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Published: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:28:58 +0000

Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:28:58 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Donald Trump claims to create jobs, but President Obama actually did the job

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:00:00 +0000

Every time Donald Trump needs a distraction, he claims to have created jobs that were already on the way. With the healthcare bill on the ropes Friday morning, Sean Spicer was sent out to announce that the regime has achieved a new record in job-creating time travel.

Today @POTUS announced 20K new US jobs from Charter Communications.

When were the Charter jobs actually announced?

Charter made this hiring goal public in the spring of 2015.

Donald Trump is now announcing jobs from before he even entered the presidential race. With Trumpcare currently being packed off to intensive care, it’s only a matter of time before we see Donald Trump claiming the jobs saved by the auto company bailout and those created by the stimulus plan.

After all, by this time in his presidency, Barack Obama had successfully negotiated, lobbied for, and pushed through the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a huge piece of legislation responsible for saving over 2 million jobs and pulling the economy out of recession. It was a contentious bill, requiring considerable attention and genuine deal-making. Perhaps that’s why in the period leading up to its passage, President Obama took zero days of vacation and played zero rounds of golf.

That’s what competent leadership can do. 

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Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Resistance FRIDAY!

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 23:30:27 +0000

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE

[Poink!] The First Late Night Snark of Spring Sproings…

"What a week for our poor president. He's been bombing harder than Mike Huckabee at an open-mic night, and his Republican friends can't get out the door fast enough, fuck the two-drink minimum."

---Samantha Bee

"FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the agency is examining possible ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign. … However, Comey refused to say whether Trump himself was being investigated. It’s part of his policy not to comment on ongoing investigations that don’t involve Hillary Clinton."

---Jimmy Fallon

“Ivanka Trump is reportedly getting an office in the White House in addition to security clearance and government-issued communication devices. Even more unbelievable, so is Donald Trump.”

---Seth Meyers

x

"[Attorney General] Sessions spoke out against the trend of legalized marijuana, saying: 'I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana, so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that's only slightly less awful.' Sure. Marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin, like how burning your tongue on hot cocoa is only slightly less awful than being set on fire."

---Stephen Colbert

“Today the House Republicans were furiously working to get enough votes to pass the health care bill to replace Obamacare. ... Right now, it’s not looking good. The bill is basically on life support. And like most things on life support, Republicans will probably deny it coverage.”

---James Corden

Ding dong, Trumpcare is dead. Long live Obamacare. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!]

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House, Senate Republicans repeat Russian attacks against liberal U.S. billionaire George Soros

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 23:05:45 +0000

The conservative insistence that Scary Liberal Billionaire George Soros is behind every single non-conservative movement and organization in the world is, at this point, so endemic as to be the butt of jokes. The news that Republican lawmakers are now promoting Russian-promoted charges of Soros' supposed meddling in European politics is a bit more alarming.

Led by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, the conservative lawmakers have signed on to a volley of letters accusing Soros of using his philanthropic spending to project his liberal sensibilities onto European politics. As Lee and other senators put it in a March 14 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Soros’ Open Society Foundations are trying “to push a progressive agenda and invigorate the political left.”

It’s an accusation that’s being fomented and championed by Moscow.

Soros, who survived the Nazi occupation of his native Hungary and fled after World War II when it was under Soviet control, has been long a bête noire of the Kremlin, which sees his funding for civil society groups in former Soviet satellite states as part of a plot to install pro-Western governments.

In the past, Republicans have rather vigorously endorsed the notion of spreading democracy, and by vigorously we mean the last Republican administration launched a war based on the premise of forcibly spreading democracy to a nation that didn't much want it. Now, though, conservative senators like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz see Soros donations targeted against European nationalists as being far more sinister. They share this concern with Russian state-sponsored propaganda teams, who have sought to promote far-right nationalist movements throughout Europe in an effort to roll back western-styled reforms and revert to a more Moscow-amenable isolationism.

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RNC hired Russia-connected intelligence firm in effort to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:27:47 +0000

While Donald Trump was begging the Russians to dig into Hillary Clinton’s email, and members of Trump’s staff were possibly in collusion with the Russian government to feed Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, the RNC was taking its own extraordinary approach to finding dirt—and amazingly, it also had a Russian connection.

As the general election was taking shape last summer, the Republican National Committee initiated a series of payments to a low-profile firm started by retired Central Intelligence Agency officers that worked closely with an ex-Russian spy.

The payments attracted attention in political and intelligence circles, largely because the Virginia-based firm, Hamilton Trading Group, had particular expertise in Russia, which was emerging as a major campaign issue at the time.

Since when did the whole Republican Party become Moscow on the Potomac? Yes, there was a Russian issue, but the issue was that the Russians intervened in the election to help Donald Trump. Still, it’s clear that the RNC knew where to go to find people who hated Hillary Clinton as much as they did.

The goal of the RNC’s dirt farming investment was to find “evidence” to support one of the prominent pitches made by Trump—that the Clinton Foundation was involved in influence peddling.

The firm produced two dossiers that tried to make the case that Clinton intervened in Bulgaria and Israel, respectively, on behalf of energy companies that had donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to people briefed on the reports.

If those particular charges don’t seem all that familiar, it’s because they—like the thousands of other such charges levied at Hillary—didn’t produce anything that came close to being evidence of wrongdoing. They should have learned from Trump; when dealing with Russian-related spies, go straight for the real thing.

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Despite Trump's claims, native-born Americans are more likely than immigrants to be 'bad hombres'

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:31:01 +0000

No matter what Donald Trump tries to tell you, the fact is that native-born Americans are more likely than immigrants to be the actual “bad hombres”:

Although federal data are limited, two reports released this month — by the Sentencing Project and the libertarian Cato Institute — confirmed past studies that immigrants, including those here illegally, commit crimes at lower rates than do native-born Americans.

“The big picture concern is that the administration’s policies seem premised on the idea that immigration status is some kind of indicator for criminality, when in fact that is not at all the case,” said Gregory Chen, advocacy director for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. 

According to the Sentencing Project, not only are immigrants “less likely than native-born individuals to have engaged in violent or non-violent anti-social behaviors in their lifetimes, including harassment, assault, and acquiring multiple traffic violations,” but higher levels of immigration actually make communities safer:

The rate at which homicide declined was much greater in cities with larger immigrant populations than in cities with smaller immigrant populations. Property crimes also decreased faster in cities with larger immigrant populations than in cities with smaller immigrant populations.

Researchers have suggested that immigrants help lower the crime rate in their communities because of their strong familial ties, their political participation, their orientation to the justice system, and their economic impact.

Since criminal-justice contact may also jeopardize their immigration status, immigrants who willingly came to the United States for safety and better opportunities are more likely to be law-abiding than their U.S.-born counterparts.

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Cartoon: Inside the White House writers' room

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:50:40 +0000

The second version of the White House’s unconstitutional immigration ban was struck down on Thursday. Public comments admitting the discriminatory intent of the executive order made by Rudy Giuliani and Trump adviser Stephen Miller helped strike it down.

Good job, guys!

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As a new poll gives Jon Ossoff a runoff lead, the GOP drops another $1.1 million on ads

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:45:54 +0000

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On behalf of Fox 5 Atlanta, the independent pollster Opinion Savvy gives Democrat Jon Ossoff two good pieces of news in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The poll shows Ossoff easily advancing past the April 18 top two primary, but more importantly, Ossoff is competitive against each Republican they tested him against June 20; in fact, Ossoff posts small leads in three of the four matchups.

We’ll take a look first at the April primary, which pits all the candidates on one ballot:

Investigative documentary maker Jon Ossoff (D): 40

Ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel (R): 20

Businessman Bob Gray (R): 10

State Sen. Judson Hill (R): 10

Ex-state Sen. Dan Moody (R): 8

None of the other 13 (!) candidates take more than 2 percent of the vote. Now, here is how Ossoff performs against four different Republicans in hypothetical June matchups:

42-41 vs. Ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel 

44-42 vs. businessman Bob Gray

44-45 vs. state Sen. Judson Hill

46-44 vs. ex-state Sen. Dan Moody

This is the first poll of the June general election we’ve seen. The survey does have one pessimistic note for Team Blue, though: While Trump won this traditionally suburban Atlanta seat just 48-47, the poll gives him a 53-46 approval rating, which indicates that the undecideds like him. However, the GOP is taking this race seriously, and Paul Ryan’s allied super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, just dropped an additional $1.1 million in ads on Ossoff, taking their total investment here to $2.2 million.

We have a chance to deal Donald Trump and Paul Ryan a shocking loss. Please chip in $3 today to help Jon Ossoff fight back.

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Trump reacts to failure: We were so close, it's all the Democrats' fault, and Obamacare is exploding

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:04:32 +0000

You might have expected popular vote loser Donald Trump to have a temper tantrum after the failure of Trumpcare, but he seemed pretty calm—albeit seriously deluded—during a brief press conference from the Oval Office.

He led off with the most ludicrous of lies: "We were very close." They weren't very close. They were at least 30 (and as much as 50) votes away. "Very close." Who's fault was this? "We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren't going to give us a single vote, it's a difficult thing to do." So it's the Democrats' fault that the bill failed.

What's going to happen now? "I've been saying for the last year-and-a-half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode, it is exploding right now."

I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare. They own it, 100 percent own it. This is not a Republican health care, this is not anything but a Democrat health care and they have Obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the near future and just remember this is not our bill.

That reminded him that he has a conspiracy theory about President Obama and Obamacare: "You know, I said the other day when president Obama left, they—17—he knew we were going to be here, 2017 going to be a bad year for Obamacare." Yes, he still apparently believes that Obama left some kind of booby-trap in there to make the law explode on his, Trump's, watch.

He does feel like he learned some things, things that will make you despair that he is the one sitting behind that desk in the oval office.

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Republicans lose big league, and immediately start pointing fingers at one another

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:30:44 +0000

In the wake of their epic fail, Republicans are busy finger-pointing and climbing over one another to shout “I was the one who pulled the bill,” and insisting that they were trying to strip more than 20 million people of health insurance out of a noble desire to help not just average Americans but congressional Democrats. But let’s be clear: they lost big here. They lost big on their own goal.  Let’s recap a little of what happened here. Early Friday morning: xNo one should be confused.Obamacare repeal if it passes will be Trump's triumph.He personally intervened to save bill when it faced defeat— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 24, 2017 TRUMP’S TRIUMPH. And early Friday afternoon: x"We want the vote," senior administration official says. "If they want to go against the president, they should do it on live TV."— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 24, 2017 Trump wanted his enemies list. He didn’t even get that, presumably because someone convinced him not to take that big a public loss. And for some Republicans, a certain reality may be starting to sink in: xGOP aide on CapHill: "I'm starting to think that while we're pretty good at winning elections, we're not great at the whole governing thing"— Alex Roarty (@Alex_Roarty) March 24, 2017 You think? Seven years, dozens of repeal votes, and a dominant House majority and they couldn’t get anything done. It’s pathetic—but it’s great for the nation as a whole. [...]



Nancy Pelosi responds to epic failure of Paul Ryan and Donald Trump

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:28:01 +0000

Nancy Pelosi, the best speaker of the house most of us have ever seen, will respond to Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s epic failure of leadership. Of course their aim was to strip health care from millions, so thank God they’re incompetent. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:30:19 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Dem leadership looks pretty happy standing up there. Pelosi says she’s proud of the ACA and that the people stood behind it and told their Republican reps keep it—what happened today was a victory for the American people. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:31:28 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter It’s pretty exciting for us—yesterday the anniversary and today repeal fails. “Honoring the values of our founders” was how Democrats approached this fight and we were united to fight behind our values. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:32:45 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Hoyer: “This is a good day for the American people.” We worked hard to create and pass the Affordable Care Act—Pelosi was indefatigable in fighting for it. The bill went down today because the majority of representatives thought it was a bad idea.  Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:33:41 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter It was a bad bill already, made worse last night when they gutted essential health benefits. We can’t just abandon this effort, can’t let administration destroy indirectly what they couldn’t destroy directly today. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:35:41 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Jim Clyburn: Joins leader Pelosi in quoting MLK, who talked about healthcare as a fundamental right—it was “inhumane” and “egregious” to deny healthcare. Nothing more inhumane or egregious than denying health care to someone who has diabetes, or telling someone with cancer they have to end treatment. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:36:30 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Clyburn and Hoyer both offer to work in bipartisan way. Like that’ll happen. But they have to say it, because they are the better party. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:37:23 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Crowley: yeah, we’re gloating maybe a little bit. Reminds Paul Ryan that they have a responsibility to keep the ACA working well and robust for the American people. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:39:06 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Linda Sanchez: This is a temporary victory—they couldn’t deliver after 7 years their “better way.” Dems will work with them if they want to work on Obamacare, but will not stand by while they try to destroy it from within. What was on the floor today was “just plain heartless.” Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:40:18 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Halperin: You know the Republicans, how do you think they’ll work with your? Pelosi: We worked with GW Bush, we can do this. Not a question of what we do with Trump, but what we did as a matter of record in a normal process. [...]



Paul Ryan holds press conference on Trumpcare failure

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:04:40 +0000

House Speaker Paul Ryan is facing the press, explaining why the Trumpcare vote has been pulled from the House floor, and probably, his agenda. C-SPAN will stream the press conference.

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:06:24 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

They’re already fighting over who gets to claim credit for avoiding the embarrassment of a failed vote.

x

x

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 8:13:56 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Ryan is here. “Growing pains” of moving from opposition to governing power. Bullshit. They came so, so close. While some reporters are saying there were up to 50 votes against.

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EPIC FAIL: Reports say Trumpcare vote pulled

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:35:58 +0000

Multiple sources are reporting that the House has pulled the vote on Trumpcare, breaking their own promise of the past seven years to repeal and replace Obamacare.

x

Seven years they had to come up with some kind of bill to replace it. Seven years they had every conservative policy wonk (the real ones, not Paul Ryan) providing advice and offering ideas. In seven years they did squat.

Well, not entirely squat. They had over 60 votes to repeal Obamacare in part or in whole. Every one of those votes was estimated to cost $1.45 million dollars—each vote—of taxpayer money. That's not counting all the staff time, the committee time, the opportunity cost of everything that was postponed or just not done because of their single-minded obsession on this one thing. Billions of dollars spent—just on votes—not on all the campaign ads for this.

Seven years. They had seven years. And all they had to show for it a crappy cut-and-paste job from the original law.  A bad bill that destroyed Medicaid (Paul Ryan's frat-boy "dream", destabilized Medicare, and threw 24 million people off of healthcare.

All for the tax cuts for the wealthy.

And in the process, they self-inflicted incalculable wounds. Ryan had to pull this vote, after strong-arming and threatening his members, even though it would be damaging to them back home. It damaged Ryan AND Trump in the process and makes it even harder for Republicans to pass anything in the future.

They've destroyed any hope they had of proving that a united Republican government could actually govern. And they did it for an incredibly cruel bill that demonstrated to the American people just how craven they could be in pursuit of those tax cuts.

Good.

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Republicans who vote for Trumpcare 'will have this vote tattooed to their foreheads,' Pelosi says

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:03:56 +0000

Nancy Pelosi is not mincing words as Republicans face trouble in their efforts to take health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. As speaker, the current House minority leader worked long and hard to pass Obamacare, so she knows just what’s at stake for all those people who could end up without coverage—and what’s politically at stake for members of Congress.

“What is happening today is a lose-lose situation for the Republicans,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said of the legislation during a press conference with party leadership.

“It’s a lose for the American people, that’s for sure," she continued. "But the people who vote for this will have this vote tattooed to their foreheads as they go forward.”

Republicans have voted and voted and voted and voted and voted to repeal Obamacare, but now that they could actually do it, they’re finding out it’s not so easy. And, yes, this will be a vote that will come back to haunt the bill’s supporters in 2018—and beyond, if necessary.

It’s our job to make this a vote that makes Republicans lose in 2018, but first it’s our job to make this a vote that fails here and now.

The vote is happening TODAY and it’s not too late to stop it. Even if you have already called your member of Congress, call the Capitol Hill switchboard again at (202) 224-3121. Keep calling and urge your member of Congress to vote NO.

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Midday open thread: South's manufacturing growth comes at a price; blue state AGs join resistance

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:00:43 +0000

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is House Committee on Leakers: A Calendar of Resistance Events • What’s coming up on Sunday Kos … Signs of hope for Democrats in 2018? A cautious yes, by Sher Watts Spooner If Democrats fail to fight Gorsuch, they look weak and share the blame for future decisions, by David Akadjian The blindness of anti-Trump Republicans, by Ian Reifowitz Okay pro-lifers, since ACA repeal will kill tens of thousands, can we count on you, by Egberto Willies Trumpcare in red and blue, by Jon Perr America’s dumbest congressman* is at it again, by Mark E Andersen Voter suppression and anti-union laws work in tandem when the GOP takes over a state’s government, by Stephen Wolf Mary Ann Shadd Cary: Black suffragist, abolitionist, publisher and lawyer, by Denise Oliver Velez Selling across state lines will be a great deal … for insurance companies, by DarkSyde • The South’s manufacturing renaissance comes with a heavy price: Alabama has been trying on the nickname “New Detroit.” Its burgeoning auto parts industry employs 26,000 workers, who last year earned $1.3 billion in wages. Georgia and Mississippi have similar, though smaller, auto parts sectors. This factory growth, after the long, painful demise of the region’s textile industry, would seem to be just the kind of manufacturing renaissance President Donald Trump and his supporters are looking for. Except that it also epitomizes the global economy’s race to the bottom. Parts suppliers in the American South compete for low-margin orders against suppliers in Mexico and Asia. They promise delivery schedules they can’t possibly meet and face ruinous penalties if they fall short. Employees work ungodly hours, six or seven days a week, for months on end. Pay is low, turnover is high, training is scant, and safety is an afterthought, usually after someone is badly hurt. Many of the same woes that typify work conditions at contract manufacturers across Asia now bedevil parts plants in the South. • If you haven’t yet seen it, here’s Time’s Trump interview redacted by Ellie Shechet at Jezebel to show only the true parts. Definitely not tl;dr. • Your cat really loves you:  The current study investigated domestic cat preferences at the individual and population level using a free operant preference assessment. Adult cats from two populations (pet and shelter) were presented with three stimuli within each of the following four categories: human social interaction, food, toy, and scent. Proportion of time interacting with each stimulus was recorded.Although there was clear individual variability in cat preference, social interaction with humans was the most-preferred stimulus category for the majority of cats, followed by food. This was true for cats in both the pet and shelter population. Future research can examine the use of preferred stimuli as enrichment in applied settings and assess individual cats’ motivation to work for their most-preferred stimulus as a measure of reinforcer efficacy. • • Life (and Near Death) in Space: While doing somersaults in zero G might not sound stressful, one has to consider that these astronauts are living in an extremely hostile, high-risk environment—the smallest mistake could be the difference between life and death. Even with the best of preparations, there have been a number of close calls on the space station.  Take, for instance, the case of the Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, who in 2013 had to terminate a spacewalk early after water from his space suit started leaking into his helmet and risked drowning him. As Parmitano would later describe the experie[...]



Republicans determined to achieve plaid level hypocrisy over Gorsuch nomination

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:06:43 +0000

That ripping sound you just heard was the fabric of reality being shredded as Republicans unleashed weapons-grade hypocrisy.

On Thursday, Mr. McConnell accused Democrats of engaging in “obstructionist tactics” to block a well-qualified nominee.

Even though McConnell’s assault was extreme, it’s possible that reality might have survived had not Chuck Grassley employed the Twitter function on his Jitterbug.

x

And with that, the whole universe rolled up into a ball and died whimpering.

“Despite the judge’s outstanding performance, his exceptional background, and the extensive support he’s received from people of all political leanings, we know that some Senate Democrats will continue trying to come up with any reason to delay the confirmation process,” Mr. McConnell said of Judge Gorsuch.

No. Stop. It’s over. Now you’re just kicking the ashes.

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Another day, another chance for Devin Nunes to enrage members of his own committee

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:15:30 +0000

On Wednesday, intel committee chair Devin Nunes engaged in such a parade of partisan nuttiness that he became the poster boy for why investigating Donald Trump using existing House and Senate standing committees just won’t work. On Thursday, Nunes explained that the reason he ran off to destroy the possibility of an investigation by informing the people under scrutiny of inside details, is because his first duty isn’t to Congress or the voters, it’s to Donald Trump.

After those two-wrongs, it might seem that Nunes would be interested in doing at least something right, and announcing that there would be a closed-door meeting of the intelligence committee next week during which the NSA and FBI could finally inform the other members of the things Nunes has been hiding from them seemed like a good step. The idea that Paul Manafort would also appear before the committee voluntarily might even justify Nunes hopping in front of the cameras as an attempt to make up for his profound mid-week f*@k-up-a-thon.

There’s just one little thing. In proclaiming all this to the press on Friday morning, Nunes also let drop that he was canceling the next in the scheduled series of public hearings on Russia-related matters. And the thing is …

x

Once again, Nunes blindsided the members of his own committee, made decisions about the schedule without consulting them, and closed down the hearings that last time offered a series of Trump-rattling revelations without giving anyone a chance to object.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) unleashed a blistering attack on his colleague, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), for cancelling a major public hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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Notice a pattern here? Women get screwed under Trumpcare and Republicans just don't care

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:56:46 +0000

No single group has a lock on being harmed by Trumpcare. There’s going to be plenty of harm to go around, while the only group that will really benefit is the very wealthy. But if you check out what the Republican health plan does and who it affects, there is one pattern that becomes hard to miss. Boy, does Trumpcare ever screw over women.

Check it out:

  • Wednesday night’s rewrite of the bill targeted Essential Health Benefits, which include a lot of important types of care. But it’s hard not to notice that while some of the essential benefits that would be lost apply evenly to pretty much everyone, a few of them would hit some people much harder than others. Like maternity care and newborn care—hmm, who would lose out there? 
  • On Thursday, the House Freedom Caucus, which had pushed for those changes, met with Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and it was hard not to notice that this meeting of people pushing this bill that would make life so much worse for so many women was … a room full of men.
  • Trumpcare would force new moms on Medicaid to go back to work after 60 days
  • No worries, ladies! You can get maternity coverage … if you're married and on a family plan, and able to pay extra for maternity coverage on that family plan.
  • Alternatively, since maternity coverage is a “local problem” that the federal government shouldn’t have a role in requiring, according to Trump’s budget director, you can organize to change your state’s entire government and laws. While you’re pregnant or have a new baby and are struggling to pay the medical bills that Trumpcare would leave you with.

As Nancy Pelosi says, this is all an effort to make being a woman a preexisting condition and institute a pregnancy tax.

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Trump wants a Trumpcare vote, he wants his enemies list

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:38:40 +0000

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a briefing early Friday afternoon that the Trumpcare vote will still happen in a few hours, even though the prospects for passage are looking grim. Spicer did not deny that House Speaker Paul Ryan says he doesn't have the votes, but that "it's now about the greater good." When he was asked if Ryan handled this well, he said "the speaker has done everything he can." And what if it doesn't pass? "There's a huge appetite for tax reform." Hmmmm. He also wanted to make sure that Trump "did everything he possibly could" to make this happen. He worked really hard and people are "shocked" at how "detailed oriented" on all this Trump has been. But ultimately, this is the story. x"We want to force the vote." A top WH official to @washingtonpost at 1:18pm— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 24, 2017 Which puts Ryan in a very difficult position. Forcing his members to vote on this bill, this huge bill, and go on the record—and to have it not pass? That would be a tremendous political blunder. Particularly when Trump has already threatened political payback for any Republicans who vote against him on this. Trump is asking Ryan to deliver him an enemies list. Ryan has to decide whether he's going to make an enemy of Trump, or jeopardize his speakership by making an enemy out of every member of his conference. KEEP CALLING. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 6:05:44 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter x"We want the vote," senior administration official says. "If they want to go against the president, they should do it on live TV."— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 24, 2017 [...]



GOP plans to thank veterans for their service by limiting their access to health insurance

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:20:49 +0000

Republicans continue to prove that they have absolutely no shame when it comes to the terrible health care plan they want to turn into law. We’ve already seen how the bill will impact new mothers, poor people and Trump voters. And now, we can add veterans to the list. On Thursday, Democrats weighed into the debate about the ridiculous proposal for the American Health Care Act (ACHA), stating that the bill would also marginalize millions of veterans. 

“Veterans would end up worse off than they are today under this plan,” said Iraq War veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. “This is sloppy and irresponsible, and it makes you wonder what else we don’t know about this bill.”

Previous versions of the bill allowed for veterans eligible for medical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs to qualify for tax credits to cover the cost of buying private health care insurance if they were not using VA services. But, after several changes in the bill, those options were dropped. Therefore, as it stands now, the bill blocks any veteran eligible for VA services from obtaining the tax credit—which means that if they aren’t using the VA, they get no assistance in obtaining private health insurance, whether they are using the VA services or not. What a way to say thank you for your service on behalf of a grateful nation, no? This just gets more and more repulsive.

And what’s the commander-in-chief, who spent almost two years talking about how he would make the military great again, got to say about all this? Absolutely nothing—because his incompetent administration seems to have no idea what’s actually going on!

On Wednesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said he wasn’t aware of the veterans problem in the bill. House Republican leaders have promised to fix the confusing provisions, but Democrats protesting the bill said it’s dangerous to move ahead with the measure without first correcting that problem. 
 

Clearly, the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. And we’ve got to put some grown ups back in charge. It’s not too late. 

Let's make this failure complete. The vote is happening TODAY. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO.

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Reports: Ryan is telling Trump he doesn't have the votes for Trumpcare

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:00:47 +0000

CNN's Dana Bash is reporting that House Speaker Paul Ryan is telling popular vote loser Donald Trump that he doesn't have the votes to pass Trumpcare, and is asking what Trump wants to do. One thing we're pretty sure Trump will want to do if this fails: blame Paul Ryan.

But nothing at this point is certain. Most reports show the Freedom Caucus digging in in their opposition and there is talk now that the bill is going to be pulled.

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Clearly moderates have all the cover they need to start defecting, particularly if there are big Freedom Caucus numbers.

KEEP CALLING. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO.

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 5:33:26 PM +00:00 · Barbara Morrill

Sean Spicer insists that there will be a vote. Apparently Trump really wants his enemies list. 

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Single mom? You should have gotten married if you wanted health insurance, says White House

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:39:04 +0000

There won't be any SlutCare in Trumpcare, says White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Sure they're taking away essential health benefits, the stuff that makes maternity and newborn health care available to all women, but that doesn't mean women can't get that coverage. They just can't be sluts and get it. In other, words they have to be married.

“Is the president concerned that without having those essential benefits you will have a situation where women are de facto paying higher insurance? Obviously they would be paying for maternity leave,” the reporter asked as a follow up.

“No, you could have a family plan,” Spicer replied.

At best, Spicer’s answer is extraordinarily dismissive of single mothers — the reality is that not every woman who needs maternity care is going to be on a family plan, which are designed for couples and those with children or other dependents. At worst, it’s a tacit endorsement of only married women having access to affordable maternity care.

Even if they got their insurance through a family plan, that family plan would still cost more if they wanted it to include maternity care. And, not all pregnancies are planned—which is why Obamacare treats it as an unexpected medical expense like any other.

Not all families can afford insurance, either. There are plenty of couples out there where neither partner can get health insurance at work—and there will probably be more if Trumpcare passes—and plenty of families that have no coverage at all. Fewer since the Obamacare was signed into law, but still too many because of Republican governors and legislatures that refused to expand Medicaid.

Single moms? Working poor? Those are 21st century realities. People who just plain don't count for Republicans, who are perpetually living in the 1950s "Leave it to Beaver" United States. Where the white men earned the paycheck and had the insurance and everybody else was seen but not heard in the background. Especially women.

The vote is happening TODAY. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO.

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Note Republican moderates: Appropriations chair is a no on Trumpcare, arguing from the left

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:08:24 +0000

This is bigly shocking stuff. House Appropriations chairman Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) has announced he's voting "no" on Trumpcare. Since he's a big-wig in Paul Ryan's House, you'd assume he would be concerned about the hole it's blowing in the deficit, or the fact that it doesn't do enough to dismantle Medicaid. But no. He's opposing it from the left. Or as left as you get from Republicans.

"Seven years after enactment of Obamacare, I wanted to support legislation that made positive changes to rescue healthcare in America.

"Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey. In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues.

"I remain hopeful that the American Health Care Act will be further modified. We need to get this right for all Americans."

Any moderate who needs cover for opposing this bill now has it. The New York Times’ Jonathon Martin puts it:

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A yuge BFD.

There's ongoing discussion of this in FirstAmendment's diary.

The vote is happening TODAY. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO.

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House 'moderate' Republicans shouldn't fall for the latest Trumpcare trick

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:06:04 +0000

House leadership gave one more reward to the maniacs in the Freedom Caucus overnight to try to secure their support for Trumpcare by ditching the essential health benefits in Obamacare—all the things that make health insurance actually health insurance worth purchasing. To placate "moderates" (people who might be okay with taking insurance away from 24 million people but see that it's bad to end drug treatment in the middle of an opioid epidemic and to take maternity and newborn care away) they added in a one-time $15 billion to the bill's $100 billion "stability fund." That's what Republicans would have called a "slush fund for insurance companies." Any moderate Republican who thinks this is going to make a bit of difference in the havoc this bill would wreak is an idiot or an ideologue. No one should fall for it — a one-time $15 billion investment with little direction on how to spend the funds wouldn’t come close to offsetting the enormous damage that the underlying House bill would do to millions of people who would lose these important categories of care. That's because the underlying House bill would increase the number of people without health insurance by 24 million by 2026, according to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, and it would have particularly harmful effects on access to treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders (SUDs). Specifically, it effectively ends the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Medicaid expansion, which has dramatically improved access to treatment; convert Medicaid to a per capita cap; and roll back requirements that health plans in the individual and small-group markets cover a list of "essential health benefits" that include behavioral health care, which encompasses treatment for mental illness and SUDs. By the year 2020, experts estimate that spending under Obamacare for behavioral health will reach $7 billion per year. So the one-time $15 billion infusion Republicans are making wouldn't last much further than the next election, and certainly won't cover all the people that are in danger of overdosing in their own districts. Not when you add in all the women who are going to be needing health care for their pregnancies and their newborns. And if you pile Planned Parenthood defunding on top of that? A lot more women having unplanned pregnancies—several thousand, according to the CBO. The cost to Medicaid in 2017 alone—this year? About $21 million. That's $6 million more than the buy-off leadership is offering to the moderates. The $15 billion isn’t going to go very far when these costs start adding up. If moderates accept that buy-off, if they tout it as the thing that makes this bill less horrible, they have even less principle than the Freedom Caucus maniacs. The vote is happening TODAY. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO. [...]



Manafort to testify to intelligence committee

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:25:34 +0000

Devin Nunes wants you to know he’s uncovered critical information that it is indeed Friday, so after informing both Ryan and Trump, he naturally held a press conference. However, there was some other news.

Though Nunes still hasn't clued in other members of the House intelligence committee on everything that caused him to run to the White House on Wednesday, he has asked both the NSA and FBI to provide a briefing to the committee next Tuesday, which should finally put all members on a more even standing. However, it appears this will be a closed hearing, so if you were jazzed for the next installment of "James Comey says jaw-dropping things," you’ll need to stay tuned as the next public hearing on Russia connections appears to be delayed.

However, there will be another guest before the committee next week. Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman for over five months, or a volunteer with a minor connection to the campaign, will appear voluntarily before the intelligence committee next week. Manafort’s hearing will also apparently be closed. It might also be quite long considering the number of Russia-related issues Manafort has been involved in before, during, and after his stint on the campaign.  

Manafort also threw open the door to other walk-in guests, asking others with any knowledge to volunteer. And, as might be expected for any Republican whose top interest is providing cover for Trump, Nunes focused on the horrors of leaks and of American names being “unmasked” in intelligence reports.

It remains unclear whether either Trump or any member of his campaign was involved in the reports that sent Nunes scurrying to the White House, but Nunes indicated both that the report did not imply wiretapping of Trump Tower, and that the warrants involved appeared to be completely legal. Nunes was also given the suggestion that the Russia hearing, which last time devolved into Democrats questioning the witnesses while Republicans complained that the story had leaked into public at all, might be split into two investigations, but he shrugged off the suggestion for the moment.

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Trump's budget director: Maternity care is a 'local problem' so if you want it, change your state

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:22:59 +0000

The Office of Management and Budget director is not usually a high-profile administration official. It can be an important role, but it’s usually someone only wonks know much about. Mick Mulvaney is out to change all that—in true Trump fashion he seems to be trying for the title of most viral OMB director ever. It’s unlikely he can top saying that feeding children and the elderly is not “showing any results,” but his Friday morning defense of eliminating requirements that insurance plans cover maternity care shows that he’s putting in the effort. 

In an interview on CBS This Morning, Mulvaney said that whether insurance plans were required to cover essential health benefits should be left up to the states. And if you don’t live in a state with those requirements, meh, that’s your problem:

"Then you can figure out a way to change the state that you live in," Mulvaney replied.

Wagner asked if Mulvaney meant that people should move.

"No, they can try to change their own state legislatures and their state laws," he responded. "Why do we look to the federal government to try and fix our local problems?"

From your lips to God’s ears on changing state legislatures and state laws, buddy, but how on earth is national healthcare policy a local problem? It’s not like women in Alabama somehow get pregnant differently than women in California.

This is a dodge, of course, because Mulvaney knows that in a lot of states, anyone seeking to change will run straight into a buzzsaw of Republican gerrymandering and Koch money. But it’s a useful challenge—people who oppose the Trump agenda absolutely should be organizing at the state level. That’s where Republicans built their advantage and it’s where we need to turn the tide.

In the mean time, though, it’s Trumpcare day in the House. (Again.)

Let's make this failure complete. The vote is happening TODAY. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO.

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Making new moms on Medicaid work? Also part of Trumpcare

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:36:39 +0000

Just when we thought the GOP healthcare plan couldn’t get any worse, it does. The set of changes to the American Health Care Act (ACHA) introduced on Monday by House Republicans includes a clause that would impact new mothers that receive Medicaid. 

Under the new provision, states can choose to rescind Medicaid coverage to unemployed mothers who don't find work within 60 days after giving birth. This provision is modeled after Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a state-run program that provides financial aid to qualifying poor families—and includes similar work requirements, a spokesperson for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which worked on the new AHCA bill, told Fortune.

Yes, that’s right. This clause allows states to require women to get jobs a mere two months after having babies or risk being booted off their Medicaid. States can, however, choose to exempt mothers from the work requirements if they have a child with a disability or a chid who is under the age of six. And they have the option of expanding the 60-day window if they so choose. Which is not exactly good news because while we can trust certain states to do the right thing, we know there are some places in this country that are clearly a throwback to the Stone Ages.

The vote is happening TODAY and it’s not too late to stop it. Even if you have already called your member of Congress, call the Capitol Hill switchboard again at (202) 224-3121. Keep calling and urge your member of Congress to vote NO.

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Trump team revs up the bus to drive it over Paul Ryan

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:49:23 +0000

Donald Trump does not like to lose, and he’s prone to temper tantrums. Therefore, Donald Trump cannot be seen to lose even if Trumpcare goes down in flames in the House of Representatives, so someone else needs to get the blame. Paul Ryan, come on down—you’re it! xWH set to offload loss on Ryan: SAO tells me “not Ryan’s finest hour." Asked if loss blame goes to Ryan, win credit to Trump, SAO says “Yes"— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) March 24, 2017 Then there’s the Breitbart report that Steve Bannon is privately trashing “Ryan bill.” A long New York Times article—so long it waits until the seventeenth and eighteenth paragraphs to get to the fact that Trumpcare will leave millions of people without insurance and will leave insured people without the guarantee of essential services like maternity care—makes the same case. Trump was just going along with what Ryan wanted, so if things go wrong, it’s all Ryan’s fault. Mr. Trump has told four people close to him that he regrets going along with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plan to push a health care overhaul before unveiling a tax cut proposal more politically palatable to Republicans. [...] If Mr. Trump has any advantage in the negotiations, it is his ideological flexibility: He is more interested in a win, or avoiding a loss, than any of the arcane policy specifics of the complicated measure, according to a dozen aides and allies interviewed over the past week who described his mood as impatient and jittery. Already, he has shown that flexibility by going back on campaign promises that no one would lose coverage when the Affordable Care Act was replaced and he would not cut Medicaid. [...] Until this week, Mr. Trump was slow to recognize the high stakes of the fight, or the implications of losing. He approved the agenda putting health care first late last year, almost in passing, in meetings with Mr. Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence and Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff. Ah, yes. It’s everyone else’s fault because Trump was too checked out to have an opinion and too ignorant to know this might be difficult, but hey, at least he cares so little that losing won’t feel like losing as long as he can blame someone else. This is not to say Paul Ryan doesn’t deserve credit for this disaster—he’s fully earned each and every bus wheel that goes over him. But Trump should not exactly be driving the bus; if anything, he should be down there with Ryan. “I was too ignorant and lazy to be blamed for failing at the thing I tried” is not exactly a compelling defense. [...]



Cartoon: House Committee on Leakers

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:50:47 +0000

Five major news stories per day is apparently now the norm. Just over the last few hours, more news has broken related to this cartoon and the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the Trump administration/Russia connection. Most recently, Rep. Adam Schiff has said there is now “more than circumstantial” evidence that the Trump crew colluded with the Russians.

Schiff made his comments after Rep. Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, went to the White House to brief President Trump that the transition team was surveilled and picked up as part of “incidental collection.” Oh, and let’s remember Nunes was part of the transition team he was telling Trump had been monitored. Good thing he’s also the one doing the investigating! Maybe that’s why the Republicans on the committee are so focused on who did the leaking rather than the actual meat of the problem.

I’m sure there is MUCH more here than meets the eye, which is why I focused on what we already know in this cartoon. Plenty has been left out, like how Paul Manafort also allegedly stole $19 million from a Russian oligarch. (Yes, the same billionaire oligarch who was paying him $10 million a year to push for Russian interests in the U.S. government.) Where there’s smoke . . . there’s Manafort. Enjoy the cartoon, and keep an eye out for some interesting new stuff here on my Patreon page!

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Devin Nunes thinks his first duty is to Trump, not the truth

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:26:51 +0000

Dear voters of California’s 22nd District, fellow members of the House intelligence committee, and citizens of America—Devin Nunes is making it clear where you stand.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said Thursday he "felt he had a duty and obligation" to inform President Donald Trump that transition officials on his team may have had communications intercepted inadvertently, a decision that has drawn the ire of congressional Democrats.

When Republicans look for a judge, they seem to like the idea of an ‘originalist’ who interprets the Constitution literally—or at least, the way the mythical conservative founder of their dreams would have interpreted that document. But when it comes to Congress, Republicans seem to have dropped the whole idea of multiple branches of government in favor of the mono-cameral House of Trump. Even better is Nunes’ reason for running home to Donald.

"It’s clear that I would be concerned if I was the president, and that’s why I wanted him to know, and I felt like I had a duty and obligation to tell him because, as you know, he’s taking a lot of heat in the news media,” Nunes told Fox News' Sean Hannity.

He felt like he had a duty to Trump because of “heat” from the media. Said heat coming down on Trump because he issued a series of tweets that were clearly, what’s that phrase, malicious lies, and everyone from Nunes fellow Congressmen to the intelligence community had called Trump out on those lies. 

So the moment that Nunes had a sliver of information in his grasp that seemed to offer even the kind of twisted vindication that even Fox would have a hard time maintaining, he ran to Trump for a pat on the head. But what he deserves is a kick in the ass.

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It's do or die day for Trumpcare in the House

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:00:45 +0000

Popular vote loser Donald Trump finally got fed up with having to deal with the losers in the Freedom Caucus, and made his ultimatum: vote Friday or live with Obamacare. So House Speaker Paul Ryan is making them vote today.

The House cleared the way for the just-written bill—seriously, the ink isn't even dry—to come to the floor even though almost no one will have had a chance to read it by voting to impose "martial law" on the House last night. That lets leadership override House rules that require at least a day between substantive legislation being introduced and moved to the floor. Needless to say, that was a strict party line vote.

The vote could come as early as 10:00 ET this morning, but there's a lot of procedure to get through before then and don't expect Democrats to be making any step of it easy for Ryan's team. The Rules Committee has to finish its work, where all of the Democrats will be pointing out that none of the members have had a chance to read the bill and that they don't have an updated Congressional Budget Office score with the elements that they agreed to on Thursday being added. Republicans will say none of that matters and jam this on through.

Speaking of the CBO, they did score the negotiated "manager's amendment" and it was worse than the original Trumpcare bill, saving half as much in deficits (how do you like them apples, Freedom Caucus?) and leaving as many uninsured in ten years—24 million.

Let's make this failure complete. The vote is happening TODAY. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO.

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Morning Digest: Ken Salazar won't run for governor of Colorado, but Ed Perlmutter reportedly will

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:00:42 +0000

Leading Off ● CO-Gov: Ex-Sen. Ken Salazar announced on Thursday that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for this open seat next year. If Salazar had gotten in, the former secretary of the interior would likely have scared off many other Democratic candidates. However, the longtime political insider could have been vulnerable in a primary, so it's unlikely he would have cleared the field. Right now, the only two declared Democratic contenders are ex-state Sen. Mike Johnston and businessman Noel Ginsburg, but that may change very soon. Rep. Ed Perlmutter has been talking about getting in, and ColoradoPolitics reports that he's planning to announce he's running for governor as early as the end of the month, and that Salazar will likely back him. Perlmutter did not announce anything on Thursday, but he says the "chances are very good" he'll run. If Perlmutter launches a statewide campaign, it will open up his suburban Denver House seat, which Clinton carried 51-39. Two other Colorado Democrats, ex-state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and Rep. Jared Polis, also started talking about running after Salazar's announcement. Kennedy, who completed a stint as Denver's chief financial officer and deputy mayor last year, has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for a while, but she'd been quiet about her plans. But on Thursday, shortly after Salazar's announcement, Kennedy confirmed she was interested, and she says she'll decide in April. Kennedy was elected state treasurer in 2006 and narrowly lost four years later to Republican Walker Stapleton, who is also a potential gubernatorial candidate. Polis is also not saying no, but he seems to be in less of a hurry to decide. Polis told the Denver Post on Thursday that he hasn't "ruled anything out and I'm not going to be rushed into a premature decision by today's news." Polis' Boulder-area seat backed Clinton 56-35, and it should be safe without him. Polis, who would be the first openly gay man elected governor of any state, is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, and he can certainly do plenty of self-funding if he wanted to. ColoradoPolitics also reports that Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Executive Director Joe Neguse, whose name we hadn't heard in connection to this race, is rumored to be considering; Neguse lost the 2014 general election for secretary of state 47-45. Neguse was reportedly encouraged to run after a different Salazar, state Rep. and prominent Bernie Sanders backer Joe Salazar, announced he wouldn't run. State Sen. Michael Merrifield and state Rep. Steve Lebsock also talked about running over the last few months. [...]



Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:00:45 +0000

Well, the House Republicans flubbed their big plans for the health care bomb vote. They’re still rewriting the bill, and say they plan to try to vote again today. We’ll see. Meanwhile, every other element of the Trump disaster continues at a rolling boil. Friday is here! Let’s get ready for another wild, rage-tweeting weekend! Listen LIVE, right here at 9:00 AM ET! Is the Kagro in the Morning show keeping you sane in these troubled times? Well, we’re pretty good in decent times, too! But the troubled ones are what we have now. If we’re helping you wake up and face the day, you could help do the same for us, with a monthly, sustaining contribution to our Patreon account! Or, if a one-time donation is the way you like to roll, try our brand-new Square Cash account. Not convinced? How about a FREE listen to our most recent live show? Ha ha, sucker! Now you’re trapped! Er, I mean… Enjoy! And welcome! x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Support the show via Patreon or Square Cash David Waldman is back! KITM has a lot to catch up on, so listen up: Paul Manafort continues to be connected to various Eastern European countries, and more surprisingly, continues breathing. He’s now hiding in Trump Tower, because patsies know the benefits of windows that don’t open. Manafort’s daughter passes blackmail notes, sympathy, condolences, and other “PR” on to Pops. Paul could hide elsewhere, but that would mean stepping onto the sidewalk. Greg Dworkin is back! And he’s gathered a potpourri of corruption, incompetence, and regret, featuring a pungent whiff of treason. More and more Americans are convinced Donald Trump has what it takes to be a supervillain. The Trump Troubadour is now singing a different tune. Donald didn’t like a Hawaii lawmaker, so she became a Democrat. After weeks, not months or years of gestation, Trumpcare goes for a vote. It’s coming up short on votes, because no one is sure what they are voting for. Republicans do agree on the goal of doing less for more people, because insurance is definitely cheaper when nothing is insured. Why deductibles would rise under the GOP health care plan. If destruction is the destination, Trumpcare is already there. David tackles the details of what is coming up in voting and strategy. Some Democrats rush to surrender to Trump while he is still around to lose to. Chuck Schumer joins the filibuster of Neil Gorsuch. While Gorsuch was testifying, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed he was wrong. Devin Nunes is finally having his name pronounced correctly, although his orange jumpsuit will only have a number. Trump will be tweeting about that guy in London, but not this guy in Manhattan, who was a dapper fellow. Which is worse for Jews: threats by anti-semites—or this? (Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]



Abbreviated pundit roundup: Republican chaos puts Trumpcare in jeopardy

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:46:54 +0000

We begin today’s roundup with Dan Balz at The Washington Post: Thursday was supposed to be a glorious anniversary for President Trump and the Republicans. Seven years after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, Republicans were poised to take the first concrete step toward repealing and replacing that law. Instead, Thursday produced an embarrassing setback that left the way forward far from certain. Legislative sausage-making is never pretty, but what has been happening all week with the signature legislative priority of the GOP seems beyond the norms. Faced with possible defeat on the floor, House Republican leaders postponed a scheduled vote until Friday, hoping that another day of negotiations could produce what seven years of talking have failed to produce, which is a consensus bill that all factions of the party can support. The difficulties Republicans are confronting are entirely of their own making. For seven years, Republican politicians have made one overriding bargain with their conservative constituency, which was that they would repeal Obamacare as their first order of business if they ever had the power to do so. Now that they have the power, they still haven’t found a way to make good on that promise. Gary Legum at Salon: A few hours later, the president, who is easily bored and has the attention span of a tsetse fly with a concussion, gave Congress an ultimatum: He was done negotiating. It was time to vote on Friday and live with the outcome. At last report, House leadership intends to hold a series of votes during the day on Friday, with a final up-or-down on the AHCA coming by afternoon, whether they have the votes or not. It’s conceivable Trump is now prepared for the bill to fail. On Thursday evening, the New York Times reported that the president has told people close to him he now regrets going along with Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to put health care reform before tax cuts. Meanwhile, the Democrats spent the day playing with puppies. Speaker Paul Ryan was certainly not about to try to get his first major piece of legislation through the chamber with Democratic votes, even if he thought there were any to mine. [...]



Open thread for night owls: As feds retreat on climate, expect states to pick up slack

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 03:00:45 +0000

Basav Sen is the director of the Climate Justice Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, where Janet Redman is an associate fellow. They recently were interviewed on “The Marc Steiner Show,” and summarized themselves in As the White House Drops the Ball on Climate, Expect the States to Pick Up the Slack: “The consequences of these budget cuts would be vast,” IPS fellow and U.S. policy director at Oil Change International Janet Redman told the Marc Steiner Show, regarding Trump’s proposed budget cuts to federal environmental programs. Trump’s assault on the climate doesn’t stop with his proposed  cuts to the EPA. It also seeks to cut 28 percent of the State Department budget, which is how the U.S. relates internationally to climate change and energy policy, IPS Climate Policy director Basav Sen said racism and white supremacy and crony capitalism are the underlying sources of the White House’s climate policy. “People of color and poor people have paid a disproportionate price for the polluting ways of corporate America,” Sen explained. “This led to the creation of environmental justice programs at the EPA which have provided support and data to these communities.” By trying to get rid of these programs and moving forward with other bad environmental policies like  with the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the administration’s message is that they “don’t care about the environment, the future of humanity, or people of color,” Sen argued. Sen went on to discuss the effects of large fossil fuel companies that have a lot of clout with the current administration. The issue is not about being pro-business, Sen said, it’s about crony capitalism. [...] The budget cuts also target clean energy research and take away funding for climate action initiatives at the state level.  Services that help people are being shifted to state agencies instead of operated on the federal level, which means less enforcement and implementation of provisions such as the Clean Air Act and Water Act, which targets already vulnerable communities, Redman argued. “If the federal government not only refuses to act, but intends on taking America backwards, there’s a lot that cities and states can do and have done,” Sen said. “Hawaii will be 100 percent renewal energy for their electricity by 2045, Oregon will completely eliminate coal from their electricity supply by 2030, and Washington, D.C. will be 50 percent renewable for electricity by 2032 and simultaneously solarize 100,000 low income homes by then.” Listen to the full interview on The Marc Steiner Show A Calendar of Resistance Events QUOTATION OF THE DAY “By defining the problem as "hunger," the emergency food system is helping to direct our attention away from the more fundamental problem of poverty, and the even more basic problem of inequality.”                      ~Janet Poppendieck, Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the end of Entitlement TWEET OF THE DAY BLAST FROM THE PAST At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—Brutal dictator in the "Coalition of the Willing": It's hard to t[...]



Brookings: Changes in Trumpcare won't save the 24 million losing insurance in the next decade

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:28:19 +0000

The current version of Trumpcare—the one negotiated last week by popular vote loser Donald Trump with conservatives to woo votes for passage—hasn't yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, even though it's slated for a vote Thursday. The thing is, though, nothing in those changes is likely to make the bottom line any better for people who are going to lost health insurance under Trumpcare. Any changes made to try to make tax credits better will be offset by the sped-up cuts to Medicaid, says the Brookings Institute. We conclude that the changes made by the manager’s amendment will not meaningfully alter CBO’s earlier prediction that the AHCA would substantially reduce insurance coverage. While one provision of the manager’s amendment would slightly relax the “per capita cap” on state Medicaid spending created under the AHCA and thereby modestly increase CBO’s estimate of insurance coverage under the AHCA, the work requirement and block grant options created by the manager’s amendment have the potential to cause additional coverage losses that largely or more than offset this improvement, at least if states take up these options. The change to the medical expense deduction in the manager’s amendment is likely to have a negligible effect on CBO’s coverage estimates. Some reports have suggested that this provision was inserted as a placeholder and that the intent of Republican leaders is for the Senate to remove this provision and use the savings—roughly $75 billion over ten years—to increase individual market tax credits for older enrollees in some unspecified way. Naturally, unspecified future changes will not be incorporated in CBO’s analysis of the current version of the legislation. However, given the relatively limited amount of money involved, we conclude that future changes along these lines would be likely to only marginally increase CBO’s estimate of the level of insurance coverage under the AHCA. So, yeah, 4 million people could lose insurance this year, 14 million next year, 24 million in a decade. Still. That doesn't even really get to the awfulness of those cuts: the destruction of Medicaid. In fact, this whole exercise could be nothing more than the fulfillment of sociopath Paul Ryan's frat-boy "dream" of cutting Medicaid. And with it the health and the lives of millions. xDisgusting. @PRyan says he's been "dreaming" of capping health insurance funds for low-income Americans since he was drinking out of kegs. pic.twitter.com/Kmu2f661Yf— American Bridge (@American_Bridge) March 17, 2017 The House is scheduled to vote on Trumpcare on THURSDAY, MARCH 23. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO. [...]



Obsessed with abortion, Texas Senate okays doctors lying to parents about babies with disabilities

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:07:23 +0000

Everything’s bigger, better and slightly more bizarre in Texas—including their pro-life attempts. Last year, Texas lawmakers tried to force women who have miscarriages and abortions to bury their fetal tissue. And now the Texas Senate has passed a bill that prevents parents from suing medical providers in the event that their babies are born with disabilities, even when the provider knew about the condition in advance but failed to disclose this information to the parents. Senate Bill 25, which will now be sent to the Texas House, prevents parents from suing their medical provider if their baby is born with disabilities, even if that doctor discovered the condition during routine prenatal testing and failed to inform the parents. The architects of the so-called “wrongful-birth” bill have argued it would protect children with disabilities and prevent doctors from facing unnecessary lawsuits. “It is unacceptable that doctors can be penalized for embracing the sanctity of life,” Senator Brandon Creighton (R-TX) said in a press release when he introduced the legislation last fall. Talk about an incredible and gross infringement of privacy! Should this law pass, according to Texas, doctors would get to make decisions for would-be parents and decide, without their consent, that they have to choose to bring children into the world with disabilities. How is this any different from doctors lying to their patients? Oh, wait. It’s not. “SB 25 would allow doctors to lie to their patients,” Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, the reproductive healthcare advocacy group, told The Huffington Post earlier this month. “[It] is another thinly veiled attempt to prevent Texans from accessing their constitutional right to abortion,” Busby reiterated Tuesday. Add doctors in Texas to the list of the many people who get to make decisions for women about their bodies when it comes to abortion—parents/legal guardians, judges, husbands … everyone except actual women themselves. It’s been said before time and time again but is worth repeating. This kind of insanity would not be happening if men could get pregnant—end of story.  [...]



U.S. settles with family of teen who died after being told to drink liquid meth by border officers

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:46:50 +0000

Immigration and human rights advocates have long complained about the lack of accountability when it comes to the culture of violence and excessive force among immigration agents, with a 2014 independent review confirming that border patrol agents “have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers,” with “67 shooting incidents from January 2010 to October 2012.” Now the horrific 2013 case of Cruz Velazquez Acevedo, a Mexican teenager who died after he was told to drink liquid meth by Border Protection officers, adds to those claims. While Cruz’s family rightfully received a $1 million settlement for his death, neither officer was fired or even disciplined:

The 16-year-old had just crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to San Diego and was going through the San Ysidro Port of Entry. He was carrying two bottles of liquid that he claimed was apple juice. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers told him to drink it to prove he wasn’t lying, court records say.

The teen took four sips.

Then, he began sweating profusely. He screamed and clenched his fists.

In a matter of minutes, his temperature soared to 105 degrees, his family’s attorney said. His pulse reached an alarming rate of 220 beats per minute — more than twice the normal rate for adults.

“Mi corazón! Mi corazón!” Acevedo screamed, according to court records — “My heart! My heart!”

He was dead about two hours later.

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How to wreck an investigation in three easy steps: Nunes destroys his credibility and his committee

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:40:00 +0000

No matter what you did today, you’re bound to have had a better day than Devin Nunes. Presented with information that people involved with the Trump campaign—including possibly Donald Trump—may have been caught chatting as part of an FBI probe, Nunes’ actions were to:

1) run screaming to Paul Ryan.

2) inform the people caught up in the criminal investigation.

3) hold a press conference.

Nowhere in this stream of unconsciousness did Nunes seem to consider the idea that he might brief his colleagues on the House intelligence committee, or that publicly revealing the results of FBI investigation might both endanger that investigation, threaten intelligence sources or methods, and illegally reveal classified information.

After Monday’s escapades in which every Republican on the committee demonstrated that they had less than zero interest in the actual evidence of wrongdoing and every intention of bailing Donald Trump out through any method available, the validity of the House committee as an instrument to investigate the Trump campaign was already deeply in dispute. Every GOP member, including Nunes, made it clear that their only concern was stopping low life leakers.

And then Nunes spent Wednesday digging a trench, then sinking a shaft at the bottom of that trench, then drilling a hole. And at the end of the day, unbelievably, he still left the rest of his committee utterly in the dark.

"If accurate, this information should have been shared with members of the committee, but it has not been," Schiff said in a statement that criticized Nunes for a "profound irregularity" in how he had handled the situation.

Whatever information Nunes was talking about, it has also not been shared with the Senate intelligence committee.

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Warren presses labor nominee on whether he'd enforce life-saving silica safety rule

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:35:14 +0000

Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent several minutes pressing Trump labor nominee Alexander Acosta on whether he would enforce the recent Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule to protect workers from silica. It’s no shock that Acosta dodged—after all, Donald Trump didn’t nominate him to protect workers’ lives.

In response to Warren’s question—“Will you promise not to weaken the silica rule in any way and not to delay future compliance by even a single day?”—Acosta repeatedly cited Trump’s executive action directing cabinet secretaries “to review all rules and to make determinations if any rules should be revised, and so based on that executive action I cannot make a commitment.”

As you might imagine, Warren was not interested in this dodge, and she kept at Acosta until he cracked and said something other than that Trump has directed cabinet officials to review all rules.

“Senator, high on the list of priorities will be to protect the safety of workers with appropriate rules.”

“And you will decide what appropriate rules are but you don’t want to give a hint right now?”

“Senator, there is an entire staff at the Department of Labor—“

“Yes, there is, and they’ve already looked at this rule, and they already have comments on this rule and they have already received comments from the public about this rule and they strongly support this rule and I raised this rule with you when we talked about it two weeks ago so this should be no surprise that I’m asking you about this.”

“And I gave the same answer, and I look forward to hearing from that staff if confirmed their views on this

“And following their advice?”

“If that advice is appropriate, yes.”

“And you will decide if it’s appropriate? I think we’ve got how this dance works.”

For the record:

OSHA estimates that the rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once its effects are fully realized. The Final Rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.

Acosta does not seem eager to save those 600 lives each year. 

Watch the video below.

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Trump sends message to Freedom Caucus: He's done, vote on Trumpcare tomorrow so he can go golf

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:11 +0000

The whole cadre of White House deplorables—Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, and Mick Mulvaney—just finished meeting with House Republicans and the message was clear. Popular vote loser Donald Trump is over all this. He is demanding they vote Friday and if they don't vote Friday, it's over. xTrump will move on & leave Obamacare in place if he doesn't get AHCA vote, per Mulvaney— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) March 23, 2017 What are they voting on? Who knows!?!?! Trump certainly doesn’t care. He’s just tired of this, he doesn’t want to have to talk to these losers anymore and he certainly doesn’t want to lose his weekend, so just do something.  Let's make this failure complete. There could still be a vote tomorrow. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 12:09:13 AM +00:00 · Joan McCarter More—“EHB” repeal here is the essential health benefits—hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drug coverage, etc,--everything that makes having insurance actually insurance. xGOP aide says the final deal will be manager's amendment plus EHB repeal.— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) March 24, 2017 Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 12:11:12 AM +00:00 · Joan McCarter And to refresh memories, the manager’s amendment is the version last negotiated with Trump, that the CBO just finished scoring and says it saves have as much money but still takes away coverage from 24 million people in the next decade. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 12:58:54 AM +00:00 · Joan McCarter The House passed the “martial law” rule that allows them to break the rules and bring the bill up tomorrow. No, there won’t be a CBO score of it. And don’t be scared by “martial law” or anything, just because now leadership could bring ANYTHING to the floor without prior notice. No, that’s not concerning at all. First votes could start as early as 10:00 ET Friday morning. [...]



GWB White House lawyer: 'FBI uncovering evidence of treason. There is no other word for it'

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:14:25 +0000

On the news that the FBI is investigating the link between Russia's cyber operations and the role that far-right news sites, like Breitbart, may have played in aiding the spread of false information about Hillary Clinton, the former White House Chief Ethics Lawyer during the George W. Bush administration straight up called it what it is—treason:

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And given Breitbart’s role in all of this, what a coincidence that key Breitbart players are now playing key roles in the White House:

Breitbart, which has drawn criticism for pursuing a white nationalist agenda, was formerly led by Stephen Bannon, who became chief executive officer of Trump’s election campaign last August and now serves as Trump’s strategic adviser in the White House. The news site’s former national security editor, Sebastian Gorka, was a national security adviser to Trump’s campaign and presidential transition team. He now works as a key Trump counterterrorism adviser.

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Trump's new health and human services hire believes tattoos are a gateway to drug abuse

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:40:36 +0000

While we're debating the future of medical care in this nation, to wit whether anybody should get any or whether we should just cut to the part where three quarters of us exist primarily as spare parts factories for the one percent, here's Team Trump's just-appointed assistant secretary for health technology at DHS, a big-deal title that sounds like it should be staffed by someone with at least a minimal degree of competence, talking in his 2006 book about how having tattoos is a sign of drug addiction.

[O]bviously, not all who have a tattoo are addicts.  A sailer who gets a single tattoo on his arm or an adult woman who has a small butterfly tattooed on her lower abdomen are not necessarily drug addicts or even rebellious — just dumb, at least temporarily! [...]

On the other hand, kids who seek a more substantial expression through body art do tend to get involved in drugs. The most likely connection between body art and drug use involves rebellion, or the subculture within what we can generalize and call the counterculture. The “Goth” or “punk” movements are specific counterculture groups. [...] Not all Goths are drug addicts, but a high percentage experiment with all types of drugs, including hallucinogens.

So now we're left picturing ex-congressman John Fleming, a man with the persona of a white-painted fencepost dug into the center of a gravel driveway, sitting down to write a "drugs and parenting" book by pulling his notions about What People With Tattoos Are Like and What Those Goth Kids Do All Day from deep within his own tapioca psyche.

The effort it must have taken, from Trump's team, to ensure each and every last appointed hire was plucked from the bin of stupidest Americans alive—it's exhausting just thinking about it. You'd think one or two competent people would slip through here and there, just as matter of odds, but no. When it comes to hiring goofballs and lunatics, the Trump vetting is top-notch.

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Freedom Caucus has some whacked demands to release Trumpcare hostage

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:08:36 +0000

Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis got his hands on the Freedom Caucus demands for Trumpcare, and if you think Paul Ryan's vision is dystopian, get a load of this, per DeBonis's tweets. In addition to getting rid of the essential health benefits—the stuff that makes health insurance worth buying—they want to get rid of the "single risk pool" and allow insurers to create pools for sick people and healthy people. What happens when healthy people get sick, who knows. It's not like they’re actually making policy here, or something. xThis is the text of the "Meadows Amendment," timestamped Tues. night, that GOP sources say represents the @freedomcaucus ask. 1/ pic.twitter.com/kpMa826Cwh— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) March 23, 2017 Further, it gets rid of rating restrictions from Obamacare, which allows insurance to be priced only by individual vs. family, age, area, tobacco use. They would get rid of the ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits—insurers could once again cut people off during, say, the middle of cancer treatment if they reach a spending cap. No out-of-pocket spending for preventive care, including mammograms? Gone. They'd get rid of the mandate for insurers to standardize their documentation, which makes it easier to compare plans (because they're all about the competition, don't you know) and they would get rid of the Medical Loss Ratio standards in Obamacare, which forces insurers to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on claims and rebate what's left over. So, basically, all of Obamacare except allowing parents to keep adult children on their plans until age 26 and the ban on insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions. Not that some Freedom Caucus types weren't trying to gut that, too, but it apparently wasn't in the formal ask. It's not clear if they're still pushing this agenda hard in meetings, but DeBonis reports that "At least 80 percent of the group voted Thursday afternoon to reject the latest offer from GOP leadership and the White House." Let's make this failure complete. They're still moving toward a vote, probably Friday. Even if you already called your member of Congress, do it again by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Jam the phone lines, urge them to vote NO. Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 · 11:40:15 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter Out of the latest meeting: xMULVANEY: if the AHCA vote fails, nation is stuck w Obamacare. In other words, trump is done. Negotiations are over.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 23, 2017 [...]



Paul Manafort used Wilbur Ross' Bank of Cyprus to handle all his illicit Russian funding needs

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:28:55 +0000

TrumpWorld is a land of coincidences. Some of those are happy, like how nice it was that Secretary of Commerce (and “King of Bankruptcy”) Wilbur Ross had a bank perfectly suited to launder the money that Paul Manafort raked in helping to spread Putin-ism throughout Eastern Europe, including the $12.7 million Manafort is accused of stealing from Ukraine. Money from both hauls appears to have moved through Ross’ Bank of Cyprus. Federal prosecutors became interested in Manafort's activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukrainian assets after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014.  As it turns out, that’s not all the games Manafort was playing in Cyprus. Ross’ bank was like a second home to Manafort … or at least to the money he took from “clients.” In the 2014 case, Manafort used Cypriot shell companies as part of a nearly $19 million deal with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to purchase Ukrainian cable television provider Black Sea Cable. Deripaska said that after taking the money, Manafort and his associates stopped responding to Deripaska's queries about how the funds had been used. Manafort’s account ended up fat a few million while Deripaska mysteriously failed to acquire his cable company. Almost as if Manafort was really being paid for something else. That may seem odd, but other people are having connections that are even less enjoyable. Former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed in Kiev Thursday in what the Ukrainian president has labelled an act of Russian “state terrorism.” [...]



Tillerson orders U.S. embassies to toughen up screening process, check your tweets

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:05:47 +0000

Reuters reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who totally loves his job) issued a series of instructions earlier this month to U.S. embassies, one of which ordered officials to "develop a list of criteria” for "populations warranting increased scrutiny" in order to force them to undergo a tougher visa process. Because we all know how fairly that kind of screening has gone before for this administration: The flurry of cables to U.S. missions abroad issued strict new guidelines for vetting U.S. visa applicants, and then retracted some of them in response to U.S. court rulings that challenged central tenets of Trump's executive order. The final cable seen by Reuters, issued on March 17, leaves in place an instruction to consular chiefs in each diplomatic mission, or post, to convene working groups of law enforcement and intelligence officials to "develop a list of criteria identifying sets of post applicant populations warranting increased scrutiny." Applicants falling within one of these identified population groups should be considered for higher-level security screening, according to the March 17 cable. Additionally, Tillerson wants a “mandatory” review of applicants’ social media accounts from particular areas in the Middle East—you gotta wonder if tweets from his boss would pass muster: He has also ordered a "mandatory social media check" for all applicants who have ever been present in territory controlled by the Islamic State, in what two former U.S. officials said would be a broad, labor-intensive expansion of such screening. Social media screening is now done fairly rarely by consular officials, one of the former officials said. According to Reuters, “the population groups would likely vary from country to country, according to sources familiar with the cables, as the March 17 memo does not explicitly provide for coordination between the embassies.” Great, another unorganized rollout from the Trump regime that would specially target a lot of brown people. This should go well. Friday, Mar 24, 2017 · 7:49:05 AM PDT · Gabe Ortiz Roger Dow, president and C.E.O. of the U.S. Travel Association, issued a response to Tillerson’s instructions: "The travel community has been deferential to this new administration, whose charge it is to keep us safe. So now we respectfully request public acknowledgement of our nation's interest in welcoming legitimate travel. Mr. President, please tell the world that while we're closed to terror, we're open for business. Imbalanced communication is especially susceptible to being 'lost in translation' -- so let's work together to inform our friends and neighbors, who could benefit from reassurance, not just who is no longer welcome here, but who remains invited to invest and vacation here." [...]



CBO releases new Obamacare repeal estimate, and it's even worse for Republicans

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:16:16 +0000

As Republicans struggle to find the votes to repeal Obamacare and strip insurance from millions of Americans, a revised Congressional Budget Office estimate of just how terrible the bill has squeaked through. As a result of the changes arch-conservative Republicans have been making, they now estimate the effects to be even worse.

The CBO found that this version of the healthcare plan contains significantly less deficit reduction than the original but would lead to essentially the same levels of coverage losses and premium increases.

The legislation would reduce the deficit by $150 billion over 10 years, down from $337 billion in the original legislation, the report said. The plan would still result in 24 million more people being uninsured in 2026, a finding that has been a rallying cry for Democrats.

Half the budget savings of the first version, with the same terrible effects on coverage.

The key budgetary difference between this iteration of the bill and the last: Republicans have kept the same tax cuts for wealthy Americans, but moved them up a year to happen sooner. It will still result in the same millions of Americans losing access to health insurance, however, because none of them made an effort to revise those parts.

This also doesn't take into account changes Republicans are fighting over today, as they struggle to win over Republican hardliners with even more draconian cuts. But this new CBO estimate isn't going to do much to convince either frightened "moderates" wary of screwing their constituents or "Freedom Caucus" members who despise the bill for not going even farther.

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Congressman says we may have an 'illegitimate president,' calls for immediate halt of Trump agenda

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:08:17 +0000

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) has emerged as a fierce leader in the Democratic Party during the first eight weeks of Donald Trump’s disastrous term. In a blistering statement, Rep. Lieu says we may have an “illegitimate president” and calls for “a total and complete shutdown of any agenda item being pushed by the Trump Administration.” REP. LIEU STATEMENT ON REPORT OF TRUMP ASSOCIATES’ POSSIBLE COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA March 23, 2017  Press Release Washington – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) issued the following statement regarding the CNN report that Trump associates possibly colluded with Russia to affect the outcome of the 2016 election in the United States. “The bombshell revelation that U.S. officials have information that suggests Trump associates may have colluded with the Russians means we must pause the entire Trump agenda.  We may have an illegitimate President of the United States currently occupying the White House.” “Other than allowing routine governmental functions, there must be a total and complete shutdown of any agenda item being pushed by the Trump Administration.  Congress cannot continue regular order and must stop voting on any Trump-backed agenda item until the FBI completes its Trump-Russia collusion investigation.” “Congress must immediately form an independent commission and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the collusion allegations with impartiality and independence. Congress also needs to pass the Resolution of Inquiry, authored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and I, to compel  the Trump Administration to publicly disclose information on its Russian ties to the American people.  At this point in our nation's history, there is nothing more important than finding out whether or not high crimes were committed by associates of Donald Trump or possibly by Trump himself.” Bravo, Rep. Lieu! This is precisely the kind of fight and leadership we need to see from Democrats today and every day.  [...]



2,000 terrified children skip school following an ICE raid in New Mexico

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:33:21 +0000

Terrified immigrant parents kept thousands of children home from school following an ICE raid that targeted the New Mexico community of Las Cruces last month, resulting in a 60 percent spike in absences that the district’s superintendent called “alarming”:

On February 15th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ice) officers conducted a raid in Las Cruces, arresting people at a trailer park on the outskirts of town. The raid came a few weeks after President Trump signed two executive orders, signalling his plans to fulfill a campaign promise of cracking down on undocumented immigrants. Rumors spread that there were further raids planned, though none took place. On February 16th, a Thursday, Las Cruces’s public schools saw a sixty-per-cent spike in absences compared to the previous week—twenty-one hundred of the district’s twenty-five thousand students missed school. Two thousand students stayed away again the next day. Attendance returned to normal the following week, which made the two-day rash of absences all the more pronounced. “It was alarming,” Greg Ewing, the district’s superintendent, told me. News of the raid caused such fear in the community that Ewing wrote a letter to parents on the 16th, in English and Spanish, reassuring them that “we do not anticipate any ice activity occurring on school campuses.”

At the city’s high schools—Arrowhead Park Early College High is nearly entirely Latino, according to the New Yorker—absentee rates went up by 25 percent following the raid and subsequent rumors. But at the city’s elementary and middle schools, where younger students are more likely to be dropped off by an undocumented immigrant parent or relative, the numbers skyrocketed.

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No surprise. State Department will approve construction of Keystone XL pipeline, probably on Monday

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:33:37 +0000

Ben LeFebvre at Politico reports that the Trump regime will approve the permit requested by TransCanada Corp. to build the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, reversing President Obama’s decision to reject it: The move by the State Department comes 16 months after Obama blocked construction of the 1,200-mile pipeline, which would ship crude from Canada's western oil-sands region to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The pipeline became the subject of major lobbying efforts by both oil industry supporters and environmental groups, which turned the project into the focus of their climate change campaigns. Undersecretary for political affairs Tom Shannon plans to sign the pipeline’s cross-border permit on or before Monday, the last day for the 60-day timeline that President Donald Trump ordered in January. Secretary of State and former Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson recused himself from the process. Just days after his inauguration, Pr*sident Trump signed an executive order to push construction of KXL and the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is being built to carry shale oil from the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana to Illinois refineries.  The 36-inch KXL pipeline is slated to carry up to 830,000 barrels a day (34.9 million gallons) from a depot in the heart of tar sands territory at Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it will link up with the southern leg of the pipeline, completed in 2014, to carry oil in the form of diluted bitumen—dilbut—to Port Arthur, Texas, on the Gulf Coast. Several times during his campaign and in his executive order, Trump said KXL would be required to use U.S.-made steel to build the pipeline. But that, like so many of the man’s promises, was cast aside.  Extracting and refining oil from the tar sands generates about 20 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil, which was one of several reasons opponents, including farmers and ranchers, indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States, and environmental advocates, fought against approval of the pipeline for several years. Some foes have objected to the pipeline on the grounds that it sets into place new infrastructure with a 60-year lifespan at a time when the world needs to be working to accelerate the transformation of its fossil-fuel-based energy system into one that is carbon-free.  [...]



Here's a room full of men cheering their plan to strip maternity and newborn care

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:15:38 +0000

Donald Trump and Mike Pence met with the far-right House Freedom Caucus to try to make Trumpcare happen on Thursday. Setting aside Trumpcare’s apparent death spiral following that meeting, consider what this meeting looked like and what they were trying to do here. The Freedom Caucus wanted to strip little requirements that insurance policies cover like maternity and newborn care, hospitalization, preventive care, emergency room services, and pediatric care. Here’s what the meeting looked like:

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Room full of men: Whoo! Yeah! Let’s strip healthcare protections from pregnant women and newborns! Awesome! [Everyone applauds]

Of course, the same people who don’t want insurance policies to cover prenatal care, labor and delivery, and pediatric care are the ones trying to make birth control and abortion harder to obtain. No wonder Mike Pence was so excited about this meeting (see below).

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