Politics

Wishing Charlie Pierce A Speedy Recovery

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 23:30

OH NOES!

Is it possible this is the last thing Mr. Pierce saw before the lights went out?

Open thread below...

Categories: Politics

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With The Black Flag

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 23:01

Thirty five years ago this month, Black Flag released their 4th full length album Slip It In. Combining the early hardcore sound the band help invent along with elements of free jazz, heavy metal and bit of blues, it was one of the records that laid the foundation for the grunge sound that would follow it a few years later.

It was also the 3rd studio recorded full length the band would release in 1984. I did not get it for Christmas that year but did purchase it with a gift certificate I got to the local record shop a few days later.

What are you listening to tonight?


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Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls: A president's 75-year-old speech that needs repeating and rejuvenation

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 23:00

Seventy-five years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt put forth his “Second Bill of Rights” as part of the State of the Union address delivered in January 1944. Here is that section. Still unfulfilled three-quarters of a century later:

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth- is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of "rightist reaction" in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called "normalcy" of the 1920's—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

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At Daily Kos on this date in 2002—Americans hijack Iraq weapons doc: 

As if the US wasn't already losing the PR war in its mad rush to war against Iraq...

Diplomats and U.S. officials said Monday that after an intense lobbying campaign, the United States received an early and uncut copy of Iraq's 11,807-page weapons declaration and whisked it to Washington for analysis.

The United States was then put in charge of making duplicates for its four fellow permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France and Russia -- on grounds that Washington had the best photocopying capabilities.

[...]

The Security Council had previously agreed to leave the report with U.N. inspectors until it was screened for material that might aid others in making weapons. All five permanent members are nuclear powers.

The decision upset several of the 10 non-permanent members of the 15-member Security Council, including Norway and Syria, as it overrode what the body had decided Friday.

And why would the Americans want first dibs at the document? Because it would allow it to scrub it clean of the names of foreign corporations that helped Iraq build its WMD programs.

Of course, there's an easy solution to this whole mess. Iraq should simply leak the document to the press. If the Bushies are insistent on starting this war, then I want to know what role American companies played in building Iraq's arsenal.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Impeachment articles drop as the IG’s report is digested. Big day for Christopher Steele! He's Ivanka's pal! He was huge in the FIFA bust over Russia’s bribes to win the 2018 World Cup! Which reminds us, Trump Tower was crawling with corrupt FIFA officials.

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Categories: Politics

Latest International Test Shows US Performance Is . . . About the Same as Always

Kevin Drum - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 22:17

The results of the latest PISA test are out, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a picture:

The PISA test is administered every three years to 15-year-olds, and roughly speaking US kids have been doing about the same on it for a couple of decades. However, what’s unique about PISA is that it’s an international test, which means we get to compare ourselves to other countries and then wail about how poorly we’re doing. Here are our scores on the reading test compared to a small subset of our peer countries:

Not too bad! Canada is the outlier here, but we’re at the top end of the cluster of other countries. Now here’s math:

Not so good! Japan is the unsurprising winner, and the US is bringing up the rear as it usually does. PISA’s approach to math is a little unusual, so every three years there’s a tedious discussion about whether this is the reason American kids don’t do very well even though they do fine on other math tests. Personally I don’t know. But we sure seem to fill up Silicon Valley and Wall Street with quants and coders every year.

As always when I venture into OECD territory, I conclude that the whole test is a sham and the real test is whether or not you can figure out how to use the OECD’s data tools. I’ll give myself a B- this time around. However, you can also browse around the results on the Department of Education’s site, which includes comprehensive league tables that compare the US to the entire set of other countries that participate in PISA. Good luck!

Categories: Politics

Bedtime Respite Open Thread: “Hair Love”

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 22:01

(Thanks to commentor Rikyrah)

Many of you have already seen it by now, but hey, cartoons are made for re-watching…

The post Bedtime Respite Open Thread: “Hair Love” appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Must Be The Season of the Witch

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 20:56

I’ve noticed in the last few weeks a real uptick in the attacks on the Democratic nominees, and I don’t know if it is just the usual mania that happens in every primary, bitterness from supporters whose candidates have already dropped out, or ratfucking from the far left and/or Republicans. I expect some degree of the all of these, but I don’t know the extent of the last.

It’s dispiriting, to me, at least, because other than the crazy aura lady and that cultist from Hawaii, I’d vote for every single one of the Democrats remaining- even that Elon Musk like guy whose name escapes me at the moment. Obviously I have have my favorites, but really, anything is better than the current crisis. I dunno if I am just numb and nihilistic, removed from the process because WV votes so late and is inconsequential anyway because of our size and the fact that we will go for Trump regardless, or stupid, but everything for me is the general election. They’ll all be fucking fine compared to Trump.

The post Must Be The Season of the Witch appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Supreme Court Won't Hear Appeal Of Kentucky's Forced Ultrasound Law

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 20:41

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday chose not to hear an appeal on a Kentucky law reproductive rights groups say is intended only to "shame and intimidate" patients, effectively upholding the statute.

The justices did not offer a comment on their reasoning for declining to hear the ACLU's arguments against H.B. 2, which requires doctors at the state's only remaining clinic that provides abortions to perform an ultrasound before giving a patient abortion care.

"Healthcare should be free from shame, stigma, and medically unnecessary mandates."
—Physicians for Reproductive HealthUnder the law, doctors are required to describe the ultrasound images to the patient in detail while audio of the fetal heartbeat plays, leading the ACLU to describe H.B. 2 as a "forced narrated ultrasound law."

The ACLU said Monday that the Supreme Court "has rubber-stamped extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship."

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Categories: Politics

Rep. Steve Cohen Smacks MSNBC For Airing GOP Russia Propaganda

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 20:41

Geoff Bennett got a little more than he asked for when he interviewed Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) on MSNBC earlier Tuesday. No, it wasn't lame prop comedy involving a bucket of chicken, thank the good Colonel Sanders in the sky. It was a swift and harsh rebuke for playing the GOP House Minority Leader's press conference in its entirety.

Rep. Cohen joined Bennett after Reps. McCarthy and Scalise spoke to reporters in response to the official release of Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump. As usual, reporters in the room just swallowed the lies the GOP reps spewed about the IG report without pushing back in the slightest, and MSNBC ran the thing completely unchallenged. When it was over, Bennett asked Rep. Cohen about the language of the articles, but Rep. Cohen had something else to say.

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Categories: Politics

Small majority-black community in rural Georgia fights election officials—and wins

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 18:33

In a win for the little guys, a small predominantly black town in Georgia with fewer than 5,000 residents got election officials to acquiesce to their demand to reopen a polling location closed in one foul, disenfranchising swoop. A battle between Jeff Davis County election officials and Hazlehurst residents played out over the course of two years, according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which helped lead the charge. 

The community, which sits within a county branded with the name of former Confederacy president Jefferson Davis, is about 188 miles southeast of Atlanta and has a population that’s barely a sliver of the larger city’s roughly 490,000 residents. But although Hazlehurst didn’t have the numbers, it had more than enough will. When local residents and nonprofits banded together, they got the Jeff Davis County elections board to reverse its earlier decision to close a polling location affecting Hazlehurst residents, the law nonprofit reported.

Helen Allen, a 67-year-old resident of the community, told the Associated Press she’s been voting at the worn white building nestled between an office supply warehouse and a cemetery since she moved to the area in 1982. She said older residents and those with disabilities worried they wouldn’t be able to easily get to a new polling place across town. “We couldn’t understand or see why the poll was closed,” Allen told the AP.

The state of Georgia has seen hundreds of polling places closed since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act five years ago, and a majority-minority county attracted national attention when it tried to close almost all of its polling places before Georgia’s November 2018 election, the law nonprofit reported. 

In a news release, attorney John Powers of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called the Jeff Davis polling place consolidation “poorly conceived.” He said the board’s decision to reverse the action “shows the power of resistance and the impact that we can have by leveraging our voices against injustice.”

Categories: Politics

Who's in and out of December’s Democratic debate

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 18:27

It appears Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii fell short of qualifying for the Dec. 19 Democratic debate in California while entrepreneur Andrew Yang squeezed out a last-minute qualification with a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday putting him at 4% nationally. 

The seven presidential hopefuls who will appear on stage are:

  • Joe Biden
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Tom Steyer
  • Andrew Yang

Gabbard released a statement saying she didn't plan to participate in the debate even if she qualified, suggesting that she didn't plan on qualifying in the first place.  

In order to secure a spot, candidates had to have raised funds from at least 200,000 unique donors and reached a polling threshold of either 4% in four DNC-sanctioned polls or 6% in two DNC-sanctioned, early-state polls. 

The December debate will feature a lot less diversity than past debates have. Although California Sen. Kamala Harris qualified to appear on stage, she dropped out of the race. Other candidates of color, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, have failed to meet the threshold. 

Categories: Politics

Impeachment Open Thread: Our Failed Republican Party

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 18:24

And its Very Woke enablers…

The post Impeachment Open Thread: Our Failed Republican Party appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

CNN's Brooke Baldwin Rips Fox News Over Brazen Gaslighting

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 17:11

Brooke Baldwin and her guests ripped Fox News for pretending the IG report on the origins of the Russia investigation proved Trump and his cronies at Fox RIGHT. Bootlickers like Hannity, Ingraham, and Carlson have all been bleating that the report concludes there WAS spying on the Trump campaign, and there WAS a witchhunthoaxdeepstate thing going on. Well, okay, but not if you actually READ the report.

Baldwin discussed this with former Republican Congressman Charllie Dent, and author Amanda Carpenter, who wrote Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies To Us. Kinda perfect choice, no? You have nearly the entirety of Fox News, America's Attorney General Bill Barr, and the president gaslighting the nation on the regular, and it is anybody's guess if we'll ever recover from the damage. Carpenter explained what was so dangerous.

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Categories: Politics

Police respond to active shooting in Jersey City. Here's what we know

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 16:31

Several people were killed, including at least one officer, with many others injured, on Tuesday afternoon in Jersey City, New Jersey, Mayor Steven Fulop said, but did not provide further information. According to officials, two gunmen are barricaded inside a store after opening fire with at least one gun resulting in a firefight involving dozens of law enforcement officers, The New York Times reported.

“We need a lot of prayers right now for Jersey City officers,” tweeted the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association. “Keep all those involved in your thoughts.”

For over an hour, loud exchanges of gunfire were heard through the city’s Greenville neighborhood. All public schools in the area have reportedly been placed under lockdown, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); the FBI; and the New York Police Department Bomb Squad responding to the situation. Helicopters are circling overhead with paramedics on the scene.

A spokesman for the ATF said the agency was treating the incident as an “active shooter” situation.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Jersey City Police Department, especially with the officers shot during this standoff, and with the residents and schoolchildren currently under lockdown, Gov. Philip D. Murphy said in a statement.

According to CNN, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is working closely with local, county, state, and federal officials to make sure everybody is safe. The president has also been alerted of the situation. "Please keep the officers of the Jersey City Police Department in your thoughts and prayers as they work to resolve the situation," Grewal said in a statement. "We remain, as always, extraordinarily grateful for their service and their sacrifice."

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Categories: Politics

Trump's food assistance cuts will have huge ripple effect, especially for rural America

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 16:14

The 700,000 people expected to lose food assistance because of new rules the Trump administration will put in effect next spring aren't going to be the only ones harmed by the cuts, experts say. The new rules will impose work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants ages 18 through 49 who aren't raising minor children in their homes.

These "able-bodied" adults, not all of whom are able-bodied, are all desperately poor and more likely to be people of color and/or living in rural communities. Many aren't, in fact, able-bodied, but don't have the resources to get the medical assistance they need to be deemed disabled. SNAP is the only federal benefit for which many of these people qualify. They will be expected to work—and prove they worked—20 hours a week, despite the fact that many live in communities where there aren't jobs. Many work in the gig economy, and have no way to prove their work hours.

"These are folks who are already living on the edge," Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, the executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks tells Mother Jones. She adds, "It is our national nutrition safety net and it serves 40 million Americans. I've never witnessed anything like this. It's a deliberate attack." And it's another attack on rural America and economically distressed communities, where food stamps are helping to keep grocery stores open. "Grocery stores are not going to stay in those communities," Hamler-Fugitt says. "That's a quality-of-life issue for everyone." And as a food bank director, she knows the challenges. "Do not think for one minute that food banks and pantries can fill this gap."

Robert Greenstein at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that the next recession will be made substantially worse by the rule. States can currently get a waiver from the existing work requirements in the law. These new rules will make it much harder to get the waiver to allow assistance, and "far fewer areas will qualify for waivers during a widespread, national recession." He argues that this "will limit a core strength of SNAP—its responsiveness to changes in economic conditions so that individuals who lose their source of income can quickly qualify for temporary food assistance. Instead of mitigating a recession's harm, the new rule will exacerbate it."

But this administration, says Hamler-Fugitt, "doesn't give a damn" even though it's some Trump states that will be hit the hardest.

Categories: Politics

Weaponized Mourning

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 16:09

I grew up two hours from Bismarck, ND – it was one of the “big towns” where we’d go to get specialist medical care or shop for anything fancy. So it pains me to hear that they had to have a fight to accept refugees, though I’m heartened to know that those who fought, won, and refugees will still be accepted:

A meeting last week where the commission was supposed to vote on Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota’s request to continue resettling refugees in the county was rescheduled for Monday after more than 100 residents wanted to speak on the subject. The bigger venue at Horizon Middle School’s cafeteria in Bismarck still wasn’t sufficient. More than 500 people filled the space, with some standing outside the cafeteria’s doors. […]

Tresor Mugawaneza, who came to Bismarck as a 16-year-old refugee from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, said his story is proof that refugees make positive contributions to the community. He quickly picked up English, became a soccer standout and got a job washing dishes at the Wood House Restaurant in Bismarck. He said he rode his bike to the restaurant — even in the winter. Now a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Mary, Mugawaneza hopes to run his own business someday.

“We are not in this country just to take your government money,” Mugawaneza said. “In fact, we are here to work and be successful in life just like everybody else.”

The Republican politicians who spoke made a couple of obviously false arguments, one being that the prosperous town of 73 thousand can’t afford the crushing financial burden of 25 families. The other was that Bismarck should deal with the issues of Native Americans first, before they dealt with the refugees. As someone who grew up next to a reservation, all I can say is that problem hasn’t been addressed for the last 100 years, so why pick today?

The reality is that Bismarck, like other towns in the Dakotas, is desperately searching for people to fill jobs. The oil boom, and the migration of children to larger cities where they have more opportunity, have led to consistent 2.5% unemployment, which of course is more than full employment. This woman, who spoke at the meeting, hits it on the head:

Isabel Oliveira, a Brazilian immigrant who owns Bismarck’s James River Cafe with her husband, said the state should be taking in all the industrious people it can find to fill out its workforce.

“My business is shrinking because we don’t have enough workers,” Oliveira said. “We’re here talking about 25 refugees. We need 25,000 refugees.”

Bismarck has a climate where you can have weeks of humid 90-100 degree weather in the Summer, and weeks of 20 below (not wind chill, ambient temp) in the Winter. It doesn’t rain there much, and there’s not a hell of a lot of the culture that urban residents take for granted. The open jobs there are mostly low paying service jobs. Just as immigrants from Europe moved there in the early part of the last century because their desire for some kind of opportunity trumped the climate and other hardships, this new set of immigrants and refugees think Bismarck is a place where they can live and grow, even as the children and grandchildren of the first set of immigrants have left for urban centers that offer them more opportunity.

It’s sad to live somewhere that’s rejected by your children, but that’s the reality of the Dakotas, where it’s common to have a family where none of the children live within a couple hundred miles of the town where they grew up. Parents are right to mourn that – it would be better to live someplace where your kids were around the corner instead of a plane ride away. In a world where these parents weren’t mainlining Fox News, perhaps some of the media would point out that their children’s urban migration, while sad, was healthy, and that new immigrants are coming to Bismarck for the same reason as the olds’ parents rode the train to the prairie back in the beginning of the last century.

Instead, all that they hear is a narrative of fear and hatred, where the evil browns are launching an invasion of the prairie so they can become welfare kings and queens. Never mind that many of the ancestors of the pissed off olds at that meeting were recipients of a free quarter section of land via the Homestead Act, a gift from the government that’s worth more than $300K in today’s dollars.

So here we have a sad, unnecessary, divisive and ugly meeting, spurred on by mourning and frustration that a few so-called leaders are leveraging to keep themselves in office. At least there’s still a vocal minority in Bismarck that can rein in the worst of the Trump era, for now.

The post Weaponized Mourning appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Reports suggest that the Senate will not give Trump the circus he wants. Don't believe the reports

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 16:03

Donald Trump has been looking forward to impeachment—not the part that involves the upcoming vote in the House, and certainly not the part where more than a dozen witnesses appeared before the House Intelligence Committee to confirm that, yup, he done it. Bigly. What Trump is looking forward to is the trial in the Senate, his home turf, Mitchville, the land where, hell, they don’t have anything else to do anyway but indulge Trump in his fever dreams.

From the moment that the whistleblower whistled, it was inevitable that Trump would be impeached for his efforts to extort Ukraine. It was inevitable because the evidence against Trump is enough to convict even someone who hadn’t already demonstrated a pattern of lying to Congress, bullying his way through all occasions, and looking for the personal angle of every aspect of the nation’s business. It was so inevitable that the White House and Republican leadership in the Senate have been meeting for weeks to “strategize” over not just what information Trump should provide, but also how the whole trial can be modified to best suit Trump.

That’s still going to happen. There’s absolutely no doubt that McConnell will do everything in his power—which, when it comes to this proceeding in the Senate, is everything—to make sure that Trump never has a bad day and that every moment of the trial becomes an opportunity to go after Trump’s opponents. Only … they may all be there to be persecuted in person.

While House Republicans would gladly run random witnesses through on spits to please Trump, or just to please themselves, the idea that Trump is going to turn the Senate trial into an endless parade of everyone who ever crossed him is getting a bit of pushback. Trump’s “communicator,” Pam Bondi, made it clear this week that Trump expected a lineup featuring Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, the intelligence community whistleblower, and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff to sit down and take a drubbing. However, it appears that that might not work out. Because while McConnell can set every step of the process on his own, the appearance of a witness requires a majority vote. And right now it looks like there are just enough Republicans who can’t figure out a “win” in conducting a senatorial circus and will vote to keep these nonwitnesses off the witness list.

This doesn’t mean Trump isn’t going to get his auto-exonerating show trial at which more time will be devoted to the DNC’s nonexistent server than to Trump’s actual efforts at extortion. And when any idea of a reasonable trial in the Senate leans on characters like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, thoughts that the circus might be halted should come with a “Warning: Spines certain to collapse at the slightest pressure” sign. But there are some signs that Trump isn’t going to be perfectly happy with his day in court.

Categories: Politics

The newest would-be House Republican: Former White House doctor Ronny Jackson

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 16:02

Because the Republican Party is just gawdawful at this point, just absolutely child-punchingly gawdawful, it stands to reason that the pressure to recruit increasingly terrible people to fill the party ranks would rise accordingly. Non-insane House Republicans continue to retire rather than try to beat back frothing would-be replacements, sending the whole party ever-rightward and efficiently purging anyone with dignity, a conscience, or a basic grasp of reality.

It stands to reason, then, that disgraced White House physician Ronny Jackson would throw his hat in the ring to replace the retiring Rep. Mac Thornberry in Texas's hard-right 13th District. Trump had been so impressed with Jackson's bedside manner that he nominated him last year to head the Department of Veterans Affairs; that nomination turned into one of the White House's many no-vetting train wrecks when it almost immediately came to light that Jackson had an alleged history of drunkenness on the job and a reputation for dispensing pills, shall we say, lavishly to White House staffers, allegedly earning him the nickname "Candyman." Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson would soon withdraw his nomination and eventually leave his White House post in disgrace, amid an ongoing U.S. military probe of the allegations against him. That investigation, in fact, remains open.

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So yes, that's the person who thinks he has a good shot at wooing the Republican base, and there's little evidence to suggest he's wrong. Consider Ronny Jackson's many, many qualifications for the role of House Republican:

• The man's praise for Dear Leader was effusive from the get-go. Describing Trump's annual checkup in a laudatory (and deeply weird, and slightly Aryan) press conference, Jackson said that Trump had "incredible genes," with a proper diet "might live to be 200 years old," and had somehow grown the one inch needed to avoid the clinical definition of obese. The prime duty of a House Republican is to forever blow smoke up Trump's a--, and Ronny Jackson is one of the select Republicans in America to already own the equipment to do it.

• Like newest conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Jackson "likes" beer. He seems to "like" beer a lot, in fact: He is accused of drunkenly wrecking a government vehicle after a Secret Service going-away party. Jackson also was reported to have been discovered "passed out drunk" in a hotel room "on at least one occasion," and during another overseas trip drunkenly "banged on the hotel room door of a female employee." It's a bit of a surprise that Jackson's running for Congress rather than waiting by the phone for the next Trump Supreme Court appointment.

• Concerned about the opioid epidemic? Dr. Jackson has you covered. No, really: As White House physician, Jackson is alleged to have provided "a large supply" of the opioid Percocet to a White House military staffer, throwing his own staff into "a panic" when they were unable to account for the gone-missing drug.

Categories: Politics

On impeachment, Democrats have done the remarkable in a remarkably short amount of time

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 15:57

Many liberals understandably want Donald Trump held accountable for every crime, every abuse, every assault on democracy and the U.S. Constitution he has perpetrated since taking office. It makes perfect sense and yet it's not what they will be getting. 

Instead House Democrats have whittled down Trump's endless transgressions to two articles of impeachment centered exclusively on the Ukraine scandal: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It's not ideal, but it's smart. Even as I write, Trump is preparing to talk "election security" on Tuesday afternoon with Russian Foreign Minister Surgey Lavrov in the Oval Office. The meeting is closed press and Trump may even oust the stenographers or simply confiscate their notes afterward, because the last time Lavrov infiltrated the Oval Office, Trump trash talked his former FBI director and disclosed sensitive intelligence to the Russians. There's no reason to think this go-round will be any better and, in fact, we have every reason to believe it will be worse since Trump has now gotten rid of anyone in his White House who had any inkling of common sense and patriotism. Now it's just a West Wing full of "let Trump be Tumpers" (i.e. let him commit his crimes in plain sight).

As long as Trump is alive, he will be committing crimes and shredding the institutional safeguards of our democracy. A crook is a crook is a crook. And as long as Trump occupies the Oval Office, he will pose "a clear and present danger" to the integrity of U.S. elections, as Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman put it, and a "threat to national security and the Constitution" as House Judiciary Democrats wrote in their impeachment resolution.

So instead of trying to chase down every last bombshell of Trump's presidency (and there's guaranteed to be plenty more), House Democrats chose to alert America to the immediate danger Trump poses with the clearest cut case they have. House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff addressed this tradeoff directly on Tuesday morning during the press conference in which Democrats unveiled their two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"The argument 'Why don’t you just wait?' amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?" Schiff explained, noting that it had taken eight full months just to get a lower court ruling on whether former White House counsel Don McGahn would be compelled to answer his subpoena. Needless to say, we don't have another eight months to spare, even if the courts ultimately come down on the side of Democrats. 

Categories: Politics

Elizabeth Warren's Blue New Deal pushes the fight to protect oceans beyond plastic straws

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 15:51

Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled her Blue New Deal on Tuesday morning. The plan, as its name suggests, is basically a version of the Green New Deal (of which she is a co-sponsor) that focuses on the ocean. Luckily, Warren’s plan moves beyond the plastic straw debate and deep dives into the real issues impacting not only the ocean but also the creatures that live in it and the communities that rely on it for work and income. In this sense, Warren’s plan doesn’t focus on just the environment but rightly factors in workers' rights, low-income populations, and the economy too.

Unsurprisingly, Warren calls out the super-rich pretty explicitly—and for good reason. “The climate crisis is too urgent to let the ultra-wealthy complain about wind turbines getting in the way of their ocean views,” Warren writes in reference to offshore wind projects. Her point here is that while some might find wind turbines unseemly, that’s not enough of a reason to stop building them. Instead, she wants to see more offshore wind energy production created with domestic supplies, which she says could result in 36,000 new jobs. And she wants those jobs to be unionized, too. 

As one might expect, Warren wants to hold big oil companies accountable. This includes phasing out offshore drilling and giving workers who choose to transition to new industries job training and wage parity to do so.

Of particular note in Warren’s plan is her approach to housing, seashore communities, and climate change. As we know, many communities that live close to the coast are vulnerable to rising sea levels and increased natural disasters as climate change rapidly accelerates. Warren wants to invest five times more funds into preparing communities for natural disasters than the federal government currently does. She also wants to reform flood insurance programs and support programs that help people relocate from at-risk shore communities.

Her commitment to low-income people feels particularly important, as while poor people across the globe continue to suffer because of climate change, they’re also chronically disenfranchised. Policies that explicitly center the needs of low-income people (especially directly in the face of the wealthy, who, as Warren suggests, might fret about the aesthetics of a wind turbine) are not only refreshing but deeply necessary. 

Categories: Politics

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