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Published: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 06:55:44 +0000

Last Build Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 06:55:44 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Open thread for night owls: Undoing the Clean Power Plan won't be as simple as the regime thinks

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 03:00:41 +0000

Abby Rabinowitz at the New Republic writes—Undoing the Clean Power Plan Will Be a Legal Nightmare:  The Supreme Court has ruled that greenhouse gases are a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, a decision it has stood by three times, starting with the landmark 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA. In that case, spearheaded by a dozen states, the court rejected the Bush-era EPA’s reasoning for why it could not regulate greenhouse gas emissions for motor vehicles, and ordered it to determine whether carbon dioxide endangered public health and welfare. In 2009, the EPA made an endangerment finding that was upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. “So long as the endangerment finding stands, then the EPA is required to regulate greenhouse gases from any number of sources, including existing power plants,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. [EPA chief Scott] Pruitt thus has a menu of legally imperfect options. Most end with him being sued by the same coalition of states and environmental groups now supporting the plan—which will make for a piquant reversal given that, in his last job as attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued the EPA fourteen times, with four challenges to the Clean Power Plan alone. Legally, Pruitt’s safest bet is to write a new rule that is less effective and less expensive for the industry, said Burger—“like the Clean Power Plan repeal and replace.” But to make a rule that holds up in court, Pruitt will have to do something he currently seems loath to do: Admit that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming and that the EPA has the right to regulate it. Given his climate-denying ideology, he may try to repeal the endangerment finding itself. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Democrats troubled by Pruitt’s deep ties to fossil fuel industries pressed him on this precise point. Pruitt told Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, “I believe that the EPA...has obligations to address the CO2 issue.” But then, in a headline-grabbing interview on CNBC March 9, Pruitt said he did not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to climate change. “He’s choosing what may be characterized as alternative climate facts,” Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon told the New Republic. “That’s certainly contrary to his pledge to base his actions on objective scientific data.” An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events QUOTATION OF THE DAY “Strong, responsible unions are essential to industrial fair play. Without them the labor bargain is wholly one-sided. The parties to the labor contract must be nearly equal in strength if justice is to be worked out, and this means that the workers must be organized and that their organizations must be recognized by employers as a condition precedent to industrial peace.”                          ~Louis Brandeis, The Curse of Bigness: Miscellaneous Papers of Louis D. Brandeis (1965) TWEET OF THE DAY xReport: The Energy Department’s climate office just banned the phrase "climate change" https://t.co/u1ENn35k6f— New York Magazine (@NYMag) March 29, 2017 BLAST FROM THE PAST At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Insurers Say They Don't Have to Cover Sick Kids Yet: The NYT's Robert Pear continues coverage of the key story coming out of last week's passage and signing of health insurance reform: the contention by insurers that a key part of the law that is supposed to take effect immediately will not. That is, they are asserting that the provision that prevents them from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions--intended to begin with policies that begin on or after Sept. 23, 2010--doesn't do that at all. HIGH IMPACT STORIES • TOP COMMENTS On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin catches us up on the Gop health care bomb & the latest polls. Joan McCarter collects plaudits for her early warning on a gov’t shutdown, and updates the Gorsuch fight and the Gop’s b[...]



Fox News mouth-haver Napolitano is back after conspiracy theory-induced hiatus

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:58:37 +0000

After Fox News talking head Andrew Napolitano came up with the lunatic conspiracy theory that Barack Obama had secretly spied on Donald Trump using British intelligence, a theory so dumb that nobody except for Donald Trump and his staff could possibly believe it (Sean Spicer read Napolitano's take from his White House podium, and it wasn't even Everyone Describe The Stupidest Thing You've Ever Heard Day), even other Fox News mouth-havers couldn't stomach Napolitano's claims.

Napolitano disappeared from the network after that appearance, possibly because someone at Fox News had had enough—or possibly because Napolitano had entered the Moron Protection Program—but whatever the case: he's baaaaack.

In his first appearance on the network since he disappeared from Fox News’ airwaves more than a week ago, legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano stuck by his claim that the British intelligence service GCHQ surveilled Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign at the request of former President Barack Obama.

So he's not only back, he's back to promote the exact same theory that humiliated his entire network the first time around. The man must think he's Steve Doocy.

But really, could anything humiliate Fox News at this point?

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Despite Trump rage tweets, Rexnord is still moving its Indianapolis plant to Mexico

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 02:00:49 +0000

If Trump wants to claim credit for 150 new factory jobs first planned back in 2015, surely we can give him credit for the 300 layoffs happening right now in Indianapolis.

Rexnord has planned to lay off its 300 workers at the plant since last year, but President Donald Trump, who has said repeatedly he would stop American firms from shifting production abroad, criticized Rexnord’s plans in a tweet that raised expectations he might intervene.

“Evidently, Rexnord must not have read that,” said Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents workers at the closing factory.

This is the same local that represents workers at the nearby Carrier plant that Trump claimed as a jobs victory after Carrier promised to preserve 800 jobs while laying off 1,300 other workers. They seem unimpressed with Trump's efforts so far.

So American companies continue to move to Mexico despite Trump's insistence that when he was in charge, they'd knock that right off. Go figure. There's probably not going to be a photo-op for this one, either.

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Cartoon: Sherlock Nunes

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:29:24 +0000

House Intel co-chair Devin Nunes (R) (R is for Russia) is hot on the trail of the Trump Russian Collusion Investigation, and he’s using all his non-partisan tools to find out what the heck is going on. After this he’s going for another midnight romp on the White House lawn!

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Sen. Ron Wyden to introduce bill nixing warrantless airport phone searches

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 01:00:47 +0000

Amid complaints from travelers about Department of Homeland Security agents now demanding they unlock their cell phones to allow searches of the devices, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden asked the department to explain what was going on. They simply ignored his request.

"It's very concerning that [the Department of Homeland Security] hasn't managed to answer my questions about the number of digital searches at the border, five weeks after I requested that basic information," Wyden, a leading congressional advocate for civil liberties and privacy, told Mother Jones on Tuesday through a spokesman. "If CBP were to undertake a system of indiscriminate digital searches, that would distract CBP from its core mission, dragging time and attention away from catching the bad guys."

Given that he can't seem to get DHS's attention any other way, he's proceeding to step two: He says he'll introduce legislation to require warrants for such phone searches and which will forbid DHS from demanding passwords to the devices. DHS, in the meantime, seems to have found time to write op-eds defending themselves even if they can't be bothered to answer the questions of a sitting senator.

In a March 27 USA Today op-ed, Joseph B. Maher, DHS acting general counsel, compared device searches to searching luggage. "Just as Customs is charged with inspecting luggage, vehicles and cargo containers upon arrival to the USA, there are circumstances in this digital age when we must inspect an electronic device for violations of the law," Maher wrote.

What are the "circumstances?" It's unclear. Why are the "circumstances" different than they were a few months ago? Couldn't tell ya. It seems like that argument is one that could be made to senators, rather than to USA Today, but clearly DHS only has the resources to do one or the other.

So Wyden, who cites not only the obvious privacy concerns but the security dangers in creating yet another vast federal repository of ultra-sensitive data about private citizens, a repository that would be a gold mine for any hacker able to crack it, is now planning to introduce legislation curbing the practice.

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The California Senate will soon vote on a bill that would freeze ICE out of the state

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:31:13 +0000

Campaign Action

If passed, pending legislation in California would build a “big, beautiful wall” between local law enforcement and Donald Trump’s mass deportation machine. Though the state’s already taken significant strides in the resistance to the Trump regime’s racist, anti-immigrant agenda, advocates say that SB 54—dubbed the “California Values Act” by its chief sponsor, Senate President Kevin de León—stands to be “the most strident anti-deportation bill the country has ever seen:” 

“By drawing a bright line between federal immigration enforcement and local policing,” the New York Times noted in an editorial in support of the measure last year, “the California Values Act would promote smarter, more effective law enforcement”:

It would bar state or local resources from being used for immigration enforcement, a strictly federal duty. No state or local law enforcement agency would be allowed to detain or transfer anyone for deportation without a judicial warrant.

Nothing in the bill would obstruct the federal government. This is not a nullification of federal laws or a rebellion against the Constitution. It’s upholding the Fourth Amendment, preventing unreasonable search and seizure, so mothers and fathers can go to work and children go to school without fear of losing one another. It’s upholding the First Amendment, so day laborers can solicit work on a sidewalk. It’s allowing the local police to keep the trust and cooperation of crime victims and witnesses, who will not fear every encounter as a prelude to deportation.

“To the millions of undocumented residents pursuing and contributing to the California Dream, the State of California will be your wall of justice should the incoming Administration adopt an inhumane and over-reaching mass-deportation policy,” said Sen. de León. “We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children.”

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Post-Trumpcare, Medicaid lives on—even in Kansas!

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:39:37 +0000

House Speaker Paul Ryan was foiled last week in his attempt to destroy Medicaid to get money for tax cuts to the wealthy when Trumpcare was pulled off the House floor. It doesn't mean he won't try again, but next time is going to be even harder. One reason is smack dab in the middle of the actual, and symbolic, heartland: the Kansas legislature has voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Sam Brownback must now decide whether to sign or veto Medicaid expansion after the Senate passed the bill Tuesday.

The Senate gave final approval to expansion in a 25-14 vote Tuesday. The House approved the legislation earlier.

Brownback and his aides have been critical of expansion. Spokeswoman Melika Willoughby said Monday that the Affordable Care Act is in a "death spiral" and that expanding Medicaid eligibility would not be responsible policy. […]

Supporters hope that Brownback will change his mind on expansion or that they can come up with enough votes to overcome a veto.

To override a veto, supporters need 84 votes in the House and 27 votes in the Senate. Bollier said she knows of one no vote that could flip to yes in the Senate, and added if there’s one vote, there might be two – enough for an override in the Senate.

The House approved the bill 81-44, and would need three more votes to override.

Obamacare is clearly not in death spiral but Trumpcare—with Ryan's destruction of Medicaid—is. The fact is that Medicaid lives on, and was a huge part of what helped to defeat Trumpcare within the Republican conference. Republicans from expansion states were steadfastly opposed to the Medicaid cuts, as were Republican governors. And it wasn't just the moderates.

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Republicans haven't decided yet whether defunding Planned Parenthood is worth a government shutdown

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 23:30:38 +0000

Republicans can't govern and aren't about to try, so here's the head of the hardline "Freedom Caucus" on whether or not hard-line Republicans will attempt to block next month's continuing resolution to keep the federal budget operating (yes, there's another one coming due) and whether or not a complete defunding of Planned Parenthood would be among their demands.

“Everybody’s pretty weary right now. I know I am,” Meadows (R-N.C.) said. “And so I think anytime that you’re weary, you’ve got to be careful about two things: One, making a poor decision, and the other is making a quick decision.”

He said the HFC would make a “very methodical decision” in the days and weeks to come on the continuing resolution (CR) and that Planned Parenthood funding would be one of the things conservatives look at.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is dismissing such plans, not because he doesn’t want to defund the healthcare provider but because he still wants to do it as part of his it’s-not-dead-yet-its-still-twitching healthcare “reform” efforts. But if the hardliners have learned anything these last few years, it's that you shouldn't govern unless there are hostages worth taking.

While it seems unlikely that we'll see another government shutdown this time around—Democrats would likely partner with not-entirely-batshit-insane Republicans to keep things afloat despite the demands of the arsonists—attempting to pass a continuing resolution heaped high with far-right demands like Planned Parenthood defunding would be one of the few sure ways to turn this, too, into a Republican-on-Republican stalemate.

For now, we'll just have to wait and watch.

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Mike Pence gets the media to give his image a much-needed fluffing

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:32:51 +0000

Two of America’s leading newspapers seem to have declared it “Mike and Karen Pence tongue bath day.” The New York Times offered up its tongue—occasionally edged with a little speculation about Pence’s ambitions—to Mike, while the Washington Post took on Karen. It’s a thing that makes you go hmmm. Hmmm, as in, “the Pence PR operation has obviously swung into gear. I wonder why that might be happening right now?”

Mike Pence, once an unpopular Indiana governor most famous for signing a license-to-discriminate law that drew nationwide opposition, is now characterized as “a Hill-wise former Indiana congressman who is typically a palliative presence in an administration of piranhas.” When Reince Priebus flailed and Jared Kushner left town, it was Pence who stepped in to restore order in a White House with problems “from the president’s sketchy grasp on policy, to the heavy-handed tactics of his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.” But otherwise “he has held his capital in reserve, choosing to tread lightly on certain issues,” and on some issues—Mike Flynn and Russia—he’s been way outside of the loop. 

In translation: Mike Pence got the New York Times to run an article pushing his desired narrative that he’s more effective than anyone else in the White House and the things that have gone wrong haven’t been his fault because he’s not in charge and he’s keeping his distance from the Trump Dumpster fire. The article all but admits the second half of that sentence:

One Republican senator close to Mr. Pence said that his colleagues initially viewed him as an alternative-reality president who would prod Mr. Trump’s presidency toward normalcy — a notion that vanished during the administration’s frenetic first week. Democrats and Never-Trump Republicans still view him as a president-in-waiting, in hopes that Mr. Trump will somehow be brought down by scandal.

That the vice president has occupied a position one step outside Mr. Trump’s innermost circle of power seemed to reinforce the view, at least among Democrats, that he was holding back to position himself as a fallback option.

Ya think? 

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Senate Intelligence Committee wants to interview ex-spy who wrote Trump dossier

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:12:14 +0000

Devin Nunes’ antics may have the House Intelligence Committee frozen, but over in the Senate they’re having discussions with a very special guest.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is in talks to interview Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative who compiled the dossier that alleges a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, three sources with direct knowledge told NBC News

Steele seems less than enthusiastic about making an appearance, not because he’s ashamed of his methodology in compiling the list of Trump … activities, but because of concerns over his own safety. With prominent Russian officials dropping like flies, it’s safe to assume that "safe” can’t be assumed. Polonium allergies seem to be universal and safety worries seem to be the primary reason previous attempts to bring Steele in for chats with the FBI have failed.

But while they’re waiting for the ex-spy to come in from the cold, the Senate committee is making a few marks on their dance card.

Two Congressional officials told NBC News that the Senate Intelligence Committee has not yet reached an agreement on how and when to interview the Trump associates who have volunteered to testify, including Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone. 

As much fun as it would be to see this crew squirming under hard questioning, it still will lack the punch of a session with the author of Trump’s dossier.

Tell me, Mr. Steele, this “golden shower” that Trump bought in Moscow. Now, is that a plumbing fixture? No? Please explain.

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Spotlight on green news and views: Denier-in-chief nixes Obama climate actions; KXL resistance

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 22:20:03 +0000

This is the 492nd edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the March 25 Green Spotlight. More than 26,735 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it. OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES  Mary Anne Hitt writes—Trump Attacks Climate Plan, But We Won’t Go Backwards: “In today’s move, Trump instructed EPA to begin the process of repealing the CPP by instructing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to review and rewrite the standard. The Executive Order further directs the EPA to not defend the Clean Power Plan, which is in the midst of a legal challenge brought by polluters and fossil fuel heavy states. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for the CPP. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act, and that the EPA had an obligation to regulate those emissions if it concluded that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. On the basis of a robust scientific record, in 2009 the agency concluded that six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are the primary cause of climate change, and the D.C. Circuit upheld this finding. In 2011, the Supreme Court also held that the Clean Air Act ‘speaks directly’ to carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.” Besame writes—Daily Bucket: Returning King of the Sky to the Redwoods and the Yurok: “Re-introduction of condors to California was a risky, intensive, expensive project that resulted in conservation success. This year’s condor nesting has already begun and a 14-year-long plan for a major new phase of condor re-introduction is moving towards fruition. Bringing the nation’s biggest birds to the biggest trees (coast redwoods) in California’s northwest corner will reunite prey-go-neesh with the 5,000-member Yurok tribe of the Klamath River region. “To us, he is the king of the sky,’ says tribe chairman Thomas P. O’Rourke, Sr. ‘His absence is a hole in our hearts. Conservation scientists work from hope as well as rigorous analysis and preparation. The Yurok’s 2003 bold proposal combines hope, detailed site suitability evaluation, and complex planning by multiple agencies and organizations. O’Rourke says this proposal was an easy decision for the largest tribe in California. ‘No world can function and stay in balance until it is whole.’ The Yurok began by hiring biologists to evaluate the Klamath’s current status and ability to support condors. Historically, this is condor territory. In recent centuries the birds ranged from British Columbia to Baja California. Their numbers dwindled due to habitat loss, lead poisoning from ammunition, and DDT-thinned eggshells.” [...]



Donald Trump continues to use coal miners as sad props while he lies to them about their future

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:57:41 +0000

On Tuesday, Donald Trump signed an executive order to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, generally spit on the grave of any reasonable approach to climate change, and free billionaires from the burdens of following safety and environmental rules.

Chief among those plutocratic cronies is Robert Mercer, a fabulously wealthy hedge fund tycoon who funds Breitbart News and was a strong supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign. Mercer does not believe climate change is a problem, but government is. He has been quoted as saying he wants to see the federal government “shrunk to the size of a pinhead.” For him, getting rid of Obama’s climate change rules is a no-brainer.

Acting as a Greek chorus to this event were Trump’s most reliable prop—a set of coal miners provided for the occasion by some of the mining executives who also came along to see this anti-historic occasion. As he signed away the environment, Trump made a promise to the miners.

He said to coal miners standing nearby: "You know what it says, right? You're going back to work."

Which is, to put it kindly, bullshit. No—that’s too kindly. It’s Trumpshit. Which is worse than bullshit because Trump is dropping his turds in the Oval Office.

Trump’s actions won’t help miners. They won’t help the industry. They won’t change a damn thing—except they will wreck American leadership around the world and they will put millions more in the pockets of executives who will be able to make greater profits with fewer workers.

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Think having one Washington hotel is a Trump conflict of interest? Now they're pursuing a second.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:40:42 +0000

OH COME ON.

President Trump’s company is actively seeking to open a second Washington hotel as part of a planned nationwide expansion, potentially creating another venue where he stands to benefit financially from customers doing business in the nation’s capital.

Rather than build a new hotel, they want to buy an existing one and repackage it under their Scion brand. That would have the coincidental benefit of being able to re-open during Trump's term. It's meant for travelers not willing to spring for the overpriced gaud-fest that is a Trump hotel, but still want to piss away money in Trump's general direction.

The addition of a more informal Scion Hotel in the District would provide a chance for less well-heeled groups to do business with the president’s company — albeit at a property that would not bear his name.

Whatever. We're now at the point where Trump's stupid hotel grifts are barely making the top dozen scandals of his presidency. And, let's face it, the odds are still no better than 50/50 that Trump makes it to the end of his term without getting impeached or resigning in fatigue as discussed, at which point his conflict-of-interest problems will no longer be problems.

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Trump's greenlight to Keystone XL and his move against Clean Power Plan renews activist resistance

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:33:50 +0000

The glee is palpable among fossil fools over Donald Trump’s actions favoring the Keystone XL pipeline and trashing several Obama-era climate-related initiatives. But it’s premature. Environmental activists say they are determined to fight. Indeed, every anti-environment move Trump makes seems to energize people whose political activism has been dormant or who have since the Nov. 8 election joined protests and other grassroots actions for the first time. 

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Says Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International: 

“Keystone XL has been seen as inevitable before, but nevertheless, we persisted. This isn’t game over, it’s game on. Now we have a President who is deeply beholden to the oil industry and will do anything they ask, so this approval is no surprise. This is a pipeline that was designed for an oil market that no longer exists, that will go through lands where people have never wanted it.

“Donald Trump likes to talk a big game when it comes to laying pipe, but landowners, Native nations, and climate activists aren’t going to let him get away with groping America. Put your tiny hands in the air, Trump, and back away from the climate.“

Many people in Trump’s dwindling camp of supporters, including a few members of the pr*sident’s own cabinet, don’t buy the long-established science behind the greenhouse effect, flat out rejecting the chemistry and physics behind it.

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Fearing deportation, immigrant parents are now canceling their U.S. citizen kids' food assistance

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:30:45 +0000

U.S. citizen kids eligible for food assistance programs may be going hungry because their immigrant parents have canceled their enrollment out of fear of falling onto the radar of Donald Trump’s deportation force:

Officials at Manna Food Center in Montgomery County, Md., report that about 20 percent of the 561 families they have helped apply for food stamps, or SNAP benefits, in the past few months have asked that their cases be closed.

Maria Chavez, an outreach worker for Manna, says her immigrant clients are scared, especially if they're unauthorized parents getting SNAP benefits for their eligible American children.

"They say, 'I want to close my food stamp.' And I say, 'Why you want to close it?' They say, 'Well, because I am afraid that something [will] happen to me or they [will] deport me,' " says Chavez.

Jim Wengler, director of benefits access at Hunger Free New York City, says fewer immigrants have also been showing up recently at the 20 sites his group serves around the city. And he says some noncitizens — even those in the country legally — want all of their government benefits canceled, including Medicaid.

Which is really frightening because these are families that are often working minimum-wage jobs, trying to raise children, trying to do the right thing, and with the help of these benefits are getting by. But without them, [they] will be in a really desperate situation," Wengler says.

No matter what Trump or anyone from Breitbart tries to tell you, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for public assistance. However, their U.S. citizens kids are, just like any other citizen of this country. But fear has been a feature, not a bug, of Trump’s campaign and administration, and now undocumented parents—even parents with legal status—are making a horrific decision between their kids going hungry or possibly getting torn apart. This is how Trump wants to make America great again?

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Why did Republicans vote to destroy your online privacy? That's where the money is

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:32:32 +0000

Campaign Action

Every Senate Republican and all but 15 House Republicans voted to dismantle your online privacy, overturning a rule by the FCC that would have required internet service providers to get your permission to sell off your private web data. Your web searches, your financial data, your shopping habits—basically every step you take online is now back up for grabs. Why would Republicans—the supposed champions of the little guy, the libertarians—sell you out?

Money.

Republicans in Congress just voted to reverse a landmark FCC privacy rule that opens the door for ISPs to sell customer data. Lawmakers provided no credible reason for this being in the interest of Americans, except for vague platitudes about “consumer choice” and “free markets,” as if consumers at the mercy of their local internet monopoly are craving to have their web history quietly sold to marketers and any other third party willing to pay.

The only people who seem to want this are the people who are going to make lots of money from it. (Hint: they work for companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.) Incidentally, these people and their companies routinely give lots of money to members of Congress.

How much money have they given to Congress members in their most recent elections?

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'Nunes is so deep in the tank for Trump that he needs scuba gear'

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:47:54 +0000

There seems to be a consensus building that Devin Nunes is both a liar

People who have worked in the White House suggest that, on this matter, Nunes and the White House simply aren’t being credible.

And a fool

Graham said on the “Today” show on Tuesday that Nunes was bumbling his way though something of an “Inspector Clouseau investigation,” a reference to the fantastically inept protagonist of the “Pink Panther” comedies.

He lacks both the competence to carry out an investigation of the Trump regime and the confidence of fellow members of Congress. His position was always tenuous. As a member of the Trump transition team (and a frequent surrogate for Trump), Nunes was always a poor choice to lead any investigation into the activities of the same people he’s been working alongside. But his actions over the last few days go beyond questionable.

It’s basically impossible to believe that someone from the White House did not at least know that Nunes was coming to use the SCIF to access the information that would form the basis of his now-controversial press conference.

It’s not a matter of “either” the White House is lying, or Nunes is. It’s both.

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Trump continues his attack on LGBTQ Americans by erasing them in the Census

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:35:22 +0000

Nothing says pro-LGBTQ like having your existence erased by the government. That's exactly what Donald Trump's Census Bureau has opted to do in the next decennial Census in 2020. When the bureau originally unveiled its "Planned Subjects" for the survey, they included "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as official categories, but that likely remnant of the Obama administration was quickly excised, writes Chris Johnson.

The U.S. Census issued a notice shortly afterward indicating the report was corrected because the initial appendix “inadvertently” included LGBT categories.

“The Subjects Planned for the 2020 Census and American Community Survey report released today inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix,” the statement says. “The report has been corrected.”

The National LGBTQ Task Force has downloaded and published an unredacted copy of the report and posted on its website an image of the initial report and the redacted one that followed.

Since 1990, some same-sex households have been tallied in the Census, but only if they were "unmarried partners" (married same-sex households were altered to reflect an opposite-sex relationship). The 2010 Census included the first estimates of “married” same-sex couples. The year 2020 would have been the first year the U.S. Census included a count of LGBTQ individuals. Census data is ultimately used by lawmakers and the government to inform how existing laws are enforced and how new policies are developed and money is allocated to meet the demographic needs of U.S. citizens.

Not being a part of the Census means that, once again, LGBTQ Americans will be contributing to the tax base of a government that systematically overlooks them. Thanks, Trump.

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The GOP's racism and sexism problem rears its ugly head again (and Maxine Waters isn't having it)

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:24:52 +0000

For a while many of us have been watching the racist and sexist antics of the GOP and asking ourselves if it can get any worse. Sadly—the answer seems to be yes. During the last decade we’ve watched them work themselves into a frenzy over the changing demographics of the country, a black president and his family and have watched as their out of control fear of an imaginary world in which straight white men suddenly lose all their power takes root in strange and deeply destructive ways. It was bad enough when their fear and hatred of the other was limited to fake Fox News stories and Obama memes but now they’ve “taken back” their government for all the world to see. And it ain’t pretty.

On Tuesday, Fox News provocateur and serial sexual harasser, Bill O’Reilly offered an incredibly lame, non-apology (or fauxpology) after insulting the brilliant and incomparable Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), not on the basis of her arguments or on her opinions, not about her astute political analysis, but instead about her hair. Then again, because we know that misogyny and sexual assault are not job disqualifiers among this crowd, the fact that O’Reilly couldn’t be bothered to remark on substance isn’t all that surprising. Waters, who remains completely undeterred and focused on the big picture (which is keeping laser focused on the Trump administration), responded as only she could in epic brilliance on All In with Chris Hayes. 

"I'm a strong black woman. And I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined. I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O'Reilly or anybody." [...]

“I’d like to say to women out there everywhere, don’t allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate you or scare you. Be who you are! Do what you do! And let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country!”

Check out the entirety of Maxine’s full glory.

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Democratic senators step up to resist Trump's Supreme Court nominee

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:33:28 +0000

If Senate Democrats are looking for good reasons to not just oppose Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court, but to force Mitch McConnell to go nuclear to get him on the court, there's plenty. Let's start with the fact that this is a stolen seat. By all rights, the only person who should be considered for the court is Merrick Garland, President Obama's highly qualified and completely noncontroversial nominee who was blockaded by Republicans in an unprecedented and unprincipled display of partisanship. You don't like the idea that maybe it's tit-for-tat and you don't want to look petty. Get over it. There are plenty of reasons based in Gorsuch's person, however, if Democrats need them. Like the fact that Gorsuch is a right-wing extremist so bought-into right-wing extremism that he uses "Democrat" as an adjective. That's an implicit tip-off to anyone paying attention that he is a supremely political actor and will be serving the far-right before serving the constitution. He's an ideologue and will rule as one. There's also little indication that Gorsuch will be an independent actor when—and it's increasingly looking like it will be when and not if—the court has to weigh in on a constitutional crisis created by popular vote loser Donald Trump. Further, any senator who is worried about justifying a filibuster vote to their constituents only needs one story to justify their vote—the story of Alphonse Maddin, the "frozen trucker." Gorsuch actually ruled that Maddin was justifiably fired by his employer when he disobeyed an order so that he could save himself from freezing to death. Gorsuch was in the minority in that decision, because it was an extreme position to take, but that's who Gorsuch is. Any senator will be able to relate that story to a constituent to justify his or her vote to block Gorsuch. As of now, as many as 30 senators, out of the 41 necessary to block the confirmation or force McConnell to end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, and there are more lining up against Trump and Gorsuch every day. There are a few holdouts—Joe Manchin (WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) are the likeliest to wimp out. Another is approaching this from a position of longstanding, and anachronistic principle. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has said he is "not inclined" to filibuster, but needs answers from Gorsuch to his written questions before deciding on whether to join the growing majority of his colleagues to filibuster. With all due respect to the senator, what more information could he possibly need to decide to stand up against this nominee and this president? The answers he gets from Gorsuch won't be any more definitive or more helpful than what he got in the hearings. Gorsuch is not going to put anything in writing—just as he wasn't going to say it out loud in a hearing—that will inform or elucidate his positions. There's enough information now. Sen. Leahy needs to take a leadership role, and join with the majority of his conference. Help resist popular vote loser Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Click here to call your Democratic senator(s) and tell them to filibuster Neil Gorsuch's confirmation. [...]



Midday open thread. Colbert: Trump 'repealed the environment'; 'Dems could take House in 2018'

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:00:42 +0000

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is It's fake news all the way down: • EPI—Black Americans are working more, but racial wage gaps remain: Over the last several decades, black workers have been offering more to the economy and the labor market to incredibly disappointing results in pay and unemployment. Some have argued that the disparity in wages between blacks and white is the result of white workers working longer and harder than black workers. They blame black workers for racial wage gaps, saying that they should do anything from getting more education to simply working harder. Such explanations minimize the role of racial discrimination on labor market outcomes, while perpetuating racial bias and stereotypes of black workers as unmotivated and lazy. And the data show they are simply false: hours and weeks worked have increased for both races, with a larger increase for black workers over the last several decades. • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events.  • Two anti-abortion activists charged with 15 felonies in California. The two met with Planned Parenthood officials and secretly taped their interviews, then redacted then to make it seem as if the organization was illegally selling tissue from aborted fetuses. But the charges aren’t about the misleading redactions, but about their failure to let interviewees know they were being taped: State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office alleges that David Daleiden and his co-conspirator, Sandra Merritt, filmed 14 people without their consent at meetings with women’s healthcare providers in Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Franciso and El Dorado. • Britain makes Brexit official with letter to European Council. Now follows two years of negotiating the terms of departure. • Here’s Mother Jones’ list of every insane thing Donald Trump has said about climate. • National Journal: “Dems Could Take House in 2018”: Demo­crats now have a real­ist­ic shot at re­tak­ing the House in 2018. Each of the past three midterm elec­tions have swung wildly against the party in power—re­flect­ive of the long­stand­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion of voters to­wards polit­ic­al lead­er­ship, no mat­ter who’s in charge. Trump’s job ap­prov­al rat­ing is hov­er­ing around 40 per­cent, a tox­ic level for the dozens of Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning for reelec­tion in swing dis­tricts. Re­pub­lic­ans would be fool­ish to as­sume that Pres­id­ent Obama’s co­ali­tion of mil­len­ni­als and non­white voters—many of whom stayed home in past midterm elec­tions—re­mains dis­en­gaged giv­en their aver­sion to Trump. • Colbert—Trump “repealed the environment” Tuesday, surrendering “Florida to the ocean”: x YouTube Video • O’Reilly snickers during his nopology to Rep. Maxine Waters for racist slam.  • Nebraska Liquor Control Commission finally holding hearing April 6 into Whiteclay licenses:  Whiteclay is home to four liquor stores that sell millions of cans of beer every year, primarily to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation, where alcohol is outlawed. For decades, leaders and citizens of the Oglala Sioux Tribe have questioned whether authorities have turned a blind eye to law enforcement, regulatory and social problems in the small community. [...] Meanwhile, the state attorney general filed 22 citations against the stores, The World-Herald reported earlier this month. Among other allegations, they are being accused of selling t[...]



Trump tries to woo moderate Democrats. This one's telling him to get bent

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:56:46 +0000

Now that the White House realizes it’s bound to a suicide vest known as the "Freedom Caucus," Donald Trump’s aides are on the hunt for Democrats who will help the popular vote loser bring his legislative agenda to fruition.

Under normal circumstances, building a relationship with a Republican president in order to influence legislation might make sense. But these are not normal times. To negotiate with Trump would be to lend credibility to someone who is quite possibly an illegitimate occupant of the Oval Office, has stacked his cabinet with unqualified hacks intended to undercut the very foundation of the federal government, tests the Constitutional limitations of his office at every turn, and who, as our own Laura Clawson pointed out, can't go two sentences without expelling a lie.

Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch gets that, which is why he refused a White House invitation to meet next week with Trump's top legislative aides, writes Matt Viser:

“I was asked if I would be interested in going over to the White House for a meeting,” Lynch said in a statement to the [Boston] Globe. “They said they were looking for ‘moderate’ Democrats – which I am. But under the circumstances I felt like they were trying to divide our party so I declined the invitation.”

“My feeling is that the Trump White House has taken a ‘scorched earth’ approach so far,” he added. “I am usually someone who looks for middle ground, but Mr. Trump’s opening position, especially as reflected in his budget, has been so extreme that there is no middle ground. It’s a non-starter for me.”

Here, here, Mr. Lynch.

And by the way, any Democrat who attends that meeting better be ready for a reckoning on the other side of the White House doors.

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U.S. women reach deal in fair pay fight and will play in hockey championship

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:16:35 +0000

The U.S. women’s national hockey team has triumphed before the world championships even begin. The women had said they would not play in those world championships—after winning the event six of the last eight times it was played—unless USA Hockey stepped up its support of women in the sport and moved toward fair pay. Now, team members and USA Hockey have announced a deal just in time for the championships:

USA Hockey, the sport’s American federation, and the U.S. women’s team announced in a joint press release that they had reached an agreement “that will result in groundbreaking support for the U.S. Women’s National Team program over the course of the next four years.” [...]

The two sides agreed to keep financial terms of the deal private. But the deal includes the formation of a new advisory group made up of current and former players that will “assist USA Hockey in efforts to advance girls’ and women’s hockey,” the release said.

“Our sport is the big winner today,” said Meghan Duggan, the team’s captain. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together.”

USA Hockey had gone looking for scabs, but women’s hockey players across the country had refused to bite, and NHL players were reportedly ready to stand with the women. 

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The police union that endorsed Trump is now opposing him on defunding sanctuary cities

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:50:49 +0000

Campaign Action

The national police union that enthusiastically endorsed Donald Trump during the presidential election has now warned him that “he could put public safety at risk if he intends to cut federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities.” So much for being the “law and order” candidate:

The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, Jim Pasco, told Reuters after a White House meeting between the president and police union leaders on Tuesday that the move to restrict grants from sanctuary cities could hurt police departments.

His comments come after Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this week announced state and local governments seeking Justice Department grants must certify they are not sanctuary cities to receive money.

The Justice Department may not allow sanctuary cities to use grants from its Office of Justice Programs and Community Oriented Policing Services, which give money to local and state police departments.
This isn’t the first time the union leader has warned the regime about the consequences of starving police departments of grants, either.
“Pasco told Reuters he met with Sessions last month and warned him the police union would not support restrictions on funding to police.”
But Trump and Sessions went ahead and doubled-down on the threats anyway. It’s almost like they really aren’t concerned about public safety, but just want any excuse to demonize and scapegoat immigrants.

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McConnell to Republican senators: 'Feel no guilt' for going nuclear on Gorusch

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:32:49 +0000

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell certainly isn't one to be plagued by guilt. After all, he presided over the most baselessly obstructionist Senate in history, including the unprecedented and unprincipled total blockade of President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. So when he tells his conference to "feel no guilt" over getting rid of the filibuster to install the right-wing extremist Neil Gorsuch to the bench, he's speaking from personal experience.

Mitch McConnell told his leadership team in private this week what's becoming increasingly obvious on Capitol Hill: Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch probably won't get 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

But the Senate majority leader had an equally pressing message: Republicans should have no compunction about pulling the trigger on the "nuclear option" — with Democrats resisting a high court nominee as well-pedigreed as Gorsuch.

"Feel no guilt," McConnell said, according to attendees.

McConnell's attempt to buck up his GOP ranks, relayed by three sources in attendance, underscores the high stakes of the Gorsuch battle as the Senate barrels toward a likely nuclear showdown next week: His confirmation is, to put it mildly, a can't-lose for Republicans.

That's the same McConnell who declared it was "a sad day in the history of the Senate," when Democrats under Harry Reid ended the filibuster on nominees for the lower courts and government agencies. McConnell called it a "power grab" and said Democrats were "picking a 'fake fight over judges' to try and 'distract the public' from the problems of ObamaCare."

“It only reinforces the narrative of party willing to do or say just about anything to get its way,” said McConnell. “One again, Democrats are threatening to break the rules of the Senate ... in order to change the rules of the Senate,” he said. […]

“I don’t think this is the time to be talking about reprisals. I think it’s a time to be sad about what’s been done to the United States Senate,” he said.

Help resist popular vote loser Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Click here to call your Democratic senator(s) and tell them to filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s nomination.

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It sounds like Trump will need to invade Mexico to build his wall

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:04:19 +0000

According to reports from earlier today, it almost sounded like Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke suggested Donald Trump’s wall was actually going to be built in Mexico:

At the same time, Zinke suggested the wall would not be as big or impassible as the president believes is necessary to stop illegal immigrants.

"The border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall," he said.  “The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall?” he said. “We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

Wait, does that mean some of Mexico will be walled off from Mexico? It’s safe to assume they won’t ever agree to that, so does that mean we are also going to invade Mexico to build it? And will they pay for that too? Slate, however, offers a different take, saying that Zinke’s interview actually admits “that the president's executive order announcing its intention to build the wall is impractical.”

If you actually go to the source of all this—a long article in a respected energy/environment industry publication—it's clear that not only was Zinke not suggesting that the wall be built in Mexico, but that he was in fact describing reasons why it might not be built like Trump has described it at all.

Whatever he really meant, it just shows that this regime has no clue what do to about this border monstrosity.

Trump ran on this thing from day one of his campaign, knowing his base would just eat it up but having absolutely no idea how to follow through, how to pay for it, or how it would ever get built the way he promised it would get built (sorta like the Great Wall of China, but biglier and with a couple of slot machines). And according to recent reports, the GOP Congress may stiff him on the cash for it, too.

Donald Trump is incredibly dangerous, but he’s also incredibly stupid and careless. Just look at where his Muslim bans and Trumpcare are these days.

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Republicans have found their boogeyman for 2018 and he's a she, of course

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:20:41 +0000

Republicans have been casting about for someone to blame for their rapid succession of moral, ideological and legislative failures ever since Donald Trump settled into the Oval Office. No longer tethered together by their favorite scapegoat, Barack Obama, their ship has become unmoored amid a fleet of sinking campaign promises. The one thing on which they seem to agree is that they have to give their base someone to latch on to lest their glaring incompetency become the focus of 2018. So behold—Elizabeth Warren is the new Barack Obama, writes Pema Levy.

Republicans have decided to use Warren as a sort of boogeyman ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, when 10 Democratic senators are up for reelection in states Donald Trump won. By late February, the committee tasked with electing Republicans to the Senate launched digital ads attacking vulnerable Democrats by stating how often they had voted with Warren. [...]

Warren, a household name and an unapologetic liberal, is an easy choice. Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist in Washington, DC, says going after Warren is part of the Republican playbook for 2020, as well. "Always define your opponent before your opponent can define you," he says.

The notion that the GOP will be able to do anything whatsoever to distract voters from the governing meltdown they are now witnessing at the hands of Republicans is laughable. "Hey voters, forget that Russia-installed marionette occupying the White House and our health reform catastrophe seven years in the making—look over there at Elizabeth Warren. Now, that's one scary chick!" Gimme a break. Republicans releasing digital ads as early as last month is proof positive that they have to get a jump on campaigning because they’ve already hit the wall on governing.

And if they think Warren will be a disaster in red states, that's certainly not what Missouri Democrat Jason Kander found during his 2016 Senate run. After deploying Warren in emails and at fundraisers, Kander campaign manager Abe Rakov says, bring it!

"After she was here, we saw our volunteer numbers go up, we saw our fundraising go up," he recalls. Over the course the election, he says, Kander's campaign had built up "a lot of evidence that it was sort of a Republican myth that she would cause us problems."

Dream on, GOP.

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When is it okay for Democrats to work with Trump? How about never.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:06:46 +0000

"When is it OK for Democrats to work with Trump? A handy guide" is the headline at Politico Magazine, but it turns out not to be such a handy guide. “Never” is probably not an answer Politico was interested in—too short, not wishy-washy enough—but author Bill Scher gets a little confused trying to come up with a Politico-friendly answer to this important question. 

Scher’s best answer is buried deep in the piece: “The only time it will ever be OK for Democrats to work with Trump is if Trump comes begging for votes and Democrats can dictate the terms.” But even that misses it. Sure, if congressional Republicans allow a vote on a bill that represents capitulation to a Democratic agenda, Democrats can think about voting for it, after carefully inspecting it from every angle to find any hidden traps. But work with Trump? Join with him to craft policy? 

Since January, Donald Trump has twice signed executive orders attempting to put into practice his campaign promise of a Muslim ban. He has released a budget that would slash education, environmental protection, medical research, and more while further bloating the defense budget. He has weakened consumer protections. He is moving to reverse an important clean water rule. He signed a bill effectively saying that federal contracts can go to labor law violators. He worked hard to pass a disastrous, unpopular healthcare bill. And as that bill’s failure shows, even if Democrats worked with Trump (which they should not) and came up with something they liked, it would still have to get past congressional Republicans.

Also, Donald Trump cannot go two sentences without lying. Working with him is asking to be deceived, manipulated, abused, and betrayed.

So there’s your handy guide to when it’s okay for Democrats to work with Trump. 

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Amateur spy Devin Nunes says 'Democrats aren’t really serious about this investigation'

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:09:15 +0000

While Democrats on the committee are eager to move forward with the previously scheduled hearings, including the public hearings ...

x

Devin Nunes has been working with the White House to make sure the committee doesn’t do a thing.

The evidence is now clear that the White House and Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have worked together to halt what was previously billed as a sweeping investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election. 

And now the thing that Nunes really needs is an excuse, even if it’s utterly ludicrous

Nunes: It appears like the Democrats aren’t really serious about this investigation.

Reporter: But they want to start, they’re saying we should start …

Nunes: They didn’t sign the letter to Director Comey, who is a foundational witness. That didn’t happen. You should ask them why they wouldn’t go sign that letter.

There are two reasons, actually. First, Schiff and others wouldn’t sign because Nunes has contrived the idea of putting the committee in a headlock by setting up conditions Comey won’t agree to, then refusing to do anything until Comey speaks. Oh, the other thing is that Nunes invited Comey to speak at the time Sally Yates was supposed to speak.

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Trump's billionaire supporters try to buy him some voter approval with $1.3 million ad campaign

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:23:22 +0000

Donald Trump’s approval ratings are stuck in the toilet, and his usual methods of promoting alternative facts are not helping: not Twitter, not Fox News, not Breitbart. Some people might conclude that the answer was to do something differently, but those people are not dealing with Donald Trump. So a group of wealthy supporters has come up with a different answer: advertising. 

Making America Great, a nonprofit run by Rebekah Mercer, one of Trump’s most influential donors, will begin airing $1 million in television ads on Wednesday, coupled with a $300,000 digital advertising campaign. The TV ads will run in the District of Columbia, along with ten states Trump carried in the presidential election where a Democratic senator is up for re-election in 2018: West Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Montana and Pennsylvania. The digital campaign also will focus on voters in those states.

“Our group will be a conduit to highlight President Trump’s achievement to the rest of the country,” says Emily Cornell, who is moving from the Mercer-funded data firm Cambridge Analytica to run Making America Great’s day-to-day operations. “We are here to promote successes and hold accountable broken promises -- not just to those who voted for Trump, but to all Americans.”

“President Trump’s achievement.” Do tell.

Making America Great’s first television ad emphasizes Trump’s early accomplishments: the 298,000 jobs created during his first month in office, his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and his approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The ad does not mention the health-care bill.

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Trump to senators: We'll 'make a deal on health care' very quickly

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:54:37 +0000

Popular vote loser Donald Trump was in a buoyant mood Tuesday at a White House reception for the Senate. He was so pleased that "A lot of people showed up" that he was optimistic and generous, promising that there would be a "deal" on Trumpcare, "very quickly."

"A lot of people showed up," Trump said of the crowd, which included more than half the Senate and their spouses. "People we weren't expecting. I know that we are all going to make a deal on health care. That's such an easy one."

He added, "I have no doubt that's going to happen very quickly."

Never mind that massive, catastrophic collapse of his premiere legislative effort and the thing he'd been promising to do "day one" for the whole of the presidential campaign—repeal Obamacare. But hey, it's just "such an easy one." Because they all showed up to his party, apparently, and he had "some very special friends in the room," a "shockingly … bipartisan" crowd. He even happily greeted the man he had called "Fake Tears Chuck Schumer"—whose great-grandmother died in the Holocaust—for opposing his Muslim ban. "I think we are going to have some very good relationships—right, Chuck?" he called out Tuesday night. "I see Chuck. Hello, Chuck."

"Nobody ever told me that politics was going to be so much fun," said the man whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI for potential treason and who has the lowest approval rating of any new president since polling began. Fun times.

For the record, a deal is not going to happen.

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Cartoon: It's fake news all the way down

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:50:44 +0000

Follow me on Twitter at @MattBors or like my Facebook page.

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Trump's precious border wall hits a funding snag

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:27:06 +0000

Donald Trump's "big, beautiful" border wall might turn out to be like so many other things he fixates on—a figment of his imagination. Although the White House had wanted Congress to fold an initial outlay for Trump’s wall into a government funding bill, the GOP's governance meltdown has necessitated Democratic help in keeping the government funded by the April 28 deadline. Democrats, in turn, have threatened to withhold their votes if any funding for the wall is included in that bill. “Senate Democrats are prepared to fight this all the way,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told attendees of a National Council of La Raza event Tuesday. In order to avoid yet another GOP #fail in the form of a government shutdown, Republican leadership is weighing the idea of separating money for the wall from the government funding bill. Politico writes: While no decision has been made by GOP leadership, Republican lawmakers may decide to decouple the two to avoid a confrontation with Democrats. If they do, the chances of getting Trump’s wall funding passed this spring become slim. “It remains to be seen,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) in an interview. “What I would like to see is a plan for how the money would be spent and a good faith discussion about what border security is really composed of. We haven’t had that.” Asked about the prospects for a lapse in government funding, Cornyn was definitive: “There’s not going to be a shutdown.” Trump had aimed to get about $1.4 billion for the wall out of the initial funding bill with more to follow in a subsequent funding measure. But it turns out building the $20- to $50-billion wall is equally as unpopular as the man who insists on building it, with only 35 percent of American taxpayers supporting the wall, especially if taxpayers are footing the bill. That leaves very little incentive for Congressional Republicans to supply funding for an unpopular project being pushed by a pr*sident with abysmal approval ratings. This little funding snafu is going to absolutely tweak Trump, who's been obsessed with building the wall since the day he announced his candidacy. Trump put his weight behind health care mostly because he was desperate to get a win—any win—under his belt, but the wall is his baby. If Congress stiffs him on it, there'll be hell to pay on Capitol Hill. [...]



Paul Manafort, former Trump chairman, under investigation for money laundering

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:57:22 +0000

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort provides a wide range of services to his clients. For Vladimir Putin, Manafort put together a $10 million-a-year plan to influence American politics and slant news coverage. For Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of Regions, Manafort landed both the presidency of Ukraine and arranged protests that provided an excuse for the invasion of Crimea. He also lobbied for his clients in the United States while failing to register as a foreign agent. For Manafort, at home in Trump Tower, it’s built up a nice pile of what his daughter called blood money.  Campaign Action Apparently among the services that Manafort offered his clients was laundering money looted from Ukraine through accounts in notoriously shady Cypriot banks.  And it’s this last “service” that’s getting some fresh scrutiny. Banking sources said some transactions on Manafort-associated accounts raised sufficient concern to trigger an internal investigation at a Cypriot bank into potential money laundering activities. After questions were raised, Manafort closed the accounts, the banking sources said. What kind of actions are enough to trigger a raised eyebrow at a bank in Cyprus? One involved a massive check from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a top Putin lieutenant, to Manafort’s own firm, PEM. It was Deripaska who actually came to Manafort for the plan to help Putin affect Western politics. He paid PEM $18.9 million to buy a television and media network in Ukraine, according to the Cayman Island court documents. But the deal fell through and the money was never accounted for, the documents say. In other words, it certainly appears that Manafort pocketed $18.9 million for … other purposes.  [...]



Morning Digest: The Club for Growth goes after Karen Handel in Georgia special election

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:00:58 +0000

Leading Off

GA-06: The anti-tax extremist group Club for Growth recently backed businessman Bob Gray in the April 18 primary for the special election to replace HHS Secretary Tom Price, and now the Club's backing their play with a new $250,000 TV ad buy that turns its sights on Karen Handel. They attack the former Republican secretary of state over her spending record while in office, making this the first time anyone has directly run ads against her in this race. A recent independent poll found Handel leading Gray 20 to 10 for the second spot in the runoff, so the Club has work to do to drag Handel down.

For her part, Handel recently rolled out the endorsement of former Sen. Saxby Chambliss, whom Handel unsuccessfully tried to succeed in the 2014 GOP Senate primary. Meanwhile, current Sen. David Perdue, who ultimately prevailed in that election, is starring in a new TV ad for a third Republican, state Sen. Dan Moody. Perdue, claiming the mantle of an "outsider," calls Moody "one of us" and says Moody will take on career politicians.

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Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:16:04 +0000

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Netroots Nation: Final Call for Panel Submissions Morning! The grand poobahs behind the Netroots Nation convention (Atlanta, August 10-13) wanted me to remind you bright and early today that there's an important deadline this week: submissions for panels and training sessions are due this Friday. Mary Rickles has the details... As always, our goal is to highlight the great work being done by activists and organizations around the country, from national campaigns to local grassroots organizing, as well as to shine a light on what’s happening locally in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. You can submit on any topic, but here are a few things we’re looking to emphasize this year: Panels highlighting resistance efforts both nationally and locally   Discussions that challenge us to think long-term about the movement and building grassroots power   Trainings that help new activists grow into successful organizers and advanced trainings that focus on cutting-edge tools and techniques We ask you to consider inclusivity as well as how your panel will empower others to take what they've heard and use it in their own work. Once the final batch of submissions go through selection committees, we'll all get to vote on the sessions we'd like to sit in on most. For more info, click here for the guidelines and submission form. If you've already started your proposal, or a brilliant idea just flashed through your mind, you have a little over 48 hours to put it in writing and send it off. And just so we don’t duplicate our efforts, I’ll tell you now that I just sent in my idea: 101 Ways to Celebrate When the Entire Trump Administration Ends Up in Prison. (#5 will SHOCK you!) More Cheers and Jeers and free sample bowls of new Rustynail-Os cereal below the fold... [...]



Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:00:59 +0000

It’s Wednesday, and seeing as how our Internets and computerses are working again, it might be a good time to have Joan McCarter back on the program. We’ll talk about the wacky people who are occupying government offices, for whatever reason, and the insane things they claim they’re trying to do. Although sometimes it’s hard to find evidence that they’re really trying, or even know how to. 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 Let’s not bother with Donald P. Trump today. He’ll probably be around tomorrow, who knows? In the meantime David Waldman checks out the dumpster fires already set ablaze. Republicans seem to be really bad at their jobs, unless you consider that their voters didn’t hire them to govern. If they’re lucky they can shut the whole place down in under 100 days. The Russia scandal has reached the Trump family, as the Trump family has reached out to Russia for years. Some people are puzzled by Paul Manafort’s real estate purchases. Oleg Deripaska is less puzzled by his $10 million per year employee. Devin Nunes holds down his two jobs as US employee and Trump snitch, by multitasking close by on White House grounds. Nunes and Michael Flynn connected the dots with Turkey, which Sally Yates could have told you if someone let her. There is still plenty of black money burning holes in Russian pockets, although Russia is a bit distracted with its citizens protesting. Alexei Navalny goes to Russian jail. Ivanka Trump can’t ski forever without getting some piece of the action, so she ran some Trump tentacles over to Azerbaijan. (Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!) Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]



Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Health care, the 2016 election, incompetence

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:22:28 +0000

Nate Cohn/Upshot:

To the extent Democratic turnout was weak, it was mainly among black voters. Even there, the scale of Democratic weakness has been exaggerated.

Instead, it’s clear that large numbers of white, working-class voters shifted from the Democrats to Mr. Trump. Over all, almost one in four of President Obama’s 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016, either supporting Mr. Trump or voting for a third-party candidate…

If turnout played only a modest role in Mr. Trump’s victory, then the big driver of his gains was persuasion: He flipped millions of white working-class Obama supporters to his side.

The voter file data makes it impossible to avoid this conclusion. It’s not just that the electorate looks far too Democratic. In many cases, turnout cannot explain Mrs. Clinton’s losses.

If persuasion is why he won, then persuasion is also how D’s can gain these voters back. It is why I counsel not shaming Trump voters; just shame Trump and his cronies. Highlight how incompetent he is. Remind people he wants to take your healthcare away (it’s true). Acknowledge problems. Offer a better alternative. The rest will follow.

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Open thread for night owls. The GOP just pirated your internet privacy and fenced it to you-know-who

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 03:00:51 +0000

In case you missed the news, Congress screwed us royally today. It’s really the perfect 21st Century upgrade of the fascist state: a law that promotes profit obtained via theft and gives the government access to data it has no legitimate reason to be interested in. Ernesto Falcon at the Electronic Frontier Foundation tells it like it most unfortunately is in “Repealing Broadband Privacy Rules, Congress Sides with the Cable and Telephone Industry”:  Putting the interests of Internet providers over Internet users, Congress today voted to erase landmark broadband privacy protections. If the bill is signed into law, companies like Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, and Verizon will have free rein to hijack your searches, sell your data, and hammer you with unwanted advertisements. Worst yet, consumers will now have to pay a privacy tax by relying on VPNs to safeguard their information. That is a poor substitute for legal protections. Make no mistake, by a vote of 215 to 205 a slim majority of the House of Representatives have decided to give our personal information to an already highly profitable cable and telephone industry so that they can increase their profits with our data. The vote broke along party lines, with Republicans voting yes, although 15 Republicans broke ranks to vote against the repeal with the Democrats. Should President Donald Trump sign S.J. Res. 34 into law, big Internet providers will be given new powers to harvest your personal information in extraordinarily creepy ways. They will watch your every action online and create highly personalized and sensitive profiles for the highest bidder. All without your consent. This breaks with the decades long legal tradition that your communications provider is never allowed to monetize your personal information without asking for your permission first. This will harm our cybersecurity as these companies become giant repositories of personal data. It won't be long before the government begins demanding access to the treasure trove of private information Internet providers will collect and store. While today is extremely disappointing, there is still tomorrow. Without a doubt Internet providers (with the exception of the small providers who stood with us) will engage in egregious practices, and we are committed to mobilizing the public to push back. EFF will continue the fight to restore our privacy rights on all fronts. We will fight to restore your privacy rights in the courts, in the states, in Washington, D.C., and with technology. We are prepared for the long haul of pushing a future Congress to reverse course and once again side with the public. An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events HIGH IMPACT STORIES • TOP COMMENTS • OVERNIGHT NEWS DIGEST QUOTATION OF THE DAY “The administration's Back to the Future environmental policy might be funny if it were a movie, but it's real life. [...] They want us to travel back to when smokestacks damaged our health and polluted our air, instead of taking [...]



Why in the hell is the media letting Paul Ryan get away with this?

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:45:28 +0000

After Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s complete and epic failure last Friday to jam Trumpcare down America’s throat, Ryan had this excuse:

“Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains,” Ryan said, noting the GOP is feeling them today.

And then on Monday:

Speaking to the donors Monday, Ryan gave an explanation similar to the one he offered reporters on Friday — where he said that “moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains.”

House Republicans have had the majority since 2010. House Republicans voted on—and passed!—repealing Obamacare 54 times in the ensuing seven years. This “growing pains” crap is an utter load of codswallop. It’s nothing more than an excuse for seven years of tossing red meat to the Republican base instead of actually governing. So when Ryan or his minions try to peddle this pathetic excuse, they should be called out on it. Every. Freaking. Time.

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NHL players will stand in solidarity with women's national team over fair pay, reports say

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:25:04 +0000

Call it a boycott or call it a strike, but the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team won’t play in the world championships starting in Michigan on Friday—and now, according to reports, they will get serious support from the men in their sport:

If USA Hockey is unable to come to terms with the current team members and instead uses replacement players, it would “trigger” a boycott of the men’s world championships, a person with knowledge of the talks amongst NHL players who is not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY Sports.

Since the women are taking action for fair pay and against gender discrimination by USA Hockey, this would be a particularly powerful statement coming from the men who are reaping the benefits of the problematic system.

USA Hockey appears to be putting a lot more work into finding replacement players than into coming to terms with the current team members, though:

USA Hockey has gone from women’s hockey well to women’s hockey well looking for replacements for the U.S. women’s team. The latest attempts have apparently come to Under-16 teams — yes, they’ve reached out to kids — to play against professional hockey players in just a few days time.

However, the solidarity across women hockey players has been staunch. The NWHL, one of two professional women’s hockey leagues in North America, said they stand by the players. In an incredible showing of support, professional and amateur hockey players alike have stood together against USA Hockey.

Solidarity is a beautiful thing. USA Hockey had better get the message.

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Mexican Archdiocese calls Mexican companies willing to work on the wall 'traitors to the homeland'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:06:27 +0000

The Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico has labeled any Mexican companies that are even thinking of investing in Donald Trump’s wall of hate “traitors to the homeland”:

In a provocative editorial, the country's biggest Archdiocese sought to increase pressure on the government to take a tougher line on companies aiming to profit from the wall, which has strained relations between Trump and the Mexican government.

"Any company intending to invest in the wall of the fanatic Trump would be immoral, but above all, its shareholders and owners should be considered traitors to the homeland," said the editorial in Desde la fe, the Archdiocese's weekly publication.

On Tuesday, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo warned firms it would not be in their "interests" to participate in the wall. But the editorial accused the government of responding "tepidly" to those eyeing the project for business.

In a meeting with steel companies last week, the nation’s economy secretary warned that “Mexicans would judge and base future buying decisions on ‘which brands are loyal to the national identity, and which are not.’”

But the archdiocese warned in its editorial, titled "Treason against the Homeland,” that the government has still been responding too "tepidly”  to companies that are considering working with a president who maligned an entire nation as criminals and “rapists."

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More Planned Parenthood clinics equal fewer teen births and sexually transmitted diseases

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:00:29 +0000

Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures have been pushing to defund Planned Parenthood for years, despite the organization being far more popular with voters than Congress. They claim it’s about abortion, but abortion is a tiny fraction of the services Planned Parenthood offers, and Republicans aren’t such big fans of many of those other services, like birth control and, well, health care for low-income women—so take your pick. What happens if you take away birth control and health care for low-income women, though?

Defunding Planned Parenthood could have major public health effects. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would lead to thousands of additional births. Now, Yale political scientist Miranda Yaver has taken a look at some of the other effects Planned Parenthood may have on public health:

Reduced clinic access is associated with higher rates of teen births; more clinics per capita are associated with fewer teens having children. I find an even stronger relationship between clinic prevalence and STD diagnoses. That is, the more Planned Parenthood clinics in a state in a given year, the fewer teen births and STD diagnoses. I find similar effects of Planned Parenthood clinic access on the health outcomes of HIV diagnoses and reliance on emergency room care.

Yaver has worked to control for factors like poverty that could skew her findings, but she acknowledges that:

Other factors are at work as well. For instance, Planned Parenthood clinics are not randomly distributed. States that have more could very well have other social programs that help reduce the rate of teen births and STDs. Although I account in the statistical model for whether states mandate the provision of sex education as opposed to abstinence-only, and there does not appear to be a strong association between Planned Parenthood clinic access and the number of hospital beds per capita, other health and social program delivery could affect these outcomes.

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Scott Walker wants Trump to let him drug test tens of thousands more poor people

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:35:44 +0000

Scott Walker may have long since been eclipsed as the scariest Republican out there, but the Wisconsin governor periodically pokes his head out to remind us he’s still here and he’s still terrible. Most recently, Walker is continuing his quest to drug test as many of the low-income residents of Wisconsin as he can, asking the Trump regime for permission to drug test Medicaid applicants.

  • Screen these Medicaid applicants with questions about illegal drug use and actually test some of them for it. Refusing the test will mean the applicants go at least six months without state coverage. If they test positive, the individuals could receive treatment. Toward that goal Walker is asking federal officials to allow for residential substance abuse treatment for childless adults within Medicaid.
  • Charge sliding scale premiums of $1 to $10 a month for single adults making $2,533 to $12,060 a year. BadgerCare recipients would have a 12-month grace period to pay past due premiums but if they don't eventually catch up, they'll lose their coverage for six months or until they start paying. Emergency visits would also start having copays of $8 for the first visit and $25 for those afterward in a year to nudge people toward cheaper forms of care.

Walker claims this is about pushing people into the workforce, but many Medicaid recipients do work. They just aren’t paid a living wage—a living wage being something Walker has no interest in promoting. There’s also no reason to believe low-income people use drugs more than others. But Walker is all about punishing and stigmatizing poor people.

Take those premiums of $1 to $10 a month. How much do you think Wisconsin is going to pay to figure out how much each person owes, bill them, and collect the money, vs. how much the state will actually collect in $1 premiums? And these are mostly working people, as evidenced by the fact that they have incomes, but somehow it’s still really important to take money they do not have to spare, what with living in poverty and all.

Does Scott Walker really hate poor people that much, or does he just find it convenient to scapegoat them as a means to getting himself more power? Maybe it doesn’t matter—he’s evil either way.

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After three strikes in the Ninth on Trump's Muslim ban, administration not rushing back to court

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:24:38 +0000

The same anti-Muslim bigotry that helped Donald Trump on the campaign trail may have driven a stake through the heart of his anti-Muslim agenda. And Justice Department lawyers seem to know it. After rushing into court within 24 hours of the initial order blocking most of Trump’s first Muslim ban attempt, government lawyers have been notably quiet since a federal judge in Hawaii dealt the latest blow to key portions of the Muslim ban. Last month, the Justice Department filed an immediate appeal to the order from a federal judge in Seattle halting the ban and it followed up several hours later with an emergency motion at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The three-judge appeals panel handed government lawyers a unanimous defeat. Now the Justice Department has gone from a sprint to a crawl in the Ninth Circuit, writes Josh Gerstein. But when a federal judge in Hawaii issued a broad block on the new order March 15, just hours before it was set to kick in, there was no immediate appeal. In fact, nearly two weeks later, the Justice Department is still tangling with Honolulu U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson and has yet to take the issue back to the 9th Circuit. The delay has puzzled many lawyers tracking the litigation, particularly given Trump’s public warning that “many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country” as a result of the courts’ interference with his first travel ban directive. A total of two months have now passed since Trump signed his first order. Some court observers theorize that government lawyers may be looking for a more favorable composition in the makeup of the Ninth Circuit appeals panel—presently, two Obama appointees to one George W. Bush appointee—which changes monthly. The overall appeals court consists of 18 Democratic appointees to 7 Republican ones. But five of those GOP-appointed judges publicly issued an opinion earlier this month rebuking the original ruling by the appeals panel. Still, that panel included one Republican appointee who concurred with the original decision. Government lawyers may be waiting to strike when they feel the panel favors their position, but the stall in activity completely undercuts their argument the court must move with urgency to prevent bad actors from entering the country. And it suggests the Justice Department has little-to-no confidence in the merits of their legal argument.   [...]



Trump immigration crackdown is resulting in less food and health care for impoverished American kids

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:40 +0000

The Trump regime's open racism, travel bans, threats to "sanctuary cities,” and already stepped-up deportation efforts are having one big, probably-not-intentional-but-who-knows effect: More kids are going hungry. That's because families with undocumented family members are staying away from government programs they're entitled to, out of fear that merely interacting with the programs will turn them into Trump administration targets.

Of the 20 organizations working with documented and undocumented immigrants that I spoke with in recent weeks, 17 said they had seen legally eligible families declining to enroll or even unenrolling from programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, free school lunches, and the Women, Infants, and Children program. [...]

Through policy changes and simple anti-immigrant posturing, the Trump era will likely increase poverty and hunger in Latino communities, experts said, with children—in many cases, citizen children—among the hardest hit.

Stories of government officers staking out schools in order to nab undocumented parents has resulted in more absenteeism. Stories of agents arresting DREAMers have families living in constant fear. And yes, American children may be going without food because their families don't want to risk drawing attention to other, non-citizen family members.

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Ready for round two of Republican incompetence and humiliation? Welcome to the tax reform fight

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:40:36 +0000

Fresh off their humiliating display of incompetent healthcare "reform” (by which they meant a tax cut for rich people), Donald Trump and the Republican Party alike are moving on to their next big agenda item: tax reform. This will also consist of a tax cut for rich people. And like the attempt to strip health insurance from millions, this too is shaping up to be a fiasco of their own making.

The problem, in short, is that Actual Tax Reform is hard. Very hard. And since nobody in the Republican Party is interested in doing a decent job of it, by which we mean taking suggestions from the opposition party as to reforms that both sides agree are needed, they'll be seeking to pass "tax reform" legislation through reconciliation, an avenue that lets them dodge a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

That requires, according to reconciliation rules, that the bill be "revenue-neutral," adding nothing to the long-term deficit.

Which means that if they want to cut taxes on rich people, they're going to have to somehow pay for it with service cuts or tax increases on everyone else.

Which means once again, they're probably boned. Not only do they not have the tax cuts that their Obamacare repeal was supposed to deliver—they'll have to devise those all over again, if they still want them—but the other possible avenues of funding this monstrosity are probably going to be just as unpopular as their repeal effort has been.

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Trump to businesses: Go ahead, break laws and abuse workers. You can still get federal contracts.

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:30:10 +0000

Should the federal government give major contracts to companies that violate the law? Donald Trump is saying yes to that—at least when the law in question is intended to protect workers. Trump has signed a bill repealing former President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order:

Republicans voted to repeal the Obama administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order. That rule discouraged the General Services Administration from awarding federal contracts to companies with a history of stealing their employees’ wages, violating workplace safety standards, and/or illegally discriminating in hiring or pay. The order also required contractors to provide their employees with “the necessary information each pay period to make sure they are getting paid what they are owed.”

Now, companies will once again be free to underpay their workers, or evade safety regulations without fear of losing access to Uncle Sam’s deep pockets.

Republicans struck down the rule by deploying the Congressional Review Act (CRA) — a law that gives Congress the power to fast-track the reversal of regulations. Before Trump took office, the CRA had only been used to strike down one federal regulation in its 21-year history. Congress has, historically, been reluctant to use the CRA because regulations overturned through the law can never be reinstated by the executive branch, barring the approval of Congress.

How many ways can Republicans find to let companies know that it’s open season on American workers? Plenty, apparently, and this is a particularly powerful statement: “You can break the law by endangering your workers or stealing their wages and the federal government will still do business with you.”

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Inmate boiled to death in shower in Florida and yet no one is responsible

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:31:53 +0000

Darren Rainey died in June 2012 as an inmate in custody at the Dade Correctional Institution in South Florida. His story is one of the glaring reasons why we need protections against cruel and unusual punishment, since other inmates claim that he was burned “like a boiled lobster” after spending two hours in a shower that guards had modified to punish prisoners.

After issuing a mind numbingly 101-page report, his death was ruled an accident by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and guards were cleared of any wrongdoing. Of course, documents reviewed by Huffington Post indicate that the prosecutor’s report does not contain the whole story. In fact, it would seem that information from the police, the prison and emergency services were all somehow mysteriously excluded from the report, which paint a very different picture of the circumstances of Rainey’s death. Hint: they suggest that Rainey was murdered. 

Numerous official photos taken of Rainey’s body several hours after he died were also reviewed by HuffPost. The images reveal extreme damage to his skin, with wounds over his entire body and significant sections of skin missing, exposing red and white tissue and, in some areas, what appear to be blood vessels. A medical examiner who has reviewed the Rainey autopsy and to whom HuffPost described the information contained in the records says the cause of death as stated doesn’t make sense. 

Just to be clear—Fernandez Rundle called Rainey’s death an accident resulting from his schizophrenia, heart disease and confinement in the shower room. Yet, one need not be a medical expert to understand that everything described in these photos and documents sounds like someone who was burned to death. Again, none of these details makes it into the prosecutor’s report.

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Nunes says he will 'never' brief the rest of the House Intelligence Committee

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:24:39 +0000

Campaign Action Honestly, why should Rep. Devin Nunes be trusted about anything—anything at all? Asked by a Fox News reporter whether he would inform the other committee members about who gave him the reports he viewed on the White House grounds last week, Nunes said: "We will never reveal those sources and methods."   That includes saying he will “never” reveal information to the House Intelligence Committee that he chairs. Nunes won’t say who signed him into the White House. Who he met with. What he looked at. What he learned. In fact, the only reason we know he was at the White House—twice—is because he was seen at the White House. After which he provided perhaps the most ludicrous series of explanations delivered by someone not named Trump, and created a cover story which he contradicted multiple times within the same interview. xWhy are we taking Nunes word that he was at WH getting intel rather than there telling WH what Comey revealed in private testimony? https://t.co/aE3YvEOz1i— Sam Seder (@SamSeder) March 28, 2017 Nunes could have gone straight to Trump to warn him of information. He could have been outing sources within the White House. He might have been strategizing to stall the investigation and throw out false information. We don’t know. And not only is Nunes saying he’ll never tell the public what he’s really been up to, he’s vowing to never tell the members of his own committee. Why would anyone trust him? [...]