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Published: Wed, 24 May 2017 13:53:36 +0000

Last Build Date: Wed, 24 May 2017 13:53:36 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want

Donald Trump's laughably uncomfortable meeting and gift exchange with Pope Francis

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:03:47 +0000

Donald Trump, and his family made their way to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis, who seemed to be in no mood to be schmoozed by America’s top con man. The meeting seemed icy from the start. From the press pool report of the initial meeting:

"Thank you so much," President Trump said to Pope Francis when they shook hands.
After shaking hands, the pope and POTUS  walked into the pope's
private study, which is just off the room where they shook hands.
When pool entered the study, the pope and the president were seated
across from each other at the pope's wooden desk.

POTUS told the pope it's "a very great honor."

The pope did not say anything. He did not smile. He looked at pool
several times. We were quickly ushered out at 8:33am.

You can see that moment in the photo below. Pope Francis seems to be asking God what he did to deserve this. We’re all asking ourselves that, Holy Father. 


Democrats pick up two GOP-held legislative seats, the first flips of the Trump era. There'll be more

Wed, 24 May 2017 03:28:10 +0000

On Tuesday night, Democrats flipped not one but two state legislative seats in special elections—and both came in deep red territory. In New Hampshire, Democrat Edie DesMarais defeated Republican Matthew Plache by a 52-48 margin in the state House’s 6th Carroll District, a seat Donald Trump won 51-44 last fall. Meanwhile, in the New York Assembly’s 9th District, Democrat Christine Pellegrino beat Republican Thomas Gargiulo 58-42, even though Trump romped to a 60-37 victory there in November.

This means that DesMarais moved the needle 11 points in the Democratic direction while Pellegrino did the same by an astounding 39 points. And while these are the first two seats to actually change hands since Trump’s election, Democrats have consistently outperformed the 2016 presidential results in special elections across the country.

Needless to say, if we can keep doing that, there will be many more victories to come. But this will only come to pass if we stay engaged and continue to do the hard work that these times demand of us. Winning is never automatic—far from it. There are plenty of special elections coming up fast on the calendar, including one on Thursday in Montana and one next month in Georgia, so let’s ride this momentum and get to it!

Please click here to make GOTV calls for Rob Quist in Montana, and click here to donate $3 to Jon Ossoff in Georgia.


Morning Digest: Maine Supreme Court says new instant-runoff voting law violates state constitution

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:01:25 +0000

Leading Off

ME-Ballot: On Tuesday, Maine's state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a 2016 ballot initiative that switched Maine's elections to instant-runoff voting for state and congressional races violates the state constitution. This ruling was a non-binding advisory opinion, meaning the court did not yet formally strike down the law that voters had approved 52-48 last year, but it casts serious doubt on the prospect of the legislature actually implementing instant runoff (sometimes called ranked-choice voting) as scheduled ahead for the 2018 elections.

Campaign Action

Had this provision gone into effect, Maine would have become the first state in the country to adopt instant-runoff voting for Senate, House, gubernatorial, and state legislative races. That system lets voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no one initially attains a majority of first preferences, the last place candidate gets eliminated, and votes for that candidate shift to each voter's second preference. That process repeats until one candidate achieves a majority. However, the court found that this violated a state constitutional provision that says that the plurality winner is elected.

Consequently, there's a good chance legislators will now repeal the law to avoid a near-certain lawsuit to block its implementation. While legislative proponents quickly pledged to introduce a state constitutional amendment, that would require two-thirds support in both legislative chambers before it could head to a statewide vote. Republicans mostly opposed the reform, and they hold a one-seat majority in the state Senate, while many Democrats opposed instant-runoff voting as well, in part because it would empower independent candidates.

In 9 of Maine's past 11 gubernatorial elections since 1974, the winner had only secured a plurality of the vote. The problems of the status quo became readily apparent in the 2010 Republican wave election when Trump-like tea party GOP Gov. Paul LePage won his first term by a mere 38-36 plurality over a fractured field of left-leaning opponents. Despite an obvious appetite for electoral-system reform and a strong independent streak, Maine voters lack the power to initiate constitutional amendments. Their only recourse appears to be the daunting task of voting in new legislators who will support instant-runoff voting.


Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:13:03 +0000


A Few Words For Our Kossack Buds Graduating This year

With the rise of Trump and the American white supremacist/Nazi movement, I thought this segment of Kurt Vonnegut's graduation speech at Fredonia College in New York on May 20, 1978 might resonate today…

I come to a close now by noting that the press, whose business is to know and understand everything, often find young people to be apathetic (especially when pundits and commentators can't think of anything else to write about or talk about). The new generation of graduates has failed to eat a certain vitamin or mineral perhaps, iron perhaps. They have tired blood. They need Geritol. Well, as a member of the zippier generation, with sparkle in its eyes and a snap in its stride, let me tell you what kept us as high as kites a lot of the time: hatred.

Vonnegut gave grads a lot of weighty food for thought...with jokes!

All my life I've had people to hate---from Hitler to Nixon, not that those two are at all comparable in their villainy. It is a tragedy, perhaps, that human beings can get so much energy and enthusiasm from hate. If you want to feel ten feet tall and as though you could run a hundred miles without stopping, hate beats pure cocaine any day. Hitler resurrected a beaten, bankrupt, half-starved nation with hatred and nothing more. Imagine that.

So it seems quite likely to me that the young people of today in the United States of America are not in fact apathetic, but only look that way to people who are used to getting their ecstasies from hatred, among other things, of course. The members of your graduating class are not sleepy, are not listless, are not apathetic. They are simply performing the experiment of doing without hate. Hate is the missing vitamin or mineral or whatever in their diet, they have sensed correctly that hate, in the long run, is about as nourishing as cyanide. This is a very exciting thing they are doing, and I wish them well.

From the book full of Vonnegut’s graduation speeches, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? (Much) Expanded Second Edition. Great read.

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


Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:01:25 +0000

Halfway through the week. Not bad! I think I like this whole thing where Trump stays out of the country. Is there any way to stretch this out a little bit? There’s still lots happening, of course. And it’s getting harder every day to stay focused. Not to mention how much of my day is eaten up by maintaining my list of what not to get distracted by! Thankfully, Greg Dworkin and Joan McCarter will be on hand to help keep us on track. Listen LIVE, right here at 9:00 AM ET! NPR not doing it for you? Have the networks left you mad as hell? Think The New York Times isn’t fit to print? Well, uh… that’s bad! And if I’m not mistaken, you want good, not bad. Kagro in the Morning is good! Imagine reading and discussing the news every morning with your favorite Daily Kos editors! Now imagine doing that with David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando! Pretty close, right? Why let the corporate news drive you crazy with biased content and exorbitant subscription fees, when Daily Kos Radio can do it at half the cost? Help keep us up and running with a monthly, sustaining donation to our Patreon account! Or choose your own schedule with our Square Cash account. Imagine what we could do together! I have a feeling it would sound something like this: x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash David Waldman has touched the orb, and understands. 1:58 of today’s KITM is ALL GLORY TO THE GLOWING ORB… rounding out the show: The recent bombing in Manchester, England is truly a developing story, and you’ll be hearing a lot more details throughout the day. Here is a guide of things to remember and consider when big news breaks. Here is a guide to spotting fake news on the Manchester bombing. Donald Trump announced that the bombers were “Evil Losers”. Here is a guide to what Donald Trump means when he says “evil” or “loser”. The Trumpshambles continue abroad. Donald just wanted to hold hands, Melania wishes she had a rolled up newspaper. Donald spent 15 minutes of his photo op time at Yad Vashem. Bannon and Priebus figured that if someone can’t get a DC country club membership, they aren’t worth visiting. Maybe Donald can work on driving out the Alt-Reich when he returns to the U.S. Mike Pence can work on understanding and empathizing with people that disagree with him. Maybe colleges could be more picky when choosing commencement speakers. There are good ones to choose from. For instance, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who recently gave a great speech on U.S., and Confederate history. Also in the news, Donald P. Trump tried talking senior intelligence officials into publicly denying his Russian collusion, and Rod Rosenstein might have let it slip that he may have been witness to a crime. Also in probably fake news, the girl in the Anthony Weiner sexting case could have lied to damage Hillary Clinton, but apparently didn’t. Rachel of Irreverent Testimony sends us a dispatch from Colorado: the local angle on the wide-ranging story on the insidious work of the Bradley Foundation to steer policy hard to the right in our state legislatures. A reminder of the interlocking world of right-wing “charitable” foundations, which we’ve explored before, but that deserves a second look. (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: When Trump gets back from his fantasy vacation...

Wed, 24 May 2017 11:13:41 +0000

Al Cross/Courier-Journal:

But McConnell and Republicans are about to get jammed between the interests of their base and the interests of persuadable voters, and of the national interest. The president appears to be losing his non-Republican base.

A Monmouth University poll found that Trump’s support in the 300 counties he carried by single digits is only 34 percent, down from 41 percent in March. The Russia bombshell hit during the polling period, and it had an impact; afterward, a majority in those counties said Trump’s attitude toward Russia is a national-security risk.

A Quinnipiac University poll May 4-9 showed that 54 percent of Americans want Democrats to control the House, and only 38 percent want Republican control, the largest margin ever in that poll.

In results that could be reflected in Kentucky, the poll showed Trump’s support among whites without college degrees, perhaps the most important part of his base, had dropped to 47 percent from 57 percent. The percentage saying they disapprove strongly is now larger (40 percent) that those saying they strongly approve (34 percent). In midterm elections, which have lower turnout, voters with strong feelings matter more.

So, as he looks out on an increasingly bleak political landscape, what does Mitch McConnell have to say?


Open thread for night owls: Trump's stinking, unpassable budget is not so different from Paul Ryan's

Wed, 24 May 2017 03:01:02 +0000

Michael Linden of the Roosevelt Institute writes—Trump's immoral budget is 'dead on arrival' in Congress: President Trump’s budget request, with its cruel and counterproductive cuts, its magic growth assumptions and its fantastical ability to make a negative six turn into a positive two, will be dead on arrival in Congress, as it very much deserves to be. But don’t give congressional leaders too much credit. Speaker Ryan’s (R-Wis.) famous budgets from several years ago had many of the same warts, though Ryan was, perhaps, better at hiding them than President Trump is. Soon, Republicans in the House and Senate will have to craft budgets of their own. They might be just as bad at budget math as President Trump, but one type of math, at least, they should understand: A majority of Americans oppose these kinds of policies. Seventy-four percent of voters oppose cuts to Medicaid, while 82 percent support raising taxes on the rich. After all, it was only a few weeks ago that 125,000 Americans in over 200 communities marched to demand a fairer tax system, one that doesn’t skew toward the wealthy. Let us hope that congressional Republicans pay attention to the American people and decide to chart a more responsible, decent and arithmetically sound course than the president has. • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events • Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES • OVERNIGHT NEWS DIGEST QUOTATION  “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”                     ~Joe Biden, 2008 TWEET OF THE DAY BLAST FROM THE PAST At on this date in 2009—Torture: This should need to be said: Let's put this straight right off the bat: favoring the use of torture is not a political position, it's a mental illness. Any further discussion of torture should be unnecessary. However, since our our national media seems to be enthusiastically pimping depravity as a governing principle, we might as well point out that the guys that have been there, done that, seen the elephant show and lived to come home? They say it doesn't work, isn't worth it, and they want nothing to do with it. If you need further evidence, check out Mike Ritz, a former SERE instructor who worked with our servicemen and women to prepare them for harsh interrogations torture, and who went on to found his own private "stress laboratory" where he could "use just about any technique" he had read about to "see what kind of results he could get." Tony Lagouranis, a former Army interrogator who questioned prisoners in several locations, including Abu Ghraib. In other words, these are two people who have tortured other people, neither of them is shy about that fact, and they are willing to talk about that experience. Both men appeared on NPR's Tell Me More (audio link). The guys who have really done this stuff to actual human beings do not exactly back up the words of American's biggest Dick. First off, they discussed the difference between what service people in the intelligence field had been trained to do, and what they were then asked to do by the Bush administration. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Trump thinks Yad Vashem is totes amazeballs. Now that “alt-right” types are murdering black students, maybe don’t Nazi speakers? A dispatch from CO on the Bradley Foundation & the world of how interlocking right-wing “charities” shape your world. x Embedded Content YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash [...]

Cartoon: Trump visits the Western Wall

Mon, 22 May 2017 18:54:22 +0000

Trump visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem and has a pensive moment during his Middle Eastern trip. The question remains, did Jesus get Mexico to pay for the Western Wall?


Uber will pay $45 million to New York City drivers it cheated, but even that isn't all it owes

Tue, 23 May 2017 20:16:26 +0000

Uber remains evil, and for once it’s not getting away with every nasty trick it pulls. The company has admitted that it underpaid its New York City drivers by around $45 million, and will give back pay averaging $900 per driver:

The ride-hailing company has previously misled drivers about how much they could make and miscalculated fares. In this case, Uber was taking its cut of fares based on the pretax sum, instead of after taxes and fees as stated in its terms of service. The issue was also raised in a lawsuit against San Francisco-based Uber filed by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. In March, Uber acknowledged that it had underestimated drivers’ pay in Philadelphia by millions of dollars. 

But Uber’s wage theft, even just in New York, doesn’t stop at $45 million.

The Taxi Workers Alliance said the payments Uber is offering didn’t go far enough. "While we welcome progress in Uber acknowledging its unlawful deductions, make no mistake: the full amount that they owe to drivers is much more than what it is now claiming," Bhairavi Desai, the Taxi Workers Alliance’s executive director, said in a statement. "Uber hasn’t just wrongly calculated its commission, it has been unlawfully taking the cost of sales tax and an injured worker surcharge right out of driver pay as opposed to charging it on top of the fare as the law requires."

This is a terrible company, and if you think that once Uber has undercut taxis and found a way to screw over public transit it won’t treat you like it currently treats its drivers … think again. Think hard. And think about the fact that companies like Uber want to turn us all into workers they can exploit this brazenly.


As investigations close in, members of Team Trump are lawyering up—and it'll cost them

Wed, 24 May 2017 01:31:04 +0000

Hey, remember when the government ethics office was warning Team Trump that they really, really ought to pay attention to the mountain of ethics rules and federal laws that apply to incoming government officials because it could save them a lot of time and cash later and Team Trump was all, ya know, whateverz? Well guess what? Bill's comin' due.

White House aides bracing for subpoenas and grand jury summons have already begun making inquiries for legal help to navigate the unfamiliar terrain, according to lawyers who have been contacted, opening critical lines of communication in a bid to avoid serious harm to their reputations and careers, and perhaps even jail time. [...]

As Mueller’s probe launches, Washington has been on a crash course relearning the rules of the road for how executive branch aides can fund their legal help, short of paying in full. The Washington Post reported Friday that an unnamed senior White House adviser is already a person of interest in the federal investigation into potential Trump campaign collusion with Russian hackers seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The short version: They're boned. Defending yourself from a grand jury or a Senate subpoena can cost six figures or more. Meanwhile, the federal investigations into what Trump team members knew about Russian hacking or ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn's apparent lawbreaking are only beginning, and every last administration member who's had contact with one of the subjects of the investigations is going to have to lawyer up, largely at their own expense. Unless they can get Donald to pay for it (not bloody likely) or they are popular enough with the base to crowdsource their own legal defense fund, it's up to them—and not the White House counsel or the Department of Justice—to pay for their own legal teams.


Want to know which House districts are headed in the Democrats' direction? This is your guide

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:00:58 +0000

Ed Royce, the Republican who represents California’s 39th congressional district in Orange County, may be the most vulnerable member of Congress that you’ve never heard of. And that’s despite holding the high-profile position of chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; he keeps a low profile and manages not to say intemperate, attention-grabbing things, to the extent that he sometimes get misidentified as a "moderate" (which is insane, since DW-Nominate recently identified him as the 411th most-liberal member of the House, adjacent to a lot of Freedom Caucus members). He’s been there 1993 without facing serious opposition at any point, kept secure by Orange County’s dark-red status as California’s anchor of conservatism.

What’s threatening Royce this time is that Orange County’s stronghold status is crumbling before our eyes; Hillary Clinton was the first Democrat to win the county since FDR. Much of what’s driving that is the fact that Orange County, once a uniform slice of suburban white bread, is now much more diverse (42 percent non-Hispanic white, compared with 62 percent nationwide) and more educated (38 percent college-educated, compared with 31 percent nationwide) than the country at large. As we talked about a few weeks ago, both those demographic factors are more closely linked to voting Democratic than at any point in recent history. And Royce’s district has even more pronounced numbers (30 percent non-Hispanic white, 41 percent college-educated) than the broader county.

This isn’t the usual way to talk about how vulnerable a Congress member is; the most common data point that someone in my shoes reaches for is what the presidential numbers were, in that district or state, in the last election. By that measure, Royce’s district, which Clinton won 52-43 in 2016 (and which was won by Romney, 51-47, in 2012) isn’t the bluest district held by a Republican; with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen having already bailed out on FL-27 (which Clinton won 59-39), the GOP incumbent with the bluest district is now FL-26’s Carlos Curbelo, at 57-41. Once we get closer to the election, we start talking more about fundraising, candidate strength, and finally district-level polling, if that’s ever available.

But demographics is an important consideration as well: more than anything, it tells us where we're going, more so than where we are right now. More attention to demographic crosstabs in national polls that showed terrible numbers for Democrats among white non-college voters, for instance, might have been a useful warning light that something might have been off with those statewide polls (that failed to weight by education) that showed Clinton with significant (and incorrect) leads in Midwestern states. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2018 House battlefield, purely from a demographic standpoint without looking at presidential numbers.


Sen. Patty Murray asks ethics office to weigh in on pension fund involvement with Trump businesses

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:50:48 +0000

Trump's refusal to fully divest from his companies is an ethical quagmire through and through. Now Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has identified yet another conflict of interest lurking in the mess: Public pension funds are investors in at least one Trump-branded property. Which means those pension funds are now paying Donald Trump.

Reuters reported on April 26 that public pension funds in at least seven U.S. states periodically send millions of dollars to an investment fund that owns the upscale Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York City and pays a Trump company to run it, according to a Reuters review of public records.

“Trump may be profiting from the retirement plans of millions of our nation’s public servants,” Senator Patty Murray of Washington state wrote in a letter to Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, citing the Reuters report.

Walter Shaub's office is a busy place these days; since the early days of the transition, the Trump campaign essentially ignored their ethical advice and offers of assistance, ignored their subsequent warnings about ethical boundaries that they should not cross, and now that those boundaries have been crossed are blocking the agency from investigating their ethical dodges. Which is, of course, evidence that the Trump team is not simply ignorant of federal ethics rules, but is both aware of the rules and aware that they are violating them. You know: crooked.

So we'll see if Shaub even has time to respond to this latest sub-sub-sub-catastrophe.


DeVos whines about partisanship, then calls public education defenders 'flat-earthers'

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:36:30 +0000

It turns out that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos didn’t provide details on the plan to privatize America’s schools during her big speech Monday night. She mostly just insulted people who disagreed with her while offering simplistic, misleading comparisons and platitudes.

If you hear nothing else I say tonight, please hear this – education should not be a partisan issue.

Said the woman who has dedicated millions of her family’s fortune to waging partisan warfare on the public education system.

If we really want to help students, then we need to focus everything about education on individual students – funding, supporting and investing in them. Not in buildings; not in systems.

Apparently DeVos hasn’t heard of economies of scale. Schools can afford math teachers and language teachers and art teachers and science teachers and gym teachers—or could, before Republicans started slashing budgets—because every student’s share of the education budget is pooled together to afford those things, where one student’s share couldn’t cover a full teacher’s salary, let alone teachers for multiple subjects plus classroom supplies plus a building to learn in (we call that a school, Betsy).

Defenders of our current system have regularly been resistant to any meaningful change. In resisting, these 'flat-earthers' have chilled creativity and stopped American kids from competing at the highest levels.

Flat-earthers, said the woman whose display of ignorance at her education secretary confirmation hearing shocked the nation. Quick, someone ask her about climate change.


Read the embarrassing scribbled note Donald Trump left at the Holocaust memorial in Israel

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:37:18 +0000

After visiting Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial in Israel, it is tradition for world leaders to leave a message. The differences in these two messages could not be more stark. One was a heartfelt, elegant letter (which you can read in full below) and the other essentially a yearbook scribble from the random dude in your 5th hour algebra class.


President Obama’s letter:

I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man's potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim 'never again.' And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.

Donald Trump’s letter:

It’s a great honor to be here with all of my friends—so amazing + will NEVER FORGET!


Republican Trumpcare turmoil is putting Children's Health Insurance Program at risk

Mon, 22 May 2017 15:51:45 +0000

The Children’s Health Insurance Program has long been a bipartisan one. Until Republicans got focused on taking health coverage away from tens of millions of children and adults with Trumpcare, that is. Now, CHIP’s health care for 9 million children is in danger—its funding continues until September 30, but if new funding isn’t going to come through, states need to start planning now. 

"Certainty and predictability [are] important," agrees Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. "If we don't know that the money is going to be there, we have to start planning to dismantle things early, and that has a real human toll."

In a March letter urging prompt action, the Medicaid directors noted that while the end of September might seem far off, "as the program nears the end of its congressional funding, states will be required to notify current CHIP beneficiaries of the termination of their coverage. This process may be required to begin as early as July in some states." [...]

"We've just achieved a historic level in coverage of kids," [Joan Alker of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families] says, referring to a new report finding that more than 93 percent of eligible U.S. children now have health insurance under CHIP. "Now all three legs of that coverage stool — CHIP, Medicaid and ACA — are up for grabs."

Whether Republicans just don’t get their act together on a low priority or whether they intentionally take CHIP hostage, failure to renew its funding—now—could put millions of kids’ health at risk, and potentially bust their families’ budgets as parents scramble to get coverage for children who had been insured through the program.

It’s yet another case where Republicans could seriously damage voters’ opinions of them, but no decent person can root for that because it would involve hurting so many people first.


Metro police investigate after transit officer filmed asking passenger if he's 'here illegally'

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:18:44 +0000

Minneapolis Metro Transit Police have launched an investigation after a trumped-up transit officer—who has yet to be publicly identified—was filmed asking a passenger if he was “here illegally.” As a sanctuary city, Minneapolis “city employees, including police, are prohibited from asking about the immigration status of someone unless it’s directly relevant to a crime being investigated.” You’d think a citation and fine would be the usual route here, until the part-time officer took it upon himself to become an ICE agent and begin badgering the man about his legal status. Ricardo Morales, a fellow passenger who eventually stepped in to remind the officer about his job description, was there to film the incident:

According to Morales, two Metro transit police officers entered the train and asked passengers for proof they had paid the train fare. One young man “didn’t have a satisfactory answer” for the officer, Morales told the Star Tribune. That’s when Morales started recording.

The video posted on Facebook on May 20 has over 1 million views. In the clip, the officer asks the man, “Do you have a state ID?” The man appears to shake his head no.

“Are you here illegally?” the officer asks next.

Morales then intervenes and asks the officer, “Are you guys authorized to act as immigration police?”

“No, not necessarily,” the officer says.

Morales tells the officer, “Then I would stay out of that. It’s very touchy legal territory.”

The officer nonchalantly shrugs and says, “Okay.”

One point for Morales and zero for Officer Shrugs-a-Lot, because the latter’s “not necessarily” claim was ultimately debunked by Minneapolis Metro Transit Police’s own chief, who said in a statement following the Facebook video going viral that “it is not the practice of the Metro Transit police to inquire about the immigration status of our riders.” Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington added that he “immediately called for an Internal Affairs investigation to gather the details about this incident and to report back to me as quickly as possible.”


Never mind campaign promises, Trump wants to destroy Medicaid

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:25:06 +0000

It's June 16, 2015, and candidate Donald Trump distinguishes himself from the rest of the Republican field with the promise to "save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, without cuts. Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud, get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it."

Now it's May 23, 2017, and while popular vote loser Donald Trump is overseas, his budget director Mick Mulvaney releases a budget that cuts Medicaid funding nearly in half by 2027 when combined with the proposed cuts in Trumpcare.

That's $610 billion in Medicaid cuts on top of an $880 billion cut in Trumpcare. Here's the reality of what that means for nearly every American, because just about everybody will be touched by Medicaid, either themselves or through a loved one. Nearly one in four Americans is covered by Medicaid. Half of all births are covered by Medicaid. In Louisiana, it's about two-thirds of births. Just about $1 out of every $6 spent on health care in the U.S. is spent by Medicaid. That's 74 million Americans directly covered by Medicaid.

And here's where it's really going to hit home.

The elderly and disabled account for around 60% of Medicaid's expenditures, with the disabled, including the mentally ill, accounting for a full 42% of spending.

The program is the country's largest funder of long-term care expenses, covering 40% of the costs, as well as more than 60% of all nursing home residents. For Baby Boomers nearing or past retirement age, these funds are crucial: As MONEY has previously reported, nursing homes for the elderly cost an average of $80,000 annually, and those expenditures aren't covered under Medicare, the health program for seniors over 65. In fact, because Medicaid absorbs high healthcare costs of people with expensive conditions like dementia, it has kept private insurance around 7% lower than they would be.

To demonstrate how disastrous that will be, look at what's looming ahead for us.


Study: Sea level rising 3x as fast since 1990 as figured before. Meanwhile, feds censor climate info

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:31:20 +0000

Calculations in a new study show that sea level is rising three times as fast as it was before 1990. Previously, the rise before then had been considered to be higher than the new calculations. The scientists concluded in their reassessment that the rise since 1990 has been dramatically underestimated.

This isn’t likely to be the last word on the subject. But the fine-tuning of measurements in the new study will no doubt spark critics to claim that the change from previous calculations proves scientists don’t know what they’re talking about. Although most of these “skeptics” have given up claiming global warming is a flat-out hoax, they haven’t stopped challenging fundamental assumptions held to by an overwhelming percentage of climate scientists. The sea-level study was conducted by scientists at the Research Institute for Water and Environment at the University of Siegen in Germany.

Chris Mooney at The Washington Post reports:

Their paper, just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, isn’t the first to find that the rate of rising seas is itself increasing — but it finds a bigger rate of increase than in past studies. The new paper concludes that before 1990, oceans were rising at about 1.1 millimeters per year, or just 0.43 inches per decade. From 1993 through 2012, though, it finds that they rose at 3.1 millimeters per year, or 1.22 inches per decade.

The cause, said Dangendorf, is that sea level rise throughout much of the 20th century was driven by the melting of land-based glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms, but sea level rise in the 21st century has now, on top of that, added in major contributions from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

Whether this means we’re headed for an acceleration of this acceleration in sea-level rise is unknown, of course. What we do know for certain is that trillions of dollars of the world’s infrastructure, many of its major cities, and up to a billion human beings living in low-level coastal zones will be directly and in many cases severely affected by the rise, and more trillions will have to be spent to adapt to the change. 


New Brennan Center report details just how strongly redistricting maps favor the GOP nationwide

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:20:38 +0000

The Brennan Center for Justice published a major new report last week that uses multiple statistical measures to examine how congressional maps around the country mete out partisan advantages to one party or the other. The study provides detailed mathematical evidence for what redistricting-watchers have long known: The redistricting plans passed in the wake of the 2010 census give Republicans a monumental and consistent advantage nationwide. Although these tests don’t necessarily determine the root causes of these advantages, states with single-party control over the redistricting process stand out as having the worst disparities between the popular vote and seat counts. (For instance, Donald Trump won Michigan by 0.2 percentage points, but Republicans hold 64 percent of the state’s congressional districts.) Indeed, Daily Kos Elections’ own past work has used hypothetical nonpartisan maps to demonstrate that intentional gerrymandering is likely responsible for the vast majority of this GOP edge. Other factors, such as the geographic “clustering” of Democrats into cities while Republicans are more efficiently spread out over wider territory, do also likely play a role. The Brennan report’s three statistical tests include a novel approach known as the “efficiency gap.” Proponents of this approach hope it will undergird a new effort asking the Supreme Court to start striking down partisan gerrymanders as unconstitutional, which it just might do in an upcoming Wisconsin case that’s likely headed before the high court this fall over the GOP’s state Assembly gerrymander shown at the top of this post. So how does the efficiency gap work? We’ll explain it and much more below. The efficiency gap aims to measure how many votes for each party are “wasted” in legislative or congressional races by counting up all the votes for a losing candidate and for a winning candidate that were in excess of the minimum needed to actually win that race. It then divides that total for each party by the statewide two-party vote total and compares the percentage of wasted votes between each party to produce an efficiency gap. Here’s a simplified example. While the efficiency gap tends to be most meaningful with larger numbers of districts, we’ll imagine a state with three congressional districts, since the math behind the concept is the same either way. The combined vote for each party’s three candidates across all three districts is exactly 150 votes for each side, or 300 total statewide—in other words, this is a perfectly divided state. However, in two of these hypothetical seats, Republicans win 60 votes to 40 for the Democrat, meaning they “wasted” 19 votes since it only would have taken 41 to win, for a total of 38 wasted votes. Meanwhile, one seat goes 70-30 for the Democrat, so 39 Democratic votes are wasted here. [...]

Cartoon: Roger Ailes

Tue, 23 May 2017 21:50:54 +0000

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After Flynn refuses subpoenas, Senate Intelligence Committee now subpoenaing his businesses

Tue, 23 May 2017 21:38:18 +0000

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is citing the Fifth Amendment as the reason for refusing to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee in their investigation of Russian election interference. He's also refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents, so the committee's chair and ranking member will now be sending the same request to his companies.

The committee leaders also said they were into the process of sending subpoenas to two of Flynn’s businesses, seeking additional documents. The lawmakers said they did not believe the businesses could invoke the 5th Amendment.

“While we disagree with General Flynn’s lawyers interpretation of taking the 5th, it is even more clear that a business does not have the right to take the 5th if it’s a corporation,” Warner said.

So apparently turning yourself into a corporate entity via names like Flynn Intel LLC does indeed have downsides. How about that? The Intelligence Committee also isn't meekly rolling over for Flynn's Fifth Amendment claims, either, and has sent a letter to his attorneys disputing Flynn's argument that those claims can be used to defy a subpoena of the requested documents.

Committee Chairman Richard Burr says senators will wait for Flynn's response to Tuesday's requests before they decide the next course of action, including the possibility of a contempt of Congress citation.

Won’t that be fun? Let’s all look forward to that.


Special Counsel Robert Mueller has Comey's memos—but don't expect him to admit it

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:22:29 +0000

While the testimony of former CIA director John Brennan on Tuesday was a visual reminder that the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation was at last getting back into action after a long Devin Nunes-inspired delay, it’s far from the only game in town. There is a matching investigation going on over on the Senate side. And now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is in place, a third, independent track is engaged. 

Unlike the congressional investigations, Mueller’s work will happen mostly out of the public eye. In fact, unless his investigation ends with charges being filed, he could close up shop and never make any public report. One of these days his office will either produce charges … or it won’t. Which is a big part of why anyone filling those special counsel shoes has to be someone with broad public trust.

On the other hand, though the special counsel’s office is unlikely to be a source of frequent progress reports, it’s no more immune to a few open windows and whispered conversations than any other office in Washington. So as of Tuesday, we at least think we know that Mueller now has his hands on James Comey’s carefully maintained notes.

In one memo, Comey wrote that Trump asked him to end the FBI probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Any information coming out of the special counsel’s office should be taken with a double dose of salt simply because it’s so impossible to check. Any extraordinary predictions of impending action are probably false. However it certainly seems reasonable that Mueller would put Comey’s notes high on his list of must-have items. For the same reason, it also seems reasonable that Mueller wouldn’t be all that thrilled with the idea of Comey making further public appearances.

Potentially complicating that effort is Comey's acceptance to testify on Capitol Hill after Memorial Day. The source says Comey likely will be limited with what he will be able to say now that the Russia probe is in the hands of Mueller.


The Trump White House and the joy of hearing what you want to hear

Tue, 23 May 2017 20:12:55 +0000

Donald Trump may be in Rome, but he clearly left an anonymous philosopher running the store. Responding to former CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, someone in the shadowy bowels of Trump central dusted off the Underwood and pounded out a response so disconnected from Brennan’s words, or our Earth, that it’s almost zen.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls we welcome you to … dueling realities.

Earth 1

"I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.”

Earth 2

“This morning’s hearings back up what we’ve been saying all along: that despite a year of investigation, there is still no evidence of any Russia-Trump campaign collusion ...”

It’s an interesting place, this Trump–Earth. Terth. One where ...

“The President never jeopardized intelligence sources.”

No, of course not. Say, how green is that sky! And look at those blue hills.


A $2 trillion 'math error' or Paul Ryan-style unicorn poop and pixie dust?

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:41:42 +0000

Economists around the country are calling foul on a $2 trillion sleight of hand in the budget OMB Director Mick Mulvaney released while popular vote loser Donald Trump is away. It's either a dose of the kind of magical budget thinking House Speaker Paul Ryan perfected while he was chairman of the House budget committee, or it's a massive math error as Jonathon Chait suggests.

One of the ways Donald Trump’s budget claims to balance the budget over a decade, without cutting defense or retirement spending, is to assume a $2 trillion increase in revenue through economic growth. This is the magic of the still-to-be-designed Trump tax cuts. But wait—if you recall, the magic of the Trump tax cuts is also supposed to pay for the Trump tax cuts. So the $2 trillion is a double-counting error.

Trump has promised to enact “the biggest tax cut in history.” Trump’s administration has insisted, however, that the largest tax cut in history will not reduce revenue, because it will unleash growth. That is itself a wildly fanciful assumption. But that assumption has already become a baseline of the administration’s budget math. Trump’s budget assumes the historically yuge tax cuts will not lose any revenue for this reason—the added growth it will supposedly generate will make up for all the lost revenue.

But then the budget assumes $2 trillion in higher revenue from growth in order to achieve balance after ten years. So the $2 trillion from higher growth is a double-count. It pays for the Trump cuts, and then it pays again for balancing the budget. Or, alternatively, Trump could be assuming that his tax cuts will not only pay for themselves but generate $2 trillion in higher revenue. But Trump has not claimed his tax cuts will recoup more than 100 percent of their lost revenue, so it’s simply an embarrassing mistake.

Now it's entirely possible that Mulvaney and all his minions really are dumb enough to make such a basic double-accounting error. But it's also possible that Mulvaney learned everything he knows about budgeting from Paul Ryan, and thus thinks this is all perfectly fine. With this crowd, anything's possible.


Sessions capitulates on sanctuary cities, but not before sneaking his agenda into the budget

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:06:42 +0000

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, America’s most racist Keebler elf, appeared to eat some humble pie yesterday after backing off the Department of Justice’s ongoing threats to strip money from sanctuary cities. The Huffington Post reported that the DOJ capitulation was “admitting what legal experts have said for months: In most cases, the department can’t do that.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo explaining how the department will carry out President Donald Trump’s executive order meant to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities,” defining them more narrowly than before.

“Sanctuary city” is a broad term, but is most often applied to jurisdictions that don’t comply with all of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “detainer” requests to hold individuals who would otherwise be released. Yet instead of going after any city or county that doesn’t comply with ICE’s requests, the executive order will target jurisdictions that specifically don’t comply with a law to share information with the federal government for immigration purposes.

It’s an important distinction ― nearly all jurisdictions, even those labeled sanctuary cities, say they do comply with the law to provide information. If that’s the case, Trump’s anti-sanctuary cities order is largely toothless.

For all of the president’s rhetoric, the Trump administration is now admitting it can only take away funding under narrow circumstances, and not just because jurisdictions are declining to do what ICE asks.

But, there’s some trickery here that Sessions and Trump are trying to slide past folks, hidden in the middle of the new 1,300-page budget proposal that is also allocating billions of dollars to ramp up a deportation force and to build portions of his stupid, racist wall at the expense of the poor, disabled, and sick.


Every Trump–Russia hearing is an excuse for Republicans to talk about anything except Trump–Russia

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:51:07 +0000

Whether it’s in the House or Senate, every investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russian officials tends to go the same way. Democratic Senator A? Yes, here are some questions about the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia. Republican Senator B? Hello, can you tell me why Hillary Clinton is not in jail? 

That’s not strictly true in all cases, of course. Because sometimes the Republican Theme of the Day is “unmasking” or “the terrible danger of leakers.” Sometimes, as in this morning’s House Intelligence Committee meeting, they even dip a toe into all those areas. It’s all good—so long as it’s not the actual subject of the hearing

At the witness table, Brennan told a harrowing tale. As CIA director last summer, he saw what was happening with the hack-and-leak attack on the Democratic National Committee, and he reviewed top-secret intelligence and concluded that Russia was mounting this assault to disrupt the election, hurt Hillary Clinton, and help Donald Trump. He also at the time was aware of intelligence that showed contacts between Trump associates and Russia, and that caused him to conclude a thorough FBI investigation was warranted. He testified, "I saw interaction" that warranted concern.

The CIA director recounting a direct assault on American democracy by a foreign power. So … how much did Republicans not care?

When the Republicans on the committee had the chance to question Brennan, they did not press him for more details on Russia's information warfare against the United States. Instead, they fixated on protecting Trump.

Yeah, only that particular strategy didn’t work so well. Because when Republicans pressed Brennan on the issue of collusion, they got an answer that was perilously close to “yup.”


Drop dead, America: Trump's billion-dollar budget cuts to medical research and disease prevention

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:23:54 +0000

The Trump administration's proposed budget isn't just unconscionable for how inhumane it is, it's a sweeping effort to hamstring science, setting back lifesaving advances in both medical research and treatment that will inevitably make our nation sicker and result in unneeded deaths. Here's a brief look at the chopping block: National Institutes of Health—$6 billion cut Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—a 17 percent cut of $1.3 billion Food and Drug Administration—a 31 percent cut, from $2.7 billion to $1.89 billion (supposedly offset by increased fees from drug and device makers) Planned Parenthood—barred from Medicaid funding or any other Health and Human Services program Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—at least a 20 percent cut over the next two fiscal years, as a part of overall cuts in Medicaid funding The CDC director had some immediate thoughts to share about the budget: xProposed CDC budget: unsafe at any level of enactment. Would increase illness, death, risks to Americans, and health care costs.— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFrieden) May 23, 2017 The cuts would negatively impact everything from the National Cancer Institute to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to NASA. The Washington Post reports: The National Science Foundation, which dispenses grants to a variety of scientific research endeavors, would be trimmed $776 million, an 11 percent cut. NSF had not been mentioned in the administration's earlier budget outline, the so-called "skinny budget," which was released in March. [...] [...]

House Republicans battle over whether to screw American consumers just to appease the big banks

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:31:00 +0000

Once again, House Republicans are locked in battle with each other over just how much they can screw their own voters and still get away with it. This time it's their effort to repeal a clause of the Dodd-Frank law that caps the fees banks can charge retailers for processing debit card transactions. The Screw All Regulations caucus, including Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas-of-course), wants to do away with those limits because freedomz; other House Republicans are worried that voting to bring back yet another way banks can gouge Americans might, regardless of the raw appeal of again screwing their constituents for no good reason, come back to bite the party.

“If Durbin is repealed, two major companies will have over 80 percent share of the market [and] will dictate the price of routing fees — all to the detriment of consumers,” Ross said, referring to the banking fee cap’s nickname for it’s original author, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Ross, who wants the bill to pass without the cap repeal, called the provision an “impediment to passage” that “will put members in a position of having to take a vote between two groups that they support: retailers and bankers.”

“To politically do that, knowing that the Durbin repeal will not survive the Senate, would do greater damage to our conference,” he continued.

Now there's a profile in courage. Never mind the consumers who are going be gouged by the inevitable price increases retailers will be obliged to pass on; the real tragedy here is that the banking lobbyists want one thing, the retailers' lobbyists want another thing, and having to choose between them in a tough vote means one side or the other might not be writing House Republicans fat checks come this time next year.


Midday open thread: Giant wind turbines power UK; Trump makes bogus jobs, military spending claims

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:11:03 +0000

Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is Democracy is not partisan: • A single turn of the blades on the world’s newest, tallest wind turbines can power a home for 29 hours: The world's tallest towers for wind turbines are now those offshore in Burbo Bank, UK. And are these 633 feet tall, 8-megawatt machines with 260-foot blades made by a U.S. company? Nope. Because U.S. policy all but destroyed the U.S. wind industry in '80s, just when Denmark and the Danish company Vestas joined in policy and production to make the country the world leader in the field. The United Kingdom now boasts 5.3 gigawatts of offshore wind power.  • Meanwhile, two Georgia nuclear power plants years behind schedule, huge over budget: The nuclear reactors, made by Westinghouse (owned by Toshiba) were to be part of a nuclear renaissance. Unlike earlier custom-built nukes, the Westinghouse AP 1000s were standardized, which maker and advocates said would speed construction and lower costs. Instead, two Georgia reactors and two in South Carolina are about three years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Meanwhile, Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. If the reactors ever come on line, the cost overruns will be born by electricity consumers in those states. Already, Georgia customers are paying a $100 a year surcharge for the nukes, the first of which is now slated to switch on in 2019. Nobody who has watched this fiasco is likely to give even odds on that schedule being met. • Mouse with 3D-printed bioprosthetic ovaries gives birth to healthy pups. • Roger Moore dead from cancer at 89. The British actor starred in seven James Bond films between 1973 to 1985 and as Simon Templar in “The Saint” between 1962 and 1969. • In Riyadh, Trump claims he’s created a million jobs in the past few months: The Associated Press points out that Barack Obama was president for most of one of those months, but allows that Trump's claim that almost 1 million jobs have been added “is in the ballpark.” Uh...738,000 new jobs have been added to the U.S. economy from January through April, according to monthly reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s some serious rounding-up despite the fact that in baseball making it three-fourths of the way around the bases doesn’t score. A new president’s economic policies don’t have much impact in the first months of an administration, say, until the end of the fiscal year in September. But, if we ignore that and give Trump credit anyway, we find that average gains in 2017 so far have been 185,000 a month; in 2016, they were 187,000 a month, and in 2015, 226,000 a month. Trump also claimed in his speech on Sunday that his regime has made record investments in the military. In fact, no increases in military spending have been made so far by the regime. Trump has only proposed. And those proposals fall short of a “record” even when you cut out World War II and the Korean War. His proposed budget calls for a 10 percent boost in military spending for fiscal year 2018. But the base military budget rose 14.3 percent, in 2002, 11.3 percent in 2003, and 10.9 percent in 2008. • Food waste contains all the nutrients lacking in our diets: Turns out raccoons might have the right idea: we could all us[...]

The fight to keep public lands in public hands is at the heart of Montana special election

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:11:29 +0000

Rob Quist has made public lands a major focus of his campaign for Montana’s House seat, citing his own love of the land he grew up camping and hiking and kayaking on as well as the economic importance of public land to the state’s tourism and recreation industries. Public lands are also an issue that has special resonance against Quist’s Republican opponent, Greg Gianforte, who lost last year’s gubernatorial race in part because of his history fighting the public part of public lands:

Gianforte's property abutted the East Gallatin River outside Bozeman and included an easement long used by locals for fishing. (The easement was granted through an agreement with the property's previous owner.) Gianforte argued that the easement was ruining his property and sued the state of Montana to have to have the area closed off. He eventually reached a compromise with the state, but the dispute fed into Bullock's narrative. It was one thing to campaign on the fear that Republicans would try to limit public access to public lands, but it was far easier when Gianforte had actually tried to do it.

"Montanans have been locked in a battle against wealthy out-of-state land owners buying up land and blocking access to places Montanans have literally enjoyed for generations," [Gov. Steve] Bullock said at the time. He hammered Gianforte's river-access suit in speeches and ads.

That issue has not stopped being relevant, as Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy reports. Not only has Quist run an ad (watch it below) in which he walks along the path Gianforte tried to block access to, saying “You shouldn't have to be rich to get outdoors in Montana,” but public lands have been a major issue in the western resistance to Donald Trump:


FEC commissioner asks agency to broaden Trump-Russia investigation

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:30:47 +0000

The Federal Elections Commission is mostly known around these parts for a complete inability to enforce election laws. This is due to the commission's partisan makeup; when a violation comes down the pike, certain partisan (hint: Republican) members of the commission can simply refuse to investigate possible breaches by certain partisan (hint: Republican) candidates and that's that, good bye, have fun on election day.

The commission is slightly twitchier when it comes to foreign interference in our elections, or at least they claim to be. Which is, these days, newly relevant.

A member of the Federal Election Commission is calling on the agency to investigate whether Russian agents paid for Facebook ads to spread damaging stories about Hillary Clinton ahead of last fall’s presidential election.

“I think there is potential there for finding a violation, but I don’t want to suggest that I have prejudged anything that could potentially come before me,” said FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic appointee to the commission.

That's based on a complaint from two watchdog groups, which highlights Russian-paid internet propagandists as indeed being a foreign expenditure in a campaign, which is under the FEC's purview. Weintraub wants to know if any of those efforts included advertising to boost the profiles and visibility of the stories they posted.

The FEC is already investigating Russian interference efforts, so this wouldn't be an additional investigation but lumped onto the existing one. If the other commissioners allow it, that is. Politico speculates that the FEC could be in a position to undertake a more "transparent" investigation than the congressional versions, but we won't hold our breath on that one.


Amid white racial anxiety in the suburbs, police let blacks know that they are not welcome

Mon, 22 May 2017 23:50:12 +0000

Places like Troy, New York, are struggling with demographic shifts and the results are not good. Formerly majority white cities and towns are seeing an influx of black and brown residents fleeing cities to escape rising costs of living and better opportunities only to find that they are unwelcome, specifically by local police. While the demographics of these places have changed over time to reflect greater diversity, the police forces have not. 

As black and brown people leave major cities to raise families in areas that were once predominantly white, they’re encountering police departments that are slow to reflect those population shifts and all too eager to placate longtime white residents who equate change with rising crime.  To those white residents, the officers serve as a final line of defense against the outsiders marching onto their land, uniformed allies paid to protect them from the dangers they feel closing in around them. [...]

From 2000 to 2010, the number of black residents in Troy grew by 46%. Yet the police force remains 95% white, with just four black and two Latino officers on a staff of 120 — a common proportion in these quickly changing cities. [...]

The result is a combustible mix: a white population anxious about its new black neighbors, and a white police force unprepared and ill-equipped to handle the thickening racial tensions.

Once upon a time, the trend was that white people left racially mixed urban areas for more homogenous suburban ones—also known as white flight. There has been a lot of debate over the years about whether or not this flight was motivated purely by the arrival of blacks into the cities or if this was a combination of racism and economics. But according to Allison Shertzer and Randall P. Walsh from the University of Pittsburgh, racism alone was the motivating factor—at least between 1900 and 1930.


The Trump regime's budget doubles down on his disdain for his own voters

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:13:25 +0000

This story is getting kind of old, but is still astounding. Just like the people who will most be hurt by Trumpcare are the people living in Trump states, the massive cuts to food assistance in his budget will do the same. He's cutting more than $192 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or as most people think of it, food stamps. That's a quarter of the program's funding.

About 44 million people benefit from food stamps in the US, especially poorer states in the Southeast. For example, one out of every five people in Louisiana receives food stamps in a given month, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Trump's proposed cuts to food stamps will by and large hit his own voters the hardest. Louisiana voted overwhelmingly for Trump, as did its Southeast counterparts Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and Georgia. Out of the ten states with the highest food stamp-use by population, seven voted Republican in last year's presidential election.

In addition to that massive cut, it would slash $272 billion over all from federal safety-net programs. It's so bad, even budget director Mick Mulvaney's former Freedom Caucus colleague Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) thinks it might be too much.

But in a signal that some proposed cuts to domestic programs are likely to face resistance even from conservatives, Mr. Meadows said he could not stomach the idea of doing away with food assistance for older Americans.

"Meals on Wheels, even for some of us who are considered to be fiscal hawks, may be a bridge too far," Mr. Meadows said.

It's hard to believe that there actually is a bar that's too low for the Freedom Caucus for causing pain. Figures the Trump regime would cross it.


Ryan pretends passing a bill affecting one-sixth of the economy without CBO score is totally normal

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:20:19 +0000

Nothing to see here, Speaker Paul Ryan insists. It's not a big deal at all that the House passed a bill to repeal Obamacare and gut Medicaid and kick at least 24 million people off of health insurance without finding out what it might do to the budget or the economy. It's just a sixth of the economy and the House has never passed such a massive bill under budget reconciliation without getting a CBO score, but the fact that he did that and that because of it the House might have to vote again? Who cares?

Ryan has delayed formally sending the American Health Care Act to the Senate after his chamber’s May 4 vote, Bloomberg reported last week, in order to receive a confirmation from the CBO that the bill cuts the deficit enough to qualify for reconciliation in the Senate — that is, the Senate’s ability to pass the bill on a simple majority vote, foregoing the threat of a Democratic filibuster.

“We just want to have an abundance of caution to make sure,” Ryan said at his weekly press briefing Tuesday, explaining why he had rushed a House vote and then delayed sending the bill to the Senate. “CBO scores have been unpredictable in cases in the past. We don’t think that’s going to be the case, but again, we just want to make sure that we dot our ‘I’s and cross our ‘T’s exactly the right way, so that when we send a bill over to the Senate, it is not, as we say, fatal.”

A competent leader would have done all that dotting and crossing BEFORE sending a bill to the floor, not to mention having a big party in the White House Rose Garden with the president to celebrate overcoming weeks of embarrassing failures. But competency is a very high bar to be setting for Mr. Ryan.


Trump's broad and targeted campaign to stymie the Trump-Russia probe and blunt media reports

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:28:19 +0000

Last week, White House aides originally tried to dismiss the conversation in which Donald Trump urged former FBI director James Comey to end his Michael Flynn probe as simply Trump being Trump—that's just the way he speaks, one senior official said. But with Monday's Washington Post report that Trump also tried to separately persuade two senior intelligence officials to publicly deny the links between his campaign and Russia, what we have now is a broad and targeted campaign by Trump to halt the investigation into his campaign accompanied by an effort to sow doubt in the minds of Americans. In response to that effort, intelligence officials—including Comey, director of national intelligence Daniel Coats, and director of the National Security Agency Adm. Michael Rogers—are diligently and loudly ringing alarm bells for all of us to hear. Trump may be one of the most impulsive presidents in our history, but he is laser focused on executing his disinformation campaign both behind closed doors and in his public tweets. As the Post reported: Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation. A senior intelligence official said Trump’s goal was to “muddy the waters” about the scope of the FBI probe at a time when Democrats were ramping up their calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, a step announced last week. [...] “The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said of the request to Coats. But it wasn't just Trump himself—officials around Trump were equally as invested. Ostensibly, when Trump's one-on-ones with Comey failed to stem the FBI inquiry, Trump officials tried to influence the agency by other means. [...]

Trump's budget—billions for mass deportations and 'bricks and mortar,' but screw the poor

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:47:44 +0000

Sure, the new 2018 budget slashes billions from food assistance, cancer research, and disability benefits, but the Trump regime has still miraculously found plenty of taxpayer money for two of his favorite, racist pet projects. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled a budget proposal asking for billions to terrorize immigrant families, expand Trump’s mass deportation force that has been targeting moms and dads with no criminal record, and to build some of that f*cking wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for:  The budget proposed by the White House on Tuesday includes $2.6 billion for border security -- $1.6 billion of which will be for "bricks and mortar for a wall," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Monday. In addition to the wall money, another $1 billion would cover investments at the border like aircraft, communications equipment, weapons, surveillance technology, road infrastructure and inspection equipment, according to budget documents provided by the White House. The budget will make further requests for immigration enforcement, including $300 million to support recruiting, hiring and training for the vast increase in agents for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Trump has called for. Esther Lee of Think Progress notes that “the request, formally submitted to Congress on Tuesday, is nearly half the $4.1 billion amount for border wall construction called for in the skinny version of a budget blueprint released in March,” but it’s the funding to expand deportations that should be the worry here. As immigrant rights group America’s Voice noted, ICE and CBP are two of the worst law enforcement agencies in the nation,” with one former official saying CBP’s corruption rate has “exceeded that of any other U.S. federal law-enforcement agency.” Among one of the agencies Trump wants to ramp up, three CBP agents were accused this month of “extreme hazing” by colleagues, including assault on something called a “rape table.” But wasn’t it Mexican immigrants who were bringing that? [...]

Voting rights court win means thousands of new voters registered ahead of Georgia special election

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:03:40 +0000

The fight to elect Jon Ossoff in next month’s special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District is also a fight that could help the state’s Democrats build for the future. More than 5,500 voters have been registered since a federal judge ordered the state to allow new registrations until May 21, 30 days before the June 20 runoff election and two months after the deadline the state had tried to impose. Though the deadline has passed, the final tally will grow:

The total includes two types of voter: the newly registered, plus so-called “transfer” applications — already registered Georgia voters who moved into the district after March 20, when the registration period originally closed.

Several thousand additional applications are still pending, although all three counties that have areas that fall within the 6th District — Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton — have been working overtime to process them ahead of the hotly contested June 20 runoff between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

The next task is making sure those new registrants follow through and vote. In a close election—and polls have showed this to be a close election—a couple thousand new voters could make the difference. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will be adding to the overall effort with a newly announced $2 million that includes money for outreach to African American voters.

Absentee voting by mail is underway and in-person early voting begins on May 30.

Can you chip in $1 to help power Jon Ossoff's campaign over the final weeks?


Ethics office puts Republicans on the spot: You wanted these rules eight years ago. Follow them now.

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:36:02 +0000

As Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, works to block transparency about how many former lobbyists Trump has working on the issues they used to lobby about, the Office of Government Ethics is sending a reminder of just how it started its policy of publicly posting the ethics waivers that allow those hires. Go figure: Eight years ago, Republicans said transparency about lobbyist hires was suuuuper important.

Eight years ago, [Republican Sen. Chuck] Grassley asked the OGE to force “the Obama administration to live up to its word.”

“As a senior member of the United States Senate, I have consistently worked to ensure that the business of the Government is done in as open and transparent manner as possible,” Grassley wrote in his June 10, 2009, letter to OGE’s then-director Robert Cusick.

[OGE director Walter] Shaub wrote in his letter Monday to Mulvaney that it was Grassley’s letter that prompted his office to develop a policy of posting ethics waivers for the Obama administration.

“However, the current Administration has not been complying with this established practice,” Shaub wrote.

Now, Republicans say that transparency isn’t important and the Office of Government Ethics doesn’t have oversight over the White House and screw ethics, anyway. (That last part is implicit.)

Shaub is not backing down and has let Mulvaney know that he expects information on the waivers within 10 days.


Former CIA director on Trump and Russia: 'I saw intelligence that was worthy of investigation'

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:46:01 +0000

Former CIA Director John Brennan appeared on Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee. The Committee, less Denin Nunes after he recused himself, questioned Brennan over his knowledge of Russian intelligence, their interest in Donald Trump, and whether or not collusion between Trump and Russia is a real thing.

Brennan indicated that Russia not only "brazenly interfered" in the election but acted to hurt Hillary Clinton because they blamed her for encouraging dissidents inside Russia, but they also wanted Trump because of his “outsider status” and success they had previously with businessmen taking government positions. At several points, Brennan testified that the CIA became aware of “interactions between US persons and the Russians.”

It was clear from Brennan’s testimony that the Trump campaign was in communication with the Russians and that communication involved more than one person. He also indicated that there was sufficient information that the CIA had forwarded information to the FBI and supported the investigation. Asked specifically about whether it there was evidence of collusion, Brennan left indications that such evidence may have already been collected. And once again, Republicans who were convinced that there is nothing to this scandal, got answers they didn’t want.

Gowdy: Did you see evidence of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russian state actors?

Brennan: I saw information, intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not such cooperation or collusion was taking place.

Brennan indicated that some of the communication between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials might have been “benign,” but because the interactions occurred in a context of Russia attempting to skew the election, they drew extra scrutiny. Brennan also stated that Russian officials were actively attempting to cultivate US contacts.


Since Trump's election, number of houses of worship offering sanctuary to immigrants has doubled

Mon, 22 May 2017 20:26:58 +0000

A month after popular vote loser Donald Trump’s election, some 450 houses of worship nationwide pledged to become sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants, with one church in the Los Angeles area calling for “holy resistance” to his mass deportation force. And houses of worship have heeded the call, with the number of congregations vowing to protect immigrants from ICE doubling to 800, according to a new report from 60 Minutes. Undocumented parents like Jeanette Vizguerra—recently named one of Time’s 100 most influential people—have fled to churches for safety and as a last recourse. 60 Minutes talked to another immigrant who has gone into sanctuary, transcribed below: Sixto Paz: This is my country. I'm working hard. Sixto Paz would have been deported 10 months ago if he hadn't confined himself to Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix. Ismael Delgado moved in four months ago. Ismael Delgado: We came to work. Paz crossed illegally in 1985. Under the policy of President Reagan he was granted a work permit, which was revoked under the policies of George W. Bush. His four children are citizens by birth. His youngest is five. Sixto Paz: I spent 32 years over here, and I don't wanna leave him alone. And I paid my taxes for 28 years. [60 Minutes’] Scott Pelley: Paid your taxes 28 years? Sixto Paz: Yes, yes. Scott Pelley: There are people watching the interview who are saying, you shouldn't have come here. Sixto Paz: When someone, you're hungry, you not have a job, you not have money. What are you gonna do? I not come to United States to take vacation, man. I'm here because I had to. I'm come over here, and I respect all the law, I respect the people, I'm working hard to do the best. I've got a clean record.  And I learned a lot over here, I learned a language. It's not, I don't speak very well, but I'm working on that. And my son, my daughters, they're professionals. Scott Pelley: You have two older daughters who are medical assistants? Sixto Paz: Yes. Scott Pelley: They both graduated from college here in the United States? Sixto Paz: Yes, yes, sir. Scott Pelley: Sounds like the American Dream. Sixto Paz: Yes. [...]

Paul Ryan loves the new budget, except for the parts he hasn't seen yet which is all of it

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:24:18 +0000

You will not be surprised to learn that the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver (thank you, Charlie Pierce), aka House Speaker Paul Ryan, thinks that the new budget from the Trump regime is just peachy. xPaul Ryan touts Trump's budget "growing our economy" to achieve balance.This is also known as "ducking the hard choices."— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) May 23, 2017 Of course he does because like all of Ryan’s best work, it’s heavy on the punishing of the olds and the poors and all the people who aren’t the Koch brothers. But what about the parts of it that just don’t make sense? xPaul Ryan is asked about the "wildly optimistic" assumptions on economic growth.He just says he hasn't seen the budget yet.Ah.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) May 23, 2017 Ah, yes. The last refuge of the unprincipled: “I haven’t seen it yet.” But he’s not going to be bothered by that part. That part is his specialty. In Paul Ryan’s world, pixie dust and unicorn poop make all the numbers work. [...]

Flynn lied to Pentagon officials about his Russia contacts, says top Democrat

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:12:26 +0000

Rep. Elijah Cummings released a letter Monday charging that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn lied about his contacts with Russia when he sought to renew his top-secret security clearance last year. The New York Times writes: Mr. Flynn, who resigned 24 days into the Trump administration, told investigators in February 2016 that he had received no income from foreign companies and had only “insubstantial contact” with foreign nationals, according to the letter. In fact, Mr. Flynn had sat two months earlier beside President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a Moscow gala for RT, the Kremlin-financed television network, which paid Mr. Flynn more than $45,000 to attend the event and give a separate speech. His failure to make those disclosures and his apparent attempt to mislead the Pentagon could put Mr. Flynn in further legal jeopardy. Intentionally lying to federal investigators is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Separately, he also faces legal questions over failing to properly register as a foreign agent for lobbying he did last year on behalf of Turkey while advising the Trump campaign, which is also a felony.  Cummings’ letter, addressed to his counterpart on the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, urged Chaffetz to use his subpoena pen to compel the White House to release information about what they knew regarding Flynn's foreign contacts. He wrote: "We need to know what the President, Vice President, White House Counsel and other top officials knew about General Flynn—and when they knew it.” Cummings noted that in interviews, Chaffetz has tried to stick the Obama administration with the responsibility for vetting Flynn. Yet on March 22, Chaffetz and Cumming asked the White House to release all relevant information pertaining to Flynn, but the White House has yet to cooperate. Cummings letter quoted from a Pentagon “Report of Investigation” regarding March 2016 but did not include the document separately. [...]

Step aside Donald, this extremist budget shows it's now President Mulvaney's show

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:39:51 +0000

What happens when you put a Freedom Caucus maniac in charge of the spending priorities of the White House? The horror show of a budget that former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, now budget director, released Tuesday. This is the extreme expression of the new Republican party and its priorities—grift. Massive tax cuts and all the spending for cronies, pain for the people.

Of 13 major initiatives in the budget, nine are drastic spending cuts, mostly aimed at low-income Americans. The biggest of those, by far, is an $866 billion reduction over 10 years in health care spending, mostly from Medicaid. That would be achieved if the Senate approves the House bill to undo President Obama’s Affordable Care Act ... It would deprive an estimated 10 million low-income Americans, many of them nursing home residents, of Medicaid benefits; it would also defund Planned Parenthood, reducing or ending health services to 2.5 million people, mainly women.

The budget also calls for slashing food stamps ($192 billion over 10 years) and disability benefits ($72 billion over 10 years), including a big chunk from the Social Security disability insurance program. [...]

The cuts to Social Security disability benefits would be similarly cruel. The budget assumes the cutbacks would prod disabled people back to work. That assumption ignores how severely disabled most benefit recipients are. The cuts also ignore Mr. Trump’s pledge not to cut Social Security. Mr. Mulvaney walked back that pledge on Monday, saying the promise pertained only to retirement benefits.

But massive increases in defense spending? Yeah, that's in there. And pretty much everything else—everything—is drastically cut. Medical research, public health, food assistance, farm supports, science, art, education, entire federal departments, and more get the axe. This to make the claim that the budget will be balanced in 10 years, which sounds totally like Mulvaney again. A balanced budget was never one of Trump's big campaign promises. In fact, his big promises were protecting—"no cuts"—Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. So much for Trump's promises. They're buckling under Mulvaney's zealotry.


Senate considers holding Michael Flynn in contempt

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:01:30 +0000

On Monday, Michael Flynn’s lawyers issued a letter stating that Flynn would not testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and would not turn over documents unless he was given immunity from prosecution. 

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination on Monday and declined to hand over documents sought under subpoena by a Senate panel investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

But ordering Flynn to appear isn’t the only option open to the Senate. Now they’re considering their next move.

The top two leaders of the Senate intelligence committee are leaving the door open to holding Michael Flynn in contempt of Congress after President Trump's former national security adviser said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights rather than comply with a subpoena.

The committee is looking into several options for how to compel Flynn to tell what he knows about his own communications with foreign governments and other such contacts within the Trump campaign. Flynn is under investigation from several points, including both House and Senate committees and the FBI, so keeping his mouth firmly closed would appear to be in his best interest. Whether or not the Senate goes ahead with contempt charges isn’t clear, but according to committee chair Richard Burr, one thing is …

"The only thing I can tell you is immunity is off the table."


Cartoon: Democracy is not partisan

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:50:59 +0000

Follow Jen on Twitter at @JenSorensen


Trump's budget cuts Social Security. His budget director is pretending it doesn't.

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:27:07 +0000

Donald Trump campaigned on the claim that he would “Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.” Who could possibly have predicted that this would turn out to be a lie, besides everyone who observed Trump’s pathological lying and the cut-hungry Republicans who surrounded him? Now we’re getting details on Trump’s budget, and … surprise! It would cut Medicaid by $600 billion over 10 years on top of Trumpcare’s more than $800 billion in Medicaid cuts. Also,

… the new budget would make cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance, which covered over 10 million recipients as of December 2015. It would save about $72 billion through changes to disability programs over the next ten years.

Asked about the discrepancy, Mulvaney suggested that the president intended his promises to apply only to retirement benefits.

"If you ask 999 people out of a thousand, they'd tell you Social Security disability is not part of Social Security," Mulvaney said.

That’s budget director Mick Mulvaney, of coal miners' kids need bombs, not Sesame Street and feeding children and the elderly is not "showing any results" fame. Add this 999 out of a thousand claim to Mulvaney’s greatest hits, because millions of Americans are on disability, so apparently he thinks that most people who have gone through the process of applying to Social Security for disability don't realize what program they’re part of.

And by the way, the states with the highest percentage of working-age people on disability are heavily Trump-voting states, so he’s planning to screw his own voters here.


Trump tried to get other intelligence agencies to interfere in FBI Russia investigation

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:50:08 +0000

Last week continued the stream of ugly revaluations concerning the investigation into how the Donald Trump campaign was tied to the Russian government. The high point—low point—of that week was likely finding that Donald Trump pressured then FBI director James Comey to drop his investigation into Michael Flynn. It certainly wasn’t the first instance in which Trump clearly acted to interfere with the investigation into the connections between his campaign and the Russian government, but it was the most blatant. Until this week. President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials. Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. History may not repeat itself, but sometimes the rhyme is loud enough to be deafening. Haldeman proposed to Nixon that the deputy CIA director Vernon Walters calls the current head of the FBI Patrick Gray and tells him something like: “Stay the hell out of this …this is ah, business here we don’t want you to go any further on it.” Nixon approved such a plan and said: “You call them in. Good. Good deal. Play it tough. That’s the way they play it and that’s the way we are going to play it.” Trump had earlier called on intelligence officials to help counter news stories about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. But this time, Trump was using other agencies to directly interfere with the FBI investigation. [...]

Morning Digest: Supreme Court blocks North Carolina GOP's racially discriminatory congressional map

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:01:08 +0000

Leading Off ● NC Redistricting: On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling issued last year that struck down the congressional map that North Carolina Republicans drew in 2011 on the grounds that lawmakers had engaged in unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, handing voting rights advocates a major victory and dealing a huge blow to what was arguably the most effective congressional gerrymander of the modern era.​ Campaign Action ​As shown here, Republican legislators used surgical precision to pack black voters into just two districts, the tentacular 1st and the snake-like 12th. The lower court found that these districts separated voters on the basis of race in violation of the constitution, a move that effectively prevented black voters from electing their preferred candidates in neighboring seats. Before Republican legislators put these new lines into place, the black population in both the 1st and the 12th constituted a plurality in each of those districts. During redistricting, the GOP increased those pluralities to majorities, claiming alternately that the Voting Rights Act forced them to do so (in the case of the 1st) or that they'd ignored race entirely and only considered partisan preferences in the 12th (something that is still permissible). The Supreme Court, however, rejected both arguments. Black voters in both districts had for years been able to elect their candidates of choice (black Democrats), so increasing the black population in these two seats wasn't necessary to ensure this state of affairs would continue. Indeed, in related cases, the Supreme Court has consistently rejected the notion that mapmakers are required to create districts with majority-black populations. As a result, because Republicans so flagrantly disregarded traditional redistricting criteria with respect to the 1st, and because they could have achieved their partisan objectives by different means with the 12th, the court held that race unconstitutionally predominated in the redistricting process. [...]

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:01:12 +0000

I wonder if, maybe, with Trump overseas, there will be a short break from the revelations of impeachable acti… Oh, I guess not. Here we go again. Might as well try to keep up! Listen LIVE, right here at 9:00 AM ET! NPR not doing it for you? Have the networks left you mad as hell? Think The New York Times isn’t fit to print? Well, uh… that’s bad! And if I’m not mistaken, you want good, not bad. Kagro in the Morning is good! Imagine reading and discussing the news every morning with your favorite Daily Kos editors! Now imagine doing that with David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando! Pretty close, right? Why let the corporate news drive you crazy with biased content and exorbitant subscription fees, when Daily Kos Radio can do it at half the cost? Help keep us up and running with a monthly, sustaining donation to our Patreon account! Or choose your own schedule with our Square Cash account. Imagine what we could do together! I have a feeling it would sound something like this: x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash Thanks to you we are reaching our goal of raising between zero and ten billion dollars monthly for KITM. If you’d like to help us move the needle towards the top of our range here’s your chance! David Waldman reports that Donald Trump has only reached the middle of his Worldwide Victory Tour, yet now seems to have gotten as sick of winning as we are. He might get his second wind soon… after all people know to give leaders the respect they deserve over there. Trump goes to Israel to make the Middle East peaceful, or heads will roll, believe me. Greg Dworkin makes time, even on his birthday, to round up and abbreviate punditry. The world says get rid of Donald Trump; Donald Trump tends to agree. The US doesn’t like him, but odds are he’s sticking around awhile. As the Republican base slowly erodes, do Democrats have a plan for 2018? Do they have a plan ever? The Republicans learn from history, because that’s where all the good excuses are. What did the Vice President not know and when did he not know it? Pick your poison—conspiracies are popping up left and right. Firing that “nut job” Comey cheered up the Russians, but it looks as if the heat is still on. Maybe Jared didn’t fire him soon enough. Jared Kushner saved untold billions in the weapons sale to the Saudis. No, really, no one is going to tell you how much was saved, or what it cost. Kushner will never tell you a thing. You aren’t going to find out how many lobbyists Trump hired either. (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: The world won't wait

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:19:27 +0000


God bless Manchester and God bless us all. 


Other news and punditry below the fold.