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Updated: 27 min 45 sec ago

Donald Trump demonstrates the wrong way to watch an eclipse

2 hours 20 min ago

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Actually I’ve heard that white supremacists have much tougher eyes than normal people. So tough that they can look directly at the sun for hours. Hours and hours. So tough.

And it’s not as if the White House staff spends all their time covering up Trump’s craziness.

“You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill”: The most common response centers on the urgent importance of having smart, sane people around Trump to fight his worst impulses. If they weren’t there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall.

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: A ship found, a jumping car and a racist in the White House

2 hours 29 min ago
  • Today’s comic by Tom Tomorrow is Crisis of the week:
Cartoon by Tom Tomorrow - Crisis of the week
  • What you missed on Sunday Kos ...

A regional official in Spain says that the death toll in the attacks last week in Barcelona and a coastal town south of the city has risen to 15.

Catalan interior minister Joaquim Forn gave the updated figure in a news conference. He said that the new victim is a man found stabbed in a car. The car was believed to be used by one of the attackers to flee the scene.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is no longer in the running for a job on a local sports talk show, he announced in a statement Sunday.

Christie auditioned for the post-gubernatorial gig as a co-host on WFAN’s morning show last month, during which he called a caller a “communist.”

For 72 years since the cruiser USS Indianapolis sank after being struck by Japanese torpedoes in the waning days of World War II, its exact resting place had been a mystery.

But a team of researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen now says they have positively identified the wreckage, 18,000 feet below the surface in the Philippine Sea. [...]

Indianapolis sank in just 12 minutes, with 300 of her crew going down with the ship. With few lifeboats, many of the remaining 900 faced death by exposure or shark attack until they were spotted three days later by a U.S. Navy patrol plane. By the time they were reached by rescuers, only 317 of the crew of 1,196 aboard were still alive.

A family heading to Cape May, New Jersey, found themselves in an improbable situation earlier this month when a drawbridge lifted right underneath their car and they were forced to jump the opening.

Terence Naphys, after paying the $1.50 toll at the Middle Thorofare Bridge that connects the Wildwoods and Cape May via Ocean Drive, was heading across the bridge when a steel metal grate suddenly lifted 3 to 6 feet underneath his car, Naphys told Lower Township police. [...]

The car landed on the other side of the bridge and the family was able to drive away without any injuries.

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On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Happy eclipse! We’ve got more on the Confederate monument phenomenon, and a fascinating turn into some real lost Southern history. Also, an update on those alt-right idiots at sea, and the first post-mortems on Bannon’s “departure.”

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Categories: Politics

Breitbart is sorry for mistaking a German soccer star for a 'migrant gang member'

2 hours 53 min ago

Just days after white supremacist and former presidential counselor Steve Bannon “returned” to Breitbart, the website reported on a group of violent thugs who have been taking advantage of desperate African refugees trying to reach Europe, charging them thousands of euros to smuggle them across the Mediterranean. There was just a glaring problem with the site’s reporting, though—the man featured in the story’s photograph wasn’t one of the described human smugglers roaming the Mediterranean for his next victim, but instead German soccer star Lukas Podolski, photographed while in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup:

In an editor’s note appended to the story, last modified on Sunday, Breitbart London apologized to Podolski for including an image of him in the report on “a gang charging migrants 5,000 euros each to bring them across from Morocco via the Strait of Gibraltar on jet-skis.”

“A previous version of this story included an image of Lukas Podolski on a jet ski. This image appeared as an illustration of a person on a jet ski. Breitbart London wishes to apologise to Mr. Podolski,” Breitbart London wrote. “There is no evidence Mr. Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked. We wish Mr. Podolski well in his recently announced international retirement.”

Nassim Touihri, Podolski’s manager, told a German newspaper that the situation was “a mess.”

“Lukas distances himself from it and won’t let himself be exploited. Our lawyer is already involved,” Touihri said, according to The Guardian.

As Salon notes, “Breitbart quickly pulled the photo and then issued a correction, or rather, a strangely defensive ‘editor’s note.’” Of course, when it comes to the website’s history of pushing disproven lies trying to link migrants to crime in Europe, that’s another story. The fact is that a number of these refugees have been killed by human smugglers, and thousands of others have drowned trying to make the journey just this year alone. But don’t expect the website to report on it as a humanitarian issue, which is what it is. Also, as Talking Points Memo noted, Trump touted Bannon’s return “as ‘competition’ for ‘fake news.’” How’s that going, Donald?

Categories: Politics

University of Texas at Austin removes its Confederate statues overnight

4 hours 12 min ago

If America is the land of opportunity, then it could surely be said that it’s a country filled with people who are opportunists. While opportunists are generally known for taking advantage of a situation to gain some benefit without regard to ethics or morals, every once in a while even the most calculating ones can do the right thing. Politicians, who are the most notorious opportunists out there, have used the violence in Charlottesville to seize the moment when it comes to removing Confederate monuments. Last week, Baltimore removed its monuments in the middle of the night and other cities are planning to follow suit. And the University of Texas at Austin also joined the club, removing several of its Confederate statues from campus on Sunday night. 

Workers began removing the statues of Robert. E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan from the university's main plaza late Sunday night. The news was delivered to the campus community via an email from UT-Austin President Greg Fenves just before 11 p.m., who said the monuments depicted parts of U.S. history that "run counter to the university's core values." Another statue, one of former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg, was also taken down.

This is great news, especially coming from the Lone Star State. While state Republicans spend their time doing everything they can to block women’s access to abortion and reproductive health care, this proves that progressive ideas can move forward at local levels. It is also a pretty big deal that this is occurring in a state which has a notorious passion for defending the Confederacy. 

"We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus," Fenves wrote, adding that recent unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, "make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism." 

Indeed, these monuments are about white supremacy.

Categories: Politics

Organizations continue to cancel events at Mar-a-Lago

4 hours 25 min ago

Donald Trump will have to rent more golf carts to the Secret Service, because still more charities are canceling events at his, ugh, “Florida White House.”

In the last five days — since President Trump said there were “fine people” among those marching in a violence-plagued “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville — the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida has been deserted by 14 charities that use its ballrooms for fundraisers.

Mar-a-Lago already had a lot of empty dates in its schedule. Donald Trump’s earlier statements had made many charities and other organizations leery of holding events at Trump’s premiere property. But Trump’s embrace of white supremacists has sent a lot of organizations who were previously tottering on the brink of whether it would draw more attention to stay or cancel, into the cancel camp.

Others canceling galas or dinner events include the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the American Cancer Society, American Friends of Magen David Adom, Leaders in Furthering Education, the Palm Beach Zoo, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity and the Autism Project of Palm Beach County.

An additional group of charities have cancelled other types of events, just as luncheons. But so far there are two groups hanging in there with Trump.

The Palm Beach Police Foundation — whose Policeman’s Ball is one of Mar-a-Lago’s largest events — is “continuing with its plans” to hold the gala there again in 2017, spokeswoman Maureen O’Sullivan said Sunday.

The same is true for the Palm Beach County Republican Party, which has held its annual Lincoln Day dinner at Mar-a-Lago since 2013. “We have no plans to switch venues,” the party's chairman, Michael Barnett, wrote Sunday.

That … seems about right.

Categories: Politics

As Phoenix braces for his visit, Trump may pardon Arpaio in unprecedented way

4 hours 53 min ago

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As Donald Trump ignores pleas from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and other local leaders to delay his rally there after his official embrace of white supremacists and Nazis following the terror attack in Charlottesville, the Daily Beast reports the popular vote loser may be readying to pardon the crooked former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his crimes in a truly unprecedented manner:

In recent days, speculation has mounted that Trump will follow through on this suggestion at a campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday. Should he do so, it will be a unique moment in modern presidential politics. Trump will have given the first pardon of his presidency to someone for what appears to be purely political reasons and he will have done so without going through the normal review process. Trump has yet to name a new pardon attorney and while the vast majority of people who get presidential pardons wait for at least five years after being sentenced, Arpaio hasn’t even been sentenced yet.

Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of court for violating a federal judge’s order to stop racially profiling brown drivers in Maricopa County, hasn’t even applied for a presidential pardon yet, which means he will skip the line (you know, the way anti-immigrant nativists like him claim undocumented immigrants do) past the thousands of cases waiting to be considered.

How silly of us—don’t we know that the rules are only for the little people, not the criminally-challenged authoritarian buddies of the president?

Categories: Politics

Russian 'lobbyist' at Trump Tower meeting was actually asset for Russian spy services

4 hours 57 min ago

One of the last people to be identified as attendees of the Trump Tower meeting between the senior staff of Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians offering information harmful to Hillary Clinton, was Rinat Akhmetshin. Akhmetshin was identified as a lobbyist working with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya—on that pesky problem of Russian adoptions. Meaning that Akhmetshin was actually part of the team there to fight against Russian sanctions connected to the Magnitsky Act, for which “adoptions” has been the cover story used by both Russia and Trump.

But Akhmetshin turns out to have more connections to the Kremlin than just the people who promised to provide Clinton dirt.

Interviews with his associates and documents reviewed by The New York Times indicate that Mr. Akhmetshin, who is under scrutiny by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, has much deeper ties to the Russian government and Kremlin-backed oligarchs than previously known.

Since everyone who deals with Trump seems to be in bed with Russian oligarchs, including Trump, how bad can it be?

He has an association with a former deputy head of a Russian spy service, the F.S.B., and a history of working for close allies of President Vladimir V. Putin. Twice, he has worked on legal battles for Russian tycoons whose opponents suffered sophisticated hacking attacks, arousing allegations of computer espionage. He helped federal prosecutors bring corruption charges against an American businessman in the former Soviet Union who turned out to be working for the C.I.A.

Ah. That bad. It wasn’t just that the Russians promised to provide Trump with the documents they hacked from Democratic servers. They sent along the guy who had worked directly for the hackers, and directly against the CIA.

Categories: Politics

Republican committees have already sunk nearly $1.3 million into Trump-owned businesses this year

5 hours 34 min ago

The Republican National Committee's latest payment of $122,000 for an event last month at Trump International Hotel in Washington is just the beginning of the cash that has been funneled straight into Trump-owned businesses by the GOP this year. The Washington Post writes:

At least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties and the Republican Governors Association have together spent more than $473,000 at Trump hotels or golf resorts this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance filings. Trump’s companies collected an additional $793,000 from the RNC and the president’s campaign committee, some of which included payments for rent and legal consulting.

The nearly $1.3 million spent by Republican political committees at Trump entities in 2017 has helped boost his company at a time when business is falling off at some core properties. Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., lost at least 10 of the 16 galas or dinner events it had been scheduled to host next winter in the wake of Trump’s controversial response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Great. So Republican coffers are propping up Trump's Florida resort even as the free market sends a message that his handling of the Charlottesville violence was repulsive. However, one property that isn't suffering any blowback is Trump's D.C. hotel, where Republican hoo-has go to curry favor with Trump.

Trump International, whose room rates appear to be the most expensive in the city, generated nearly $2 million in profit in its first four months, as The Washington Post previously reported.

In late June, an estimated 300 Trump supporters attended a $35,000-a-person RNC fundraiser at the ornate hotel, raising a reported $10 million for the party and Trump’s reelection committee. [...]

One of the biggest spenders has been Trump’s reelection committee, which has shelled out nearly $15,000 for lodging there, filings show.

But of course—all that money Trump supporters have given to re-elect this bozo is going straight back into his pocket. #MAGA

Categories: Politics

Trump sycophant Katrina Pierson says that slavery is a part of America's 'good history'

6 hours 18 min ago

Less than a week after Donald Trump doubled down on his defense of Nazis and the KKK, insisting that some of them are “fine people,” his former campaign spokesperson offers more alternative facts for us to ponder. According to Katrina Pierson, slavery is part of America’s “good history,” and therefore Confederate monuments should be left as they are. 

In an interview Monday morning on Fox and Friends, she insisted that slavery makes the United States the very special place it is today. 

“Those monuments have been there for a very long time and suddenly Nancy Pelosi wants to actually help these anarchists and these violent protesters tear down pieces of America, American culture and American history,” she said. “Americans actually love their history, their culture, good and bad, because it helps them learn and it helps keep people educated about why America is so great to begin with.” [...]

“It absolutely deserves a place because bad history is still good history for this country,” Pierson said.

“Slavery is good?” [Wendy Osefo, a professor at Johns Hopkins University] asked.

“Considering where we are today, where we are today. Absolutely,” Pierson said.

Pierson went on to insist that the statues should stand so that children can learn how the Civil War makes the country special and wonderful. And she’s completely serious. She also clearly has no knowledge of history whatsoever—but that doesn’t stop her from talking. 

The lies and lack of critical thinking coming from Trump’s supporters defy logic. They are literally rewriting history to make slave owners and Nazis the good guys. It’s bad enough that they’ve made the country a laughingstock around the world. Now, they are paving the way for genocide and murder of ethnic minorities to be rewarded. We are only 213 days into this administration and every day they manage to sink lower. It’s hard to imagine what’s next. 

Watch the entire exchange here

Categories: Politics

Trump to address the nation to reveal his Afghanistan strategy

6 hours 32 min ago

Will Donald Trump decide to MOAB the entire country? Give it to the Russians? Or can we look forward to recycling the results of a two decade war into the Trump Kabul 18,000 hole golf course? America will find out tonight on Apprentice: Presidential Edition.

President Donald Trump will use a nationally televised address to outline for a war-weary nation the strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan after 16 years of combat and lives lost. ...

Trump tweeted Saturday that he had reached a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan, a day after he reviewed war options with his national security team at a meeting at Camp David, Maryland. The president offered no clues about whether he would send thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan or exercise his authority as commander in chief to order that they be withdrawn from America's longest war.

America will get an opportunity to contrast Trump’s new strategy, with Trump’s well-reasoned old strategy.

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For once, let’s hope he didn’t rethink this.

Categories: Politics

Steve Bannon stayed at the White House to advise Trump on how to coddle Nazis

7 hours 29 min ago

Steve Bannon was all set to get a graceful boot in the ass back in July as new Chief of Staff John Kelly made Trump’s most special adviser an offer he couldn’t refuse.

John F. Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, told Stephen K. Bannon in late July that he needed to go: No need for it to get messy, Mr. Kelly told Mr. Bannon, according to several people with firsthand knowledge of the exchange. 

But while Kelly kindly offered to have Bannon escorted off the premises without the use of whips and chains, Donald Trump’s latest dive into overtly supporting white supremacy interfered with the chief’s plan.

As Mr. Trump struggled last week to contain a growing public furor over his response to a deadly, race-fueled melee in Virginia, Mr. Bannon clashed with Mr. Kelly over how the president should respond. Give no ground to your critics, Mr. Bannon urged the president, with characteristic truculence.

So Steve Bannon hung around the White House to give Donald Trump extra-special stick-with-team-Nazi advice. The Monday appearance in which Trump dutifully—and with obvious reluctance—read from a text that condemns white supremacists, was all Kelly. The Tuesday appearance, where Trump let rip on the shocking fact that people opposed Nazis without a permit and maintained that a torch-wielding mob contained “many fine people,” was bolstered by the keen insight of Steve Bannon.

Bannon managed to alienate everyone in the White House, including Trump. But when it came time to deal with the alt-Reich, he was Trump’s most valued asset.

Categories: Politics

Cartoon: Crisis of the week

7 hours 39 min ago

I understand that there are multiple Trump crises in any given week, but I thought that “Crisis of the Week” was punchier than “Crisis of the Last Day and a Half,” or maybe “Crisis of the Last Twelve Hours.”  

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If you missed out on the big Kickstarter compilation last year, IDW has just published an expanded second edition of 25 Years of Tomorrow, featuring every TMW cartoon from the strip’s earliest days through the election of Donald Trump.

Categories: Politics

Some of the best eclipse links you'll need all in one place

7 hours 59 min ago

Eclipse 2017 is on and here are some last minute links to help your eclipse experience! You may not be in the path of totality, but rest assured, if you are in the lower 48 you’ll notice some cool lighting changes and probably notice a strange, twilight chill creep over the landscape.

  • Time Magazine comes through with a really useful a tool showing how the eclipse will look from any ZIP code and dials in the exact local times over which it transpires. The whole thing takes an hour or two from the time the moon fist touches the sun to when it completely clears, depending on location.
  • Not to be outdone, for you more veteran, technical eclipsers, there are numerous interactive graphics using Google maps like this that show local times and places.
  • Twitter will probably be where the best netizen pics of crowds and sky first appear, and it looks like the most popular general tags initially will be #Eclipse2017 and #EclipseSolar2017.

It’s not the end of the world, but it may look like it. So remember to think ahead and be safe, not just when your eyes are turned up at the spectacle, but driving and standing on roads, especially before and after, as tens of millions of people make a last minute dash to get as close to totality as possible. And if you plan to visit Daily Kos and share the once in a lifetime experience, keep an eye for eclipse diaries under the recent diary and recommended list in the right margins of the site.

Happy Eclipse 2017 viewing Kossacks!

Categories: Politics

Donald Trump drains Secret Service budget, agents go without pay

8 hours 32 min ago

Providing protection for Donald Trump’s frequent trips, his New York home, and an unprecedented number of people in his extended family, has been a huge drain on the Secret Service. Agents have hit overtime limits, and annual budgets have been burned through in only seven months, leaving no funds to pay agents following Trump on his extended vacation. As reported by USA Today ...

Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex'' Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year. …

Under Trump, 42 people have protection, a number that includes 18 members of his family.

The agency is covering not just every golf outing for Trump, but the travels of Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Ivanka, Tiffany, and … obviously quite a few more. Following the Trump family around is soaking up the Secret Service budget at a breakneck pace. But the biggest cost is the one that’s used the most often.

The president's jaunts to Mar-a-Lago are estimated to cost at least $3 million each, based on a General Accounting Office estimate for similar travel by former President Obama. The Secret Service has spent some $60,000 on golf cart rentals alone this year to protect Trump at both Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster.

Now, Congress has to act to expand the agency, up the budget, and authorize additional pay for agents who are now working overtime for free.

Categories: Politics

Cheers and Jeers: Monday

9 hours 15 min ago

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Monday Margaret and Helen Blogging

The blogosphere's feistiest octogenarians have a few post-Charlottesville words for Lord Dampnut. Helen Philpot writes…

No, Mr. President.  There were not many sides in Charlottesville.  There were just two. Right and wrong. There were white supremacists on one side and Americans who believe all people are created equal on the other side.  There were hate groups and there were Americans who oppose hate. There were neo-Nazis and… Do we really have to go beyond that? Isn’t that what we call a non-starter?  There were Nazis you stupid piece of shit and still that wasn’t clear enough for you?  Really?  You couldn’t even get this one right? On one side there were Nazis and on the other there were no Nazis, and you still came down on the wrong side? […]

Margaret and Helen blog photo True fact: their battleship is a rental.

Everyone wants to claim that we need to get back to the issues that Trump ran on.  We are quick to say that the majority of Trump voters were voting because of the economy. Well pardon my French but in this case the bullshit is both walking and talking.  This is exactly the issue he ran on.  He kicked off his campaign accusing immigrants from Mexico as being rapists and murderers.  The Republican Party owns this.  If you are a Republican today, you condone this.

Hillary Clinton called them a basket of deplorables. I prefer to call them a confederacy of dunces.  My heart goes out to Charlottesville and to this great country of ours as we suffer this fool of a man who was too stupid to know he was too stupid to be President. I mean it. Really.

Read the whole piece, including Margaret's coup de grâce, here. God only knows what we're in for this week. Hold onto your butts.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Radio is ALL-NEW at 9 AM ET!

9 hours 29 min ago

Firmly planted in the Path of Totality today, but with twice the number of screaming kids in the house, there was no chance of finding a quiet place for a live show this Monday. And really, I might just have let you all enjoy the ambience along with me, but the reality is that the kids don’t just want to scream. They want pancakes. And waffles. And ice cream. And pancakesandwafflesandicecream!

And so do I, really. Everyone's excited!

I mean, Trump sucks and stuff. But we’re excited!

And you’re excited, too! So I’m not gonna just leave you hanging. We’ve got another brand-new show for you today, catching up on new details about the wild happenings of the past few days, continued fallout from Charlottesville, Bannon’s “exit,” and more.

If I might be so bold: great listening while you get ready for the big celestial event.

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

Hello. Do you think the world has gone crazy? Well, so do we. That’s why we get up early each weekday morning to say so on Daily Kos Radio.

There’s no better way to start the day than by commiserating with Daily Kos editors David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando.

Wait! We can prove it! Take our latest show for a FREE test drive. Then, after you decide you love it so much you can’t live without it, click on the links below the player to contribute and help sustain the progressive podcast that kept people sane, even on The Day After: Nov. 9, 2016! Now that’s value!

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So, you thought David Waldman went “on vacation”? KITM is vacation, for all of us to get away from all of this by shouting WTF together. So David felt obligated to record a new almost-live show to help us over this weekend: For Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, vacation and work also blend together, so much so that it is hard to tell when they are working at all. Don’t bother Ivanka, or any Trump, for any non-self-serving effort anymore, they’re all too busy. Donald Trump warns “You can’t change history” by eliminating Confederate statues. Condoleezza F’ing Rice agrees. True, the statues themselves attempted to eliminate the uncomfortable history of the Dred Scott decision,  Jim Crow laws,  civil rights, and Robert E. Lee, but how could we teach history without statues? And, does anyone ever consider the beauty of monuments? Donald, a lover of history, believe me, loved historical monuments so much he erected fake ones at his clubs. He loved historical beauty so much he… OK, that feeling might be only recent. Heather Heyer’s mom won't speak with Trump, for good reason. Another disrupter of the very fine people rally suffered a stroke because of injuries inflicted upon him. But what about the real victims? Like the White Nationalist fired from the Libertarian hotdog place? Or the crying virgin nazi-boy? Or the Victim in Chief himself? He really needs an adoration rally right now, and Phoenix’s mayor wants to withhold this most important thing, just to avoid death and destruction. Bannon bets Scaramucci that he can call a reporter, say dumbass things, and still keep his job. (He lost.)

(Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary! Please help me pay him more!)

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: Facing difficult 2018 map, Nevada GOP resorts to recalls to win back state Senate

9 hours 29 min ago

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, and David Beard.

Leading off

NV State Senate: Shady GOP antics are afoot in the Silver State.

Nevada Republicans are, understandably, less than thrilled about losing what had been a slim 11-10 majority to the Democrats in the 2016 elections. The loss of Senate control coincided with a dramatic power shift towards Democrats in the state Assembly, where Republicans went from a 24-15 majority (plus one Libertarian) to a 17-25 minority overnight last fall. And one senator added insult to the GOP’s new minority-status injury by leaving the Republican caucus a few days after the election, declaring herself an independent and caucusing with Democrats, giving them an effective 12-9 majority in the state Senate. Only GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval stands between Republicans and relative political irrelevance in the state.​

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​Republicans theoretically have a chance for a comeback next year, but their electoral prospects are less than sunny in the upper chamber. In 2018, the half of the state Senate that wasn’t on the ballot last fall is up for election. Unfortunately for the GOP, however, the 10 Senate seats going before voters next year include only three districts currently held by Democrats, all of whom survived the rather difficult 2014 cycle with strong performances. The most viable pickup “opportunity” for Republicans is to replace party-switcher Patricia Farley in a seat where Clinton edged Trump 48-47. But that only matters if they can successfully play defense, because one Republican incumbent on the ballot next fall currently occupies a seat Clinton carried easily (52-43), giving Democrats an opportunity to further expand their majority.

So, faced with a tough election cycle, Republicans could attempt to do things like recruit great candidates, raise a ton of money, or resign themselves to working cooperatively with their Democratic colleagues for the next three years to advance policies that move Nevada forward.

Instead, Republicans are trying to trigger election do-overs in three districts: two in seats they lost last fall and one in a competitive district they worry they can’t win in a general election. The third senator they’re trying to recall—Farley, who now caucuses with Democrats—isn’t even running for re-election, but Republicans are clearly worried they won’t pick her open seat back up.

Categories: Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Statues and statutes in the spotlight

10 hours 10 min ago

NY Times on race, statues and the VA gubernatorial race:

Charlottesville and Trump’s Response Reshape Virginia Gubernatorial Race

Many in the political middle here fault Mr. Trump for effectively weaponizing the conversation.

“We need a rational debate, but I’m afraid the emotion of the moment after what Trump did just destroyed the opportunity for that discussion,” said Mr. Deeds, who did not criticize Mr. Northam but made clear he thinks localities should be free to decide the monument issue.

Yet much like the aftermath of the 2015 rampage by a white supremacist in a South Carolina black church, there is an impulse in Virginia to take a tangible step toward healing.

“This state is no longer a history lesson suspended in animation,” Mr. Sabato said. “This was a disaster for Virginia, and people want to put a period on it.”

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Conservatives are convinced statue and monument discussions are a win for them. Don’t be so sure. Context matters, and as many begin to come down (and many already have), watch the VA Gov. race for a better sense of where we are at. It’s a moment the way the S.C. flag was, and things may be politically possible that weren’t a week ago.

There’s a plus and a minus side to anything Trump champions, but remember, the discussion is about Nazis and white supremacists. Not Antifa, not statues. Nazis. And if Nazis love those statues, that tells you what you need to know.

Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls: Trump disbands National Climate Assessment panel

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 22:42

The Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment is a group of scientists and government officials tasked with assisting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in their production, every four years, of the federal document analyzing the current and predicted effect of climate change on our nation’s infrastructure, agriculture, and citizens. The Assessment is intended as a roadmap not for preventing climate change, but dealing with its unavoidable consequences; the advisory panel’s role is to help guide the government’s continued efforts so as to best include key stakeholders—that is, the public and private groups that must then plan for those changes—and identifying data and processes that would be most useful to those groups.

As of tomorrow, that advisory panel will no longer exist.

The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel. [...]

While many state and local officials have pressed the federal government for more concrete guidance on how to factor climate change into future infrastructure, President Trump has moved in the opposite direction. Last week, the president signed an executive order on infrastructure that included language overturning a federal requirement that projects built in coastal floodplains and receiving federal aid take projected sea-level rise into account.

Committee members intend to continue working on their final report, which will now be released independently of the federal government.

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A condensed package for your friends, acquaintances, and any relatives you have who aren’t neo-Confederates or otherwise right wing, but still don’t understand why these Rebel monuments should be melted down or turned into gravel. 

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2002Chickenhawks push war:

But the fools in our country's governing junta see things differently. For them, war is a political tool, to be wielded when expedient. It's no surprise that almost none of the "invade Iraq" cabal have served: Bush, Cheney, DeLay, Wolfowitz, Perle, Fleischer, Rice, Barnes, Hannity, Kristol, Lieberman, and the master tactician himself -- Rove (Rumsfeld is the exception).

On the other hand, the veteran contingent in both parties have led the anti-war effort -- Powell, Hagel, Kerry (MA), Scowcraft, Schwarzkopf, Clark, and the entire uniformed cadre at the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Armey is the exception). This is significant.

As Perle has said, this war is no longer about achieving any notable strategic considerations. It's no longer a military campaign. It's a political effort, all about saving face:

"The failure to take on Saddam after what the president said would produce such a collapse of confidence in the president that it would set back the war on terrorism.”

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Categories: Politics

Elizabeth Warren at Netroots Nation 2017: A clarion call for coalition politics

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 21:31

Read this:

Me, I’ve been shouting about this crisis from every rooftop I could find for years – talking about how our middle class was squeezed to the breaking point, how chances to move up in this economy were disappearing, and warning that, if we weren’t careful, the very promise of this nation—the commitment to expand opportunities—would be lost.

That’s the fight that got me into politics. That’s the fight that brought me to my very first Netroots all those years ago.

How about you? By applause: Who got into the fight because they were passionate about economic justice? Who came to fight for reproductive rights? How about clean air and clean water? How about immigration? Civil rights? Human rights? Anti-war? Campaign finance reform? Net neutrality? Any other bankruptcy nerds in the house?

That’s one of the things I love about coming to Netroots. We all came to this fight from different experiences. We all get fired up about different issues.

But if we’re going to be the people who lead the Democratic Party back from the wilderness and lead our country out of this dark time, then we can’t waste energy arguing about whose issue matters most or who in our alliance should be voted off the island.

We need to see each other’s fights as our own. And I believe we can.

In the wake of the last election, I’ve heard people say we need to decide whether we’re the party of the white working class or the party of Black Lives Matter.

I say we can care about a dad who’s worried that his kid will have to move away from their factory town to find good work – and we can care about a mom who’s worried that her kid will get shot during a traffic stop.

The way I see it, those two parents have something deep down in common—the system is rigged against both of them—and against their kids.

Those are the words of Elizabeth Warren, delivered at Netroots Nation 2017. They resound so strongly that I hope every Democrat, progressive, Green, socialist—everyone across our left spectrum reads them and thinks about them. They represent the way forward for the Democratic Party, and for progressives.

Categories: Politics