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Paternalism News

  •    (2073-12-24)
  • Cartoon: Trump's Greenland New Deal    (Matt Bors, 2019-08-21)
    Follow me on Twitter at @MattBors or on my Facebook page. PS — I’m relaunching my comics publication The Nib. Help out here.
  • Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday    (Bill in Portland Maine, 2019-08-21)
    From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Mid-week Musical Interlude The MTV Video Music Awards air Monday night. (I forget which network. Sorry.) One of the categories is called "Video for Good"—originally called "Song with a Message"—which honors videos chosen specifically for their role as a platform for positive messaging. This year's nominees:   Halsey: Nightmare (Women's empowerment) The Killers, directed by Spike Lee: Land of the Free (Immigration/Freedom/Diversity) Jamie N Commons, Skylar Grey, Gallant: Runaway Train (Missing/Runaway kids) John Legend: Preach (Minority oppression) Taylor Swift: You Need to Calm Down (LGBTQ, The Equality Act)  And the entry raising awareness of climate change and conservation is the eminently hummable, not-safe-for-work ditty Earth by Lil Dicky and an all-star cast behind the animation. Enjoy… x x YouTube Video - There’s my earworm for the day. Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
  • Morning Bits: Never bet Trump will wise up    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2019-08-21)
    Must-read links to start the day.
  • Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Bad numbers, bad news as Trump backlash becomes even more visible    (Greg Dworkin, 2019-08-21)
    David A.Graham/Atlantic: The Longer Trump Stays in Office, the More Americans Oppose His Views The president is reshaping Americans’ political views, just not the way he intended. But the Trump era has also radicalized Democrats, and especially white Democrats, who by some measures are actually more liberal on race than fellow Democrats who are minorities. Reuters found that more Democrats say blacks are treated unfairly at work and by the police than in 2016—remarkable given how coverage of police violence toward African Americans has dropped in the past few years—while Republican attitudes have remained unchanged. Meanwhile, opinion shifts like the ones on race appear elsewhere. Consider immigration, which is Trump’s signature issue—though it is also inextricable from race, especially given Trump’s focus on and rhetoric about Hispanic immigration. Reuters found that white Americans are 19 percent more supportive of a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants than they were four years ago, and slightly less supportive of increased deportations. Other polls find related results. A record-high number of Americans—75 percent—said in 2018 that immigration is good for the United States. Although the Trump administration took steps last week to limit even legal immigration, the Trump presidency has seen an increase in the number of Americans who support more legal immigration—not just among Democrats, but even slightly among Republicans. xThermostatic public opinion in action! https://t.co/6Dgh4zTYhR— Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) August 18, 2019
  • Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!    (David Waldman, 2019-08-21)
    Hi! We’re back! And I really mean “we,” because it’s Wednesday, and so Greg Dworkin and Joan McCarter will be here. Which I guess means they put the “we” in Wednesday. Wow! That just hit me! How did I miss that until now? Well, that’s not important. What’s important is that we’re all back and Trump didn’t get any less stupid, so there will be plenty to get annoyed about. Let’s do that! Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET! PODCAST LISTENERS: There’s a new podcast platform in town, and the big news is: this one pays! RadioPublic pays podcast producers at $20 CPM for listens on their native app (available for iPhones & Androids), financed by pre- and post-roll ads they insert. Not a bad way to support the show, with somebody else’s money! So if you’re a podcast listener, please consider downloading the RadioPublic app on your Android or iOS phone. Yes, you can still download directly from their site, or listen to the player embedded here at Daily Kos. But it’s listens in their app that count toward payment. And get this: listen to just three episodes in their app, and we earn a one-time, $1 “loyal listener” bonus. Nothing changes on our end. It’s still Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando. Plus also, me. And you! As always, we still want your voice on the air with us. Sit down with your smart phone or other electronic recording device and send us your stories and commentary to share with the audience. There’s no easier way to try your hand at podcasting, without all the hassle! Of course there’s no substitute for having your support via Patreon, or one-time contributions via Square Cash. (And hey, if you want a cool trick for donating sorta-kinda cost free, get their cash.me app and use this share code to get $5 in your account (plus $5 in mine) when you send your first $5 (to anyone)! For now, how about one on the house? Here’s what we did on our last new show: x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!) Light demolition work is scheduled here at Kagro in the Morning World Headquarters for this morning. David Waldman was set to broadcast the first half hour of the show naked on a wrecking ball, but that was voted out as a “dated pop reference.” He’s still going to do it mind you, just not on the air, as he instead recorded a special international edition of KITM for release today: We start in the US, with Moscow Mitch McConnell, and the story of how he earned that sobriquet, by trading Russian sanctions for Kentucky aluminum. Then off to Brazil, to understand how YouTube’s artificial intelligence powered recommendation engine steered viewers to the right, to the far right, and to the extreme right with successive viewings. The global far-right nationalist machine rolling out of Russia has rolled over Sweden, with the help of Stormfront, Fox News, Rebekah Mercer... and John Bolton. Thanks to Scott Anderson for the show summary! Please help me pay him more! Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.
  • Open thread for night owls: Trump kneels and obeys when NRA's LaPierre reminds him who's boss    (Meteor Blades, 2019-08-20)
    Elaina Plott at The Atlantic writes—Trump’s Phone Calls With Wayne LaPierre Reveal NRA’s Influence: Three days after a pair of mass shootings in Ohio and Texas that left 31 people dead, President Donald Trump was preoccupied with visions of a Rose Garden ceremony. His daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, had proposed the idea of a televised Rose Garden appearance as a way to nudge her father toward supporting universal background checks. The president had recently suggested he was open to the gun-control measure, tweeting, “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.” To be sure, this was similar to how he’d responded to other mass shootings during his 31-month presidency, and each time, the push for action fizzled. But the prospect of a Rose Garden ceremony, his daughter thought, where Trump could sign a document and call it “historic” and “unprecedented”—and receive positive media attention—might be the best chance of yielding real change. For a moment, it looked like it just might work. “He loved it. He was all spun up about it,” said a former senior White House official who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke with me on the condition of anonymity in order to share private conversations. On August 7, the president picked up the phone to discuss the idea with Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. “It’s going to be great, Wayne,” Trump said, according to both a former senior White House official and an NRA official briefed on the call. “They will love us.” And if they—meaning the roughly 5 million people who make up the NRA’s active membership, and some of Trump’s electoral base—didn’t, Trump reportedly assured LaPierre, “I’ll give you cover.” (The White House did not return a request for comment for this story.) “Wayne’s listening to that and thinking, Uh, no, Mr. President, we give you cover,” the former senior White House official said in describing the conversation. The president reportedly asked LaPierre whether the NRA was willing to give in at all on background checks. LaPierre’s response, the sources said, was unequivocal: “No.” With that, “the Rose Garden fantasy,” as the NRA official described it to me, was scrapped as quickly as it had been dreamed up. [...} TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “Understand: the task of an activist is not to negotiate systems of power with as much personal integrity as possible--it's to dismantle those systems.”            ~~Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability (2009) TWEET OF THE DAY xTexas Baptist pastor who advocated executing women for abortion faces child sexual assault charges. https://t.co/PSKmt0Wx51— Beki Knott (@lotsofuss) August 20, 2019 BLAST FROM THE PAST At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—What “compassion” means to Bush: Hey everyone, check out Bush's definition of "compassion". Apparently, it means talking to black people. (Thanks to reader K.Y. for catching this "disturbing trend".) Update: From Lis in the message boards: Looking at further photo albums on the site makes it more clear how anomalous the Compassion section is. But the only non-whites in 15 Homeland Security images and 16 National Security are Powell and Rice, and I think there's one African American park ranger off to the side in one photo of the 16 on the Environment. In contrast, of 20 photos illustrating Compassion, 17 prominently show non-Caucasians; the other three are solo photos of Bush, but two of those are before the National Urban League and in front a map of Africa. And RonK emailed to remind that Slate's Will Saletan noted a short while back that when Duhbya calls somebody "gifted", "He doesn't mean exceptional. He means ethnic." Saletan provides chapter and verse re blacks, Iraqis, Palestinians, Hispanics, Chinese, Russians, Irish, Cubans, and South Koreans. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Another day away from the mic? Well, as always, life happens! Here's how it went on 8/22/18: The Manafort conviction! The Cohen allocution! The Hunter indictment! The Buchanan allegations! Greg Dworkin and Armando helped us cover it all. x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!) LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE
  • Cartoon: He Speaks to Me    (keefknight, 2019-08-20)
    www.patreon.com/keefknight
  • Trump's spineless backtrack on background checks further repels suburban women    (Kerry Eleveld, 2019-08-20)
    Donald Trump had a political gimme—an issue that enjoys 90% support among Americans, polls well with Republicans, and could have given him a chance at expanding his appeal among suburban and college-educated voters who have increasingly soured on the GOP ever since Trump's elevation to the Oval Office. Fortunately, Trump was too stupid to exploit that opportunity, a sign of just how terribly weak and vulnerable he is politically. On the heels of talking up national support for universal background checks, Trump bowed to pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA) Monday, telling reporters, "Just remember, we already have a lot of background checks. OK?" Keep in mind, the NRA is at its weakest point in decades as higher ups in the organization snipe at one another over corruption while board members resign one after the other. So Trump just got cowed by a political group that's presently drowning in scandal, lawsuits, and investigations. In other words, Trump is so frightened by what kind of damage the NRA could do among his exceedingly limited base of supporters, that he couldn't face down the hobbled political organization in order to open a potential pathway to new voters.  In particular, Trump might have made some inroads among suburban women, who not only shunned Republicans in 2018 but increasingly view Trump as a direct driver of domestic terrorism. The most recent Fox News polls included some brutal numbers for Trump on gun violence. More than 50% of suburban women disapproved of Trump's handling of mass shootings, more than 50% said Trump's sentiments bore partial blame for mass shootings (as did more than 50% of respondents overall), and more than 50% of suburban women said the Trump administration had made the country "less safe" in regard to mass shootings. (In the graph below, dark gray indicates Trump making America “less safe” in terms of mass shootings, light gray is no difference, and red is more safe.) Nearly 50% of respondents overall say Trump has made America less safe in terms of mass shootings.
  • Moscow Mitch attacked from inside the party for opening the election up to Russia    (Joan McCarter, 2019-08-20)
    A group of Republicans calling themselves "Republicans for the Rule of Law" are finally making themselves useful. They're running ads aimed at Mitch McConnell in the home states of four other Republicans, telling them "don’t let Mitch McConnell stand in your way" and to push McConnell for a vote on election security legislation. The ad against McConnell hits hard. "Mitch McConnell recently blocked two election security bills from being voted on in the Senate," it starts out, then showing McConnell on the floor saying the Trump administration has made "huge strides on election security and are vigilant and proactive as we head in to 2020." It then asks "Can we trust this administration to defend our elections when our president stood on a stage with the person that attacked America and said 'Putin, he just said it's not Russia,’" followed by a damning 40 seconds of Trump statements dismissing the concerns about Russian interference. "Tell Senator McConnell and tell him," it concludes, "America is relying on you to let Congress do its job and secure our elections." The only thing they leave out is "Moscow Mitch."  The ads will also run in Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, and Oklahoma, aimed as well at Sens. Marco Rubio, Roy Blunt, Lindsey Graham, and James Lankford. But the ads will also run more strategically, running "nearly daily on Fox & Friends starting Wednesday. They’ll also run on Fox News Sunday and NBC’s Meet the Press in the senators' home cities on Sunday as part of a $400,000 ad buy that includes digital ads." The senators have all supported or sponsored various election security bills, and Blunt chairs the committee that has jurisdiction.  One of the members of the group, Bill Kristol, said the group believes the issue deserves a hearing on the floor. “How do you defend not letting these bills come to the floor for debate and discussion?” said Kristol. "What's the rationale for literally doing nothing?" There isn't one, unless it's that it's how McConnell thinks he, and Trump, win again in 2020. Help get him out. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats end McConnell's career as majority leader!
  • HUD prepares to extend Trump administration's pro-discrimination policies to housing    (Laura Clawson, 2019-08-20)
    The Trump administration is continuing its quest to make it harder to challenge discrimination in court. Up now: the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which plans to roll back Obama-era guidelines that allowed legal claims against mortgage lenders, developers, and insurers based on statistical evidence of disparate impact. Under the Obama policy, if a group could show that a bank gave fewer loans to black people with the same credit scores as white people it would lend to, or that it charged higher interest rates to people of color, it could pursue a discrimination claim and the defendant would have to prove that the differences were for some legitimate business reason. This is important because 1) it’s really hard to prove that people have racism in their hearts, when most businesses these days know they can’t straight-up admit to racism; and 2) because it really doesn’t matter if intentional racism is the cause of people of color being denied loans that would have gone to white people with the same financial position, or paying higher interest rates. It’s still wrong and needs to be fixed. It’s not just about racial discrimination, though. This could affect people with disabilities, women, families, LGBT people But under the Trump administration plan, plaintiffs will have to meet a much higher bar to bring a case at all. The proposal “basically is saying that you have to prove your entire case when you file it. This is unheard of,” the National Fair Housing Alliance’s Lisa Rice said. “This is just another attempt by the Trump administration to take away yet another civil-rights protection.” It’s not just HUD—this move is part of a broader policy of blocking anti-discrimination efforts and echoes an Education Department policy change to stop preventing schools from disciplining black and brown kids more harshly than white kids. This is the Trump administration: giving license to discriminate in housing and education and anywhere else they can find a way.
  • Midday open thread: Measles, a suicide watch, about those kids, and an amazing interpreter    (Barbara Morrill, 2019-08-20)
    Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is Plastic straw man: As the new school year begins: The measles outbreak in the U.S., which is fast approaching the 1-year mark and has broken a 27-year record, has reached 1,203 cases in 30 states since the start of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Oh: The man charged in the El Paso Walmart mass shooting is on suicide watch, authorities say. Good news and bad news: Having children will make you happier than staying childless, according to a new study, but not until later in life, when they have flown the nest. A team of researchers at Heidelberg University in Germany found that parents tend to be happier than non-parents in old age, but this only holds if their kids have moved out. This sign language interpreter is amazing: xShe’s the real MVP for keeping up wit me #summer96 #signlanguagequeen pic.twitter.com/gEpALcb53n— Twista Summer 96 mixtape Out Now (@TWISTAgmg) August 17, 2019 On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Another day away from the mic? Well, as always, life happens! Here's how it went on 8/22/18: The Manafort conviction! The Cohen allocution! The Hunter indictment! The Buchanan allegations! Greg Dworkin and Armando helped us cover it all. x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)
  • Gay conservative group loses members following pathetic endorsement of Trump 2020    (Gabe Ortiz, 2019-08-20)
    It’s unclear exactly how big the Log Cabin Republicans group is, but it’s now down by a couple following the resignation of two members over the gay conservative group’s pathetic endorsement of Trump 2020. “It saddens me greatly to say that today, I am ending my association with Log Cabin Republicans, an organization I’ve been heavily involved with for the last decade—including serving as president of the D.C. chapter for three years,” Robert Turner wrote in a Facebook post.  “But for me, there’s no more fight left,” he continued. “The national board’s endorsement of Trump, and their subsequent and hollow WaPo op-ed, is a step too far. And this leaves me sad.” There’s a lot about this that’s sad, but it’s all self-inflicted, because the group didn’t have to endorse Trump, or anyone for that matter. The group sat out 2016 and could have decided to do the same again in 2020, but jumped on the Trump Train even though the car plainly reads “no gays allowed” on the outside. Turner wasn’t alone either, following the resignation of another member, Jennifer Horn, over the group’s endorsement. “There is no world where I can sit down at the dining room table and explain to my children that I just endorsed Donald Trump for president,” she told The Washington Post. “It is contrary to everything that I have ever taught them about what it means to be a good, decent, principled member of society.” Good for them, I guess, but there’s no information about what either Turner or Horn plan to do to help make sure Trump doesn’t get a second term, where only more horrors attacking the LGBTQ community would wait. Sure, both of these people have left the group and made a public fuss about it, but will they actually vote for someone who will protect the LGBTQ community? Because that’s certainly not going to be found on the Republican ticket.
  • Even after children's deaths, officials refusing to vaccinate detained families ahead of flu season    (Gabe Ortiz, 2019-08-20)
    At least three migrant kids have died in part from the flu while under U.S. watch, but Customs and Border Protection will not be vaccinating detained families ahead of flu season, CNBC reports. “In general,” an agency spokesperson claimed, “due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody.”  Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Border Patrol isn’t supposed to detain kids for longer than 72 hours but the agency commonly defies this. One 17-year-old mom said this past June that she and her sick baby had been jailed for nearly three weeks at a facility in McAllen, Texas. She’d been afraid of getting her baby help out of fear they’d be stuck there even longer.  “He feels frozen to the touch,” she said. “We are all so sad to be held in a place like this.” “The U.S. had previously gone almost a decade without any children dying while under U.S. immigration custody,” CNBC continued. Earlier this month, a team of concerned Harvard and Johns Hopkins physicians called on Congress to further probe these senseless deaths, writing that "we suspect that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may not be following best practices with respect to screening, treatment, isolation, and prevention of influenza.” “When I learned that multiple children had died in detention from potentially preventable causes, it truly disturbed me,” said Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a Harvard pediatrics professor. “The country needs urgent answers to that question so that children stop dying in detention. A child might start out with flu but then die of another infection.” It’s not just Border Patrol that’s a problem, either.
  • Warren and Sanders release plans to reform the criminal justice system, emphasis on justice    (Laura Clawson, 2019-08-20)
    Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders released plans, within days of each other, to reform the troubled criminal justice system and reduce mass incarceration. Both candidates highlight the massive number of people incarcerated or under the supervision of the criminal justice system as a key problem to be addressed. Both plans highlight many of the same issues, from the school-to-prison pipeline, the criminalization of mental illness, racial discrimination and disparities, the suicide crisis among police officers, and private prisons. Both would end cash bail, end the death penalty, and end or reduce mandatory minimum sentences. But they’re framed differently and each candidate has some distinct proposals, as civil rights attorney Tahir Duckett lays out in a helpful Twitter thread. Sanders' plan, which seeks to “move away from an overly-punitive approach to public safety and start focusing on how to safeguard our communities, prevent the conditions that lead to arrests, and rehabilitate people who have made mistakes,” starts with abolishing private prisons, something Warren had already addressed in a separate plan. By contrast, Warren opens by “reimagining how we talk and think about public safety,” with a focus keeping kids in school, keeping families off the streets in affordable housing, mental health and addiction services, and more. “It is a false choice to suggest a tradeoff between safety and mass incarceration,” she writes. “By spending our budgets not on imprisonment but on community services that lift people up, we’ll decarcerate and make our communities safer.” Both candidates emphasize how many roles police officers are expected to fill, often without training. As Sanders writes, police are “doubling as social workers, conflict negotiators, and medical responders.” Warren emphasizes mental health care that will keep people from the moments of crisis that often lead to interactions with police—something she notes Medicare for All would provide—and pledges to “increase funding for ‘co-responder’ initiatives that connect law enforcement to mental health care providers and experts.” Sanders takes this a step further, pledging to “create civilian corps of unarmed first responders, such as social workers, EMTs, and trained mental health professionals, who can handle order maintenance violations, mental health emergencies, and low-level conflicts outside the criminal justice system, freeing police officers to concentrate on the most serious crimes.”
  • Trump told Dreamers 'not to worry,' but his DOJ is now defending his wish to deport them    (Gabe Ortiz, 2019-08-20)
    Back in January 2018, Donald Trump told Dreamers “not to worry” after announcing just a few months beforehand that he would be terminating their immigration protections. The administration has always had the full authority to continue this program—which had been operating just fine until this current administration—but instead his Justice Department is defending his wish to deport hundreds of thousands of these young immigrants. “In a legal brief submitted to the court, the lawyers asserted that the president was fully within his rights to eliminate the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and said the lower courts were mistaken when they said Mr. Trump’s action almost two years ago was arbitrary,” The New York Times reports.  Numerous courts have forced the administration to partially resurrect the program, ruling that it “didn’t adequately explain its rationale for ending the Obama-era program, a requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act.” That’s because there was no rationale to ending this successful program, other than it being an Obama-era program that has helped young immigrants thrive and protected them from deportation. The Supreme Court will now hear arguments around DACA in November. “The justices could decide the case next spring or summer, just as the presidential election campaign is in full swing.” Young immigrants have already been living their lives in limbo, from court decision to court decision with no idea about the status of their future here. A bill that would put them on a path to citizenship has passed the House, so let’s be clear about who’s blocking that relief right now: Trump’s accomplice, Mitch McConnell. “The 700,000 who received DACA grew up in the United States and have paid fees, submitted fingerprints and complied with the program’s rigorous requirements for years,” said Pili Tobar of immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice. “But Trump wants them sent back to countries that in many cases they don’t even remember. Killing DACA would have ripple effects harming millions in their families and communities who have poured their heart and soul into protecting Dreamers over the past decade or more.”
  • Americans want federal action on election security ahead of 2020, per new Brookings survey    (Darrell M. West, 2019-08-20)
    Election security has been a topic of considerable discussion given foreign interference in recent elections. A U.S. Intelligence Committee report found that Russia gained illegal entry into numerous voter registration data bases in the American states. In addition, Special Counsel Robert Mueller warned in testimony before Congress that Russia represented a major threat leading into…       
  • Paul Ryan decides the opportunities for grift are better in D.C., moves from his 'beloved' Wisconsin    (Joan McCarter, 2019-08-20)
    Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, arguably the most overrated politician of the past decade, made a really big deal out of not becoming a D.C. kind of guy. He insisted on being home in Wisconsin every weekend and even slept in his Capitol office to prove that he totally didn't sell out and is all about his home state. Until now, when he's decided the Beltway provides greener pastures. He has moved his family to a rented house in the D.C. suburbs in Maryland, one of his aides telling Politico "Now in the private sector, Paul and his family are temporarily renting a house in Maryland, and he’ll be spending time there as well as their family home in Janesville." Why? To be closer to his wife's sister, ostensibly.  Politico says that recently "Ryan has taken pains to detach himself from politics." That assertion is sort of belied by this move, but they report that he "transferred more than $7 million from his political accounts to his nonprofit, the American Idea Foundation." He still has more than $9 million on hand, so there's that. Further proof, according to Politico, that he's getting out of politics is that he's "has taken a seat on the board of directors of Fox Corp., the parent company for entities like Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Television." Because no Republican ever has used Fox for political purposes. Whether it's to position himself for the next political move or to position himself in the way of a lot more money for his new "nonprofit" life, it's Paul Ryan being the phony Paul Ryan he's always been.  What the hell. Let's just keep burying his failed leadership. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these House races!
  • Could impeachment support from House Democrats' No. 4 be a tipping point?    (Kerry Eleveld, 2019-08-20)
    On the heels of new support for an impeachment inquiry by the House Democrats' No. 4 on the leadership team, a guessing game has broken out on Capitol Hill about who might be next and what that could mean for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Some speculate that the change of heart by New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who last year led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to historic gains in the midterm elections, could hold sway among a swath of freshmen members who view him as a mentor. Those new members, in turn, are the very lawmakers Pelosi is presumably trying to shield from what she believes could be a politically fraught endeavor. In addition, Politico is reporting that some on the Hill are keeping an eye on civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis for a potential shift toward launching a formal inquiry. Lewis, of course, holds a certain moral center of gravity within the caucus that could be a game-changer.  The number of House Democrats favoring impeachment currently stands at 125, according the Washington Post, well past the halfway mark for the caucus.
  • Undocumented immigrant who sued former boss for wage theft detained by ICE during deposition break    (Gabe Ortiz, 2019-08-20)
    Xue Hui Zhang left a courtroom for lunch after giving a deposition against his former employer, who owes him $200,000 in back wages. Zhang and his attorney Adam Dong had barely made it to the diner entrance when as many as half a dozen Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stopped them. “Mr. Zhang, can you come with us?” one reportedly asked. Zhang, an undocumented immigrant, was taken into custody. “Zhang's attorneys said the case is extremely unusual,” WNYC reports. “While ICE has arrested people coming and going from courts, it has a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Labor not to detain workers in the process of suing an employer over workplace violations.” But that memo dates back to 2011, and our nation’s agencies are now operated by Trump loyalists who take the law into account based on how it affects the boss and his priorities. In this case, the priority is to sweep up as many immigrants as possible, government memos be damned. An attorney for Ichiban, Zhang’s former employer, claimed that "I have no first hand knowledge of the facts of Mr. Zhang’s arrest. My clients have assured me that they did not call ICE." Fine, but this would also be much easier to believe if there weren’t already a history of ICE targeting workers who dared to fight unscrupulous employers.  Last year in Mississippi, Koch Foods settled with Latina processing plant workers for nearly $4 million after they alleged supervisors sexually harassed them, assaulted them, and forced them to work in overall “hostile” conditions. Earlier this month, that Koch plant was one of several raided by ICE, sweeping up nearly 700 workers and separating families. Koch Foods, documents state, had a history of “knowingly hiring and employing illegal aliens.”  Zhang, his attorneys say, is currently jailed at a detention center in Buffalo, New York. "The underlying rationale or reason for the two agencies having this [memorandum of understanding] is to ensure that undocumented employees can pursue their labor law rights without the fear of interference from ICE," said attorney John Troy. “He said he'll seek to free Zhang from detention based on this argument,” WNYC added.
  • Trump's biggest Facebook supporter is a Chinese cult pulling for the apocalypse    (Mark Sumner, 2019-08-20)
    This is not the death cult you expected. While Donald Trump may regularly count on the support of people who believe that supporting Israel means making sure that every Jewish citizen of that state is handy to be either converted or slaughtered in the any-day-now End Times, this is another group of religious fanatics counting on Trump to fulfill their world (and atheist) -destroying dreams. Until recently, the contents of website The Epoch Times have been so out there, so beyond the pizzagate conspiracy theories of Gateway Pundit and the black helicopter lizard men of Infowars, that it’s been regarded as too odd to be considered part of the right-wing “mainstream.” No more. Under Trump, all bets are off. And a group that’s willing to top the online spending of Democratic candidates to express its support for Trump is definitely welcome in the fold … even if they do want him for his finger on the nuclear trigger. It’s easy to understand why any group looking for an apocalypse might look to Trump as just the man for the job. But not every cult manages to spend more on Facebook than presidential campaigns. The leaders of the group that is counting on Trump to begin the “Last Havoc” have now spent more than $1.5 million to buy 11,000 pro-Trump spots on social media. In April alone, those ads netted 3 billion views, making this foreign-backed group one of the top video creators on the Internet and a major player in American politics. As NBC News reports, The Epoch Times may look like just another online conspiracy site belonging to another small cult of slavish Trump followers itchin’ for some good old-fashioned smiting from above. But this “small New York-based nonprofit” is actually controlled by Falun Gong, a Chinese religious group aiming to both bring down Beijing and democracy while cheering for the end of all things. If on the surface they look like another fundamentalist site attacking science, reason, and “humanists,” it’s because they are. Falun Gong members have been subject to some genuinely terrible oppression and abuse by the Chinese government, so it’s easy to understand why members of the group would pull for anything that might bring down Chairman Xi and his totalitarian regime. What’s less understandable is how that translates into support for Trump, considering his refusal to call out the Chinese government on anything related to human rights, and his expressed willingness to allow Xi to have his way with Hong Kong and anyone else that is “his problem.” The connection seems to be that group members believe Trump is the guy who is ready to hate the people that they hate and maybe push the not-a-Coke button on the Resolute Desk. Their core beliefs include an upcoming judgement day in which all the Chinese officials who directed punishment their way get sent to a very special communist hell. Of course, American unbelievers, liberals, and scientists will go with them.
  • Trump severs ties with old friend and fellow alleged influence peddler Tom Barrack    (Joan McCarter, 2019-08-20)
    Donald Trump has severed ties with one of his oldest and closest friends, wealthy investor Tom Barrack, Politico reports. The friendship goes back decades, and the men were so close, reportedly, that "Barrack comforted Trump during the funeral of his father, Fred." The two were so close that Barrack was tapped to as chairman of Trump's 2017 inauguration fund, and that's why Trump is dumping him now. Barrack is under investigation for "allegedly making it easy for some foreigners and others to try to spend money to get access to Trump and his inner circle." There are also reports that the inauguration money was misspent, and Trump is very, very shocked to learn all this, administration officials say. "The president was really surprised to read all about the inauguration and who was trying to buy access and how, because the president doesn't get any of that money," said the official. Well, some of that money, actually. Because the committee spent $1.5 million at Trump's D.C. hotel. Barrack is the guy responsible for bringing Paul Manafort to the Trump campaign. Manafort and Barrack were already busy before the election, allegedly peddling influence with Barrack's extensive list of friends in the Middle East, now part of the federal probe. Federal prosecutors are trying to determine if the inaugural committee allowed foreigners, specifically Saudi and UEA friends of Barrack, to use straw donors in order to contribute to the inaugural fund. He is, according to news reports, cooperating with those prosecutors in the public integrity unit of the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn investigating that and whether he violated laws requiring lobbyists to register when they work for foreign interests. Maybe that's why Trump is so pissed at him: for the “cooperating” part. 
  • Should voting be required by law?    (Carolyn Copeland, 2019-08-20)
    In the months leading up to Election Day, Americans are constantly bombarded with Get Out the Vote efforts by organizations, politicians, and celebrities. We’ve all heard the ads begging people to register to vote. We’ve heard political candidates tell us that “this is the most important election of our lifetime” in order to mobilize eligible voters. But while these efforts can certainly be effective, they generally don’t result in an impressive voter turnout. In 2018, a Pew Research Center survey found that 70% of Americans think voting in presidential elections is important. That same study also found that 78% of people think it is critical for the public to be informed about candidates and their policies. But even with the majority of Americans acknowledging the importance of voting, our turnout rate is still embarrassing—particularly when compared to other nations. If Americans maintain an ambivalent attitude about voting, or only vote when they’re excited about a particular candidate, important elections will eventually be decided by only a handful of people. This is why Americans should actively consider adopting a compulsory voting system. The concept of compulsory voting is not new. Today, 22 countries have compulsory voter participation. While some countries like the United States consider voting a democratic right, others view it as a civic responsibility. Take Belgium, for example. Belgium first adopted compulsory voting in the late 1800s. In many of those countries, failing to vote without a sufficient excuse can result in penalties like small fines or even passport confiscation. Currently, Belgium’s average turnout rate for general elections is 90 percent. Massive voter turnout rates can also be found in countries with similar policies like Australia and Brazil. In contrast, America’s last presidential election in 2016 drew approximately 58 percent of eligible voters to the polls.
  • Oil lobbyist brags about criminalizing gas and oil pipeline protests in leaked audio recording    (Marissa Higgins, 2019-08-20)
    Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs for oil lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFRM), bragged about how successful the industry has been in pushing anti-protest legislation, as heard in leaked audio obtained by The Intercept. What kind of protests are we talking about? In this case, pipeline protests. And as more states are passing laws to criminalize these protests, this boasting is nothing to brush off.  Oh, and lest you think the AFRM is no big deal, think again. AFRM is a corporate giant that represents many heavy-hitters in the fossil fuel world, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Koch Industries.  As first reported by Lee Fang for The Intercept, you can hear Morgan boasting about the industry’s effectiveness in pushing this legislation while at a conference in D.C. this June.  “We’ve seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017,” Morgan stated in the leaked audio, in reference to lobbying efforts after the Dakota Access Pipeline protests got national attention in 2016.“We’re up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your pocket.” Before we get into the laws, let’s do a quick review of what happened (and to an extent, is still happening) at Standing Rock. While there have been many protests, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests got nationwide attention when a Lakota man chained himself to a piece of construction equipment to protest the construction of a pipeline that would not only threaten clean water access but destroy spiritual grounds. 
  • The reaction to Trudeau’s scandal proves Quebec isn’t as powerful as it used to be    (By J.J. McCullough, 2019-08-20)
    The root causes of Lavscam can also be traced to a set of establishment shibboleths.
  • California's Secretary of State on the rapidly changing role of cybersecurity for US elections    (Walter Einenkel, 2019-08-20)
    California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla has been a champion for voting rights. He was elected in 2014, defeating his Republican opponent on the promise of getting more Californians registered and enfranchised into the Democratic process. Since that time, Padilla has worked to expand voter registration and voting options for constituents. He has also found himself at the forefront of the growing national concerns in voting cyber security.  While our election security has never been lower, Padilla remains optimistic because, at the very least, we are having the conversation now, something that has been on the back burner for some time. Padilla explains that no one asked him about cyber security and elections back in 2014, but after the 2016 elections, “the job of a secretary of state and local election administrators across the country has fundamentally changed.” He says now more and more officials are “versed in issues of election security and cyber defense,” as is the public—and that is a cocktail that makes for change. Secretary of State Padilla spoke with Daily Kos for our Making Progress series at Netroots Nation in Philadelphia this year.  x x YouTube Video What do you think is the most important thing we can do to make elections more accessible to everyone, including citizens who are disabled, rural, first-time voters, and/or extremely busy working multiple jobs and raising their families? So the good news is that the pro-voter reforms to make our elections more secure and more accessible are already out there and being implemented in a number of states and local jurisdictions. You can't vote unless you register first, so whether it's online registration, same-day registration, automatic voter registration, or even preregistration of 16 and 17 year olds, we're seeing more and more people added to the voter rolls each and every day. And in terms of being able to cast your ballot, again, while maintaining the integrity of our elections, you can make it easier for people by providing more choices; more options of when, where and how to vote; in-person early voting, more vote by mail, accessible voting both in person and by mail as well. And there's a movement afoot to give voters more options of not just more days to be able to cast their ballot, but not being limited to the polling location closest to where you live, but the flexibility of voting at any location in the county convenient to you. Well I think for a lot of organizers and mobilizers out there, we already know that we gotta be bold, to be bold. Given your experience advocating for voting reforms in your state, what advice do you wish you had been given that election officials or other reform advocates could use in their own efforts to improve voting? A lotta the times we're met with resistance, though, from these bold pro-voter ideas by folks who say, well, administratively it's gonna be difficult, logistically it's a challenge, or an existing state law says this. There's a lotta resistance sometimes from folks who have to implement these good ideas, by saying it's gonna add to our workload, but we can be bold, because being secure and accessible in our elections and making our elections as accessible as possible are not mutually exclusive. They can go hand in hand, they do go hand in hand, and we're showing the way in California. When you became California's Secretary of State, what was the most suprising thing you learned about voting? When I was campaigning for secretary of state in 2014, the bulk of our campaign and the questions I got was what can we do to get more people to register to vote? What can we do to get more people actually casting their ballots? We were focusing on participation and turnout. Almost nobody asked me questions about election security and cyber threats, and then 2016 happened. And I think the job of a secretary of state and local election administrators across the country has fundamentally changed since then. And so we still dedicate ourselves to increasing registration, we still dedicate ourselves to improving participation, but we are equally versed in issues of election security and cyber defense. Bonus Question: What advice would you give your teenage self? Do your homework. If I could give my teenage self advice, it's, yes, don't just pay attention to what's being taught in class, but to think more and utilize mentors and resources better. It's the only way I survived college, by working with partners and seeking out help, and I've carried that throughout my professional career. You may get elected to an office, but that doesn't mean you know it all. You should be learning from others, especially those who came before you, as a foundation to bring your new ideas to. Want to catch more Making Progress interviews? Check out our recent interviews with Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and Pennsylvania State Rep. Summer Lee. You can see Iowa’s J.D. Scholten talk about going up against racist Steve King, and you can check out interviews with four people running for the Democratic presidential nomination at Daily Kos’ YouTube channel. We’ll release a new and exclusive interview with a progressive organizer, leader, or politician every Tuesday.
  • Bernie Sanders has a smart critique of corporate media bias    (By Katrina vanden Heuvel, 2019-08-20)
    And thankfully, bad press matters less and less.
  • McConnell's death cult prevails again, stopping momentum for action on guns    (Joan McCarter, 2019-08-20)
    Campaign Action Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows the news cycle around mass shootings and is willing to take a few hits in the traditional media in the short term. Because he knows that by biding his time, outrage will blow over until the next one when we do this all over again. By refusing to act, he got what he wanted—what the NRA wanted—this time around. Again. Trump has backed down from his earlier vague calls for stronger background checks to just making noises about mental health. His preferred plan has echoes to a fascist past—remove the mentally ill people from society along with the other undesirables. But it means that McConnell has an excuse now to do nothing; Trump says it's unnecessary, he won't sign anything, so why bother to act. His team is dutifully falling in line. Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson says, in essence, "why bother." Any legislation that might come up, he says, won't pass. "I really don't see the dynamic having really changed" on a new background checks effort, and "I don't anticipate we’re going to pass a federal red flag law." What a difference two massacres in less than a day makes to Republicans. As in none. Never mind that 77% of Republicans and almost 90% of all voters want strengthened background checks. The rabid base and the NRA don't. It doesn't matter how many people die violently on a daily basis. It doesn't matter if they're six- and seven-year-old children. It doesn't matter if they're mown down in a place of worship. It doesn't matter if they're mown down at concerts, or nightclubs, or bars, or anywhere. Life's cheap, if you're Mitch McConnell. Nothing matters beyond his making his gruesome stamp on history. This has to end. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats end McConnell's career as majority leader.
  • U.S. Steel lays off Michigan workers a week after Trump bragged 'business is thriving'    (Laura Clawson, 2019-08-20)
    Just last week, Donald Trump was bragging about the success of his steel tariffs. This week, U.S. Steel is laying off workers in Michigan—temporarily, but for as long as six months. “Steel was dead. Your business was dead. Okay? I don’t want to be overly crude. Your business was dead. And I put a little thing called ‘a 25 percent tariff’ on all of the dumped steel all over the country. And now your business is thriving” Trump said, in the same Monaca, Pennsylvania, speech at which he had a coerced audience of workers told they’d lose pay if they didn’t attend. “And I’ll tell you what,” he added later, “Those steel mills—U.S. Steel and all of them, all of them—they’re expanding all over the place. New mills. New expansions. We hadn’t have—we didn’t have a new mill built in 30 years, and now we have many of them going up.” This is, of course, false. There are not “many” new steel mills going up (and on top of it, there had been at least one built within the last 30 years). U.S. Steel is investing $1 billion in its Mon Valley Works facilities, but there’s no guarantee of new jobs there. And now U.S. Steel is idling blast furnaces and laying off workers—temporarily, we very much hope—as steel prices have fallen significantly from a 2018 peak shortly after Trump announced his tariffs. The steel tariffs did at least temporarily lead to increased investment and jobs. But of course Trump had to lie about the scale of the improvements and you’re unlikely to see him admitting to the slump that’s hitting now.
  • Truck driver arrested after 'credible threats to conduct a mass shooting' at a Memphis church    (Jen Hayden, 2019-08-20)
    Truck driver Thomas Matthew McVicker was arrested in Indianapolis after the FBI said he made “credible threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide.” McVicker told a friend in Alabama he intended to conduct a mass shooting at a Memphis church and then requested the days off from his employer, telling the employer he intended to head to Memphis for time off.  Additional details from the Associated Press: Earlier this month, McVicker's friend in southern Alabama told a Florida FBI agent that McVicker has been considering "shooting a church up" or killing people on the street. Later, in a telephone call, the friend said McVicker told her the church shooting would happen when he was in Memphis on Thursday and that he "intended to take his knife and slit the pastor's throat." His mother told the FBI he is a drug user who is being treated for mental illness, alleging he “owned a Ruger P90 handgun and sometimes uses cocaine and methamphetamine. She also said her son is being treated for schizophrenia.” Another Associated Press report contains details of his struggles, as outlined by a friend in Alabama. 
  • The staying power of Joe Biden    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2019-08-20)
    Voters are more forgiving than the media.
  • Detained immigrants sue Trump admin over poor medical care, 'outright denial' of services    (Gabe Ortiz, 2019-08-20)
    Faour Abdallah Fraihat began losing vision in his left eye while jailed at a private detention facility in California that detains people for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Court documents state that as he continued to deteriorate, he was denied a surgery that had been recommended by a doctor. When he was finally able to see someone several months later, he was told it was too late—the damage was irreversible. He remains jailed at Adelanto, which is operated by private prison profiteer GEO Group. Fraihat is now among the 15 immigrants named in a nationwide class action lawsuit filed by Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, Disability Rights Advocates, Southern Poverty Law Center, Al Otro Lado, and Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice against the Trump administration over “the delay and outright denial of medical care, the punitive use of solitary confinement, the failure to provide mental health care, and discrimination against people requiring disability accommodations.” The 15 plaintiffs don’t want any monetary damages, a statement reads. They just want the U.S. to treat people better. “Plaintiff Marco Montoya Amaya is 41 years old and currently detained at Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center,” court documents continue. “For over a year, he has had a tentative diagnosis of end-stage neurocysticercosis—a progressive, invasive, and severe brain parasite—for which he has received no treatment.” Another plaintiff, Jose Segovia Benitez, is a Marine veteran who did two tours in Iraq. “He came home from service with depression, anxiety, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, and combat PTSD.” He also has a heart condition that has left him with request bouts of chest pains and dizziness, “for which treatment has been delayed or denied.” In fact, it’s been Segovia Benitez who has been the one to provide services for Adelanto, by translating for deaf detainees since ICE won’t give them the aid they need. “Although he is not fluent in ASL, he took three semesters of ASL at community college. He has translated without any prompting from Adelanto.” The groups note that many people detained in private and public facilities “could be legally released on parole or with a bond, but ICE chooses to detain them instead, at an average cost of $208.00 per individual, per day.” 
  • That meager tax break you got from Trump? His latest tariffs are going to erase it    (Joan McCarter, 2019-08-20)
    The last round of tariffs, J.P. Morgan analysts estimate, will bump costs to consumers from $600 after the first two rounds to $1,000. That's eating up the majority of tax break of about $1,300 from the 2017 tax cuts.  J.P. Morgan's chief U.S. equity strategist, Dubravko Lakos-Bujas, says it's particularly bad for consumers as opposed to farmers who are getting Trump's bribes to make up for their losses because "there is no simple way to compensate consumer." This third round are expected to begin September 1 and the remainder, the ones Trump delayed because he doesn't want the bad press for a war on Christmas, on December 15. This round, says Lakos-Bujas, will be particularly hard on consumers. "What distinguishes China Phase III tariffs from preceding tariffs is the impact to Consumption and Capital goods whereas previous tariffs focused more on Intermediate goods. […] This suggests that the expected consumer impact should be larger in the latest round." That's analyst speak for stuff consumers tend to buy more of—shoes, electronics, clothes, toys—are in this tranche of tariffs. Delaying a chunk of that until December 15 might not do the trick. Therefore, Lakos-Bujas is predicting that the administration finds a way out. "We believe there is a good chance they end up reversing their decision and finding a way to reach some common ground with Chinese negotiators," he said. This round of tariffs will come at a "much higher cost for the U.S. administration" in the run-up to the 2020 election, the bank's analysts agreed. Therefore, they believe there's "a good chance they end up reversing their decision and finding a way to reach some common ground with Chinese negotiators." Since Trump's partially blinked once already, that's possible. Or it could be wishful thinking. These guys want to keep a much friendlier Republican administration in 2021.
  • Republicans have become their caricature of Barack Obama    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2019-08-20)
    Republicans must admit Obama was right, or concede that Trump is wrong.
  • Pre-Labor Day Cattle Call: the quiet before the storm    (kos, 2019-08-20)
    It’s a political truism that campaigns don’t get started for real until Labor Day—people return from their idyllic summers to the harsh reality of the real world. Everything prior is just prep work, from fundraising to building staff, all prepared to execute on a campaign’s master plan.  The scheduling is different for presidential primaries—it’s not a two-month sprint to the first Tuesday in November. The first real votes are cast in February. But the idea that Iowa and New Hampshire are “first in the nation” is over. The first primary has been a national one, and it’s been waged mostly online, with dollars and social media follows substituting for votes. The process has already whittled the field down significantly. Not just two already-forgotten candidates, officially having withdrawn, but over a dozen who will be denied a debate stage in November, and another half-dozen included only because they scraped their way to 2% in a handful of polls.  This national first-in-the-nation primary has whittled the field down to four real contenders. Iowa no longer has a say in the matter, other than delivering the obvious news to the 18 non-contenders. Would Iowa really hand a victory to a non-contender like Steve Bullock? If it did, we would point and laugh. Nope, Iowa’s role will be mostly to confirm the obvious. Four real contenders.  As usual, I base these rankings on both objective data (poll numbers, fundraising numbers), and my own subjective assumptions. So without further ado, let’s look at the rankings!
  • Here comes another Trump cave. It will showcase his worst instincts.    (By Greg Sargent, 2019-08-20)
    Despite mass shootings, Trump will likely do the NRA's bidding and back off gun control.
  • Trump claims that the Russia investigation was an attempted coup, Barr will make that 'true'    (Mark Sumner, 2019-08-20)
    We’re going to need a bigger alphabet. Because Donald Trump has torn past the outlandish claims of the “Q” conspiracy theorists and zipped right on to a position that’s somewhere past “Z” in his claims about the “deep state” lurking within the Department of Justice. In fact, Trump has made so many claims about the actions of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, “the lovely” Lisa Page, Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, and an imaginary cast of thousands that his followers are on the edge of their seats, just waiting for those lines of paddy wagons to come to haul the whole DOJ—except William Barr—off to Guantanamo.  But the problem is, no matter how fantastical Trump’s ravings may be, William Barr is well-positioned to turn those claims into “truth” and satisfy every right-wing conspiracy theorist no matter what secret letter feeds them their information. As Politico reports, Trump supporters are now focused on the upcoming reports from the inspector general and the completely overlapping report from the Barr-appointed John Durham for proof that the deep, deep staters launched a coup against Trump, a coup that was only halted because Donald Trump was simply too smart and too popular to be caught in their traps. The IG report could be coming soon. Or not. Neither investigation has a deadline. In fact, unlike the report from the special counsel’s office, neither investigation has any set commitments at all. They could end with an encyclopedic report, or with a shrug behind the closed doors of Barr’s office. And there’s one other thing they have in common—no real evidence that either investigation is necessary. Neither the DOJ nor the FBI has been secretive about the origins of the investigation into Trump campaign adviser, and subject of four previous investigations, Carter Page. They also haven’t hidden how that investigation into Page was extended to involve a broader look at the alarming number of foreign contacts by the Trump campaign, or how Mueller was appointed directly because of Trump’s actions in attempting to thwart that investigation. Unlike the investigation into the Trump campaign, where it was already clear that there had been multiple significant attempts to make a connection with the Russian government, and absolute very public proof that Trump had stepped in to block justice, there is a grand total of no evidence that anyone in either the FBI or DOJ did anything illegal in establishing the investigation. But Trump is ramping up the expectations to the point where “lock her up” is becoming “lock them all up” and even outside his rapid rally attendance, Republicans are anticipating that the pair of reports will confirm every claim that’s been made on Twitter, Fox, or wherever-the-heck Q statements originate. And Barr may just give it to them.
  • Trump advisers push back on reports of serious planning to combat a recession    (Laura Clawson, 2019-08-20)
    Reports that White House advisers are planning a payroll tax cut to put the brakes on the threat of recession aren’t true, officials insisted to The New York Times. They’re not doing any serious in-case-of-recession planning. Two administration officials told the Times that a payroll tax cut wasn’t under real consideration, while “a third official said that discussions of what tools could be deployed to offset a recession, based on examining what had been done in previous slowdowns, were hypothetical and not being explored with urgency.” So while the warning signs of recession are growing, the Trump administration is treating the possibility as hypothetical and not really urgent. Good to know. And as The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell recently pointed out, Trump's economic team is a disaster. Then again, with Trump insisting that the economy is “very strong” and “Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they’re loaded up with money,” how could his advisers make serious plans for combating a recession, even if they knew what they were doing? Trump already has his plan for a recession: He’s going to swing from denying it’s happening to blaming the media and Democrats and his Federal Reserve chair and everyone else in sight.
  • My husband, John McCain, was a man of civility. Americans can still learn from him.    (By Cindy McCain, 2019-08-20)
    A renewal of civil engagement will help us meet the challenges of the future.
  • Buttigieg doesn’t raise his voice. Thank goodness.    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2019-08-20)
    Sometimes quieter is better.
  • Trump bows to the NRA, flip-flops on making even the slightest move to stop gun violence again    (Mark Sumner, 2019-08-20)
    School children struck down in their classrooms. The largest gun massacre of civilians in a century. Shootings in churches. Shootings in synagogues. Shootings at nightclubs, concerts, and shopping malls. Back to back shootings within 24 hours. For all of them, Donald Trump has the same solution—talk about supporting stronger gun legislation in the immediate wake of mass murder, then retreat behind NRA talking points before the funerals are complete. It’s not just Trump’s words of racism, xenophobia, and hate that are inspiring mass murder, those same deaths are both encouraged and supported by Trump’s continued support of the NRA’s agenda on every point. Because at his heart, and in his actions, Donald Trump is a monstrous coward, easily manipulated by anyone willing to give him the slightest praise, and terrified of the idea of doing something that might pull away that source of support, no matter how false. Following the back to back shootings in Texas and Ohio, Trump once again spoke in support of expanded background checks, which are literally the least that can be done. But as The New York Times reports, that was before Trump checked in with the boss. While Trump was on his two week “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf course, he spent some time on the links with representatives from the NRA. And after they praised his putter and announced their awe over Trump’s so-much-better-than-Tiger approach game, he was more than happy to trot out the worn bumper sticker slogans. Returning refreshed from playing golf while other people were burying their parents, spouses, and children, Trump dutifully recited that “it is not the gun that pulls the trigger” and that declared his surprise that “we have very strong background checks right now.” Trump also declared that the whole mass shooting problem is a “mental health issue.” Which it is. Just … not in the way Trump meant it. It’s a mental health issue in the sense that a sniveling invertebrate places his need for ego-strokes for the lives of thousands.
  • Castro becomes tenth candidate to qualify for September Democratic presidential debate    (Laura Clawson, 2019-08-20)
    Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro has qualified for the September presidential debate. Castro got his fourth qualifying poll at 2% after having already reached the 130,000-donor threshold. That makes 10 candidates to qualify for the September debate with just over a week until the deadline for qualifying polls. Former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren; Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and Andrew Yang had already qualified. The CNN poll that put Castro over the top also gave Rep. Tulsi Gabbard her second qualifying poll. Billionaire Tom Steyer is one poll away from making the debate.
  • Morning Digest: Democrats could gain a 2020 Ohio Supreme Court majority in time for redistricting    (Daily Kos Elections, 2019-08-20)
    The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● OH Supreme Court: On Monday, The Columbus Dispatch reported that former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and state Judge John O'Donnell will run as Democrats for the two Ohio Supreme Court seats up for election in November 2020, which could have a major impact on redistricting. Ohio Supreme Court candidates run in party primaries but face off in a nonpartisan general election. Brunner indicated that she plans to run against Republican Justice Judith French, and O'Donnell will challenge GOP Justice Sharon Kennedy. Campaign Action Brunner had previously won the 2006 election for secretary of state but later lost the 2010 primary for U.S. Senate. However, she has since been elected to the state's 10th District Court of Appeals, serving since 2014. O'Donnell has been running for some time and is making his third attempt at Ohio's high court: He previously lost by just 50.3-49.7 against GOP Justice Patrick Fisher in 2016 even as Trump was winning Ohio by 51-43. In 2014, he lost to French by a wider 56-44 as the Republican wave hit Ohio especially hard, although that was still a narrower margin than every Democrat running statewide for partisan office. If Democrats win both of these 2020 races, they would gain a 4-3 majority on the state Supreme Court for the first time since the 1980s. Such a majority would have profound consequences for the upcoming post-2020 redistricting cycle. As we've explained in detail, Ohio's new systems for congressional and legislative redistricting passed since the last round of redistricting still give the Republicans who dominate state government the power to gerrymander again. However, a Democratic state court majority could use state constitutional protections to strike down unfair maps in a way that may be insulated from federal review.
  • Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday    (Bill in Portland Maine, 2019-08-20)
    From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Energize An Ally Tuesday When history books are written about the Trump era (assuming we survive it), among the heroes will be the everyday folks who weren't afraid to laugh right in the faces of the Trump cultists. August's honors, hands down, belong to Alex Kack, field organizer for Tucson's People's Defense Initiative. His viral crackup at a city council meeting over the booting of some racist hecklers earned him the nickname "Green Shirt Guy." I believe I speak on behalf of all Americans still capable of independent thought when I say: Thanks…we needed that. Now that he has our attention, Alex has a few words to say about the subject of that meeting—namely, a sanctuary city voter initiative called "Tucson Families Free and Together" that’s on the ballot this November. If passed, it'll be the first time a municipality became a sanctuary city as a result of a people's vote. Yesterday Newsweek posted Alex’s account of his moment of gut-busting glory, and also the whys and wherefores of Prop 205: Here in Tucson, our community has long been on the front line of resistance against repressive immigration policies and institutions, while Arizona has been a petri dish for anti-immigrant policy and xenophobic rhetoric. […] Voters go to the polls November 5th. Prop 205 would put in place strong directives against racial profiling and protections for undocumented victims of crime by drawing clear separations between our police department and federal immigration agencies. … Beyond that, adoption of Prop 205 would ensure that local police are better able to prioritize their role as first responders over the enforcement of civil immigration matters, as dictated by SB 1070. Sanctuary would ensure that all Tucson residents, regardless of their immigration status, are provided equality under the law, safety and justice. […] We live in times where violent, exclusionist rhetoric continuously rears its ugly head. Now more than ever, local communities need to band together to reject hate in a strong and unified voice. Cities around the nation are taking a stand and proclaiming that they will not take part in any federal effort to terrorize our beloved immigrant neighbors. I am confident that Tucson will do exactly that this fall. C&J is happy to have the chance to shine our Tuesday "Energize An Ally" spotlight on the Tucson initiative, and also add a sawbuck or two via the Tucson Families Free & Together donation page here. If you're able to help out, they'll love it. Even better, if you’re able to help out, the racists Alex laughed out of the room will hate it. x Embedded Content More info via: » Tucson Families Free & Together site here, twitter page here, Facebook page here. » Alex's Twitter page » Get your own “Green Shirt Guy” tee from the People's Defense Initiative. P.S. The latest lucky duck to laugh Tucson’s haters out of the room? A Superior Court judge. Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
  • Cartoon: Plastic straw man    (Jen Sorensen, 2019-08-20)
    Help sustain these comics — join the Sorensen Subscription Service! Follow me on Twitter at @JenSorensen
  • Morning Bits: Recession, what recession?    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2019-08-20)
    Must-read links to start the day
  • Abbreviated pundit roundup: Background checks, foreign policy and more    (Georgia Logothetis, 2019-08-20)
    We begin today’s roundup with an analysis from The Daily Beast’s Sam Brodey, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Sam Stein of Trump’s predictable reversal of his support for expanded background checks: “He’s started to move on,” a White House official conceded, adding that they haven’t heard the president discussing the topic in recent days with the same urgency or frequency that punctuated the immediate aftermath of the high-profile shootings. [...] So far this month, President Trump has posted four tweets directly addressing the need for more robust background checks for gun purchases, one fewer than he’s posted about Diamond & Silk, the Trump-loving, self-described “Video Vloggers” who make regular appearances on Fox News and Fox Business. That Trump’s attention span drifted elsewhere before Congress could even reconvene to debate gun control reform was hardly a surprise. The president has promised to tackle background checks before, only to drop the idea once the mass shooting that precipitated his apparent interest faded from the news cycle. Josh Dawsey and David Nakamura at The Washington Post: Trump’s campaign commissioned a poll on guns after this month’s shootings, and his political advisers warned him that there is little support for significant action among Republican voters, and even some Democrats, people familiar with the conversations said. [...] Trump has begun road-testing his talking points on guns. He noted to advisers that he got a roar of approval at the New Hampshire rally when he said: “It is not the gun that pulls the trigger; it is the person holding the gun.”
  • Of course Trump backtracks on gun reform. He lacks the courage.    (Editorial Board, 2019-08-20)
    Even bare-minimum reforms seem, once again, out of reach.
  • A journalist exposed corruption in Azerbaijan. The country continues to persecute her.    (Editorial Board, 2019-08-20)
    A Western response is needed to protect this courageous journalist from renewed persecution.
  • Providing aid to people facing deportation is admirable — but not for felons    (Editorial Board, 2019-08-20)
    Asking taxpayers to pay to defend immigrants with criminal records is a losing strategy.


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