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Morning Digest: Top House Republican plans to ignore GOP problems rather than anger Trump cultists

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

Morning Digest: Top House Republican plans to ignore GOP problems rather than anger Trump cultists

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● NRCC: Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer's first few weeks leading the GOP's House campaign arm are sure off to a great start. Last week, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, pointing out that she would be just one of 13 Republican women serving in the House, announced that she was leaving her leadership post at the NRCC and building her own operation to recruit Republican women to run. Emmer responded to this by telling a reporter that Stefanik's plan to help women in primaries was «a mistake,» a comment that Politico reports immediately caused a firestorm in the GOP caucus. Campaign Action Emmer quickly tried to clarify that he only meant that it was a «mistake» for the committee to get involved in primaries in the first place, but that didn't stop several Republican House members from publicly rebuking him. Stefanik herself tweeted out Emmer's «mistake» comments with her own caption: «NEWSFLASH I wasn't asking for permission.» There's since been a slight rapprochement. The congresswoman later said that «Emmer's tone has changed and has been a bit more respectful and encouraging of my efforts.» An unnamed NRCC aide even assured Politico that Emmer would hold a candid «listening session» to figure out what went wrong in 2018. It sounds like Emmer could indeed use a candid «listening session» to learn about what led to the 2018 blue wave because he still doesn't seem to have any idea. In a new interview, Emmer told the National Journal, «There's a narrative that people are trying to build out there that somehow there's been this shift, this political realignment in the suburbs.» But, claims Emmer, «That's not true. It isn't there.» That would come to a surprise to the many suburban Republicans who lost last month, including in ancestrally red Orange County, California, which will send its first all-Democratic delegation to Congress since the New Deal era.

Open thread for night owls: New technologies will soon make urban warfare even worse

Darran Anderson at The Atlantic writes—The Grim Future of Urban Warfare: New technologies are making war even more horrific: War is won by breaking an enemy’s morale until their ability to resist collapses. In Iraq, the U.S. military employed “shoc
Daily Kos

Open thread for night owls: New technologies will soon make urban warfare even worse

Darran Anderson at The Atlantic writes—The Grim Future of Urban Warfare: New technologies are making war even more horrific: War is won by breaking an enemy’s morale until their ability to resist collapses. In Iraq, the U.S. military employed “shock and awe,” demonstrating overwhelming force while using superior technology and intelligence. It was a new term for an ancient approach: “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt,” Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, centuries before Christ. Strike suddenly, brutally, and with the element of surprise to sow confusion and encourage surrender and retreat—or to stage annihilation. The Third Reich’s blitzkrieg techniques did the same (“the engine of the Panzer is a weapon just as the main gun,” the German general Heinz Guderian noted), along with the shrieking “Jericho Trumpet” sirens its Luftwaffe attached to planes making dive-bomb attacks on cities. The aim was not just the shattering of buildings but the shattering of nerves. In the present, war’s terror arrives more silently. Soon, the missiles raining down will be hypersonic, traveling in excess of five times the speed of sound, and evading detection and interception in the process. War has changed and remained the same. The origins of future wars are already here, being laid in policies and ambitions, rivalries and resources, greed and grievances. The technologies that will be used to dominate and destroy are already in use or development. They will bring more conflict to cities, where casualties will multiply, along with chaos and fear. War is always bad, but it’s going to become much worse. [...] Even an “ethical” attack, on infrastructure rather than civilians, will result in misery. Destroyed airports, downed bridges, disabled power stations, and disrupted communication networks will tear daily life asunder. The psychological impact upon children—living in basements; subject to the sounds and tremors of bombardments; isolated from social systems, education, adequate sanitation; facing food and medical shortages—is inestimable. Danger in the form of cluster bombs (which are still killing and maiming people in Southeast Asia (decades after their deployment) and chemical weapons litters the wreckage that children play in. [...] TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “If the tradition which claims that war may be justified does not also admit that it could be unjustified, the affirmation is not morally serious. A Christian who prepares the case for a justified war without being equally prepared for the negative case has not soberly weighted the prima facie presumption that any violence is wrong until the case for an exception has been made.”                ~~John Howard Yoder, When War is Unjust: Being Honest in Just-War Thinking  (1996) TWEET OF THE DAY xHaha, @NancyPelosi on why the Trump meeting was private: «We didn't want to say, in front of those people, 'You don't know what you're talking about'.» pic.twitter.com/O76QVDHm0W— Tommy Keep Christ In Xtopher (@tommyxtopher) December 11, 2018 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2012—Mitch McConnell demands Democrats negotiate with themselves: With some increase in taxes on the wealthy clearly inevitable, Republicans are pretty much left with nothing to do but try to distract public attention away from the fact they're still holding middle class tax cuts hostage, and continue to make unreasonable demands. There's no one better at that than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. With talks to avert a series of spending cuts and tax increases continuing between President Obama and congressional leaders, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Tuesday that no deal will be reached until Democrats step forward with specific proposals to cut federal spending. “For all the president’s talk about the need for a balanced approach, the truth is he and his Democratic allies have simply refused to be pinned down on any spending cuts,” McConnell said. And, of course, Republicans have come up with essentially nothing beyond demands that the poor and the old get hurt really, really bad. But in totally not-Republican suggested ways that Democrats will have to come up with so that Republicans can blame it all on them in the next election. LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Butina to cooperate, whatever that might mean for a spy. Could it wreck the ИЯA? Will we have a Trump wall shutdown? Will we have a WH chief of staff? Waking up to Ryan's fraud. What is Brexit, anyway? Can we all live in a yellow cheese submarine? x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)

Another NRA TV show canceled—send your thoughts and prayers

If you haven’t come across Trump apologist and NRA schmatriot Dan Bongino, lucky you! Bongino’s big claim to fame was that he was a former Secret Service agent whose insane Trumpian temper led him to be too bananas a candidate for political office for e
Daily Kos

Another NRA TV show canceled—send your thoughts and prayers

If you haven’t come across Trump apologist and NRA schmatriot Dan Bongino, lucky you! Bongino’s big claim to fame was that he was a former Secret Service agent whose insane Trumpian temper led him to be too bananas a candidate for political office for even Florida Republicans to deal with back in 2016. That’s pretty bonkers. Bongino had just begun a new NRA TV show called We Stand, because why not? Turns out, the answer to why not was Because we might be going broke. The Daily Beast reports that Bongino’s show was canceled. Already! So sad! Maybe our thoughts and prayers will fill that ego-sized hole! After the Daily Beast publicized Bongino’s canceled show, Bongino said it was “fake news,” and proceeded to explain that he—Dan Bongino—had decided to cancel his show. Evidence that his show was ending first came over the weekend, when he removed “NRATV host” from the bio on his Twitter account. Additionally, a little noticed Fox News broadcast referred to Bongino as a “Former NRATV Contributor” several weeks ago. This comes just over a week after reports of other NRATV shows getting the ax, and numerous stories about the NRA’s considerable financial, political, and legal troubles. But maybe this isn’t an economic decision at all, and Mr. Bongino wanted to focus on appearing as a talking head lamenting the war on Christmas? x x YouTube Video

'American Dreamers' album featuring more than 50 DACA recipients receives three Grammy nominations

Started as a project to help raise awareness about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an album titled American Dreamers could soon turn into a Grammy-winning effort. The album, led by jazz artist John Daversa and featuring more tha
Daily Kos

'American Dreamers' album featuring more than 50 DACA recipients receives three Grammy nominations

Started as a project to help raise awareness about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an album titled American Dreamers could soon turn into a Grammy-winning effort. The album, led by jazz artist John Daversa and featuring more than 50 DACA recipients, has received three 2019 Grammy Award nominations. For clarinet player Salvador Perez Lopez, the project was particularly life-changing. Not only is his music being featured on a major studio album, he’s also revealing his undocumented status for the first time, saying that he “never told” his friends about his immigration status. “Now that I post about the album on my Facebook, people are like, ‘I didn’t know you were a dreamer.’” Daversa, who is also an educator, worked with nonprofits to find the young immigrants, teaming up 53 DACA recipients with professional musicians to create the album. “We had to stop the recording sessions several times,” producer Kabir Sehgal told HLN, “because we were in tears.” While the courts have blocked the Trump administration’s move to rescind DACA, it only buys some precious time, because as long as there’s no permanent legislation, young immigrants like Salvador will continue to remain in limbo. They and their families deserve a chance to stay. “We don’t need to build walls, we’re already the greatest nation on Earth, we’re already the strongest place on Earth,” said DACA recipient and singer Daniella Santos Vieira. “We don’t need to be afraid of people just because they’re different. I think if they love this country, and they want to have a shot at the promise of America, we should give them that chance.”

How a long-ago Harlem Democrat might save a Florida Republican's congressional career

While GOP Rep.-elect Ross Spano of Florida has been in hot water ever since admitting that he may have violated campaign finance laws by taking $180,000 in loans from two individuals, it looks unlikely that the scandal will stop the House from seating him.
Daily Kos

How a long-ago Harlem Democrat might save a Florida Republican's congressional career

While GOP Rep.-elect Ross Spano of Florida has been in hot water ever since admitting that he may have violated campaign finance laws by taking $180,000 in loans from two individuals, it looks unlikely that the scandal will stop the House from seating him. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi hinted last week that the chamber could vote against allowing Spano to serve, but Politico notes that a landmark 1969 Supreme Court decision would probably prevent the House from refusing to seat a duly elected member. Indeed, Spano may owe whatever career he has in Congress to the decision that aided Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a New York Democrat who was, during his time, one of the most prominent African-Americans in Congress. In 1966, Powell won a 12th term representing the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. However, a special House committee ruled that Powell had falsified travel expenses and paid his wife a congressional staff salary, even though she hadn’t done the work to earn it. In January 1967, on the first day of the new Congress, the Democratic-led House voted to delay seating Powell for five weeks to give the Judiciary Committee more time to investigate him. In March, the committee recommended that the House censure the New York congressman but still allow him to take office. However, the House instead voted 307 to 116 to prevent Powell from taking his seat in Congress. Powell, who had no interest in acquiescing, ran in and easily won the special election to succeed himself. However, this time, the congressman, who by then was residing in the Bahamas, decided not to try and take his seat. Instead, he and several of his constituents sued House Speaker John McCormack and other House officials. Powell argued that the courts should rule that the House’s vote not to seat him was unconstitutional, and that he was also entitled to the back pay he would have received as a member.

Spread the word: 4.2 million uninsured people could get an Obamacare bronze plan for $0

Check this out, the Kaiser Family Foundation has done the math and found that 27 percent of the 15.9 million uninsured people who could get insurance through the Affordable Care Act could get “bronze” plans for $0 premiums, after subsides. That’s 4.2
Daily Kos

Spread the word: 4.2 million uninsured people could get an Obamacare bronze plan for $0

Check this out, the Kaiser Family Foundation has done the math and found that 27 percent of the 15.9 million uninsured people who could get insurance through the Affordable Care Act could get “bronze” plans for $0 premiums, after subsides. That’s 4.2 million people. Here’s the state breakdown in map form: For roughly $20 to $130 per month after subsidies, they could get more comprehensive “silver” plans with lower deductibles and reduced copays and coinsurance.  But time’s short. Most states end enrollment on Saturday, December 15. Help spread the word. Free help for you or anyone you are assisting is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, help is just a quick call or click away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now. Here are the states with extended deadlines for enrollment: California – January 15, 2019 Colorado – January 15, 2019 D.C. – January 31, 2019 Massachusetts – January 23, 2019 Minnesota – January 13, 2019 New York – January 31, 2019 Rhode Island – January 31, 2019

Massachusetts state senator mulls Democratic primary bid against anti-Pelosi ringleader

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton has inflamed plenty of local Democratic activists with his ongoing campaign to keep Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker (Moulton still hasn’t even come up with an alternative candidate), and one local elected official has open
Daily Kos

Massachusetts state senator mulls Democratic primary bid against anti-Pelosi ringleader

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton has inflamed plenty of local Democratic activists with his ongoing campaign to keep Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker (Moulton still hasn’t even come up with an alternative candidate), and one local elected official has opened the door to challenging him in a 2020 primary. Outgoing state Sen. Barbara L’Italien, who ran in the very crowded primary for the neighboring 3rd District this year and took third place with 15 percent, told Boston’s NBC affiliate that she was considering taking on Moulton. L’Italien lives in Moulton’s 6th Congressional District, but only a little less than a quarter of her state Senate seat is in the 6th. Massachusetts’s 6th District, which includes several communities north of Boston, backed Hillary Clinton 56-38, so it should stay blue without much trouble no matter what happens in the primary. However, there’s no guarantee that Moulton will stick around to confront an intra-party challenge. The congressman hasn’t ruled out waging his own primary campaign against Sen. Ed Markey, and while he did say no to a 2020 presidential bid in October, he still gets mentioned as a possible White House candidate in plenty of stories.

Nearly half of murdered women are killed by their partners, as the legal system fails abuse victims

One of the greatest dangers women face is the men they love and live with and have children with. A Washington Post analysis finds that 46 percent of women killed in 47 U.S. cities over the past decade were killed by their partners. In more than a third o
Daily Kos

Nearly half of murdered women are killed by their partners, as the legal system fails abuse victims

One of the greatest dangers women face is the men they love and live with and have children with. A Washington Post analysis finds that 46 percent of women killed in 47 U.S. cities over the past decade were killed by their partners. In more than a third of cases, the threat was already publicly known through things like restraining orders or prior convictions. And these are brutal, personal killings: Nearly a quarter of the 2,051 women killed by intimate partners were stabbed, compared with fewer than 10 percent of all other homicides. Eighteen percent of women who were killed by partners were attacked with a blunt object or no weapon, compared with 8 percent of other homicide victims. While a gun was used in 80 percent of all other deaths, just over half of all women killed as a result of domestic violence were attacked with a gun. Violent choking is almost entirely confined to fatal domestic attacks on women — while fewer than 1 percent of all homicides result from strangulation, 6 percent of women killed by intimate partners die in this manner, The Post found.  The legal system doesn’t just fail to protect women—all too often it victimizes them further, as the case of Minerva Cisneros, of Forth Worth, Texas, shows. Cisneros had shown up at a hospital while eight months pregnant in the wake of a beating that included strangulation—as noted, a major sign of danger to come. But she didn’t want to cooperate in an investigation, and the legal system terrorized her all over again: As the criminal case waited, records show that child protective services officials opened a separate inquiry into Cisneros, alleging that she had failed to protect her children from witnessing the abuse she suffered. She and Sigala were required to enter couples counseling, and she took a class on how to manage her husband’s violent behavior, said Allenna Bangs, a Tarrant County prosecutor. Family members and authorities said Cisneros became concerned that she could lose custody. Child protective services officials did not respond to a request for comment.

One Texas judge has a habit of letting rapists walk, even when they plead guilty

In 2016, a woman says, Jacob Walter Anderson gagged, raped, and choked her until she lost consciousness. There’s reason to think she was drugged. Anderson was indicted on sexual assault charges. According to the victim and her family, the prosecutor, Hilar
Daily Kos

One Texas judge has a habit of letting rapists walk, even when they plead guilty

In 2016, a woman says, Jacob Walter Anderson gagged, raped, and choked her until she lost consciousness. There’s reason to think she was drugged. Anderson was indicted on sexual assault charges. According to the victim and her family, the prosecutor, Hilary LaBorde, said the case was “cut and dr[ied]” and promised a conviction. But she then allowed Anderson to plead “no contest,” rather than “guilty,” to mere unlawful restraint. Judge Ralph Strother signed off on that plea agreement. The evidence was strong enough to compel Anderson to accept that plea rather than go to trial; it was strong enough to compel Baylor University to expel Anderson after investigating the assault. Yet Anderson’s plea amounts to nothing more than an admission that there was enough evidence to convict him of that lesser charge. He won’t serve any jail time, won’t be added to the sex offender registry, and is only obligated to pay a $400 fine and seek counseling. If he complies with the terms of his probation, he’ll likely get the conviction removed from his record altogether. This deal went forward despite protests from the woman Anderson allegedly assaulted. She testified, “He stole my body, virginity and power over my body.” x"It must be horrible to be you...to know you are a rapist, to know that you almost killed me, to know that you ruined my life, stole my virginity and stole many other things from me.” - Anderson's unnamed victim read aloud in a court statement https://t.co/EnUtcquYPb— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) December 11, 2018 The worst part is, Anderson’s not an outlier—his sentence is part of a pattern. Anderson is the third man accused of sexually assaulting a Baylor student that Strother has permitted to walk away without serious consequence in the past two years. 

Pelosi slams Trump: I didn't want to say 'You don't know what you're talking about'

Earlier today, Donald Trump thought that the best idea he had for the day was to allow cameras in to broadcast his “private” negotiations and meeting with Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. That did not go well, as Pelosi and Schumer h
Daily Kos

Pelosi slams Trump: I didn't want to say 'You don't know what you're talking about'

Earlier today, Donald Trump thought that the best idea he had for the day was to allow cameras in to broadcast his “private” negotiations and meeting with Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. That did not go well, as Pelosi and Schumer handed Trump his ass over and over again for about ten minutes on live television. Campaign Action The situation was something of a disaster, as it once again laid bare the complete disconnect between this administration and the general will of the people—and basic facts. When Pelosi and Schumer spoke to reporters outside afterwards, they explained why they didn’t just dump a bag of ice on the president’s head and walk out of the room. Pelosi: We don’t want to contradict the president when he is putting forth figures that have no reality, no basis in fact. We have to, if we're going to proceed in all of this, have evidence-based, factual, truthful information about what works and what doesn't. I didn't want to, in front of those people, say, “You don't know what you're talking about.” x x YouTube Video

Here's why the Russian spy's cooperation agreement is HUGELY problematic for Trump and the NRA

Russian spy Maria Butina has reportedly been struggling during her time in a U.S. federal prison. Butina’s lawyers have repeatedly asked U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to order Butina out of the solitary confinement in which she is held and relea
Daily Kos

Here's why the Russian spy's cooperation agreement is HUGELY problematic for Trump and the NRA

Russian spy Maria Butina has reportedly been struggling during her time in a U.S. federal prison. Butina’s lawyers have repeatedly asked U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to order Butina out of the solitary confinement in which she is held and released into the general prison population. In late November, her lawyers said Butina is increasingly in poor mental health because of the isolation, but Judge Chutkan denied their request.  Only days later, word came that Butina appeared to be breaking in spirit and would accept a plea deal with federal prosecutors, changing her plea from not guilty to guilty on conspiracy charges. She’s come to realize Putin isn’t riding in bare-chested atop some white horse to make a deal and save her. She’s staring at more than a decade in federal prison. And who could blame her? Just this week, Vladimir Putin threw her under a Russian-made 18-wheeler when he claimed that not only does he not know her, but neither do any of his top spy chiefs. xPutin on Butina: «She's facing 15 years in prison. For what? When I heard that something was happening to her [...] I started by asking all our secret service chiefs: who is she? Nobody knew anything about her!»pic.twitter.com/b9k9N9umZG— max seddon (@maxseddon) December 11, 2018

Trump hits a wall: Democrats

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer went to the Oval Office Tuesday to serve notice to Donald Trump that the days of doing and saying whatever he damn well pleases with zero facts to back it up are done. Trump’s factless antics had worked fin
Daily Kos

Trump hits a wall: Democrats

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer went to the Oval Office Tuesday to serve notice to Donald Trump that the days of doing and saying whatever he damn well pleases with zero facts to back it up are done. Trump’s factless antics had worked fine with a complicit Republican party that did everything possible to keep their Dear Leader pampered and happy, but the pamper party is over. The two Democrats went to the White House to «negotiate in good faith,» as Pelosi put it, over funding to keep the government open. Trump wants $5 billion for the border wall he originally pledged Mexico would pay for but is now demanding the American taxpayers fund. But pouring that much money into a border wall is a nonstarter for congressional Democrats, who will happily put more money into border security, but not a wall that experts say will accomplish very little, if anything.   Pelosi clearly went into the meeting hoping for decorum and, perhaps, even some progress in the negotiations. Schumer wanted to make it clear that Democrats hoped to avoid a shutdown, but not if the price tag was $5 billion for a wall. Trump planned to ambush them with all kinds of fantastically false statistics written on flash cards about how the border wall would solve nearly all of the nation’s immigration problems (the fact checks will be fun). That's where the fun began. After Trump said he could get his wall funding passed through the House «in two seconds,» Pelosi explained to Trump that, actually, he doesn't have enough Republican votes in the House to pass $5 billion for the wall. «There are no votes in the House—majority of votes—for a wall,» said Pelosi, widely known as the best vote counter in a generation of House speakers. «Exactly right,» added Schumer. Trump countered, saying that if he wanted, «in one session, it would be done.» Pelosi: «Well then, go do it.» Trump continued to insist he had the votes in the House, but the Senate was the real problem.«It doesn't help because we need 10 Democrats in the Senate,» he said.  Before Schumer could jump in, Pelosi reiterated: «The fact is, you do not have the votes in the House.»

Senate Republican civil war sparks again with Trump piling on the fuel

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's future life is going to be sheer hell, and he's going to do his damnedest to share that hell with the nation, starting with the threat to keep the Senate in session between Christmas and New Year's. His own conference
Daily Kos

Senate Republican civil war sparks again with Trump piling on the fuel

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's future life is going to be sheer hell, and he's going to do his damnedest to share that hell with the nation, starting with the threat to keep the Senate in session between Christmas and New Year's. His own conference, along with Individual 1 and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have forced him into having a vote on a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that he's been fighting for months. Because the bill is bipartisan, some of the most rabid (looking at you, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton) in his conference are opposed to it, and so far McConnell has sided with them. On the other side is Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee who says McConnell owes him this vote because of all the judicial nominees he's shoved through. «I think I’ve delivered pretty well, more judges than any previous president has gotten in their first two years, two new Supreme Court justices,» said Grassley, so «maybe I should have some consideration for that.» McConnell says they may have to do this bill in the week after Christmas and before the new Congress is sworn in because there's so much to be done between now and then. They have Trump's shutdown to figure out, along with the farm bill, a resolution condemning Saudi Arabia and demanding the U.S. withdraw support for the war in Yemen, and a bipartisan push to pass legislation protecting the Mueller investigation. This could all go in the must-pass spending bill that prevents a government shutdown. Except that Cotton insists he'll force a shutdown if McConnell tries to put the criminal justice reform bill in it. The shutdown ship, however, has pretty much sailed with Trump at the helm. Getting any leverage for anything they want to happen or not happen legislatively by threatening a government shutdown has been made utterly meaningless by Trump. To make matters worse for McConnell, he's getting absolutely no help from nominal House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has totally checked out for the short duration of his remaining tenure. He may as well go back to Wisconsin. The only thing that could be better is if Robert Mueller turned his attention to McConnell to find out just why he was so adamant about covering up Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, let's just enjoy the hell he's in now.

ICE has arrested 170 immigrants who've stepped forward to potentially sponsor detained migrant kids

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have arrested 170 people who have stepped forward to potentially sponsor migrant children under U.S. custody, escalating an “unprecedented” baiting tactic that began this past fall. The Trump administra
Daily Kos

ICE has arrested 170 immigrants who've stepped forward to potentially sponsor detained migrant kids

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have arrested 170 people who have stepped forward to potentially sponsor migrant children under U.S. custody, escalating an “unprecedented” baiting tactic that began this past fall. The Trump administration already has a record number of migrant kids in detention, including over 2,300 children locked away at a prison camp in Tornillo, Texas. This will make it worse. “The arrests stemmed from background checks done by ICE for the Department of Health and Human Services on potential sponsors for unaccompanied children,” CNN reported. Of the 170 immigrants arrested by ICE, nearly 110 had no criminal record at all. But as administration officials have been doubling-down on sponsors allegedly in the name of children’s safety, they were also waiving background checks for the staffers hired to watch over those very same kids. A government watchdog memo obtained by the Associated Press (AP) last month said “the former director of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement personally signed off on sidestepping requirements for child abuse and neglect checks at the tent city in Tornillo, Texas. None of the 2,100 staff has gone through FBI fingerprint checks either, but the Tornillo contractor says staff are vetted in other ways.” How reassuring. House Democrats will most likely be probing this next year, because it appears that HHS officials lied to them about background checks, telling members that they had conducted proper checks on Tornillo staffers. “The Inspector General’s findings are unacceptable. In the next Congress, we will examine the Administration’s immigration and detention policies and the longstanding damage these policies may have on families and children.  Meanwhile, the administration has a record 14,000 migrant children in custody, the vast majority of them minors who came to the U.S. by themselves and were fleeing violence and other dangers. They should be released to sponsors, but instead those sponsors are getting arrested, leading to other sponsors being scared away, leading to children staying in detention longer. It’s a cruel, sick cycle, and it’s trademark Trump.

Trump hits a wall: Pelosi and Schumer

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer went to the Oval Office Tuesday to serve notice to Donald Trump that the days of doing and saying whatever he damn well pleases with zero facts to back it up are done. Trump’s factless antics had worked fin
Daily Kos

Trump hits a wall: Pelosi and Schumer

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer went to the Oval Office Tuesday to serve notice to Donald Trump that the days of doing and saying whatever he damn well pleases with zero facts to back it up are done. Trump’s factless antics had worked fine with a complicit Republican party that did everything possible to keep their Dear Leader pampered and happy, but the pamper party is over. The two Democrats went to the White House to «negotiate in good faith,» as Pelosi put it, over funding to keep the government open. Trump wants $5 billion for the border wall he originally pledged Mexico would pay for but is now demanding the American taxpayers fund. But pouring that much money into a border wall is a nonstarter for congressional Democrats, who will happily put more money into border security, but not a wall that experts say will accomplish very little, if anything.   Pelosi clearly went into the meeting hoping for decorum and, perhaps, even some progress in the negotiations. Schumer wanted to make it clear that Democrats hoped to avoid a shutdown, but not if the price tag was $5 billion for a wall. Trump planned to ambush them with all kinds of fantastically false statistics written on flash cards about how the border wall would solve nearly all of the nation’s immigration problems (the fact checks will be fun). That's where the fun began. After Trump said he could get his wall funding passed through the House «in two seconds,» Pelosi explained to Trump that, actually, he doesn't have enough Republican votes in the House to pass $5 billion for the wall. «There are no votes in the House—majority of votes—for a wall,» said Pelosi, widely known as the best vote counter in a generation of House speakers. «Exactly right,» added Schumer. Trump countered, saying that if he wanted, «in one session, it would be done.» Pelosi: «Well then, go do it.» Trump continued to insist he had the votes in the House, but the Senate was the real problem.«It doesn't help because we need 10 Democrats in the Senate,» he said.  Before Schumer could jump in, Pelosi reiterated: «The fact is, you do not have the votes in the House.»

In a win for Democrats, farm bill compromise that does not punish hungry people ready for passage

The Senate has won in one of its major fights with the House and Trump administration this year: they prevailed in the farm bill, negotiating a compromise that does not include a controversial provision from the House version that would impose stricter wor
Daily Kos

In a win for Democrats, farm bill compromise that does not punish hungry people ready for passage

The Senate has won in one of its major fights with the House and Trump administration this year: they prevailed in the farm bill, negotiating a compromise that does not include a controversial provision from the House version that would impose stricter work requirements on people receiving help through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The good news here is the bill is now clear to pass in both chambers, and the 40 million people who rely on SNAP benefits to be able to eat won't also have to jump through all the hoops of work requirements. However, there's a bad part. Trump will sign the bill because he has a plan in the works: «the Agriculture Department is preparing to give them a win by releasing a rule expected to make it harder for states to waive existing work requirements for able-bodied adult SNAP recipients. In effect, it is a way to make work rules more stringent without congressional approval.» That's much like the effort the administration is making to allow Republican states to impose work requirements on the Medicaid program—when they can't do it legislatively, they'll try to do it through regulation. That's a fight for next year, and one that will largely have to take place within individual states. There's more good news in the compromise bill. It doesn't include the extremely odious attacks on the environment that were included in the House version. It continues the Conservation Stewardship Program, which encourages farmers and ranchers to set aside environmentally sensitive lands, although the program will endure budget cuts. It doesn't include dozens of provisions in the House version that did things like lift restrictions on pesticides and weaken the Endangered Species Act. Trump is expected to sign it, because he's not going to get anything more out of it with a Democratic-controlled House next year. It's one of the reasons the conference committee was able to come to agreement relatively quickly on the massive bill—Republicans have incentive to finish it now, with the handful of concessions they've secured.

Republicans have given up on democracy, deficits, and laws

Republicans have long been the party of surrender. Their concern about the deficit exists only when it’s needed as a means of attacking Social Security and Medicare. Their fretting over “voter fraud” is limited to voters whose skin color makes them appe
Daily Kos

Republicans have given up on democracy, deficits, and laws

Republicans have long been the party of surrender. Their concern about the deficit exists only when it’s needed as a means of attacking Social Security and Medicare. Their fretting over “voter fraud” is limited to voters whose skin color makes them appear suspiciously Democratic. And immigration is important so long as it can be used to frighten voters in Iowa, without affecting the wait staff at the country club.  But in the last year, Republicans have flipped their surrender express into high gear. Not only have they given up any pretense of being worried about a yawning budget deficit that would have required multiple trips to the fainting couch under a Democratic president, and not only have Republicans developed a sudden disdain for genuine, provable election fraud, they’ve given up on democracy. As USA Today reports, anyone waiting for Republicans to get concerned about any of these issues will need to take “a time capsule to before the 2016 GOP convention.” What’s also clear is that the fate of America now depends on whether Democrats can expand voting rights faster than Republicans can restrict them. But Republican disdain for democracy isn’t just represented by the ever-tightening vice of laws restricting access, the closing of polling locations, the movement of polling stations away from communities of color, and the absolutely intentional and shameless effort to simply make it harder to vote. Republicans are now displaying a hatred for democracy that goes beyond trying to alter the outcome of an election in advance. They’re more and more willing to alter the outcome of an election when it’s over. In North Carolina, losing Republicans passed a bill to severely limit the power of the incoming Democratic governor in 2016. This type of legislative coup is now going even further in Wisconsin, where Republicans are using the lame duck session to democracy-proof the state. The 2018 Midterms showed Republicans that they can no longer intimidate, inconvenience, and “purge” their way to easy victory. And they’re responding by simply instituting rules that erase results that they don’t like. It was power grabs at the state level in the form of gerrymandering and voter restrictions that allowed Republicans to lock down legislatures and statehouses in state after state. Now that those tools are being challenged, they’ve moved on to the next level effort … which turns out to be simply ditching democracy.

'Courageous action is necessary': 30 faith leaders arrested at border in support of asylum seekers

Campaign Action Border agents came armed and shielded with riot gear. They came shielded with prayers. Approximately 30 faith leaders—including those from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and indigenous communities—were arrested at the U.S./Mexico border Mond
Daily Kos

'Courageous action is necessary': 30 faith leaders arrested at border in support of asylum seekers

Campaign Action Border agents came armed and shielded with riot gear. They came shielded with prayers. Approximately 30 faith leaders—including those from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and indigenous communities—were arrested at the U.S./Mexico border Monday, among the hundreds who gathered in San Diego to defend the international and U.S. right to seek asylum at our borders. “As a Quaker,” said organizer Laura Boyce of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), “I believe there is that of the divine in all of us. This belief calls us to stand with those fleeing violence and poverty, and to call on our government to uphold the human rights of migrants and end the militarization of border communities. In the face of unfounded fear, racism and violence, courageous action is necessary.” The faith leaders were among the 400 people who gathered to stand in solidarity with the thousands who continue to have their processing slow-walked by border officials as others have been illegally blocked altogether from presenting themselves at the border. When faith leaders “reached the enforcement zone,” a AFSC statement says, “they were stopped by a line of Border Patrol agents in riot gear. Leaders moved forward to offer a ceremonial blessing. Thirty people were taken into custody.” «We can do better,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis. “Our sacred texts tell us to tear down walls, to welcome the immigrant and to treat everyone as if they are God's children.” The action fell on both Human Rights Day and the start of a week of action called “Love Knows No Borders: A Moral Call for Migrant Justice.” Some supporters from the gathering carried signs reading »No Cages, No Walls,” a reminder to all that more than 130 days past a federal judge’s reunification deadline, children kidnapped from the arms of asylum seekers at the southern border continue to remain in U.S. custody.

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