Politics

Amazing Video: Ultra High Definition Orbits of Saturn

Little Green Footballs - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 23:23

This video has 2 slow orbits of the ringed planet Saturn,one equatorial and one over the poles.

It's done in 4k UHD, with a high frame rate, so I recommend watching it full screen!

Music is by the always impressive All India Radio (@allindiaradio), and the textures were kindly provided by Bjorn Jonsson (@bjorn_jons).

Video by @runnymonkey.

Categories: Politics

Saudis: Khashoggi Committed Suicide By Cop, Sort Of

Kevin Drum - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 23:22

Saudi Arabia has finally caved in and admitted that Jamal Khashoggi died in their consulate in Istanbul. This comes about two weeks after everyone else on the planet already knew it.

So here’s their new story. I hope I have it right. The Saudis now say that they intended to negotiate a return to Saudi Arabia with Khashoggi, so they sent a 15-man team to meet him at the consulate. Fifteen men! Unfortunately, a fistfight broke out during the negotiations and one of the negotiators accidentally killed Khashoggi.

It seems odd that a 60-year-old man would pick a fight with 15 guys, doesn’t it? But that’s what happened. At that point, the Saudi team apparently went rogue and decided they had to cover up what happened. Luckily, they had come equipped with a bone saw and a forensic pathologist, so they were able to dismember the body and dispose of it. However, everyone on this rogue team has been arrested now, so the case is closed.

I’m pretty sure that a six-year-old could come up with a better story if he had two weeks to work on it. But that doesn’t matter. Donald Trump calls it credible and “a good first step.” And who would know better?

Categories: Politics

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Sonic Youth

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 23:01

This week marks the 30th anniversary of what some of my generation declared "our White Album."

Released on October, 18th in 1988, a college aged me picked it up the next day at the record store. I then played the double LP (yes even though CD's were "the thing" at the time I didn't give up on vinyl) pretty much non-stop for the next few weeks, absorbing every clang, purr, screech and bang it had to offer my synapses.

What are you listening to tonight?


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Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls: Excerpts from the latest Harper's Index

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 23:00

Here are some excerpts for the November Harper’s Index:

  • Estimated number of voters purged from Georgia’s voter rolls from 2008 to 2012: 750,000
  • From 2012 to 2016: 1,500,000
  • Percentage of white US Congress members that Amazon’s facial recognition software matched incorrectly with mug shots: 4
  • Of non-white Congress members: 10
  • Percentage of California homeowners who have earthquake insurance: 13
  • Percentage change from 2000 to 2017 in US consumer spending on music: +25
  • Percentage of US music-industry revenue that is received by musicians: 12
  • Portion of NBA revenue that goes to players: 1/2
  • Of WNBA revenue: 1/5
  • Chance a cohabitating US adult says their sex life has been impacted by their partner’s bedtime phone use: 1 in 3
  • Percentage of Americans with incomes over $1 million whose tax returns were audited in 2012: 12.1
  • Whose returns were audited last year: 4.4
  • Percentage of the US population with incomes under $150,000 who have “no interest” in joining the upper class: 57

TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES

QUOTATION

“I am not so simple as not to know that it is better to eat good meat, be well, and sleep quietly with my women and children, to laugh and be merry with the English, and being their friend, to have copper hatchets and whatever else I want, than to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon acorns and roots … and to be so hunted that I cannot rest, eat, or sleep, and so, in this miserable manner, to end my miserable life; and, Captain Smith, this might soon be your fate too, through your rashness.”
             
 ~~Powhatan (Wahunsenacawh) This was part of a speech the father of Mataoka (Pocahontas) made to Jamestown’s Captain John Smith in 1609, just before the outbreak of the First Anglo-Powhatan War.

TWEET OF THE DAY

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2016Trump fact-checker explains why it matters how many lies Donald tells, not just how big they are:

The Toronto Star’s daily tally of Donald Trump’s lies has become a phenomenon in recent weeks. It adds something new to the fact-checking routine we’d all become accustomed to, in which one or two Trump lies were singled out for fact-checking but others were let slide. Daniel Dale, who is responsible for the tally, has given Politico a fascinating account of how he came to the project. The poor guy used to cover two prolific liars in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug, and started keeping a tally of their lies. When he was reassigned to U.S. politics and encountered, in Trump, his “third once-in-a-lifetime liar,” he decided to repeat the tactic. Here’s why he thinks it’s a worthwhile project:

My first day making a Trump lie list, September 15, I counted 12 false claims. Among them: Trump falsely claimed again to have opposed the Iraq War, falsely claimed that Clinton’s campaign invented the phrase “alt-right,” falsely described his rocky visit to a church in Flint, Michigan, falsely claimed his poll numbers with black voters were skyrocketing and falsely claimed Hispanic poverty has worsened under the Obama administration.

As Dale acknowledges, it’s not likely to change any minds, due to “the limited power of truth to reach people who are sure they already know it.” But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth having reality on the record when it comes to the campaign to be president of the United States.

FlagGuyAD3_FB3.png LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Trump goes over the top at a rally, again. Gop conspiracy theories get still loonier, and as always, they have a pipeline right to the top. James O'Keefe is still at it. Armando, who we hardly even know, addresses the farce of the courts, and how it got this way.

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Categories: Politics

Friday Night Open Thread

Balloon Juice - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 22:32


 
We all need a break sometimes. Feels like this week was about 37 days long!

Categories: Politics

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Resistance FRIDAY!

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 19:30

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Late Night Snark: Equine Science FAIL Edition

"This week Donald Trump called Stormy Daniels 'Horseface' On twitter. Which is actually a huge deal. Out of all the misogynist things that Donald Trump has called women, that is...the 27th worst."

---Samantha Bee

"The reason Stormy Daniels reminds him of a horse is because after they had sex he had to pony up 130-thousand dollars."

---Jimmy Kimmel

Stephen Colbert: There's mounting evidence that Saudi Arabia's leaders ordered this killing [of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi]. But despite the evidence, including reported audio of the murder, Trump continues to back his buddies, the Saudis. Of course, the world looks to America for moral authority, but Trump says there's something just as important:

Clip of Trump: They're an ally and they're a tremendous purchaser of not only military equipment, but other things. When I went there, they committed to purchase $450 billion worth of 'things.'

Colbert: Yes. I believe the Saudi shopping list from that trip went: 1) Military  2) Things  3) Donald Trump.

---The Late Show

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”A U.N. report warning about catastrophic damage from climate change drops just as a [catastrophic] hurricane hits. Only a moron could not see the connection. Or as Trump said: ‘I don’t see the connection.’”

---Bill Maher

"President Trump met with Kanye West in the Oval office. You could tell a lot by how each of them prepared for the meeting. Kanye prepared by learning every fact in the world backwards, while Trump prepared by clearing his desk of any valuables."

---Colin Jost

C’mon down and splash. The kiddie pool is positively glorping with pumpkin spice pudding. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Categories: Politics

Miami GOP County Chairman Led Proud Boys In Attack On Democratic Campaign Office

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 19:27
Miami GOP County Chairman Led Proud Boys In Attack On Democratic Campaign Office

You know those mobs that Trump and the Republicans keep talking about? Well, it looks like we have even more video evidence that it is the Republicans and the Proud Boys acting like a "mob" while Democrats peacefully protects with knit pussy hats and witty signs.

Grant Stern is reporting that the head of the Miami-Dade Republican party, Nelson Diaz, and local Congressman, Carlos Curbelo, promoted and "led an angry mob of partisans, alongside the local leader of national hate group the Proud Boys, in an attack on a Democratic campaign office this week."

Nancy Pelosi's campaign spokesman said: “This is beyond reprehensible and it must be condemned in the strongest of ways. Anything short of it is simply an endorsement of their violent tactics."

The mob verbally attacked and screamed expletives at Nancy Pelosi as she entered a Democratic Congressional campaign office.

Diaz had denied participating in the event until a video recorded by the leader of the Miami Proud Boys hate group was published by the right wing site "Big League Politics"

Stern reached out to Diaz over email for comment and Diaz fully blamed the pro-Trump group while simultaneously denying knowing who the Proud Boys were...a claim which Stern found dubious after finding a photo of GOP Congressman, Diaz-Balart with one of the Proud Boys members just a few months ago.

Videos never lie, boys.

Categories: Politics

It Was A Fight!: Saudis Settle On Lie About Khashoggi's Death

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 19:16

There's breaking news! Saudi royals have finally settled on the lie they wish to tell the world about the brutal bone saw murder of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Yes, that's right. They will now admit he is dead, but here is their story, in a nutshell, via CBS News.

They report: "Discussions that occurred between the reporter Jamal Khashoggi and the people that were questioning him while he was in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to an argument and fighting with hands which led to his death."

Yes, that's right. They're trying to say he was being questioned when a fistfight broke out and he took on 15 or so Saudi thugs. It's laughable.

Rep. Ted Lieu scoffed at this nonsense, as did we. "I'm pleased that Saudi Arabia has finally realized that when you cut up a human being into little pieces they will in fact be dead," Lieu told MSNBC.

John Amato questions how it is that the dudes involved in the fist fight just happened to have dismemberment tools with them. Fair point.

Another respondent warned never to bring fists to a bone saw fight.

More details at the Washington Post

read more

Categories: Politics

Trump administration ponders move to make it legal to discriminate against Jewish parents

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 18:37

South Carolina is lobbying the Trump administration to allow it to use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in order to allow “faith-based foster care agencies” the power to discriminate against Jewish parents, Muslim parents, LGBT parents. According to the Intercept, the Trump administration is seriously considering this mauling of civil rights by way of a religious exemption, not that much different than the ones businesses have been using to screw their employees out of robust women’s healthcare insurance. 

If granted, the exemption would allow Miracle Hill Ministries, a Protestant social service agency working in the state’s northwest region, to continue receiving federal dollars while “recruiting Christian foster families,” which it has been doing since 1988, according to its website. That discrimination would apply not just to Jewish parents, but also to parents who are Muslim, Catholic, Unitarian, atheist, agnostic or other some other non-Protestant Christian denomination.

South Carolina has seen a rise in foster care demand as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage families, unabated or not dealt with by officials. Miracle Hill is a foster care agency that has blatantly discriminated against families that are not Protestant Christian, according to local Greenville News. Beth Lesser and her husband moved to South Carolina from Florida, where they had been foster parents for over a decade. Lesser wanted to continue with her foster work and ended up getting training from a Miracle Hill staffer.

After training and completing background checks, Lesser said protestant Christians were given an application and told that they could work with the staff at Miracle Hill. Others were given the option of working with the state Department of Social Services, she said.

Lesser, who is Jewish, said she wasn't given the opportunity to work with Miracle Hill, which has a significantly higher pool of children. In the end, her options for mentoring were limited, she said. The reason? She was told by Miracle Hill staff that she wasn't selected because she didn't share the organization's Christian beliefs.

Categories: Politics

The Khashoggi Affair: A View From 40,000 Feet

Balloon Juice - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 18:35

In this post, I’m going to take a 40,000-foot view of the Khashoggi affair, to clarify some things as the Trump propaganda machine swings into action.

Jamal Khashoggi was a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of the United States. He was a critic of the Saudi regime and a columnist for the Washington Post. On October 2, he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and has not been seen since. A 15-man Saudi group, including a forensic pathologist with a bone saw, entered Turkey just before Khashoggi disappeared and left just afterwards. The Saudi consul has left Turkey and has not been available to the press. Evidence is available that suggests that Khashoggi was tortured, killed, and dismembered.

Official statements from the Saudi government have denied that they had anything to do with Khashoggi’s probable murder. Government statements have also threatened economic and political retaliation.

The Turkish government has some information about what happened in the Saudi consulate. They have been dribbling it out with the apparent intention of embarrassing the Saudis.

The United States might be expected to be a mediator between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and to press for information about Khashoggi’s fate. President Donald Trump has now almost admitted that it is probable that Khashoggi is dead, but he has vacillated about how that might have happened, bringing in the implausible idea that “rogue killers” might have been responsible. He has said he accepts the Saudi denials.

Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to speak to King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who runs the country. Pompeo has said that he did not see Turkey’s evidence, but media reports are that he did and brought copies back to the United States. Trump has now tweeted that this is “FAKE NEWS.” Other media reports conflict with Pompeo’s words and each other as to what was said in the meeting with MBS. Pompeo’s jolly smiles and exuberant handshakes in the official photos seem out of place.

Conservatives have started a whispering campaign to the effect that Khashoggi was a bad guy. Whispering campaigns of this type have been precursors to justifying otherwise unjustifiable Trump stands.

***

That’s what has happened so far. A few qualifications and reservations.

Much of the information we have about what happened to Khashoggi comes from the Turkish government. They have their own agenda and no great love for the Saudis. Their stories have changed in detail. But the overall story remains the same.

The media and apparently the intelligence community do not have enough evidence to state that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s murder. The structure of Saudi Arabia suggests that he must have been involved.

Mike Pompeo has been widely criticized for his genial manner in the official pictures. I wonder if it isn’t that Pompeo has developed reflexes as a gladhanding politician that are serving him poorly. He reaches out to shake a hand, and the smile comes automatically. In any case, not good optics.

Trump, despite his recent denials, has long had connections to Saudi Arabia. He made Jared Kushner his primary connection to MBS. Recent revelations connected to the Mueller investigation show a multitude of Saudi ties to events around the 2016 election.

***

Where do we go from here? There is no good outcome for either Trump or MBS in admitting to the truth. They are fuzzing the message, hoping that attention to Khashoggi’s murder wanes. Trump’s love of a bigger crisis to mask the current crisis is a danger.

A complete denial from MBS seems impossible. The Saudis and the Trump administration have been floating trial balloons relating to blaming someone else. The very public way in which these balloons have been floated seems to be an admission that they are trying to cover something up and are willing to let us know they’re doing that. It’s consistent with Trump’s mode of operation or that of an absolute monarch. “We can do this because we can.” It’s an assertion of power.

But even the balloons are damning. They admit that Khashoggi was tortured, murdered, and dismembered. They merely try to cut the connection to MBS or soften it. They are likely to be met with popular and media skepticism. (Aaaannnnddd…it looks like a story is being released, so I’ll post this now!)

If Trump were to face up to the enormity of the attack on Khashoggi, he would have to make a statement about freedom of the press and Saudi responsibility for this act. He would have to invoke some kind of punishment – ending arms sales or sanctions, for example. He clearly does not want to do this.

A few senators have made strong statements calling for consequences against Saudi Arabia. On the Republican side, they are the usual suspects who get in line once Trump states a position. The Democrats have no power to force anything on Trump.

The longer Trump and MBS go without addressing the situation, the more culpable they are. But Trump may be right that the longer he can string this out, the less likely the public will insist on action. The Republican slime machine will make Khashoggi into a dubious character, and the press will go along.

That will leave us with a president who is an accessory to a particularly gruesome murder, likely because of his personal financial connections to the perpetrators. On campaign, he said he could kill someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and he would still have support. That would seem to be the next step.

 

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.

 

Categories: Politics

The Republican Health Plan: Die Faster. It’s Working

Balloon Juice - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 17:59

David would have more and more expert things to say about this, but I want to highlight a new report in The Lancet on trends in life expectancy.

There is a ton of material in the study, but the key takeaway is that over the next two decades the US will continue to lag its developed counterparts in achieving higher average life expectancy for its citizens.  Here’s the topline summary of some the results:

Globally, most independent drivers of health were forecast to improve by 2040, but 36 were forecast to worsen. As shown by the better health scenarios, greater progress might be possible, yet for some drivers such as high body-mass index (BMI), their toll will rise in the absence of intervention. We forecasted global life expectancy to increase by 4·4 years (95% UI 2·2 to 6·4) for men and 4·4 years (2·1 to 6·4) for women by 2040, but based on better and worse health scenarios, trajectories could range from a gain of 7·8 years (5·9 to 9·8) to a non-significant loss of 0·4 years (–2·8 to 2·2) for men, and an increase of 7·2 years (5·3 to 9·1) to essentially no change (0·1 years [–2·7 to 2·5]) for women. In 2040, Japan, Singapore, Spain, and Switzerland had a forecasted life expectancy exceeding 85 years for both sexes, and 59 countries including China were projected to surpass a life expectancy of 80 years by 2040.

Conspicuously absent from that list of 59 nations?

You guessed it:  the United States of America, which is predicted to come in at an average lifespan of 79.8 years, good for 64th in the league table of nations.  Compared with the average 4.4 years gain, the US is expected to add only 1.1 years to our collective expectations or hopes.  Given that piss-poor performance, the US will fall in longevity rankings from 43rd to 64th — the biggest drop in this study.

There are obvious caveats to all this, most important of which is that this is an exercise in model-based forecasting, and is thus subject to all the errors and uncertainties to which such complex predictive engines are heir.  But, of course, those errors apply to every nation under scrutiny, so I’m focusing more on the US’s relative performance than on the question of whether we’ll gain 1.1 years or 1.4.

The obvious question is why? Why do we already suck at this, and why is our predicament going to get worse.

Obvious, direct, mechanical causation is hard-to-impossible to determine, but the basic story is clear.  Republican policies are killing us. A CNN report on the study notes that the US

…currently has the lowest life expectancy among high-income countries. Life expectancy in the US has dropped in each of the past two years, according to annual reports by the National Center for Health Statistics, representing the first multi-year drop since 1962 and 1963. [all links in the original]

Gee.  I wonder what changed in the last two years.  And yeah, while I know correlation != cause, nibbling away at access to health care and increasing inequality are persuasive correlates of poor health outcomes.

And then there are specific scourges that can be identified:

An increase in drug-related deaths is believed to represent one factor in the stalling figures, with accidental drug overdoses causing 63,600 deaths in 2016. Furthermore, obesity in adults is at its highest rate ever in the country, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Nearly four in every 10 adults and 18.5% of children in the US are obese, according to their research, while further research in February found a sharp increase in obesity rates in Americanchildren between the ages of 2 and 5.

More broadly: the overarching theme of GOP politics is to transfer wealth upwards and risk downwards.  Poor health outcomes and shorter (or less lengthened) life spans accompany more stress, less stability, poverty in general, poverty in old age and all the rest.  A GOP whose fundamental accomplishment is a tax scam that benefits meaningfully only those already rich does all that.  And we’re still waiting for the slashing of social insurance that will close the loop.  Life long college debt and houses sold to pay for nursing home care and all the other large ways and small that the paycheck to paycheck majority never gets to get ahead creates the financial and social context in which people die before their time.

The myth of post-war American capitalism was that the middle and working classes would, at long last, be able to accumulate capital and pass it on to their kids, thus powering a generation-over-generation gain in well being.  Republicans since Reagan have attacked that notion; it’s now on intensive care — and the public Republican intention to erode Medicare and Social Security would pretty much be the stake in its heart.

Now we’re seeing the results, in years lost so that a Trump or Koch scion never has to ponder the indignity they might not begin life as a centimillionaire.

This will not end well.

Image: Rembrandt van Rijn or his circle, Head of an Old Man, c. 1629
Categories: Politics

Cartoon: Unlikely October surprises

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 17:50

We've had a century's worth of October Surprises this month. Who knows what next week will bring.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Patreon.

Categories: Politics

Schumer on health care: 'What McConnell did in the last three days is a game changer for us'

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 16:32

Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sounding pretty bullish just a few days after GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled Republicans' deepest desires to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and take another whack at repealing the Affordable Care Act (which would also gut pre-existing conditions coverage). "Mitch McConnell gave us a gift in the last three days. He showed who the Republican party really is," Schumer told MSNBC Friday. "What McConnell did in the last three days is a game changer for us."

Schumer vowed to use McConnell's comments to bolster Democrats' closing arguments around health care. In particular, he mentioned how the issue is playing in the Senate race in Nevada, where GOP Sen. Dean Heller voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act after pledging that he wouldn't. That is not playing well in the state, where the race is very tight, but Heller's approvals are 8 points underwater. McConnell's comments are exactly the type of admission that could be a "game changer" in the closing weeks.

Overall, Schumer cast Democrats as running “neck and neck” for majority control of the Senate, saying the party was actually overperforming. “What we have found [is] in states where we thought we’d be way behind, we’re neck and neck. In states where we thought it would be neck and neck, we're way ahead," he said. "We’re doing much better than anyone thinks."

Categories: Politics

This satirical Ted Cruz website is your smile of the day

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 16:18

For most Americans, Texas Republican douchenozzle Ted Cruz represents the bare grotesqueness of ambition and narcissism. Many of us would not be surprised if Beelzebub himself arose out of a volcano to do a few campaign ads for Cruz. Like most prominent GOP officials, Sen. Cruz has made a career of doing almost nothing for his constituents, while doing a lot for himself and the men that pay his bills. Comedian Deno DeMartino decided to have fun at Ted Cruz’s expense back in 2016 by setting up the wonderful, satirical tedcruzforhumanpresident.com. With Sen. Cruz up for election again in the next couple of weeks, it is high time we revisit the smile-inducing website.

The website reads like it was written by the Bot himself. With call-out lines like:

I have over 42 years!

I once observed a child traversing on wheeled shoes. I will work tirelessly to find out what this technology is called and demand the earth children turn its schematics over to me, forthwith

Categories: Politics

Go vote early

Balloon Juice - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 16:00

I voted last night.  The Senior Center had a steady trickle of people coming in and out of the building.  Some were there to take the class on how to Flash Mob, but most were there to vote. I live in a district where there are no competitive legislative elections. I’m in a packed region of base liberal Democrats. The major questions where my vote might matter are North Carolina Supreme Court, six constitutional questions and an affordable housing bond issue that recognizes that the best way to deal with a housing shortage is to build more housing.

Early voting helps campaigns.  I am not a persuasion target.  I might be a mobilization target for campaigns as I am new to the area and my Pennsylvania history of being an unusually young super-voter has not transferred over to North Carolina data banks.  Demographically, I look like a potential mobilization target as I’m a recently registered Democrat with a short election history and my age indicates that I’m not a certain voter.  If I show up, I’m likely to vote liberal but my profile suggests that showing up might be a problem.  Campaigns will invest time, effort, energy and door knockers in getting their mobilization targets to the polls.

Early voting gives campaigns information to better target their marginal resources.  Now that I’ve voted, there is no longer a reason for a campaign to target me.  I can not be persuaded in any relevant manner and I can not be further mobilized for a vote.  If you think that you are a potential mobilization target (check out the e-mails that you’ve gotten and the phone calls made by campaigns to you — if you have gotten called more than once, you’re a target), go vote early.  Help the campaign by clearing their lists and giving them new information.

And if you think that Shelby County authorized shenanigans are likely on Election Day, vote early so that the polls won’t be as crowded.  If you vote in a precinct that routinely can see an hour long line at peak times, voting early and removing yourself from the line chops off a few seconds of the wait.

Go vote early if possible even if all you are doing is shifting your vote’s timing.  It helps.

 

 

Categories: Politics

'Brian Kemp tried to stop me from voting:' Georgia's GOP is obstructing Democratic votes statewide

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 15:59

Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state and current Republican candidate for governor, has been working at voter suppression for nearly a decade. Though he was only appointed to his position in 2010, under Kemp, the state has closed nearly 214 polling stations and purged millions of voters (nearly all of whom are black and brown) off the rolls. Civil rights organizations and disenfranchised voters have been suing Kemp for two years based on laws he’s been able to pass through the Republican-controlled Georgia legislature— like “use it or lose it,” which automatically purges voters who haven’t voted in three years and/or made contact with election officials, and “exact match,” which places voter registration applications on hold if the applications aren’t perfectly matched to the information in a person’s other official records. 

All of this is to underscore two important things: Brian Kemp has been at this for a long time and he’s really good at it. 

To get a sense of the voter suppression that is happening on the ground in real time, Daily Kos talked with LaTosha Brown, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, and first-time voter Debashri Sengupta. Both had stories which demonstrate the various ways that Kemp has built an infrastructure that actively disenfranchises voters and is designed to hand Kemp the election. 

Want to help mobilize Democratic voters in your state? Click here to enter your zip code and find events you can participate in to get out the vote. 

Chip in $3 to help Stacey Abrams become Georgia’s next governor and put a stop Republican voter suppression in the state. 

Categories: Politics

Republicans and Right Wing Pundits Smearing Khashoggi to Defend Trump

Little Green Footballs - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 15:48

This kind of ugliness used to be limited to the fringiest fringe right wing bloggers, but in the Trump era even members of Congress are joining in the hate: Conservatives mount a whisper campaign smearing Khashoggi in defense of Trump.

Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a whispering campaign against that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist’s alleged murder by operatives of Saudi Arabia — and support Trump’s continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.

In recent days, a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and raising conspiratorial questions about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden, according to four GOP officials involved in the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Categories: Politics

Dad deported after he thought he was retrieving lost wallet says ICE 'didn’t even let me hug my son'

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 15:43
Campaign Action

Flavio Musmanno, the undocumented immigrant who thought he was retrieving a lost wallet from a “Good Samaritan" when in fact he was getting lured by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, is struggling following his deportation to his native Argentina last week.

”They didn’t even let me hug my son,” the dad told Univision Noticias from Mar de Plata, where he was now living with his elderly mother and other relatives. He continued: “They killed me … I’m sorry,” he said, breaking down into tears and burying his face in his hand, too overwhelmed to go on.

Just days ago, Musmanno was in Ohio doing construction work when he received a call that his lost wallet had been found, and agreed to meet with the caller at a truck stop. But it wasn’t a kind stranger, it was ICE. The dad, who had been living in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, had no criminal record, and was in the process of adjusting his immigration status through his U.S. citizen wife, was thrown into detention. 

Musmanno had been so cautious about his undocumented status, that he had even missed his own dad’s funeral out of fear he wouldn’t have been able to return to the U.S. But now back in Argentina, it was a bittersweet reunion for Musmanno and the rest of his family. He hadn’t seen his mom since 2005.

“I wanted to see him come back triumphantly,” she said. “They sent him back like a dog, like a criminal. My son is not a criminal.” Musmanno said he’d never even gotten a parking citation. He told Univision Noticias that he thought Donald Trump was targeting dangerous people, not hard workers like him. But Trump is a liar, and it’s people like Musmanno who are suffering for his lies. According to Univision Noticias, his future remains uncertain. Even if things proceed in his favor, it could be as long as two to three years, at the least, before he’s able to return to the U.S.

Categories: Politics

Indictment of Russian national reveals massive project to fracture America using social media

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 15:42

On Friday afternoon, a Russian national was indicted for interference in the 2016 election and for plans to interfere in the 2018 midterms. Named in the indictment is Elena Khusyaynova. She is charged with creating thousands of false identities on social media, all of them appearing to come from U.S. citizens, which were used to "create and amplify divisive social media and political content."

The indictment reveals not just the actions of Khusyaynova, but a massive social media effort by Russia to inflame tensions in the United States, spread divisiveness, and create hatred that interferes with the political process. In some cases, the Russian operatives behind a sea of false fronts even argued for and against the same issue in the most extreme terms—they trolled issues from multiple positions, with no intent except to increase hatred and rip apart American society.

Court documents name Khusyaynova as “chief accountant” for an extensive Russian propaganda campaign called Project Lakhta. This project, funded through one of the three Russian companies indicted by Robert Mueller in July, appears to be a massive effort to spread false stories designed to inflame racial tensions, create divisiveness, and disrupt conversations. 

“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. 

The EDVA office places the operation budget of Project Lakhta at more than $35 million between 2016 and 2018, though not all those funds were spent in the United States. In the first half of 2018 along, Project Lakhta spent $10 million to create discord in US political discussions.

As in previous instances involving Russian hackers, the false identities created by Khusyaynova spread on issues of race, sexual orientation, immigration, and regulation of guns. After the 2016 election, Project Lakhta also focused on Donald Trump’s attack on black athletes in the NFL, the women’s march, shooting incidents such as the massacre in Las Vegas, and rallies by white supremacists. In several instances, Project Lakhta appears to have argued both sides of the same issue, taking extreme positions designed to inflame attitudes and cause discord. The project also attacked specific politicians, including John McCain and Barack Obama. 

Categories: Politics

Voting Rights Roundup: Native American activists help raise $500,000 to get North Dakotans voter IDs

Daily Kos - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 15:41
Leading Off

North Dakota: On Oct. 9, the Supreme Court let North Dakota's GOP-backed voter ID law go into effect, making it especially difficult to vote on Native American reservations. That’s because this law requires IDs to list a residential address, which many voters on reservations lack, instead relying on post office boxes. Affected voters will therefore be disenfranchised if they can’t obtain new IDs or another form of address verification, which is why Daily Kos partnered with North Dakota Native Vote to raise almost $500,000 since Wednesday to help ensure the state's Native American population can participate in November’s elections.

These funds will be used to provide updated tribal ID cards or other methods of address verification to tribal residents who lack the documents necessary under the state’s new law. Activists are hoping to use the widespread attention around this ruling—and the attempts to counteract it—as a way to encourage more voter participation by Native Americans. North Dakota Native Vote is also combining its efforts with a get-out-the-vote operation that will include measures like helping people in rural areas get transportation to the polls if they need it.

Categories: Politics

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