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Updated: 13 min 28 sec ago

Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump's financial records appeals

23 min 13 sec ago

The Supreme Court will hear Donald Trump's appeals fighting subpoenas from the House and New York prosecutors for his financial records, NBC reports.

Lower courts have ordered the release of the records, but the orders have been on hold. Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance is trying to get a decade's worth of tax returns and financial documents in his investigation into hush money payments made to the two women who claim to have had extra-marital affairs with Trump. The House has issued subpoenas for financial documents from his accountants as well as Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

By accepting the appeals now, the Supreme Court is on track to hear them this session, probably in March. Their decision could come in June.

Categories: Politics

It's the last weekend to get insured with Obamacare, and there are some great deals to be had

1 hour 38 min ago

You have two days—TWO DAYS!—to get signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or to harass your friends and loved ones who need insurance to do it. Take it from this guy: 


Get Covered America has an open enrollment toolkit that can help, providing all the information you need. And, as always, Healthcare.gov is the place to get started.

Categories: Politics

House Democrat starts what should be groundswell, demands McConnell recuse himself from impeachment

2 hours 21 min ago

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat, is demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recuse himself from the Senate's impeachment trial.

She accused McConnell of promising the White House to "sabotage" the trial. "No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused’s defense attorney. The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath," she said in a statement. That's in response to McConnell's admission on Sean Hannity's Fox News show Thursday night that he would act on Trump's behalf. "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with White House counsel," he said. "There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this."

He would be in violation of his oath, as Demings pointed out, referencing Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution which delineates "The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation." That oath, or affirmation, every senator will take says "that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [President Trump], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

Demings should not stand alone. Every Democrat—including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his team—should join her. And they should publicly shame any Republican senator still capable of feeling that emotion who is allowing McConnell to get away with this.

Sign the petition: Mitch McConnell must recuse himself from Trump impeachment trial.

Categories: Politics

Trump's 'big deal with China' isn't big, isn't a deal, and isn't real

3 hours 34 min ago

America’s farmers can now rejoice, praise Donald Trump, and “buy much larger tractors.” Or at least that’s the word that Trump handed down after he inked a preliminary deal with China on Thursday evening. But—shocking as it may seem—there are not many connections between Trump’s claims about this deal and the actual deal in the real world.

As The New York Times reports, this deal is still a long, long way from the kind of victory that Trump has promised for his long-running trade war. It won’t come close to restoring the fortunes of American farmers, who have been suffering a record level of bankruptcies since Trump decided to prove his toughness by blowing up international relations. It also won’t pave over the massive payments Trump has handed out in an effort to minimize the damage. In fact, it will leave behind a $10 billion hole.

The agricultural purchases required in the agreement are both vague and clearly far too small to restore even the conditions that existed before Trump’s actions sent China looking to South America and other regions to replace goods they would have previously purchased from America. In 2019, farm debt topped $416 billion—absolutely swamping the scale of Trump’s “enormous deal,” even when including non-agricultural products. 

Even as bankruptcy is up 24% in a single year, Trump is telling America’s farmers that it’s time to buy “much larger tractors” to generate all the grain required by this deal. Trump says that he expects China to buy $50 billion of U.S. agricultural products. That $50 billion figure is one that Trump has deployed before. It’s just that the date keeps shifting. And shifting. That number is imaginary, but the exploding farm debt and bankruptcies are very real.

The hole between what Trump “expects” and what’s actually in the deal is far larger than any of the gaps Republicans complained about in the impeachment case. As in Trump doesn’t give any timetable for those purchases, or any description of how they will be configured, or any real reason to believe the purchases will happen at all. When will farmers see new purchases from China? “Pretty soon,” says Trump.

That’s not exactly something that cash-starved farmers can take to the bank when asking for that new tractor loan. Though imaginary tractors will probably do for this imaginary deal.

Categories: Politics

Sanders and Warren pledge to skip next debate if the alternative is crossing a picket line

3 hours 48 min ago

The next Democratic presidential debate had its location changed over a labor boycott of the University of California. Now, top contenders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren say they will skip the debate if a labor dispute with the new location, Loyola Marymount University, isn’t settled.



Food service workers at the university have been in contract negotiations with Sodexo, the company that employs them, for over a year. With the negotiations stalled, the workers have held pickets, and a Democratic debate could provide them leverage. It’s a little late in the game for the debate to be moved again, but the university could pressure Sodexo.

At the time of this writing, none of the other candidates who have qualified for the debate have committed to honor a picket line.

Friday, Dec 13, 2019 · 6:54:53 PM +00:00 · Laura Clawson

Andrew Yang is the third candidate to say he won't cross a picket line. That is a surprise.

Categories: Politics

Trump is so anxious to have fresh smears from Rudy, he called him while the plane was on the runway

5 hours 2 min ago

As complete proof that Donald Trump hasn’t been soliciting smears from Ukraine to ratf#ck the 2020 election, Rudy Giuliani has been over in Ukraine … soliciting smears to ratf#ck the 2020 election. And while Trump isn’t apparently happy with the instant whitewashing that Mitch McConnell is offering up in the Senate, there is something that has him very, very excited. So excited that he couldn’t wait even minutes to get the latest installment.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Trump called up Giuliani as soon as his plane hit the ground. As soon as it hit the ground. As in, while it was still taxing down the runway. Trump was literally watching the clock, waiting for that first moment when he could call up his personal attorney and get the latest progress on smearing political opponents with the help of foreign officials. Because this is where we are now.

Giuliani had to make this trip without the assistance of his pals and former guides Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, because they happen to be under indictment in the United States for funneling foreign funds into Republican accounts—including a big, big chunk for Trump. Frequent campaign “bundler” and White House guest Parnas appears to be actually on his way back to jail after hiding a $1 million payment that the Russians slid his way through the ultra-sophisticated method of inserting it into his wife’s bank account.

But lacking his former connections didn’t seem to slow down Giuliani’s efforts. He already had enough connections between ousted pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, and lawmakers who want to see new President Volodymyr Zelensky fail, that he had no trouble coming up with a line of people willing to testify that Joe Biden is evil incarnate. All of which really, really pleases Trump.

Giuliani was equally excited to tell the Journal about his runway conversation with Trump. According to his personal attorney, Trump’s first words were “‘What did you get?’” And Giuliani assured him that he has “More than you can imagine.” Which is a big claim, because Trump’s belief in the “CrowdStrike conspiracy” shows that he can believe a helluva lot.

Categories: Politics

Moscow Mitch gleeful over his wanton destruction of the Senate and the Judiciary

5 hours 30 min ago

Moscow Mitch McConnell didn't just casually toss the Constitution into the trash on Sean Hannity's show Thursday when he promised Donald Trump would be in control of his own impeachment hearing. He gloated over his wanton destruction of federal judiciary, laughing at Hannity for saying that he was shocked President Obama left judicial vacancies.

"I'll tell you why," he answered. "I was in charge of what we did the last two years of the Obama administration." Then he laughed.

He laughed over the fact that he single-handedly refused to let the Senate advise and consent on President Obama's judicial nominees. He's laughing over the fact that he left all those vacancies open for Donald Trump. For Trump. Including a Supreme Court seat.

He's now reached an obscene milestone—50 circuit court judges confirmed. Fifty. These are the judges that will send every anti-abortion, anti-civil rights, anti-environment case from the states up to the Supreme Court. For decades to come, because many of them are very young and these are lifetime appointments. He's reached his goal on the circuits, he told POLITICO, and is moving on. "Whatever's on the calendar, I'm going to make every effort I can to clear them all," McConnell said. "We've already […] finished up the circuits. So I'm going to make my best effort to clear the calendar of district judges by the end of the year."

He has been completely undaunted by the fact that a record number of those judges have been deemed "unqualified" by the American Bar Association. They're now up to seven unqualified judges confirmed, including two just confirmed: the "arrogant, lazy ideologue" Lawrence VanDyke, who cried crocodile tears over his ABA rating, and anti-abortion zealot Sarah Pitlyk, who "has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal [and] has never examined a witness."

Moscow Mitch is infesting the federal judiciary with unqualified, bigoted judges and he's proud of it. He thinks it's funny. And he's doing it for Trump, a bigoted, unqualified president. Because it wasn't enough to destroy the Senate. He has to destroy the judiciary, too.

His wanton destruction of the institution of the Senate must be stopped. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as majority leader.

Categories: Politics

Salvadoran asylum-seeker forced to wait in Mexico under inhumane Trump policy kidnapped, murdered

5 hours 56 min ago

A Salvadoran asylum-seeker who had been forced to wait out his case in Mexico for four months under inhumane and illegal Trump administration policy was kidnapped and murdered last month, The New York Times reports. “Mexican authorities said the man was ‘dismembered’ and they are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.”

Despite a false claim from Homeland Security that Migrant Protection Protocols, or Remain in Mexico, has “successfully provided protections” to returned asylum-seekers, human rights leaders said violence against them has surged, documenting nearly 640 cases to date. Nearly 140 of these instances have involved kidnappings. The administration’s policy has been a boon to thugs and cartels, who’ve stooped to targeting asylum-seekers as they’re being sent to Mexico or trying to return to the U.S. for court dates in order to extort them or relatives. 

The asylum-seeker, whose identify has not been revealed to protect his widow and two children, had found work at a pizzeria when he was targeted, kidnapped, and killed. "They sent us back,” his widow said. “We said Tijuana was really dangerous, there was a lot of crime but they didn't listen to us. They said that they couldn't do anything because those were Trump's orders.” Some public servants have recognized Trump’s orders are illegal, however. 

Doug Stephens, believed to be the first asylum officer to formally refuse to implement Remain in Mexico, said last month that the policy “is violating numerous domestic and international laws by sending people back and causing this harm.” He said he knew he could no longer do his job when “it seemed clear” someone he was interviewing would be harmed if they were returned to Mexico, but he was told by a superior to reject the claim. “I was not really surprised,” he said. “The interviews as they’re structured are clearly designed to make individuals fail and send everyone back without really giving them a fair shot.”

The asylum-seeker’s widow said they were trying to do everything right by doing what they were told to do, but this is a system that’s not set up to implement asylum law: It’s set up to block it, and at horrific human costs. “We didn't cross over illegally, we crossed over the right way, we waited our turn to do things right,” she said. “That's why this is so unfair.” NBC News San Diego reports that only now is the family in San Diego, with their attorney working to have them placed with relatives in San Francisco.

Categories: Politics

Trump wants to give Zelensky that White House meeting, now that it would be a 'perfect' photo-op

6 hours 9 min ago

On Thursday, Republicans made up two whole new excuses for Donald Trump withholding funds from Ukraine, which is handy for Republicans who want to pretend they’re not defending a grave threat to national security without cause. However, Trump himself doesn’t seem to give a damn. While Republicans are defending Trump using claims that he never bothered to make, Trump isn’t interested in defense. Instead, Mr. “Perfect phone call” is out there trying show that he has noting to defend.

One step in that is something that did come up repeatedly in Thursday’s impeachment hearings. Republicans are claiming that since Ukrainian officials stated that they did not feel pressured by Trump, there can be “no crime.” To back that up, The Daily Beast reports that Trump wants to bring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States to not just give him that White House meeting that he’s so far been denied, but to give Zelensky a tour of U.S. liquefied natural gas producers.

The goal is to push back against the idea that holding up a meeting that Zelensky long desired was ever part of the extortion Trump was conducting in Ukraine. Republicans have trotted out a court case in which they claim that a meeting isn’t sufficient to be the subject of a bribery charge, while ignoring the fact that it was a very different kind of meeting in a very different context. But Trump is planning to … trump them, by simply moving the needle to “see, he got that meeting after all,” and, Trump will claim, America even got a trade deal out of it—one sure to create millions, and millions of millions, of jobs. 

That this meeting is happening not just after Trump was caught with his hand in the Ukraine jar but after he’s actually been impeached by the House won’t matter to the claims made by Republicans. After all, they’re already claiming that the release of the military assistance had nothing to do with the fact that Trump had just been definitively, and decisively put on notice.

And as Republicans made absolutely clear in Thursday’s hearing, if you mention that someone is a hostage who is being forced to make a statement they don’t agree with, it’s an insult … to the hostage.

Categories: Politics

House Judiciary Committee passes articles of impeachment against Trump

7 hours 4 min ago

After an overnight break, the House Judiciary Committee returned Friday morning and quickly voted through two articles of impeachment—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—on party-line votes. Both articles passed 23 to 17, with Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu absent due to illness.

This vote sets up a vote in the full House as soon as next week.

Categories: Politics

McConnell: 'No difference between the president's position and our position' on impeachment

7 hours 12 min ago

Moscow Mitch McConnell isn't even going to bother with the pretense of having a real impeachment trial in the Senate. They'll have a trial, but it's going to be the defendant who is running the show. He told Sean Hannity so on Fox News Thursday night, making it very it clear: "Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with White House Counsel. There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this."

That's following a strategy session McConnell had with Trump's White House counsel Pat Cipollone where the two "sketched out a plan […] to coordinate closely for an impeachment trial but haven't reached agreement on a final strategy to defend Trump against charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, according to two sources familiar with the conversation." Because McConnell sees his role as defending Trump against the charges, even though he's one of the jury.

He couldn't be more blatant if he tried. Every move he makes, he told Hannity, will be "in total coordination with the White House counsel."

Here is the oath Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will administer to McConnell and every other senator before the hearing, the oath they will all swear to: "I solemnly swear […] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God." Impartial justice. That's what he's required by the Constitution and will swear to deliver.

Throwing that in the trash isn't enough for McConnell. He had to add a not-so veiled threat to his Republican senators on top of it. "There's no chance the president will be removed from office," McConnell told Hannity. "My hope is there won't be a single Republican who votes for these two articles of impeachment."

His wanton destruction of the institution of the Senate must be stopped. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as majority leader.

Categories: Politics

As Republicans scream about bipartisanship in impeachment debate, think about the Voting Rights Act

7 hours 15 min ago

House Republicans keep insisting that if impeachment is not bipartisan, it’s illegitimate. Let’s talk about that. First, of course, a House Republican did come out for impeachment, months ago. The fact that Freedom Caucus co-founder Justin Amash is no longer a Republican is exhibit one in how tightly Republicans have closed ranks against any criticism of Donald Trump. But there’s another recent House vote that tells us what we need to know about Republicans and bipartisanship: the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

The recent passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the Voting Rights Act protections dismantled by the Supreme Court came on a nearly party-line vote. Just one Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, voted for it.

In 2006, a Republican-controlled House passed the last update to the Voting Rights Act with 192 Republican votes. It went on to pass the Senate unanimously and be signed by then-President George W. Bush. All that Republican support has disappeared, and it’s not because the question of voting rights has changed so much. It’s because of what the Republican Party—already a hard-right party in the W. era—has become.

Something that had broad bipartisan support in 2006 is now a partisan issue. Only Democrats want to protect the voting rights of people of color. Republicans are opposed. Does that Republican opposition mean that voting rights are illegitimate because it’s not bipartisan? So when Republicans point to their own opposition to impeachment to say that impeachment cannot possibly be acceptable in a democracy, consider the question of voting rights. This is the Republican standard these days: furious opposition to anything that might weaken Republican electoral prospects. 

Categories: Politics

Judiciary Committee returns for final vote after Jerry Nadler gives Republicans a midnight surprise

8 hours 53 min ago

Reading the proposed articles of impeachment took less than ten minutes. The nonsense that followed, in which Republicans introduced a series of nonsense amendments and revisions then spent the maximum time dragging out each inevitable rejection, stretched on for over twelve hours. And then, when the all the long day of intentional distractions and repeated lies had left the Republicans hoarse-voiced and looking pummeled … there was a surprise. With midnight looming and the end in sight, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler suddenly gavelled the hearing closed without calling for a final vote on the articles. 

Throughout the day, Republicans had many moments of over-the-top histrionics, with ranking member Doug Collins of Georgia swinging between mocking laughter and storming out of the chamber in his quest to produce the perfect fifteen seconds for Fox News. But what Nadler did when the last possible minutes of objections, points of order, and “I rise for the purpose of striking the last word” had finally been exhausted left the Republicans genuinely roaring and sputtering as the Democrats left the room just short of midnight.

"It is now very late at night," said Nadler. "I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days, and to search their consciences before we cast their final votes.” So Nadler closed the hearing with the announcement that they would take up the vote at 10 AM and “let history be our judge." Then he left, with Republicans who thought they had safely buried the vote in the literal middle of the night sputtering in his wake.

Even with the hearing officially closed, Collins continued shouting his objections and emerged in the hallway to claim that “this is why” people don’t like Congress. Collins also described the action as a “Kangaroo court.” Because Nadler moved the vote to … where it’s more visible and more public. That might not make sense, but then neither did the feeble arguments that Republicans mounted all through Thursday.

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: New 2019 election data shows Mississippi's Jim Crow-era law still harms black voters

9 hours 18 min ago

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

MS-Gov: Last month, Republican Tate Reeves defeated Democrat Jim Hood by a modest 52-47 margin to become the next governor of Mississippi, but thanks to a unique relic of Jim Crow that's still very much alive today, Reeves could have lost the popular vote by double digits yet still won the election.

Campaign Action

How could this be possible?

The state's 1890 constitution, which was officially enacted "to secure to the State of Mississippi 'white supremacy,'" is still in effect today, and among its provisions is an "electoral college" for statewide elections that deliberately penalizes black voters and the Democrats they support.

The provision in question requires candidates for offices such as governor or attorney general to win not only a majority of the vote but also a majority of the state House's 122 districts. If no candidate surpasses both thresholds, the members of the House choose the winner, and there's nothing to stop them from picking the person who lost the popular vote.

Republicans have controlled the state legislature since 2011, and as soon as they took charge, they redrew their own districts to guarantee they'd never lose their grip on power. They did so by making sure a majority of districts would be heavily white, and therefore heavily Republican. As a result, they not only gerrymandered the state House, they gerrymandered every statewide election, too.

Just how big of a penalty does this system impose on Mississippi Democrats, who overwhelmingly rely on the support of black voters? We compiled the results of every contested statewide election in 2019 broken down by state House district to find out. Even though Reeves won the popular vote by just 5 points, that victory translated into a crushing 74-48 win at the district level, meaning he won 61% of the state's "electoral votes." But even that doesn't tell the whole story.

We can also ask ourselves what it would have taken for Hood to have carried a majority of House districts. One way we can answer that question is by ranking every district from most Republican to most Democratic, ranging from Reeves' largest margin of victory to Hood's largest margin, and finding the district in the middle. Reeves won that median district 60-39, 15 points to the right of his 5-point statewide win.

Categories: Politics

Cartoon: Spygate

9 hours 28 min ago

x Vimeo Video

The ongoing effort to prove Republican conspiracy theories is continuing apace. Now, besides just right-wing websites, President Trump and Attorney General Barr are hard at work to convince the world that Obama and his sex-crazed FBI agents “spied” on the president in order to undo the 2016 election.

The uncomfortable fact is that Trump’s own Department of Justice says there was no politically-motivated conspiracy. Sure, some “errors and omissions” were made, but there was reason to start the investigation into the Trump crew’s dealings with Russia. (Note: my support of an investigation into a corrupt president does not mean I endorse a surveillance state.)

Now that Trump’s promised bigger-than-Watergate DOJ inspector general report did not blow the lid off the deep state conspiracy as promised, we’ve got to wait for the next report that will surely exonerate the president, right? In the meantime, Barr will act as Trump’s press agent and maybe another head of the FBI will get fired, who knows? 

In the meantime, enjoy the cartoon and be sure to visit me over on Patreon for some behind-the-scenes goodies!

Categories: Politics

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Impeaching a corrupt president

9 hours 48 min ago

We begin today’s roundup with USA Today’s editorial in favor of impeachment:

In his thuggish effort to trade American arms for foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Trump resembles not so much Clinton as he does Richard Nixon, another corrupt president who tried to cheat his way to reelection.

This isn’t partisan politics as usual. It is precisely the type of misconduct the framers had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton supported a robust presidency but worried about “a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper” coming to power. Impeachment, Hamilton wrote, was a mechanism to protect the nation “from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

Here is Eugene Robinson’s analysis of the evidence so far:

The president’s defenders are correct when they say “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” are not statutory crimes. They are, in fact, worse. The stripped-down impeachment articles against President Trump go to the heart of his blatant misconduct, which poses a direct challenge to the Constitution. I know that sounds grandiose to describe the offenses of such a small man as Trump. But it is true.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

10 hours 18 min ago

So here it is, Friday again. And this time, there’s actually work to be done on Capitol Hill. The Judiciary committe’s “markup” of the impeachment resolution continues, after two full days of… whatever it is they think they’re doing in there. Late last night, the chairman closed up shop, saving the voting for today. Lucky us!

We certainly haven’t wrapped up our business for the week, either. So before we bow out for the weekend, we’ll take a two-hour slice out of chaos. Join us! And bring the kiddies, why don’t ya? It’s a clean show! As one reviewer recently put it, “I listened for two whole hours, and he didn’t say $h*t!”

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

PODCAST LISTENERS: The great RadioPublic “paid listens” program has come to an end. Thank you to all of you who helped support the show that way! It’s still a great way to listen to the show on your Android or iOS phone. And yes, you can still download directly from their site, or listen to the player embedded right here, each day.

Nothing changes on our end. It’s still Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, plus also, me. And you! As always, we still want your voice on the air with us. Sit down with your smart phone or other electronic recording device and send us your stories and commentary to share with the audience. There’s no easier way to try your hand at podcasting, without all the hassle!

Of course there’s no substitute for having your support via Patreon, or one-time contributions via Square Cash. (And hey, if you want a cool trick for donating sorta-kinda cost free, get their cash.me app and use this share code to get $5 in your account (plus $5 in mine) when you send your first $5 (to anyone)!

For now, how about one on the house? Here’s what we did on our last new show:

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Today, Just up the road from KITM World Headquarters, history is being made. Following that, it is lovingly prepared by David Waldman and Greg Dworkin then shipped to you in fun-size two-hour packages: With the impeachment trial coming up in January, Republicans plan to try a tactic they probably wished they thought of long ago: No witnesses. They hope do just enough to say they did, with minimal Lib-triggering, so of course going against the central tenet of Trumpism. Meanwhile, Democrats want what what everybody else wants, they just differ on what that is, exactly. Congress shouldn’t stop with Donald Trump, they should impeach William Barr and everyone else that deserves it, then impeach Trump again. By that time Donald will have earned at least 3 more articles. No, the Trump administration Is not redefining Judaism as a nationality. Maybe they don’t know what they are doing. Maybe they don’t care. The White House rolled out a new reason that they withheld money for Ukraine, because it’s been a while and they needed to roll out a new reason. Can you believe that in Ukraine they study Trump's twitter feed for guidance on what to do next? (Which is like gleaning marriage advice from the neighbor’s dog, but these are desperate times) Well, Lev Parnas picked up a $1 million check from Putin, so… Trump, having nothing better to do recently, tried to score against Greta Thunberg, who “OK, Boomer”ed him into the next timezone. It’s also election day! Unfortunately not yet here, but in Britain, where they have always given us a chance to learn from their mistakes. Former Attorney General Eric Holder feels William Barr is pretty worthless, although he exceeds all criteria established by this present administration. The most Trumpy TV channel attempts the most Trumpy things but not everyone gets away with that. It’s the holiday season! Think of buying the gift of Kagro in the Morning for your loved ones… Who knows, we might get our “The Kagro” cryptocoin start-up off the ground!

Thanks to Scott Anderson for the show summary! Please help me pay him more! Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.
Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls: Income of top 1% has grown 100 times faster than bottom 50% since 1970

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 23:00

Julia Conley at Common Dreams writes—'Staggering' New Data Show Income of Top 1% Has Grown 100 Times Faster Than Bottom 50% Since 1970:

New data released Monday explains the numbers behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ often-cited statistic that the three richest Americans hold more wealth than the 160 million people who make up the bottom 50% of the population.

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent published what he called “stunning” findings from UC Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman, showing how both an explosion in annual earnings by the rich and an increasingly regressive tax structure have combined to allow the top 1% of Americans’ wealth to triple over the past five decades.

Meanwhile, working people are taking home just $8,000 more per year than they did in 1970.

In what Sargent called “the triumph of the rich, which is one of the defining stories of our time,” the richer a household is, the more its take-home wealth has grown in the past 50 years. His data:

For top 1%, average income has risen by $800,000 since 1970.
For top 0.1%, it has risen by $4 million.
For top .01%, it has risen $20 million
Bottom 50%? $8,000 [...]

The top 1% of earners make an average of more than $1 million per year after accounting for taxes they pay, a 50-year increase of more than $800,000—100 times the growth rate of the bottom 50%.

The wealth of the top .1% is five times larger than it was in 1970, while that of the top .01% is seven times larger, at over $24 million in 2018.

inequality, wealth



“Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency. We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations, relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe even nationalize some of them, cut military spending, and recognize our debts to the Global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political process.”
         ~~Naomi Klein, The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (2019) 




At Daily Kos on this date in 2017—Republicans ratcheting up class war from above with attacks on Medicaid, Medicare, food aid and more:

Republicans have spent years cutting holes in the social safety net. Now they’re ready to bring it down entirely and let vulnerable Americans hit the floor with no net to break the fall. The plan for a concerted attack includes an executive order and congressional legislation:

The president is expected to sign the welfare executive order as soon as January, according to multiple administration officials, with an eye toward making changes to health care, food stamps, housing and veterans programs, not just traditional welfare payments. [...]

The exact provisions of the pending bill are unknown, but a conservative group closely aligned with lawmakers said Republicans intend to pass broadly focused legislation.

“They’re thinking about welfare reform in a large, all-encompassing way, not a program way,” said Jason Turner, executive director of the Secretaries’ Innovation Group, a group of conservative officials who run state-level social programs and met with Ways and Means Committee Republicans on the Hill last week.

This is a lifetime dream for Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, and a move Republicans will justify as being needed to reduce the debt that they’re working to increase through their tax plan:

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Somebody scheduled the impeachment markup opposite our show! Greg Dworkin rounds up i-word (and British election) news. Senate Gop leaning toward witness-less "trial." OMB has a new excuse for stiffing Ukraine. One new name in the Ukraine game.

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Categories: Politics

House, Senate negotiators reach spending agreement, 'in principle,' to avert government shutdown

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 16:37

If it can keep Donald Trump out of the way, Congress can avoid a government shutdown on Dec. 21, and possibly even avoid having to do another stopgap spending bill. The chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees have reached an agreement "in principle" on $1.37 trillion in government funding bills.

The agreement came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey, and Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, so whatever they agreed on has his approval, apparently. Both chambers are expected to hold floor votes next week on at least two "minibus" packages, rather than the usual omnibus that includes all 12 necessary spending bills.

Thursday afternoon, the keeper of the House floor schedule, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, said, "It is my hope that we will consider those appropriations bills on the floor on Tuesday; perhaps a series of minibus packages to fund all of government for the remainder of the fiscal year." But that might be getting slightly ahead of things. As of Wednesday, there were still at least 100 open items, and no agreement on border wall spending.

One bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, will definitely be done, with its funding for parental leave for federal workers. It's on the Senate schedule for early next week, and Trump has said he will sign it.

Categories: Politics

Supreme Court's latest abortion move shows need for state level advocacy and legislative champions

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:50

 Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal challenging a 2017 Kentucky law that requires medical providers to perform a narrated “transvaginal ultrasound” on all patients seeking abortion care, and which makes no provision for either patients or providers to opt out. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kentucky’s only abortion care provider, and the Supreme Court’s decision means the law will remain in place. Currently, Kentucky’s forced narrated ultrasound law is the only one of its kind in effect. Similar laws passed in North Carolina and Oklahoma were previously struck down by the courts.

While progressives have often viewed the federal courts, particularly the Supreme Court, as the last best safeguard for the protection of people’s rights, the Court’s newly-cemented conservative majority has sent a message that they will look away as states’ anti-choice legislators continue to chip away at the availability of abortion care. As a result, the work of state-level pro-choice legislators and organizers has taken on increased urgency.

“Now, with the courts stacked against us at even the highest level, we must elect representation that will stand up to these ideological agendas and protect our rights and freedoms,” said Nicole Erwin, communications manager for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

Categories: Politics