s aircraft carrier-staged declaration of victory in Iraq, Trump’s past antics might start to resemble “Mission Accomplished”—a huge PR victory in real time, but a longer-term symbol of failure and denial. ● Are you a Republican elector who doesn't want to vote for Trump? Free legal advice is available. ● United makes a move in the race to be the worst airline to fly on. ● A disastrous failure of the press. ● On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin provides a pundit roundup in absentia. One part “lol nothing matters,” and one part “SS,DD.” Joan McCarter notes Gop fissures over ACA repeal, Ohio’s attack on abortion, the IRS impeachment flop & the “for Trump only” legal waiver for Mattis. x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Support the show via Patreon [...]

Democrats push to reform Electoral College after Hillary's historic popular vote win

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:47:44 +0000

Campaign Action

Nothing has brought the power disparity between voters in less populous states and those in more populous states into greater relief than Hillary Clinton's Electoral College loss against the backdrop of her historic popular vote win (now at nearly 2.7 million votes). House Democrats met Tuesday to discuss the current system's shortcomings along with possible solutions. Igor Bobic writes:

Democratic lawmakers hailing from states like California, New York, Virginia and Texas argued the balance of power unfairly skewed toward smaller, less populous states, and said that battleground states carried disproportionate influence in presidential elections. In the entire 2016 election, for example, almost every appearance by both candidates occurred in just 12 states.

“Under our current system, the votes of millions of people in non-swing states are effectively lost when they vote for the candidate who loses their state because all of that state’s electoral votes will be given to the other candidate,” Conyers said in his opening statement. [...]

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) noted that the Golden State, where votes are still being counted and where Clinton won by a historic margin, sent a disproportionate amount of tax dollars to the federal government compared to smaller states, which are net recipients of federal tax dollars.

“I don’t think we can sustain our American democracy by having the majority ruled by the minority,” she said.

Amen. Having a majority ruled by a minority that also receives an outsized share of the tax benefit given what they contribute is a recipe for pitchforks at some point down the road.


Congressional Republicans sucker punch American steel workers, scrapping 'Buy America' provision

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:16:50 +0000

Donald Trump may have positioned himself as the champion of American workers but Republicans on the Hill are already embracing his “do as I say, not as I do” modus operandi. Under the backing of Paul Ryan, the GOP leadership stripped a provision from a water bill Monday that would have required American-made iron and steel products to be used in infrastructure projects in Flint and elsewhere funded by the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasted Republicans, who removed the “Buy America” provision (which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support) while the House and Senate were reconciling the bills. In other words, GOP leadership scrapped it behind closed doors.

“By stripping meaningful Buy America rules from the water infrastructure bill, Washington leadership is choosing China and Russia over Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” said Brown. “This was the first major test of whether Washington establishment Republicans would live up to President-elect Trump’s promises to put American products and American workers first – they failed, and American iron and steel workers will pay the price.”

Now, Brown is teaming up with Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania to insert the provision back in the bill.

They want to reattach the provision to a nearly $12 billion Water Resource Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes dozens of infrastructure projects around the country and is on track to pass the House this week.

“I’m not giving up on this fight,” Baldwin said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Why would we pass a bill that only benefits Russian and Chinese steel corporations when we could be providing certainty to American manufacturers of steel and iron?”


Time's Person of the Year: Der Pumpkinfuhrer

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:01:18 +0000

If you're going to pick a Person of the Year, and the year you're stuck with is garbage pile known as 2016, you only have two choices. You can launch a nationwide hunt for a tree stump that looks a little like Jesus, or you can just pick the person who most obviously represents the rapid decay of western civilization and go home early. Time Magazine doesn't have the budget for a nationwide stump search, so here we are. xSo did they deliberately choose the same chair or— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) December 7, 2016 Trump himself reacted precisely as you would expect him to react, by praising Time as a very important magazine and declaring it a great honor despite the offense of Time calling him, on the cover, President of the Divided States of America. This praise is a switcheroo from a year ago, when Trump was grousing over the choice of not-him even though he was never in the running and everyone was of the general opinion that western democracy would eventually lance him like the man-boil he was. We can imagine Time encouraged him to take that portrait above as an unsubtle dig at the man. So let's imagine that. And let's give this one to Trump; he may have lost the popular vote by what's now becoming near-comical margins, he may still be unqualified and have the public demeanor of a rampaging toddler, but Der Pumpkinfuhrer is indeed a very, very important person now. But it doesn’t mean anybody is going to stop making fun of him, and that is going to Drive. Him. Nuts. In the meantime, however, he should frame that Time cover and put it with his other images that adorn his office shrine. What the hell, he should probably frame both those covers. [...]

Imagine the headlines if Obama rewarded Carrier for shipping 1,250 jobs abroad

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:46:04 +0000

So after a week of hearing about popular-vote loser Donald Trump “saving 1,000 jobs” in Indiana, we’re seeing the reality trickle out little by little. 

We know that of the 1,100 jobs Trump claimed to have kept in the country, 350 were white-collar R&D jobs that were never going anywhere. We know that Trump bribed Carrier with $7 million. We know that 550 jobs from that Indianapolis plant are still being shipped to Mexico. And we know that another 700 jobs at a separate factory in Huntington, Indiana, are also being shipped off to Mexico. 

So imagine the headlines if President Barack Obama had tried to pull the same stunt?

Obama gives Carrier $7 million in taxpayer dollars, Carrier still ships 1,250 jobs to Mexico!

And the thing is, that headline would be accurate, unlike the shit headlines Trump is getting today. 

Fact is, the fakest news is the supposedly “real” news. 


Senate Republicans fighting on Obamacare repeal, Democrats passing the popcorn

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:06:19 +0000

After a meeting with the guy who will be doing popular vote loser Donald Trump's work in the White House, Mike Pence, Senate Republicans are no closer to having a plan for their Obamacare repeal plan. They know they want to do it. They know they want to do it first thing and have it on Pence's Trump's desk on day one, but how—and mostly importantly when—the law is unraveled is a bone of major contention, and the Pence meeting didn't provide any help. “The view on that probably is in a constant state of evolution, based on who you talk to,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 GOP leader. “The question is: What’s that duration? Structurally, it’s at this point an open question. We’re hoping to get some direction.” […] The length of the transition is pitting hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz and members of the House Freedom Caucus, who favor a relatively speedy replacement, against Senate leaders who are pushing the three-year option. “It took six years to get into this mess; it’s going to take us a while to get out of it,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). “One thing I know for sure is we can’t fail to deliver on the promise to repeal Obamacare.” […] “The sooner we can get rid of it, the better,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the outgoing leader of the Freedom Caucus. “The Democrats passed it in 14 months,” added Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.). “I’m not going to vote for anything that’s longer than two years.” It's almost as if they don't understand how all this stuff works. But the Freedom Caucus maniacs have never really put a whole lot of effort into the making of stuff, like laws, just the blowing up part. They haven't bothered to figure out the ramifications of the blowing up part—destruction is their end, and the sooner the better. But for slightly more sophisticated lawmakers who aren't in gerrymandered safe districts, instant gratification isn't enough—they have to think about the next election, of course. And they have to realize just how much damage they'll be doing by taking insurance away from 20+ million people. If they go for a three-year transition, they'll be right back in the middle of a presidential election. But two years is probably not long enough to have any kind of replacement plan ready. Speaking of replacement, it's pretty telling that they can't even get on the same page on how to repeal the damn law. There's not a chance in hell they can actually make a replacement law that they can get all Republicans on board with. So incoming Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is piling on: "They have nothing to put in its place. […] And believe me, just repealing Obamacare, even though they have nothing to put in its place, and saying they’ll do it sometime down the road, will cause huge calamity, from one end of America to the other. They don’t know what to do. They’re like the dog that caught the bus." So this [...]

Keith Ellison to run DNC full-time if elected

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:35:12 +0000

It’s unfortunate that the race for the DNC chair has sucked us back into the primary wars, because really, the two serious candidates, Keith Ellison and Ilyse Hogue, are both impressive in their own rights. There is nothing from the primary battles that is of any relevance to these two candidates, no matter who you supported. 

Criticism of a part-time DNC chair was always warranted. Running the party has to be a full-time job. And so is being a congressman. So if Ellison tried to do both at the same time, he’d be short-changing one or the other of the jobs. Ellison/Sanders partisans tried to claim it was a non-issue, but it was the biggest issue facing Ellison’s candidacy. But no longer

In order to further their commitment and maximize my effectiveness, I have decided to resign as a member of Congress if I win the election for DNC chair. 

Beautiful. We should never again let anyone treat the DNC like a part-time job. Ellison’s statement is a response to the DNC delegates demanding full-time attention to the party’s vexing problems. And Ellison’s commitment to resigning his congressional seat if he wins is a testament to the seriousness in which he’s taking this race. 

Ellison still needs more fire in his platform. We need more specifics on how he would bolster state parties and we need to know how he’ll reform the primary process—from the calendar, to the caucuses, to the superdelegate system. He glaringly ignored that issue in his platform, thus I still think Hogue’s platform is superior. But there’s plenty of time to address those inadequacies, and today, he eliminated the biggest challenge to his candidacy. 


State of the Recount—Michigan may be halted any minute now

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:03:19 +0000

Dueling court rulings have put the Michigan recount at risk of a premature end.

A statewide recount of the Nov. 8 presidential election results could stop following a 10:30 a.m. hearing Wednesday after three days of court battles in two states.

On Tuesday evening, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled that Jill Stein and the Green Party weren’t entitled to call for a recount. That ruling encouraged Republicans to take the case back in front of U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith.

After a set of conflicting decisions on Tuesday, this one could drive a stake through the recount for good.

Wednesday’s hearing could cap a two-day flurry of legal battles. On Sunday, Goldsmith ordered the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots start immediately. But Tuesday, with the recount underway in several counties, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati suggested the judge reconsider his order if state courts ruled against Stein, which happened late Tuesday.

There’s an additional case pending in front of the Michigan State Supreme Court, but if Goldsmith upholds the ruling from the Court of Appeals, that decision may be moot.


Trump says he sold all his stocks in June, and told 'everybody' except for ... everybody

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:11:55 +0000

In an interview on Today on Wednesday morning, Donald Trump was asked why he sold his stocks in June, and why he kept the fact that he had unloaded his account a secret.

Lauer: Why did you sell all your holdings in June?

Trump: Because I felt that I was very much going to be winning and I think that I would have a tremendous—a really, a conflict of interest owning all of those different companies.

That’s a switch. Previously Trump has claimed that the president can't have a conflict of interest

Lauer: So why not announce it back in June when you were under fire for a lack of financial transparency?

Trump: Oh, I let everybody know. I let everybody know.

“Everybody” apparently means Trump’s brokers. Or perhaps Ivanka, because otherwise everybody simply means nobody. 

Trump’s financial disclosure form for 2015 shows him being at the top of an incredible 516 companies as well as having revenue from 168 sources. It notes Trump as having more than $100 million in stock funds and hedge funds (with BlackRock’s Obsidian Fund at the top of the list). That 2015 statement also includes five brokerage accounts with stock in over 280 individual companies.

Trump’s 2016 statement shows ownership in many of the same stocks, but rather than being issued in July, the 2016 statement was put out in May—just one month before Trump says he quietly unloaded all his stock. 

There are also hints in the 2016 form that Trump wasn’t simply hush-hush about his actions then: he might not be telling everything now.


McConnell wants Democratic 'cooperation' on repealing Obamacare. Oh yeah? Get f*cked, buddy

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 22:30:02 +0000

Mitch McConnell must think he’s got some serious balls. Check out this bullshit:

McConnell told reporters that repealing Obamacare would be "the first item up in the new year," and the Kentucky Republican that he would like to "get Democratic cooperation" during the difficult process of replacing "a very, very controversial law."

Yeah, he’d like some “Democratic cooperation”? What kind of a sick joke does he think he’s playing? That’s like a torturer asking a prisoner for “cooperation.”

But Democrats are nobody’s prisoner. In fact, we’re the party that won more votes—a lot more votes—for both the presidency and the Senate than McConnell’s own party did. And now he thinks we’re going to help him undo our signature achievement that’s bettered the lives of millions?

Chuck Schumer is having none of this crap:

"Bring it on," the New York Democrat said. "They don’t know what to do. They’re like the dog that caught the bus."

Right on. We’ve got three more words of our own for McConnell: Get fucked, buddy.


Bill banning abortion at six weeks goes to Ohio governor's desk

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:33:42 +0000

Ohio lawmakers sent a “heartbeat” abortion bill to Gov. John Kasich for his signature Tuesday night. The bill would ban abortions as soon as the heartbeat of a fetus could be heard, something that usually occurs in the first trimester by the end of six weeks. Earlier in the day the Ohio House added the "Heartbeat Bill" to another measure intended to improve the process by which medical professionals report child abuse.  The (State) Senate voted twice: First, they approved 20-11 the decision to tack on the "Heartbeat Bill" language onto House Bill 493. After the amendment passed, the state senators passed the bill with a 21-10 vote that largely went along party lines. Kasich has said he is pro-life except in instances of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is in danger. And earlier this year Kasich signed a bill to ban the state from contracting for health services with any organization that performs or promotes abortions -- a measure widely seen as a way to defund Planned Parenthood. He will have 10 days to veto the measure. If he doesn't take action, the bill would automatically become law. In response to the lawmakers’s action, the ACLU of Ohio tweeted a reminder to Kasich. xIf @JohnKasich signs #HeartbeatBill, we'll sue. #20WeekBan may pass as early as tmrw. Both are unconstitutional & should veto. #StoptheBans— ACLU of Ohio (@acluohio) December 7, 2016 Arkansas and North Dakota both passed “Heartbeat” abortion laws only to see them struck down by federal courts. Ohio state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, a Democrat from Boardman, said the bill would lead to "expensive lawsuits" that would divert resources away from more pressing issues like the opioid crisis. "To the taxpayers of Ohio, I am sorry that your money will have to be used to defend this bill in the court system." [...]

Republicans court government shutdown to override law blocking Trump's defense nominee

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:52:47 +0000

Trump has formally nominated retired Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Secretary of Defense, and Republicans have responded with their give-us-Mad Dog-or-give-us-shut down waiver. 


It’s a one time exemption to the little idea that, in the United States, the military is supposed to stay under civilian control. In one sprawling sentence, the GOP overrides a 70-year-old law that keeps recent military officers from occupying senior positions in defense.

But Republicans in Congress are, of course, only too happy to let the Trump steamroller mash them to bits and are eager to amend the law so that Mattis can become defense secretary. This custom “waiver” would have to pass both houses of Congress, and Democrats, led by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, have promised to filibuster it.

A filibuster would be good, but not only are Republicans pushing for this special, one-time, Trump-only override, they’re attaching it to a Continuing Resolution needed to fund the government.

Republicans tucked a measure intended to expedite the confirmation of Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of defense into a must-pass Congressional spending bill late Tuesday.

It’s a move intended to limit debate though it doesn’t block filibuster of the bill. Expect Republicans to frame it as if Democrats are shutting down the government in trying to stop the waiver, rather than Republicans shutting down the government by recklessly attaching this waiver to must-pass legislation.


Morning Digest: Sen. Tom Carper could retire in 2018, and here's who might try to replace him

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Leading Off Campaign Action ● DE-Sen: Democratic Sen. Tom Carper has served continuously in Delaware politics for 40 years, ever since he first won election as state treasurer in 1976. After that, he won a seat in the House in 1982, then became governor in 1992, and finally got elected to the Senate in 2000, defeating incumbent Republican Bill Roth in a 56-44 landslide. But though he's twice won re-election with two-thirds of the vote, Carper hasn't yet made up his mind about whether to seek a fourth term in 2018; according to a statement from his office, the senator will make a decision "in the new year." Should Carper opt to retire, the race to succeed him could be interesting. Most, if not all, of the action would be on the Democratic side, and progressives would be eager to replace the very centrist Carper with someone more liberal, though who that might be is an open question. Outgoing Gov. Jack Markell, who was term-limited, is just 56, and could be interested in a return to office. Markell would probably have the best chance to clear the field, though other First State Democrats could decide that a rare open Senate seat is worth fighting him over. There are plenty of other Democrats who may be interested. Rep.-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester, who will represent the entire state in the House, hasn't even been sworn in yet, but she could nevertheless conceivably run (she certainly would not be the first House freshman to do so). State Attorney General Matt Denn was mentioned as a possible 2016 gubernatorial candidate before deferring to Rep. John Carney, and he could take a look at an open Senate seat. There's also a non-zero chance that Joe Biden, who clearly isn't quite ready to retire from politics, could seek to return to his longtime home in the Senate. But Carney, who will become governor in January, almost certainly won't start looking for a new job in D.C. As for Republicans, they've been shut out on the federal level in Delaware for some time. Hillary Clinton carried the First State 53-42, and the last time the GOP won a Senate race there was in 1994, when Roth was re-elected for a fifth term. However, Republican Ken Simpler prevailed in a bid for state treasurer fairly decisively during the Republican wave two years ago and could try to go for broke in what would be another midterm election. [...]

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:30:16 +0000

There’s no way to keep up with The Crazy. There just isn’t. We can only hope to divide and conquer. But, boy, is it hard to sift through this stuff on your own. Luckily, I know a trick that works on Wednesdays... Help us, Joaniwan Kenobi! You’re our only hope! (No pressure or anything, though.) Listen LIVE right here at 9:00 AM ET! Well, we went ahead and did it. We “went commercial.” Sort of. That is, we turned on ads in the YouTube version of our podcasts. So everyone here should make a point of going there, “watching” the podcasts, and clicking on all the ads, or whatever it is you have to do to make money magically appear in our account. The YouTube channel is actually a remarkably easy way of listening to the podcast on your mobile device, too. And we might even make a dollar! Don’t want to play that game? Well, there’s always good, old fashioned donations! Please consider  subscribing to provide ongoing, monthly support via Patreon. Not sold yet? Surely the below FREE SAMPLE of our show will convince you! x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Support the show via Patreon Yesterday we talked to you about donating via Patreon to KITM, and you did! Thank you! Did you donate because we reminded you, or in the hope that we would remind you less? Well, our present goal is $15 million this year. David Waldman insists he doesn’t need that much, but I ran up a couple cards, so please turn a million of your friends onto the good we got here and everybody will be better for it! Bob Dole organized Donald’s call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. This doesn’t seem the recommended, normal way of diplomacy, but bombs didn’t drop yet so maybe we’re OK? Trump still uses his phone for special occasions, but do you miss out if he blocks you on Twitter? David discusses January 3, High Noon. The flood of trolls on his twitter feed indicates that his targeting might be close. David recommends calling your Senator, Vice President, President, Mayor to push them along on this, and other issues. Speaking of trolls, here’s a bot that trolls Twitter’s worst Anti-Semitic trolls, and probably Anti-Semitic troll-bots as well. More good news: This loser finally leaves. Jake Tapper deserves a drink, and a free pizza. Bad news: This loser returns. The broken, frustrating polling system continues to be broken and frustrating. (Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]