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Updated: 11 min 16 sec ago

2020 Democrats shine: Warren takes on Wall Street, Bernie keeps pressing for Medicare for All

47 min 1 sec ago

There are 20+ Democratic presidential candidates right now, and one of them will be our nominee. That means that even some of the more prominent candidates will be saying or doing great things that are slipping through the cracks of traditional media and social media. It means that almost everything the lesser-known candidates are doing will fall through cracks that are more like chasms.

Good stuff from Democrats deserves attention. Add to that the fact that we don’t all like every single one of the candidates, but that when the time comes, we’ll have to set that aside and get behind the nominee as our way to beat Donald Trump and start the long, hard task of fixing our country. And that’s where this roundup comes in. I’ll be looking for a strong moment from as many candidates as possible each week, be it a policy, a quote, a tweet, an action.

So without further ado …

Elizabeth Warren has a plan to put the brakes on the abuses of private equity firms, one that, Mark Sumner writes, “would stop the vultures from picking over the bones of a company in temporary trouble and promote investment by those who want to save the company rather than destroy it.”

Jay Inslee talked about racial disparities and environmental justice in an interview with Daily Kos.

Julián Castro addressed police accountability in an interview with Daily Kos.

Kirsten Gillibrand released a plan for helping America’s seniors age with dignity.

Kamala Harris rolled out two important policies on the same day, a National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and a plan to lower drug prices.

Cory Booker proposed criminal justice reform to allow older inmates and inmates who had already served at least 10 years to petition for early release.

Amy Klobuchar pledged to prioritize nominating and confirming federal judges.

Pete Buttigieg spoke to the Young Democrats of America, saying, among other things, that “We have to reject the kind of racism and demagoguery that tells a U.S. citizen to go back where she came from. Everybody knows damn well where she came from is Minnesota.”

Bernie Sanders kept making the case for Medicare for All.

Beto O'Rourke offered a plan to strengthen Social Security for people who leave the paid workforce to care for a family member.

Joe Biden called out how Donald Trump “continues to spew hateful rhetoric, sow division, and stoke racial tensions for his own political gain.”

Andrew Yang answered 20 questions for NowThis, covering his signature universal basic income plan but touching on opioid policy and other issues as well.

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: Merkel honors would-be assassins of Hitler; study—health supplements useless

1 hour 47 min ago

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:

  • The alt-right has a plan to win 2020, and it involves YOU—so listen up, by Chris Reeves
  • #CowardTrump can't disavow racist 'send her back' chant a day later. When it counted he said nothing, by Ian Reifowitz
  • Ignore conservatives' advice on how to pick the Democratic nominee, by Sher Watts Spooner
  • It took a lot more than a small step to land on the moon, by Mark E Andersen
  • We must stop Trump from winning with the race card. It starts with the traditional media, by Egberto Willies
  • 'Mapping Resistance': Activism past and present and the New York Young Lords, by Denise Oliver Velez
  • Why you can't be nice to neo-Nazis or their enablers in the GOP, by Frank Vyan Walton
  • How the press rewards GOP cowardice in the age of Trump, by Eric Boehlert

Jakarta is drowning: As sea levels rise, and water is pumped out of underground aquifers at an unsustainable rate, the coastal capital of Indonesia with its 10 million people has been sinking. In some places, the rate is a nearly a foot a year. One researcher estimates that 95 per­cent of north Jakarta could be underwater by 2050. This ongoing disaster is made worse by the fact that so few people have insurance. As is the case elsewhere in the world, the poorest people in Jakarta tend to live in the most flood-prone areas of the megapolis, and they are least able to afford insurance. Then, too, many of the Muslims who make up the vast majority of the population view most insurance as counter to their faith. A few companies will write sharia-compliant policies. But that doesn’t help poor people who have a tough time making enough money to put food on the table, and see insurance as a luxury.

Some investigators say fraud eats up 10% of all money spent on health care in the U.S.: But we don’t know for sure because nobody tracks all the scams and schemes.

MIDDAY TWEET

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On the 75th anniversary of an attempt to assassinate Hitler, German Chancellor Angela Merkel praises those who sought to take him out: "Following their conscience, they proved themselves to be true patriots," Merkel said at a military ceremony in Berlin. "They urge us to be vigilant and to confront racism and nationalism in all its facets." Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a war hero, and other senior officers planned to kill Hitler with a bomb in his "Wolf's Lair" headquarters in what today is Poland. The plan was to kill Hitler, neutralize the SS, take over the government and seek peace with the Western alliance, with the hope of preventing what they saw as the coming destruction of Germany. But the bomb failed to kill Hitler and the conspirators were soon tracked down, arrested, and executed. Following her speech, Merkel laid a wreath at the site where Stauffenberg and other plotters were shot by firing squads.

Study shows that most health supplements don’t do what is claimed for them: 

In a massive new analysis of findings from 277 clinical trials using 24 different interventions, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have found that almost all vitamin, mineral and other nutrient supplements or diets cannot be linked to longer life or protection from heart disease.

Although they found that most of the supplements or diets were not associated with any harm, the analysis showed possible health benefits only from a low-salt diet, omega-3 fatty acid supplements and possibly folic acid supplements for some people. Researchers also found that supplements combining calcium and vitamin D may in fact be linked to a slightly increased stroke risk.

Two years after the city promised to issue “cannabis social equity” licenses, none has been granted: The program was “designed to give the people and places most affected by the misbegotten war on drugs a piece of the potentially lucrative cannabis business,” reports Robin Abcarian. But so far no licenses have been issued even as fancy operations in chic neighborhoods have long since opened. Meanwhile, people of color in struggling neighborhoods are spending thousands of dollars in rent each month to hang onto empty spaces they had planned would be filled with customers long ago. Cat Packer, the city’s cannabis czar, says the delay has occurred for three big reasons: the city was focused on licensing the 180 dispensaries already in existence; many of those applying for licenses need to be trained on how to run a business successfully, something the city allocated $3 million to achieve; and investors to provide the capital for these would-be dispensaries has proved tough. With the July 29 deadline looming, about 700 people have applied for the social equity licenses so far. Only 100 will receive licenses during this phase of the program.

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Categories: Politics

7 in 10 Republicans say Trump's comments make them feel 'excited' or 'proud,' Pew survey reports

2 hours 37 min ago

More than eight in ten adults in the United States feel that the nature and tone of political debate has grown more negative in the last few years, as reported by the Pew Research Center. While these initial survey results aren’t too shocking, they’re still important to investigate. After all, with Donald Trump in the White House, we have to consider as seriously as ever whether or not hate speech and chants to “send her back” or “lock her up” may lead to actual violence. We also have to consider why, exactly, so much of what Trump churns out actually does resonate with people.

According to this survey of adults in the U.S., which was conducted between April 29 and May 13 of this year, about three-quarters of the same polled group say that political debate has become less fact-based. 60% feel that it’s become less focused on actual issues. 

Interestingly, people have some strong feelings on what elected officials should and shouldn’t be able to fling around. Trump, specifically, comes up in the questions. Almost three-quarters of Americans believe that politicians should avoid using language that could “encourage violence,” though more Democrats (83%) than Republicans (61%) feel this way.

Almost one-quarter of respondents believe that Trump has changed political discourse for the better, while 55% feel he’s changed it for the worse. Nearly half of Republicans feel he’s changed it for the better, while 84% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents feel the opposite. 

Categories: Politics

By 2050, Boston will be like Atlanta, Portland like San Antonia, and 22% of Earth … somewhere else

4 hours 51 min ago

When scientists talk about the impact of climate change, it’s often expressed in terms of degrees. But whether the number is 2° or 4 °, it seems rather abstract. And not that bad … after all, who wouldn’t like to have a couple of degrees on a shivery winter night? But those numbers are averages. It doesn’t mean that the temperatures slide up 2° everywhere all the time. The numbers also tend to be expressed in Centigrade so … for U.S. folks, that’s 3.6 to 7.2 degrees F.

To make things easier to understand, a recent article in the journal PLOS One looked at the existing climate in cities around the world, and compared that to what they can expect by 2050—barely thirty years away. The study restricts itself to looking at a set of large cities, and focuses primarily on what they will experience in their warmest months. The authors then looked through their database to see what city in 2019 best represents what another city will be like in 2050. For example, 2050 Baltimore can expect a climate most like 2019 Atlanta.

That study shows something of how uneven the heating is expected to be. Tokyo gets off easy, with a rise of almost exactly 2° (3.6°F) in its warmest month, while London jumps an astounding 5.9° (10.6°F). Even with London’s expected much hotter summers, both those cities fall in the “current climate regime.” That is, while 2050 London will have a climate more similar to Madrid than anywhere in the U.K., it at least has a climate that is similar to somewhere in the study. That’s not true for every city.

Within 30 years, 22% of the major cities in the study will “disappear from this current climatic domain.” In just 30 years, one city in five will find themselves “in a climatic regime that does currently exist on the planet today.” As might be expected, that’s especially true of the tropics, where 30% of cities will experience “novel climate conditions.” Meaning simply that they will be hotter, and in some cases drier or wetter, than any city in the current study.

But the tropics aren’t alone in making this trip to a whole new world. Other areas of the planet are going to see changes that are just as extreme. Including the Eastern United States.

Categories: Politics

Gas station clerk fired after threatening Latinx customers with ICE: 'Go back to their country'

5 hours 31 min ago

What happens when you tell people they “need to go back to their country” and threaten them by saying, “ICE will come”? Sometimes, you get fired. This is the case for a gas station clerk who, at the time, worked at a Naperville “Bucky’s” gas station outside of Chicago, Illinois. As a now-viral video relays, the clerk tells Latinx customers (including a U.S. citizen, though it’s abhorrent either way) to go back to their own country.

On Tuesday, the video went viral. On Wednesday, people protested. As of Thursday, the company has fired him.

“Thank god. I am so happy," Nicte Buitron, who was at the gas station with family when the incident occurred, told the Chicago Tribune. “What he said to my family was wrong.”

“(The clerk) lost his temper,” Steve Kalhorn, general counsel of Buchanan Energy, which owns the location, said to the Chicago Tribune. “He should have handled things differently.” If by “differently,” he means not spewing racist hate, that would seem to be the case.

Kalhorn noted that he pulled surveillance audio and video from the store after receiving tons of calls about the video circulating social media. From there, the clerk was suspended during an internal investigation. Within days, he was fired. 

Categories: Politics

If you can judge by in-state fundraising, Susan Collins is in big trouble

6 hours 47 min ago

The bad news for Sen. Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, just doesn't stop. First she learns that she's the second least popular senator, after Mitch McConnell, and now she's getting a glimpse into how unpopular she is in Maine.

The Democratic primary to determine her challenger is months away, but the fundraising for the establishment-backed candidate is very strong, particularly at home in Maine. In just the first two weeks of her campaign, Sara Gideon out-raised Collins' total for the whole of the year from in-state donors, HuffPost reports.

Gideon, the state House speaker, formally announced on June 24, and raised almost $1.1 million in the final ten days of the quarter, the end of June. About $453,000 of that—43% of it—was in $200 or less donations. The FEC doesn't require that donors at that level be identified, so it's not clear how many of those are Mainers. But 44% of the remaining $600,500 came from in-state. Collins, on the other hand, raised $2 million in the last quarter, but just 1.3% of it, about $26,000, was from small-dollar donors. That's bad. This is worse: 95% of her total haul came from out-of-state. Less than $100,000 was given from people in Maine.

So in a week and a half, Gideon received more than double the amount of in-state donations than Collins was able to raise in-state in six months. Ouch. Oh, and this: "Roughly $490,000 of Collins' second-quarter contributions came from political action committees, compared to the $5,000 reported by Gideon's campaign."  

Of course Collins is taking PAC and out-of-state big money and of course she's going to get it. Republicans are going to protect one of their own, and she's definitely that. But there's also all those millions in funds being held for the eventual Democratic nominee that Collins is having to worry about. Just as she should.

Let's keep her worried by building that fund. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these crucial Senate races, but especially the one in Maine!

Categories: Politics

Huge area of the United States broils on what could be the hottest weekend in U.S. history

7 hours 59 min ago

The heat wave that has baked more than half the country over much of this week hits its peak in many areas this weekend with blazing heat, stifling humidity, and a combined heat index that’s not just a recipe for misery, but a serious health threat. Though only a handful of locations are expected to break their all time temperature records, the extent of this heatwave could still make for the hottest weekend ever recorded.

Heat emergencies have been declared in over a dozen cities and scheduled events in many areas, including the New York Triathlon, have been cancelled because of the heat this weekend. However, many Americans are still working in positions that require them to be out in the sun. That includes utility workers trying to deal with an electrical grid straining under near record demand. If you have to be in the heat this weekend, watch yourself — and others around you — for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The National Weather Service has noted that this heat wave has been particularly prolonged and is especially dangerous because temperatures have also been well above normal overnight. High nighttime temperatures are regarded as a indicator of high risk to public health. So … watch it.

Warmer nighttime temperatures are one of the features predicted by many climate change models, and as the climate crisis becomes evermore present day to day, those predictions are proving themselves correct. Hot temperatures overnight this week are greatly increasing both electrical use and the health threat. Some areas can expect relief from the heat as soon as Sunday evening. For others, the heat will continue into next week with a break in the heat wave not expected before Tuesday or Wednesday.

This shot of heat across the United States follows just a month after Europe reached all-time-record heat. Earlier this year, Australia was blasted by a heat wave that saw all time records fall, along with temperatures so great that wildlife died in huge numbers.

And remember … two-thirds of summer is still ahead.

Categories: Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: When racism is the point, we get Charlottesville 2.0

9 hours 17 min ago

Ron Brownstein/Atlantic:

Trump’s Base Isn’t Enough

The president needs the voters who approve of his record on the economy but disapprove of him overall. His racist attacks this week only hurt that cause.

That choice may reflect the convergence of inclination and calculation. Trump’s instinct is to center his politics on cultural and racial conflicts that pit Americans uneasy about the nation’s changing identity against those who welcome or accept it. But Trump also faces clear evidence that he may be unable to build a winning coalition with just the voters satisfied with his performance in office. That’s evident even with an economy that’s booming, at least according to measures like the low unemployment rate and the soaring stock market.

That choice may reflect the convergence of inclination and calculation. Trump’s instinct is to center his politics on cultural and racial conflicts that pit Americans uneasy about the nation’s changing identity against those who welcome or accept it. But Trump also faces clear evidence that he may be unable to build a winning coalition with just the voters satisfied with his performance in office. That’s evident even with an economy that’s booming, at least according to measures like the low unemployment rate and the soaring stock market.

The latest such evidence comes in a new study released today by Navigator Research, a consortium of Democratic research and advocacy groups. The report, provided exclusively to The Atlantic, examines a group that many analysts in both parties believe could prove to be the key bloc of 2020 swing voters: Americans who say they approve of Trump’s management of the economy, but still disapprove of his overall performance as president. And it shows Trump facing significant headwinds among that potentially critical group, partly because of the divisive language and behavior he’s taken to new heights, or lows, since last weekend—tweeting about the congresswomen and encouraging his supporters to attack them as well.

That tile ought to be a bumper sticker. Trump needs more than his base. That is a political fact. And there is a sliver that’s persuadable. [But you know that because I’ve told you.]

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Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls. Serwer: 'What Americans do now will define us forever'

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 23:00

Adam Serwer at The Atlantic writes—What Americans Do Now Will Define Us ForeverIf multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere:

The conservative intelligentsia flocked to the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., this week for the National Conservatism Conference, an opportunity for people who may never have punched a time clock to declare their eternal enmity toward elites and to attempt to offer contemporary conservative nationalism the intellectual framework that has so far proved elusive.

Ghost_Owl_2.jpg

Yoram Hazony, the Israeli scholar who organized the conference, explicitly rejected white nationalism, barring several well-known adherents from attending, my colleague Emma Green reported. But despite Hazony’s efforts, the insistence that “nationalism” is, at its core, about defending borders, eschewing military interventions, and promoting a shared American identity did not prevent attendees from explicitly declaring that American laws should favor white immigrants.

Some other attendees, such as National Review’s Rich Lowry, took pains to distance themselves from the president’s brand of nationalism. “We have to push back against Donald Trump when he does things to increase that breach between the right and African Americans,” Lowry said. But in the fall of 2017, when Trump attempted to silence black athletes protesting police brutality, Lowry praised his “gut-level political savvy,” writing, “This kind of thing is why he’s president.”

The conference stood solidly within the conservative intellectual tradition, as a retroactive attempt by the right-wing intelligentsia to provide cover for what the great mass of Republican voters actually want. Barry Goldwater did not break the Solid South in 1964 because the once Democratic voters of the Jim Crow states had suddenly become principled small-government libertarians; voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016 did not do so because they believed a nonracial civic nationalism had been eroded by liberal cosmopolitanism.

The consensus that American civic nationalism recognizes all citizens regardless of race, creed, color, or religion was already fragile before Trump took office. That principle has been lauded, with varying degrees of sincerity, by presidents from both parties, and in particular by the first black president, who reveled in reminding audiences that “in no other country in the world is my story even possible.” The nationalism that conservatives say they wish to build in fact already existed, but it was championed by a president whose persona was so deformed by right-wing caricature that they could not perceive it. Instead, they embraced the nationalism that emerged as a backlash to his very existence and all it represented. [...]

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TWEET OF THE DAY

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2007Huzzah for Harry Reid:

The Brown Derby closed several years ago, but if I could lay my hands on that house-sized hat, I'd give it a tip for Harry Reid.

Let me start with the confessions.  First, I have not always held tight to my pom-poms.  More than once in the last six months, I've said some... not all that supportive things about Senator Reid and his ability to move things through the "collegial" axle grease of the Senate. A big part of this was frustration at seeing all that "first hundred hours" legislation come rocketing through the House, only to enter a Senatorial time warp. A bigger part of that was the failure to keep popping that same vetoed Iraq bill back onto Bush's desk until either sweet reason prevailed or Bush's fingers got too tired to scrawl his 'X.' The biggest reason of all was a deep personal need to see Mitch McConnell face down in the mud while Senator Reid does a Riverdance clog on his back (Oh, and Bill O? That there is one of them met-a-phors).

Forget that. My past criticisms arguably makes me little more than a fair weather friend, but I see a lot of blue skies today, and I see one tough senator standing out in the sunshine. I'm damned impressed with Senator Reid.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: SDNY unseals Cohen search warrant documents, and we find Trump all over the hush money deals. (Duh.) There’s an alternate theory about that, by the way. Hey, what is it with right-wing pedophilia projection? Will Epstein take even more big names under?

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Categories: Politics

What kind of idiot believes we didn't land on the moon?

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 22:30

There are some people in this country who just try to undermine everything good about our society, and they are the fundamental reason we can’t have nice things. This group is usually made up of many people called Republicans, but in truth it goes much deeper than that. As much as people can get into “America: Love it or leave it” exceptionalism, listening to shitty Lee Greenwood music while drinking Michelob from a Stars and Stripes beer koozie, there is a separate category of assholes who feel the need to question and doubt every aspect of information for … reasons.

Skepticism and critical thought are good things. They’re necessary in a world with businesses and conmen that’ll rob people blind if given the chance. But when the reasons for doubting the obvious become ideological, whether politically, religiously, or dogmatically, things go off the rails into cuckoo crazy town.

The Apollo program is considered by many to be one of the greatest accomplishments in human history, and a mark of greatness for the United States as a country, as proof of what people can achieve through science and government (i.e., don’t let conservatives know it was done through socialism). However, it is a popular myth that the moon missions were overwhelmingly popular and had broad support from the public. Even during the 1960s, a majority of Americans did not believe the Apollo program was worth the cost, with the exception of polling done in 1969 around the time of the moon landing. In 1979, 10 years after the landing in the Sea of Tranquility, only 47% of the public felt it had been worth it. When it comes to government funding for the space program, there is a weird coalition of liberals who feel every dollar spent to get “Whitey on the Moon” is a dollar not being used for social programs and conservatives who think of it as money that needs to be sent back to the 1% as tax cuts.

But beyond just opposition, there is a sort of person who takes a look at the image above and just wants to shit on it to feel special. It’s the sort of person who watches two airplanes loaded with jet fuel crash into buildings, then sees those buildings burn for hours and crumble on live television, and then thinks, “The sheeple will probably think that’s the way it actually happened.” Or the kind of guy who hates the first black president so much, his fat ass accuses him of not being a “real” American. Or a TV network that hates Democrats so much, it tortures a murder victim’s family with a (Russian-induced) conspiracy theory to get views and clicks from the trash in its audience.

So I thought it might be interesting to look at the dumbest conspiracy theories, and what drives people to think, for example, that we never put men on the moon. Millions of people, with their own eyes, watched NASA launch rockets toward the moon. We have pictures and video documenting the journeys. The astronauts even brought back moon rocks. And yet there are still idiots who think the whole thing was directed by Stanley Kubrick on a soundstage in Nevada.

Categories: Politics

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and resistance FRIDAY!

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 19:30

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Late Night Snark: Racist-in-Chief Edition

"Trump has spent the week reeling off a series of unhinged tweets and tirades defending his racist attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color, in which he told them to 'go back and help fix the totally-broken and crime-infested places from which they came.' Of course, they're Americans—three of them were born here and the fourth is a refugee and naturalized citizen. So, [Trump], if their country is broken and crime-infested, that's on you."

---Seth Meyers

HobbyLobbyTrumpSucks.jpg And ye shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

"This morning he wrote, 'Those tweets were not racist. I don’t have a racist bone in my body.' Here's the thing. We're not worried about your bones being racist, we're worried about your brain and your mouth being racist. "

---Jimmy Kimmel

"If Trump strikes you as a little racist, you do not know the meaning of the word little."

---Stephen Colbert

"Our government now describes asylum not as an internationally recognized right, but as a 'discretionary benefit,' which is bullshit. A 'discretionary benefit' is free make-up samples at Sephora."

---Samantha Bee

And 10 years ago this week:

"To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, the astronauts from Apollo 11 visited the White House. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were allowed to set foot inside the White House while Michael Collins was forced to drive around in circles outside."

—Conan O'Brien

C’mon down and splash. The kiddie pool’s filled with Tang and tonight we’re bobbing for chunks of freeze-dried ice cream. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Categories: Politics

Cartoon: Interview with a racist bone

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 17:50

Deplatforming works, but not for ratings apparently.

Categories: Politics

Voting Rights Roundup: Trump caved on census, but redistricting fight looms over citizenship data

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 17:09
Leading Off

2020 Census: In a major victory for democracy and the rule of law last week, Donald Trump capitulated and agreed that there will be no citizenship question on the 2020 census, and a federal court permanently blocked him from adding one. Instead, Trump directed the Census Bureau to match existing administrative records with future census responses to determine citizenship status, something the Bureau had already planned on doing.​

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​However, Trump issued an executive order directing officials to produce suitable data for redistricting so that states that want to can draw new district lines based on the number of adult citizens instead of the total population, as has long been standard practice. Trump's directive lays bare the fact that the pretextual justification his administration had repeatedly told the courts—that the citizenship question was needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act—was an outright lie.

Relatedly, House Democrats voted on Wednesday to hold Commerce Secretary WIlbur Ross and Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for their efforts to stonewall congressional oversight by refusing to turn over documents related to their attempt to add the question to the census—documents that likely would have revealed the GOP's real motives.

Trump's executive order also confirms what the recently disclosed files of deceased GOP redistricting consultant Thomas Hofeller also revealed: Their real reason for wanting citizenship data was to allow Republicans to abandon traditional redistricting practices and instead rely only on adult citizens. As Hofeller's archives made explicit, this effort was born out of a plan to deprive Democrats and Latinos of their rightful levels of representation.

The battle over citizenship data is still far from over, but opponents of Trump's efforts to weaponize the census still won a critical victory, thanks in no small part to the administration's own incompetence. Without the question on the census itself, immigrants should have less reason to be intimidated about truthfully answering the census, which could help mitigate the climate of fear Trump deliberately created by pushing to add his question in the first place.

Furthermore, there's now also a chance to stop the Census Bureau from releasing citizenship data suitable for redistricting, and Democratic presidential candidates swiftly vowed to do just that. In addition, further litigation seeking to stop the release of the data or block its use over potential inaccuracies seems all but certain.

Categories: Politics

Hate group founder John Tanton is dead but his anti-immigrant policies live on in the Trump admin

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 16:44

White nationalist John Tanton is dead, but the hateful organizations he founded live on like racist zombies. Once called the “most influential unknown man in America,” immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice notes, Tanton, an ophthalmologist by training and a racist by heart, founded the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, two anti-immigrant hate groups whose ideology, through the Trump administration, has now become official immigration policy.

“Trump action items like ending DACA and curtailing both legal and undocumented immigration have been on FAIR and CIS’ wish list for years,” America’s Voice continued, and while Tanton’s reach into the White House was new, his festering in the background was not. Tanton’s groups championed then-Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s successful effort to derail a comprehensive immigration reform package in 2007, with another Tanton group, NumbersUSA, awarding him a “Defender of the Rule of Law” award. 

Staffers from Tanton’s groups have frequently been invited by anti-immigrant members of Congress to testify at their hearings, because “Center for Immigration Studies” sounds pretty innocuous, right? Except CIS has distributed writings from anti-Semites and Holocaust-deniers, one of whom called Jewish people “truly subversive,” “manipulative,” and “evil.” Tanton himself said that “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,” immigration historian Carly Goodman writes. 

Media has been complicit in spreading Tanton’s messages, because even through today, immigration reports commonly quote officials from CIS and FAIR as if they offer a legitimate stance on policy, in large part because they don’t throw around outright racist slurs like Trump, and their “neutral names” really do fool many. “This has allowed these groups to shift the terms of the debate far to the right,” Goodman also said. “Without proper context, readers and viewers don’t understand how outside the mainstream these groups’ views really are.”

Outside of the mainstream indeed, but it’s now the wretched stance of the federal government. Ron Vitiello, who served as Trump’s acting Customs and Border Protection acting deputy commissioner, Border Patrol chief, and acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, attended a FAIR event in his official capacity, while L. Francis Cissna, ousted from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for not being fringy enough, attended a CIS event in his official capacity.

Tanton is dead, but as immigration reported Tina Vasquez tweeted, “his legacy lives on. So much of what the Tanton groups advocated for has come to fruition under Trump, and many leaders of anti-immigrant hate groups now hold positions in federal immigration agencies.” With Stephen Miller there, they’ll continue to have an open ear in the White House. Remember the next election isn’t just about defeating one man, it’s also about pulling the rot out by the root.

Categories: Politics

EPA refuses to ban pesticide proven to cause brain damage in children

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 16:35

A court ruling requiring that the EPA make a decision on banning pesticides that cause brain damage in children ended this week in the worst possible way, as EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler overrode the recommendation of the—now gutted—EPA scientific advisory board and announced that the EPA will not move to ban chlorpyrifos. The decision represents a big win for the chemical industry, and a major demonstration of how, in the Trump White House, lobbyists beat scientists every time.

As The New York Times reports, this action follows the agency’s recent refusal to ban asbestos, despite the recommendation of the agency’s experts, and despite knowing that the fibrous mineral is the leading cause of mesothelioma. That action led to multiple, still-ongoing lawsuits in an attempt to force the EPA to act. 

But the chlorpyrifos decision on Thursday was actually the end result of a series of lawsuits that were kicked off in 2017. The Obama administration had announced a ban on chlorpyrifos in 2015 after initial reports showed that it causes brain damage in children. But the ban had not gone into effect when Trump took office. Scott Pruitt immediately reversed the announcement when he took control of the EPA in 2017 and decided the agency would simply … not decide. It would allow the pesticides to stay on the market by simply not making a decision.

That generated a series of lawsuits, which eventually resulted in a ruling that the EPA had to make a decision on the child-threatening pesticide. And then, after stretching it out to the last moment, Wheeler did decide—to allow the pesticide to remain on the market. Taken together, the pesticide and asbestos nonactions show that, under Donald Trump and coal lobbyist Wheeler, even the most blatantly obvious cases of public harm aren’t enough to generate any restrictions that might cause some industry to lose a dollar.

And the means by which Wheeler made his “decision” show that, from the very beginning, officials under Trump have planted the seeds to destroy any effective regulation and provide free rein to every industry. Or, at least, to every industry that can pay for it.

Categories: Politics

Susan Collins is going to be very disappointed about this

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 15:50

Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, told 60 Minutes that a grassroots funding drive for her eventual Democratic opponent was "classic quid pro quo" and bribery. "I think that if our politics has come to the point where people are trying to buy votes and buy positions, then we are in a very sad place."

That same Susan Collins just uploaded a bunch of stock videos for those "unaffiliated" Super PACs to use for ads that are totally not coordinated with her campaign but are totally in support of her campaign. So, yes, the woman who freaked out over Ady Barkan's CrowdPAC trying to buy the election and the flood of out of state money is ... inviting PACs to flood the state with out of state money to buy the election.

So American Bridge PAC (our side) accepted the invitation. The result is fabulous.

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Let's make sure she stays disappointed. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these crucial Senate races, but especially the one in Maine!

Categories: Politics

Merkel, Trudeau condemn Trump's racist attacks on members of Congress

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 15:37

Donald Trump’s racist tirades against four elected Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives and his ongoing nativist appeals to his base of supporters are not meeting resistance from members of the Republican Party. People who are not Republicans, however, are condemning the vile rhetoric spewing from the Oval Office and at Trump campaign rallies.

In addition to Democrats, including those running to replace Trump in 2020, condemnation of Trump’s racist spewing has come from leaders of countries that are nominally still U.S. allies, despite all the administration continues to do to encourage them to give up on us.

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, was asked about Trump’s attacks on Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, whom he suggested should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Merkel did not hesitate in her answer. “Yes. Yes. I distance myself from this decidedly and feel solidarity with the women who were attacked," she said at a press conference in Berlin, according to her translated remarks. She also said, “People of very different nationalities have contributed to the strength of the American people, so these are ... comments that very much run counter to this firm impression that I have. This is something that contradicts the strength of America.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed the unacceptability of the comments, saying, “I think the comments made were hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable. I want everyone in Canada to know these comments are completely unacceptable and should not be allowed or encouraged in Canada.”

Categories: Politics

A Game of Tankers: Multiple ships seized as situation in Middle East edges toward conflict

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 15:09

The BBC is reporting that forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have followed through on threats to seize a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The Stena Impero has apparently been taken over by the Iranian forces, directed away from its destination in Saudi Arabia, and is currently bound for Iran with 23 crew still aboard.

This follows an incident on July 4 in which British Marines boarded and detained a tanker near Gibraltar after suspecting it of breaching EU sanctions by carrying Iranian oil to Syria. That ship, the Grace 1, is still being held under U.K. control. 

Since the capture of the Grace 1, Iranian forces have tried, and failed, to board another U.K. tanker. But the Stena Impero was taken in international waters on Friday, apparently by parties aboard small speedboats. 

It also appears that Iran has captured the Panamanian-flagged tanker Riah, after initially claiming the ship was halted in their waters because of mechanical issues.

This situation is developing rapidly, and comes on the heels of a series of clashes between the U.S. amphibious landing ship Boxer and smaller Iranian craft, that included several close passes from helicopters and ended with the apparent shooting down of an Iranian drone. Tensions in the region remain very high, and the possibility of a military strike on Iran from the U.S., the U.K., or both would appear to be increasing.

Categories: Politics

Huge crowds of supporters welcome Rep. Ilhan Omar home to Minnesota

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 15:07

It’s been a long week for Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar—first, she was told by the president to “go back” to her home country of Somalia rather than criticize his policies, and then she faced chants of “send her back” from the crowd at one of Trump’s rallies.  Still, none of that seemed to dampen her spirits as she returned home to Minnesota on Thursday. A crowd of nearly 100 supporters greeted her with chants of “welcome home, Ilhan” in a touching display of solidarity.

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Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: 29 World Heritage sites added; as coal fades, Wyoming faces economic trouble

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 15:05

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is 'R' is for Racist: 

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What’s coming up on Sunday Kos: 

  • The alt-right has a plan to win 2020, and it involves YOU—so listen up, by Chris Reeves 
  • #CowardTrump can't disavow racist 'send her back' chant a day later. When it counted he said nothing, by Ian Reifowitz 
  • Ignore conservatives' advice on how to pick the Democratic nominee, by Sher Watts Spooner 
  • It took a lot more than a small step to land on the moon, by Mark E Andersen 
  • We must stop Trump from winning with the race card. It starts with the traditional media, by Egberto Willies 
  • 'Mapping Resistance': Activism past and present and the New York Young Lords, by Denise Oliver Velez 
  • Why you can't be nice to neo-Nazis or their enablers in the GOP, by Frank Vyan Walton 
  • How the press rewards GOP cowardice in the age of Trump, by Eric Boehlert

UNESCO inscribes 29 new properties as World Heritage Sites: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adds World Heritage properties based on those that are “unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.” Among the additions this week: the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu City in the Yangtze River Basin on the southeastern coast of China; Bagan, a site on the Ayeyarwady River on the central plain of Myanmar that includes a broad range of Buddhist art and architecture, including temples, stupas, and frescoes dating from the 11th–13th centuries CE; a megalithic jar site in Xiengkhuang in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, featuring 2,100 tubular-shaped stone jars used for funerary rituals in the Iron Age dating from 500 BCE to 500 CE; eight scattered U.S. properties displaying the 20th century architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, including Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wanna know how Elon Musk plans to install a computer in your brain?

MIDDAY TWEET

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 Appalachian fracking operation not going so well financially: Leaders of EQT, the nation’s largest independent producer of natural gas, don’t agree with each other on how to proceed. EQT acquired Rice Energy, a major Appalachian fracker, but Toby and Derek Rice convinced shareholders last week that they, not EQT’s team, can manage the company better. Since 2010, EQT has lost $8 billion, which is pretty good evidence that new leadership was needed. The Rices said they can lower production costs using expensive new technology that so far has been commercially unproven. EQT’s former CEO, Steve Schlotterbeck thinks this approach won’t do what its adherents claim for it. Not too long ago, he called the natural gas fracking industry “an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor.” He said the industry is “self-destructing from the success of the shale gas technologies [...] They continue to believe that volume growth is necessary for them to be successful, although we now have several years of data that demonstrates the opposite.” 

• How A 10-Year-Old-Boy Helped Apollo 11 Return To Earth.

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 would lift pay for 33.5 million workersThat’s a fifth of the entire U.S. workforce. On Thursday, with just three Republicans in favor, and six Democrats opposed, the House of Representatives voted to raise the federal minimum to $15 an hour from the paltry $7.25 set a decade ago. A full-time worker earns a gross annual income of $15,000 at the current rate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who never sees a piece of Democratic legislation he can’t shelve, said there won’t be a Senate vote on the House bill because the higher hourly wage “would kill jobs and depress the economy.” That’s BS, as noted in a number of studies. 

Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal-producing state, faces a tough economic future: As Mark Sumner wrote on Wednesday about a new report, many communities, regions, and entire states are facing big financial troubles as the coal industry continues its nationwide decline. One of those is Wyoming, which, at 580,000 people, is the least populated state. Nearly 40% of U.S. coal is mined in Wyoming, which has been the leading coal-producing state for 33 years. The industry had 5,535 employees as of the end of 2018. from coal extraction, taxes pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue for state and local governments in Wyoming last year:

The diminishing value of coal draws ominous parallels to the subprime mortgage bubble that precipitated the Great Recession of 2008. But the coal free-fall is likely to be even worse than the housing market crash, because houses always retained some value, while coal mines could end up worthless if investors see costs that outstrip potential income, said energy analyst Clark Williams-Derry of the Sightline Institute, a sustainability think tank.

With mines likely to close, Wyoming is entering a new and untested paradigm for coal — reclamation without production. Typically, mines clean up their mess as they go; if they don’t, then the state can shut down operations until they do. But once a company goes broke and the mine shuts down, the only funds for cleanup are reclamation bonds, which critics say are inadequate in Wyoming.[...]

Meanwhile, coal’s collapse is delivering a one-two punch of unemployment and unpaid taxes to Campbell County, where more than one-third of all coal in the U.S. is mined from the Powder River Basin. The Blackjewel bankruptcy put nearly 600 miners out of work, and the county may never get $37 million in taxes owed by the company, which was run by Appalachian coal executive Jeff Hoops. This is partly because of the county’s lenient approach to collecting back taxes.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: SDNY unseals Cohen search warrant documents, and we find Trump all over the hush money deals. (Duh.) There’s an alternate theory about that, by the way. Hey, what is it with right-wing pedophilia projection? Will Epstein take even more big names under? x Embedded Content

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Categories: Politics

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