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Published: Sat, 19 Aug 2017 09:47:38 +0000

Last Build Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2017 09:47:38 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want

Open thread for night owls: A short pause in our regularly scheduled program

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 03:01:03 +0000

It’s TGIF after a very tough week for many of us, emotionally and otherwise. Anybody who thought armed guys marching around with Nazi, Rebel and other flags of hatred would be content with merely exercising their free speech on the public commons discovered otherwise. The resistance is targeted. There will be more victims. But as we know too well, it’s not just Nazis who promote, condone and benefit from white supremacy. Defeating them will take a lot more than getting that man squatting in the White House back into the private sector or a high security cell-block.  However, we all need a break. So here’s a brief respite, a window into something you probably wish you were outdoors doing: x YouTube Video • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events • Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION "What is a fish without a river? What is a bird without a tree to nest in? What is an Endangered Species Act without any enforcement mechanism to ensure their habitat is protected? It is nothing. This is not a modernization of the Act. This is a euthanization of the Act."                                             ~Jay Inslee, on a bill updating the ESA (September 29, 2005) TWEET OF THE DAY xAlex Jones is losing his mind.— jordan 🌹🌹 (@JordanUhl) August 18, 2017 His mind was lost a long time ago. But his fat bank account nonetheless remains intact. BLAST FROM THE PAST At Daily Kos on this date in 2004—Nebraska GOoPer abandons Bush on war: The outgoing congressman of Nebraska's 1st CD, Republican Doug Bereuter, is apologizing to constituents for his war vote. In a dramatic departure from the Bush administration, Republican Rep. Doug Bereuter says he now believes the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified. "I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action," Bereuter wrote in a letter to constituents in the final days of his congressional career "Knowing now what I know about the reliance on the tenuous or insufficiently corroborated intelligence used to conclude that Saddam maintained a substantial WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal, I believe that launching the pre-emptive military action was not justified." On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Ivanka’s got nothing. What’s up with these Civil War statues? History, or idolatry? Or worse? Robert E. Lee actually sucked. Trump’s tiny hands were never clean on Civil War history. The walls close in on the White House. Perhaps a parting shot at Bannon? x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash [...]

Rice University: 'DREAMers at greater risk for mental health distress'

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 20:02:13 +0000

According to researchers from Rice University, anti-immigrant policies have left undocumented youth “at risk for psychological distress and diminished quality of life as a result of the many complex stressors they face.” It’s no surprise—since the launch of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to undo Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that protects some 800,000 immigrant youth from deportation and allows them to work legally. The program remains in place since his inauguration, but threats from anti-immigrant Republican leaders leave its future in peril. This has contributed to immigrant youth fearing they’ll lose so much they’ve earned in the five years since DACA’s implementation:  To study the prevalence of mental health distress among Mexican immigrants living illegally in high-risk areas (places that have strong opposition and punitive actions against immigrants living here illegally), the researchers surveyed nearly 260 people. To be eligible for the survey, the participants had to confirm that they were residing in the U.S. without proper documentation. Among participants, respondents aged 18-25 were the most likely to exhibit psychological distress (63 percent). Also, more than 90 percent of all respondents cited the loss of their home, social status, family and symbolic self as reasons for mental health distress. Luz Garcini, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychology in Rice’s School of Social Sciences and the study’s lead author, said that DREAMers in particular are at risk for psychological distress and diminished quality of life as a result of the many complex stressors they face. They often experience these stressors over an extended period, under harsh living conditions and without access to adequate mental health services. “DREAMers are often marginalized and discriminated against, and as a result they may become isolated from the larger educational and work communities,” Garcini said. “Many also experience separation from deported family members, and they do not have the option of traveling internationally to visit them. Finally, they live in constant fear of deportation and experience a sense of voicelessness, invisibility and limited opportunities, due to their conflicting undocumented status.” We know immigrant youth are resilient in fighting for immigrant families—just recently, they rallied in cities across the nation in defense of DACA—but to tear young people who are American in every single way but on a piece of paper from their home is cruel, senseless, and a stain on us. But, there is something we can do about it. According to polling, 78 percent of American voters support giving immigrant youth legal status. Legislation that would do just that sits in both houses of Congress. Call your legislators and ask them to support the DREAM Act, and then text HereToStay to United We Dream at 877877 to stand with immigrant youth. [...]

Top Democrats demand briefing on Trump administration plans for 2018 Obamacare enrollment

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:45:25 +0000

Open enrollment for 2018 in Obamacare starts November 1, and thus far the Trump administration has shown not just a lack of interest in making an effort to make it successful, but every intention of doing what they can to make it fail. The top Democrats on the committee overseeing health care are fighting back to the extent that they can, demanding that administration officials answer concerns about their sabotage officially in a briefing.

In a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, the lawmakers expressed concerns over what they see as the White House’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces.

"Rather than encouraging enrollment in the Marketplaces, the Administration appears intent on depressing it, which we fear will contribute to destabilizing insurance markets and drive up costs for consumers," the lawmakers wrote. […]

By Aug. 31, the lawmakers would like a briefing with HHS on a variety of matters related to open enrollment, such as the administration’s outreach and enrollment strategy, if it plans to operate call centers, when the administration will award certain grants and more.

The letter was sent by Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ), of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Richard Neal (MA), of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Sens. Patty Murray (WA), of the Senate Health Committee, Ron Wyden (OR), of the Senate Finance Committee, and Bob Casey (PA), of the Senate Aging Committee. The greatest point of leverage here is the Senate Health Committee, where Murray and Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have already announced hearings to figure out how to stabilize the ACA's markets. Democrats could put enough pressure—and possibly shame—on their Republican counterparts to make the administration answer.


Women's health, patients' rights, and Planned Parenthood funding may be headed to the Supreme Court

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:02:39 +0000

Wednesday federal court ruling against Planned Parenthood has been subsumed by all things Trump this week, but it needs to be highlighted again. In a radical departure from court precedent, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Arkansas could prevent Medicaid enrollees from getting health care at Planned Parenthood clinics. This is in conflict with the federal Medicaid statute as well as every other federal court's ruling, and that's where it's dangerous writes Mother Jones' Hannah Levintov.

“This is a surprising decision,” says Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. “This is not where the other circuits have come out on this issue, and it’s certainly not what the Medicaid law intends or says.”

The court’s ruling deviates from decisions made in every other case where state efforts to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood have been brought before a federal court, including decisions issued by the 5th, 7th, and 9th circuits as well as numerous district courts. All have ruled against state’s efforts to withhold Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood.

“The 8th Circuit is out there on this,” Gandal-Powers says. […]

“The 5th Circuit is not necessarily a friend to women or Planned Parenthood,” Gandal-Powers, says. “But even they ruled in the opposite way from the 8th Circuit” in September 2016, when the 5th Circuit unanimously blocked an attempt by Louisiana to terminate the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood. The court ruled that the patients who had brought the lawsuit “would otherwise be denied…the legal right to the qualified provider of their choice.”

The ruling undermines individual rights, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood. Federal Medicaid statue is completely unambiguous on the right of Medicaid recipients to see the qualified provider of their choice making this decision really radical and completely divergent. Which seems to be the point. Wednesday's decision created a circuit split—a division between the federal circuit courts raising a a statutory conflict that the U.S. Supreme Court might want to resolve. In fact, it seems that that might just be the point for the judges on the 8th circuit—forcing this to go the Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood clinics in Fayetteville and Little Rock will continue to see Medicaid patients, until Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson actually implements the ruling by yanking funds. They are considering their legal path forward in contesting the decision.

No mistake, though, this is just what Republicans have been hoping for—another avenue of attack on women's reproductive health and rights advancing to the Supreme Court. It's why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led the obstruction of as many of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees as he could. It's why he conducted the unprecedented blockade against Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. It's why he ended the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees for Trump's pick, Neil Gorsuch. This is the long game they are playing. It's why they will be sticking with Trump to the bitter end.


Female broadcasters speak out about how they are forced to dress sexy for attention and ratings

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 22:27:16 +0000

Being a woman in the workplace is not easy—especially in career fields dominated by men. Aside from a very real pay gap in terms of how women’s labor is compensated in comparison to men’s, women are also often subjected to sexism and harassment at work. Women in the television industry are also very likely to experience this kind of behavior—especially given the heavy emphasis on looks and overall appearance. From the words of current and former broadcasters in Boston, they are generally asked by management to dress sexier in order to get attention.

Current and former female broadcasters in Boston tell stories about wardrobe consultants hired by station management pushing clothing that some on-air talent don’t want to wear; women crying in the makeup room because they feel pressured to dress a certain way; a modestly dressed anchor being asked to dress like a sexier new colleague who wore her skirts short and her tops unbuttoned.

No woman was willing to go on the record with their experiences—which gives insight into how difficult careers in broadcast journalism can be for women and the type of backlash they face when they speak out. But their experiences are deeply degrading and a reminder that we have so much more work to do when it comes to gender equality.

One former local on-air personality told the Globe she was once called into her news director’s office and told the blazer she had worn the day before wasn’t shapely enough. “He said it was ‘too boxy,’ ” she said. [...]

One broadcaster in Boston, who spoke to the Globe on the condition of anonymity for fear of damaging her career, said management at her station has told women to wear “tighter, smaller, shorter, more revealing clothes.”


Local police say Texas's 'show me your papers' law 'has already created damage'

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:22:17 +0000

Despite the fact that Texas’s racist “show me your papers” law isn’t scheduled to go into effect for another two weeks, local law enforcement say that the legislation—which turns local law enforcement into federal immigration agents by allowing them to ask the legal status of anyone they stop for any reason—has already created damage” between Latino and immigrant communities and police in the state:

Many police officers worry that the law, known as Senate Bill 4, will break down trust among immigrant families, making them fearful about reporting crime — even when a family member is a victim.

“It has already hurt our trust,” said Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye. “We already have a lot of fear out there because of Senate Bill 4. It has already created damage.”

Texas is already facing a lawsuit over the bill’s constitutionality from Houston, Austin, San Antonio and other localities, but in a state where nearly 40 percent of the population is Latino, residents are already living in a climate of fear.

[Dallas Police Sergeant Robert] Munoz said it’s frustrating when he hears that someone’s comadre, a good friend, says there’s a “round-up” at some intersection — and there isn’t.

The fear is that under the new law, any officer in a uniform can break down confidence and scare people away from calling the local police when there is a real problem, police officers say.

“We are just not going to stop anybody based on their skin or their color,” Munoz said. “Then we are falling into what? That racial profiling. We don’t need that. We have to have reasonable belief and probable cause.”


Demonstrations of white supremacy are shocking for some but not for blacks in Charlottesville

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:44:25 +0000

One of the very frustrating things about what happened in Charlottesville is that we are just now having widespread conversations about white supremacy. Of course, it’s a great thing for us as a country to be talking about it. And it’s long overdue. But these conversations are occurring in the context of a very overt demonstration of white supremacy in which a white woman was killed. These kind of large-scale, visible examples of white supremacy are not the norm—but they’ve always been with us. Contrary to the belief of some, white supremacy is not new nor did it arise because of Trump. Just because white people are finally now paying attention due to the fact that it is now literally in our faces, doesn’t mean that black people and people of color haven’t been living with it for generations. That includes the black population in Charlottesville, who are not at all surprised at what’s occurring.  Black Charlottesville has dealt with racism, has been born and raised under statues of Lee and Jefferson, and has fought the Klan. And it has lived with—and lives with—white supremacy. “It scared people that didn’t expect it,” [Dedric Cooke, a black Charlottesville resident] said. “I was raised by somebody who came through the civil-rights movement and saw the Klan firsthand. I didn’t think I would see it, but I knew people were capable of it. It’s not acceptable for blacks or Hispanics to act that way, but people accept this kind of stuff, because they’re doing it in the name of heritage or white supremacy.” Virginia is still a state located in the American South. It may not be Alabama, Georgia or Mississippi but it is equally steeped in the history of slavery, segregation and racial inequality that is associated with the Deep South. Black people living in Charlottesville have experienced klan rallies, intimidation and systematic marginalization dating back to the 1900s.  In the 1950s, during and after the 1954 Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision, Charlottesville was a hotbed for “massive resistance” campaigns by white citizens against integration, which inevitably attracted the attention of white-supremacist leaders. [...] In the summer of 1956, Washington, D.C., White Citizens’ Council and Ku Klux Klan leader Frederick John Kasper, along with Alabama Klan leader Asa Carter—who later co-wrote Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous 1963 “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” line—led rallies of white supremacists in McIntire Park. The whites-only park was named after benefactor Paul Goodloe McIntire, who also donated the park and the Lee statue at the center of last weekend’s violence. [..] Eventually white people simply closed all of the schools in Charlottesville instead of suffering integration, and created their own private school system. One of those schools was named after Robert E. Lee. [...]

A lonely Joe Arpaio says he'd be 'honored' if Trump pardoned him for his crimes

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:20:12 +0000

The Crooked Joe Arpaio, abandoned by his once loyal political allies following his re-election defeat and subsequent conviction for criminal contempt of court for disobeying a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling brown and immigrant Maricopa County drivers, says he’d be “honored” if Donald Trump pardoned him for his crimes. 

"It makes me feel good that at least someone is backing me up. And how much better can you get than president of the United States?" Arpaio said.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, released a statement Wednesday urging Trump to reconsider holding Tuesday's rally. He said if Trump was coming to Phoenix to pardon Arpaio, "then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation."

Arpaio, now 85 years old, believes he and the president have both been unfairly smeared as racists. He predicts Trump will end up being regarded as the greatest president in American history, "We need him and I feel sad how they're trying to destroy him. It makes me sick. I'll tell you one thing he's got guts and courage and that's what this country needs."

"As far as the situation on a pardon, I didn't ask for it but I will accept it if he does do it," Arpaio said. "This president understands what I've been going through.” You mean making life as hellish as possible for brown people and immigrants? He sure does know all about that, Joe.

A very lonely Arpaio also told NPR that while he hasn’t yet been invited to Trump’s upcoming Phoenix rally, he’s just happy someone, anyone, is standing next to him following his fall from office, one that has cost Maricopa County taxpayers nearly $70 million in legal fees. “You don't see anybody next to me and I've endorsed so many people,” he moaned. 

“It is a profound assault on our democracy for Donald Trump to grant, or even consider granting former Sheriff Arpaio a presidential pardon,” said Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, one of three House Democrats to write a letter urging Trump to not pardon Arpaio. “For Donald Trump to grant him leniency gives racist, hatred-filled, and extremist individuals and groups an unequivocal endorsement in continuing with their dangerous practices.”


Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Resistance FRIDAY!

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:30:22 +0000


Late Night Snark: Nazis Go Home Edition

"Let's start off with some good news: Donald Trump did not have a press conference today."

---James Corden

"It was truly a weekend of horrifying images. We saw Nazi flags and marchers carrying torches---tiki torches, by the way, because nothing says 'white nationalist' like faux-Polynesian kitsch. ... I have to say, David Duke and the Nazis really seem to like Donald Trump. Which is weird because Nazis are a lot like cats: if they like you, it's probably because you're feeding them."

---John Oliver

BillyFact rates this New Yorker cover: TRUE.

"The mayor of Charlottesville called the rally a 'cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance.' Which, coincidentally, was also the theme of Steve Bannon's senior prom."

---Stephen Colbert

Clip of Trump: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.

Seth Meyers: On many sides??? If that choice of words made you feel sick to your stomach, the good news is you’re a normal and decent person.

---Late Night

"He can't even get vacation right. Imagine coming back to the office: 'Hey, how was your two-week break?' 'It was good. I defended Nazis. What'd you do?’"

---Jimmy Fallon

"Donnie Johnnie says we need to defend our country's beautiful confederate monuments, when you know he would take 'em down in a second if he thought he could build a bunch of poorly-constructed condos on the spot."

---Tina Fey on SNL's special edition of Weekend Update

Pay close attention to the poll options: I left a little gift at the bottom.

Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]


Even faster than expected, Bannon rejoins Breitbart, says he only planned to work for Trump a year

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 22:58:13 +0000

Johnathan Easley at The Hill reports:

President Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon returned to Breitbart News on Friday just hours after parting ways with the White House.

Bannon has reclaimed the title of executive chairman for Breitbart and directed the outlet’s Friday editorial meeting, the website said in a statement on Friday.

“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” said Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow. “Breitbart gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.

At the right-wing Weekly Standard, where Trump has been no favorite, Peter J. Boyer writes:

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon said Friday, shortly after confirming his departure. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.” [...]

Bannon says that his departure was voluntary, and that he’d planned it to coincide with the one-year anniversary of his joining the Trump campaign as chief executive, on August 14, 2016.

“On August 7th , I talked to [Chief of Staff John] Kelly and to the President, and I told them that my resignation would be effective the following Monday, on the 14th,” he said. “I’d always planned on spending one year. General Kelly has brought in a great new system, but I said it would be best. I want to get back to Breitbart.”



Florida provides sickening blueprint for what Republicans want to do to sick kids on Medicaid

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 20:05:54 +0000

CNN just published an in-depth, horrifying investigative story on the state of Florida's 2014-15 to systematically remove sick and disabled children from "a highly respected program called Children's Medical Services, or CMS, a part of Florida Medicaid" and onto private plans with companies who happen to be big donors to the state Republican party. The story highlights pediatricians who are outraged that their young patients have been endangered, and that decision-making process that got them here was entirely corrupted, with physicians left voiceless.

First, the data analysis the state used to justify switching the children is "inaccurate" and "bizarre," according to the researcher who wrote the software used in that analysis.

Second, the screening tool the state used to select which children would be kicked off the program has been called "completely invalid" and "a perversion of science" by top experts in children with special health care needs.

Third, in fall 2015, a state administrative law judge ruled that the Department of Health should stop using the screening tool because it was unlawful. However, even after the judge issued his decision, the department didn't automatically re-enroll the children or even reach out to the families directly to let them know that re-enrollment was a possibility.

Finally, parents and Florida pediatricians raise questions about the true reasons why Florida's Republican administration switched the children's health plans. They question whether it was to financially reward insurance companies that had donated millions of dollars to the Republican Party of Florida.

"This was a way for the politicians to repay the entities that had contributed to their political campaigns and their political success, and it's the children who suffered," said Dr. Louis St. Petery, former executive vice president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It's an astounding story of an administration—Gov. Rick Scott's Republican administration—so corrupt that it was willing to risk the lives of children—more than 13,000 of them. Many of the children were switched to plans that had doctors who simply wouldn't treat them, like LJ Stroud who was born with a cleft lip and palate, and who had a tooth emerge in the roof of his mouth when he was eleven. He suffered from near constant pain and ear aches that couldn't be treated. The surgeon scheduled to operate on Stroud to fix these issues in the CMS program called to cancel just days before the surgery, because he didn't participate in the network the state moved the child to. No provider in that network would do the surgery. It took a lawsuit to restore LJ's insurance, and seven months for him to finally get the surgery—seven months of constant pain, a 10-pound weight loss, and his inability to do the things a kid does. A number of other children's families did successfully sue the state to have their CMS reinstated, but doctors are speaking out now for the thousands of sick and disabled children who got kicked off.


Cartoon: Meet the Republican 'resistance'

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 21:51:07 +0000

Follow me on Twitter @BrianMc_Fadden.


Right-wing organizations blackballed by mainstream America following Charlottesville violence

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:17:15 +0000

In the wake of their violent protest resulting in three deaths and scores of injuries, many individuals and organizations that overtly support white supremacist and alt-right causes have found the spigots they use to access the outside world being cut off. TPM's Allegra Kirkland writes:

PayPal, Patreon, Facebook, Squarespace, Spotify, Google, GoDaddy, Texas A&M University, the University of Florida, a mountain resort in Colorado and Boston’s city leadership are among the companies removing white nationalists’ accounts and institutions canceling their planned events in the wake of violent street clashes that left three people dead and dozens injured on Saturday. By eliminating both the physical and virtual platforms that white nationalists use to promote their ideas, those companies and institutions have curtailed the avenues by which they could grow their reach.

“I can’t think of another incident to which the backlash has been nearly so widespread,” Mark Pitcavage, an expert on right-wing extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, told TPM.

It's not exactly clear why some of these actions hadn't already been taken, but Charlottesville has certainly served as a wake-up call that "fringe" elements and ideas aren't inconsequential by any means. Accordingly, the blowback in many cases has been proportional to how violent and repugnant a particular entity is.

Andrew Anglin’s neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, was essentially wiped off the mainstream internet after GoDaddy, Google and CloudFare stopped providing domain registration in quick succession. Anglin has since relocated the site to the dark web, where it is only available via use of a Tor network, radically restricting his audience.

“His site is all he has,” the ADL’s Pitcavage observed. “He can’t even show his face ‘cause he’ll get served with lawsuits. So his site is basically his voice. He gets hurt a lot worse than someone else who has a lot of different avenues for expressing their ideologies and beliefs.”


Donald Trump's Infrastructure Week builds a case for do-over

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 20:21:17 +0000

So … how was your Infrastructure Week? Donald Trump did do some real building this week—he created a ten-lane bridge between the nation’s anger and disgust. Unfortunately, it didn’t help create any jobs. In fact, at least one was lost.

Following Trump’s hug-a-Nazi workshop, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities went out the door en masse, while delivering a fantastic take this job and fugue it letter. Though it’s not clear if they took their honorary chairman with them. The Manufacturing Council first started bleeding members, then unraveled so fast that Trump rushed to claim he had disbanded it. The Strategy & Policy Forum went out the door with it, before most of the CEOs on board had the satisfaction of writing a resignation letter.

But none of them could beat the record set by the special council created expressly support this celebrated and productive week.

The Trump administration announced on Thursday that they would no longer move forward with plans to form an infrastructure advisory council.

That’s right. The Infrastructure Council was abandoned in the middle of Infrastructure Week before it was even built. It wasn’t just the bridge to nowhere, it was the half-doodled down blueprints for that bridge. To nowhere. It existed for negative time (someone call Einstein).

But Trump can take comfort, there is still one council of ruthless millionaire businessmen that’s hanging in there.

Not a single member of Trump's Evangelical Council has resigned. We have learned corporate America has a greater moral compass.

Not only have they not resigned, they’ve provided Trump some genuine support in this time of hardship.

Jerry Falwell Jr tweeted on Wednesday: “Finally, a leader in the White House. Jobs returning, North Korea backing down, bold truthful statement about Charlottesville tragedy. So proud of Donald Trump.”

Unfortunately for Infrastructure Week, the Evangelical Council can’t even build a road to hell—because clearly none of them have so much as good intentions.


Republicans fret tax reform will be a victim of Trump's post-Charlottesville fallout

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:24:28 +0000

Republican lawmakers, still licking their wounds from the healthcare wipe out, had been eyeing tax reform as a chance to get back on track—whatever that means. This GOP-led government has been off the rails from the day Trump took to the oath of office. Anyway, hope springs eternal among fools but this week has been so bad that even fools are starting to fret about the tax effort. The Washington Post writes:

Several key lawmakers said Trump will need to focus on selling the GOP’s tax plan when Congress returns in September, and they worried that the difficult job of passing a massive tax package will be nearly impossible without the president playing a key role.

“At the end of the day, President Trump will be incredibly crucial to the success of this,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) told reporters here Wednesday. “Tax reform is the signature issue of this presidency.”

Earth to Brady: Trump's too busy defending white supremacists and obliterating anything that was left of American ideals to sell your tax plan (and for the moment, we'll let slide the fact that there is no "plan," no consensus, or even a set of back-of-the-beverage-nap bullet points that Republicans are coalescing around).

Seriously, the Friday exit of Steve Bannon from the White House is going to launch to GOP blood bath: Either Bannon will use Breitbart News to make war on Trump if he strays from the white nationalist movement that brung him, or Bannon will use it to make war on congressional lawmakers who stand in the way of Trump's white nationalist agenda.

No matter what, Washington will be besieged by a GOP civil war and every other normal semblance of governance—including passing legislation—will perish in the process. Regardless of which side of this Trump is on—the giving or receiving end—he does not have the mental stability, temperament, or discipline to focus on things like legislation in this situation. Making war is his specialty, it feeds his pathologies. 

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who along with Reps. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) accompanied Brady on the trip, said that while lawmakers were used to working in “a very distracting environment,” the push for tax reform would require Trump to help re­focus attention away from day-to-day scandal and back to policy details in a way he never did during the health-care debate.

Prepare for more distraction, fellas ... incoming!


Please stop asking Trump voters if they're abandoning Trump. Please.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:37:36 +0000

Donald Trump attacked prisoners of war. Trump supporters didn’t care. Trump attacked Gold Star families. They didn't care. Trump invited Russia to hack into our election. They didn’t care.  He said that his celebrity status allowed him to grab women by the pussy and finally … nope. Still didn’t care.

Look, this is just a small sample, but it should get the point across.

SCandal Level of Concern
Fired the FBI director in the middle of an investigation where he was the subject 0
Let go his national security adviser for having an unknown number of charts with Russia 0
Admitted to pulling down at least $100 million in income from Russia 0
Cheated untold number of contractors out of millions, including during the campaign 0
Called an Indiana judge a Mexican who couldn’t be trusted 0
Still has an active lawsuit against him from 15 women (yes, it’s still underway) 0
Raised Mar-a-Lago fees to $400K while letting his “special people” listen in on war planning. 0
Said blacks were intrinsically “lazy” and he only trusts Jews to count his money 0
Ignored the emoluments clause. And again. And again. And … so on. 0
Compared Nazis to people standing up to Nazis 0

Just listen to these people and believe them.

Six in 10 people who approve of President Donald Trump (61%) say they can't think of anything Trump could do that would make them disapprove of his job as President, according to a Monmouth University poll released this week.

Just understand that the things he does that infuriate everyone else, are the things they like.


Acting ICE director promises to rip even more hardworking immigrant families apart

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:14:32 +0000

We know that despite Donald Trump’s claims about targeting only “bad hombres,” his immoral mass deportation force has been sweeping up hardworking undocumented parents with no criminal record by the thousands, without any regard for the lives they’ve already built here. Just this week, Oakland nurse Maria Mendoza-Sanchez and her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, were deported to Mexico, despite having clean records, U.S. citizen kids, and years of paying taxes. Now acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan is promising even more Marias and Eusebios:

In the seven months since Thomas Homan was appointed to carry out President Trump's promises to crack down on undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., he has been accused of abusing that power by targeting undocumented immigrants without criminal records.

So far, the data seems to back up those accusations, with the percentage of undocumented immigrants without a criminal record arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents increasing each month, from 18% in January to 30% in June.

But Homan, a 33-year law enforcement veteran who has worked along the southern border and is now the acting director of ICE, doesn't shy away from those numbers. In fact, he said they're only the start.

"You're going to continue to see an increase in that," Homan told USA TODAY during a visit to Miami on Wednesday.

It makes perfect sense that Trump selected him to serve as acting director—Homan got his start in federal immigration enforcement as a border agent, today recognized by the Department of Homeland Security as some of the most corrupt federal law enforcement agents in the nation. But back then, Homan was just one man. Today, he has thousands of immigration agents at his disposal.


Pelosi backs censure of Trump over his 'repulsive defense of white supremacists'

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:22:21 +0000

Campaign Action House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday endorsed a growing push to censure Donald Trump for his repugnant defense of a white supremacist and neo-Nazi protest that led to deadly violence last weekend. “The President’s repulsive defense of white supremacists demands that Congress act to defend our American values," she said in endorsing a censure resolution introduced by several House Democrats. "Every day, the President gives us further evidence of why such a censure is necessary," she said. Voting to censure Trump would be a purely symbolic condemnation of Trump, but it certainly challenges Republicans to make an on-the-record expression of what many have been saying privately for months. This week has even driven some GOP lawmakers to speak out publicly, like when Republican Sen. Bob Corker notably admitted Trump hasn't demonstrated either the "stability" or "competence" to be president of the United States. Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler told MSNBC’s Ari Melber Thursday that an official censure would send the message that “the United States is a moral country even if it has an immoral president.” Trump has now effectively ceded all of the moral authority attached to the office he holds—not that he ever had any inkling about the meaning of morality to begin with. But this week, he may have actually made himself toxic—only time will tell. Regardless, Democrats should absolutely push this effort and make all Republicans, especially Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, answer for their complete and total failure in leadership on all things Trump. Friday, Aug 18, 2017 · 8:04:22 PM +00:00 · Kerry Eleveld UPDATE: Censure introduced…  xProud to be introducing #censure of @realDonaldTrump for his outrageous #Charlottesville comments w/ so many colleagues. More to follow!— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) August 18, 2017 [...]

Midday open thread: Plastic water bottles return to national parks; shaming white supremacists

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:01:14 +0000

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is A cartoonist's vacation:  What’s coming up on Sunday Kos … The presumed ‘innocence’ of white terrorism, by Frank Vyan Walton Five questions for UNITE HERE president D. Taylor on how Democrats can replicate Nevada’s 2016 wins, by Kerry Eleveld Elizabeth Warren at Netroots Nation 2017: A clarion call for coalition politics, by Armando How to fight white supremacy: Charlottesville offers a blueprint, by Sher Watts Spooner Three Russian propaganda techniques being used by the Trump administration—and how to fight them, by David Akadjian We are missing the real story about Trump’s collusion with white nationalists, by Egberto Willies Affirmative action mythology, white resentment, and bogus cries of ‘reverse racism,’ by Denise Oliver Velez This is not about liberal and conservative, it is about being an America, by Mark E Andersen Trump’s willing supremacists, by Jon Perr On special elections, ‘moral’ victories and actual victories, by Steve Singiser Barack Obama is the exact moral opposite of Donald Trump, by Ian Reifowitz • Statue of chief justice who wrote the blacks-aren’t-really-people Dred Scott decision taken down at night: Workers dismantled a 145-year-old statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney outside the Maryland State House shortly after midnight Friday, the latest ripple effect from last weekend’s deadly violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville. • Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita has a few guidelines for his chauffeur: Who knew it could take eight pages of instructions on how to properly escort a member of Congress around his district? Yet there it is, laid out in mind-blowing detail, in a memo obtained by POLITICO that's sure to make any young, eager-beaver political aide shudder. • Activists argue the case for public shaming of white supremacists: With white supremacist voices growing louder, identifying and publicly shaming them has become one avenue of vigilante justice. Many on social media have been applauding the effort to hold rally-goers accountable, arguing people don’t get to be a “weekend Nazi” and not face the consequences of their actions. Paradoxically, these activists sometimes use the same tools as online harassers who have targeted feminists, people of color, and others in a tactic known as “doxxing,” where personal information such as addresses and telephone numbers are released as a way of digital harassment. By doing so, they have have raised new questions about the ethics and strategy of publicly shaming white supremacists. Soraya Chemaly of the Women’s Media Center, who works to combat doxxing, draws a distinction between the recent vigilante activism and harassment online. “Emotional trauma and harm happen and the terroristic threat represented by a white supremacist march needs to be recognized,” she tells Mother Jones. Hate speech can cause trauma, but perpetrators are generally not subject to any of the legal consequences faced by those inflicting physical violence. “If you dox someone who is actively threatening your existence and dehumanizing you,” she says, “it becomes a matter of your own humanity and self defense.” • Nazi-punching teacher tells court that standing up to fascism isn’t a crime: Yvette Felarca, 47, was arrested last month for her involvement in a June 2016 anti-fascist demonstration held in Sacramento. Felarca, who is a member of an activist group called By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), has been charged with felony[...]

Hmm ... Flynn, Spicey, Priebus, Bannon ... who's next?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:53:57 +0000

Looks like there’s two people left on that Oval Office island. Wonder who will survive… if anyone.


Discuss ...


Steve Bannon outlived his usefulness once Trump learned that he could just let his bigot flag fly

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:47:19 +0000

As an investment banker at Goldman Sachs who was sent to Hollywood to set up a boutique investment service for Goldman’s top entertainment clients, Steve Bannon clearly epitomizes the kind of working man, everyday American who surrounds Donald Trump. Joining the Trump campaign as CEO after previous chief Paul Manafort had a little issue with having lost millions of dollars from Russian oligarchs, Bannon brought to the campaign a unique skill set that he honed by years of exploiting Chinese peasants to cheat at an online game. Campaign Action In 2005, Bannon secured $60 million in funding from Goldman Sachs and other investors for Internet Gaming Entertainment, a Hong Kong-based company. IGE did not make games, but instead employed "low-wage Chinese workers" to play online multiplayer game World of Warcraft and earn in-game gold that could be traded for virtual goods, which in turn could be resold to players of the hugely popular PC game for real money ... Having learned how to raise a troll army that could wreck the economy and a society of a virtual world, Bannon moved on to Breitbart News, where he could hone his skills by adding racist propaganda and advanced conspiracy theories to his formidable tool box. Gannon honed his ability to enrage white males who looked through the bottom of their beer mugs to find Breitbart stories informing them that blacks, Mexicans, and Muslims were responsible for their lack of a job and the 10 cent deposit on their bottle of PBR. Bannon gave them few heroes, lots of enemies, and found that they would work cheaper than his World of Warcraft gold miners. Well known for wearing sweat-stained T-shirts and rumpled shorts paired with flip-flops, Bannon’s ability to command this fresh troll army turned him into a superstar with Republicans. This was especially true after he threw the welcoming servers of Breitbart around the white nationalist “alt-right,” giving a voice to those who everyone else thought too odious to be taken seriously and turning them into the engine of Trump’s victory. With Trump installed in the White House, Bannon took a seat next door in his custom-crafter role as “strategic advisor,” but it was clear from the beginning that he was having little fun. After all, it’s hard to keep up the wrinkled-rebel street cred when you’re parked adjacent to the Oval Office. And there was an even bigger factor in Bannon’s downfall—having built a bridge between Trump and the white supremacists, both sides found they could easily cross that bridge without paying a toll to Steve. [...]

Robert Mueller adds Donald Trump Jr. to those in the focus of his investigation

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:34:03 +0000

Buzzfeed reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has turned his attention to Donald Trump’s eldest son. The review seems to be particularly interested in the meeting Trump Jr. chaired in Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. Campaign Action Trump Jr. has acknowledged that he was looking for negative information about Hillary Clinton when he, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, met with the lawyer. But he claimed he did not receive any useful opposition research. Previous reports indicated that Donald Trump’s campaign chair Paul Manafort was under close examination from the Special Counsel’s office both for his magical, no-collateral loans and his flow of funds from overseas. The pairing of Manafort and Trump Jr. as central to the investigation, may suggest that Mueller considers that Trump Tower meeting—which also included Jared Kushner, a Russian attorney with ties to the Kremlin, representatives for a Russian real-estate firm, and a man who had started over 2,000 shell companies for money laundering—as a critical moment. It was a meeting that combined an offer of interference by the Russian government on the behalf of Donald Trump, and one that included many different firms involved in Trump’s emergence as a conduit for moving money out of Russia.  While some reports have suggested that Mueller is looking deeply into Trump’s financial activities, including some that are many years in the past, this report seems heavily aimed at the central question of the Trump campaign’s relationship with the Russian government. That prosecutorial muscle is reportedly bearing down on a variety of people in Trump’s campaign for possible collusion with Russian efforts to sway the election and other issues. Mueller is said to be looking at whether Trump obstructed justice in any way in his conversations with and eventual firing of FBI director James Comey. We may now be focused on Trump’s response to white supremacist terrorism, and before that we spent a week watching Trump raise the security temperature over North Korea. But even if the rest of the nation was momentarily diverted, that doesn’t mean Mueller looked away. [...]

Steve Bannon reported to be fired from his very special position

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:50:06 +0000

After weeks in which Steve Bannon seemed on the outs within the Trump White House, and a week it which it seemed that Bannon had taken notes from ‘The Mooch’ on the best way to be booted, Donald Trump’s most special advisor appears to have more time to spend with his … whatever Bannon spends his time with.

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. …

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Looks like Steve can go back to the shorts, flip-flops and taking a shower once a month whether he needs it or not.

Friday, Aug 18, 2017 · 4:58:36 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

In the grand tradition of “the manufacturing council / art commission / everyone decent didn’t quit — I fired them” comes Steve Bannon’s …



That's a wrap! The remaining members of the presidential arts commission resign in protest

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:16:08 +0000

Another embarrassing day for Donald Trump in the White House. The presidential arts commission is effectively disbanding itself:

The remaining members of a presidential arts and humanities panel are resigning on Friday in yet another sign of growing national protest of President Trump’s recent comments on the violence in Charlottesville.

Members of the President’s Committee are drawn from Broadway, Hollywood, and the broader arts and entertainment community and plan to release a letter later Friday explaining their decision, according to two people familiar with the decision who asked for anonymity to speak frankly about the plans.

More on the history and goals of the commission:

Created in 1982 under President Reagan, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. PCAH works directly with the three primary cultural agencies—National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services—as well as other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines, and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are arts and humanities education and cultural exchange.

Here are the remaining members who are expected to resign. Note that it doesn’t appear Donald Trump has even bothered to name his own commission members. And why should he? He hasn’t even bothered to fill critical State Department diplomatic and security roles. 


Robert E. Lee rejected the idea of Confederate monuments, saying they 'keep open the sores of war'

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:06:44 +0000

Donald Trump, our nation’s historically unpopular president, went on a Twitter rant about Confederate monuments and the growing movement to remove them. 



Robert E. Lee, the general featured in many of these statues (most of which were erected after the turn of the century—including a flurry in the 1950s and 1960s), was against the idea of Confederate monuments and said so on multiple occasions:

The first was to Thomas Rosser, a former Confederate general who in 1866 queried Lee about a proposed commemorative monument.

“My conviction is,” Lee wrote, “that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; & of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”


Donald Trump will keep you safe ... and all it will cost you is everything

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:19:09 +0000

The terrorists in Barcelona momentarily moved Trump’s Nazi-supporting outrage to the number two position on many people’s list of concerns. Trump was ready for that. On Friday morning, in three simple tweets, Trump laid out a road map to the security state of his authoritarian dreams.

First, you need a force that’s ready to protect America without worrying about busting a few innocent heads, conducting a little mass murder,  and protect America from brown people.

“Homeland Security and law enforcement are on alert & closely watching for any sign of trouble. Our borders are far tougher than ever before!”

Though it would be easier if it wasn’t for insidious lefties who care about things like rights and laws.

“The Obstructionist Democrats make Security for our country very difficult. They use the courts and associated delay at all times. Must stop!”

But safety can be had with a few simple steps … like giving up things you’ll never miss.

Radical Islamic Terrorism must be stopped by whatever means necessary! The courts must give us back our protective rights. Have to be tough!

Our “protective rights”? This seems to be the next-level perversion of all the times a Republican has stated that the first duty of the president is to keep citizens safe—a statement that always shows they didn’t pay too much attention during the oath of office. Trump is creating “rights” that are defined in the sense of things taken away. As in “we can keep you safe … if you’ll give up those pesky concerns about free speech and unlawful search.” And of course, a little torture wouldn’t hurt.


Trump is losing 'friends,' but not losing Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:32:21 +0000

Let's face it,  Donald Trump is not a person with friends. He's far too much of a narcissist and ogre to actually be able to achieve that. The people around him and supporting him are not his friends—they're using him to advance their careers and/or their political agendas. With that in mind, this story—"Trump drives his few political friends away"—still demonstrates the heartburn Trump is giving fellow Republicans.

For example, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) who kind of went there: "The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful." Unstable and incompetent is what any honest and unbiased actor observing politics would call Trump, having watched him in office. It's astounding to hear from a Republican. Then there's Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only black Republican in the Senate, who said he could not stand behind the "indefensible" comments Trump made in his unhinged Tuesday press conference. He "suggested that Trump had squandered the moral authority of his office—a critical commodity vital in binding the nation together in a time of crisis or national tragedy that also helps to sustain the power of any presidency."

But what's really going to get his goat is what James Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox CEO and son of Rupert Murdoch, said in denouncing Trump's statements. "I can't even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis," Murdoch wrote. "Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so." Murdoch is a "close informal adviser" to Trump, but more he's head of Fox. Fox is Trump's happy place, where he goes to have his delusions of grandeur reinforced. This, and the abandonment of him by the CEOs he had collected for his advisory committees, is what's going to hurt, what's going to drive him further 'round the bend.

But what matters to the nation is not Trump's hurt feelings, but what the Republicans in charge of Congress are going to do about the fact that he is unstable, incompetent, and indefensible. Thus far, it appears to be nothing. There's no indication yet of willingness from House Speaker Paul Ryan or Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to do what's necessary to protect the nation from the damage Trump is inflicting. There's no indication from the rank-and-file Republicans in Congress that they will demand their leaders do something. Up until Corker and Scott made their comments, no Republican senator was willing to talk to the media about the unraveling of their president.


Democrats seek to make Charlottesville a 'galvanizing moment' with #RiseAndOrganize campaign

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 23:36:47 +0000

The Democratic National Committee has launched an effort to both provide a point of connection in the aftermath of the Charlottesville tragedy and keep activists on the left engaged. The #RiseAndOrganize campaign is an outgrowth of the swift and, in many cases, organic responses across the country to the violence last weekend that claimed the life of civil rights activist Heather Heyer and injured 19 others. Washington Post's Dave Weigel writes:

“In addition to calling on Republicans to denounce Trump, the next step is getting people to commit to vote,” explained DNC chief executive Jess O’Connell. “This is a galvanizing moment.” [...]

The #RiseAndOrganize campaign, explained O’Connell, would involve Democrats finding the best opportunities to grill their representatives in public, as well as talking to people on the sidelines about the need to get involved. [...]

More than 100 events were already being planned for the weekend, with a goal of hitting all 50 states. All summer, the existing network of progressive groups has been organizing people to attend congressional town hall meetings, as well as vigils after major events. Scores of gatherings to condemn the violence in Charlottesville, in which a woman was killed, were put together within hours of the news breaking, with more vigils following on Sunday.

Of course, the main point here, as mentioned, is to turn people who were activated by last weekend’s deadly violence and Donald Trump’s abhorrent response to it into 2018 voters. That may be our first real opportunity to put the brakes on this madness.


Cartoon: A cartoonist's vacation

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:51:14 +0000

Coincidentally, I am also on a “working vacation” like President Trump. Hopefully, I am offering less encouragement to white nationalists carrying tiki torches and in less trouble with Robert Mueller. It must be very difficult to relax with the Russia investigation and compulsive tweeting getting in the way of your golf game.

Somehow, whenever Trump speaks of racism or white nationalists, he instantly becomes a very cautious and milquetoast speaker. All sides have good points, right? Um, no. Enjoy our president’s vacationing catastrophe. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a few more days to avoid the executive mayhem coming from Bedminster, Manhattan and Pennsylvania Avenue. Back soon!


Heather Heyer's mother says she will not speak to Trump, 'not after what he said about my child'

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:54:15 +0000

Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, says she still has not talked directly with Donald Trump and that she will not be talking with him.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Bro said that the White House had called several times—with the first call apparently coming in the middle of Heather’s memorial service. While inconsiderate timing may have gotten in the way of those initial calls, Bro made it clear that what’s stopping the conversation at this point isn’t scheduling, but Donald Trump’s horrendous statements. 

Reporter: Have you talked to him directly yet?

Bro: I have not, and now I will not. At first I just missed his calls. The first call came, it looks like, during the funeral. I didn’t even see that message. There were three more frantic messages from press secretaries throughout the day and I didn’t know why, that would have been on Wednesday. … I hadn’t really watched the news until last night. And I’m not talking to the president. Not now. I’m sorry, not after what he said about my child. It’s not that I saw somebody else’s tweets about him. I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protestors ‘like Ms. Heyer,’ with the KKK and the white supremacists. 

Before he got down to talking about how nice some of the Nazis were, Donald Trump assured everyone that Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, had given him big kudos for his condolences skills.

Trump: It was an NBC, her mother wrote me and said, through I guess Twitter, social media, the nicest things. And I very much appreciated that. I hear she was a fine, really actually an incredible young woman. But her mother, on Twitter, thanked me for what I said. And honestly, if the press were not fake and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. Unlike you and unlike—excuse me. Unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.

Now that she’s had a chance to see what Donald Trump actually said, Heather Heyer’s mother didn’t think it was “very nice.” That’s the facts.


Morning Digest: Trump comes just shy of endorsing a primary challenge to Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:01:25 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

AZ-Sen: In between offering passionate defenses of Nazis, Donald Trump found some time to weigh in on another favorite topic: Jeff Flake. Trump has always hated Arizona's junior senator because Flake has had the temerity to occasionally criticize him, which to the permanently rageful Trump means Flake has to be destroyed. To that end, Trump inserted himself directly into Flake's re-election campaign on Thursday, tweeting, "Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!"

Campaign Action

"Flake Jeff Flake." *smacks forehead* Why didn't we think of that! The real flake, though, may be Trump himself. A report a day earlier in the Washington Times said that Trump was going to endorse state Treasurer Jeff DeWit at a rally next week in Phoenix. That could yet happen, but Politico reports that DeWit allies were "surprised" by Trump's tweet. (How are they not used to this kind of shit already, though?)

But while Trump's remarks fell somewhat short of an outright endorsement of Ward, whom most Republicans consider a very weak challenger, backing DeWit would be a bit awkward, too, because he hasn't actually announced a campaign yet. And maybe he never will: DeWit "laughed off" the Washington Times story, according to the Arizona Republic. And he certainly doesn't sound eager to serve in the Senate, saying, "What I like about being treasurer of Arizona is I see my family every night because it's a 30-minute drive to get home."


Daily Kos Radio is ALL-NEW at 9 AM ET!

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:01:25 +0000

Wow! We made it to Friday, again! What. A. Week. Although I’m on the road, I couldn’t let the events of the past few days go unremarked upon, even as I mined the Pocket archives for material we had once been forced to set aside. And a lot of it has new life, in light of our current situation. So, we’re back at it today, with another all-new show, recorded en route to the Path of Totality. Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET! Hello. Do you think the world has gone crazy? Well, so do we. That’s why we get up early each weekday morning to say so on Daily Kos Radio. There’s no better way to start the day than by commiserating with Daily Kos editors David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando. Wait! We can prove it! Take our latest show for a FREE test drive. Then, after you decide you love it so much you can’t live without it, click on the links below the player to contribute and help sustain the progressive podcast that kept people sane, even on The Day After: Nov. 9, 2016! Now that’s value! x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash No, that’s not your cat throwing up. The “Gorka-Gorka-Gorka” you keep hearing is David Waldman continuing his analysis of Nazi Sergeant Pepper Sebastian Gorka, the “Moe” of Trump’s three stooges. Gorka lost his temper, on tape of course, with terrorism expert Michael S. Smith II. Sebastian isn’t the only anti-Islamic Gorka devaluing national security judgement. Sebastian’s wife Katherine Gorka collaborates on twisting discourse, right down to altering Wikipedia articles. There is no pretty one, but here is the ugly way Trump’s rise and Putin’s are connected. Gop campaigns took $7.35 million from a Putin pal. Trump Jr. is now tied to the banker behind the Russian money laundering scheme. Brian Benczkowski, nominated to lead the Justice Department's Criminal Division, says sure, he used to work for the Russian banks that propped Donald up, but he doesn’t anymore. In November, a Russian cyberattack targeted an elections vendor tied to voting day disruptions, including North Carolina’s bluest county. Mar-a-Lago doesn’t want Americans working there, but the Labor Department makes them ask, so… Customs and Border Protection employees are told to ignore Congressional representatives trying to do their job, Congressional representatives are shocked to find. John Kelly might as well start packing up his office. Hope Hicks picks up the Communications Director Job on her move up.  How Does She Do It? (Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary! Please help me pay him more!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]

Abbreviated pundit roundup: A weak, incompetent president

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 11:46:11 +0000

Donald Trump’s response to Charlottesville has been so appalling, he has begun to drive even some of his core supporters away. In The New York Times, former Trump supporter Julius Krein explains his change of heart: For months, despite increasing chaos and incoherence, I have given Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt: “No, I don’t really think he is a racist,” I have told skeptical audiences. “Yes, he says some stupid things, but none of it really matters; he’s not really that incompetent.” Or: “They’ve made some mistakes, but it’s still early.” It’s no longer early. Not only has the president failed to make the course corrections necessary to save his administration, but his increasingly appalling conduct will continue to repel anyone who might once have been inclined to work with him. John Cassidy at The New Yorker writes about Trump’s weak presidency: Of course, it would be wishful thinking to suggest that the Republican Party establishment is preparing to make a decisive break with Trump. While McConnell and Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, have both put out statements saying that racism and white supremacism have no place in the G.O.P., neither of them has explicitly criticized Trump. Even now, most Republicans are too intent on pursuing their regressive policy agenda, and too frightened of incurring the wrath of the Trump-supporting hordes going into the 2018 midterms, to do what almost all of them must know, deep down, is the right thing. But, even assuming that Trump will survive this latest horror show, as he has survived many previous ones, his Presidency will be further diminished and tarnished. Outside the arena of national security, the Presidency is a weak office; to get anything substantial done, the person in the Oval Office has to put together coalitions, bringing along powerful people and interest groups. As the health-care fiasco demonstrated, Trump wasn’t very good at that stuff to begin with—forgive the understatement—and he has just greatly compounded his difficulties. By dint of his pigheadedness, or prejudice, or both, he has moved onto political ground that makes it virtually impossible for other people in influential positions, such as C.E.O.s, or the heads of other organizations, or senior government officials, or celebrities, or even his own Cabinet members, to stand with him, or even to be seen to coöperate with him. That is what happens when a President throws away his own legitimacy. [...]

Open thread for night owls: Trump has plenty of power to wreck the final version of climate report

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 03:02:49 +0000

Earlier in August, The New York Times published a 669-page draft of the government’s latest climate change report after it was leaked amid fear among scientists that the current occupant of the Oval Office would order the final version due in 2018 heavily redacted. Given the surreality of the Trump regime so far, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the authors might be commanded to remove all mentions of “climate change” from the climate report. With the report in the public domain, however, the view was that any watering down could not be concealed. But some people involved in the project now fear the leak may have the opposite effect, pushing the White House to adopt the “red team” approach to challenge the climate science consensus that underpins the draft report and make big changes between what it says ultimately and what it says now. With Environmental Protection Agency-hating Scott Pruitt at the EPA helm, the red team could easily be packed with climate science deniers with itchy “delete” fingers. The assessment is the fourth in a series launched by a 1990 law establishing the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  Previous assessments have all been completed under Democratic administrations.  Andrew Revin at the investigative site Pro-Publica writes—Trump Has Broad Power to Block ClimateChange Report: ... the Trump administration has broad authority to review its findings. Any one of a number of government agencies can block its release, which is ultimately subject to presidential review. [...] Despite the requirements of the 1990 law, the White House has substantial power to derail such assessments, said Nicky Sundt, who managed communications for the global change program office through most of the two terms of George W. Bush. The law, for instance, doesn’t specify the scope or nature of the periodic assessments, said Sundt, who is now a senior fellow for climate at the Government Accountability Project, which in 2005 released documents showing that a political appointee had edited a different government climate report to soften its findings. The climate science report at the center of the current dispute is being managed by a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council, a body established in 1993 by President Bill Clinton through an executive order to coordinate science policy. That body, in theory, is chaired by the president or a designated proxy, Sundt said. The subcommittee managing the report, she said, operates by consensus, with anyone from a host of agencies able to block approval. “That opens up the possibility of all sorts of delays and changes,” she said. And the president has the final say on what goes forward. • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events • Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, abov[...]

White supremacists have been getting their DNA checked. It hasn't been going well.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 02:31:11 +0000

There is a hep new trend in the white supremacist movement: Racists getting DNA tested to see just how "pure" their whiteness is. As you can imagine this generally hasn't been going well.

With the rise of spit-in-a-cup genetic testing, there’s a trend of white nationalists using these services to prove their racial identity, and then using online forums to discuss the results.

But like Cobb, many are disappointed to find out that their ancestry is not as “white” as they’d hoped. In a new study, sociologists Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan examined years’ worth of posts on Stormfront to see how members dealt with the news.

To be sure there's valid sociology reasons for such a study, but we prefer to believe that Panofsky and Donovan also just couldn't resist what they knew would be a gold mine of sad, frustrated racists. So we will believe so until told otherwise.

As for the results, the reactions of lifelong racist assholes to finding out that they themselves have Jewish or African or other ancestry appears to be hilarious mixed. One argument was that so long as you don't look non-white, well, that's good enough for Stormfront. Other arguments were equally ... intriguing.

Others, he said, responded to unwanted genetic results by saying that those kinds of tests don’t matter if you are truly committed to being a white nationalist. Yet others tried to discredit the genetic tests as a Jewish conspiracy “that is trying to confuse true white Americans about their ancestry,” Panofsky said.

Yeah, go figure. But the most interesting part, from a sociological standpoint, is the hoops the rest of the racist community could jump through to reassure racists-in-good-standing of their value as upstanding white supremacists. But that charity was not extended to less prominent members, and might come with specific restrictions:

Others were told that they could remain part of white nationalist groups, in spite of the ancestry they revealed, as long as they didn’t “mate,” or only had children with certain ethnic groups.

So they’re in luck, because mating is not something a lot of these Citronella Nazis will ever have to worry about!

It's an interesting read. It feels like we should be making far more fun of these dull-witted cretins, but it's hard to do, this particular week. We'll take a raincheck.


Emoluments, anyone? Gorsuch to speak at event in Trump's DC hotel

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:48:51 +0000

Trump isn't going to have to worry about one vote on the Supreme Court, apparently. For example, should any of the emolument suits against him advance that far. It seems Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is plenty happy to help his benefactor make money off of the presidency. In the immediate term, however, there are more pressing issues for Trump looming before the court, and Gorsuch showing his cards rather brazenly.

WASHINGTON — Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court appointee, is scheduled to address a conservative group at the Trump International Hotel in Washington next month, less than two weeks before the court is set to hear arguments on Mr. Trump’s travel ban.

Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at New York University, questioned the justice’s decision to speak at the hotel, which is at issue in lower-court cases challenging the constitutionality of payments to Mr. Trump’s companies.

“At this highly divisive political moment, especially as many Trump decisions are likely soon to reach the court’s docket, one just days later, a healthy respect for public confidence in the court should have led Justice Gorsuch to demur,” he said. […]

Justice Gorsuch is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the “Defending Freedom Luncheon” on Sept. 28 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fund for American Studies, which says it supports “principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership” through academic and fellowship programs.

Do you even need to ask where the Fund for American Studies gets much of its money? Probably not, but yes, it's the Kochs. Of course, the Times gives us a dash of both-sides-ism, telling us that "Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, all members of the court’s liberal wing, have spoken before the American Constitution Society, a liberal group." Because a group with a mission of "promot[ing] the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental values it expresses: individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law" is just as shadowy as anything the far-right is doing.


A heartbroken family says goodbye as Oakland nurse, husband deported

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:53:16 +0000

Highland Hospital nurse Maria Mendoza-Sanchez and her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, lost their last-ditch bid to delay their removal after nearly two decades in the United States and were deported to Mexico Wednesday night. Neither have criminal records. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) didn’t care. Accompanying Mendoza-Sanchez and her husband to Mexico was their 12-year-old U.S. citizen child. Their daughters, the youngest only 16, stayed behind to continue their education and somehow cope without their parents or little brother:

At the airport Wednesday night, the 46-year-old mother related how she had arrived in Oakland in 1994 when she was young and in love. She began working in a nursing home, where she was promoted several times, then studied to become a nurse. Eusebio had started working in construction, and later graduated to become a truck driver for the last 12 years.

Asked by a reporter Wednesday night if not getting the stay of the deportation order was a failure, she said no.

“I don’t feel it was a failure — it’s a challenge,’’ said Maria, much like the many others she has faced and overcome during the last 23 years she’s lived in the U.S. “I’m not leaving this country defeated, because I graduated from the university and that was not in my plans when I came here, or when I was a kid,” she said.

“I feel very satisfied with all the goals I’ve accomplished,” Maria added. Likewise, she wants her daughters to follow their dreams and not let anything get in the way of achieving their goals.

According to The Mercury News, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who attempted to intervene on the family’s behalf, delivered the news Tuesday night that their request to ICE had been denied. And on Wednesday night, following ICE’s order, the family tearfully said goodbye at San Francisco International Airport. “Today I am going to leave, as I promised to do,’’ Mendoza-Sanchez said to press at the airport. “But it’s hard to leave my kids behind.”


Wall Street Journal's 'Coal Makes a Comeback' is real fake journalism

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:06:37 +0000

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board lauded Trump for making coal barons dreams come true.

Not long ago liberals hailed the demise of coal as inevitable while the Obama Administration strangled the industry with regulation. But don’t look now, Tom Steyer, because coal is showing signs of a revival and breathing economic life into West Virginia and other coal states. […]

Yet the Trump Presidency seems to have lifted animal spirits and coal. Weekly coal production has increased by 14.5% nationwide over last year with even bigger bumps in West Virginia (19%), Pennsylvania (19.7%) and Wyoming (19.8%). Exports were up 58% during the first quarter from last year. Apparently coal can be marketable if regulators let it be.

Honestly, I don’t know what “animal spirits” are or how they get lifted, but the contention that Trump has given a big boost to coal is simply, what’s that term? Fake news. Or, in language that’s even easier to understand, it’s a big, fat lie. In their attempt to support Trump, the Wall Street Journal is distorting the truth about coal and cruelly raising the hopes of people who have bought into a false promise. They’re performing a disservice to their readers and to their nation.

That big increase in production they’re talking about? It’s generated by comparing the current weekly production with the same week last year. The first quarter of 2017 saw production of 197 million tons of coal, compared to 173 million in the same quarter of 2016. Which does look like an uptick. 

But look at it in context.


That single orange bar, the bar that’s actually lower than the quarter before, and the quarter before that? That’s Trump’s “comeback.” 


The Trump administration is making it harder for kids fleeing violence to come to the U.S. legally

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:57:16 +0000

Even as Donald Trump abuses his office by using the federal government to bring in more foreign workers to staff his various resorts and thus line his pockets, he’s now also making it harder for Central American children who are fleeing gang violence in their home countries to come legally to the U.S., even if they already have parents here:

As of Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security is ending a program begun in 2014 that gave some children and young adults who had failed to qualify for refugee status permission to enter the United States to live and work on a temporary basis, known as parole.

The agency said it was doing so in response to President Trump’s January executive order on immigration, which directed officials to exercise much more selectively their authority to admit immigrants outside normal legal channels. The Trump administration has also tried to hold back the high tide of young Central American migrants by intensifying immigration enforcement within the country and even seeking out their parents who are in the United States illegally, and arresting them.

Humanitarian experts who have been helping Central American refugees say that Trump’s effort stands to instead fuel the human smuggling trade—something “Trump has vowed to dismantle”—by making it harder for children and other vulnerable populations to come here legally. And, it will mean more senseless deaths of innocents.

“It is not a surprise, but it is a disgrace,” said Lisa Frydman, a leader with Kids in Need of Defense. “This is the Trump administration completely turning its back on Central American children, slamming the door on them.”


The Economist: 'Trump is politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office'

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:41:02 +0000

The Economist magazine is out with a new issue and they are not holding back. First see the cover, them jump below for the highlights (or lowlights): xDonald Trump is politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office— The Economist (@TheEconomist) August 17, 2017 The Economist editorial continued with a brutal takedown of an obviously morally bankrupt person: Mr. Trump’s inept politics stem from a moral failure. Some counter-demonstrators were indeed violent, and Mr. Trump could have included harsh words against them somewhere in his remarks. But to equate the protest and the counter-protest reveals his shallowness. Video footage shows marchers carrying fascist banners, waving torches, brandishing sticks and shields, chanting “Jews will not replace us.” Footage of the counter-demonstration mostly shows average citizens shouting down their opponents. And they were right to do so: white supremacists and neo-Nazis yearn for a society based on race, which America fought a world war to prevent. Mr. Trump’s seemingly heartfelt defense of those marching to defend Confederate statues spoke to the degree to which white grievance and angry, sour nostalgia is part of his world view. At the root of it all is Mr. Trump’s temperament. In difficult times a president has a duty to unite the nation. Mr. Trump tried in Monday’s press conference, but could not sustain the effort for even 24 hours because he cannot get beyond himself. A president needs to rise above the point-scoring and to act in the national interest. Mr. Trump cannot see beyond the latest slight. Instead of grasping that his job is to honour the office he inherited, Mr. Trump is bothered only about honouring himself and taking credit for his supposed achievements. The editorial also said now is the time for Republican leaders to take a stand, for the good of the nation, and denounce Trump and all the hatred he is stirring up. I’d take it one step further and say they need to begin the process of impeaching him. The nation cannot sustain 3.5 more years of an incompetent, racist leader. Read the full shredding of Donald Trump here. [...]

Republicans aren't just hiding from constituents this August

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:27:11 +0000

August was already shaping up to be brutal for congressional Republicans. It's only been a hardy few that have shown their faces in public back home to face up to their votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something Mitch McConnell scratched down on a dinner napkin. But then last weekend happened. Trump happened. And now they've taken deep cover, refusing to go anywhere near a TV camera. Even John McCain.

CNN hosts discuss the strange phenomenon:

CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Here are the Republicans who have called out the president by name. And by name matters. And calling this what it is matters. So you see them there, [Sen.] John McCain [(R-AZ)] started it going with [Sen.] Marco Rubio [(R-FL)], Sen. [Lindsey] Graham [(R-SC)] came out yesterday about this. But the bigger number are those who are remaining silent. We contacted all 52 Republican GOP people, invited them on the show to get statements --

POPPY HARLOW (CO-HOST): Senators, all of them.

CUOMO: Yes. Nothing. They didn't want to do it.

And not just CNN:

"Let's be honest. Republicans don’t mind coming on Fox News Channel." But "we couldn’t get anyone to come and defend him here," Shep Smith said at 3pm Wednesday.

Chuck Todd reported the same result on "MTP Daily" at 5pm: "We invited every single Republican senator on this program tonight, all 52." Plus a dozen House GOPers. "None of them agreed to discuss this issue with us today."

Wolf Blitzer said something similar at 5:30: “We did reach out to Republican leaders throughout the day. They all, at least for now, refused to join us..."

And Kate Bolduan, filling in for Erin Burnett at 7pm, said bookers called 55 Republicans and only one said yes…

We get it, being put in a position of having to answer for Trump on national TV is a no-win proposition. So if they won't go in front of a camera to defend him, why are they willing to push his agenda in Congress?


The latest Republican to spew white supremacist talking points: Gov. Paul LePage

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:09:21 +0000

Campaign Action

It would be lovely if America's stupidest elected officials could shut their pie-holes and give us just one day's blessed peace, but today will not be that day.

Taking down statues of Confederate figures is "just like" removing a monument to victims of the 9/11 attacks, Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday, adding that the white nationalist and far-left protesters in Charlottesville over the weekend were "equally as bad" and "disgusting."

A reminder here: Confederate figures organized a violent rebellion against their country and methodically murdered their fellow Americans so as to protect their ability to enslave other Americans. The victims of the 9/11 attacks ... did not do that. LePage's extremely stupid and malevolent argument would only make the slightest bit of sense if he compared removing Confederate monuments to removing monuments to the perpetrators of 9/11.

LePage said left-wing protesters who want to remove Confederate statues are ignorant of history and want to erase it. He compared them to "the Taliban in Afghanistan" in their desire to remove monuments.

This is cribbed directly from white supremacist talking points. What is Maine Gov. Paul LePage watching or reading that leads him to repeat white supremacist talking points. Is it Fox News? It may be Fox News.

"How can future generations learn if we're going to erase history? That's disgusting," he said.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus takes down Sessions's sanctuary city rant play-by-play

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:06:38 +0000

Campaign Action The day after Donald Trump provided safe harbor to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and the defeated Confederacy, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III visited Florida to continue his ongoing personal cause against so-called “sanctuary cities,” using the Miami stop to spread anti-immigrant distortions, lies, and further attempt to strong-arm those small governments that conservatives allegedly champion: Speaking in Miami, where county authorities hold prisoners for federal immigration agents, Sessions said sanctuary policies are an example of “lawlessness” and again vowed to cut off federal funding to communities that use them. Although the link between illegal immigration and rising crime is weak — studies show immigrants tend to commit crimes at lower rates than other people — Sessions suggested Miami’s policies contributed to a dramatic drop in murders. “The same Independence Day weekend when Chicago suffered more than 100 shootings and 15 homicides, Miami-Dade also had a historic number of shooting deaths — zero,” he said. He said the Trump administration would not continue giving money to cities “that actively undermine the safety and efficacy of federal law enforcement and actively frustrate efforts to reduce crime in their cities.” “I have said it before and I will say it again, undocumented immigrants are not driving violence in Chicago and that’s why I want our officers focused on community policing and not trying to be the immigration police,” Eddie Johnson, the Chicago police superintendent, responded. Sessions was also touting a recent decision from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez to toss the locality’s pro-immigrant sanctuary policy—a decision that  came with heavy blowback from the local community—in the wake of Trump’s rise. But as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) noted in a tweetstorm that debunked Sessions play-by-play, he cited some “crime reduction stats from 2016 when Miami had community trust policies in place.” Oops. [...]

Trump's 'Infrastructure Week' collapses around him

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 22:21:07 +0000

It was a given from the moment Donald Trump opened his mouth to defend rallying white supremacists and Nazi groups in Charlottesville that the administration's "Infrastructure Week" was going to be a hot, molten mess. Now it’s resulted in the collapse of his would-be Advisory Council on Infrastructure before it managed even a single meeting.

The council, which was still being formed, would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works.

The action follows Trump announcing on Wednesday that he was disbanding two other business advisory councils.

Presumably its abandonment is for the same reason that two other "advisory" bands of CEOs were axed earlier in the week: the corporate heads being cajoled into taking positions on the council were, in the wake of Trump’s outbursts, no longer willing to sign their names to his ongoing catastrophe of an administration.

So: are we getting tired of all the winning, America? It feels like we're getting tired of all the winning.


This week in statehouse action: racist is as racist does edition

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:57:50 +0000

Campaign Action Mama always told me life was like a box of Confederate sympathizers. (No, of course she didn’t. My mother’s advice was generally excellent, judiciously dispensed, and never cliché-based.) The horrific violence perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville last weekend is still fresh in our minds, and we’ll be dealing with its aftermath for a long time. But one of the consequences of that abhorrent display of neo-Nazi hate involves confronting the many monuments to treasonous losers of a war fought to defend slavery. Some 1,500 statues and other memorials intended to honor soldiers and leaders of the Confederacy are scattered all across the country—some in states that didn’t even exist during the Civil War. A movement to remove these reminders of a failed insurrection to defend an indefensible institution has progressed slowly in recent years (about 60 have come down or been renamed so far), but now it seems to be accelerating. Stone Love: Just look at North Carolina, where Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has already declared his intent to remove all monuments to the Confederacy on state property—a noble goal, to be sure, but he’s got one thing standing in his way. It’s the thing that always stands in his way: the GOP-controlled state legislature. In 2015, statehouse Republicans passed (and then-Gov. Pat McCrory signed) a law prohibiting the removal of such monuments. Republican lawmakers sent the bill to McCrory’s desk just 10 days after South Carolina’s governor signed a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the capitol—and barely more than a month after Confederate flag-waving, self-professed Hitler-loving racist murdered nine black churchgoers in cold blood.  Until the measure is repealed, North Carolina’s Republican legislative supermajorities control whether Confederate monuments will go or stay. Three guesses as to which way they’ll vote, and the first two don’t count. [...]

Under Trump, rural America is a difficult place to live for people of color

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:02:43 +0000

Rural America and the white working class are two populations that have gotten a lot of attention since the presidential election. Trump won them over by appealing to their dissatisfaction with Washington, the promise of jobs and a better economy and a whole lot of racism. Democrats are rolling out an entire strategy dedicated to focusing on their needs in order to win back these voters. What these conversations, and particularly Democrats, have seemed to overlook is the fact that there are actually people of color who are both working class and residing in rural America. And in addition to being concerned about jobs and the economy like their white counterparts, they are also deeply concerned about the state of race relations in our country and the hate that they are experiencing in Trump’s America. Becca Andrews from Mother Jones went back to her hometown of Bells, Tennessee, to interview local people of color about their experiences. As you might expect, they feel scared for their safety and like they no longer belong in their town.  “With the way it’s going now, I’m actually scared that I won’t make it,” [Madyson Turner, a black woman] said to me in a text message. [...] The day after the November presidential election, Turner went with her mother to the store, and they both kept their heads down. “We just feel like we don’t belong here anymore,” she says. Turner’s mom, who cleans houses in town for a living, went to work a couple days after that, and her employer, an older white woman, brought up the results of the recent election. The two had talked politics before—Turner’s mom is a Democrat, and her employer is a Republican. “Well, you might as well come and live with me now,” the employer said. “You gonna be mine eventually.” When you are black in America, you are often used to living life under white supremacy and racism. It may not always impact you directly—but it is certainly experienced through the systems and structures that impact and limit our financial, social, emotional and cultural well-being. But for many of us, the election of Trump has meant something different. Trump obviously didn’t invent white supremacy and, though he feeds on it, hate and bigotry are not present because he’s in the White House. But he’s instigated it and provided an environment for these vile ideologies to grow—ideologies which had previously been relegated to the margins of society. [...]

Arizona Democrats to Trump: Don't pardon Arpaio for 'his illegal conduct and brazen abuse'

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:33:20 +0000

Arizona Congressmen Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, and Tom O’Halleran have issued a letter calling on Donald Trump to not pardon the Crooked Joe Arpaio following his conviction for criminal contempt of court. Trump’s newly announced rally in Arizona has fueled speculation that Trump may both physically and symbolically rescue Arpaio from his due justice: We are gravely concerned by reports that you are considering a pardon for Joe Arpaio.  The former Maricopa County Sheriff was convicted of a serious crime and should pay any fine and serve any sentence in full.  We urge you in the strongest possible terms not to grant Mr. Arpaio relief from the penalties he deservedly faces for his illegal conduct and brazen abuse of the public trust. [...] Last month, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court following his decision to violate a judge’s order compelling his department to cease its unconstitutional immigration enforcement actions.  It is worth noting that Arpaio’s own statements played a key role in the conviction, as the former Sheriff had repeatedly declared his intention to flout the law by continuing to illegally detain Latinos in our community.  As the judge in the case wrote, “Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise.”     “We believe public officials should be held accountable when they commit crimes and that the rule of law should be applied fairly regardless of how powerful an office holder’s friends are,” the letter continues. “By pardoning Mr. Arpaio, an early supporter of your campaign, you would be sending a clear message that your allies are immune from prosecution.” And as Congressman Gallego also said in a statement, Arpaio “shouldn’t be let off the hook for his crimes just to buy Donald Trump some bonus points with his most racist supporters.” Read the full letter from the Arizona congressmen here. [...]

White House staff wrings hands over Trump, yet sticks around

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:51:37 +0000

All this expressing of anguish by Republicans over Trump anonymously and through surrogates is getting emptier by the minute. Here's supposedly what they're feeling in the White House:

No aides had yet threatened to resign as of Wednesday morning, according to White House officials and advisers, but a number of White House staffers had private conversations on Tuesday night about how terribly the day went.

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who was standing near Trump on Tuesday for what was supposed to be a statement about infrastructure, was particularly displeased, according to people familiar with the matter, as the president launched into a rant about the culpability of the “alt-left” while calling some of the protesters at the white nationalist rally “very fine people.”

But there has been no word from Cohn about any plans to step down.

Still, White House aides say they were startled by the extensive comments, especially because Trump paid so little attention at the event to the intended focus of infrastructure, which is an issue the president often says he cares deeply about.

How the fuck are these people "startled" by anything the guy they've been working for all these months does or says? Have they been paying that little attention to their boss? "A number of people are on thin ice," one White House official told Politico, "explaining how some aides feel they are at wit's end."

There's a remedy for that. Tender your resignation and then go on the record with the media describing the ways in which this man is unfit for office. You might, just might, have a chance at salvaging your career if you leave now. You might also be doing something much greater—saving the nation.


Nation discovers evangelicals have no moral compass as business leaders pick up the slack

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:38:20 +0000

As leaders sitting on two of Donald Trump's business councils took stock of Trump's repulsive defense of neo-Nazi and white supremacist violence, many concluded they just couldn't stomach a continued alliance with Trump's administration and decided to cut ties. But what of religious leaders who also prize their access, like those sitting on Trump's Evangelical Council? xNot a single member of Trump's Evangelical Council has resigned. We have learned corporate America has a greater moral compass. So so sad.— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) August 16, 2017 The fact that institutional leaders of conservative religious groups have entirely ceded their moral authority to the business community on issues of basic decency and human rights is a lesson LGBTQ Americans have learned repeatedly over the last decade. It was on full display last year in North Carolina, for instance, where businesses like PayPal led the charge in opposing HB2, a bill targeting transgender individuals for discrimination. The same was true the year before when companies like Salesforce and Angie's List took on then-Gov. Mike Pence after he signed an Indiana law protecting businesses that discriminate against LGBTQ customers. That story repeated itself again this year during the right-wing push in Texas to prohibit transgender folks from using public restrooms corresponding to their gender. The bill just died this week. But as all of those measures made national headlines, leaders of the evangelical and Catholic faiths fell silent, just like they have been in directly challenging Trump's disastrous handling of the violence that took one life and injured 19 others last weekend. While the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, swiftly issued a statement last Saturday condemning the "abhorrent acts of hatred" in Charlottesville as "an attack on the unity of our nation," he has said nothing following Trump's defense of that very same violence. [...]

Trump tweets bigoted and debunked pig's blood story as solution for terrorism

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:23:51 +0000

In a week when you thought Donald Trump had reached maximum offensiveness, he proved there’s always a little more disgusting to be had—even if it takes going to white nationalist fantastyland to find it. xStudy what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017 What is Trump talking about? He’s going back to a story he told during the campaign. After the war, Pershing served as governor of the heavily Muslim Moro Province between 1909 and 1913. This period was notable for its continuing insurgencies. "They were having terrorism problems, just like we do," Trump said, according to an account in the Washington Post. "And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem." Twenty-five years. Thirty-five years. It doesn’t really matter because the whole damn story is a lie. It never happened. Similar stories have been told about other military leaders, and though details vary, the thing they all seem to have in common is that they’re not true. But Trump’s hate for people not like him? That’s all too real. [...]