Hillary Clinton Wins Fight for $12 Minimum Wage

Kevin Drum - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 14:41

I don’t want to be a killjoy—

Oh hell, I love being a killjoy. In this case, I’d like to point out that the House bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 is a victory for . . .  Hillary Clinton. You see, the bill raises the minimum wage to $15 only in 2025. If you figure annual inflation of about 2.5 percent, this is equivalent to $12 in 2016. That’s the number Clinton was pushing for.

Congratulations, Hillary! It turns out you were pretty successful at fighting Bernie’s effort to push the party to the left. See also: healthcare, national.

Categories: Politics

ESPN Host Rips 'Cowardly' Network For Silence On Trump's Racism

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 14:27
ESPN Host Rips 'Cowardly' Network For Silence On Trump's Racism

ESPN radio and TV personality Dan Le Batard thwarted his boss's mandate that politics are not discussed on the network, instead lambasting Trump over his racism and ESPN's cowardice in refusing to confront it.

After Jemele Hill called Trump a white supremacist on Twitter, she was suspended. ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro issued a shameful policy in an effort to appease the networks older white conservative racist male viewers.

Le Batard opened up his segment by saying, "I've got to talk about what happened with Trump last night."

The ESPN host was referencing Trump's North Carolina fascist-like rally on Wednesday, when Trump attacked Rep. Omar so vehemently, his cultists started chanting "send her back."

Dan said what happened at he rally was "deeply offensive" and "un-American."

"Basically a chant "send her back" is not the America that my parents came to get for us for exiled for brown people like," Le Batard said.

He continued, "There is a racial division in this country that's being instigated by the president and we here at ESPN haven't had the stomach for that fight because Jemele did some things on twitter and you saw what happened after that and then here all of a sudden nobody talks politics on anything unless we can use one of these sports figures as a meat shield in the most cowardly possible way to discuss these subjects."

Go Dan, go Dan, go Dan, go!

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Categories: Politics

House Democrats rip DHS head over abhorrent detention conditions, kids 'sitting in their own feces'

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 14:03

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee chastised the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary on Thursday for the physical conditions migrant children and families have been forced endure on his agency’s watch, including accusations of sexual assault, retaliation, and detention facilities unfit for an animal.

“What does that mean? What does that mean, when a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower? Come on, man! What’s that about?” committee Chair Elijah Cummings asked Kevin McAleenan. “None of us would have our children in that position.” Cummings is absolutely right, because when Sen. Mazie Hirono asked Trump officials last year if they’d put their own kids in the migrant family jails that now-acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Matthew Albence compared to a “summer camp,” they stammered and refused to answer.

According to USA Today, "This would not be allowed as a kennel for dogs," Rep. Jackie Speier said, “holding up a photo she took last weekend during a trip to migrant facilities along the border. The photo showed a shirtless man in a crowded cell holding up 4-0 on his fingers, the number of days he'd been held in the facility without a shower or being able to brush his teeth.”

But it’s not just the physical conditions that are a crisis; it’s also Border Patrol’s deep-rooted toxic, violent, and misogynist culture. Case in point: the recently exposed, not-so-secret Facebook group of former and current agents who, in just two examples of their vile posts, mocked the death of a child on their watch and shared a meme of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being sexually assaulted. She confronted McAleenan on his subordinates’ actions.

“Did you see the images of officers circulating photoshopped images of my violent rape?” she asked. "Yes I did," he responded. Ocasio-Cortez also asked if he’d seen “the posts planning physical harm to myself and Congresswoman Escobar” when they recently conducted their oversight responsibilities at two detention facilities. "Yes," he said, “and I directed an investigation within minutes of reading the article." 

Some 70 agents are reportedly under investigation for their participation in the group, and Ocasio-Cortez wanted to know if any of those agents were still on the job and overseeing children and families. McAleenan “said several agents have been put on administrative duties while the investigation continues,” USA Today reported.

But McAleenan couldn’t get out of this without making himself the victim, claiming, “We do not have a dehumanizing culture at C.B.P.,” and, “Those posts are unacceptable, they’re being investigated … I don’t think it’s fair to apply them to the entire organization.” But one of the members of that Facebook group was Border Patrol chief Carla Provost, who, as of today, is still in her job. It’s a rotten agency from the top down—and House Democrats need to stop funding it as it stands now.

Categories: Politics

Al Gore gives a thumbs-up as Gov. Cuomo signs climate law labeled New York's Green New Deal

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 13:57

Climate news has been mighty grim for the past few years. But Thursday there was some excellent news from the Empire State. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the aggressive Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, calling his decision “the most consequential of my administration.” Late last month, the Democrat-controlled New York legislature passed the bill, known widely as the state’s Green New Deal, which is designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the replacement of fossil fuel power plants with renewable sources. 

A 22-member Climate Action Council will be established and spend the next three years developing a "scoping plan" to recommend regulations, incentives, and other measures to meet the law’s mandates. One of the council’s objectives will be to integrate and expand the state’s existing climate and clean energy programs. 

Former Vice President Al Gore was on hand for the signing, calling it “the most ambitious, the most well-crafted legislation in the country."

Cuomo had previously labeled the bill a “political placebo” with unrealistic goals. But, after four years failing to get the bill passed through a legislature in which a gang of eight renegade Democrats in the state Senate had enabled Republicans, grassroots activism coordinated by New York Renews—a 180-member coalition of environmental and other groups—finally succeeded in seeing a bill pass as a result of tossing six of those Democrats out during the 2018 primaries. But ultimately, passage required Cuomo to present his own, weaker bill. 

While the law puts New York ahead of the other 49 states in mandating renewables, it follows in the footsteps of seven pioneers that pushed aggressive moves to curb emissions and spread renewables—CaliforniaColoradoMaineNew JerseyNew MexicoOregon, and Washington. Six of those states have called for 100% clean energy in the next few decades, but New York will get there first if the mandates in its law are attained.

The New York plan exceeds the goals of other states by calling for 70% renewables by 2030, decarbonization of the state’s electricity system by 2040, and decarbonization of the state’s whole economy—or close to it—by 2050. Last year, renewables provided 26.4% of New York’s electricity. In addition, the law mandates slashing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. The other 15% will be dealt with by planting trees and sequestering carbon underground.

Categories: Politics

Trump abandons claim that he tried to stop racist chant, praises the 'fine patriots' who chanted

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 13:40

Donald Trump spent Thursday evening claiming that he had “tried to stop” his followers at a North Carolina rally when they fell into a “Send her back!” chant following Trump’s extended lies about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. But on Friday morning the press paused long enough to point out—no he didn’t. Instead, Trump stepped back from the microphone and literally waited until the chant had died out on its own, before stepping back to the microphone to … continue lying about Rep. Omar.

So on Friday afternoon, Trump decided to clear this up straight from the Oval Office, not to admit that he lied about trying to stop the chant, but to clarify that there was nothing wrong with that chant after all. According to Trump, the people making a demand that a naturalized American citizen be shipped to Somalia for the crime of being black and insufficiently grateful were not racists. They were “fine patriots.” Which is Trump’s new way of saying “very fine people.”

Trump declared that far from being upset by the chants, what really bothered him was the person being chanted at. "You know what I'm unhappy with—the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country.” After recycling the same lies that he told to generate ugly racism in the first place, Trump followed up by saying that Omar was “lucky to be where she is. Let me tell you.” So it’s not like he chanted “Send her back” behind the Resolute Desk. He only praised the “patriots” who did, called Omar a disgrace who hates the country, and declared she was lucky to be here.

Trump then spent some time on his favorite topic—how big the crowds were. He bragged that it was a “record attendance” and claimed that he could have filled the stadium “ten times” over. This comes after his campaign director claimed attendance was over 20,000. The capacity of the stadium is about 8,000. There were maybe 100 more outside.

When the press pried Trump away from expressing his pride at how he magically packs racists in three to a chair, they asked him about the debt ceiling. Trump gave one of those reassuring Trump responses by saying “I understand the debt ceiling.” Then he went into an extended rant about Obama having a big one before saying “I certainly understand the highest rated credit ever in history, and debt ceiling." So no. He doesn’t understand the debt ceiling.

And now … three days of golf.

Categories: Politics

In Which Donald Trump Disavows His Disavowal of That Vile Racist Chant

Little Green Footballs - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 13:35

Yesterday Donald Trump tried to tell America he didn't like it when the cult members at his hate rally in North Carolina chanted "SEND HER BACK" about Rep. Ilhan Omar.

A blatantly racist chant, not to belabor the point.

And of course, he lied about "not liking it," and said he started talking very quickly to stop the chant. Which he didn't. He stood there smirking and basked in it for more than 10 seconds. Everybody saw him do it, but he lied anyway.

Numerous media outlets reported this "disavowal," without mentioning that he has repeatedly done this -- he does or says something unbelievably disgusting, then issues a weak disavowal when he's pressured into it, then a day or two later, takes back the disavowal and reiterates whatever horrible thing started it, even more vehemently.

And now, a day later, he's doing it again.

Categories: Politics

Wingnut federal judge rules against people with pre-existing conditions, so have fun with that, GOP

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 13:26

Reliably wingnutty Judge Richard Leon, of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, has ruled that the Trump administration can break the law, in this case the Affordable Care Act, and expand the sale of junk, short-term health insurance policies.

The ACA allowed for the sale of bare-bones insurance plans that don't meet the essential benefits coverage standards established in the law for a duration of no longer than three months. They were intended to be used as bridge plans for people outside of the window of open enrollment periods who didn't have qualifying life events to allow them onto the exchanges. The Trump administration has issued a rule to allow the plans to last as long as 364 days and to be renewable for three years.

Challengers argued that this would undermine the ACA markets, driving healthy people out of the larger pool into these cheap, crappy plans and causing premiums to increase for people in the ACA-compliant plans. They also argued, correctly, that this undermines the protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the law. The short-term plans Trump is allowing would not have to extend those protections. Leon was not swayed by reality.

"Not only is any potential negative impact" from the rule "minimal, but its benefits are undeniable," he wrote, saying that there is no evidence that the rule "is having or will have the type of impact—substantial exodus from the individual market exchanges—that would threaten the ACA's structural core." The benefits of people having nothing but crap insurance plans for as long as three years is unclear, should any of those people need health insurance. The savings they'd see in premiums would be completely wiped out, many times over, were they to be sick or injured.

It's hard to imagine that people, including federal judges, are really so stupid that they don't understand the basic premise of how health insurance works, but the evidence from Republicans and partisans such as Leon argues otherwise. That, or they're just fundamentally dishonest and don't give a damn, and so cynically make this shit up. Which is likelier.

The D.C. Circuit is not dominated by troglodytes, so this ruling will probably be tossed out on appeal. But the fact remains that hyperpartisan judges like Leon and those on the 5th Circuit who look ready to toss the entire ACA are going to make political life very hard for Republicans in 2020. Which is just deserts.

Categories: Politics

LA Sheriff Really Hates It When Bad Folks Get Fired

Kevin Drum - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 13:11

Last year Alex Villanueva was a surprise winner against the incumbent in the race to become the new sheriff of Los Angeles County. I don’t live in LA so I’ve followed this only from afar, but as near as I can tell Villanueva’s main goal in office is to rehire deputies who have been fired for a variety of offenses, including unreasonable force, domestic violence, lying, and so forth. He started off with a couple of rehires, then announced six more, and apparently the total is now up to a couple of dozen or so.

Today, however, another bomb hit:

A top official in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said she left the agency after 34 years rather than carry out what she said was a “highly unethical” and “unheard of” directive from Sheriff Alex Villanueva to reinstate a fired deputy and alter his disciplinary record, court papers reviewed by The Times show.

Alicia Ault, who served as chief of the department’s professional standards and training division before her resignation last year, said she was told by the incoming sheriff’s chief of staff that it was Villanueva’s “No. 1 priority” to reinstate Caren Carl Mandoyan before Villanueva took office so it would appear to have been done by the administration of former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, according to a deposition she gave in the county’s lawsuit over the reinstatement, which was filed in court Wednesday.

….The legal filings Wednesday also include a deposition from Villanueva’s former second-in-command, Ray Leyva, who was abruptly fired in March. Leyva said under oath that he reviewed video evidence in Mandoyan’s case that showed the deputy tried to pry open a woman’s door and had indeed lied about it, as investigators initially found.

Villanueva seems to have won the election primarily by promising to toss ICE agents out of county jails, which earned him a lot of support from the Hispanic community. So far he’s kind of done that and kind of hasn’t, but in any case his top priority by far has been a so-called “truth and reconciliation” committee whose job is to reinstate fired deputies and make it clear that everyone knows the good old days are back. There will be no more harrassment of deputies for picayune offenses like beating people up or filing false reports. I guess the good times are really rolling up in LA these days.

Categories: Politics

Ilhan Omar Calls A Fascist, A Fascist

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 13:08

Ilhan Omar is right. Business Insider:

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said President Donald Trump was a "racist" and "fascist" a day after he falsely accused her of supporting Al Qaeda and looked on as the crowd at a rally in North Carolina chanted "send her back."

"I believe he is fascist," Omar told reporters on Thursday.

The Minnesota lawmaker, who is a naturalized US citizen, said America is "supposed to be a country where we allow democratic debate and dissent to take place."

Since Brit Hume insists we only use the "dictionary definition" of "racist," let's check out Merriam-Webster's when it comes to "fascism," shall we?

Fascism (N) - often capitalized: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

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Categories: Politics

Gov. Jay Inslee: 'We need to make Donald Trump a blip in history'

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:55

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state and 2020 presidential hopeful, is most known for his detailed plans to tackle our planet’s biggest threat: the climate crisis. But as he explained to Daily Kos backstage at Netroots Nation, he has ideas on how to solve what he believes is America’s biggest problem: Donald Trump.

“We need to make Donald Trump a blip in history,” Gov. Inslee told us backstage at the progressive conference. Trump, Inslee noted, “has never missed an opportunity to give license to racial hatred” and “has never used his position of leadership to bring more love and less hate.”

Inslee didn’t deal in niceties when it came to how important it is to vote the president out of office. He used a word to describe the president that might ring true to your own perception of him, too: insecure. “We have suffered because we have a person in the White House who is very insecure,” Inslee said, “and he has decided to intentionally use the power of fear rather than the energy of hope.”

Utilizing the energy of hope, and cleaning up the countless messes created by Donald Trump, can also describe the overarching theme of Netroots Nation, the country’s biggest progressive conference. At the conference, held this year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, organizers, activists, and politicians, including many of those running for the Democratic presidential nomination, gathered to share their insights on how to get this country back on track. 

The video interview embedded below is part of Making Progress, a new, exclusive series here at Daily Kos. In addition to Gov. Inslee, we’ve shared interviews with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. In addition to the 2020 hopefuls, we have dozens of fresh takes from leading organizers and activists from around the country, all with one goal in mind: making progress.

A transcript is below.

Categories: Politics

Trump administration forcing agency relocations is a war on government and on science

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:43

Donald Trump is doubling down on the decades-long Republican war on government. He just feels empowered to take it to levels never before conceived of. Where Republicans previously tried to do it within the normal bounds of the appropriations process, by starving agencies and forcing attrition, Trump is doing it by literally playing with employees’ lives.

The administration is relocating two research agencies within the Department of Agriculture from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City (it hasn’t been disclosed so far whether that’s the Missouri side or the Kansas side) and most of the Bureau of Land Management's D.C. staff to Grand Junction, Colorado. This means dozens of federal workers who can't just uproot their lives and their families from their homes are leaving the government.

That's not the only problem, though, because the targeted staff are some of the leading experts in their agencies, scientists and regulators who've made their careers in public service. It's a war on government and a war on science. "These decisions […] are meant to displace seasoned scientists and regulators who have honorably served Republican and Democratic Administrations alike," Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, told ThinkProgress. "This Administration is acting to undermine the subject-matter experts at many of our federal agencies," said Van Hollen, who noted that he would "continue to use every tool available to push back against these actions."

More than half of the employees in the USDA's Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture have declined to relocate. The ERS staff, in particular, are concerned that it's intended to disrupt their scientific work on climate change and environmental issues. Employees in these two agencies have been issuing reports and conducting studies showing the impact that Trump's trade war with China and his environmental policies have been having on agriculture in particular. The workers rightly see these relocations as retribution.

One option Congress has, with Democrats in control of the House, is to block funding for the relocations, and Van Hollen, along with other senators, has introduced legislation to keep the agencies in D.C.

Categories: Politics

DHS head says 'fewer than 1,000' kids recently separated, like it's something to be proud of

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:36

During a House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday, the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary said that “fewer than 1,000 juveniles have been separated from their parents crossing the border this fiscal year,” like that’s something to be proud of.

“Under current practice governed by both executive and court orders, along with operational guidance, separations of parents and guardians and the children they cross with are rare,” claimed Kevin McAleenan, saying that separations “are undertaken in the best interests and safety and welfare of the child.”

But only in the Trump administration’s twisted thinking can 1,000 separations be “rare,” because that’s still roughly a third of the number of children that were kidnapped from their parents under the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy last year, and of those nearly 3,000 kids stolen, 30 remain in U.S. custody, more than a year after a court order.

Border officials have continued to separate hundreds of families by exploiting a clause in that order that allowed a child to be removed if they were considered to be in danger. McAleenan references some sort of “operational guidance,” but advocates have said border officials have been tearing families apart with no input from actual child welfare experts, instead falsely accusing some parents fleeing gangs of having gang ties.

Nor does the number cited by McAleenan “include children who come with older siblings, or aunts and uncles and grandparents and are separated under longstanding policy meant to guard against human trafficking,” PBS reports. “McAleenan said Congress would need to amend laws to allow border officers more discretion in order to keep those groups together.” Interesting when the Trump administration chooses to be bound by Congress and when it chooses not to be bound by Congress. 

Nonbiological parents are equally valid guardians for children, and border officials can make the decision to keep them together, but instead they’re tearing them apart just as they tear apart children who are coming with their biological parents. It’s never been about “the best interests and safety and welfare of the child,” as McAleenan has claimed; it’s been about the cruelty. Family separation remains a crisis. 

Categories: Politics

Geraldo Yells At Hegseth: 'I've Heard 'Go Back To Puerto Rico' '

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:25

Pete Hegseth, Trump's #1 presidential fluffer, got an earful from Geraldo Rivera, who basically said he'd beat him up if Pete dared to say the same thing to him that Trump said to the four freshmen Congresswomen.

Geraldo Rivera, a friend of Trump, joined Fox and Friends this morning and vented his frustration over Trump's racist tweet directed at Ilhan Omar and her colleagues.

Trump's tweet culminated into a racist exhibition when his rallygoers chanted at Rep. Ilhan Omar, "send her back."

The Fox News morning show played video of Trump making believe he didn't like the racist chants his rallygoers were spewing at his North Carolina rally.

Geraldo explained, "'Go back to where you came from' is the old racist trope that all of us, ethnic or racial minorities, have grown up with at various times. It is unforgivable at this day and age, and I really lament that it came up."

Rivera continued, "We cannot ever fall back into that lazy kind of "the other" that we did for several days there."

That kind of honesty on Fox News about Donald Trump was too much for Hegseth to handle so he tried to rewrite and lie about the meaning of Trump's racist tweet.

And as he was doing so he got a little more than he bargained for.

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Categories: Politics

New Hampshire Republican: 'Owning Slaves Doesn't Make You A Racist'

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:13
 'Owning Slaves Doesn't Make You A Racist'

Where does one begin when the defense of Donald Trump turns into an economic rationalization for slavery, and that race never entered into the equation?

It's sometimes hard to believe that we're actually living in the twenty-first century when you hear people say things like this. But I suppose for people like Werner Horn slavery is, or at least was, just a natural part of the human condition.

Source: Fox News

A lawmaker in New Hampshire said this week that American slavery had nothing to do with racism and was just purely about economics.

Republican state Rep. Werner Horn raised eyebrows in a now-deleted social media post, insisting those who owned slaves weren’t racist and were just making a “business decision.”

The lawmaker made the comment in response to former state House member Dan Hynes who criticized President Trump over his tweet that four freshmen congresswoman, all American citizens, should “go back” to their home countries, USA Today reported.

“If Trump is the most racist president in American history, what does that say about all of the other presidents who owned slaves?” wrote Hynes on Facebook.

This prompted Horn to respond, writing “Wait, owning slaves doesn’t make you racist…”

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Categories: Politics

Trump says the U.S. shot down an Iranian drone, Iran says it didn't, and the whole mess … is a mess

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:09

On Thursday, Donald Trump tweeted that the United States had shot down an Iranian drone that had come too close to an American ship. Almost immediately, Iran claimed the event never happened, and that all its drones were safely tucked in at their bases. It’s a measure of how Trump has handled international relations that no one seems to know whom to believe.

As The New York Times reports, military officials state that a “relatively small drone” was fired on after coming within a kilometer of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz. The statement says that the drone was “shot down over international waters,” but it doesn’t provide any information about any portions of the drone being recovered.

Meanwhile, CBS News reports that Iranian officials deny that they’re missing a drone. Not in the strait. Not anywhere. The Iranian deputy foreign minister even suggested that the United States might have shot down one of its own drones by mistake.

This high stakes version of “You touched me,” “No, I didn’t” is playing out less than a month after Iran very definitely did shoot down an American drone. That event, also involving a drone that was apparently in international waters but that was judged to be too close to a vital asset, ratcheted up the tension between the two nations to the point that Trump ordered a military strike on Iran … only to call it off after planes were already in the air.

In between those two drone events, Iran also made it clear that it intended to enrich more uranium than was allowed under the terms of the former agreement preventing it from developing nuclear weapons—the agreement from which Trump withdrew despite its being a legal treaty and despite his having no evidence that Iran was in violation at that time. Now Iran is very much waving its flag to show that it is willing to violate that former treaty because the United States has been squeezing Iran through increasingly tight economic sanctions, including threatening any nation that buys oil from Iran.

Which means that the odds of a conflict remain high—and while Iran shooting down an American drone was seen by Trump as provocation of war, America shooting down an Iranian drone is … also seen by Trump as a provocation of war.

Categories: Politics

Four Economic Myths—Plus One

Kevin Drum - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:08

Jared Bernstein writes today about four ideas that economists have gotten wrong for decades. You can read the whole thing here, but the details are less interesting than his entirely correct conclusion:

Pegging the “natural rate” too high, ignoring the harm from exposure to international competition, austere budget policy, low and stagnant minimum wages — all of these misunderstood economic relationships have one thing in common.

In every case, the costs fall on the vulnerable: people who depend on full employment to get ahead; blue-collar production workers and communities built around factories; families who suffer from austerity-induced weak recoveries and under-funded safety nets, and who depend on a living wage to make ends meet. These groups are the casualties of faulty economics.

In contrast, the benefits in every case accrue to the wealthy: highly educated workers largely insulated from slack labor markets, executives of outsourcing corporations, the beneficiaries of revenue-losing tax cuts that allegedly require austere budgets, and employers of low-wage workers.

It’s funny how mistakes like this always seem to point in the same direction, isn’t it? And I’d add at least one more: that lower taxes on the rich are good for the economy. There is, at best, some thin evidence that this is true if top marginal rates are very high, but that’s about it. In the America that we actually live in today, there’s simply no reason to think that cutting taxes on the rich will have any effect other than the rich paying lower taxes and the budget deficit going up.

But don’t expect to stop hearing this anyway—or any of Bernstein’s other four examples. They’re just too convenient for the rich and powerful.

Categories: Politics

Why America needs the leadership of black women

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:39

The media has given us a frustratingly sexist and racist narrative that the only formidable Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election is a white man. We have been bombarded with headlines and sound bites that reinforce the idea that only a white man can beat Donald Trump in 2020.

Ironically, this is happening on the backdrop of an election cycle that will have the most diverse field of Democratic candidates based on gender, race, and sexuality ever in this country's history. There are more women running, people of color, and candidates with a broad spectrum of ideas and backgrounds, but the mainstream narrative continues to center around the idea that the only “electable” presidential candidates are white men. Why are we so obsessed with the notion that only a white man can save us from Trump? Fact is, as the American electorate becomes younger and more diverse, there is a growing desire for candidates that are also more reflective of this new electorate.  

We are in a defining moment in this country’s political history and voters are looking for something different. We believe that the majority of voters want a reflective democracy. Last year’s blue wave gave us the most diverse Congress in our history, with over 100 women serving in the House for the first time ever. A record 37% of them were women of color. And it wasn’t an accident—women and candidates of color were more likely to win their primary races, proving that the electorate hungers for more diverse leadership and reflective democracy.

Another data point: no white male presidential candidate has ever hit 63 million votes. Two candidates have hit 65 million: a black man, and a white woman. Makes sense, doesn’t it, that candidates that look like America get more votes, right?

Sure there are those that refer to the fact that Biden is currently polling higher than most of the other Democratic candidates. Yet we are much too early in the election cycle to actually know and/or be able to determine who will win the Democratic nomination, much less determine who is more “electable” as a result. Indeed, the first Democratic primary debate turned the race upside down, with Kamala Harris piercing Biden’s veil of invincibility and inevitability. And with eight months to the first contests, and with countless campaign events, forums, debates, and news cycles until then, Biden’s current lead, as thin as it already is, means nothing right now. Recent history (and the last few weeks!) have taught us two things: polls are not necessarily the determinant of who actually wins and in a highly competitive political environment anything can shift in a matter of weeks or even days. Trump’s election as president is solid evidence for both points.

Categories: Politics

Late Night Responds To Trumpers' 'Send Her Back' Chant

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:01

On Thursday, late-night hosts had one thing on their minds: the Trump rally's racist chant of "send her back" regarding Ilhan Omar, a US citizen duly elected to the Congress of the United States of America.

Above, Stephen Colbert asks his audience to "chant responsibly."

Jimmy Kimmel noted that Trump's rally went for ninety minutes because Trump claimed he had "nothing to do."

KIMMEL: If all these people screaming "love it or leave it would have left when Obama was the president or when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage or for that matter when they made a lady "Ghostbusters," they would have all got on their Ninas, Pintas and Santa Marias. And here's this from a guy who faked an injury to get out of Vietnam.

[embed eid="36060" /]

Trevor Noah of The Daily Show said the racist chant made him sentimental:

TREVOR NOAH: It almost makes you miss the innocent days when all Trump's crowd wanted to do was imprison a woman without trial, you know? (chanting): "Lock her up! Lock..." 'Cause that was horrible, but at least Hillary would get to stay in the country, you know?

[embed eid="36061" /]

Finally, enjoy the song stylings of the "Go Back To Your Country Girls!' via Late Night with Seth Meyers:

[embed eid="36058" /]

Categories: Politics

Stephen Miller-allied Trump official reportedly pressed letting 'nearly zero' refugees into U.S.

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 10:55

A Trump administration official reportedly floated slashing the number of refugees that can be admitted to the U.S. next year “to nearly zero,” Politico reports. The suggestion reportedly came from John Zadrozny, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official allied with—no surprise—White House aide and white supremacist Stephen Miller. Zadrozny reportedly “argued in the meeting that the refugee cap should be low because of ongoing security concerns and the ability of the U.S. to offer humanitarian protections through the asylum process, according to an attendee.”

Bulllllllllllllshit. The vetting process for refugees can take as long as two years—two years longer than, say, vetting for your typical Trump nominee—and the administration has already taken inhumane and illegal action after inhumane and illegal action to strangle the right to asylum, including another illegal rule change blocking Central Americans and others.

While Zadrozny offered letting zero people fleeing war and other disasters into the U.S., “Homeland Security Department officials at the meeting later floated making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000, according to one of the people,” Politico continued, still a devastating slash from this year’s level of 30,000, which was also a devastating slash from the year before that. 

Even if the administration kept the number at 30,000, they may not even try to let 30,000 here to start new lives. “Nearly 9,000 refugees are currently approved to travel to the U.S.,” and among Iraqi applicants, “only 140 have entered so far this year. More than 100,000 remain in the queue, according to an analysis provided by refugee groups.” The Statue of Liberty weeps.

Categories: Politics

National Conservatism Conference was a coming-out party for unvarnished white nationalism

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 10:50

Recently, Republicans have demonstrated a huge amount of concern over the idea that there might be someone in Congress who holds anti-Semitic views. Someone suggesting that Jewish Americans have divided loyalties. And it turns out this concern is very well-founded … as demonstrated ably by Missouri Republican Josh Hawley. 

Hawley might be somewhat familiar from his appearances during some recent hearings. Or his claims that Google returns liberal results. Or his statements during the Barr hearing that showed Hawley believes some genuinely bizarre conspiracy theories. But it was Hawley’s keynote address at the National Conservatism Conference that nailed down who he is, what he believes, and where his party is going in a way that should be absolutely terrifying for every American.

Here’s part of that address:

For years the politics of both Left and Right have been informed by a political consensus that reflects the interests not of the American middle, but of a powerful upper class and their cosmopolitan priorities.

This class lives in the United States, but they identify as ‘citizens of the world.’ They run businesses or oversee universities here, but their primary loyalty is to the global community.

And they subscribe to a set of values held by similar elites in other places: things like the importance of global integration and the danger of national loyalties; the priority of social change over tradition, career over community, and achievement and merit and progress.

Call it the cosmopolitan consensus.

Even if you don’t speak white nationalist dog whistle, this speech is pretty shocking. Hawley is claiming that the United States is run, and has been run, by a secret group of international “elites” who value terrible things—such as education, achievement, and progress. People who think women should be able to have a career rather than be forced to stay at home. 

But it’s far, far worse if you understand what he’s really saying, and understand the purpose of this convention.

Categories: Politics