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Midday open thread: T-shirts, anniversaries and what's up with Canada?

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 15:01
Cartoon by Ruben Bolling -The leaked NFL memo to players on acceptable stances during the national anthem

A Georgia teacher surrounded by controversy over students wearing “Make America Great Again” T-shirts has given her resignation to school officials.

… She was put on administrative leave in September after asking two students wearing the shirts to turn them inside out. The slogan was popularized by President Donald Trump during his campaign.

The River Ridge High School math teacher says her request to the students was motivated by white nationalists who used the slogan during August’s deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia ...

Orletsky said in a statement Wednesday that threats on her life and character led her to decide on resigning.

  • A tip of the hat and a toot of the fife:
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A new law that would effectively force Muslim women who wear a niqab or burka to uncover their faces to use public services is based on a principle "the vast majority of Canadians, and not just Quebecers" can agree on, Premier Philippe Couillard said.

The Liberal government's Bill 62 on religious neutrality was passed Wednesday in Quebec's National Assembly.

Neutron stars are some of the weirdest objects in the universe. They’re small — just 15 or so miles across — but contain a mass equal to the sun. A teaspoon of neutron star weighs around 10 million tons.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Trump hits a new low. But wait five minutes! Trump & top aides retweeted Russian trolls. Super-effective propaganda + coincidence? Or collusion? Facebook & Google embedded with evil. And more on Russian trolls manipulating Americans in real space.

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Categories: Politics

Most Republican senators—and Trump—still don't know how Obamacare actually works

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 14:44

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It has come to our attention that after seven years of fighting against the Affordable Care Act and promising to repeal and replace it, many Republicans have absolutely no clue how any part of the law works. Even Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who is in Republican leadership admits it. "There is a lot of misinformation out there," he says, while conceding that the payments to insurers Donald Trump has ceased are not a bailout and do indeed save the federal government money.

Trump is particularly fond of calling these payments bailouts, and pretty much any Republican commenting on them will say the same thing. Here's the deal. They're not. A bail-out is when the government has to stop in to save a company or an industry from bankruptcy. These payments aren't that. They're reimbursement for insurance companies who are required by law to help out lower-income customers in their Obamacare plans with their deductibles and co-payments. That's part of the "affordable" in the Affordable Care Act. They're making health insurance cheaper so that more people—7 million people currently, about 58 percent of the Obamacare enrollment—can afford it.

Here's how it works. People who have incomes of 100 to 250 percent of the poverty level (just under $25,000 for individuals and $62,000 for a family of four) and who buy the standard silver plan can get the assistance. The subsidies are only available on the silver plans, the solid, middle-of-the road plans that the law sets as the benchmark. These plans pay 70 percent of covered medical costs for consumers, and the premium set for the second cheapest silver plan is the amount used by states to serve as the basis for premium subsidy calculations. These are the only plans in which enrollees can get both CSR subsides and premium subsidies. The CSRs, again, are paid by the insurance company.

Categories: Politics

The nation's 'top lawyer' has no idea how executive privilege works

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 14:28

Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn't want to answer a lot of questions during his Wednesday testimony and he used a claim of "executive privilege" to dodge many of the toughest ones. Why did Trump fire Comey? Sorry.

“Until such time as the president makes a decision with respect to this privilege, I cannot waive that privilege myself or otherwise compromised his ability to assert it,” he explained. In other words, Sessions made a de facto claim of executive privilege. He apparently doesn't understand how this works. In fact, it's been four full months since Sessions first refused to answer questions about his conversations with the Trump. “I’m protecting the president’s constitutional right by not giving it away before he has a chance to view it and weigh it,” he said.

During that June hearing, Sen. Kamala Harris pushed Sessions to specify under what legal authority he was declining to answer questions. The nation's top lawyer came up short on answers but was saved by two white male GOP colleagues who shushed the woman of color in the room asking tough questions. How dare she.

In the intervening time, Sessions hasn't done much homework. Democrats expected as much, compelling them to send our highest ranking legal authority a letter explaining that they expected him to have "determined" in advance of the hearing whether Trump was invoking executive privilege. The notion that Democrats had "demanded" a status update got Sessions a little hot under the collar. Sorry, cookie, you should have done your homework.

As it was, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse also got a little testy as he tried to explain to the nation’s attorney general how executive privilege works after Sessions finally specified that the legal authority he was using to dodge questions was a 1982 Reagan memo.

Whitehouse: Let me know if any of this has changed. That rules says that “executive privilege will be asserted only in the most compelling circumstances and shall not be invoked without specific presidential authorization.” Is that still the rule?

Sessions: Executive privilege cannot be invoked except by the president.

Whitehouse: “Congressional requests for information shall be complied with as promptly and as fully as possible, unless it is determined that compliance raises a substantial question of executive privilege.” Is that still the rule?

Sessions: That’s a good, good rule.

Categories: Politics

After college LGBTQ center opens, someone spread flyers telling LGBTQ students to kill themselves

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 13:51

Haters reportedly marked the opening of Cleveland State University’s LGBTQ student center last week by posting flyers on campus encouraging LGBTQ students to kill themselves. The graphic shows a person with a rainbow heart and a rope around their neck with the words, “Follow your fellow fa**ots” in multi-colored lettering at the top. The flyers also list incorrect statistics mocking the rate of suicide among LGBTQ people, with Splinter noting the real statistics are actually higher. Outraged CSU students went to school administrators expecting a response in support of LGBTQ students, only to be floored by President Ronald Berkman’s initial response:

The university's president Ronald Berkman called the flyers "reprehensible" but only in a second statement released after his first experienced heavy backlash.

Berkman's initial statement said CSU "remains fully committed to a campus community that respects all individuals" but is also "committed to upholding the First Amendment, even with regard to controversial issues where opinion is divided."

In a follow-up statement, Berkman said he "failed to express" his "personal outrage" over the flyers.

"While I find the message of this poster reprehensible, the current legal framework regarding free speech makes it difficult to prevent these messages from being disseminated," his statement said.

Legally, the free speech argument for the flyers is uncertain but the effects these posters could have on the students attacked by them is obvious, a Lambda Legal attorney told NBC.

Upholding the dignity of LGBTQ lives shouldn’t be a “controversial issue.” Instead, school administrators are sending a dangerous message by signaling to hateful people that their violence could be viewed as valid discourse. Promoting violence, especially when directed at minority groups, shouldn’t be tolerated on any campus, period. “It is not an issue of free speech when it is literally telling students to kill themselves,” student Skyla Schaefer said in a Facebook post. “How about you stand up for your LGBTQ+ students?”
Categories: Politics

Stars line up to remind us to 'reject NRA's radical agenda' in the wake of Las Vegas

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 13:33

The Las Vegas massacre faded from the headlines with shocking speed even for a nation numbed to mass shootings. But Everytown for Gun Safety has rounded up a whole bunch of stars to urge action and keep the issue of gun safety on the agenda:

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The Republicans in control of Congress are determined to go the wrong way on guns, but we won’t get anywhere if we let people forget—if we let ourselves forget—the horror of hearing about Las Vegas. Or Orlando. Or Newtown.

Categories: Politics

George W. Bush takes thinly veiled shots at Trump over 'bullying and prejudice' and Russia

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 13:18

George W. Bush hasn’t done much in the public eye since leaving office, but on Thursday he gave a speech in which, without saying the name of his successor in losing the popular vote but gaining the White House, he took several clear shots at Donald Trump. “To renew our country, we only need to remember our values,” said Bush, and:

“Bigotry in any form is blasphemy against the American creed and it means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation. We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools,” Bush said. “And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.”

“The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them,” he said. 

What does it say about Trump that all of this rings true even coming from Bush, whose administration worked to legitimize torture?

Bush also spoke out on Russian election interference, again with a seeming reference to Trump:

"America has experienced a sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country's divisions," he said. "According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systemic, and stealthy. It's conducted a range of stealthy media platforms."

"Ultimately, this assault won't succeed," he added. "But foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation, and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated."

Downplayed or tolerated—gosh, who could be doing that?

One possible topic for the tweetstorm that surely must be brewing in Trump’s unstable temperament: Is Bush insufficiently grateful to Trump for knocking him a spot down the list of worst presidents ever?

Categories: Politics

California lawmaker passes bill to get public schools to provide free tampons to low-income girls

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:41

While it’s clear that the Trump administration hates girls and women and will do everything it can to violate our rights, local lawmakers are doing what they can to make life more normal and equitable for girls—particularly those from marginalized communities. In California, Assembly Member Cristina Garcia has a passion for making sure that women in the state have access to feminine hygiene and menstrual products. Known as the “Tampon Queen,” she was instrumental in recently getting AB 10 passed, a bill that provides menstrual products to low-income, school-aged girls.

A proposal to make such products tax-free in the Golden State was vetoed last year. This year a similar bill didn't even make it out of committee. But the lawmaker from Bell Gardens [Garcia] finally found victory in AB 10, which requires lower-income schools to provide menstrual products to girls at no charge in half the bathrooms on a given campus.

This is an issue many people don’t think about, but it’s one that deeply impacts girls who are poor. When menstrual products are not easily accessible, girls may miss school. In addition to the mental and emotional stress of trying to cope without pads or tampons, missing school can have a negative effect on girls’ academic performance and future life chances. 

Sadly, this is a global phenomenon and not limited to countries in the developing world. This same issue has been reported in the UK, New Zealand, and Canada. While assumptions may lead us to believe that this is an urban and/or rural phenomenon, it also impacts Native American girls living on reservations. In short, there are nearly no poor girls across the country and world who are not touched by this.

Categories: Politics

Detroit makes a statement: Eminem gets huge ovation while Kid Rock gets booed at Pistons game

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:25

It’s been almost 40 years since the Detroit Pistons played a NBA game inside of the Detroit City limits. But last night, the Pistons faced off against the Charlotte Hornets to open the season in their new arena—inside the city of Detroit. Detroit native Eminem was there to do a little hype work to start the game and the crowd loved it.

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Detroit loves Eminem and he hasn’t hurt his standing by publicly eviscerating our white supremacist in chief, Donald Trump. Also there, another popular music celebrity—Kid Rock. As Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press explains, Detroit has a lot less love for his brand of lame “economic anxiety.”

A few moments later, the videoboard showed Kid Rock, who was sitting courtside, and who got booed where Eminem got cheered.

The difference didn’t go unnoticed by Van Gundy, who noted after the game Eminem’s appearance — in front of NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who was there to pay homage to the Pistons’ new home — said plenty.

”Without making a statement, they were able to make a statement,” said Van Gundy.

Categories: Politics

'We deserve to have all the information' about what happened in Niger, says McCain

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:25

When the lives of four Americans were lost in the Benghazi attack in 2012, Republicans opened a four-year, $7-million investigation that left no stone unturned to figure out what happened. Now comes the Niger four, where we already have far more questions than answers and a Republican administration that thus far has done next to nothing to clarify our mission in Niger, the circumstances under which four servicemembers died and two more were wounded, and why one soldier in particular—Army Sgt. La David Johnson—was initially unaccounted for for two days.

Even Defense Secretary James Mattis and Sen. John McCain, chair of the Senate’s Armed Forces Committee, don't have the clarity they want.

When asked whether the Trump administration was being up front about the ambush in southwest Niger on Oct. 4, McCain issued a blunt “no” on Wednesday. [...] “We deserve to have all the information."

What is perhaps most troubling so far is new information indicating that following the October 4 ambush in southwest Niger, the U.S. soldiers were extracted by private contractors working for Berry Aviation. TIME-owned digital magazine The Drive writes:

The top American headquarters for military operations on the continent, U.S. Africa Command, has now confirmed that private contractors helped casualties evacuate the area afterwards, but has again declined to elaborate on the U.S.-Nigerien patrol's overall objectives or who is responsible for the attack. [...]

Private contractors working for Berry Aviation in Niger’s capital Niamey “were on alert during the incident and conducted casualty evacuation and transport for U.S. and partner forces,” Robyn Mack, a spokesperson for U.S Africa Command, or AFRICOM, told The War Zone in an Email.

Categories: Politics

NFL owner says Trump's bashing of the league is calculated revenge because he was denied a team

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:24

In March, Donald Trump publicly needled Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at an event because Snyder did not endorse him. As others tried to laugh it off, Trump added "I never forget." And he seemed deadly serious.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan believes this is the kind of vengeful thinking that is the real motivation behind Donald Trump’s continued, sustained attacks on the NFL. In 2014, NFL owners refused Trump’s bid to buy the Buffalo Bills and Khan believes Trump has never gotten over the snub. From First Coast News:

The league and its owners generally have had little public response to Trump, though New York Giants co-owner John Mara said, facetiously, “I’m shocked,” when asked for a response to the President's tweet. But Khan didn’t hold back.

“He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,” said Khan, who bought the Jags in 2011 for $760 million. “So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.”

Khan went further, slamming Donald Trump’s conduct toward Gold Star families and the ban on Muslims entering the country:

“Let’s get real," Khan said. “The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”

Khan, a self-made billionaire who immigrated from Pakistan, contends that Trump’s flap with the NFL pales when compared to social issues, notably including Trump's proposed travel bans that target people from Muslim-majority nations.

“That’s one aspect that you can imagine — someone is getting a visa that will change their life is from a Muslim-majority country — and, now, boom, that dream to change lives, they get locked out,” Khan said. “That’s a hell of a lot more significant than fighting some sponsors or people who want their money back because they’ve been riled up.”

Many have noted Khan joined other NFL owners in making a $1 million donation to Trump’s Inauguration fund. He’s just one more name in a list, going back decades, of people who’ve been swindled and screwed over by Donald Trump. Khan won’t be asking for or getting a refund, but maybe he’ll be motivated to get political and help defeat Trump in 2020.

Categories: Politics

Trump claimed to have 'proof' he didn't say slain soldier 'knew what he signed up for.' Where is it?

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:17

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More than 24 hours after Donald Trump tweeted that Rep. Frederica Wilson “totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof),” we’re still waiting for that proof. No, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that Trump staffers in the room when he made the call agreed that Trump was “completely respectful” doesn’t count, especially when Sanders twice refused to deny that Trump said the words “he knew what he signed up for” about Sgt. La David Johnson.

Trump didn’t just say he had proof Wilson’s account of his call to Myeshia Johnson was fabricated, either. He also said of Wilson “let her make her statement again and you’ll find out,” a threatening response that didn’t intimidate Wilson a bit—she promptly tweeted that “I still stand by my account of the call.”

Well, Donald? To recap: he said he has proof. He said “let her make her statement again and you’ll find out.” He hasn’t offered the proof; in fact, his press secretary specifically refused to say he didn’t say it. Wilson made her statement again. Her office has received threats and Wilson is now receiving protection, but what she hasn’t gotten is any kind of proof from Trump or the White House.

He said it, and he lied about saying it. 

Categories: Politics

Republican budget: Help the rich, screw everyone else, part 5,937

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:11

Campaign Action

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Republicans are busy this week ramming through the vehicle they will use to push their tax cut plan, their budget resolution. The entire document expresses the very essence of what it is to be a Republican. It cuts Medicare by $473 billion, Medicaid by $1 trillion, and a tax plan that gives massive breaks to the super wealthy and adds up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade. Because you know how much they care about the deficit. Republicans are absolutely shamelessly putting their priorities on full display, and will probably pass this thing by the end of the day Thursday.

It's a proposal that, on the whole, would "cause most Americans' incomes to fall more than they would gain from the tax cuts themselves." That’s because the tax cuts are so concentrated on the rich, and the cuts involved would take so much away from low- and middle-income families. Those cuts would hurt the children of those families particularly.

Here's what the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities identifies as getting the worst budget hits:

To offset the cost of a $1.5 trillion tax cut, Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans would be automatically cut 4 percent for each of the next ten years, on top of the 2-percent cuts that those payments are already experiencing under the sequestration triggered by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

In addition, the automatic cuts would bring the complete elimination of more than 150 mandatory payments for farmers, health insurance, the military retirement trust fund, housing, social services, victims of crime, child nutrition, and many others, all lasting a decade.

By the way, this: "The plan breaks with longstanding promises by top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan that the upcoming tax drive won't add to the nation's $20 trillion debt."

Given Ryan's math skills, it's entirely possible that he believes that. But the reality is he doesn't give a damn about the deficit. He's never given a damn about the deficit, nor has any other Republican. Driving up the deficit with this tax cut for the wealthy just gives them more fodder to come back in five years, screaming about the deficit, to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid even more deeply. Or to abolish them altogether.

Categories: Politics

Ryan won't meet with Wisconsin Dreamers, so they went to New York to protest his speech

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:07

Paul Ryan has said that DACA recipients have nothing to worry about, so why does he refuse to meet with them? Wisconsin Dreamers have gone on a hunger strike outside his Racine office to demand the DREAM Act, yet he refused to sit with them. They’ve lobbied outside his Janesville church (with permission from the priest, of course), but he appeared to skip mass that day. Still, if there’s one thing we know about immigrant youth, it’s that they don’t give up. They’re relentless. So if Paul Ryan won’t go to them, they’ll keep going to him:

Ryan is due to speak Thursday night at the prestigious Al Smith Dinner in New York, and six Wisconsin "Dreamers" plan to demonstrate outside the venue.

DACA recipients have urged Ryan and Republicans to pass a replacement before the program's protection begins to be phased out.

At the New York event, the Wisconsin contingent will be joined by DACA recipients from New York and other immigrant-rights activists. They had previously urged New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan to rescind Ryan’s keynote invitation.

Other youth and allies are also participating in a 12-mile march across Congressman Peter King’s district to demand action on the bipartisan DREAM Act, and their cries are clear. Without clean passage of the DREAM Act—meaning a bill that doesn’t include any harmful enforcement proposals ramping up Donald Trump’s immoral, mass deportation force—their lives and families are at stake. 

“I’m a high school student from Racine,” said Fernanda, Ryan’s constituent and a leader with Wisconsin immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera. “I’m also a DACA recipient. Today, we are here in New York City to demand our congressman to confront us, to talk to us.”

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Categories: Politics

Trump administration successfully stays court decision granting young immigrant woman an abortion

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:49

On Wednesday, the ACLU secured a court order which prevents the Trump administration from blocking a young immigrant woman in custody from obtaining an abortion. The 17-year-old is currently in a shelter for unaccompanied minors in Texas and requested an abortion last month. Though they have the utmost disregard for immigrants, Trump and company seem to think it’s their business what this young woman does with her body and have made it their mission to stop her from exercising a right to making her own decisions regarding reproductive choice. 

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to allow a pregnant, undocumented teenager to obtain an abortion.

The government, the judge [US District Judge Tanya Chutkan] wrote, must "promptly and without delay" allow the 17-year-old to be transported to an abortion provider closest to the shelter where she is being held. The judge wrote that federal officials are "restrained from interfering with or obstructing [the teen's] access to abortion counseling or an abortion." [...]

The judge was incredulous as she questioned the lawyer for the government, at one point saying she was “astounded” at the government’s apparent position that the teen’s only options were to either carry the pregnancy to term or go back to her home country.

Even though a federal judge has ruled that this is absolutely none of the government’s business, they have decided to appeal the decision. Late Wednesday night, lawyers from the Justice Department filed a motion appealing to the US Court of Appeals in DC asking for a delay in the order. Unfortunately, they were successful as the appeals court agreed to temporarily stay the judge’s order, citing “the purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay.” A hearing is now scheduled for Friday morning in which the court will hear oral arguments on the case.

Categories: Politics

Puerto Rico is still suffering, whatever FEMA and Trump tell you

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:12

Almost a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island is still devastated and struggling with inadequate disaster response from the federal government. Time rounds up the numbers:

  • More than a third of Puerto Rican households, or about 1 million people, still lack running water according to CNN.
  • FEMA says it has distributed 23.6 million liters (6.2 million gallons) of bottled and bulk water in Puerto Rico. That figure includes water for hospitals and dialysis centers
  • These deliveries equate to only 9% of the island's drinking water requirement, going by the World Health Organization's (WHO) assessment that each person needs at least 2.5 liters (2/3 of a gallon) per day. Some residents are so desperate for drinking water they have broken into polluted wells at industrial waste sites. [...]
  • FEMA says 60,000 homes need roofing help. It has delivered 38,000 tarps.
  • According to CNN, FEMA has deployed 1,700 personnel in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were also ravaged by Hurricane Maria. That's 900 less that the 2,600 FEMA personnel reportedly still in Texas and Florida, but the agency told CNN that around 20,000 other federal staff and military have been deployed in response to Maria.

A FEMA officer told CNN he doesn’t need reinforcements because too much food and water aid might stop people from shopping at local stores—not that local stores are necessarily stocked with food and water. Armando Valdés Prieto, a former director of Puerto Rico’s Office of Management and Budget writes about the government response, reporting that:

Last week, I interviewed the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority president on San Juan radio station NotiUno. He informed me that of 150 backup generators he had requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the day of the storm to keep potable water flowing into homes, only 17 had been installed in the 20 days that followed. So never mind Trump’s statement on Monday that “Puerto Rico now has more generators, I believe, than any place in the world. There are generators all over the place.”

Categories: Politics

After questions from the Washington Post, Trump finally sent a promised payment to grieving father

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:39

After 22-year-old Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge was killed in Afghanistan, Donald Trump called his father, Chris Baldridge and made an offer to send him $25,000. The conversation happened nearly five months ago and Baldridge said he was initially stunned by the offer:

"'I'm going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,' and I was just floored," Baldridge told the Post of his conversation with Trump. "I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, 'No other president has ever done something like this,' but he said, 'I'm going to do it. "

Nearly five months later, the check still had not arrived, although a letter from Trump’s office did show up in the mail.

Baldridge said that after the president made his $25,000 offer, he joked with Trump that he would bail him out if he got arrested for helping. The White House has done nothing else other than send a condolence letter from Trump, the father said.

“I opened it up and read it, and I was hoping to see a check in there, to be honest,” the father said. “I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, ‘Damn, no check.’ Just a letter saying ‘I’m sorry.’ ”

On the day the Washington Post began asking questions about the promised payment, the check was quite suddenly “in the mail.” They claimed red tape prevented them from sending it sooner, but as soon as the Washington Post was on the story, that red tape vanished. Weird, right? 

Even as he offered the money, he proclaimed his greatness, noting that he was the only president to ever do such a thing. He either does not know or is once again flat-out lying. In 2011, it was revealed President Obama was known to quietly write personal checks to struggling Americans:

On more than one occasion, the president has cut personal checks to struggling Americans who’ve written to the White House, according to an excerpt from a new book by Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow about the ten letters the president reads every day.

“It’s not something I should advertise, but it has happened,” the president told Saslow.

Another day, another lie, another page in this dark chapter of American history. 

Categories: Politics

Ed Gillespie once called 'anti-immigration rhetoric' a 'political siren song.' Now he's singing it.

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:01

Goal Thermometer

Republican Ed Gillespie has morphed from classic establishment conservative to openly racist hatemonger, desperately attacking his Democratic opponent in next month’s election for governor with a barrage of campaign ads that vilify Latinos. It’s a grotesque strategy designed to motivate the angriest Trump supporters, and it’s borne out of Ralph Northam’s months-long lead in the polls. It was also opposed by none other than Ed Gillespie himself.

Some skillful digging by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski unearthed a 2006 op-ed Gillespie wrote for the Wall Street Journal in which he slammed fellow Republican Jerry Kilgore for having run—guess what?—an ad full of anti-Latino smears and racist dog whistles in the waning days of Virginia’s 2005 campaign for governor. The spot at issue accused Democratic nominee Tim Kaine of favoring “taxpayer-funded job centers” and supporting “in-state tuition discounts for illegals.” Concluded the ad’s narrator: “Taxpayer benefits for illegal immigrants? What part of 'illegal' does Tim Kaine not understand?”

According to Gillespie’s own piece, Kilgore’s “last-minute anti-immigration ads ... didn't move his numbers with swing voters and probably cost him important votes in the Hispanic enclaves of Northern Virginia." According to polling in the race, Kilgore had been losing ground to Kaine throughout October. The Republican’s racist Hail Mary failed: Kaine’s polling lead continued to increase, and he won the race with 52 percent of the vote.

Gillespie went on to deploy a metaphor that manages to be both pained and apt:

“Anti-immigration rhetoric is a political siren song, and Republicans must resist its lure by lashing ourselves to our party's twin masts of freedom and growth—or our majority will crash on the shoals.”

Since we’re going all-in on references to Greek mythology, it’s fair to call out Gillespie as his own Cassandra. His own use of racist anti-immigrant rhetoric in political ads has failed to cut into Northam’s lead in polls.

Don’t let Gillespie get away with this racist hypocrisy. Donate $3 to help elect Ralph Northam governor of Virginia.

Categories: Politics

Obama hits the campaign trail for Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:59

Two states will elect new governors in November, and former President Barack Obama will campaign for the Democrats in both races:

Obama will first drop in on campaign workers in Newark, New Jersey, for a private “canvass kickoff” for Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, who is running against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. The former president will then head to Richmond, Virginia, to rally support for Democrat Ralph Northam in his campaign against Republican Ed Gillespie. [...]

Obama’s popularity is still undeniable. In an August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 51 percent of Americans said they have a favorable opinion of Obama, while 35 percent had a negative opinion. In the same poll, 36 percent said they had a positive opinion of Trump and 52 percent had a negative opinion.

In Richmond, thousands of people lined up on Tuesday to get tickets to Obama’s rally.

We can’t know how many rally attendees will close their eyes and pretend he’s still living in the White House, but probably a lot of them. What’s important, though, is that people who have a favorable opinion of Obama and an unfavorable opinion of Trump turn out and vote on November 7, 2017, and again on November 6, 2018.

Can you chip in $1 to Ralph Northam and each of our endorsed candidates for Virginia state House?

Categories: Politics

Cartoon: The leaked NFL memo to players on acceptable stances during the national anthem

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:51

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Categories: Politics

Republicans to kick off their desperate push to cut taxes for the wealthy

Daily Kos - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:19

Republicans are desperate to prove they can get something done in 2017, having repeatedly failed to repeal Obamacare. And Republicans are always desperate to give tax cuts to the wealthy. So that’s the plan: pass a budget resolution that allows them to use reconciliation to pass tax cuts with 51 votes.

"We feel good about where we are," Republican Senator John Thune, a member of the Senate leadership, said. "The level of resolve is pretty high."

After failing to approve Trump-backed legislation to overturn Obamacare, Senate Republicans are under intense pressure to succeed on tax reform, beginning with the budget measure, which would allow tax legislation to add up to $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade to pay for tax cuts.

They’re working hard to brand this package of tax cuts for the wealthy as “tax reform,” but you don’t have to be a genius to know what we’re talking about here:

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And as Trump’s treasury secretary previewed the plan, “it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy.”

Categories: Politics