Is Donald Trump Being Targeted by the Deep State? - SOME MORE NEWS

Little Green Footballs - 5 hours 5 min ago

In today's episode, we investigate the fabled Deep State to find out what people even say they are, and whether or not they would be doing the things people say they're doing if they happen to be what people say they are.

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Produced by Katy Stoll (@KatyStoll). Written by David Christopher Bell (@moviehooligan)

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Categories: Politics

Billionaires Don't Solve World Problems, Even With Charity

Crooks and Liars - 5 hours 37 min ago
 Billionaires Don't Solve World Problems, Even With Charity

David Campbell, Binghamton University, State University of New York

Billionaires made some eye-popping donations in 2018.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced plans to spend US$2 billion to help the homeless and create a network of free preschools. Media mogul and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater. Those were just the biggest of the nearly 800 donations of $1 million or more from very rich people over the course of the year, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

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Categories: Politics

Oscar Nominations Are Out! Make Your Predictions

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 23:30

The top nominations are:

Best Picture
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star Is Born

Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Actor
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Best Director
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice

Of course, there are always those who don't care about such things:

Categories: Politics

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Ten High

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 23:01

Proper words to describe the sound that this band from Arkansas makes? Hmmm, a glorious slimy racket perhaps?

One part Z-movie, another the dirt from an abandoned stock car track then shaken in bathtub gin by few psych-punk ghosts, Fayetteville's Ten High splatter rock-n-roll blood in the brightest of reds. If you're in need of another dose of their noise after this one, catch a different blast from them in the most recent edition of my podcast too.

What are you listening to tonight?

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Categories: Politics

The nominees for the 2019 Academy Awards

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 23:00

The nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced this morning. Roma and The Favourite lead the pack in nominations, with 10 each. The Best Picture category has eight nominees this time around, with Black Panther becoming the first film of the superhero genre to garner a nomination. Among the snubs being discussed are no nomination for Bradley Cooper for directing A Star Is Born. After considerable conservative whining prior to its release, Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man received no nominations in the major categories, and Emily Blunt did not get any recognition for either A Quiet Place or Marry Poppins Returns.

These awards have not been without controversy. In previous years, the Oscars have been plagued with issues surrounding the diversity of the nominees, as well as the demographics of the voters for the Academy, which is about as white and old as the electorate for the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary. There is no announced host for next month’s ceremony, after previous homophobic tweets by comedian Kevin Hart forced his withdrawal. Then there was a public will-he-or-won’t-he return publicity blitz, which involved a controversial appearance on Ellen.

Two of the films nominated for Best Picture have been the subject of online debates. Green Book has been beset by questions over accuracy, as well as past comments by co-writer Nick Vallelonga defending and supporting Donald Trump’s claim of Muslims celebrating in the streets of New Jersey after the September 11 attacks. Bohemian Rhapsody has faced similar criticisms over what really happened or what was invented for dramatic license, but has also engendered debates over how Freddie Mercury’s sexual orientation is depicted and questions about Bryan Singer’s involvement with the film. Even though Singer is still credited as Bohemian Rhapsody’s director, he was fired two weeks into filming and has been beset by allegations of sexual misconduct.

So which film is your favorite? Which will win? Which deserves to win in the following categories?

Categories: Politics

Frank Figliuzzi: Trump Lies Because Russians Won Presidency For Him

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 19:47

First he cracks us up, then he blows our minds. Gotta love Frank Figliuzzi.

He joined Nicolle Wallace on Deadline White House Tuesday to discuss Rudy Giuliani's mischegas, and then started tiptoeing around what he thinks is truly the root of why everyone in Trump's orbit is lying their face off. First, Wallace read from a transcript of Giuliani's The New Yorker interview:

WALLACE: Frank Figliuzzi, I want to read you something about Rudy Giuliani said in The New Yorker interview out today. "Because I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails and I knew none existed. Reporter: Wait, what tapes have you gone through? Rudy: I shouldn't have said tapes." Frank?

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Categories: Politics

The Housing Market Looks … Kinda Normal Right Now

Kevin Drum - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 18:29

Home sales fell in December, ending up at their weakest level since 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal. Is that bad news? Sure. But how bad is it? That’s something I keep going back and forth on.

To get a different kind of handle on this question, here’s the national homeownership rate over the past 50 years:

If you consider the period from 1970-1995 to be “normal,” then the homeownership rate in 2018 was nearly back to normal. In fact, considering that young people saddled with college debt can barely afford to buy homes and are dragging down the overall number, the rest of the country is probably back above normal rates. Right? Except… it turns out the Census Bureau has homeownership rates by age group too:

Older cohorts always have a higher homeownership rate than younger cohorts, so there’s no point in looking at the raw numbers. What’s interesting is how much they’ve changed. As you can see, using 1995 as our starting point, millennials are actually doing fine. They’re only 2 percent below their 1995 level, better than any cohort except the 65+ set. Conversely, the middle-aged cohorts are all 5 percent or more below their 1995 levels. So:

  • Overall homeownership rates are roughly normal.
  • Millennials have made up their losses from the housing bubble better than almost anyone.
  • The millennial homeownership rate is currently 36.8 percent, compared to 37.7 percent in 1995.

This perspective doesn’t make the housing market look all that bad. If it’s slowing down, it’s mostly because we’ve finally rebounded into a fairly normal market.

Home prices are a lot higher than they were in 1995, though. That’s not great. On the other hand, average household debt service payments are below 1995 levels, which means family finances aren’t especially stressed at the moment.

In other words, I’m not sure what’s going on with the housing market. There are positive signs and negative signs, and obviously there are a few cities that are outliers. If I had to guess, though, I’d say that on average the housing market nets out to being fairly normal right now.

Categories: Politics

The Bob Cesca Podcast: A Stroke and a Poke

Little Green Footballs - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 17:59


Today's program from our podcasting affiliate, The Bob Cesca Show:

A Stroke And A Poke -- NSFW; My radio pal Buzz Burbank from Buzz Burbank News and Comment is here today; Day 32 of the Trump Shutdown; The Buzzfeed News dispute; Rudy reveals Trump and Cohen consulted with each other; Rudy also says Trump was working on the Moscow Project through Election Day; What tapes; Rudy on his way to the shower; The Supreme Court allows DACA to continue; Supreme Court also allows Trump's transgender ban to continue; Trump doesn't understand what ahumanitarian crisis means; The grand jury runs out of money on Friday; Government websites vulnerable to hackers; and so much more.

Categories: Politics

Cartoon: Nascar

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 17:50
Categories: Politics

Robert Mueller's team is investigating Trump's odd relationship with the NRA

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 17:08

NRA executives and high-profile members have been thick as thieves with Russians Alexander Torshin, the Kremlin-linked banker, and his associate Maria Butina, the Russian spy who is sitting in U.S. federal prison charged with conspiring against the United States. Torshin and Butina wined and dined former NRA president David Keene in Moscow on a six-day trip in 2015, along with former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke and others. 

That same year, the NRA featured Donald Trump as one of the main speakers at their annual convention, months before Trump launched his presidential campaign. A “billionaire” from New York City with no history of hunting or relationship with the NRA was a rather odd choice. 

The NRA went on to pour $30 million into the effort to help elect Trump in 2016, nearly triple what they’d spent on any other campaign. Also in 2016, the NRA illegally coordinated with the Trump campaign on major ad buys in key markets, something they continued doing in 2018 in three key U.S. Senate races.

And now special counsel investigators are interviewing Trump campaign associates, interested in how and why the NRA and the Trump campaign became so entwined. Former Trump campaign associate Sam Nunberg confirmed the special counsel inquiry to CNN:

"When I was interviewed by the special counsel's office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA," Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, told CNN.

Nunberg told CNN that Robert Mueller’s office was questioning him about it as recently as last month. 

Categories: Politics

Trump doesn't do deals; he does announcements and sips Diet Coke

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:36

With the release of Donald Trump's latest legislative folly, we are once again reminded that Trump is the worst deal-maker in Washington. In fact, he doesn't do deals at all because he doesn't negotiate with the actual people he's supposed to be persuading. Instead, Trump just makes announcements about imaginary deals that exist only in his head. 

For instance, when Trump made a big weekend announcement of a deal that would supposedly extend deportation protections to Dreamers in exchange for wall funding, it wasn't something he had even run by Democrats—the people he was supposed to be wooing to his side. And by the time we finally got a look at the actual text of the legislation, it wasn't even minimally related to the deal Trump announced. As the conservative CATO Institute think tank noted, the "Senate GOP Bill Doesn't Extend DACA. It Guts It." Under the new plan, the number of Dreamers eligible for protections under the DACA plan would effectively be cut in half, to some 700,000. The U.S. asylum program would also be butchered, making asylum claims more difficult to win and downsizing the program to a mere shadow of its former self, with a cap of 15,000 grants per year.  

As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted, the asylum changes are a "poison pill" from the get-go. "Contrary to the president's claims," Schumer told reporters, "it hardly represents a softening of his position. If anything, it's even more radical. No one—no one—can call this new effort a compromise." (Which is why Schumer and Mitch McConnell announced a deal shortly thereafter that would offer up a short-term spending bill.)

In fact, what's most baffling about Trump's new (and now dead) "deal" announcement that was presumably supposed to put the squeeze on Democrats is why Trump and Senate Republicans made it so fricking easy for Democrats to walk away from it without a second thought.

Categories: Politics

McConnell caving? Senate to hold vote to reopen government, along with Trump white supremacist bill

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:19

Campaign Action

Senate Democrats have secured a big concession from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: they will get a vote on a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government until February 8 when the Senate also considers the Trump proposal to build a wall and end the asylum program as we know it. That’s the vote McConnell insisted over and over and over would not happen.

"People are saying isn't there a way out of this mess, isn't there a way to relieve the burden on the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, isn't there a way to get government services open first and debate what we should do for border security later?" Mr. Schumer said. "Well, now there's a way."

Both bills are subject to cloture, needing 60 votes on Thursday to make it to the full floor. One of them, Trump's proposal, won't get it. The second, the CR, very well could because it doesn't just include reopening the government, it includes disaster relief money for Gulf states—Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi—where there are eight Republican senators. Remember, though, this is the legislation McConnell swore he would bring to the floor because Trump swore he would veto it.

The conventional wisdom is McConnell has all his senators in line, and that he won't lose more than a couple in this vote. But that might be assuming all wrong. Hell, maybe Trump wants his state of the union speech so badly, he's saying go ahead so his invitation is back on, and then we'll shut it all down again on February 8.

But it makes our job crystal clear. If you have Republican senators (particularly if you live in one of the disaster-affected states) call and put the maximum pressure you can on them. Don't let up between now and Thursday afternoon.

Call your Republican senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to reopen government. Don't stop until this is over.

Categories: Politics

The government may be shut down, but not the part that works to help oil companies

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:46

Government workers may be showing up for their jobs with no paychecks in sight. Families that depend on SNAP to put food on the table may be looking at empty plates. The overall economy may be losing so much momentum that it’s actually on the verge of contraction. But even in the midst of Donald Trump’s arbitrary shutdown, there is a group singled out for special attention. As Mother Jones reports, even though the Interior Department has been reduced to an absolute skeleton staff, with everyone from park rangers to office workers on furlough, the handful of people still at their desks are devoting themselves to America’s neediest—oil and gas companies.

Americans may not be able to get help with their tax forms, or count on getting through an airport in time to make a flight, but the Bureau of Land Management is still processing applications for new oil and gas drilling. That includes drilling in the new offshore areas that Trump opened up for oil production last year, and areas carved out of formerly protected zones, such as former national monument areas and former wildlife refugee areas. As the MJ article states, Interior is devoting staff to this area, even if it means bringing people back from their not-a-vacation, to continue implementing “the Administration’s America First energy strategy.” 

So even after a solid month of the shutdown, with people wondering how they’re going to pay their bills or feed their families, oil companies will get to press ahead with exploration in new areas. This might make some level of sense if there were a worldwide crisis of oil and gas production. There’s not. Storage facilities are full, and the biggest threat to many oil companies is actually the continuing low prices of a glutted market. And even if there were some form of emergency, it would take years for drilling permits being issued now to turn projects from exploration into development and production. 

This is a non-emergency that’s being treated as an emergency. But then, the same thing can be said of the entire shutdown, and the justification for Trump’s wall. With immigration across the southern border at a 40-year low, there’s absolutely no argument to be made concerning economic or security threats, and the only humanitarian issue at the border is the one Trump is creating by simply not allowing in more people more quickly.

As long as Trump can continue to make sure none of his friends feel any pain from his actions, those actions are likely to continue.

Categories: Politics

Lunchtime Photo

Kevin Drum - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:30

Here’s a lovely shot of a dragonfly buzzing around in Prospect Park. I would have preferred a head-on shot, but the little peabrain never turned around. They do that on purpose, don’t they? At least you get a really good view of the double wings on one side.

September 14, 2018 — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Categories: Politics

Arizona lawmaker wants to tax pornography to pay for Trump's erection ... of a border wall

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:17

An Arizona Republican is piping up with a new idea for how to fund Donald Trump's Monument to Racism, or, as he likes to call it, his "wall." What if we, like, charged everyone who ever watched pornography $20? And then put all that money into Trump's wall fund for some reason?

Republican Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, has introduced House Bill 2444, which would make “distributors” of devices that allow access to the internet install software to make the offending material not viewable. To remove the blocking software, a person would have to pay the state $20.

To be clear, the $20 is almost an afterthought here; the most central part of the provision is the notion that all electronic device manufacturers would be required, by law, to create their hardware and software such that it could block certain internet content (to be specified by government policy), and the only way for consumers to then access that content would be to register themselves with a state-run list. Both the state and device manufacturers would have their own fees for doing so, of course. You would have to "unblock" content on each of your devices separately, via different companies and at different rates.

The repercussions of such a plan should be evident: Once all devices have been redesigned to comply with state-run regulations on which content should or should not be blocked from consumer view, there's nothing to say that the rules on what content would get blocked would not change. Perhaps, say, when some future hypothetical elected official didn't like the news coverage he was getting, or when some future hypothetical elected official's extremely weird vice president declared that words contrary to his own religious beliefs counted as "pornographic," because they just did, that's why.

So no, this isn't going to go anywhere. It might be surprising to learn that this is actually just another iteration of anti-pornography legislation that has been banging around multiple statehouses recently, seemingly due mostly to the efforts of one particular "jokester." The only new part is Rep. Gail Griffin's idea to use some of the collected pornography access fees to sponsor Donald Trump's erection—I mean, the erection of Donald Trump's Racism Wall.

How Rep. Griffin came up with that particular twist is unclear. Also unclear is whether individual pornography distributors would be getting recognition for the portions of the wall their own customers sponsored. Would there be plaques? It seems like at the very least they could insist they be given plaques.

Categories: Politics

No, Politico, Democrats are not in disarray over shutdown, however hard you try to say otherwise

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:14

Campaign Action

Head. Desk. Head. Desk. Repeat every single day that Democrats hold one branch of government and Politico can run a "Dems in disarray!" story. This day it is "Centrist Dems urge Pelosi to break shutdown stalemate."

Their ask? "A group of House Democrats is drafting a letter to Pelosi asking her to agree to hold a vote on Trump's wall after the government is reopened."

What's Speaker of the House Pelosi's position? Reopen government and then have votes on border security. Congress can't cave to Trump demands "every time he has an objection" and threatens to "hold the employees hostage," she insisted Tuesday, and she's right.

Note that Politico only has a draft of the letter and quotes only one person in this supposed group of lawmakers, Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia. The article doesn't say if she has any signers on it yet, just that it's circulating "among some lawmakers from red or swing districts" and "illustrates the pressure they are under to end the shutdown."

You know who else is under pressure to end the shutdown? Mitch McConnell, who's the one person right now who could do it with one or two simple votes. That's who's under pressure, and so far just caving to Trump. As usual.
Call your Republican senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to reopen government. Don't stop until this is over.

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: Divorce, death, and a Super Blood Wolf Moon

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:10
Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

The Iowa senator Joni Ernst has stated she turned down the opportunity to be Donald Trump’s vice-president because she believed her husband Gail “hated any successes I have”.

Harris Wofford, a Democratic senator from Pennsylvania, university president and lifelong crusader for civil rights who made a crucial contribution to John F. Kennedy’s slender victory in the 1960 presidential contest, died Jan. 21 at a hospital in Washington. He was 92.

  • In case you missed it on Sunday night, a shot of the Super Blood Wolf Moon:
  • See all your Oscar nominations here.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: CovCath story enters handwringing thinkpiece phase. Trump voters blame him for shutdown, just as Greg Dworkin has always told you (though not today). More on Russian disinfo warfare. Yet another White House tell-all says Trump's a disinterested lout.

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Categories: Politics

Dreamers say 'no way' to Trump 'deal' offering temporary protections in exchange for permanent wall

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:08

Campaign Action

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are saying no thanks to Donald Trump’s “deal” offering only some of them temporary protections in exchange for Stephen Miller’s white supremacist immigration wish list. "With me as a Dreamer,” said Arizonan Antonio Valdovinos De La Mora, “I couldn’t support a temporary deal.”

Trump is holding the government hostage for a “deal” that benefits only him and his racist pals, demanding billions for his useless wall, gutting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and asylum, increasing detention beds, and hiring thousands more mass deportation agents in exchange for temporary protections with new standards that could shut out some current DACA beneficiaries. That’s some shit icing on top of the shit cake.

But the ploy may not work. The Trump administration was hoping to use the urgency around DACA recipients as a bargaining chip, but the Supreme Court burst that bubble on Tuesday, declining to hear the DACA case this term. So, at least through the end of the year, DACA recipients should be able to continue renewing their two-year protections—and they’re calling on Democrats to stand firm on opposing his hostage demands.

"We can’t believe anything this president says," said Karina Ruiz of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. "We want Democrats to hold the line that is not going to spend money on a useless wall that is not going to solve any of the immigration issues that we have." And as Joan McCarter noted earlier, this proposal is “so larded down with white supremacist, anti-immigration fine print, it couldn't tempt any Democrat, even (West Virginia) Sen. Joe Manchin.”

Donald Trump had no mandate following his popular vote loss, and he certainly doesn’t have a case for one now following the GOP’s historic loss in the House. We voted to keep families together, not tear them up and kick them out. “The ‘deal’ he announced today would mean more kids in cages, more deportations and more misery,” said Greisa Martinez of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the U.S. “No way.”

Categories: Politics

Striking Los Angeles teachers get a (good) deal and may be back in schools Wednesday

Daily Kos - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 14:55

Striking Los Angeles teachers have reached a tentative agreement with the school district, and will likely be back in schools on Wednesday if union members vote to accept the deal—as United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl said, “We are a democratic union, our members are going to vote on this today.”

While full details aren’t yet public, the deal reportedly includes a 6 percent raise for teachers, but more importantly, it contains measures to reduce class sizes. The district has also agreed to add school nurses, librarians, and counselors. Calling it “a historic agreement,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said “It gets to lower class sizes. It gets to proper support staff.”

Teachers spent six days picketing, with negotiations going on nearly around the clock on the final day of the strike. Huge community support—based in large part on the reality that teachers were fighting for conditions that would help students—buoyed them through the strike.

Categories: Politics

Chris Hayes: Mike Pence And The Whitewashing Of Martin Luther King

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 14:53

Chris Hayes couldn't believe Mike Pence decided to invoke Martin Luther King as an argument for a southern border wall. Pence indicated Sunday that he hoped people would "come to the table in good faith" to negotiate an end to Donald Trump's government shutdown. Really.

CHRIS HAYES: There's a moment right before the vice president started that thoroughly preposterous riff, where he glances down at his notes and looks like a diver taking a peek at the water below: "Am I really going to do it?" He did it. And the nicest thing you could say about it is "points for chutzpah," I guess? Because no, Mr. Vice President, making the promises of democracy was not about getting a wall.

But then Hayes said this, about all of us:

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Categories: Politics