Depository of News

Daily Kos

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: I wish the only race we worried about was the space race

Leonard Pitts on telling the truth about the Republican Party. Miami Herald Here’s how The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group. It is, they say, “an organization that — based on its official statements or principles, the statements of it
Daily Kos

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: I wish the only race we worried about was the space race

Leonard Pitts on telling the truth about the Republican Party. Miami Herald Here’s how The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group. It is, they say, “an organization that — based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities — has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” That definition is offered preparatory to an explosive question: Is the Republican Party a hate group? I have my hand up. Pick me. Granted, in its “official statements or principles,” the party doesn’t meet the SPLC standard. Over here. I have an answer. For half a century, then, the GOP has taught white voters racial resentment, taught them to prioritize concerns about white prerogative over concerns about shuttered factories, dirty water, lack of healthcare, foreclosed futures. It did this in code — “Willie Horton,” “tax cuts,” “welfare queen” — which, while obvious to all but the most gullible, still allowed respectable white men and women to maintain fig leaves of deniability. So politicians accepted the votes, but never had to acknowledge the means of their manufacture. White voters gave them the votes, but never had to confront the reasons they did so. Donald Trump is the payoff of that devil’s bargain. His “innovation” has been to shred subtlety and abandon code. With blunt, brutish clarity, he tells four black and brown women to “go back” where they came from, and if you don’t see racism there, you’ll never see it anywhere. As Republicans have whittled down their definition of racism, they’ve whittled away their own morality. Until anything is acceptable, and nothing is indefensible. Not only are Republicans today willing to defend Joe McCarthy as a hero, if confronted by the “have you no decency” question … they’d be genuinely puzzled. Come on. Let’s read pundits.

Saturday night owls open thread: Is the Supreme Court beyond repair?

Dave Denison at The Baffler writes—Judge Dread: Is the Supreme Court beyond repair? THE SUPREME COURT ended its term in June with liberals feeling relieved they avoided total defeat. There was a predictable setback when the court refused to take a stand
Daily Kos

Saturday night owls open thread: Is the Supreme Court beyond repair?

Dave Denison at The Baffler writes—Judge Dread: Is the Supreme Court beyond repair? THE SUPREME COURT ended its term in June with liberals feeling relieved they avoided total defeat. There was a predictable setback when the court refused to take a stand against the extreme partisan gerrymandering that is crucial to the Republican Party’s hold on state and national power. Yet, at least the Trump administration’s blatant attempt to use the census to further the GOP’s political agenda was halted for now, as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote an opinion that more or less said to the administration, “If you’re going to lie to us, you’ve got to do better than this.” Meanwhile, conservatives were fuming because they didn’t achieve total victory. Some on the right, hilariously, were demanding the resignation, or even the impeachment, of Roberts for his little half-step off the Trump train. The chief justice was already under suspicion for a ruling way back in 2012 when he voted with the court’s liberals to uphold the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Now he had the temerity to reject the bogus reason that Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross offered for adding a citizenship inquiry to the 2020 census questionnaire—supposedly to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. As the court’s ruling delicately put it: “Altogether, the evidence tells a story that does not match the Secretary’s explanation for his decision.” Or, somewhat less delicately: Ross’s sole stated reason “seems to have been contrived.” The real reason, of course, had surfaced in May from the hard drive of one Thomas B. Hofeller, deceased. The North Carolina political consultant—who had a hand in redistricting schemes in key states around the country—had concluded that what Republicans needed to skew voting districts even more in their favor was a count not of residents but of voting-age citizens. Putting a citizenship question on the census was the way to get the necessary data. And drawing maps based on the number of voting-age citizens “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites,” he wrote in a 2015 analysis. This strategy was well known in Republican circles but, oddly, was not cited by Wilbur Ross in official pronouncements. Not all conservatives were renouncing Roberts, though. Radio bloviator Hugh Hewitt tweeted his view that the gerrymandering ruling was the more consequential one for the long haul. And he may be right. That ruling, which Justice Elena Kagan noted in her dissent shows the court “throwing up its hands” at a practice that “at its most extreme . . . amounts to ‘rigging elections’” is important for the prospects of the Republicans over the next ten years. The GOP has the full “trifecta” of control (both chambers of the legislature plus the governorship) in twenty-two states; Democrats have only fourteen trifectas. That could change in November of 2020, but the whole point of the district lines that were drawn after the 2010 census was to make legislative turnover as unlikely as possible. The census debacle aside, the Roberts court has been consistently helpful to Republican efforts to distort the election system. Roberts led a 5-4 decision in June of 2013 to strike down a key provision in the Voting Rights Act that affected nine states with a history of discrimination. Within days of that decision, as former Attorney General Eric Holder recently wrote in the Washington Post, “conservative state legislatures unleashed a wave of unnecessary and discriminatory voter ID laws, voting roll purges and poll closures targeting minority and poor communities.” Roberts was also in the 5-4 majority of the Citizens United decision of January, 2010, which ruled that congressional attempts to regulate the influence of Big Money in elections were unconstitutional. Yet the rationale in the court’s Rucho v. Common Cause decision last month was that the obvious problems of partisan gerrymandering “present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” As historian Eric Foner observed in The Nation, The idea that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to get involved in political matters would be laughable if the results of this decision were not so damaging. Was not Baker v. Carr, the one man-one vote decision of the 1960s, political? What about Bush v. Gore (2000), which decided the outcome of a presidential election? The logic of the Roberts court in this instance is to say that certain breakdowns in democratic fairness (which are in Kagan’s words “the devaluation of one citizen’s vote as compared to others,” i.e., a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection clause) can only be corrected by the political process—while the process remains stacked against efforts to correct them. The court declines to find a way to make an available fix to the fundamental workings of the democratic system. All of which raises a related question: Can the political system find a way to fix the Supreme Court? [...] TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “After a duration of a thousand years, the power of astrology broke down when, with Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, the progress of astronomy overthrew the false hypothesis upon which the entire structure rested, namely the geocentric system of the universe. The fact that the earth revolves in space intervened to upset the complicated play of planetary influences, and the silent stars, related to the unfathomable depths of the sky, no longer made their prophetic voices audible to mankind. Celestial mechanics and spectrum analysis finally robbed them of their mysterious prestige.”                ~~Franz Cumont, Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans (1912) TWEET OF THE DAY xJust having fun with that app that shows you what you’ll look like in 40 years pic.twitter.com/HN6GebNBUg— Bram (@brumthefirst) July 18, 2019 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2006—Bush and African Americans: «I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historic ties to the African American community,» Bush said. «For too long my party wrote off the African American vote and many African Americans wrote off the Republican Party.» Republicans didn't «write off» blacks, they used them as a demonizable prop to bring in the Dixiecrat vote into their fold. And who is Bush to talk, given the disaster he ignored in New Orleans? He could rush to DC on a midnight flight to sign the «let's meddle in the Schiavo family's affairs» bill, but couldn't be bothered to cut his six-week vacation short when Katrina hit. Abraham Lincoln would be no more a modern-day Republican than Strom Thurmond or Jesse Helms would be modern-day Democrats. Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.” LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

Daily Kos Elections 2Q 2019 Senate fundraising reports roundup

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from April 1 to June 30, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on July 15 at midnight Eastern Time. Below is our chart of fundraising numbers for every senator seeking re-electio
Daily Kos

Daily Kos Elections 2Q 2019 Senate fundraising reports roundup

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from April 1 to June 30, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on July 15 at midnight Eastern Time. Below is our chart of fundraising numbers for every senator seeking re-election this cycle, as well as every notable challenger. (Click here for our companion chart for the House.) As always, all numbers are in thousands. The chart, and an explanation of each column, can be found below. x Embedded Content x Embedded Content

Nuts & Bolts: Inside a Democratic campaign—The rule of threes

It’s another Saturday, so for those who tune in, welcome to a diary discussing the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic Campaign. If you’ve missed out, you can catch up anytime: Just visit our group or follow Nuts & Bolts Guide. Every week I try to tac
Daily Kos

Nuts & Bolts: Inside a Democratic campaign—The rule of threes

It’s another Saturday, so for those who tune in, welcome to a diary discussing the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic Campaign. If you’ve missed out, you can catch up anytime: Just visit our group or follow Nuts & Bolts Guide. Every week I try to tackle issues I’ve been asked about, and with the help of other campaign workers and notes, we discuss how to improve and build better campaigns. At Netroots Nation last weekend, I had time to participate in some candidate reviews and conversations with media about effective campaigning. Sitting with staff for a campaign and a reporter, we discussed different ways in which candidates can engage voters and work to win elections. At a certain point, I mentioned that one of the most effective strategies for reaching voters I had ever come across came from, well, a Republican. There were a few laughs, and I said: I’ve never seen an easier-to-understand methodology for reaching voters than Bob Dole’s rule of threes. Let me stop you before you say, Hey! Wait! We are trying to elect progressive Democratic candidates! Don’t worry. The rule of threes has nothing at all to do with policies and positions, and is completely adaptable to almost any electoral race, from nonpartisan to one being run by the most progressive Democratic candidate imaginable.  So this week, I’m going to offer you a breakdown of the rule of threes in issue messaging—a strategy that for years has been drilled into the heads of conservative candidates—and why Democratic candidates might see value in adopting the approach.

Alabama GOP Senate hopeful blames 'homosexual activities' for lack of 'good TV shows'

John Merrill, the current Secretary of State of Alabama, recently asserted, among other bizarre and archaic ideas, that people are “too interested in homosexual activities” and that’s why he can’t find any good television. As reported by Yellowhammer
Daily Kos

Alabama GOP Senate hopeful blames 'homosexual activities' for lack of 'good TV shows'

John Merrill, the current Secretary of State of Alabama, recently asserted, among other bizarre and archaic ideas, that people are “too interested in homosexual activities” and that’s why he can’t find any good television. As reported by Yellowhammer News, an Alabama-based publication, Merrill went on to clarify that by good TV, he has shows like The Virginian, Bonanza, and I Love Lucy in mind. “That’s what we’ve allowed to happen,” he said on the loss of golden TV… and the rise of homosexuality? Merrill, by the way, is running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in 2020. Yup: Doug Jones’s seat. He’s actually one of five Republicans looking to oust Jones; the list stands at former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, Representative Bradley Byrne, former university football coach Tommy Tuberville, and lastly, state Representative Arnold Mooney. But back to today’s story. The answer came about because Merrill was participating in a town hall in Dekalb County over the weekend. One audience member asked Merrill about cultural shifts, and how our country’s principles have “eroded.” While a question that’s probably clearly coded for this sort of response, Merrill’s doesn’t shy away from hate.

Trump nominates mini-Scalia as labor secretary, this week in the war on workers

It’s important to uphold the principle that someone who lets a sexual predator—who preys on children, no less—off easy because he’s rich and connected and has good lawyers should not be in charge of a large chunk of the federal government, so Alexand
Daily Kos

Trump nominates mini-Scalia as labor secretary, this week in the war on workers

It’s important to uphold the principle that someone who lets a sexual predator—who preys on children, no less—off easy because he’s rich and connected and has good lawyers should not be in charge of a large chunk of the federal government, so Alexander Acosta had to go. That said, many, many workers will be much worse off as a result of his departure. Acosta was a conservative Republican who could be counted on to put the interests of the wealthy over the interests of workers, but he wasn’t in a big rush and he wasn't ready to burn down the entire system of government to screw workers a little more quickly. Now, Donald Trump has nominated Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court justice, to replace Acosta. Scalia has represented Walmart against corporate whistleblowers. He’s represented Wynn casinos against table game dealers who objected to tip pooling rules that gave some of their tips to managers. The list goes on and on.  Of course we knew Trump was going to nominate someone terrible. And that’s just what he did, because Trump and his entire party are all about putting a boot on the neck of workers.

Spotlight on green news & views: Doomed coal miners; perilous heatwaves; trillion tree solution

This is the 607th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue). Here is the July 6 edition. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it. OUT
Daily Kos

Spotlight on green news & views: Doomed coal miners; perilous heatwaves; trillion tree solution

This is the 607th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue). Here is the July 6 edition. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it. OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES Austin Bailey writes—Old Enemy Puts California Condors at Risk: “The California condor is the largest land bird in North America. These magnificent birds once ranged from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. By the mid-20th century their range had been diminished by human activity to mountainous areas in Southern California. Condors feed on carrion acting as nature’s clean-up crew. This diet makes them susceptible to a variety of contaminants including lead fragments in carcasses, poison bait, and environmental pollutants. In 1987, faced with limited success after over two decades of efforts to preserve the species in the wild, the last 22 wild California condors were captured and a concerted effort was mounted to preserve condors in captivity with the goal of ultimately returning them to the wild. That effort is one of the great success stories in zoological intervention. Today, California condors are back in the wild, fulfilling the goal of establishing two distinct breeding populations – one in California – extending into Mexico (Baja peninsula), with the second along the Utah/Arizona border.  A third breeding population is maintained in captivity as insurance for the species. 2018 statistics offer evidence of the success of the decades long project – from that low of 22 condors in 1987, there are now 312 California condors in the wild, with 176 individuals in captivity.” OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket - Big news! Friendly Seal has a new pup! “July 13, 2019. Salish Sea, Pacific Northwest. You never know what you might see out in nature, maybe nothing in particular on a given excursion, but it’s a 100% certainty you’ll see nothing if you don’t go out and look. A day like this was a vivid reminder for me of that truism. I went out. Stuck at home lately recovering from injury, I talked Mr O into driving me down to the beach where we’d park the car and he could head off on his half hour cardio walk and I could breathe the sea air (to be fair, it doesn’t take much persuasion, he just doesn’t want me to get all wild and crazy leaping around making things worse). I hadn’t planned on walking down the beach very far but Mr O turned around shortly, coming back to let me know there was a seal on the little island right offshore. I hobbled down there and what did I see? Friendly Seal lounging on a low rock! and a pup!! Nursing!!!” ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Cloudy With A Chance of Screwballs: Paper Purporting Clouds Control Climate Carried By Kooks: ”There’s a new paper out with a pretty bold claim, summed up by its title: ‘no experimental evidence for the significant anthropogenic climate change.’ (We’ll leave the questionable grammar aside, as it’s written by two Finnish scientists.) The paper has generated some sensational headlines at the usual places like WUWT, but also at some of the even-more-fringe sites like Infowars, NoTricksZone and ZeroHedge. As always, we must ask ourselves: is this paper credible? (Spoiler alert: no.) First off, is it peer-reviewed? No. [...] Secondly, who’s covering the paper? Are mainstream outlets vetting it with outside experts and deeming it worthy of discussion? Not hardly. For example, it’s up on Infowars, the online home of Alex Jones. (Remember the time Infowars claimed John Kerry shot an energy beam from Antarctica to Hawaii to destroy a hurricane?)”

Trump and his fans and defenders are wallowing in the language of hate crimes

Many observers, with good cause, have decried Donald Trump’s vicious attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar and her fellow progressive congresswomen of color and the frightening chants—“Send her home!”—his fanatical followers in North Carolina started up all o
Daily Kos

Trump and his fans and defenders are wallowing in the language of hate crimes

Many observers, with good cause, have decried Donald Trump’s vicious attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar and her fellow progressive congresswomen of color and the frightening chants—“Send her home!”—his fanatical followers in North Carolina started up all on their own, responding to Trump’s vituperation about Omar, as nakedly racist, not to mention dangerous. Many have remarked on the fascism dripping from every word, and suggested that what we saw Wednesday in Greenville was a new Nuremberg, Trump’s feeble denials notwithstanding. If anyone needed further evidence that Trump is now America’s eliminationist-in-chief, the frenzied crowd delivered it in spades. But listen carefully to the language being used by Trump and his defenders to rationalize their words. It is language with a very familiar ring: The language of community defense and purification, driving from the body politic any foreign—and therefore innately toxic—presence or influence. The language of heroic willingness to sever the Gordian knot and do “what needs to be done” to protect the community, or in this case the nation, or indeed Western civilization itself. It is the language of hate crimes, used by their perpetrators to rationalize their deeds. Even before the chant, it was fascinating to watch Trump’s defenders in the wake of the nakedly eliminationist “go back where they came from” tweets that inspired the chant. There was Sen. Lindsay Graham, justifying the tweets to the hosts on Fox & Friends by suggesting that people like these members of Congress deserve to be ejected from the country: «We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists ... they're anti-Semitic. They're anti-America.» And then there was U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who tweeted on Monday along similar lines: “Montanans are sick and tired of listening to anti-American, anti-Semite, radical Democrats trash our country and our ideals.” (Special hypocrisy note: Daines employed a noted white nationalist named Taylor Rose as a campaign field organizer in Montana in his 2014 Senate campaign.)

Senate committee passes modest election security bill that might make it past Mitch McConnell

Campaign Action The Senate Judiciary Committee, quietly and at the very last moment Wednesday, passed what should be an unnecessary bill by voice vote. The bill would make hacking an election system a federal crime. You would think that was already a law, b
Daily Kos

Senate committee passes modest election security bill that might make it past Mitch McConnell

Campaign Action The Senate Judiciary Committee, quietly and at the very last moment Wednesday, passed what should be an unnecessary bill by voice vote. The bill would make hacking an election system a federal crime. You would think that was already a law, but you'd be wrong. Last year the Justice Department reported that «should hacking of a voting machine occur, the government would not, in many conceivable circumstances, be able to use CFAA [The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act] to prosecute the hackers.» So we need a law. Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the Judiciary Committee, was the chief Republican sponsor of Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal's legislation. «Voting machines are a prime penetrable target, and laws remain woefully outdated. This bipartisan bill provides the Department of Justice with powerful tools to vigorously prosecute and stop malicious hackers,» Blumenthal said Thursday. «Its unanimous passage tells the world that securing our nation's elections and cyber infrastructure is a bipartisan cause.» It's unclear if this will be the one piece of election protection legislation acted upon by the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been the gatekeeper of all that, and has thus far refused to allow it. He even yanked a bill from the Rules Committee last year the same day that it was supposed to be voted on to advance to the floor. Since this one wouldn't actually prevent hacking from occurring in 2020 but would be applicable after the fact, it might pass muster. What McConnell really doesn't want to have happen is anything that could secure our systems before November 3, 2020. He's doing his damnedest to make sure Republicans, including Trump and himself, get all the nefarious help they can.

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

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 sti
Daily Kos

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

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. 

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

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 soci
Daily Kos

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

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.

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

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
Daily Kos

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

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 xLooking back, landing on the moon wasn’t just our job, it was a historic opportunity to prove to the world America’s can-do spirit. I’m proud to serve the country that gave me this historic opportunity. Today belongs to you. We must hold the memory of #Apollo11 close. #Apollo50th— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 20, 2019 • 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. LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

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

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 shive
Daily Kos

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

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.

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

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 sta
Daily Kos

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

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. 

Maine governor expands aid for asylum-seekers, touting benefits to state economy

Maine has been unusually welcoming to asylum-seekers in recent months, but the state is taking a big step forward. Gov. Janet Mills announced that she would be relaxing restrictions on General Assistance eligibility for asylum-seekers, allowing them to appl
Daily Kos

Maine governor expands aid for asylum-seekers, touting benefits to state economy

Maine has been unusually welcoming to asylum-seekers in recent months, but the state is taking a big step forward. Gov. Janet Mills announced that she would be relaxing restrictions on General Assistance eligibility for asylum-seekers, allowing them to apply for aid as long as they are taking “reasonable good faith steps” to apply for asylum, rather than requiring them to have already completed a formal application, as her Republican predecessor Paul LePage required. This is the right thing to do morally, helping families who have been through fear and deprivation and danger and aren’t yet allowed to work legally. But, Mills explained in a Portland Press-Herald op-ed, it’s also going to be good for Maine’s economy. Maine’s population is the oldest in the U.S., Mills writes, and that’s taking a toll, as ”employers from Kittery to Madawaska and Fryeburg to Eastport are telling us they are desperate for workers and as our young people leave the state for opportunities elsewhere.” As a result, “This workforce shortage is one of the most serious long-term issues facing our state.” But asylum-seekers could help revitalize Maine’s workforce: “They are people with skills, education and ability, people with a proven work ethic and tremendous drive—and they are just waiting for the chance to work.” The aid being offered would be extremely limited—recipients would have to reapply every month and would get vouchers for necessities rather than cash. But following LePage’s Trump-style nastiness and Trump’s constant ratcheting-up of anti-immigrant bigotry, it’s so welcome to see a state acting to help people, and a politician making the affirmative case for immigrants as a benefit to the economy.

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

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 shive
Daily Kos

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

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.

'Trump's 'Go home' invective echoes Nazi incitement against Jews:' Chemi Shalev for Haaretz

Now that Republican voters have embraced Donald Trump’s declaration that elected women of color who criticize his policies should “go back to where they came from,” this seems like the perfect opportunity to remind Republicans exactly what kind of peopl
Daily Kos

'Trump's 'Go home' invective echoes Nazi incitement against Jews:' Chemi Shalev for Haaretz

Now that Republican voters have embraced Donald Trump’s declaration that elected women of color who criticize his policies should “go back to where they came from,” this seems like the perfect opportunity to remind Republicans exactly what kind of people they have become. In an op-ed published in Haaretz, Israel’s longest-running newspaper, editor and correspondent Chemi Shalev explains how the impulse to expel persons whom the state deems disobedient, disloyal or otherwise “undesirable” echoes the Nuremberg tactics of another famous “conservative” political party from several decades ago.  It’s hard to tell the difference between the large signs hung outside German cities declaring “Jews, immigrate to your land, in our land we already know who you are” and Trump’s suggestion to four non-white Democratic Congresswomen to “go back” to what he previously described as their “shithole” countries. Both imbibe from the same toxic cesspool of spreading division and hate, while defining the different as an alien and dangerous “other” in order to advance political and ideological aims.                                                     One byproduct of being both Jewish and working for the state of Israel’s oldest newspaper is that you can draw upon a remarkably extensive institutional memory. Shalev takes us back to 1938 when a German company introduced a popular board game which challenged people to do just what Donald Trump and his supporters are clamoring for today. The “Juden Raus!” (Jews Out!) board game was a hit in 1938 Nazi Germany. In 1938, the German company Gunther and Co. came out with its brand new board game, “Juden Raus.” Participants in the game, which became immensely popular, had to extract Jewish citizens from their German cities to “concentration points,” over which hung a banner reading “Auf nach Palästina!” - Off to Palestine. The first player to successfully relocate six Jews from Germany to Palestine was the winner.   ***  In its promotion, the company boasted that Juden Raus was an “up-to-date and outstandingly jolly party game for grown-ups and children.” After five years of Nazi rule, expelling Jews to “where they came from” was as natural and desirable as buying Boardwalk and Park Place.                                                      With Republicans by virtue of either their abject silence or willing, vocal participation now aligning themselves with an exclusionary and intolerant ethic reminiscent of Nazi Germany, perhaps we can expect the same type of board game targeting immigrants and women of color promoted in the Republican social media universe. As Shalev acknowledges, at this point it's hard to imagine any low they won’t stoop to, even as the repulsive historical analog they seek to emulate stares them straight in the face. As with Israel’s Likud and their leader Netanyahu, but a thousand times over, Trump’s invectives highlight the moral depths to which the Republican party has sunk: It has transformed from a Grand Old Party into a cheerleading squad that prostrates itself before its master, no matter what he says or does. Whether out of fear or hope for favor or both, the Republicans’ feebleness also echoes the conduct of similarly spineless political parties, which facilitated but later succumbed to the most evil tyrants of the 20th Century. Shalev acknowledges that Trump is enjoying a surge in popularity among many segments of Israeli society, and without directly saying as much, wonders whether Trump’s singling out of these four women, all of whom have been critical of Israel, and two of whom are Muslim, serves for some Israelis as a kind of filter to the stark inhumanity Trump is espousing, the same one which Jews have been painfully aware for centuries, and one which he would expect them to be sensitive to. Sadly, a great number also identify with his race-baiting remarks, especially when these are directed at Muslim legislators with an anti-Israeli animus. The history of the Jewish people as a persecuted minority perennially depicted as “the other,” no matter how long they’ve lived in the same place, doesn’t seem to speak to us anymore. As Israel’s venerated poet-columnist Natan Alterman once asked, in a slightly different context - “Where will we put our shame?”                                                     “Where will we put our shame,” indeed.  At least in this country, that’s a question most of us have stopped asking Republicans by now.

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

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
Daily Kos

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

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.

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

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 a
Daily Kos

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

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.

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

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
Daily Kos

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

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!

Actual Facts

Popular Reports

Contacts | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
Twitter Facebook