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  • Russia's Addiction: How Oil, Gas, and the Soviet Legacy Have Shaped a Nation’s Fate : How Oil, Gas, and the Soviet Legacy Have Shaped a Nation’s Fate    ( Clifford G. Gaddy and Barry W. Ickes, 2019-01-28)
    Brookings Institution Press 2019 240pp. Get Notified When the Book is For Sale Why oil and natural gas are at the center of Russia’s economy and politics Russia’s dependence on its oil and gas is much deeper than generally recognized. Large parts of the economy that Russia inherited from its Soviet predecessor cannot survive without continuous infusions of value from the oil and gas sectors. The privatization of those sectors in the 1990s transferred their ownership to a small number of oligarchs, who promptly plunged into self-destructive internal warfare, putting their companies and the fate of millions of Russians at risk. In Russia’s Addiction, Clifford Gaddy and Barry Ickes describe how Vladimir Putin forced the oligarchs to end their strife and compelled them to share their oil and gas wealth with the rest of society. They argue that the system Putin implemented to manage the nation’s oil and gas resources has been the key to his power in Russia. But they ask the important question: What will happen to this system, and to Russia, when Putin is gone?  Clifford Gaddy, an economist specializing in Russia, is a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program’s Center on the United States and Europe. He is a co-founder and senior scientific advisor of the joint Russian-American Center for Research on International Financial and Energy Security, based at Penn State University. Gaddy is the co-author of the recently released second edition of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (Brookings, 2015). Barry W. Ickes is a professor of economics and associate head, Department of Economics, The Pennsylvania State University. Ickes is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; director of the Center for Research on International Financial and Energy Security, Penn State; chair of the Research Committee, New Economic School in Moscow; and president of the American Friends of the New Economic School in Moscow. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Clifford G. Gaddy Barry W. Ickes Ordering Information: {9ABF977A-E4A6-41C8-B030-0FD655E07DBF}, 9780815727705, $30.00 Add to Cart         
  • Dilemmas of a Trading Nation : Japan and the Trans-Pacific Economic Order    (Mireya Solís, 2019-01-28)
    Brookings Institution Press 2019 180pp. Japan is at a critical moment in determining its trade policy as it strives for renewed economic growth Its economy still struggling after two decades of low growth, Japan now faces a difficult moment as it confronts this ongoing challenge to economic renewal. Tokyo could deploy a proactive trade policy to help it rise again as one of the world's greatest trading nations. It could also, at the same time, attack the structural problems that have hindered its economic competitiveness and kept it from becoming a leading voice in the drafting of rules for this century's global economy.  Or, it could do nothing and remain shackled to the domestic political constraints that have kept it from playing a central role in international trade negotiations. In Dilemmas of a Trading Nation, Mireya Solís describes how Japan's economic choices are important for the United States, as well.  The two nations are the most important members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the trade agreement concluded in 2015 intended to spur trade in the world's fastest-growing economic region.  The arrest of Japan’s economic decline, the credibility of America’s resolve to remain a Pacific power, and the deepening of the bilateral alliance are all influenced significantly by the outcome of the TPP agreement. But the domestic politics of trade policy have never been as unwieldy as policymakers across the Pacific aim to negotiate ever more ambitious trade and to marshal domestic support for them. Dilemmas of a Trading Nation describes how, for both Japan and the United States, the stakes involved in addressing the tradeoffs of trade policy design could not be higher. Mireya Solís is the Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, where she specializes in Japan’s political economy, foreign policy, and Asia-Pacific trade integration. Her previous books include Banking on Multinationals: Public Credit and the Export of Japanese Sunset Industries, Competitive Regionalism: FTA Diffusion in the Pacific Rim (co-edited), and Cross-Regional Trade Agreements: Understanding Permeated Regionalism in East Asia (co-edited). ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mireya Solís Ordering Information: {9ABF977A-E4A6-41C8-B030-0FD655E07DBF}, 9780815729198, $32.00 Add to Cart         
  • Dream Hoarders : How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It    (Richard V. Reeves, 2019-01-28)
    Brookings Institution Press 2019 220pp. America is becoming a class-based society. It's now conventional wisdom to focus on the excesses of the top 1% — especially the top 0.01% — and how the ultra-rich are hoarding income and wealth while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant. But the more important, and widening, gap in American society is between the upper middle class and everyone else.  Reeves defines the upper middle class as those whose incomes are in the top 20 percent of American society. Income isn't the only way to measure a society, but in a market economy it is crucial because access to money generally determines who gets the best quality education, housing, health care, and other necessary goods and services.  As Reeves shows, the growing separation between the upper middle class and everyone else can be seen in family structure, neighborhoods, attitudes, and lifestyle. Those at the top of the income ladder are becoming more effective at passing on their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility. The result is a fracturing of American society along class lines, not just an economic divide. Upper-middle-class children become upper-middle-class adults. These trends matter because the separation and perpetuation of the upper middle class corrode prospects for more progressive approaches to policy. Various forms of "opportunity hoarding" among the upper middle class make it harder for others to rise up to the top rung. Examples include zoning laws and schooling, occupational licensing, college application procedures, and the allocation of internships. Upper middle class opportunity hoarding, Reeves argues, results in a less competitive economy as well as a less open society. Inequality is inevitable and can even be good, within limits. But Reeves argues that society can take effective action to reduce opportunity hoarding and thus promote broader opportunity. This fascinating book shows how American society has become the very class-defined society that earlier Americans rebelled against — and what can be done to restore a more equitable society.   Richard V. Reeves is a senior fellow in Economic Studies, co-director of the Center on Children and Families, and editor-in-chief of the Social Mobility Memos blog. His research focuses on social mobility, inequality, and family change. Reeves appears regularly on radio and television as a political commentator, and writes for a variety of publications including the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian and The Observer. He is also a regular contributor to the online 'Think Tank' section of the Wall Street Journal. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Richard V. Reeves Ordering Information: {BE4CBFE9-92F9-41D9-BDC8-0C2CC479A3F7}, 9780815729129, $24.00 Add to Cart         
  • Open thread for night owls: Climate Mobilization is treating climate change as a real emergency    (Meteor Blades, 2018-06-22)
    Tate Williams at Inside Philanthropy writes—An Unusual Grant Fuels a Push to Start Treating Climate Change as a Real Emergency: A major challenge to organizing and advocacy around climate change is how even to approach a problem so large, complex, and gradually advancing (although it feels less gradual with every year, to be honest). An advocacy group that launched in 2014 has one answer—we respond like we’re at war. For the Climate Mobilization Project, the climate crisis demands not incremental changes or gradual reductions in emissions, but an emergency response led by government that is on the scale of the response to World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The group just picked up a grant from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock of $100,000, an amount they say is the “country’s single largest philanthropic investment in emergency climate action.” This modest grant from a local funder to a little-known climate outfit is worth a closer look, with an eye to takeaways for other players in this space. We've been saying for a while now that if climate change is really the time-urgent, existential threat that so many, including top funders, say it is, then civil society and philanthropy needs to start acting on that belief. Nonprofits need to hit harder and foundations need to give more—a lot more—while there's still time. But what would that look like, exactly? The Climate Mobilization Project was started by a group of friends from varying backgrounds—psychology, journalism, neuroscience—and now boasts an advisory board that includes former executive director of Greenpeace International, Paul Gilding, and leading climatologist Michael E. Mann. [...] The war-footing for climate change concept is more than just a rallying cry. It's an operational approach that's gotten increasing attention in recent years. For example, a 2016 NBER paper by Hugh Rockoff explored the rapid transformation of the U.S. economy in World War II to see whether this mobilization model "provides lessons about how the economy could be transformed to meet scarcities produced by climate change or other environmental challenges." Bill McKibben also fleshed out the World War II analog in a long 2016 article in the New Republic, noting that Pearl Harbor made "individual Americans willing to do hard things: pay more in taxes, buy billions upon billions in war bonds, endure the shortages and disruptions that came when the country’s entire economy converted to wartime production." [...] Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “Dr. King was called a troublemaker and even a race-baiter 45 years ago as he led the call for a civil rights and economic justice Movement. He called for a Poor People’s Movement to address the glaring realities of poverty even as he loved America enough to say: Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds.”                 ~~William J. Barber II, Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation (2014)   TWEET OF THE DAY xHey @SpeakerRyan! We just wanna talk...#RoadToChange pic.twitter.com/eLyaMMGtIP— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) June 22, 2018 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2009—SCOTUS Upholds Voting Rights Act -- For Now, Anyway: It's one of the neat things about the Reconstruction Amendments that's sometimes overlooked -- not only do the 13th through 15th Amendments outlaw slavery and involuntary servitude, guarantee the privileges or immunities of all citizens of the United States as well as their right to due process and equal protection -- but the Amendments also expressly authorize Congress to enact further legislation enforcing these provisions. Among this legislation is the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which finally outlawed various discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the United States.  Moreover, the Act in its Section 5 created federal oversight of local elections administration, requiring that those states which had a history of discriminatory voting practices ("covered jurisdictions") couldn't make any changes that affected voting -- couldn't even move the location of a polling place -- without getting "preclearance" from the United States Department of Justice. The idea was, basically, "we're not going to let you have one bad law struck down only to see you try again the next day with some new scheme to screw minority voters -- so before you change anything, see us."  That list of covered jurisdictions is here, and not only includes many Southern states but also most of New York City, isolated parts of Michigan and South Dakota, and even some California counties (among other locations). On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, The Trumps, seeking to defuse the border situation, can't help making things worse. But still claim the opposite. Paula Writer has observations on that. The collusion story moves on to the Nat’l Enquirer. A few guesses on where the weekend might take us. x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!) LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE
  • Thailand is descending into a climate of fear    (By Pavin Chachavalpongpun, 2018-06-22)
  • The State Department wants to limit Chinese student visas. Its plan goes too far.    (2018-06-22)
    Protecting our scientific advances takes precision, not a blunt instrument.
  • Antarctic ice is melting faster. Coastal cities need to prepare — now.    (Editorial Board, 2018-06-22)
    There is more reason to fear that ice loss will worsen rather than abate.
  • Don’t let the Mall become an untouchable relic    (Editorial Board, 2018-06-22)
    The National Park Service should protect ‘America’s front yard,’ but don’t shut people out.
  • Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Resistance FRIDAY!    (Bill in Portland Maine, 2018-06-22)
    From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Late Night Snark: Leave Them Kids Alone Edition “The Trump administration is facing criticism for separating immigrant children from their parents. Some people said they couldn't believe Trump would do something like this. Then African-Americans, Muslims, DACA recipients, transgender troops, and special Olympians were like, ‘we can.’" ---Jimmy Fallon Well done, TIME. “The president is very clearly, no matter what he says, using these children to try to get his wall funded. And here's the thing: If Trump wants to use kids as negotiating tools, the kids he should use are Eric and Donald Jr. They seem to be enormous tools. They are tools that wouldn't even fit in the box.” ---Jimmy Kimmel “Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen dismissed demands that President Trump unilaterally end the practice of separating families at the border, and said, ‘Congress can fix this tomorrow.’ Really? Have you met Congress? They're still finalizing the Louisiana Purchase.” ---Seth Meyers “Today on her way to show that she cares, Melania wore a jacket that says, ‘I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” That’s what they settled on? What was her first choice, a jacket that says, ‘Womp Womp’? She’s forgotten the most important fashion advice: before you leave the house, look in the mirror…and take off that jacket. I’m gonna guess this is one message she didn’t steal from Michelle Obama.” ---Stephen Colbert “If, like most people, you’ve been feeling a little uncomfortable this week with our new Pre-K prisons, here’s good news: the President has fixed it with the next worst thing. … No more baby internment camps, just regular internment camps. Cool! That’s what we call a ‘win’ in 2018.” ---Samantha Bee 137 days ‘til the midterm elections. I usually want the summer to move along sloooowly. Not this year. Make it snappy, time gods. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
  • The dark history behind Trump’s inflammatory language    (Anne Applebaum, 2018-06-22)
    The president’s dehumanizing words draw on a long and destructive tradition.
  • The trade-off that comes with association health plans    (2018-06-22)
  • I really don’t care for Trump, do u?    (Dana Milbank, 2018-06-22)
    The first lady’s now-famous wording on her jacket could serve as the unofficial motto of the Trump administration.
  • The crying child is a Rorschach test    (Kathleen Parker, 2018-06-22)
    Left and right use photo to push respective narratives.
  • Influential Iranian women call on FIFA to help end stadium ban    (By Jason Rezaian, 2018-06-22)
  • Facebook reverses itself after suspending Michigan journalist who denounced racism    (By Erik Wemple, 2018-06-22)
  • Paul Ryan’s responses to Trump    (2018-06-22)
  • I wasn’t Trump enough in the age of Trump. So I lost.    (Mark Sanford, 2018-06-22)
    The Republican Party is facing an identity crisis.
  • What to do if you have a family history of ovarian cancer    (2018-06-22)
  • Why were they shooting?    (Editorial Board, 2018-06-22)
    Antwon Rose Jr., an unarmed black 17-year-old, was killed by police outside Pittsburgh.
  • Children who met Mister Rogers were often scared of him. Here’s how he reacted.    (2018-06-22)
  • Cartoon: All the President's racists    (BrianMcFadden, 2018-06-22)
    Replacing internment camps for snatched children with internment camps for families was the “good” thing these ghouls did this week. A week which should provide enough evidence to put this entire administration in The Hague. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Patreon.
  • ‘I’ve never read any other column ... that resonated so deeply’: Readers reflect on Charles Krauthammer’s writing    (Post Opinions Staff, 2018-06-22)
    Your memories and favorite writings of the late Washington Post columnist.
  • The brutal war in Yemen may be moving toward a tipping point    (David Ignatius, 2018-06-22)
    The battle for the Hodeida has been one of the most important of the three-year war.
  • Addiction killed my son. I live on an island surrounded by grief.    (Janice Lynch Schuster, 2018-06-22)
    Please reach out to people like me.
  • Trump is a bald-faced liar    (Colbert I. King, 2018-06-22)
    There are no other words for it.
  • Happy Hour Roundup    (By Paul Waldman, 2018-06-22)
  • Vote against the GOP this November    (George F. Will, 2018-06-22)
    The congressional Republican caucuses need to be substantially reduced.
  • Endangered Republicans caved to GOP leadership on DACA fix—it backfired big time    (Kerry Eleveld, 2018-06-22)
    House GOP leadership postponed a vote this week on the so-called "compromise" immigration bill that was supposed to provide endangered Republicans with cover back in their more moderate districts. Even though the bill—which included major border wall funding, ended the visa lottery and curtailed family reunification— was already too conservative to pass through the Senate, it would have given Republicans from battleground districts the chance to at least tell constituents they had voted in favor of providing Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.  But Donald Trump not only weighed in Thursday to remind House Republicans that their show vote was an exercise in futility, he came back Friday with a tweet instructing them to "stop wasting their time" until "after the Red Wave!" in November.  House GOP leaders vowed to press forward toward a vote next week, but the only way for them to entice the support of hard-line fence-sitters is by making the bill even more extreme. In other words, whatever cover the bill might have provided to those roughly two dozen endangered Republicans isn’t getting any better, it's only getting worse. Meanwhile, Democratic challengers back in their districts aren’t wasting any time reminding voters that, no matter how "moderate" a GOP lawmaker claims to be, as long Republicans control the House immigration reform is never going to happen. Check out the response from the Democratic opponents of Reps. Jeff Denham (CA-10) and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), both in toss-up districts. Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur writes: “Time and time again, folks like Jeff Denham want credit for being reformers, but just like 2014 they have zero follow-through and end up as a rubber stamp for whatever the Republican Party leadership wants,” Josh Harder, the Democrat facing Denham in a competitive San Joaquin Valley district, said in an interview. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, the Democratic favorite to take on Curbelo this fall, said Thursday that he “betrayed the hollow promises he has made to dreamers” and “handed over all leverage” to give them a path to citizenship. A combination of GOP incompetence and Trump’s obliviousness has all but killed whatever shot those endangered Republicans had of deflecting from an election cycle that Trump is sure to pack full of brutal attacks on immigrants. As Jack Pitney, political science professor at California’s Claremont McKenna College, noted: “Cruelty to children offends an important bloc of voters: normal human beings.”  
  • Can freedom survive the Internet?    (David Von Drehle, 2018-06-22)
    Totalitarians turn the free flow of information against liberal democracy.
  • How Southwest border apprehensions this year compare with those in earlier years    (By Catherine Rampell, 2018-06-22)
  • A Republican judge wants to kill the agency that protects us from predatory banks and lenders    (Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza, 2018-06-22)
    In January, the D.C. Circuit upheld the Consumer Finance Protection’s independence. It was a major win for the beleaguered agency, which has been under attack non-stop since its creation in 2010. Unfortunately, a New York federal district court views the agency’s constitutionality differently. Created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, CFPB is an independent agency, meaning it is part of the executive branch but not under the president’s (or any cabinet secretary’s) control. Unlike other independent agencies headed by a commission, CFPB is headed by a single person who can only be removed by the president for cause—a notoriously difficult case to make. Its mission is to protect consumers from being exploited by the financial services industry. For that reason, it was one of Trump’s first targets. In the instant case, CFPB had teamed up with the New York Attorney General to sue RD Funding, which preyed on NFL players with brain injuries and 9/11 responders who’d won settlements but not received them yet. The high interest loans they pushed on plaintiffs ended up costing them twice as much as they borrowed in some cases. RD Legal fought the suit on the grounds that CFPB is unconstitutionally structured, thus doesn’t have the authority to sue. How is this a constitutional matter? A federal agency that exercises substantial executive power—put simply, infringes on presidential power—cannot be headed by a single director. A George H. W. Bush appointee, Senior Judge Loretta A. Preska, agreed. She relies heavily on George W. Bush appointee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent in the most recent D.C. Circuit case, adopting parts of it. But she deviated on an important point. Kavanaugh would just remedy the unconstitutionality by nixing the “for-cause” element. Preska goes farther, borrowing the bottom line from his colleague, Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson, another George H. W. Bush appointee. Rather than proposing a fix to the agency, they’d shutter it altogether by striking altogether the portion of the Dodd-Frank Act, Title X, that created the CFPB. Will the CFPB shut down because Preska says so? No, in short. Her ruling isn’t even binding on other judges in the Southern District of New York, much less in the rest of the country. But it does ratchet up the odds of a Supreme Court showdown. 
  • Charts of the Week: Trump’s support base, college readiness, and equitable growth in opportunity zones    (Chris McKenna, 2018-06-22)
    Click on any of the charts or links to access the full research.   Trump’s support among young remains low In the latest analysis from The Primaries Project, Brookings scholars use Gallup data to analyze President Trump’s support base and how it could affect primary elections. In the chart below, they point out that few…        
  • Trump's policy forces migrant toddlers to appear in immigration court without their parents    (Gabe Ortiz, 2018-06-22)
    Unaccompanied migrant children, or children who come to the U.S. without their parents, not only have to deal with the trauma of leaving their home countries due to violence and other factors, some must also deal with the trauma, once here, of facing an immigration judge by themselves. This isn’t new. Unlike criminal courts, the law does not guarantee legal representation to immigrants. Roger, three, and Basillo, five, do have a lawyer, but they’re essentially still by themselves because their parents were ripped away at the border: "What's your name?" asked Judge Robert Hough. An interpreter repeated the question in Spanish to the smallest one. "Es un avion" — "It's a plane!" — the boy replied, pointing at a picture book with an illustration of a plane. Both boys crossed the U.S./Mexico border with their dads, and both boys were torn from their dads’ arms due to the Trump administration’s barbaric “zero tolerance” policy, a policy that has not ended despite his sham executive order stunt, and a policy that has reclassified them into unaccompanied minors despite coming with their dads. Adding to the chaos is, that children, and those lucky enough to have representation, can’t find parents detained by the government. "That’s definitely the biggest issue we have dealt with,” said Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services executive director Melissa Lopez, “the lack of knowledge about where the other party is. They aren’t told where their parents are. And the parents aren’t told where their children are." Roger’s dad has been located, and they’ll be deported together. But the identification number for Basillo’s dad, given to his attorney, doesn’t work. They have no idea where he is. “’Why that is I'm not sure,’ said Judge Hough, noting that an expedited deportation may have taken place,” according to Buzzfeed. Basillo’s attorney does know where his mom is, and the boy may be deported to Guatemala soon to her. But up in the air are the fates of more than 2,000 other separated children, taken hostage by an administration that has absolutely no plan set on how to ever reunite them with their parents. Can you give $5 to help keep families together and make sure that no child has to appear in court without an attorney?
  • Republican budget plan to decimate Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security advances in House    (Joan McCarter, 2018-06-22)
    On Tuesday, House Republicans released their budget for 2019, along with a malignant plan to force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare this year. On Thursday, the House Budget Committee passed that budget, preparing it to go to the floor. They would cut the deficit by $8.1 trillion over the next 10 years largely by slashing mandatory and automatic spending programs. Like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. They'd take $5.4 trillion from these programs, including $1 trillion from Medicaid and $537 billion from Medicare over the next ten years. Another $5 billion would come from other healthcare programs. They'd also cut $4 billion from Social Security. This budget isn't binding, even if the full House passes it. That's the good news. Here's the bad: they include broad reconciliation instructions that require $302 billion in mandatory program spending cuts, "among the highest such request in two decades." The reconciliation instructions are what allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority, avoiding a Democratic filibuster. This is where it gets dangerous, because it sets up a sneak attack on Medicare and Medicaid in the lame duck session, after the election. Even if Republicans lose their majority in the election, they'll retain it until January when the new Congress is sworn in. That gives them almost two months to do untold damage to these programs. Once the election is done, they don't have anything to lose anymore. If they keep their majorities, they'll do it in victory. If they lose, they'll do it out of spite. In our favor, they are so loudly projecting this as their plan that it makes it easier to defeat the budget now, before it goes to the full floor and certainly before it goes to the Senate. That's how we stop it. Call 202-224-3121 to tell your representative to vote against this budget. Help unseat House Republican maniacs with your $1 contribution to our candidates.
  • Africa in the news: Kenya’s budget, DRC elections, and austerity measures in Zambia    (Dhruv Gandhi, 2018-06-22)
    Kenya proposes rate cap repeal and Tanzania includes tax amnesty in tax bill Last week, Kenya’s Finance Minister, Henry Rotich released the government’s budget proposal for 2018-2019, which includes repeal of the rate cap law and raises or levies several new taxes. The rate cap law, introduced in 2016, caps the interest rate banks can…         
  • Trump's tent cities are coming to abandoned Navy airfields near absolutely no cameras    (Laura Clawson, 2018-06-22)
    The Navy is preparing to get into the immigrant internment camp business in a big way, with planned “temporary and austere” tent cities to be located in Alabama and California, housing tens of thousands of people. Each 25,000-person tent city would be estimated to cost $233 million for six months. No word on the climate change costs of air-conditioning tents in hot climates. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he’s open to the prospect, using some interesting comparisons: Earlier this week, Mattis deferred questions on the matter to the Department of Homeland Security but did acknowledge the military’s willingness to help with the Trump Administration’s latest crisis. “We have housed refugees,” he told reporters Wednesday at the Pentagon. “We have housed people thrown out of their homes by earthquakes and hurricanes. We do whatever is in the best interest of the country.” Housing refugees and natural disaster refugees is kind of different from incarcerating families, although if Mattis wants to keep thinking of these migrants, accurately, as refugees, that would be just fine, and he should absolutely go ahead and treat them as such.
  • Trump and Obama have something in common when it comes to U.S. hostages held overseas    (By Christopher P. Costa, Jen Easterly and Joshua A. Geltzer, 2018-06-22)
  • Trump is dragging down everyone around him — including his wife    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2018-06-22)
  • Special counsel investigation expands with addition of four more prosecutors    (Mark Sumner, 2018-06-22)
    Buzzfeed reporter Zoe Tillman notes that special counsel Robert Mueller has filed the paperwork to add four new prosecutors. All of them are to be assigned to prosecuting the case against Internet Research Agency, the Russian operation that both disseminated propaganda during the 2016 election through social media posts, false fronts for nonexistent organizations, and intentionally provocative ads. Among the prosecutors being added is Heather Alpino, who has worked on a number of cases involving international agents—including the prosecution of a Turkish national for arms smuggling and of Iranian hackers involved in credit fraud.  The addition of four additional lawyers represents a significant staffing up for this area of the investigation. It may suggest that additional information has been acquired, requiring more hands to deal with growing complexity. It may also suggest that some of those currently dealing with the case are needed for other areas of the investigation and those coming on board will act as backfill. In either case, requiring additional attorneys would seem to indicate that the investigation into connections between the Trump campaign staff and foreign agents is continuing to expand.  In a separate action, Robert Mueller has filed a motion to prevent former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort from challenging the authority of the special counsel’s office during his upcoming trial. Manafort’s attorney’s filed a series of pre-trial motions suggesting that the special counsel’s office had gone beyond its writ in looking into crimes not directly connected to the 2016 campaign, and in directing FBI raids on Manafort’s home and office. Manafort lost those challenges, as well as a “swing for the fences” attempt to have the whole idea of a special counsel declared unconstitutional. The process of fighting off those challenges demanded both time and attention from the Mueller investigation, and also resulted in the public filing of documents that revealed significant facts about the information for the first time—including that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had expanded Mueller’s authority, including giving him specific instructions to look into Manafort’s activities in Europe.
  • Just wait until Trump's supporters find out he wants to throw them under safety net cuts bus    (Joan McCarter, 2018-06-22)
    Trump administration officials and allies aren't even bothering to hide their motivation—and desire to hurt poor people—behind the government restructuring plan announced this week. Opponents like Elaine Waxman, a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, say this restructuring will slap the name "welfare" on safety net programs in order to make it easier to make massive cuts to them. But it's not just opponents saying that. Trump officials and advisers freely admit it. Produced over the last year by Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, it would reshuffle social welfare programs in a way that would make them easier to cut, scale back or restructure, according to several administration officials involved in the planning. [emphasis added] Steve Bannon, yeah, that Steve Bannon who is still getting interviewed by outlets like The New York Times because he is still advising Trump, is just giddy at the prospect. “Our guys have been in there since the start, grinding it out, and basically no one is noticing it except the smart liberals like Rachel Maddow,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former adviser, who believes the attack on social programs will be one of Mr. Trump’s most enduring policy achievements. “It is one of the reasons Trump is at like 97 percent with the base. This is what the base wants,” he said.
  • Midday open thread: Tie those kangaroos down, Montana; war budget boosted, domestic budget chopped    (Meteor Blades, 2018-06-22)
    Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is Born into a policy of cruelty: What’s coming up on Sunday Kos … Tragedy and resiliency: It's been nine months since Maria hit Puerto Rico, by Denise Oliver Velez My answers as an atheist to apologetics questions from a religious friend, by David Akadjian GOP Holocaust analogists furious over Nazi border policy comparisons, by Jon Perr New Jersey's complete Democratic takeover point out the cancer within, by Egberto Willies Trumpism is a cult, by Mark E Andersen Will Trump's bald-faced lies and reversal on family separation 'law' open the media's eyes? Finally, by  Ian Reifowitz A kidnapped Maryland man called 911 for help. Police charged him with a crime instead, by Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza  International Elections Digest, by Daily Kos Elections • House majority blueprint boosts war budget, gouges domestic budget: The deal worked out by Democrats and Republicans in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 would set spending for the military at $716 billion in fiscal year 2019 ($647 billion plus $69 billion in war funding) and non-military at $597 billion in 2019. Over the next decade, however, the gap between the military spending and the domestic budget grows. Come 2028, the House budget would jack up military spending to $736 billion in basic military spending (without war funding, an increase of 13%. Non-military spending would be cut by 7 percent compared to 2019, to $555 billion. • During the presidential campaign, the National Enquirer sent stories and images it was preparing to publish about Trump to his lawyer, Michael Cohen: Respectable publications don’t do this, but that’s hardly a description of the Enquirer, which since the election has been, like Fox News, a shameless propaganda outlet for the Trump regime. • Tesla’s 9% workforce layoffs is bad news for the solar end of its business: The cutbacks of several thousand employees mean a major downsizing for the residential solar business it bought into two years ago for $2.6 billion. The key losses will include about a dozen installation facilities will be shuttered and the ending of the retail partnership with Home Depot that one inside source said produced about half the solar sales. The battery side of Tesla’s solar operations will also be affected by the downsizing, sources told Reuters. Tesla’s solar sales have fallen sharply this year. Last year, it averaged about 200 megawatts in sales each quarter. In the first quarter of 2018, it sold just 76 MW. In a statement to Reuters, the company said, “We continue to expect that Tesla’s solar and battery business will be the same size as automotive over the long term.” • Supermassive star thousands of times larger than our sun may be the reason globular clusters of ancient stars have different chemistry than other stars in the Milky Way.  MIDDAY TWEET xYou know how I know the formerly egregious is now considered normal?Because 4 years ago we had to convince y’all police violence was real, 2 years ago there’s be anger, but now, unarmed 17 year old #AntwonRose was killed by police and few cared. Our children have to matter.— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) June 22, 2018 • Right-wing Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer died Thursday, age 68: Krauthammer, a psychiatrist by education, had been fighting cancer of the small intestine for months. He announced June 8 in a farewell note at the Post that he had lost that battle. He was a Cold War liberal in the 1960s but, like many others, including the late Jeane Kirkpatrick, became a neoconservative over time. He was one of the most avid backers of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, an action said would amount to a “Three-Week War” to topple Saddam Hussein. None of the weapons of mass destruction that provided the neoconservative-heavy Bush administration with its key rationale for that war were found. More than 4,500 American military personnel and perhaps 600,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, died as a result of the was. Krauthammer trashed anyone who opposed the invasion or questioned U.S. evidence and motives for, and he downplayed U.S. torture of terrorism suspects. He never apologized for either. • Astroturf group uses six restaurant workers to speak publicly against paying tipped workers a minimum wage: It’s the Restaurant Workers of America, funded by … restaurant owners. The Columbia Journalism Review notes: “Though the group’s members describe themselves as liberal and anti-Trump in various quotes and on Twitter, one of its members is actively running as a conservative independent for a position in the Maine House of Representatives—a fact noted nowhere in publications quoting her.” •  From the Economic Policy Institute: x Embedded Content • Hospitalized driver says he swerved, rolled car to avoid kangaroo on Montana road. It may have been a wallaby since kangaroos are illegal to own in the state. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, The Trumps, seeking to defuse the border situation, can't help making things worse. But still claim the opposite. Paula Writer has observations on that. The collusion story moves on to the Nat’l Enquirer. A few guesses on where the weekend might take us. x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)
  • Trump needs more money to terrorize immigrants ... so he's taking it from the Coast Guard    (Laura Clawson, 2018-06-22)
    Donald Trump says he loves the Coast Guard’s “brand,” yet he is once again looking at the Coast Guard as a piggy bank for his anti-immigrant agenda. Last year, he proposed cutting the Coast Guard budget to help pay for the border wall he’s so obsessed with. That didn’t happen, but now his administration plans to shift Coast Guard funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help terrorize undocumented immigrants. The Coast Guard would give up $77 million in funding and the Coast Guard Reserve “may be required to provide a contribution” as well, because ICE is just that important and it’s not like the Coast Guard is doing anything useful, right? The Coast Guard also set a record last year, confiscating more than 455,000 pounds of cocaine at sea. Most of that was traveling from Colombia to the West Coast of the United States, and confiscated in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Yup, that $77 million sure would be better spent detaining little kids.
  • There’s plenty we can do about displacement in D.C.    (Scott Kratz, 2018-06-22)
    We can’t know where we’re going unless we understand where we’ve been
  • Corey Stewart is the Virginia Republican Party    (Mark J. Rozell, 2018-06-22)
    The combative Senate nominee has cultivated a reputation for slash-and-burn campaigning.
  • Canada should surrender to Trump over trade    (By J.J. McCullough, 2018-06-22)
  • Betsy DeVos continues to deny students their civil rights by dismissing 1,200 cases    (Kelly Macias, 2018-06-22)
    Betsy DeVos continues to be a menace to all of the children attending America’s schools. Though the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights continues to receive complaints about discrimination in schools, under DeVos’s leadership, more than 1,200 investigations have been dismissed because of “insufficient evidence.” These also just happen to be cases which were begun under the Obama administration and had been open for at least six months. On the surface, it may seem like this is efficiency. After all, it does no good for a case to languish on without progress, resolution and no end in sight. But, as Mother Jones reports, these cases involve serious potential civil rights violations—including racist school discipline practices and sexual violence in school districts. Yet, all of these cases were closed without any corrective action or wrongdoing found on the part of the school or school district. Here’s why this matters. In DeSoto County, Mississippi, corporal punishment is still allowed per school district policy. Yes, in 2018, this county allows children to be paddled for infractions like skipping class, tardiness, dress code violations and other behaviors. In fact, as noted by Mother Jones, the policy actually states that staff can hit children no more than three “licks per incident on the buttocks with an appropriate instrument approved by the principal.” That in itself sounds like something out of the 1800s. So it shouldn’t surprise us then that black students are more than two and half times likely to receive corporal punishment than their white peers. And, though they only make up 35 percent of the students in the school district, they receive 55 percent of school discipline. This is a serious problem. And a complaint was filed with the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights in 2015. Yet, the case was dismissed in April—even after investigators had met with parents, school officials and visited schools in the district. The reason for dismissal was “insufficient evidence.” But what kind of evidence is really needed when we know for certain the district allows school personnel to beat students as a form of punishment? That kind of thing should never happen in any school in America, ever. How is this okay?  But there’s more. Under DeVos, the Office of Civil Rights is finding all kinds of discriminatory practices acceptable and is being way more lenient with its assessment of violations. During the Obama administration, investigations that took more than six months had a 51 percent rate of finding violations and resulted in mandatory corrective changes. In the Trump era, that rate is now 35 percent. What’s most scary about this is its notable across various forms of discrimination. What was found to be a violation in the Obama administration in specific categories is less likely to be a violation under the Trump administration. 
  • Protesters blast audio of crying migrant toddlers at home of Trump's family separation chief    (Kerry Eleveld, 2018-06-22)
    The Department of Homeland Security may not have released any government-issued photos of toddlers in detention yet, but DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had to listen to their distraught cries Friday morning as the leaked audio of them streamed in through the windows of her Alexandria townhouse.  Nielsen was believed to be home, likely still getting ready for work, as a dozen-plus protesters organized by CREDO Action gathered out front at 7:30 a.m. wielding signs emblazoned with slogans like "Child Snatcher" and a speaker to amplify the anguish of the newly separated children in U.S. custody. (The wrenching audio was originally obtained by ProPublica.) In a separate video, Nielsen is seen leaving her house through the back door later that morning as protesters chant "Shame!" and "You belong in the Hague!" referring to the U.N.’s International Criminal Court. Nielsen and other Trump administration officials better get used to a lot more disruptions coming their way. White House aide Stephen Miller, for instance, a chief architect of Trump's most racist, anti-immigrant policies, got heckled Sunday by a fellow diner at a D.C. Mexican eatery who called him a "fascist." That was reportedly two nights before Sec. Nielsen's Mexican dinner was cut short by about a dozen protesters. "When you attack Trump, it only seems to strengthen him," Amanda Werner explained to Daily Kos after helping to organize the spontaneous action against Nielsen at MXDC. "But when you go after people who work for him, it can have a much more direct effect." Werner plans to help organize more actions in the coming weeks. The benefits of protesting administration officials and White House aides is that many of them aren't actually politicians, they're bureaucrats and therefore often don't have much experience with the sometimes searing feedback of angry constituents. In fact, working at the Cabinet level or inside the West Wing, they get accustomed to a certain amount of privilege and deference within their social circles without being personal targets of some of the harshest criticisms directed at administration policies. 
  • The media machine supporting Trump is even worse than we thought    (By Paul Waldman, 2018-06-22)
  • The ghoul who disowned childhood pal for being Latino has been crafting America's immigration policy    (Gabe Ortiz, 2018-06-22)
    A man who, according to high school classmates, “displayed an intense hatred toward people of color, especially toward Latinos” and in his college years collaborated with punchable neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, is today handcrafting the Trump administration’s immigration platform and setting into motion chaotic policies that stand to devastate immigrant families for years to come.  It’s a fact that any such proposals coming out of this White House will be covered in the fingerprints of ghoulish White House advisor and former Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III aide, Stephen Miller. In his dead-glazed eyes, the more brutal, the more horrific, the more inhumane, the better. Those ideas have included the Muslim bans, the plan to slash legal immigration by historic numbers, and, most recently, the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy tearing migrants kids from the arms of parents at the border. To date, more than 2,000 kids have been kidnapped by the administration, with no plan set in place to reunite them. That chaos is also part of the plan. Miller, “an outside White House adviser” told Vanity Fair earlier this month, “actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border.” This is a white supremacist who classmates say was radicalized as far back as middle school, and now, leaders said in press call earlier this week, he’s imposing his radicalism on America and gleefully tearing thousands of families apart:  According to The New York Times, “… Mr. Miller was instrumental in Mr. Trump’s decision to ratchet up the zero tolerance policy.” “I don’t think that most Americans understand that a 33-year-old individual with connections to white supremacists is actually crafting policies that are going to literally destroy our country and what we stand for,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said. She wants him to go, and now. “I have demanded that Stephen Miller be fired. He should not be in the White House.” Despite his age, Miller’s radicalism stretches back years. “I can't be your friend any more,” Jason Islas says Miller told him during the summer before high school, “because you are Latino.” They had grown up together, and now Miller was disowning him for his ethnicity. Others remembered him as a loner who “used to make fun of the children of Latino and Asian immigrants who did not speak English well.”
  • Democrat forces House Republicans to hear cries of immigrant children snatched from their parents    (Joan McCarter, 2018-06-22)
    Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) forced the House of Representatives to hear the cries of immigrant children who had been snatched from their parents by Donald Trump’s administration Friday morning, playing the recording ProPublica released this week of sobbing, terrified children.  “Imagine being a mother and father and losing your child to the government and not knowing if you're ever going to see your child again,” he implored of his colleagues. “The horror of that. Imagine being a child, when you were young, your parents were likely the most important people in your life,” he continued. “Imagine the horror and fear. ... What must that sound like?” He then played the recording, demonstrating exactly what it sounds like. Rep. Karen Handel (R-NC) presiding in the chair, tried repeatedly to get Lieu to stop, to no avail. “Why are you trying to prevent the American people from listening to what it sounds like in a detention facility?” he asked. “These are babies and kids at a detention facility. Why are you not letting the American people hear what they are saying?” Handel eventually made the sergeant at arms of the House ask Lieu to stop the recording, but not after five minutes of children’s cries rang through the chamber. Watch, and listen, below.


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