In a recent redistricting case in Mississippi, a federal judge ruled that black voting strength had been illegally diluted in a particular district and ordered that several majority-black precincts be added to it. The case was appealed, and a three-judge appellate panel upheld the ruling, 2-1. The dissenting judge, Edith Brown Clement, unsurprisingly disagreed with the majority on a number of points of law.
But that’s not all. She also explicitly accused the majority of ruling in favor of the black defendents because they themselves were non-white:
This case presents several extraordinary issues. Unfortunately, this court’s usual procedures do not appear to permit en banc review of this denial of a stay even if a majority of the active judges would otherwise grant it. I am afraid defendants have simply had the poor luck of drawing a majority-minority panel. I trust that in light of this, the State will pursue a stay in the Supreme Court because of the injustice that results from the joint efforts of the district judge and the motions panel majority.
The Mississippi Supreme Court has eight white justices and one black justice. I guess that’s more to Judge Clement’s liking.
I have seen the superbloom up close!
Well, maybe not the superbloom. More like a very commendable bloom, I suppose. However, this bloom is about 20 minutes from my house and has no crowds, so I’ll take it. For you locals, these pictures were all taken at a very nice poppy bloom on Silverado Canyon Road near the post office:March 24, 2019 — Orange County, California March 24, 2019 — Orange County, California March 24, 2019 — Orange County, California
And here’s what the bloom looks like from a distance. This is not the one on Silverado Canyon Road, which is easily accessible even for pitiful couch potatoes like me. It’s on a hillside to the west of Santiago Canyon Road, and probably not accessible at all. I didn’t even try to find out.March 24, 2019 — Orange County, California
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hit new rhetorical heights in the ongoing Republican campaign to claim that the Mueller report (of which we have seen 98 words so far) exonerates Donald Trump (despite the fact that 17 of those words were “while this report does not conclude the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”). Sanders put on her best “can you believe this nonsense” tone of bemused outrage to hype up exactly what Democrats were looking for from the Mueller investigation.
Democrats “accused the president, the United States president, of being an agent of a foreign government,” Sanders said. “Take a minute and realize how outrageous and how serious and how malicious an accusation like that is,” says the spokeswoman for someone who ran on a promise to imprison his political opponents for things like improper email security.
“They literally accused the president of the United States of being an agent for a foreign government,” Sanders said, then took a couple of Olympic-caliber rhetorical leaps. “That's equivalent to treason. That is punishable by death in this country.” Did someone call Donald Trump an agent of a foreign country who’d possibly committed treason? Certainly! Was it the dominant claim coming from people calling for investigations? Nope.
Trump, meanwhile, insisted on Monday that the investigation sprang from “a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country.” He previously accused FBI agent Peter Strzok of “treason.” But, you know, totally outrageous thing to say … or apparently even to ask questions about by calling for an investigation of a campaign’s many questionable ties to the foreign government that interfered in American democracy to get that campaign’s candidate elected president.
- What you missed on Sunday Kos …
- Women's History Month: They ran—and are running—for the highest office in the land, by Denise Oliver Velez
- Trump, GOP keep bullying Twitter and Facebook because they keep caving in, by Eric Boehlert
- Violent white supremacy is nothing new, especially in America, by Sher Watts Spooner
- Vaccines are essential for a healthy society, by Mark E Andersen
- How to deal with the socialism attack, by David Akadjian
- Rep. Omar criticized Israel again. This time, the result was very different, by Ian Reifowitz
- We can’t allow coerced narratives to force actions that are detrimental to all, by Egberto Willies
- The inevitable backlash of the Alpha Boys and White ISIS, by Frank Vyan Walton
- Egg Boy isn’t always right:
An Australian teen known around the world as “Egg Boy” conceded on Monday that egging a far-right senator was not the right thing to do, but said the gesture united a world reeling from a white supremacist’s alleged massacre of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.
- Not a shock:
White people make up just 10 percent of Detroit’s population but got nearly half of the home mortgage loans made in 2017 for which the race of the applicant was known.
Look at Edvard Munch’s Scream and what do you see? According to the British Museum, you may have it all wrong.
Many people believe it shows a man screaming. Not so, says the museum, which is about to display a black and white print of the image.
“This rare version of the Scream that we’re displaying at the British Museum makes clear that Munch’s most famous artwork depicts a person hearing a ‘scream’ and not, as many people continue to assume and debate, a person screaming,” said Giulia Bartrum, curator of a forthcoming exhibition devoted to the Norwegian artist.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin and Armando spend Monday mulling Mueller. Well, Barr, technically. On the policy front, Dems plan an ACA 2.0 reintroduction this week. Then, we revisit the chilling idea that "collusion" might just be a president's prerogative, after all.x Embedded Content
Nothing short of seeing the full report special counsel Robert Mueller delivered to the Department of Justice will clear up the many lingering and problematic questions left by Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary of the two-year probe.
After an investigation that incorporated more than 2,800 subpoenas, almost 500 executed search warrants, 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, approximately 500 interviewed witnesses, four short partisan pages delivered by an attorney general who auditioned for the job by penning 19 pages attacking the investigation simply is not going to cut it.
Within those four pages, Barr didn't quote a single full sentence from Mueller's report—he only quoted fragments. And yet Barr took it upon himself to unilaterally exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction of justice. The four pages were a wholly insufficient airing of the facts from the start, but by only quoting fragments of the sentences Mueller wrote, Barr allowed himself to massage Mueller's prose and impose his own innuendo on them. Barr also reportedly did not even consult Mueller on the letter he sent to Congress.
The American people deserve a full airing of the facts. Though Barr alludes to "actions investigated" and says Mueller's report "sets out evidence on both sides of the question" regarding obstruction, he deprives the American people of any insights into what actions Trump took, and of even a single shred of the evidence Mueller detailed in his report. In fact, on the issue of Trump's obstruction, Barr admits that the American people continue to be in the dark about the full range of behavior Trump engaged in.
"The report's second part addresses a number of actions by the President," Barr writes, "most of which have been the subject of public reporting."
Most is the operative word there—public reporting has covered most of Trump's actions, but not all. Frankly, what's in the public record is already pretty damning. But what about what's not in the public record? Americans deserve to know what Trump has done, especially given the fact that Mueller clearly left it up to Congress to determine whether Trump's actions amount to obstruction of justice. Barr has concluded that they don't, but he hasn't provided Congress or the public with a single piece of the evidence he weighed in making that determination. Not. One. Piece.
CNN and NBC News reported Monday that special counsel Robert Mueller told Attorney General William Barr some three weeks ago that his report would not be conclusive on the question of whether Donald Trump obstructed justice.x
Breaking: *Barr and Rosenstein were told 3 weeks ago that Mueller would not be reaching a conclusion on obstruction, per person familiar with meeting who underlined the decision was MuellerÃ¢ÂÂs alone. (Fixes typo, I need to stop tweeting from camera— Julia E. Ainsley (@JuliaEAinsley) March 25, 2019
CNN correspondent Laura Jarrett also reports that a definitive answer on obstruction was “not expected.” That means Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw most of the Russia investigation, had three weeks to plan for the summary they wrote in which they decided to unilaterally exonerate Trump, even though Mueller did no such thing. It’s also unclear whether they had access to the full range of evidence Mueller laid out in his report.
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall announced on Monday that he would not seek a third term next year, making him the first Democratic senator to announce his retirement this cycle. Given the state's partisan tilt, however, Democrats should be able to hold this seat without much difficulty.
Udall, a member of the famous Udall political family, got his start in politics at a young age, but it wasn't auspicious: He lost two races for the House in the 1980s, the first a dismal fourth-place finish in a Democratic primary in 1982 that was won Bill Richardson (who'd later become governor); the second, a narrow general election defeat to Republican Steven Schiff in 1998.
Udall's fortunes soon turned around, though, and he'd never lose another election. He won two terms as state attorney general starting in 1990, then finally made it to the House with a comfortable 10-point victory in 1998 in New Mexico's 3rd District—the same seat where, as a 34-year-old, he'd gotten trounced by Richardson.
Udall served in the lower chamber for a decade until longtime Republican Sen. Pete Domenici decided not to seek a seventh term in 2008. That year, amidst a Democratic wave, Udall crushed fellow Rep. Steve Pearce in a 61-39 blowout. Simultaneously, his first cousin Mark Udall, whom he'd served alongside in the House, also won a Senate seat in neighboring Colorado. (Mark is the son of legendary Arizona Rep. Mo Udall, whose brother was JFK and LBJ Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, the father of Tom.)
During his time in Congress, Udall became known as a leader on environmental issues, and in a statement explaining his decision not to seek re-election, he pledged to continue the fight against climate change. He also indentified his priorities in his remaining two years in office as working to undo Citizens United and end the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
When it came time for the GOP wave of 2014, Udall again won, albeit by a smaller 56-44 margin over Republican Allen Weh, though his fate was never seriously in doubt. In fact, the GOP hasn't won a Senate race in New Mexico since Domenici's final hurrah in 2002, and the last time a Senate seat came open here, in 2012, Republicans didn't make a major effort to contest it, as Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich defeated former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson 51-45.
This year, no Republicans had yet expressed any interest in taking Udall on, though plenty of Democrats will be interested in trying to succeed him.
If you’re President Trump, what’s your best strategy for dealing with the Mueller report? It’s probably pretty simple:
- Insist loudly that the report completely exonerates you and you’re totally in favor of releasing the whole thing.
- Do not, however, actually order the report released.
- Instead, leave it up to the attorney general, who will stall for weeks or months. Let him take the heat for playing bad cop.
- Hope that by the time the report is finally released, Russiamania will be played out and it won’t get much play.
And guess what? So far, this is exactly what’s happening.
The New York Times led the cheering press pack by announcing that special counsel Robert Mueller's completed investigation into Russian election interference provided a "powerful boost" for Donald Trump. What's odd is that nobody inside the Times newsroom, or inside any newsroom, has read the voluminous Mueller report or examined all the supporting evidence.
The Times made its sweeping, "powerful" conclusions based on a three-and-a-half-page letter written by Attorney General William Barr, who received the Mueller report last Friday afternoon. Barr's a Trump loyalist who was given the top job at the Department of Justice after he telegraphed that he didn't think the president could be, or should be, indicted for obstructing justice.
The bottom line: Mueller's report provided evidence of obstruction of justice. After receiving the report, Barr then decided not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice (surprise!) and issued a brief summary of Mueller's work. Right now, the Mueller report and all the underlying evidence remain under lock and key at the DOJ. And no, Mueller had no say over the contents of Barr's letter, which quoted selectively from the prosecutor's work.
The whole scenario seems preposterous on its face, yet the White House is hoping it can pull it off. The painful realization is that there's a chance it can, and specifically that it can rely on the political press to lose interest in the conflict, kind of like it lost interest in Trump refusing to release his tax returns. (This is the same press corps that focused like a laser for 18 months on Hillary Clinton's emails.)
If the roles were reversed, you'd be damn sure the press would be leading a crusade for more information. If Obama had fired the director of the FBI because that person was investigating Hillary Clinton's emails, and then had installed someone at the DOJ who had written that he didn't think Clinton should be indicted, and then that person was given the option of indicting Clinton, decided not to do so, and refused to make public all the evidence behind that decision? It would be Katie bar the door as far as the press was concerned.
Partisan hack Stephen Moore, Donald Trump's pick to be the next U.S. Federal Reserve governor, is the latest in a string of massively unqualified nominees that are just there because they show unthinking loyalty to Trump. The difference with Moore is that he's upfront about his utter lack of qualifications, not that that's making him hesitate at all in accepting.
"I'm kind of new to this game, frankly, so I'm going to be on a steep learning curve myself about how the Fed operates, how the Federal Reserve makes its decisions," Moore said on Bloomberg Television right after Trump announced his nomination, which is already a problem. Serious people, legitimate nominees, refrain from going out and blabbing about their nominations on TV out of respect for the process. But Moore is a Trump nominee. "It's hard for me to say even what my role will be there, assuming I get confirmed," he admitted. Moore's only qualifications are having been an economic adviser on the Trump campaign and being at the Heritage Foundation and founding the Club for Growth. And telling the New York Times that the "one guy who gets" that the Fed is creating deflation "is Trump. […] He told me in a meeting last month that the Fed is preventing us from staying on a 3 to 4 percent growth path."
The assumption shouldn't be that he does get confirmed, however. Even fellow Republicans are panning the nomination and urging the Senate to block his appointment. For example: Greg Mankiw, a Harvard professor who was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, who wrote an open memo to the Senate saying Moore "does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job. […] It is time for senators to do their job. Mr. Moore should not be confirmed."
Here's a preview of what Moore's confirmation hearing could look like, should he get that far. In it, economics expert and Washington Post and CNN columnist and commentator Catherine Rampell humiliates him on national television when he tries to spout off again about his deflation theory. Watch it in all its glory below.
Sen. Susan Collins has demonstrated her willingness to sell out her supposed principles to Donald Trump when it matters most: Supreme Court nominees and tax cuts for the superrich. She thinks she can walk the line in her 2020 re-election campaign, occasionally bucking Trump (Trumpcare, border emergency) to keep her moderate voters on board, but being Trumpy enough to stave off challenges from her right. It's not working.
She's got a primary opponent now, though not a particularly serious one. Derek Levasseur is a blogger and former cop who announced he'll primary Collins because she voted against Trump's border emergency declaration and because she wants police to be able to temporarily take guns away from people deemed dangerous. He's a kook, but he's a total Trump kook, vowing to back "America First policies," which is probably enough to make Trump notice and say nice things about him.
Levasseur's got enough of a checkered history to be right up Trump's alley. He's a former police officer because of an "incident at a wedding reception" in 2012 in which he was charged with a misdemeanor domestic assault charge for attacking four people, including his then 15-year-old daughter. He has no criminal record, having done whatever he needed to do to have the charges expunged. He left the force officially in 2013.
Since then he's been making a name for himself among Maine's other extremist kooks: "His Facebook channel has more than 4,000 followers, he filmed interviews with several Republican candidates in the 2018 elections, he serves on the Maine Republican Party's state committee and has volunteered on party campaigns." He's in with the state party's nutjob grassroots, the people that got the unhinged Paul LePage into the governor's chair twice.
So Collins doesn't have too much room to do her moderate shtick in the next two years, pretending to oppose Trump when she thinks it will help her general election numbers. Even if Levasseur's a problematic candidate, she can't be giving him and his ilk any more fodder.
Fed expert Tim Duy is getting seriously worried. Based on the movement of short-term and long-term interest rates, he thinks the chance of a recession in the next few months is getting very high:
Duy thinks the Fed needs to cut interest rates sooner rather than later:
So now I switch from analyst to commentator: The above leads me to the conclusion that the Fed needs to get with the program and cut rates sooner than later if they want to extend this expansion. Given inflation weakness and proximity to the lower bound, the Fed should error on the side of caution and cut rates now. Take out the insurance policy. It’s cheap. There will be plenty of opportunity to tighten the economy into recession should inflation emerge down the road.
This is probably sage advice.
There is a deeply troubling trend happening of suicides by those affected by gun massacres. Only days after the suicides of two surviving students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, the father of a first-grader who was murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012 has taken his own life.
From the Middletown Press:
The father of a Sandy Hook victim was found dead in Edmond Town Hall at 45 Main St. from an apparent suicide Monday morning.
Jeremy Richman, 49, of Newtown ... was the father of Avielle Richman, a first-grader killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy.
These tragedies are spreading, and we must do better when it comes to treating the mental health issues arising from these mass shootings. After the Columbine massacre, just as many survivors died from suicide in the years afterward as died in the shooting itself.
This is a national emergency.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255
Jose Eduardo said that the last time he saw his daughter Yaimy, “she was standing in a frigid border patrol holding cell.” When he returned from immigration court, she was gone. “Where is my daughter?” he cried to immigration officials. They lied to him, saying, “We don't know.” In reality, they had stolen her under the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy. The two would be apart for nearly a year.
That ended earlier this month, when Jose Eduardo and Yaimy were reunited in Texas. He had been among the 29 parents who returned to the southern border after being unjustly deported by the Trump administration, as part of an effort to reunite with their children. Some of these parents have been apart from their kids as long as 14 months.
Jose Eduardo and Yaimy’s separation lasted for 10 months. While she’s spent the bulk of that time living with a relative’s family, she spent three months in a children’s detention facility. "Lots of girls offered to be my family, but that's not what I wanted,” she said. “I wanted my papa. I didn't know what to do. I passed the time crying.”
Since being released, Yaimy has “been going to school, taking English classes, attending church, and playing with four rambunctious cousins.” In other words, being a kid. Now her life is changing yet again, but this time for the better: A family in Seattle, hearing about their story on Facebook, have opened their home to her and her dad.
"When we first heard the news of the family separations taking place at the border, we were absolutely sickened by it," Sarah Riggio told NPR. "Having five children of our own, I cannot imagine being separated from one of my children. We felt that our faith compelled us to open up our home to do whatever possible to help the families that were separated at the border."
"We're very happy because they're beautiful people, with good hearts,” Jose Eduardo said. “I believe God brought us all together." Another set of parents from the group of 29 have also been reunited with their child. But months after a federal judge’s reunification deadline, most kids separated under zero tolerance remain in U.S. custody. Family separation remains a crisis.
I think pretty much we all knew that the Mueller Report was not going to end the 4th Reich; if it contained damning evidence that the Russian Usurper would only dig-in like a tick. Well, he’s still dug-in like a tick anyway, but his mostly legal problems are far from over.Trump’s response: “It was a complete and total exoneration.” End of story? Not by a long shotVox breaks it down into several categories:
The DCCC raised $11.6 million last month, more than they ever raised in any February. Tragically, online donors gave nearly $3 million, at an average contribution of $18. Most of these donors have no idea they're feeding their money into the ravenous, bloody maw of Moloch-- a DCCC working to hobble primary opponents to corrupt, conservative incumbents.
Last week the DCCC announced a new rule-- something they've been doing, secretly, for years: Anyone who works with a candidate challenging an incumbent Democrat will be blacklisted.
If you do TV ads and work for someone like, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against corrupt establishment icon Joe Crowley (circa 2018), you can no longer do any work for the DCCC or its candidates.
Sound anti-democratic to you? It is, especially when you consider that millions of Democrats in scores of deep blue districts in every part of the country have no way to hold their reps accountable except through primaries.
I'll give Morning Joe credit for giving us exactly what we needed to hear this morning -- namely, the historical context of yesterday's partisan whitewash of the conclusions of the Mueller report. Almost every one of the guests took great pain's to say that Trump's self-declared "victory" was only one of perception.
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss even dismissed Barr's letter as a "press release."
"Michael, obviously comparisons have been drawn throughout the process. What's so fascinating about where we are now is, you have one side declaring victory and the other playing death dirges. Investigations continuing in the Southern District of New York. We had Jonathan Turley on this show a year and a half ago saying forget about Mueller, the threat to President Trump and his freedom comes from the Southern District of New York. A lot of people following that. So Donald Trump can certainly exhale, but then the battles begin again," Joe Scarborough said.
"The battles may even begin before that," Beschloss said. "I've been waiting for 22 months to read the Mueller report. Have you read it?
"So far, we've read basically a four-page, what amounts to a press release from William Barr, maybe it accurately reflects what's in the Mueller report. Maybe it's something that is a gloss that's intended to make it look a lot more pro Trump than it is."
Believe this one when you see it, but Donald Trump is supposedly willing to have the full Mueller report released to the public. Not that he’s going to do it, but if his hand-picked attorney general did it, Trump would be okay with it.
Trump is “more than happy for any of this stuff to come out because he knows exactly what did and what didn’t happen and now frankly the rest of America knows,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “They know there was no collusion, they know there was no obstruction and it’s a complete and total exoneration of the president.”
So … because it’s a “complete and total exoneration,” Trump is willing to have the public see the report his own attorney general quoted as saying “does not exonerate him”?
However, “more than happy” doesn’t extend to Trump releasing the report himself. It’s just that if Attorney General William Barr, chosen in large part for his hostility to the investigation, chooses to release it, Trump’s public position is that he wouldn’t mind. As for Trump’s private position as communicated directly to Barr, we’ll just have to guess.
Again: Believe it when you see it, where that second “it” is the full, uncensored Mueller report.
Donald Trump planned all along to use anything short of an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller as a chance to declare victory and attack Democrats. And guess what? Trump is using not just the absence of an indictment, but Attorney General William Barr’s sketchy and slanted summary of Mueller’s report to … declare victory and attack Democrats.
What a surprise.
When Trump allies claim that Trump was exonerated, they are in direct conflict with one of the most important things Barr’s letter quoted from Mueller: that “while this report does not conclude the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
It. Also. Does. Not. Exonerate. Him.
Everything Trump says on this subject, such as, “This was an illegal takedown that failed and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at their other side,” is an attempt to get the media to ignore that the actual Mueller report is not public and everything we know about it comes from a hasty summary provided by an attorney general chosen in part for his hostility to the investigation.
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, personal attorney, and national security adviser have all been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes related to this investigation, the final report of which “does not exonerate” Trump. But Republicans screaming about how this was some plot by Democrats—involving, for some reason, a Republican special counsel—will dominate the headlines. And that’s their plan. That’s the only plan they ever had. Declare victory and attack Democrats, in an effort to distract from the fact that we don’t actually have the Mueller report, and even Trump’s own attorney general felt it necessary to quote that part about Trump not being exonerated.
House Republicans are in the minority now, which has turned them abruptly into believers in bipartisanship … and naturally they’re upset that Democrats aren’t being bipartisan in ways that Republicans never were when in the majority.
Republicans, for instance, are very sad that Democrats haven’t worked with them on their latest bill to protect Dreamers. According to Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Democrats are “doing it in a way that it won’t become law, just to score political points.” But Democrats say they did hold bipartisan meetings before introducing the bill, and none of the 10 Republican co-sponsors of the Dreamer bill in the last Congress are still in office, so it’s not clear why we should believe Democrats were locking out some big bipartisan movement. And Democrats can vote it through the House without a single Republican—the Senate is the problem, and there, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t be moved by a few Republican co-sponsors.
In another case, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle tried to craft a compromise net neutrality bill that Republicans could like, only to have three of them blast him and release competing bills. “I don’t have thin skin about this, but when they were in charge, they had the rules,” Doyle said. “Now we’re in charge, and maybe some of them don’t understand that yet.”