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Updated: 28 min 30 sec ago

Bannon rallies the GOP base against McConnell's establishment: 'This is our war'

8 hours 6 min ago

Heading into his big Monday meeting with Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got a nice shout out from his nemesis Steve Bannon. The Associated Press writes:

Steve Bannon, back at Breitbart News after helping Trump win the presidency and serving in the West Wing, is committed to dumping McConnell, R-Ky. In a speech to religious conservatives Saturday, Bannon put on notice some of those incumbents who are at risk of a challenge from his flank of the party. He said the lawmakers possibly can avoid that wrath if they disavow McConnell and meet other conditions.

“This is our war,” Bannon said. “The establishment started it. ...You all are gonna finish it.”

The White House wasn't offering much pre-meeting love either.

The senators’ weeklong recess also drew criticism from the White House: “They’re on another vacation right now. I think that we would all be a lot better off if the Senate would stop taking vacations, and start staying here until we actually get some real things accomplished,” Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said.

Trump piled on the misery of Senate Republicans at a Monday morning cabinet meeting, saying pointedly, "They're not getting the job done." But by Monday afternoon, he gave a whiplash performance alongside McConnell in the Rose Garden, assuring reporters that he was totally lockstep with Senate Republicans.

If you want to help inflict some pain on Senate Republicans in 2018, please give $3 to defeat our top Senate targets by clicking right here.
Categories: Politics

Trump campaign spent $1 million on lawyers in just three months

8 hours 43 min ago

Donald Trump promised he’d create jobs as president. He didn’t mention they’d mostly be jobs for lawyers representing himself and his son in the investigation into Trump campaign collusion with Russia:

The $1.1 million the campaign spent on lawyers during the third quarter of the year is nearly double what the president's fundraising committee spent on legal fees during the previous three-month period, campaign reports filed Sunday show. They include more than $237,900 to Alan Futerfas, the New York lawyer representing Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, in the Russia probes.

Another $30,000 went to Williams & Jensen, which also has helped the younger Trump in the investigation.

Yes, it’s legal, because Junior was representing the campaign, so it’s a campaign expense.

While the Trump campaign is spending a ton of money on lawyers, it’s raising a whole lot more money, so if he’s still in office at that point he’ll be going to go into 2020 with a major financial advantage over his opponents.

Categories: Politics

College presidents call for DREAM Act vote: 'These young people belong here'

8 hours 44 min ago

The presidents of George Mason University, Georgetown University, Montgomery College, and Northern Virginia Community College have penned a joint op-ed calling on Congress to pass legislation to protect undocumented immigrant youth and students, writing that “we believe, as presidents of colleges and universities, it is imperative that we protect these young people through the passage of the DREAM Act...we cannot ignore the joy they bring to our communities and the degree to which we are strengthened by their presence”:

They have grown up here in America. They’ve gone to grade school, middle school and high school with our children. They are student body presidents, medical students and doctoral candidates. Some serve in high school ROTC and volunteer in their churches. Others help single parents raising younger siblings and tutor their peers as they prepare for college. They are members of our communities.  They have done all the things we expect of our young people, and for their efforts so many have been able to earn places on our college campuses. They want — and deserve — the chance to continue learning and living in America without the constant fear of deportation.

The Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. area is home to approximately 23,000 DACA recipients, and “almost half of all DACA recipients are in school or pursuing a college degree,” according to the op-ed. Nationally, one survey estimates that 45 percent of DACA recipients are in school, with 72 percent of those pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher. “A robust 94 percent said that, because of DACA, ‘I pursued educational opportunities that I previously could not.’”

Undocumented immigrant youth aren’t just tomorrow’s leaders, they’ve already been leading for years, and our nation should embrace them on paper, not kick them out of the only home they’ve ever known.

Categories: Politics

Trump and McConnell assure everyone things are copacetic: 'We are together totally'

8 hours 49 min ago

There's no way to overstate what a show of desperation took place in the Rose Garden Monday afternoon during a joint press conference between Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

For his part, Trump touted how many tremendous successes he's had—including an "A+" rating from a former Clinton administration official on the administration's response to hurricane relief. But after bragging about his work on judicial nominations—which he boasted "will set records" then moments later said Democrats were "holding up beyond comprehension" (yes, one second, Trump was having tremendous success and, the next second, Democrats were blocking him at every turn)—Trump managed to finally say what they were really there for.

"Just so you understand, the Republican party is very very unified," he said, pointing the finger at Democrats for the GOP majority’s every failure. "When we get things approved, we have to go through hell because we have no Democrat support."

Oh, so perhaps Trump hasn't had quite as much success as he claimed, just a whole lot of “hell.” Anyway, after Trump was predictably all over the place—Puerto Rico, taxes, health care, Democrats—McConnell stepped to the mic to whittle Trump’s blunt instrument into a fine point.

"I think what the president and I would both like to say to you today, contrary to what some of you may have reported, we are together totally on this agenda to move America forward."

Okay, so Trump and McConnell are in it together today. It's only a matter of time, folks.

McConnell also conveniently made sure to tag Trump's appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch as "the single most significant thing this president has done to change America." In other words, forget all our failures, Trump's most important accomplishment is also the ONE thing we in the Senate have managed to do. He’s not wrong, in many ways. But touting your only major accomplishment as the most important accomplishment is like declaring that mud is mud.

Categories: Politics

'Deranged animal' Trump lies about calling families of troops killed in action

8 hours 57 min ago

Donald Trump showed just how much he honors America’s troops on Monday when asked about the four U.S. soldiers killed in an ISIS ambush in Niger a week ago. Trump said he had written letters to the soldiers’ families which would go out … soon. And he’d get around to calling the families “at some point during the period of time.”

But according to Trump, Trump is way ahead of the presidential curve, because “the traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I’m able to do it.” That’s right, folks, Donald Trump is The Most Empathetic President Ever who has broken with tradition by calling the families of troops killed in action. Or, as a former White House deputy chief of staff put it:


When reporters followed up on Trump’s claim that Obama never made those difficult phone calls, Trump responded “President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn't, I don't know, that's what I was told.” Okay, sure, you deranged animal.

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: Impeachment, Russian trolls and Florida Man

8 hours 59 min ago
  • Today’s comic by Tom Tomorrow is The man from the past:
Cartoon by Tom Tomorrow - The man from the past

  • What you missed on Sunday Kos …
  • If you have any dirt and are in need of $10 million, PLEASE respond:

Hustler founder Larry Flynt is running a full-page ad in Sunday’s Washington Post offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the impeachment of President Trump, Fox Business reports.

For some Russian trolls, “House of Cards” was real life.

A man identified only as “Maxsim,” who said he worked for a troll factory formerly known as the Internet Research Agency in 2015, told TV station Rain that employees were taught about the American political system by Frank and Claire Underwood.

The agency was also linked to a Russian social media campaign that pretended to be associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

A man who was arrested after police mistook the glaze on his Krispy Kreme doughnut for crystal meth has received a $37,500 settlement.

Daniel Rushing, 64, sued the city of Orlando after he was arrested in December 2015 on drug charges. Law enforcement had spotted four small flakes of glaze on his floorboard and thought they were pieces of crystal methamphetamine.

  • Remember, this is the guy charged with bringing peace to the Middle East:

The federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos.

Within the next two weeks, the National Archives is legally obligated to release the last of thousands of secret documents from government files about the assassination, most of them from the CIA, the FBI and the Justice Department. [...]

The CIA has not confirmed or denied reports that it has appealed to Trump to block the release of some of the files on grounds that the documents might still somehow endanger national security if made public. 

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin feeds our weekend Trumpster fire headline habit. Fox News = Weinstein Co. (and the Trump Org.). Sex trafficking operations that used TV/film production to pay the costs of the boss’s molestation habits. How & why Facebook ruined America.

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Categories: Politics

Seven out of 10 Americans are telling Trump he's delusional on Obamacare sabotage

9 hours 10 min ago

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Popular vote loser Donald Trump still seems to be operating under the assumption that no one is going to blame him when he destroys Obamacare. On this, as on most things, Trump is delusional.

Seven in ten Americans (71 percent) think President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work while one in five (21 percent) say they should do what they can to make the law fail so they can replace it later. The vast majority of Democrats (93 percent) say the Trump administration should do what they can to make the law work, as do about three-fourths (74 percent) of independents. Republicans are more divided in their opinions of what the Trump administration should do next. About half of Republicans (48 percent) say President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the law work while 43 percent of Republicans say the administration should do what they can to make the law fail.

Now, the Kaiser Family Foundation didn't ask people whether they thought Democrats in Congress should do what they can to make the current health care law work, because Democrats in Congress can't do that. They can do everything in their power to try and force Trump to do the job a president is supposed to do—faithfully uphold the law—but that's about it. This is all on Trump and his fellow Republicans.

By the way, Obamacare gets majority support in this survey, again, with 51 percent of respondents in favor of the law.

Categories: Politics

Day 16 since Children's Health funding expired, and 2 weeks until Nevada freezes enrollments

9 hours 37 min ago

Campaign Action

Unless the Children's Health Insurance Program is reauthorized in the next two weeks, Nevada is probably going to be forced to freeze enrollments in the program, meaning no more families will be able to get health care for their sick kids.

The state is preparing to be completely out of federal funding for the program in about six weeks. The state budgeted for the money, so if it doesn't come, they will have to have a special legislative session to try to figure out how to continue coverage for kids. Nevada isn't the only state facing disaster. All of them are, just maybe not as immediately as Nevada.

Meanwhile, the House is out on recess for a week. And House Republicans are continuing to hold CHIP hostage, demanding damaging and untenable cuts to public health and to Medicare in exchange.

"It's clear that House Republicans want to use reauthorization of children's health insurance and Community Health Centers as a way to further undermine the Affordable Care Act and weaken Medicare," [Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) ranking member on Energy and Commerce] said.

"Republicans remain fixated on sabotaging the ACA anyway they can. I reject the premise that we can only offer health care to children by taking it away from others, and, to date, Republicans refuse to budge in that regard."

Republicans want to cut public health funding included in Obamacare and put more means-testing on Medicare premiums. Those are obscene negotiating demands. They are made even more obscene by the fact that the highest priority Republicans now have is giving the top 1 percent more than $200,00 average in tax cuts every year. Which don't have to be paid for.

Categories: Politics

Trump has nominated at least six 'explicitly anti-LGBTQ activists' to federal judgeships

9 hours 43 min ago

This is a profoundly anti-LGBT administration through and through, and what should scare us even more is that Donald Trump is attempting to stack federal judgeships with hate mongers who will continue to issue decisions harmful to LGBT communities long after he’s hopefully sent packing from office:

A transgender first grade student is part of “Satan’s plan,” according to Jeff Mateer, a lawyer that Donald Trump wants to put on the federal bench. Mateer also defended “conversion therapy,” which claims to reduce same-sex attraction, and warned that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy, bestiality, and whatever the word is for a person marrying a plant.

If a same-sex couple is allowed to marry, Mateer claimed in a 2015 speech, “why couldn’t four people wanna get married? Why not one man and three women? Or three women and one man?” Then his speech got weirder. “There are people who marry themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets.”

Why is it that anti-LGBT extremists always jump to the most grotesque and twisted conclusions? If you want to talk threats to the sanctity of marriage, perhaps start with a president who has five children from three women. And Mateer isn’t even the most rotten apple in the barrel, with Think Progress identifying “at least half-a-dozen Trump judicial nominees with explicitly anti-LGBTQ records.”

Categories: Politics

Pruitt: If you want the EPA to enforce its own rules, you'll have to take us all the way to court

9 hours 57 min ago

Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency head, Scott Pruitt, has found another way to gut the agency’s mission. Deriding the EPA’s practice of settling lawsuits brought by environmental groups trying to get it to enforce its own rules as “Sue & Settle,” Pruitt said the EPA wouldn’t be doing that anymore. 

The rule change could force environmental groups to spend much more time and effort on lawsuits aimed at making the EPA enforce its own rules and abide by agreed-upon timelines—spreading them thinner and making it harder for them to expend effort on other, more complicated cases. The EPA’s decision to refuse to reimburse lawyers’ fees also could be costly to environmental groups, as well as make it harder and less likely for average citizens and localities to undertake lawsuits to get the EPA to do what it’s legally required to do. [...]

The new memorandum formalizes a position of fighting every lawsuit tooth-and-nail that Pruitt had announced early in his tenure at the EPA. Back in February, he’d promised he wouldn’t allow “regulation through litigation.” The Justice Department also has stopped negotiating settlements that end up with payments to outside groups to cover attorneys’ or other fees.

In short, if you want the government to follow the rules, you had better have great lawyers and deep pockets, because you’re going to court. The Sierra Club fired back:

“Scott Pruitt and his polluter cronies continue to perpetrate lies about the law as an excuse for refusing enforcing it — but when it comes to the law, the truth has a way of catching up with you,” Sierra Club Environmental Law Program Director Pat Gallagher said in a statement. “If Pruitt thinks that by frivolously litigating deadline cases he will deter the Sierra Club or other citizen groups from holding him accountable in court, he should think again – we will not be deterred.”

But unless its donors step up in a big way—huge—even the Sierra Club is going to end up finding its resources strained in the fight to keep the Trump EPA from turning into the EDA (Environmental Destruction Agency).

Categories: Politics

Trump still silent about actual American soldiers who died on his watch

10 hours 6 min ago

Donald Trump has his priorities.

One Week in Donald Trump's Twitter Feed Attacking Promoting Bragging About Free Press — 13 tweets Fox News — 4 tweets Himself — 8 tweets Democrats — 8 tweets Other Trumps — 3 tweets Stock Market — 7 tweets Healthcare — 6 tweets GOP candidates — 2 tweets Puerto Rico — 4 tweets Tax cuts — 2 tweets NFL — 4 tweets Las Vegas — 1 tweet Iran Treaty — 4 tweets Hillary Clinton — 1 tweet North Korea — 1 tweet Government — 1 tweet

While 69 tweets may seem like a lot, it clearly wasn’t enough to say anything about Puerto Rico other than how bad things were before the storms, or to say anything at all about the wildfires raging across California. 

Also missing in action on these tweets: any mention of American soldiers who were killed more than one week ago in Niger.

On Saturday October 7, the day the body of 25-year-old Army Sgt. La David Johnson was returned to Dover Air Force Base after he was killed in an ISIS ambush in Niger, President Donald Trump was golfing. It's not known if the President ever planned to attend the return of remains ceremony at Dover as he has in the past. But since the ambush on October 4 in Niger, he has not commented publicly on the deadliest combat incident involving US troops since he took office.

Trump has continued to carve out a slot between tee times for complaining about the NFL’s “disrespect” for soldiers. But he hasn’t freed up one second to discuss actual Green Berets actually dying on his watch.

Categories: Politics

Trump opened up a barrel of legal worms with his Obamacare sabotage

10 hours 40 min ago

Campaign Action

The attorneys general of eighteen states and the District of Columbia are now suing the Trump administration over his decision to suspend cost-sharing reduction payments, required by the Affordable Care Act, to health insurers to make health care more affordable for low-income people.

"By refusing to make the CSR reimbursement payments mandated by the ACA and its permanent appropriation," the states argue in their filing, "the President and the Secretaries are deliberately seeking to undermine, rather than faithfully execute, the ACA." It's entirely possible that health insurers will also file suit, as they are still required by the law to provide the subsidies to customers and the government is withholding the funds they're supposed to use to do that.

But there's another suit pending that could very well thwart Trump's sabotage of the CSR payments, ironically the suit that Trump is using as the excuse for his action.

For years, Republicans have argued that Congress never properly authorized the payments when it passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, because it did not appropriate specific funds for them. The GOP-led House filed a lawsuit to that effect in 2014, and last year, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in agreement, declaring the payments illegal but keeping them flowing pending an Obama administration appeal. In August, with the administration out of power, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Democratic attorneys general could instead defend the subsidies in court. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has indicated that he will continue to pursue that litigation, but that Friday’s filing, seeking the injunction, will take precedence. Given that Collyer's punitive ruling came as a surprise to many legal observers, it's likely that other judges will disagree with her interpretation of the law.
Categories: Politics

Trump on GOP healthcare fails: 'We're not getting the job done. And I'm not going to blame myself.'

10 hours 53 min ago

Campaign Action

Donald Trump showed just how much manure a lazy out-of-shape old man can shovel in a minute and a half at a cabinet meeting on Monday, from his own relationships with Senate Republicans to health care:

Despite what the press writes, I have great relationships with actually many senators, but in particular with most Republican senators. But we're not getting the job done. And I'm not going to blame myself. I'll be honest. They are not getting the job done.

We’re not—oh, who am I kidding, it’s not me, it’s them. But I have great relationships with them, the losers who are not getting the job done.

We’ve had health care approved and then you had the surprise vote by John McCain. We’ve had other things happen and they’re not getting the job done. And I can understand where Steve Bannon’s coming from and I can understand, to be honest with you John, I can understand where a lot of people are coming from. Because I’m not happy about it and a lot of people aren’t happy about it.

“Health care” by which he means the destruction of the system was approved except that it was not approved because of that one surprise vote that came in addition to the other two Republican votes that were not surprises. And it sure sounds like even if Bannon is no longer Trump’s top adviser, he has Trump’s approval in making war on the Republican establishment.

We need tax cuts. We need health care. Now, we’re going to get the health care done. In my opinion what’s happening is as we meet, Republicans are meeting with Democrats because of what I did with the CSRs, because I cut off the gravy train. If I didn’t cut the CSRs they wouldn’t be meeting, they’d be having lunch and enjoying themselves, all right? They’re right now having emergency meetings to get a short-term fix on health care, where premiums don’t have to double and triple like they’ve been doing under Obamacare.

Categories: Politics

Congressman Johnson: Pass the DREAM Act for future doctors like Cinthya

10 hours 56 min ago
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The dreams of Atlanta teen Cinthya Moran, who is dually enrolled in high school and college classes, stand to get derailed if Congress does not move on a passing the bipartisan DREAM Act, Congressman Hank Johnson writes. An estimated 100 DACA recipients are enrolled in medical schools around the country—including Denisse Rojas, who recently addressed Congress—and Cinthya is striving to join them:

As an aspiring cardiovascular surgeon, Cinthya took her studies seriously – accumulating a 3.8 GPA by staying up nights and studying – pushing herself to work twice as hard.

But now her dreams of becoming a doctor could be shattered forever.

That’s because Cinthya is one of about 800,000 DREAMers nationwide – young children brought to this country by their parents.

Thanks to President Trump’s craven decision to reverse the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program or DACA, Cinthya’s contributions and those of hundreds of thousands of other DREAMers to our community and country could come to an end.

Cinthya, 100 DACA medical students, and 800,000 others are at risk of being torn from the only country they’ve ever known as home following Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III announcing the end of the program. And despite Donald Trump’s claim, he can’t extend a program he’s already rescinded. Protecting undocumented immigrant youth like Cinthya is now in the hands of Congress. Johnson says:

Cinthya isn’t alone. DREAMers are models of what we hope our citizens become. They go to school, join the armed forces and become productive members of society. In Georgia, the rescission of DACA could mean that 24,000 people would be deported.

It is cruel to banish people to a strange land where oftentimes they don’t know the language or culture. It’s for constituents like Cinthya that I’m proud to join my Democratic colleagues in fighting to pass the DREAM Act.

”Cinthya has the potential, vision and dedication to become a cardiovascular surgeon,” Johnson writes, “but she wonders how she will be able to apply the knowledge and skills she has acquired ‘if I’m hiding away in fear of being taken back to a country I have no memory of?’” Cinthya and 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth like her need our help. Make a call to your member of Congress today and urge a clean vote on the bipartisan DREAM Act.

Categories: Politics

GOP lawmakers and major donors warn of a 2018 'bloodbath' if they don't pass tax cuts for the rich

11 hours 33 min ago

On Face the Nation this weekend, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham mused at what will happen to Republicans in the midterms if they fail as miserably at passing tax cuts as they did at repealing health care: "We're dead."

"If we don't cut taxes and we don't eventually repeal and replace Obamacare, then we're going to lose across the board in the House in 2018," Graham said. "And all of my colleagues running in primaries in 2018 will probably get beat."

"It will be the end of Mitch McConnell as we know it," he added.

At an exclusive Koch network gathering in New York last week of 100-plus major donors, the talk was no less dire. The Washington Post's Sean Sullivan writes:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) warned that Republicans could face a “Watergate-level blowout” in the midterm elections if they don’t make major legislative strides on taxes and health care, invoking the political scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and set back the GOP considerably in subsequent elections.

“If tax reform crashes and burns, if [on] Obamacare, nothing happens, we could face a bloodbath,” said Cruz, who spoke in a moderated discussion.

Just how important is that tax cut to rich GOP donors?

Categories: Politics

Republican senator: The big premium hikes caused by Trump's Obamacare sabotage 'helps the family'

11 hours 57 min ago

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Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy teamed up with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham to create the very worst of the still-standing "replacement" plans for Obamacare, and he's still trying to make it happen. That means Cassidy must keep popular vote loser Donald Trump on his side. That also means lying like a rug about the damage Trump is inflicting on innocent Americans with his sabotage efforts.

"If you take the totality of what the president did, I think it actually helps the family," Cassidy said on "Fox News Sunday."

The Republican said Trump created an opportunity for Congress to address an "unconstitutional" requirement, and he believes "Congress should pass that short-term extension" of the payments.

"And that's exactly what the president is asking," he said. "But we absolutely have to think about that family around the kitchen table, which is why I think Congress should pass them. Republicans have been trying to do so, but with flexibility so that premiums go down."

The "flexibility" Cassidy is referring to is the ability for states to decide that insurers might not have to provide insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, or maybe that they don't have to cover all the essential benefits one expects insurance to have. That's the demand Republicans are making of Democrats in passing a guarantee that the cost savings reduction payments Trump has ended will be paid. In other words, they expect Democrats to compromise to make the Trump administration uphold the law instead of flouting it.

Premiums will not go down. The Congressional Budget Office has debunked that one repeatedly. It's a basic thing about how health insurance works that was the whole basis of our system before Obamacare. Not covering everyone equally causes premiums to skyrocket for people who have to use insurance. That's just what happens.

But that's good for "the family," Cassidy says. He's lying.

Categories: Politics

In 'momentous victory,' California governor signs bill banning creation of 'Muslim registry'

12 hours 7 min ago

On the heels of signing the most sweeping anti-deportation bill in the nation, California Jerry Brown has signed legislation blocking the creation of any so-called Muslim registry should President Trump choose to act on a proposal he repeatedly suggested during his 2016 campaign.” The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) hailed the bill, authored by one of the state Senate’s most leading pro-immigrant voices, as a "momentous victory”:

Senate Bill 31 by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) bars state and local governments from releasing personal information to the federal government for the creation of any religious list, registry or database. It also prohibits them from using resources to create their own lists.

Dubbed the California Religious Freedom Act, the bill coasted through the legislative process this year, the only proposal to gain bipartisan support from a package introduced by majority Democrats to counter Trump's policies.

In authoring the bill, Lara cited an NBC News interview in which Trump, then a presidential candidate, said there "should be a lot of systems," beyond a database, that track Muslims in the country.

As the Los Angeles Times notes, it was just a year ago “that Trump surrogates referenced Japanese internment camps from World War II as ‘precedent’ for a Muslim registry,” and since his poorly attended inauguration, Trump has stuck to his deplorable campaign promise by issuing three legally shaky bans so far on Muslims trying to enter the U.S.

In a large rally earlier this year, CAIR and more than 700 Muslim-Americans gathered in Sacramento to urge legislators to prioritize the legislation, which was also supported by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) California, and others. As the numerous Muslim bans have shown, Trump is intent on furthering his anti-Muslim attacks, but this bill is an important first step. 

"We applaud Governor Brown's commitment to preserving the civil liberties of all Californians," said CAIR-CA’s Yannina Casillas. "Today, California took a proactive stance in protecting the civil liberties and religious freedoms of all Californians. With the signing of SB 31, Californians know that our great state will stand up to any federal policy that targets vulnerable communities." 

Categories: Politics

Colin Kaepernick says NFL owners colluded against him to deny him employment and files grievance

12 hours 43 min ago

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Nearly fourteen months after beginning his protest against police brutality during NFL games, Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed. Though he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers at the end of last season, he has been unable to find a new home in the league. This is surprising based on talent alone—especially given how well he played in the preceding season. However, Kaepernick believes (like many others) that he is essentially being blackballed from football after his season-long peaceful protest. For that reason, he has filed a grievance against NFL owners, claiming they are participating in collusion.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported on what Kaepernick is looking to accomplish with the grievance:

"Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Kaepernick wants to trigger termination of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"Article 69, Section 2 of the CBA allows for the agreement to be terminated prematurely in the event of proof of collusion. Under Article 17, Section 16(c) of the CBA, termination can arise from only one incident of collusion involving only one player if there is clear and convincing evidence of a violation."

Kaepernick and his lawyer’s argument is that the owners are working to deny him employment. It does not help also that the current president of the United States has weighed in and has been giving speeches and tweeting for weeks supporting, encouraging and practically threatening owners not to tolerate peaceful protest by athletes during the national anthem. While it may fan the flames of hatred among Trump’s base and those racists who are angry with black athletes protesting injustice, it is also now being used as evidence in Kaepernick’s grievance.

Categories: Politics

Trump's pick for drug czar blocked the DEA from fighting the opioid epidemic

13 hours 8 min ago

In the middle of a deadly opioid epidemic, Congress virtually shut down a key way the Drug Enforcement Administration can stop drug companies, pharmacies, or doctors from flooding towns with prescription painkillers. Just a few years ago, the DEA was aggressively going after drug companies and pharmacies for distributing suspiciously large numbers of pills, but an April 2016 law sponsored in Congress by the man Donald Trump has nominated as his drug czar and passed by unanimous consent made that enforcement much more difficult.

A bombshell Washington Post investigative piece by Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein shows how key former DEA employees cashed in by going to work for the drug companies and more or less wrote a law sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), a law changing the standard the DEA has to meet to shut down a company’s drug shipments. The end result:

John Mulrooney, the chief DEA administrative law judge, has been documenting the falling number of immediate suspension orders against doctors, pharmacies and drug companies. That number has dropped from 65 in fiscal year 2011 to six so far this fiscal year, according to the DEA. Not a single order has targeted a distributor or manufacturer since late 2015, according to Mulrooney’s reports, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. [...]

In his article planned for the winter issue of the Marquette Law Review, Mulrooney wrote: “If it had been the intent of Congress to completely eliminate the DEA’s ability to ever impose an immediate suspension on distributors or manufacturers, it would be difficult to conceive of a more effective vehicle for achieving that goal.”

From 65 to six. For context, that late 2015 case, which is still pending, involves a company that shipped 258,000 hydrocodone pills in a single month to a single pharmacy in a town of less than 3,000 people. Stuff like that is going on but the DEA suddenly can’t find any more companies that deserve immediate suspension orders? Sure.

In the district represented by Marino, the anti-enforcement law’s sponsor and Trump’s drug czar pick:

Since 2014, the year Marino first introduced his bill, 106 people have died of opioid overdoses in Lycoming County. Over six days this summer, 53 people in the county overdosed on opioids. Three of them died.

Doesn’t that make you confident the government will be taking strong action to end the opioid crisis?

Categories: Politics

Democrats won't help Trump destroy Obamacare

13 hours 19 min ago

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Democrats are having no part of popular vote loser Donald Trump's efforts to shift the responsibility of his latest attempt to blow up Obamacare on to them and his efforts to force them into negotiations to help him destroy the law. Steve Bannon just gave them a hand, telling the whole world Trump isn't doing this for any reason other than destroying what President Obama built.

Senate Democrats are making their position very clear: they will fight to preserve the law, and all the damage Trump is knowingly doing to Americans' health care, he will own.

"In this, politically, he's in much worse shape than we are," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on a conference call with reporters Friday. "The American people, even a large number of Republicans, are on our side in terms improving the system, not destroying it. So I don't think he has much leverage to threaten or bully." […]

Democrats argue that if Trump was so concerned about the constitutional arguments against the payments, he would have stopped them as soon as he took office, rather than after watching congressional repeal efforts collapse multiple times.

"This is just creating uncertainty and instability in the markets and it's going to raise premiums and I think that everyone knows that Republicans are going to own this," a Democratic staffer of the Senate HELP committee told TPM.

There are more than a few congressional Republicans who understand the damage Trump is doing not just to the law, but to their 2018 prospects. It doesn't help when you've got Steve Bannon publicly declaring at the Values Voters Summit that the only thing Trump had in mind here is blowing the law up.

"Then you had Obamacare," Bannon said. Trump is "not gonna make the [cost-sharing reduction] payments. Gonna blow that thing up. Gonna blow those exchanges up, right?"

So much for that whole "the government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments" legal charade from the Trump team.

Categories: Politics