Unrepentant Corey Lewandowski Admits He Lies To The Press

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:07

Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday in what is being called the first *official* impeachment hearing. Lewandowski was defensive and angry, clearly prepared for a fight with the Democrats. But, his stonewalling came to an abrupt halt when he had to face Barry Berke, the House Democrats' General Counsel for a solid 30 minutes of questioning.

One of the most insane admissions Lewandowski made was that he lies to the media. Unrepentant, he repeated it numerous times. His justification? He isn't under oath and the media is "dishonest".

Here is a bit of the exchange:

BERKE: You know your interview was on April 6, 2018.

LEWANDOWSKI: Is that accurate? Is that the date of the interview?


LEWANDOWSKI: If that's what the report says, I will take it to be accurate.

BERKE: You have made statements denying giving answers to the Special Counsel when you actually had. You were untrue about that, weren't you sir?

LEWANDOWSKI: Are you talking about the media or a jurisdiction where I have been sworn to testify? I'm talking about my public statements day... I'm sorry, no one in Congress has ever lied to the public before

BERKE: Is that an admission that you did lie?

LEWANDOWSKI: Absolutely not.

BERKE: So you deny that you ever lied in public statements --

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Categories: Politics

Sheryl Crow Gets Very Political and It Is Good: "Story of Everything" Ft. Chuck D, Andra Day, Gary Clark Jr.

Little Green Footballs - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 20:41

Music video by Sheryl Crow performing Story Of Everything. © 2019 Big Machine Label Group, LLC


Categories: Politics

Trump is 'tired' of dealing with the ethanol mess he created

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 19:49

Governing is hard. People expect things, and when you mess up, they complain. And Donald Trump has had just about enough of this ethanol situation he created.

“The president is tired of dealing with this,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters Tuesday. “He’s more or less said so many times."

Farmers, already getting crushed by Trump's trade war, are pretty upset that Trump's Environmental Protection Agency has granted more than 50 waivers to oil refineries since early 2018 exempting them from using renewable fuels such as corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel. 

The feud between the two industries has vexed Trump for the better part of two years. In the spring of 2018, Trump spent months trying to broker a deal between the oil industry and farmers. He failed. Now he's at it again, and it's going just about as well this time around. According to Bloomberg News, Trump has held more than half a dozen meetings trying to find a compromise between the two camps, with no solution in sight. God knows, he would have called it a day hours before the first meeting got underway, except that he's convinced he needs strong support in farm country in order to win reelection. Meanwhile, farm country is eagerly awaiting Trump "the deal maker" to cut a deal.

"Trump urged to take action," read an A1, above-the-fold headline in Monday's print version of the Des Moines Register. The article blamed the Trump administration for the shutdown of a second ethanol plant in the Hawkeye State.

Several weeks ago Trump promised via Twitter that farmers would be "so happy" about a "giant package" his administration was putting together for ethanol. But so far Trump has delivered nothing but big talk and empty promises, while ethanol plants go under.

Categories: Politics

Kamala Harris Turns The Tables On Student Trying To Trap Her On Gun Control

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 18:46

Senator Kamala Harris appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night, and the audience was filled with students from four area colleges. There was time for the students to ask her questions, but when one student asked if she was in favor of mandatory gun buybacks, and if it violated the Second Amendment, she was gracious but firm. She went straight to assault rifles, meant to kill many human beings in a short period of time, and that there are too many of them in the hands of Americans. Buybacks will be legal because owners will be paid what their weapons are worth, but it is NOT a violation of the Constitution.

Senator Harris wasn't finished, yet, though. She drove her point home by asking the audience a question of her own.

"How many of you guys as college students had to have a drill during high school, or middle school or elementary school, or even in college, where you learned about how you need to hide in a closet or crouch in a corner in the event that there is a mass shooter roaming the hallways of your school?" she asked.

Nearly every single hand went up in the audience.

"Look at that," she said. "Look at that." Then she accurately assessed this generation's ills surrounding guns.

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Categories: Politics

Cartoon: What next?

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:50


Categories: Politics

Israel’s 2019 National Election Part 2: Update

Balloon Juice - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:27

The polls closed in Israel two hours ago. While we wait for actual results to be tallied, we do have exit poll results.

With caveats that Israel’s exit polls aren’t always correct, what does this mean? It means that Likud has not won the largest plurality and therefore Benny Gantz should be given the chance to form the next Israeli government under Israel’s electoral laws and rules. Gantz’s plurality is razor thin and Bibi has ignored this rule before. Back in 2009, Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party won the larger plurality in that year’s election. Despite Livni being entitled to try to build a coalition and form the next government, Bibi just ignored the actual Israeli election rules, went ahead and formed a government, effectively daring anyone to do something about it. No one did. It is entirely possible that he’ll try to do the same thing again. Remember, for Bibi, it is either reelection as Prime Minister or prosecution with the possibility of prison, there is no third option for him at this point.

What happens now is that election results will be tallied, but the jockeying to form a coalition will already have begun. Bibi, despite the outcome, will be working the phones to line up more than 61 members of Knesset to form a majority regardless of how many more seats Kahol Lavon won and to try to block Gantz from being able to form a new government. Benny Gantz will be trying to do the same thing in order to ensure that his plurality can ensure Kahol Lavan having a large enough coalition to form the next government. It is important to remember that Bibi has a long history of “winning” by the time the day after the actual election results are announced regardless of what the results were. So regardless of what the exit polls indicate, or what the actual election results are, you cannot count him out. He’s cornered now. His life going forward and potentially his freedom are on the line. This isn’t about the principles of Revisionist Zionism or annexing the West Bank or defeating Iran for Bibi anymore. It is solely about Bibi not being held accountable for his crimes and not going to prison. That’s what today’s Israeli election is really all about.

Here’s Bibi’s biographer, Anshel Pfeffer’s take:

Barring an absolutely catastrophic polling mistake from all three of Israel’s main television channels, Benjamin Netanyahu will not command a majority in the 22nd Knesset and Likud is likely to be only the second largest party there. We have seen exit polls fail before, but the unanimous 10 P.M. call is unlikely to change.

It was Netanyahu who dragged Israel into an unnecessary second election in 2019. It was Netanyahu who set the bar at 61 seats for his bloc of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties. It was Netanyahu who threw everything he had at this election, going on air for hours and hours until the polls closed. Israeli voters doubled down on their verdict of the last election and denied him victory.

Netanyahu is going nowhere. His rival, Kahol Lavan head Benny Gantz, is nowhere near reaching a majority of his own as things stand. But one thing seems certain: Unless that miraculous turnaround between the exit polls and the actual results happens – the Netanyahu magic has been broken.

The politician who made it his business to win elections, who did it better than anyone else because he worked harder and always came up with a new strategy, has run out of dirty tricks. And the Israeli electorate has run out of patience.

This isn’t a victory for the “peace camp” or the left, or even for the center-left. This victory was won together with the votes of ultranationalists supporting Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, and Gantz’s Kahol Lavan is at best a center-right party. This is a personal defeat for Netanyahu. The winners have yet to be determined.

But with Netanyahu’s defeat comes an end to the spell he has cast on an entire political establishment. Israel is in for another period of political deadlock and while President Reuven Rivlin is now likely to give Gantz the mandate to form a government, he will struggle and Netanyahu – still in office as caretaker prime minister and still controlling a large minority in the Knesset – will fight him every step of the way and try to run down the clock on Gantz’s mandate. After all, he did the unthinkable by dissolving the Knesset six weeks after it was sworn in, and he has already spent a large part of the now-ended campaign sowing doubt as to the validity of the election result and accusing the left, and particularly Israel’s Arab citizens, of trying to “steal the election.”

Much more at the link.

Now we wait to see if Netanyahu’s spell has actually been broken. And he’ll use every tool at his disposable to not cede power to anyone else. Because today’s election presented Israelis with two electoral choices: another term for Netanyahu as prime minister or Netanyahu being prosecuted and potentially going to prison. The choice was never between Netanyahu and Gantz or Likud’s vision versus Kahol Lavan’s, it was Bibi for prime minister or Bibi for prosecution and possibly prison. Bibi really, really, really, really doesn’t want to go to prison.

I’ll be back later tonight with actual election results as they’re reported.

Open thread.

Categories: Politics

North Carolina Republicans pass new state legislative gerrymanders—and some Democrats join them

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:21

On Tuesday, North Carolina's Republican-led legislature passed new state House and Senate districts after a state court struck them down earlier this month for discriminating against Democrats in violation of the state constitution. Shown at the top of this post (see here for a larger version), the new Senate map redraws the 21 invalidated districts out of 50 total. However, as we'll demonstrate in this post, many of the districts in both chambers still bear the signs of partisan gerrymandering, in violation of the court's order.

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Making matters worse, most Senate Democrats voted in favor of the GOP's new stealth gerrymanders of the upper chamber on Monday, undermining the cause for fair maps and giving the GOP political ammunition by praising the process itself. However, Senate Democrats unanimously voted against the new House map on Tuesday, and House Democrats almost uniformly held firm against both maps. Furthermore, the court retains final say over whether to approve the new districts, and it has already appointed a nonpartisan expert to draw the lines for them if necessary.

The court's criteria mandated that any new maps make a "reasonable" effort to draw lines that "improve the compactness" of the legislature’s districts and split fewer precincts compared to the illegal versions. Mapmakers are allowed to consider preserving the integrity of municipalities and avoid pairing incumbents in the same districts. Critically, they are prohibited from preserving the cores of the illegal districts or relying on any partisan or election data, but as we'll explain below, it beggars belief that Republicans didn't have partisanship in mind.

The court didn't prohibit using partisan data to evaluate maps after they have been drawn, which is what we have done here since legislators could not. Indeed, we calculated the 2010 census racial demographics and 2004-2016 statewide partisan elections, which you can see in this spreadsheet for the Senate map.

Under this analysis, the GOP’s Senate proposal discriminates against Democratic voters less than the map that was struck down, but it still discriminates against them. One straightforward way to assess how much this legislative map does (or doesn't) favor one party is to sort each seat in each chamber by Donald Trump’s margin of victory over Hillary Clinton and see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted.

Because the state Senate has an even number of seats, we average the two middle seats to come up with the median point in the chamber. That median seat voted for Trump by a 54-44 margin, 6 points to the right of his 50-47 win statewide. In other words, to capture a bare majority in the Senate, Democrats would have to win seats that Trump carried by 10 points (at least), even though swingy North Carolina only voted for Trump by 4 (when rounded). That's hardly much better than the illegal map's median districts backing Trump by 12 points.

Categories: Politics

Good Old Girls

Balloon Juice - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 16:19

Here’s a rare beast sighting: our Daisy lolling in the garden, enjoying the evening breeze:

It’s not a rare sight at all if you live with Daisy; she is an old dog and fond of her ease.* But it can be difficult to get a photo because if she sees you looking at her, she’ll lumber over to find out WHY. Maybe you have bacon?

My husband took that picture because I’ve been away from home for a few days, so he’s sending proof that the hounds are well. I’m away from home serving as caregiver; my mother-in-law had minor surgery, but at her age, nothing is really minor, so I’m hanging out to keep an eye on her.

Unlike me, she is extremely social and has had a steady stream of visitors. It struck me yesterday, as I hovered on the fringe of a group of her friends, how consistent the energy is in a gathering of women, regardless of age. I choose to find that comforting.

Open thread!

*Bonus points for anyone who can name that obscure literary reference without Google.

Categories: Politics

Border agents don't like how they're being treated over their treatment of migrant kids, apparently

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 16:18

Thank goodness we’re finally hearing from the victims of Border Patrol’s inhumanity, and it’s not the migrant kids who have been separated from their families and are languishing in U.S. custody. “To have gone from where people didn’t know much about us to where people actively hate us, it’s difficult,” former Border Patrol agent Chris Harris told The New York Times. “There’s no doubt morale has been poor in the past, and it’s abysmal now. I know a lot of guys just want to leave.”

Yes, the policies of separating families at the border and also leaving children to languish and die in cold cells are taking a toll, including on those carrying them out, apparently. “One Border Patrol agent in Tucson said he had been called a ‘sellout’ and a ‘kid killer,’” the Times continued. “We have been pointed at with this broad brush,” complained Border Patrol union president Brandon Judd, “when really the vast majority of our agents are very good people.”

He should tell that to the attorney of former border agent Matthew Bowen, who recently pleaded guilty to intentionally hitting a migrant with his truck. Texts revealed he’d called migrants like the one he tried to run over with his truck “disgusting subhuman shit unworthy of being kindling for a fire” and “mindless murdering savages.” Bowen’s attorney, Sean Chapman, defended him by saying that “The use of such words is commonplace in the Tucson, Arizona sector.”

Children jailed by Border Patrol have also described being insulted with derogatory language by agents, including the word puto, which is an anti-gay slur in many Spanish-speaking countries. But rather than addressing this and other deplorable conditions, the Trump administration has blocked House staffers from conducting their oversight responsibilities at detention facilities. That is why people are so pissed. 

If there’s cynicism about the claims from Harris, Judd, and others, it’s because they created that. Both Judd and Harris have palled around with anti-immigrant groups: Judd with the Center for Immigration Studies of the Tanton network, and Harris with San Diegans for Secure Borders. If Border Patrol agents don’t like the way they’re being viewed by the public, they should do something about it and vocally and publicly challenge what’s happening at their agency. Stopping associations with hateful groups would also be good. Until then, their actions—and lack of actions— speak for themselves.

Categories: Politics

Rehashing the FBI’s sham Kavanaugh 'investigation' is a net plus for Democrats in 2020 and beyond

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 15:55
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House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler has already thrown cold water on impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but he also said Democrats would grill FBI Director Chris Wray about the FBI’s supposed "investigation" into sexual harassment claims against Kavanaugh. We now know that the FBI entirely ignored one account of harassment from a credible witness. We also know that at least seven people did contemporaneously hear about the allegation made by Kavanaugh's Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez that he shoved his penis in her face at a college party. So yeah, it appears it was "the talk of campus" even though Kavanaugh claimed during a Senate hearing that it wasn’t.

But getting to the bottom of just how flawed that FBI investigation was is both important in terms of the Supreme Court’s moral authority and also could be a very potent political tool going into 2020.

The conventional wisdom sweeping Washington is that a rehash of Kavanaugh would help Republicans in 2020 because it would fire up their base. The prevailing takeaway from 2018 is that Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle hurt red-state Democratic senators in Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, and Montana (three of which flipped to Republicans). As the Washington Post's Dave Weigel writes, "A consensus of Republicans and political strategists argued that by echoing accusations against him, Democrats energized conservative voters and tipped key Senate races toward the GOP."

Plenty of Washington analysts appear to have taken that GOP analysis as gospel. But it completely ignores what happened in the House in 2018 and a very different political map heading into 2020. "Democrats also got the biggest number they've ever received in the history of polling among college educated white women in part because of Kavanaugh—and that was why they routed Republicans in suburban seats around the country," noted CNN analyst Ron Brownstein on The Lead Monday. Revisiting Kavanaugh's confirmation and uncovering whether Senate Republicans rigged the FBI investigation in his favor would only help consolidate that white female suburban flight from the GOP.

Democratic presidential candidates also embraced that fight, with six of them calling for Kavanaugh's impeachment following the new revelations. Sen. Kamala Harris, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, gave perhaps the most forceful statement, tweeting, “I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.” One could see Kavanaugh becoming part of her stump speech depending on what House Democrats turn up next month.

Categories: Politics

UAW workers stay on strike in 'battle for the middle class'

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 15:54

More than 45,000 workers remain on strike against General Motors after contract negotiations broke down between the company and the UAW. GM has cut off health insurance coverage for striking workers, while details of the two sides’ proposals remain scant. But the broad strokes are clear: As one worker told CNN, it’s a “battle for the middle class.”

GM has made a public relations push claiming it promised $7 billion in investment and 5,000 jobs, but the UAW’s lead negotiator said GM’s first serious offer came just hours before the deadline, too late to avert a strike. According to one UAW local, GM's pay offer fell short of inflation, while workers’ healthcare costs would have increased. “Two percent is nothing,” a local union leader familiar with the offer told the Detroit Free Press. ”We have not gained back anything we gave up during the bankruptcy.”

That’s a critical point: GM workers made concessions in 2009 to help save the company from bankruptcy, but while GM’s profits were $8.1 billion last year, workers are still stuck with the two-tier system that pays new hires substantially lower wages, and many jobs have been turned over to temporary workers who are treated even worse. Meanwhile, workers point out, the 2015 contract between GM and the UAW prohibited plant closures, but GM went ahead and closed plants anyway, simply using a different terminology—instead of being closed or idled, the plans are “unallocated.” Seeing that, workers were ready. “We have been preparing for over a year because we knew that General Motors wasn’t going to budge from their position too much,” one 45-year GM employee told The Detroit News.

Other unions from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees to the Communications Workers of America and politicians like Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continue to come out in support of the striking workers.

Categories: Politics

Lunchtime Photo

Kevin Drum - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 15:30

This is a picture of Linville Falls, a popular attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was taken from Chimney View, and it’s the best picture postcard rendering of the  falls:

May 9, 2019 — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

However, I didn’t stop there, and I have the pics to prove it. I hiked all the way up to Erwin’s View in order to get the grandest possible vista. I’m not sure I could do this today, but I took my Blue Ridge Parkway trip during the brief period when I was boycotting the Evil Dex. I was a whole lot more energetic without that stuff.

May 9, 2019 — Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Categories: Politics

Committee Laughs As Lewandowski Says ‘Vacation’ Interfered With His Trump Letter Delivery

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 15:19

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski faced laughter from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday after he claimed that he decided not to follow the president’s orders because he was on “vacation.”

At the Tuesday hearing, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asked Lewandowski why he “chickened out” and refused to deliver a secret message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions from President Donald Trump. According to the Mueller report, Trump wanted Sessions to publicly declare that the Russia investigation was “very unfair” to him.

“Why did it take you so long and you never even delivered it?” Johnson said. “You chickened out?”

“I went on vacation,” Lewandowski volunteered as committee members could be heard laughing out loud.

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Categories: Politics

Trump’s Junk Insurance Is a Windfall for Scammy Insurance Companies

Kevin Drum - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 15:18

Back in 2017 Republicans did their level best to destroy Obamacare. They failed, and in a final act of pique Donald Trump issued an executive order related to junk insurance plans. These were bare-bones plans limited to three months and meant as a short bridge for emergencies. Trump’s order allowed them to last as long as 12 months and be renewed up to a total of 36 months. In other words, these effectively became viable insurance plans for many people.

The idea, of course, is that they would be marketed at young people who were healthy and didn’t expect to have much in the way of medical bills. But guess what? The shysters and scammers didn’t care what the wonks thought. Instead, they started marketing junk policies to precisely the people least suited for it: the elderly. “There is much low-hanging fruit in the over-65 space,” the CEO of Health Insurance Innovations told Wall Street analysts.

This all comes from a Bloomberg story which I would quote at more length, but I am paywalled out. Sorry. However, I can pass this along:

That’s right. Bullshit artists, who know that gramma and grampa are the “low-hanging fruit” of robocalling for scammy products, have eagerly taken to the phones to sell them Trump’s junk insurance. How eagerly? 387 million calls in a single month. Nice work, Donald. And all so you can say you owned Barack Obama.

Categories: Politics

Corey Lewandoski hearing shows that any impeachment inquiry is going to require much tougher rules

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 15:07

On Tuesday afternoon, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski sat down to answer questions before the House Judiciary Committee. In theory. This is the same hearing that former staffers Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter refused to attend after getting a note from Trump telling them to ignore a congressional subpoena. The specific issue at hand was Trump asking Lewandowski to tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to halt the investigation into the Trump campaign, which was one of the instances of obstruction outlined by former special counsel Robert Mueller in his report.

But the first two hours of the hearing showed that Lewandowski was going to give no cooperation, that Republicans on the committee were going to do everything possible to derail the proceedings, and that, for any impeachment inquiry to move forward, committee Chair Jerry Nadler is going to need to adopt a much tougher attitude toward uncooperative witnesses.

When Lewandowski last appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, he provided it a succinct nonanswer in the form of, “I’m not answering your f***ing questions.” Amazingly, no one asked the sergeant-at-arms to pitch Lewandowski into the nearest oubliette until he was ready to apologize to the committee and obey the law.

Even more unfortunately, Lewandowski opened the hearing on Tuesday with an only slightly more polite version of the same statement. And Nadler still continued with the pretense that there could be a hearing in which the only witness refused to answer, while admitting that he couldn’t claim executive privilege.

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: Apologies, cancer, and bomb-sniffing dogs

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 15:00
Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1969, 14 black football players at the University of Wyoming wanted to protest a racist policy.

The team was set to play Brigham Young University, a university affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which at the time had a policy prohibiting black people from becoming priests. Students were planning a protest outside the football stadium, and the players wanted to wear black armbands during the game in support.

When the players approached their coach to ask for permission, they were immediately kicked off the team. [...]

None of them ever received a public apology. Until Friday.

The University of Wyoming held a commemorative week in honor of the 14 players, dubbed the "Black 14," this year, marking the 50th anniversary of the incident. The week, attended by eight of the 11 living players, culminated in a dinner Friday, when the university's athletic director Tom Burman read from an official apology letter from the school.

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek says that he is undergoing another round of chemotherapy.

“I was doing so well. And my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer. So we were all very optimistic. And they said, 'Good, we're gonna stop chemo, we'll start you on immunotherapy,'" he said before, "I lost about 12 pounds in a week. And my numbers went sky high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed. So, the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again and that's what I'm doing."

Bomb-sniffing dogs sent from the United States to its Middle Eastern ally Jordan are falling ill and dying due to poor treatment and negligence, a federal investigation has found.

A year-long evaluation by inspectors at the State Department found that at least 10 such dogs in Jordan died between 2008 and 2016 from medical problems. Even those who survive are suffering from "unhealthy conditions," such as inadequate kennels, poor sanitation, and overwork.

Renowned ABC News journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: We caught part-way up today, with the latest subpoena stonewalling and the "Acting!" DNI whistleblower stories, plus more on Russian intel's "stunning" breach of US counter-intel, looping in Carter Page and even Anna Chapman!

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Categories: Politics

Report finds major newspapers keep quoting anti-immigrant hate groups on immigration stories

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 14:57

The Center for Immigration Studies is an innocuous-sounding name for an anti-immigrant hate group that should never be quoted on immigration stories, yet a new report has found that major newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, regularly do quote it. “Over 90% of the time,” Define American and the MIT Center for Civic Media said, CIS “was referenced as a neutral information source for expert opinion or data without contextualizing the group’s extremist ties or its relationship with the Trump administration.” Those ties are long and well-documented.

Founded by eugenicist John Tanton, CIS has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (CIS unsuccessfully challenged this in court just recently), and “has a decades-long history of circulating racist writers, while also associating with white nationalists.” Tanton himself once said, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

CIS should never be quoted or cited by media, unless it’s in the context of a story on its hateful record. Yet major papers, which also include the Los Angeles Times and USA Today, keep doing it, the report says. In fact, its compilers found that “dehumanizing terms in the four papers studied increased from 2014 to 2018 ...The Washington Post and The New York Times had a higher percentage of stories with denigrating terms than a broad collection of U.S. national sources.”

There are real-life consequences to elevating dehumanizing language, when the rhetoric of the president of the United States is no different than the rhetoric of a white supremacist terrorist gunman who targeted Latinos in El Paso, Texas—and the media has an obligation not to aid this. Define American writes, “The Associated Press, the Society for Professional Journalism, and style guides across the industry encourage reporters and editors to use humanizing and accurate language when referring to people.”

These policies came about only because activists have pushed for them, so be vigilant and remember the names Center for Immigration Studies, Federation of American Immigration Reform, and NumbersUSA (two other Tanton-affiliated groups); and next time you spot an outlet citing them seriously, say something. “At a time when we are jailing children, when white supremacists are killing Americans because they think they might be immigrants, and when hate crimes are at an all-time high, journalists must do better,” Define American said.

Categories: Politics

Conservative groups rallying to protect their investment in Kavanaugh and Collins dutifully helps

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 14:23

Conservative groups spent a great deal of money on Republican senators in order to get their boy Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. That includes an investment in one "moderate" Republican senator from Maine, Susan Collins. She's been well-rewarded for her vote, and is still paying back that debt.

One of the groups behind the nomination, the Article III Project, has distributed talking points to the White House, key congressional offices, and other groups on how to respond to the newest sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh and the charge that the FBI helped cover his past up by refusing to investigate claims witnesses brought to them. The gist of those talking points are what we saw last time around—blame and shame the victims and cry "fake news."

And guess who ate those talking points up and spit them right back out? Not Collins directly, her spokesperson Annie Clark instead. "These news stories today are not adding anything to what has already been reported," says Clark. Fake news, in other words. "The only new part of the story was an alleged incident reported by former Clinton aide Max Stier," Clark said, making sure to get that "former Clinton aide" in there front and center. The talking points sent by Article III Project: "Media reports that Stier was a longtime supporter of the Clintons and an adversary of Justice Kavanaugh. He was a member of President Bill Clinton's defense team during the Lewinsky investigation."

Look at Collins being a good little soldier to the far-right extremists, doing her bit to defend the life-time appointment of a guy who will do everything in his power to destroy pretty much everything she used to run on—LGBTQ rights, women's rights, civil rights, the environment. The whole shebang. And she calls it "integrity."

Enough is enough. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these crucial Senate races, but especially the one in Maine!

Categories: Politics

16th Republican quits the House so he can seek redder pastures back at home

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 14:19

On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Cook's chief of staff said the congressman would not seek re-election next year to California’s 8th District, making Cook the 16th Republican to retire from the House so far this cycle. Instead, Cook will seek an open seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, a race his team had previously said he was interested in.

Cook first won election to the House in 2012 after GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis announced his retirement. At the time a member of the state Assembly, Cook took just 15.3% in a 13-way top-two primary that June, barely trailing fellow Republican Gregg Imus, a tea partier who managed 15.6%. That fall, though, the very conservative Cook beat the even more strident Imus 57-43, in part by offering slightly greater appeal to Democratic voters.

Cook easily turned back Democratic opponents in 2014 and 2016, thanks to his district's deep-red lean: This sprawling seat, which hugs the Nevada border and takes in northern San Bernardino County and the High Desert, voted 55-40 for Donald Trump and 60-40 for Republican John Cox in 2018's gubernatorial race. Last year, after Democrats narrowly got squeezed out in the primary once more, Cook again faced another Republican in the general election, former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, and beat him 60-40. (Imus, incidentally, had worked for Donnelly in the legislature.)

Therefore, Republicans are overwhelmingly likely to retain this seat, though it doesn't say much about the party's prospects for regaining control of the House if members in safely red districts don't want to stick around. The San Bernardino board, by contrast, is in Republican hands, making it much more appealing to someone like Cook, who would earn a salary comparable to his congressional pay if he's elected supervisor—and enjoy a much shorter commute.

Categories: Politics

Trump labor board's drive to hurt temp and fast food workers hits another conflict-of-interest snag

Daily Kos - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 14:17

Donald Trump’s National Labor Relations Board and its counsel have made it their mission to roll back every advance for workers from the Obama years. The joint-employer rule—which makes companies responsible, under certain circumstances, for workers employed through franchises and staffing agencies—is a major piece of that. In the rush to roll back the joint-employer rule, ProPublica’s Ian MacDougall reports, the NLRB hired a staffing agency with a major conflict of interest to help make it happen.

This is actually the second time the Trump-era NLRB has run into a conflict-of-interest problem on this exact issue, the first being in 2018 when a board member voted on a case despite his prior work for a law firm that had represented a company involved. So what did the NLRB do when taking another run at making it easier for major corporations to evade responsibility for abuses happening on their premises, involving workers whose conditions the corporations largely control? It … hired a legal staffing agency to provide temporary lawyers and paralegals to review public comments on overturning a rule that applies to staffing agencies. “In essence,” MacDougall writes, “the NLRB hired temps whose bosses have a stake in the outcome to review and potentially summarize the public comments.”

Not only that, but NLRB chair John Ring told Congress that the contractor hired wouldn’t do “any substantive, deliberative review of the comments but will be limited to sorting comments into categories in preparation for their substantive review,” even though internal documents show that the plan all along was for the temporary staff to do substantive review. House Committee on Education and Labor Chair Bobby Scott and Rep. Frederica Wilson, chair of its labor subcommittee, have some questions about this. 

That’s the Trump administration, and the Republican Party more generally: so in bed with big business that it’s a conflict of interest every time they try to do something. But their determination to screw workers keeps driving them forward.

Categories: Politics