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Time for the IRS to hand over Trump's taxes. It won't, of course

House Democrats set 5:00 PM ET today as the deadline for the IRS to turn over Donald Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, but don't hold your breath. The Treasury Department, headed by Steve Mnuchin, has assumed responsibility for the request and has already declined to turn over the records, but without issuing a flat-out rejection. In response, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal sent the IRS a letter stating that failure to fulfill the request by later today would be "interpreted as a denial of my request.? 

Neal has the statutory authority to request Trump's tax returns under a 1924 law stating that the treasury secretary "shall" turn over any tax returns requested by the Ways and Means chairperson. Republicans repeatedly made use of the law during Barack Obama's presidency as they sought to make the case that the IRS had unfairly targeted conservative groups. It hadn't, but that didn't stop GOP lawmakers from obtaining the tax returns of several dozen organizations and publicly releasing them. 

But what the statute dictates and how Republicans have wielded it in the past are of no concern to Trump, who truly believes he's above the law as a sitting pr*sident. Trump's White House and personal lawyers have sought to block every single oversight effort made by House Democrats, including suing House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings to block Trump's accounting firm from releasing Trump?s financial records to Congress. Cummings had submitted a friendly subpoena to the firm, Mazars USA, which had indicated it would cooperate with congressional investigators.

Democrats' efforts to secure six years of Trump's tax returns is almost surely headed toward a subpoena fight as well. Remember this:

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The press is still giving Republicans a pass on the Mueller report

It's only Tuesday, but the New York Times has already published two front-page stories this week depicting Democrats as being tied in a political pretzel over the issue of Donald Trump's possible impeachment following the public release of the devastating report delivered by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The party faces deep "divisions" and a major "quandary," according to the Times. The daily has hardly been alone in its near-total focus on Democrats post-Mueller report. Trump is the leader of the other party, and his outlandish behavior reflects badly on it. But after the 448-page findings on Trump obstruction and collusion were released, much of the press immediately went into process coverage, and the Mueller report quickly became about Democratic strategies for 2020 and all the "problems" the report now posed for candidates and the party as a whole.

This is a defense mechanism that the news media is using in order to shy away from the uncomfortable truth that the president of the United States, who welcomed Russia's election interference and tried to thwart a federal investigation into his administration, may be a criminal. That's not a conversation the Beltway press, already under attack from conservatives for "liberal media bias," wants to have on a daily basis.

There's no question that the issue of impeachment is an important one, and whether Democrats will embrace that strategy deserves plenty of media attention. It's a crucial topic that has sparked lots of passionate, healthy debate. That's all good. But since the release of the Mueller report, news consumers have basically been missing the second half of a central equation: What about Republicans?

It's quite strange to watch. And journalists have been doing this for an entire year, suggesting Trump's possible impeachment is a problem for ? Democrats. In doing so, they're failing to ask Republicans the painfully obvious questions: What do you think is an impeachable offense? Does the report portray Trump as an honorable man? Did Trump's active attempt to shut down the Russia investigation reflect the values of today's Republican Party? Should all campaigns now actively seek out opposition research from foreign adversaries? Do you agree that Mueller's federal investigators are guilty of treason, as Trump suggests?


Trump admin has reportedly considered jailing migrant children at Guantánamo Bay

The Trump administration has considered jailing migrant children at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, the New York Times reports, in a proposal that apparently ?has not gained traction, perhaps because of the optics of housing young people adjacent to terrorism suspects.? Sure, because it?s the optics, not the overseas jailing of children escaping violence, that?s the issue here.

Officials discussed the plan earlier this year in their effort to figure out how to jail more people in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention. Congress set a limit to how many immigrants ICE can detain?over 45,200?but ICE commonly defies Congress, goes beyond that number, and just figures out the money part later. ?ICE is currently housing 50,223 migrants,? the New York Times continued, ?one of the highest numbers on record.? 

Guantanamo, which jailed thousands of asylum-seekers in the past under direction of Attorney General Bill Barr, came up in the discussions as a way for an unleashed ICE to continue boosting its numbers. ?While there were no ?immediate? plans to house migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, the Defense Department is attempting to identify military bases that might be used for that purpose, a department spokesman, Tom Crosson, said on Monday.?

Where could this idea have come from? In what?s surely just a coincidence, anti-immigrant leader Mark Krikorian recently tweeted, ?Why not Guantanamo? It's a big place,? in response to another report on the administration looking for more space to jail kids. Stephen Miller, the White House aide and white supremacist behind the administration?s most hateful policies, has ties to Krikorian?s group, once saying ?that speaking with the organization?s research director was ?one of the great pleasures of my professional life.??

Truthfully, immigrant and human rights activists have already criticized existing prison camps in the U.S. as ?Gitmo for kids,? in particular the now-closed prison camp for migrant kids in Tornillo, Texas. But as that one was shut down earlier this year, another one in Homestead, Florida, rose in its place. When three congressional members recently tried to visit Homestead to conduct their oversight responsibilities, they were blocked, in violation of law. 

There are more humane alternatives to detention, like the Obama-era Family Case Management Program. ?Instead of keeping children in detention centers with their parents, families in certain cities were released and monitored by social workers, who helped them find lawyers, housing, and transportation, and made sure they attended their court hearings.? Ninety-nine percent of participants, Vox reported, showed up to their court hearings. The Trump administration shut down the program in 2017.


There's a reason the history of American border militias is riddled with sociopaths and violence

The return of border militias in response to Donald Trump?s fearmongering about a ?crisis? on the U.S. border with Mexico?and the threats, intimidation, and violence that these militias bring?is not just an accident. Indeed, these militias have played key roles over the past decade-plus in stirring up the politics that put Trump in the White House and help keep him there now.

The new border watchers, particularly the United Constitutional Patriots in New Mexico who have been harassing asylum seekers, are very much in the historic mold of the militias who have prowled the southern desert for the past two decades. Fittingly, the leader of the UCP was arrested over the weekend for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Where did these border militias come from? What are they really about? And why do they have such a history of criminality and death attached to them?

Let?s explain their history.

The idea of a ?citizens border watch? grew out of the longtime embrace by the radical right of vigilante violence, a la the Ku Klux Klan. Indeed, the very first such operation was organized in 1977-79 by David Duke and Tom Metzger.

The concept gained new life in the 1990s with the rise of the small-cell militia concept as part of a larger ?leaderless resistance? against the federal government. The main progenitor of the concept was a California man named Glenn Spencer, who ran an outfit called American Patrol that claimed Latinos wanted to reclaim the U.S. Southwest for Mexico as part of ?Reconquista.?

American Patrol
American Patrol's map of the 'Reconquista.'

Spencer moved his operations to Arizona in the early 2000s and renamed it American Border Patrol. That was when things started to take off for him and his border-militia concept. Taking Spencer?s cue, Casey Nethercott, another Arizona resident, started a border-watch operation called Ranch Rescue. They developed legal problems in short order.

Nethercott, who had done prison time in California for assault in the 1990s, and some of his fellow Ranch Rescue members in 2003 assaulted two Salvadoran migrants who had crossed the border on foot and wound up on a ranch where the nativist border watchers operated. The migrants were held at gunpoint, and one of them was pistol-whipped and attacked by a Rottweiler. With the assistance of the SPLC, the migrants sued their attackers and won a $1 million civil judgment against Ranch Rescue.

Nethercott eventually had a tense standoff with Border Patrol agents at another ranch property; when FBI agents tried to arrest him for his role in that incident two weeks later, they wound up shooting the white supremacist who was accompanying him at the time.

Indeed, while the phrase ?rule of law? even today is often bandied about by the remaining bands of vigilante nativists, the record demonstrates that this was a peculiarly flexible concept for many of the border watchers and their associates.


Air Force veteran MJ Hegar launches bid for Democratic nomination for Texas Senate seat

On Tuesday, Air Force veteran MJ Hegar announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination to challenge GOP Sen. John Cornyn in Texas. Hegar is the first major Democratic candidate to jump in the race, but, as we?ll discuss, she may not be the last.

Hegar ran for the House last year against GOP Rep. John Carter in Texas?s 31st Congressional District and held the longtime incumbent to a 51-48 win in a seat that Trump had carried 54-41 two years before. This was the first time in decades that Democrats had made a serious effort to win this district, which is located in Austin?s northern suburbs, and the DCCC unsuccessfully tried to recruit her to run against Carter again in 2020.

One thing that impressed Democrats last cycle was Hegar?s very strong fundraising. She took in over $5 million for her 2018 campaign thanks in large part to a strong web video that stared the candidate talking about the challenges she overcame in life. That ad, titled ?Doors,? featured Hegar describing growing up in an abusive household and becoming an Air Force pilot before she recounted how she saved her passengers after her medevac helicopter was shot down by the Taliban and sued the Pentagon over their now-defunct policy that prevented women from serving in ground combat positions.

Hegar kicked off her Senate campaign with a new web video that recounted her life and campaign (and featured a cameo from comedian Patton Oswalt). She concluded by hitting Cornyn, who dubbed himself ?Big John? in a 2008 web ad that went viral for a very different reason, by declaring, ?He calls himself ?Big John,? but he shrinks out of the way while Mitch McConnell gets in the way of anything actually getting done in our government.? She went on to call ?Big John? out for ?shrinking out of the way again while they try and take away protections for those of us with pre-existing health conditions.?


White House orders former personnel security director to disobey congressional subpoena

Former White House personnel security director Carl Kline was subpoenaed to appear on Tuesday for questioning by the House Oversight Committee. However, the White House has issued a letter to Kline ordering him not to show up. Kline?s attorney has written to Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings to say that Kline will follow the order from Trump and refuse to appear.

The move to block congressional investigations into how security clearances were handed out at the White House is the latest effort by Donald Trump to assert the power to ignore both Congress and the law. Not only has Trump instructed Treasury Department chief Steven Mnuchin to ignore a legal request for his tax records, but he has also filed an entirely unprecedented lawsuit against a congressional committee to halt the release of his financial records, 

As the Washington Post reports, Cummings issued a subpoena for Kline to appear earlier in April after ongoing reports that the Trump White House had regularly ignored the recommendations of security experts and extended top-secret security clearances to members of Trump?s staff?including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner?despite their known risks and repeated failures to disclose conflicts.

Kline?s attorney wrote that he was declining to appear because he had instructions from ?two masters from two equal branches of government? and that Kline would ?follow the instructions of the one that employs him.? There are at least two big issues with that. First, Kline no longer works at the White House. Second, the subpoena from Congress was a subpoena, not a request. There is no such thing as an executive un-poena?nothing that Trump or anyone on his staff can say or do has any legal bearing on Kline?s duty to appear in response to a congressional subpoena.

But not only is there a big problem with Kline?s reaction, but there?s an equal issue with the way the Post is reporting the story. The headline for the article indicates ?White House instructs official to ignore Democratic subpoena.? Except this isn?t a ?Democratic subpoena.? There is no such thing as a Democratic subpoena. This is a lawfully issued congressional subpoena on a matter of national security. By reducing this to a political squabble, the Post report isn?t just playing into the idea that this is a tit-for-tat battle between political parties?it?s overlooking a genuine threat to the nation.

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2019 · 4:48:21 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

It appears that Chairman Cummings is not going to allow this to stand.

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Kamala Harris: House should begin impeachment process

As the full import of even the redacted Mueller report sinks in, it's becoming clear to the rule-of-law contingent of lawmakers and presidential candidates that the impeachment process must begin. Add to them Sen. Kamala Harris. The California Democrat said in a CNN forum Monday night that "Congress should take the steps toward impeachment."

She added that she's "also a realist," and that it's highly unlikely Mitch McConnell's Republican Senate would vote to remove Trump. "I've not seen any evidence to suggest that [Senate Republicans] will weigh on the facts instead of on partisan adherence to being protective of this president," she added. "And that's what concerns me and what will be the eventual outcome. So we have to be realistic about what might be the end result, but that doesn't mean the process should not take hold."

Harris joins Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in that call. On Friday, the 2020 contender released a statement on Twitter, calling for the process to begin. "Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress," she wrote, quoting the report, in which Mueller clearly passed the ball to Congress when he wrote that it has the "authority to prohibit a President's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice." Warren added, "The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment." The "severity" of Trump's misconduct, Warren wrote, "demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States."

Other candidates who've called for the impeachment process to begin are former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, with Inslee less definitively saying that the investigations in Congress must begin and "impeachment should not be off the table."


Trump demands apologies when he should be making them

Since the release of the still heavily redacted special counsel?s report, Donald Trump?s approval ratings have plunged three points in the Reuters/IPSOS poll to his lowest level for the year. And that?s after that poll?s results had already dropped another three points from the days immediately following the ?complete exoneration? letter from Attorney General William Barr. In the Politico/Morning Consult poll, Trump?s approval rating dropped from a net 7 point disapproval on the day before the report appeared to a staggering 18 point gap in the days following its release.  Meanwhile, Democrats are holding strategy calls not on whether or not to impeach Trump, but on how swiftly they should move.

The information contained in the Mueller report has badly hurt Donald Trump, and perhaps the most astonishing thing is exactly where it has hurt him. Trump had almost no support to lose among Democratic voters, so it?s not surprising that the bulk of the movement comes in a sharp decline among independents, but in the Morning Consult poll, Trump also shed Republicans, leaving those who say they ?strongly approve? of his position at below 50 percent. More than a third of Republicans have fallen into the tepid ?somewhat approve? category.

The result of the Mueller report isn?t just a lot of damning information on Trump, but a truckload of vindication for the press. Reporters who have been covering Trump?s connections with Russia and his efforts to halt the investigation found that in nearly every case, the information they had pieced together, or reports that had come to them through sources, were accurate. There really were dozens of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. There really were major efforts by Trump to halt the investigation through stonewalling, lying, threatening witnesses, suborning perjury, and attempting to simply pull the plug.

In the nearly-naked light of the redacted report, Donald Trump is revealed as a criminal and a liar, someone who has abused both the public trust and the power of his office. The number of lies and the extent of the duplicity is such that Trump?s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has been reduced to appearing on television to make statements like ?It?s not a crime? and ?There?s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians? in the middle of a presidential campaign.

But Donald Trump only has one speed?angry. So when he should be apologizing to the nation, instead Trump spent the morning on Twitter demanding an apology.


Supreme Court case on adding census citizenship question could be a disaster for fair redistricting

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear the Trump administration's appeal in the case over its nefarious push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the outcome of which could have profoundly disastrous effects for democracy and fair political representation. If the Republican majority on the court sides with Trump, experts fear that the question would have a chilling effect that intimidates millions of people in immigrant communities into not participating. That could in turn turbocharge a new wave of hyperpartisan Republican gerrymandering nationwide, since the census is the bedrock foundation of redistricting.

The Constitution mandates the counting of everyone in the U.S. without regard to their legal status, and a question on citizenship hasn't been included on the decennial census since 1950. Multiple courts have ruled that Trump's attempt to add the question for 2020 violates both federal laws and the Constitution. The lower courts have consistently held that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' claim that the citizenship question was needed for the Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act was a bogus pretext that masked the administration's true motive, which was likely to intimidate immigrant communities.

Adding a citizenship question on the census could lead to a dramatic drop in participation among not only undocumented immigrants but also legal residents and naturalized citizens?all out of fear that Trump's administration could illegally use the data to expand his brutal campaign of human rights abuses directed toward immigrants and asylum-seekers that has shocked the nation over the past year. Indeed, a new review of scholarly analysis in the Washington Post estimates that the question could deter 6 million Latinos from participating, roughly one out of every eight Latinos in America.

Undercounting millions of people by itself would mean their communities would lose out on their rightful political representation in redistricting and they would lose federal funding. But the citizenship question provides a double blow to fair representation in redistricting because it opens the door to Republican efforts to draw districts by only counting eligible voters rather than all citizens. The Supreme Court hasn't foreclosed the possibility of permitting this, even though it has been a longstanding norm to count every person in a district for redistricting, since elected officials represent voters and nonvoters alike.

The citizenship question would be a crippling blow to Democrats and voters of color in redistricting, further entrenching Republican minority rule even when Democrats receive more votes overall. Below, we'll look at how this would work in perhaps the most critical battleground over citizenship and changing demographics: Texas.


Morning Digest: Anti-Pelosi Democrat's presidential bid may make him vulnerable in his House primary

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

Leading Off

? MA-06: Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who's best known for leading a failed revolt against Nancy Pelosi late last year, announced on Monday that he's joining the comically crowded Democratic primary for president. That's relevant to our interests here at the Digest only insofar as it might affect Moulton's re-election plans?and according to his campaign, it won't.

Campaign Action

"He has no intention of giving up his seat in the House should he not become the Democratic nominee for president," said a spokesperson, so we should expect to see Moulton on the ballot next year. That by no means guarantees he'll wind up serving a fourth term in Congress, though. Progressive anger over Moulton's vain rebellion could net him a primary challenge: Women's health advocate Jamie Zahlaway Belsito recently filed paperwork to create a campaign committee, while former state Sen. Barbara L'Italien has said she's considering a bid?and has been very critical of Moulton.

As we've noted in regard to Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's longshot quest for the presidency, when a sitting member of Congress is jetting off to Iowa and New Hampshire on the regular, ambitious pols back home can devote all their time to raising money and campaigning with would-be constituents. That, for instance, is exactly what state Sen. Kai Kahele, who raised a strong $250,000 in the first quarter of the year, has been busy doing while Gabbard's attention has been focused elsewhere. For the right person in the Bay State, the opportunity is there for the taking.


Cartoon: Not helping, Mueller report edition

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Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?

Energize An Ally Tuesday

A couple House candidates in our spotlight this week. One is running in a special election this fall in North Carolina, and the other just announced a rematch against a real Democratic slimeball (yeah, they exist, although they're becoming an endangered species).

Ninth Congressional district Democratic candidate Dan McCready smiles as he speaks with U.S. Rep. Alma Adams  outside Eastover Elementary School in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. . McCready, handily defeated 2016 party nominee Christian Cano in Tuesday's Democratic primary. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)
NC-09: Dan McCready has to run twice because of GOP election fraud.

The election in North Carolina's 9th district shouldn?t even be taking place. After last November's election between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Mark Harris, it was discovered that Harris had cheated his ass off in the worst case of election fraud in years. The seat should've been handed to McCready, who ran an honest, above-board campaign on the issues. But no. They called a new election. Although Harris won?t be the nominee this time, the stinks-to-high-heaven Republican party gets a do-over. And McCready is rarin' for the fight.

If you'd like to learn more about Dan or donate to his campaign, his campaign site is here and his ActBlue page is here. You can also follow him on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

And I was really happy to learn last week that Marie Newman---who came thiiiis close (51-49) to knocking evil faux-Democrat Dan Lipinski off his perch in the Illinois 3rd district primary---is calling for a rematch next year.

Illinois Democrat Marie Newman
IL-03: Marie Newman is ramping up to give Dan Lipinski a whompin?.

To recap: Lipinski fights against a woman?s right to make her own health care choices, votes to destroy Planned Parenthood, wants to ensure second-class status for LGBT Americans, enjoys dropping the hammer on immigrants, resists minimum-wage hikes, didn?t support Barack Obama?s reelection, and voted against the Affordable Care Act.

Marie Newman, by contrast: Pro-women, pro-LGBT, black lives do matter, pro-universal health care, pro-immigration, pro-affordable college, pro-living wage, pro-renewable energy, and anti-Citizens United.

Check out Marie on the issues here and if you feel so inclined, her ActBlue donation link is here. (I know it's early yet, but I wanted to make sure her announcement didn?t get lost amid the swarm of news about the presidential candidates.) Follow Marie on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

As a wise man once said: "I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you."

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


Abbreviated pundit roundup: SCOTUS examines citizenship question, fallout from the Mueller and more

We begin today?s roundup with analysis of today?s hearing at the Supreme Court on the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. First up, The Washington Post:

THE SUPREME COURT will hear arguments Tuesday about who counts, quite literally, in the eyes of the federal government. How many representatives the various states get in Congress for the decade beginning in 2020, along with how much money those states get from Congress, could be affected. At stake is not just the fate of the census, the constitutionally mandated every-10-years count of the U.S. population, but also whether the Trump administration will get away with one of its more glaring con jobs. [...] The evidence suggests that the question was included for nefarious purposes. If the high court does not intervene, it will lead to a less accurate count than would otherwise be possible.

Adam Liptak at The New York Times:

Critics say that adding the question would undermine the accuracy of the census because both legal and unauthorized immigrants might refuse to fill out the forms. By one government estimate, about 6.5 million people might decide not to participate.

That could reduce Democratic representation when congressional districts are allocated in 2021 and affect the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending. Courts have found that Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas could risk losing seats in the House, and that several states could lose federal money.


Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Well, that stupid doofus is still there. Day after day, he just sits there, pretending to be president. Can you believe it? How annoying!

We?ll no doubt continue with the stories and insights arising out of the Barr/Mueller report thingy. There seems to be no end to them, which is fine by me, as it keeps the impeachment discussion open. And I?ll take that any day, as radio topics go!

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

PODCAST LISTENERS: There?s a new podcast platform in town, and the big news is: this one pays! RadioPublic pays podcast producers at $20 CPM for listens on their native app (available for iPhones & Androids), financed by pre- and post-roll ads they insert. Not a bad way to support the show, with somebody else?s money!

So if you?re a podcast listener, please consider downloading the RadioPublic app on your Android or iOS phone. Yes, you can still download directly from their site, or listen to the player embedded here at Daily Kos. But it?s listens in their app that count toward payment. And get this: listen to just three episodes in their app, and we earn a one-time, $1 ?loyal listener? bonus.

Nothing changes on our end. It?s still Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando. Plus also, me. And you! As always, we still want your voice on the air with us. Sit down with your smart phone or other electronic recording device and send us your stories and commentary to share with the audience. There?s no easier way to try your hand at podcasting, without all the hassle!

Of course there?s no substitute for having your support via Patreon, or one-time contributions via Square Cash. (And hey, if you want a cool trick for donating sorta-kinda cost free, get their cash.me app and use this share code to get $5 in your account (plus $5 in mine) when you send your first $5 (to anyone)!

For now, how about one on the house? Here?s what we did on our last show:

David Waldman hosts today?s Earth Day special from beneath a fresh layer of the finest organic mulch, just outside KITM World Headquarters: Don?t cast your vote yet! There?s a new Democratic candidate! Seth Moulton hopes to be the ?young Joe Biden? of 2020, but sadly looks to be the ?Seth Moulton? of 2020. College Students already have their ?Joe Biden?, and it just might be ?Joe Biden?. And, we?re still all reading the Mueller report? well, we aren?t but other people are, and we're reading their latest analysis. Greg Dworkin has no inclination for exoneration but for excoriation. First, William Barr must resign. Barr wasn?t supposed to rebut Robert Mueller. Former federal prosecutors are speaking out in objection. The public is beginning to agree that that a check on Donald Trump is past due. So? how about impeachment? Some Democrats feel that impeachment has a certain harshness they?d prefer not to encounter during any 4 year term with an election in it. So how about the new impeachment, impeachment-lite, impeachment minus the impeachment? Let?s censure! Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren wonders if we would like to talk about anything other than Trump during the next 18 months... like maybe solving our nation?s other problems, such as universal child care, or student debt alleviation... Oh, ok, she?ll talk about impeachment too. Greg ties the present to the past with a discussion of The R?s, the D?s, and the Arrrrr?s and how they were all a bit cooler back in the day. David brings our attention back to the usual parade of scandals and corruption. A former CIA officer racks his brain to imagine any innocence in the behavior of Chinese national Yujing Zhang?s visit and possible infiltration of Mar-a-Lago. The Russians throw us a bone and let us know what Erik Prince and Moscow?s Money Man discussed in Seychelles. The Trump Organization is suing Rep. Elijah Cummings to block a subpoena for of Trump?s financial records.

Thanks 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.


Open thread for night owls: Earth Day lessons

Umair Irfan at Vox writes?7 things we?ve learned about Earth since the last Earth Day:

1) Kids today face a truly frightening climate future ? and they?re mad as hell at adults for neglecting the problem

Many people under the age of 18 right now may be around to see the end of the century. And a growing number of them are not pleased with the climate they?re inheriting. Our current trajectory puts the planet on course to warm by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, creating a world that will be devastated by disasters, droughts, disease, and food shortages.

In March of this year, students in more than 120 countries went on strike from school to demand action on climate change. These climate strikes are part of a youth-led climate activism movement, with another global strike planned for May 24. Here?s Irene Kananura of Kampala, Uganda who was striking this past Friday in the heat:

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TOP COMMENTS ? HIGH IMPACT STORIES

QUOTATION

?Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.?  ~~Sun Tzu, The Art of War (scholars differ, but probably 500-400 BC)

TWEET OF THE DAY

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2011?Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signs budget suicide order:

The crazy spreads. If an executive order from Republican Gov. Butch Otter forbidding state agencies in Idaho from accepting federal funds to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passes constitutional muster, the state would have to opt out of Medicaid in 2014. More than 220,000 of Idaho's citizens depend on Medicaid. Unless the governor and GOP-dominated Legislature choose to drop these folks off where the grizzly bears roam, they will have to come up with the money to treat them.

That amounts to around $1 billion a year, 40 percent of the state's entire annual budget. One way to pay for it? Cut public school funding by 85 percent. Given their hatred for public education, maybe that approach would suit Idaho's elected Republicans just fine.

Saying he opposes "the overreaching nature of the PPACA and its infringements on Idahoans and the authority of the States under the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution," the governor stated in his order that "no executive branch department, agency, institution or employee of the state shall establish or amend any program or promulgate any rule to implement any provisions of the PPACA" without his consent. The Tenth Amendment is a favorite of right-wingers eager to nullify federal initiatives and take back the state sovereignty they believe has been dwindling ever since the presidency of...uh...Abraham Lincoln.

On today?s Kagro in the Morning show: Seth Moulton is running for president, everybody! Greg Dworkin joined in a full 2 hour show on that exciting news, with a brief 119 minute detour into consideration of the censure, impeachment, and/or defeat of the current president.


Game of Thrones 8.2 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms'

All problems in Game of Thrones can be boiled down to one simple point: Lyanna Stark makes people stupid. And by people, I mean men. Not only did Robert Baratheon launch a kingdom-ripping rebellion over her, but even decades after her death, simply standing in front of Lyanna?s statue is still the go-to place for people to make very poor political decisions. And by people, I mean Jon Snow.

This week?s outing in Game of Thrones was all about the calm before the storm. We know the Night King and his endless supply of ice zombies is coming. Everyone in Winterfell knows they?re coming. And quite early in the episode, the timeline for coming Battle of Winterfell is set?everyone, and everything, stands a very good chance of being dead before the dawn.

That gives every character a chance to take the stage for a moment and have one?possibly?last chance to show us who they have become over the course of seven plus seasons. Some of these are spot on: Tormund Giantsbane gets to tell a tall tale about the origin of his name, and to leer appreciatively at Brienne. Jaime and Tyrion get to admit to each other that their days of wanton incest and carefree debauchery, respectively, are behind them. And in what might be the most touching moment of an episode chockablock with tender glances and rueful last statements, Brienne of Tarth kneels on the cold stones of Winterfell and is made a knight of the seven kingdoms by the man who knows all about losing ? and regaining ? the honor that knighthood is supposed to embody.

Oh, and Arya has sex. Which is a perfectly acceptable response to impending doom, and a much better option than setting around with a morose Sandor Clegane and a preachy Beric Dondarrion, both of whom are former members of Arya?s bedtime Kill List. However, let us say thanks that the producers of Game of Thrones for once restricted themselves to shots of Arya?s scarred back ? because for those of us who have just finished rewatching the whole series, a girl is perpetually twelve.

Despite all these moments ranging from sex to introspection to drunkeness to drunken introspective sex, the episode sometimes falls flat when it comes to making the audience feel the impending doom coming closer by the moment. Soldiers have long had the saying that their job is long stretches of boredom interrupted by rare moments of sheer terror, but even knowing that one of those rarities is right ahead doesn?t make the boredom a whole lot more interesting.

However, there are a number of instances in the episode whose impact will surely echo even after the local scramble against the deadites is done. Assuming, as the increasingly slappable Bran puts in doubt, there is an after.


The REAL Act aims to make college affordable for incarcerated people. Will Congress pass it?

When it comes to restoring rights for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in the U.S., the discussion too often lives and dies around voting rights. And make no mistake: Voting matters. But when it comes to helping formerly incarcerated people stay out of prison, one of the biggest factors is access to education. Receiving education while incarcerated has also been shown to increase a person?s opportunities for work (and higher pay) after release. 

But?as is too often the norm?systemic barriers are in place that limit people?s ability to receive an affordable education. Finally, a bipartisan effort is working to change that. And the resulting bill is moving closer to Congress.

For decades, incarcerated people have not had access to federal Pell Grants. Pell Grants are need-based financial grants meant to support low-income people in pursuing higher education. Pell Grants are not loans, so they don?t need to be paid back. There are a number of requirements for recipients of Pell Grants, but generally they go to students who have not yet received a bachelor?s degree and whose families? annual income is below $50,000. They can be applied to fall, spring, or summer courses, and the amount the student receives varies based on the cost of their particular institution. These grants can also go toward expenses such as books.

Basically, Pell Grants are immeasurably important. And incarcerated people who would otherwise meet the qualifications for the grant deserve them just as much as anybody else.


High school journalists pen viral editorial after being turned away from Betsy DeVos event

If you?ve ever worried about the youth of this country not being engaged in politics enough, this story will offer some relief. High school students from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky, tried to attend a discussion between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican governor Matt Bevin, with the goal of covering it for their school paper. This should be a wonderful opportunity for the students, right?

Wrong. The students weren?t allowed in. As they report in their editorial, a man told them they weren?t allowed inside because they didn?t RSVP. Not to be deterred, they wrote an editorial called ?No Seat at the Roundtable? instead. Surprising no one, it (rightfully) slams DeVos. 

Notably, the event was a roundtable discussion held at a local community college. It was described as an open press event, but as reported by the Washington Post, the students were turned away because they hadn?t received an invitation, and hadn?t RSVPed. Mind you, they?re students who are trying to be politically engaged, so perhaps the typical ?rules? of a press event shouldn?t apply to them. Because, again, they?re teenagers.

In their editorial, the students don?t shy away from calling out how ridiculous the situation was. "We expected the event to be intense," they wrote."We expected there to be a lot of information to cover. But not being able to exercise our rights under the First Amendment was something we never thought would happen. We weren't prepared for that. ? How odd is it that even though future generations of students' experiences could be based on what was discussed, that we, actual students, were turned away?"

They also called out the eye-rolling-inducing rules about the RSVP. ?Not that we?re happy about it,? they wrote, ?but we understand why a student news organization wouldn?t have been considered important enough to receive a copy of the media press release. Why, after our explanation that we were not given the press release asking for an RSVP, weren?t we allowed to enter as students and stakeholders?" 


'I missed you so much': Asylum-seeker and daughter, forcibly separated last summer, are reunited

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Nearly a year after their forcible separation by federal immigration officials, Elmer and his daughter Marisol are together again. The asylum-seeker was one of the 29 parents who returned to the U.S in March, after being unjustly deported, without their kids, by the Trump administration. Elmer was deported back to Honduras in July, while 15-year-old Marisol was left in a children?s detention facility.

Their separation ended following Elmer?s release from detention, and last week he flew to Wisconsin, where the girl has been living with relatives following her own release. ?Marisol is kind of hesitant when she first walks into the airport, unsure where she should go,? NPR reported. ?And then?she spots him down the hallway. She starts running, then stops, then runs again. Her little cousin tails behind her. Marisol jumps into Elmer's arms, and he spins her around.?

"I missed you so much," he tells her. "You, too," she replies. Elmer had been unsure this moment was ever going to happen, after he?d been forced by officials to sign papers he didn?t understand last summer. They were documents agreeing to his deportation, and he hasn?t been the only parent to be forced to do this. Now back in the U.S., the relieved dad tells Marisol, "We did it. I can't believe it. I can't believe I'm here."

Marisol was worried, too. ?Sometimes I'd be in school, and I'd get all stressed out wondering where he was, how he was, all that,? she said. ?When he was detained, I was really worried he'd get deported again." Now back together again, Elmer just wants to enjoy the little things he?s missed out on since last year. "Dropping her off at school, it's wonderful,? he said. ?You'll never know how happy it makes me."

Other parents from the now-released group of 29 have also been reunited with their kids, thanks to the advocacy of groups like Al Otro Lado, Together Rising, and Families Belong Together, yet others continue to remain separated. The administration has even claimed it could take up to two years to identify families that were separated before the official ?zero tolerance? policy. Family separation remains a crisis.


Google throws Laura Ingraham a lifeline, buys ad time on her boycotted show

Fox News host Laura Ingraham, whose nightly program has been struggling under the weight of an advertising boycott for the past year, received some good news in April. Online giant Google, along with its subsidiary YouTube, bought up lots of advertising time on Ingraham's primetime show. The move doubles as a critical display of support from the tech behemoth at a time when Ingraham and the network have been desperate to bring high-profile advertisers back onto the show.

"Google or YouTube ads have appeared during The Ingraham Angle at least 23 times this month, beginning on April 2, with three ads running on the April 16 broadcast alone," The Wrap reports.

The unfortunate cozying up to Fox News comes as more social media giants continue to give in to right-wing bullying. Frantic to avoid the endless claims of "liberal media bias" launched by the Republican Party, conservative activists, and the right-wing media, Internet icons such as Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are doing exactly what traditional media outlets have done for years when faced with GOP bullies: they're caving. Anxious to avoid the spotlight and an erratic Trump administration that's shown it is completely willing to misuse government power to target and thwart its perceived foes in the business world, the companies seem overly anxious to make friends with conservative bullies. And now comes word that Google is helping to support Ingraham's show.

One year ago, the host sparked nationwide outrage when she took to Twitter to mock a Parkland, Florida school shooting survivor for not getting accepted into his top-choice colleges. ?David Hogg Rejected By Four colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it,? she wrote on Twitter. ?(Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...totally predictable given acceptance rates.)" The advertising exodus was immediate, as Ingraham's show went from hosting 15 minutes of commercials each night to down to just six minutes, and relied heavily on 1-800 clients because so many iconic brands including Bayer, Hulu, Johnson & Johnson, and Liberty Mutual had dropped her show. By the end of 2018, the show had rebounded a bit and was running 10 minutes of ads each night, but was still nowhere near its pre-boycott strength. Now Ingraham's getting a boost from Google. (No word if Fox offered Google a deep rate discount in order to get the company to advertise on Ingraham's ad-starved program.)

The new Google sponsorship also comes as several Democratic candidates have made a shortsighted miscue by signaling they want to work with Fox News during the campaign primary season, even though the Democratic National Committee has refused the GOP channel the right to sponsor any of the Democratic debates. By doing so, the candidates are helping to legitimize a network that is dedicated to destroying Democrats, defending Trump lies, and demolishing public debate in this country.


Stop & Shop strike ends with 'a powerful victory' for 31,000 workers

Stop & Shop workers were back in stores on Monday after their 10-day strike ended with a tentative deal reached on Sunday evening. ?Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want?good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success,? the United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement. Local workers told the Boston Globe they were glad to be going back to work.

The workers won increased pay and beat back management?s efforts to drastically increase healthcare costs and cut retirement benefits. Current members will also maintain time-and-a-half on Sundays and holidays. 

The strike was ?effective and devastating,? in the words of one analyst, leaving Stop & Shop stores with bare shelves and few customers. The workers were aided by solidarity from Teamsters who refused to cross picket lines with deliveries, and from regular customers. They also drew visits and support from Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey as well as other Democratic presidential candidates or potential candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.


Republican bills supposed to be protecting people with pre-existing conditions don't do that?at all

There's a lot of ass-covering in the latest Republican plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but not necessarily a whole lot of actual covering of those people. The plans from Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon aren't what they claim to be: affordable coverage for people who need it most.

The 2019 plans have done away with the most glaring problem they included in 2018. While insurers couldn't deny plans to people with pre-existing conditions, they could refuse to cover the treatment of those conditions. That glaring hole has been closed, but the plans still fall far, far short of the comprehensive Affordable Care Act provisions. For example, they don't include benefits that must be provided, as the ACA does with essential health benefits like maternity or mental health care, or prescription drugs. By leaving out these benefits or making policies that do allow them to be prohibitively expensive, insurers could de facto deny that care while still complying with the law.

The Republican bills also don't ban insurers from charging more for women than men (the "pro-life" party is fine with adding even more of a financial burden to their forced birth plans). They would also not ban insurance companies from putting caps on how much they pay out in either annual or lifetime benefits. That means someone with a serious illness or accident could blow through their allowed coverage in a matter of months, and be left hanging to pay for care on their own. Both bills have provisions "prohibiting discrimination" based on a person's health status for either eligibility for coverage or for premium costs, but an expert in writing legislation?a former lawyer in the House Office of the Legislative Counsel, the staff that helps write legislation?says that there are other provisions in these two bills that "could be read as undermining those protections against discriminatory premiums." For example, the legislation says insurers can't charge one individual more than another "on the basis of any health status-related factor," but it is qualified by language saying that this provision shall not be interpreted as restricting how much an employer or individual could be charged. That's known as a loophole.


Deportations of immigrants with no criminal record surge 226% in New York City

Under the Trump administration, the deportation of New York City area immigrants with no criminal record, including vulnerable asylum-seekers, have skyrocketed 226 percent, the New York Times reports. ?That is the largest percentage increase of any Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in the country.?

In some cases, unshackled Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have targeted asylum-seekers who have lost their cases?the denial rate was nearly 62 percent in 2017, up from nearly 57 percent in 2016, according to the National Immigration Forum?but were then allowed to stay and work here so long as they continued checking in regularly with the agency.

One man who was targeted by ICE, Indra Sihotang, literally clung to a chair as officials tried to load him onto a flight back to Indonesia, where ?the persecution of Christians like him? has ?intensified,? the New York Times continued. Like a number of other immigrants, he was arrested during what he assumed was a routine ICE check-in. Immigrant rights advocates have dubbed these sort of arrests ?silent raids.?

Following the scene at the airport, neither Sihotang nor ICE were allowed to board the commercial flight. ICE yet again attempted to deport him, and he was sitting in a van on the way to the airport when the agents got a call halting the removal. While Sihotang had lost his asylum case five years ago, ?a judge had determined Mr. Sihotang faced credible fears of persecution in Indonesia and reopened his asylum case, which remains unresolved.?

Once again, ICE doesn?t have to carry out these sort of arrests. The Obama administration, for example, attempted to prioritize resources and target people who posed a danger to communities. But those priorities went out the window following Donald Trump?s inauguration. What could also explain the surge of deportations in New York City is that ICE has plainly stated it wants to target people in localities with pro-immigrant policies. The cruelty is the point.


Supreme Court to decide on Census citizenship question after lower court ruled Trump team lied

On Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case contesting the Trump administration's push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 national census. This is itself alarming: the constitutional intent of the census, the repeated dire warnings by career census staff, and the flagrant manner in which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied outright about his actions would seem to make the case clear-cut. The Supreme Court will essentially be deciding whether or not all of that evidence should be tossed in favor of the alternative Trump administration hypothesis: We can do what we want, so shut up.

The core of the argument centers around Team Trump's behavior in pushing for the new citizenship question. A lower court blasted Ross for purposefully lying when he claimed that the Justice Department requested that the question be added; it was actually Ross who went to the Justice Department fishing for a pretext to add it. And it matters because census experts are uniform in their warnings that including the question will suppress the response rates of minority, and especially Latino, census respondents. There is a perception that the responses to that question would be shared, despite current prohibitions against doing so, with law enforcement in an effort to target undocumented U.S. residents for deportation. That means counties with larger populations of undocumented residents could see their "official" census-set populations significantly undercounted; that, in turn, means reduced federal spending to those counties. The number of people actually living there doesn't change, but the funding?and even more critically, representation in the House of Representatives?does.

And that potential undercount, according to researchers, could be "huge."

Nationally, only 35 percent of immigrants and 31 percent of Latinos trusted the Trump administration to protect this information and not share it with other federal agencies ? an issue that has already arisen in debates about the citizenship question. Trust in the Trump administration was even lower in California and San Jose.

It seems fairly clear from Ross? misdirections that this selective?but potentially severe?undercounting was the whole point on the part of the virulently anti-immigrant administration.


Judiciary Chair subpoenas ex-White House counsel Don McGahn, who painted damning portrait of Trump

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler subpoenaed Donald Trump's former White House counsel, Don McGahn, on Monday to both turn over documents and testify publicly before the committee.

Nadler has given McGahn a deadline of May 7 to produce the requested documents and set May 21 for a hearing date, following testimony from Attorney General William Barr on May 2. McGahn is central to some of the Mueller report's most vivid descriptions of Trump's efforts to halt the Russia probe. In particular, McGahn testified under oath that Trump had told him to fire Mueller, which McGahn described as some "crazy shit" at the time.

In his statement, Nadler said that Mueller's report, even in redacted form, revealed "substantial evidence" that Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses of power.

"Congress has a constitutional obligation to hold the President accountable," Nadler wrote, "and the planned hearings will be an important part of that process." 

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McConnell ready to 'move on' from high crimes and misdemeanors he sought to impeach Clinton for

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell?s mastery of hypocrisy was on full display Monday when he was asked about impeachment during a stop in his home state of Owensboro, Kentucky.

?Well, look, I think it?s time to move on. This investigation was about collusion, there?s no collusion, no charges brought against the president on anything else, and I think the American people have had quite enough of it,? McConnell responded.

Actually, Mitch, the probe wasn?t about collusion: it was about conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Also, Mitch, a quick skim of the report reveals plenty of collusion did occur, even though special counsel Robert Mueller concluded it didn?t rise to the level of a provable criminal conspiracy. As for the obstruction of justice piece McConnell so conveniently ignored, that?s something he used to find pretty compelling ... back when Bill Clinton was president.  

?I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors,? McConnell said from the Senate floor on February 12, 1999.

Perplexed is right. Republicans, rather than grappling with Trump?s lawless effort to obstruct justice, are hoping the public will simply forget about Volume II of Mueller?s report, the least redacted and most vivid and arresting portion of the document. In fact, McConnell was a happy enabler of Trump?s obstructive efforts. Remember all those times he was asked whether he was worried about Trump potentially firing Mueller, and McConnell assured us there was no reason to suspect Trump would do that? Now we know that McConnell was either gleefully lying or dancing the jig of studied ignorance.

Either way, McConnell has made a habit of being wrong about Trump/Russia. He was woefully wrong about preventing then-President Obama from more ardently warning the public of Russian interference, he was woefully wrong about Trump not trying to interfere with Mueller?s investigation, and now he?s woefully wrong about moving quickly past Trump?s lawlessness. 

And it?s pretty interesting how eager McConnell is to move along now, as he was pretty adamant about dwelling on similar issues when a Democrat was president. 


McConnell declares himself the 'Grim Reaper' standing between us and any hope of progress

The 2020 campaign is going to be all fear, all the time if Mitch McConnell has anything to say about it. And since he's Senate majority leader and the second most powerful Republican in the country, he will.

All the positive stuff Democrats are running on? Forget it, he says. It's all socialism, "pervasive" in the entire Democratic field. "I don't want you to think this is a couple of nutcases running around the fringe." What's more, if he's re-elected majority leader, "Think of me as the Grim Reaper. None of that is going to pass."

No where is that more true than with any kind of improvement to the Affordable Care Act or, heaven forfend, Medicare for all. If he had his way, he'd be getting rid of all of it. Grim reaper, indeed. The death of all of us, the poor ones and the sick ones and the old ones and pretty much anyone without a trust fund or rich parents, anyway. The Green New Deal? He'll kill it and the planet along with it. Because no one trying to help the country and the world make it to the 22nd century is going to be contributing to McConnell's coffers.

This, by the way, is why Democrats have to be ready to get rid of the filibuster when they retake the majority, unless by some miracle either McConnell loses or Democrats gain 20 seats in 2020. McConnell and team will tear the entire country down before allowing it to progress into this century.

Let's do our part to help by beefing up our nominee fund. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these crucial Senate races!


Republican big money proves it: It's the party of Trump

The fact that Donald Trump might very well be a Russian asset, and has definitely tried to obstruct justice (on top of every horrible other thing about him that he hasn't bothered trying to hide) isn't enough to keep big Republican donors away, not anymore. The millionaires and billionaires who bankrolled George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney (but spurned Trump in 2016) are going all-in for Trump 2020.

On May 7, elite big-moneyed Republicans will formally unveil their Trump project at "a closed-door event with Trump 2020 aides," which will undoubtedly be at the Trump D.C. hotel so he can make even more money off of it. Party officials explained to Politico that the plan will be that "high-performing bundlers who collect at least $25,000 for Trump Victory, a joint Trump 2020-Republican National Committee fundraising vehicle, will earn rewards like invitations to campaign-sponsored retreats, briefings and dinners." Probably at Trump properties, where he can make an additional buck off of them. Because Republicans love them some grift.

It gets grosser. "Party officials have been reaching out to top fundraisers in recent weeks and wooing them with the prospect of joining 'raiser clubs,' with names like 45 Club, Trump Train and Builders Club." Like this is all completely normal and Trump isn't burning the whole country down around our ears. Of course, they're still reaping the benefits of his big tax scam, and they're probably all old enough that they don't particularly give a shit that the republic is being destroyed. They're well-insulated from it, and figure their progeny will inherit so much from them, they'll be protected as well.

The Republican Party should just plaster a big gold TRUMP on party headquarters and call it good.


Stephen Miller once interrupted some downtime in Paris to advocate for an immigrant's deportation

Stephen Miller?s obsession with immigrants is so deep-seated that during an official visit to France last year, the White House aide apparently interrupted some downtime along the Seine to take a phone call in which he ?spent several minutes loudly pressing administration officials on the other end of the line to deport an individual who had been detained by immigration authorities,? Politico reports. 

That any 30-something White House aide is ordering around federal immigration officials or directing officials on how to decide individual immigration cases seems out of bounds, but this is the Trump administration we?re talking about, and, in particular, Stephen Miller, who has reportedly been a hateful asshole even as far back as his teen years, when he disowned a friend just for being Latino.

Now that this ghoul has the power to make the lives of many more brown people miserable, he?s been busy doing just that, reportedly calling ?administration officials at all levels? to pressure them ?about changes to immigration rules and regulations, and [demand] stepped-up enforcement.? In private meetings, unnamed officials say, Miller rants about ?immigrant criminals? and other garbage, while effectively firing top administration officials he feels weren?t being shitty enough to immigrants. 

It?s disturbing that anyone would ever think that a government that has carried out state-sanctioned kidnapping at its southern border, for example, isn?t cruel enough, but that?s who and what he is. Once again, he?s obsessed. ?It?s not an overstatement to say Stephen Miller wakes up every morning thinking about illegal immigration,? another unnamed source told Politico, ?and goes to sleep thinking about it as well.?

What a comment, considering Miller appears to have no problem with his boss? businesses abusing undocumented workers. Told about the Politico piece, one of these former workers, Sandra Diaz, said that ?when Stephen Miller goes to sleep at Trump properties, like Bedminster, he is sleeping in a bed made by undocumented immigrants. When he wakes up, he is fed by them. The same is true for the Trump family. They rely on our labor even as they attack us and our communities. What a bunch of hypocrites. Cruel, demeaning hypocrites.?

Cruel, demeaning hypocrites that should be held accountable. Last week, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, invited Miller to testify in front of lawmakers. The chair acknowledged that getting White House advisers to testify before congressional committees isn?t all that common. But Miller?s acting like a department head, so he should be treated like one. Drag him in.


'No women anything': Trump's Federal Reserve nominee really, really hates idea of women in sports

Stephen Moore, Donald Trump?s controversial Federal Reserve nominee, spent the early 2000s writing noxious sexist commentary that will only make him more controversial ? and will probably thrill Donald Trump. Moore took shots at his own wife for voting Democratic, but his major issue was with women in?or anywhere near?sports.

Moore responded to the news of a woman refereeing an NCAA men?s game by writing that ?The NCAA has been touting this as example of how progressive they are. I see it as an obscenity. Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women? What's next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they've done that already.) Why can't women ref the women's games and men the men's games. I can't wait to see the first lady ref have a run in with Bobby Knight.? 

Here?s some news for Moore: Any woman who makes it to be the first refereeing in a given level of men?s sports has already encountered plenty of bullies, and triumphed despite them.

Moore didn?t stop there, though. In the hectoring tones of the bully who thinks being a dickwagon shows how funny he is, he went on to write ?Here's the rule change I propose: No more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer venders, no women anything.? Har har har. Oh, but there?s more. ?There is, of course, an exception to this rule. Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant.? Yes! He totally went to ?women should be permitted in the boys club if and only if I personally want to objectify them? territory. He even took it a step further, calling for Bernstein to do her reporting while wearing a halter top.

This is a man who was trying waaaaay too hard, and what he was trying at was showing himself to be a sexist, bullying prick. In short, it was just the thing to really cement Trump?s view that this is someone who should have a major say in the U.S. economy.


Midday open thread: Recaps, Earth Day, and Herman Cain is out

Cartoon by Tom Tomorrow
  • What you missed on Sunday Kos ?
  • Unqualified boob has announcement about another unqualified boob:
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Ms. Doud-Martin works for U.C. Berkeley?s Haas School of Business, where she recently led a successful effort to make the school?s Chou Hall the ?greenest academic building in the country.?

This year it was certified as TRUE Platinum Zero Waste, meaning the building sends almost nothing to the landfill. Like, ever.

?We encourage a ?pack in, pack out? mentality, like going into a forest,? Ms. Doud-Martin told me.

Here And Now: These Maps Show How Climate Change Has Already Transformed The Earth

Our planet is in the grip of rapid climate change. Explore how your city has already changed.

On today?s Kagro in the Morning show: Seth Moulton is running for president, everybody! Greg Dworkin joined in a full 2 hour show on that exciting news, with a brief 119 minute detour into consideration of the censure, impeachment, and/or defeat of the current president.


Pelosi on impeachment: Republicans have 'unlimited appetite' for Trump's 'low standards'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues Monday urging a pragmatic approach to impeachment, along with a blistering acknowledgment that Democrats are on their own in terms of holding Donald Trump to account for the conduct revealed in the redacted Russia report.

At a minimum, Trump had engaged in "highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior," Pelosi charged, adding that "Congressional Republicans have an unlimited appetite for such low standards." 

At the same time, Pelosi said Democrats "firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth." That endeavor could be accomplished, she noted, "outside of impeachment hearings." While Pelosi acknowledged a split in approaches among Democratic lawmakers between those who prefer to continue investigating Robert Mueller's findings and those who would move directly to impeachment proceedings, she remained focused on the public's perception of Democrats' actions in the days and weeks to come.

"As we proceed to uncover the truth and present additional needed reforms to protect our democracy, we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on presentation of fact." Key to that approach is Democrats' ongoing effort to gain access to Mueller's full report, including a bicameral letter from Democratic leaders rejecting Attorney General William Barr's desire make more of the the report available to only a small number of lawmakers.

"We insist on the public's right to know," Pelosi wrote, "so that the American people can learn the truth and Congress can make our decision on how to proceed." 

Pelosi is clearly betting that a full public airing of Mueller?s report will bring most Americans closer to the view that Trump is not only dangerously unfit for office, but should be held accountable for his actions by someone. But as Democrats proceed, Pelosi will continue to remind the public that her caucus is duty-bound to act, precisely because Republicans don't have the moral fiber to do so.

 


Republican states react to 2018 Democratic wave in the usual way?by suppressing the vote

Republicans can only win by cheating, and they're barely even bothering to hide their intentions. Several Republican-led states are responding to big election losses to Democrats in 2018 not by evolving to answer the electorate's wishes, but by shrinking that electorate through voter suppression.

In Texas, they're looking at making a mistake on a voter registration form a felony, with criminal penalties including jail time for voter registration errors or for casting an ineligible ballot. Arizona is trying to make early voting more complicated; Tennessee lawmakers are considering discouraging voter registration groups by creating fines for submitting incomplete forms. These are all states that either saw substantial gains for Democrats in 2018, or have key races in 2020.  In Arizona, in particular, this is a direct result of big Democratic turnout in 2018, and the loss of four statewide seats, including the U.S. Senate seat now held by Kyrsten Sinema. In Texas, two U.S. House seats and 12 state legislative seats flipped. In 2018 in Tennessee, new Democratic registrations and votes surged in Memphis and Nashville.

The second Arizona seat, as well as Sen. John Cornyn's in Texas, are up in 2020. That and the potential?long shot thought it may be?for those states to flip in the presidential election are enough to have Republicans anxious to make sure as many Democrats and new voters as possible are cut out of the process.

In all of the states, lawmakers insist that they wouldn't be going after regular people making mistakes, but only "people who are intentionally cheating," as Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes in Texas says. "This is only going after folks that create chaos intentionally or knowingly," says Tennessee coordinator of elections Mark Goins. And we all know who that means: young people, people of color, the usual "cheating" suspects for Republicans.

The only way Republicans can win?even in states like Arizona and Texas?is not to let the majority of people vote.


Trump admin may be shutting down some international immigration offices as soon as June

The Trump administration may begin closing some international U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices as soon as the end of June, BuzzFeed reports. The office in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, would be first, on June 30, followed by Manila, Philippines. ?All offices, including the main district offices for the separate regions, are scheduled to close by March 10, 2020.?

Officials reportedly claim that the closings will save ?millions of dollars every year,? with the agency?s spokesperson adding that ?the agency is working with the State and Homeland Security departments to coordinate and avoid interruptions in services.? The administration could also save millions of dollars by cutting down a certain someone?s golfing outings, but it?s never really been about saving money for these guys.

BuzzFeed reports that ?The offices primarily deal with international adoptions, family visa applications, petitions for citizenship for military members stationed in foreign countries, and citizenship applications, along with help on refugee processing and investigations of fraud.? Despite claims otherwise, targeting legal immigration, especially by non-whites, has long been a goal of the Trump administration, particularly of White House aide and white supremacist Stephen Miller.

Asylum is also legal immigration, but the administration, from the very start, has taken and supported illegal actions stomping on the right of vulnerable people to ask for protection. Closing USCIS offices continues this trend of systematically walling us off from the world. Former officials have been condemning the closures, including former Refugee Affairs Division official Barbara Strack, who warned, ?It will be a great blow to the quality and integrity of the legal immigration system.?


Trump: 'Nobody disobeys my orders.' Oh, yes they do

One piece of texture that Robert Mueller?s redacted report added to the annals of Donald Trump?s ignominious tenure as our supposed commander in chief is just how astoundingly weak he is as a leader. We already knew he was an incompetent blowhard motivated by endless depths of depravity. We also knew he never had the guts to fire anyone himself, face to face, but rather always ousted people via tweet or let some other enforcer do the dirty work that he didn?t have the grit to do himself. But through Mueller?s lens, we learned how often his supposed confidants and underlings just outright ignored his commands.

From private citizen Corey Lewandowski failing to brief Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Trump?s scheme to redirect the Russia probe, to White House counsel Don McGahn dismissing Trump?s order to fire Mueller as some ?crazy shit,? people surrounding Trump routinely blew off his dumbest and most illegal requests. As Mueller wrote, Trump?s most fervent attempts to obstruct the probe were ?mostly unsuccessful? because ?the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.? 

Trump, who has clearly been briefed on this aspect of Mueller?s report, is feeling a touch miffed about the revelation going public. He kicked off Monday with predictable bluster, as he tried to reset the narrative with White House reporters. 

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Nobody disobeys my orders! Au contraire, Dear Leader. 

CNN?s Collins also reported over the weekend that Trump is now ?seeking assurances? from his staff that they really are following his orders?because nothing oozes strength like double checking to make certain people under your authority are taking you seriously. What a buffoon. 


Investigate? Impeach? Punt? Democrats debate how to move forward after Mueller report

Whether House Democrats should pursue impeachment is ?a very consequential decision and one that I?m going to reserve judgment on until we?ve had a chance to fully deliberate on it,? House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff said on Fox News Sunday. Schiff said that Democrats will be doing that deliberation in a meeting in the coming weeks. Noting that the Republican-controlled Senate would be unlikely to convict Trump (pretty much no matter what), Schiff said, ?Now, it may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless. I think what we are going to have to decide as a caucus is: What is the best thing for the country??

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler similarly didn?t commit either way on impeachment itself, but did commit to a full investigation, saying that ?it is our job to go through all the evidence, all the information we can get.?

Some Democrats worry that pushing too hard on impeachment ?galvanizes Trump supporters,? as one New Hampshire Democrat told the New York Times. Former Obama and Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri made the counter-argument: ?It?s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you stop pursuing what Mueller is putting in front of them, of course voters aren?t going to think it?s important. Voters respond to leadership.?

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, have called for impeachment proceedings. Former Rep. Beto O?Rourke said, ?I wouldn?t blame any member of the House for voting for this,? and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is ?pretty sure he deserves to be? impeached, but ?Congress will have to figure procedurally what to do.?


Supreme Court to weigh in on LGBTQ rights in the workplace

Hoo boy. Today in things that could put the brakes on progress for a generation, the Trump-McConnell Supreme Court will be taking up LGBTQ rights in the workplace

Two cases that will be combined for argument focus on whether lesbian or gay workers can be fired because of their sexual orientation, or whether that ?is a subset of sex discrimination.? The Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit said yes, it is sex discrimination, while the 11th Circuit said no, setting up the issue for the Supreme Court to tackle.

The court will also be looking at a third case in which a funeral home fired an employee because she was transgender. The owner believed ?both that allowing Stephens to wear women?s clothes would violate the funeral home?s dress code and that he would be ?violating God?s commands? by allowing Stephens to dress in women?s clothing,? Amy Howe writes that the 6th Circuit sided with the employee and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but the funeral home owner took the case to the Supreme Court. 


With the White House Easter celebration as a backdrop, Sarah Sanders delivers a whopper of a lie

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of grifter preacher and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, couldn?t take a break from lying even during the Easter holiday. Appearing on Fox News (where else?) against the backdrop of the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll, Sanders claimed reporters have said that she deserves to be choked, shunned, and, most incredibly, decapitated.


Warren announces comprehensive plan to end student debt, provide free public higher education

As a public advocate, as a senator, and now as a presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren's primary focus has been leveling the playing field for all Americans. On Monday, she rolled out another visionary policy proposal to do just that: a comprehensive student debt cancellation and universal free public college plan.

Warren's first step in dealing with what she calls a higher education crisis, "a huge student loan debt burden that's crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy," is a plan to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt owed by 42 million Americans, 95 percent of the nearly 45 million who hold debt. People with household income below $100,000 would be eligible for $50,000 in debt cancellation; Warren?s proposal creates a sliding scale for eligibility for people with up to $250,000 in annual income, with debt phased out at a rate of $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000, so that someone making $130,000 a year would get $40,000, and so on. It would be available for both public and private school debt, and the canceled debt would not be taxed as income.

"Once we've cleared out the debt that?s holding down an entire generation of Americans," Warren writes, "we must ensure that we never have another student debt crisis again. [?] We need to fundamentally change the broken system that created the crisis in the first place." That means making free public education available to every Americans for primary and secondary school as well as for two- and four-year public college. The federal government and states would partner to split tuition and fees and would expand eligibility and funding for Pell grants to cover non-tuition costs, "to make sure lower-income and middle-class students have a better chance of graduating without debt."

Warren's plan focuses on "fixing our higher education system so it better serves lower-income families and communities of color." That includes creating a $50 billion minimum fund for historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to "ensure that spending per-student at those schools is comparable to colleges in the area." It would provide addition federal funding to states that show "substantial improvement in enrollment and graduation rates for lower-income students and students of color." It would end federal funding, including military benefits and federal student loans, going to for-profit colleges that have disproportionately preyed on people of color. It would require public colleges to complete an annual audit examining enrollment and graduation rates for lower-income students and students of color, and would ban public colleges from "considering citizenship status or criminal history in admissions decisions."


Trump sues House Oversight chair to block financial records subpoena

Donald Trump is taking his fight to keep his finances a secret to court. Trump is suing to block a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee to Mazars, an accounting firm Trump uses. 

?Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically,? according to Trump?s court filing, itself a part of Trump being singularly obsessed with keeping his finances a secret even as he profits from the presidency.

House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings issued a subpoena to Mazars last week after he had requested Trump?s financial information, and after the firm had indicated it would comply with a subpoena. Cummings informed members of his committee that he was seeking ?to determine whether [Trump] has undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions, to assess whether he is complying with the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, and to review whether he has accurately reported his finances to the Office of Government Ethics and other federal entities.?


Five-question interview with Denis Hayes, coordinator of Earth Day 1970, 1990, 2000 and ... 2020.

On Earth Day 2008, I conducted a five-question interview with Denis Hayes, my onetime boss at the Solar Energy Research Institute, and now president of the Bullitt Foundation in Seattle. Hayes had coordinated the first Earth Day in 1970, when 20 million people attended environmentally focused events around the world. He was asked to coordinate the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990 and Earth Day 2000 as well. And now he?s gearing up for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day next year. You can see a condensed list of his prodigious accomplishments and awards here.

Denis Hayes, 2014
Denis Hayes in 2014

This morning at 10 AM ET, he will speak at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to announce major global mobilizations for the 50th anniversary. These include ?Vote for the Earth,? ?Earth Challenge 2020,? and the 2020 theme for Earth Day, a focus on the growing demands for immediate, transformative action to address the climate crisis. 

Although Earth Day 1970 focused desperately needed attention on the world's environmental troubles, it was also seen as a distraction from the war in Southeast Asia. Some people on the left argued that environmentalism was a snare and a delusion. Despite the environmental horrors visited on developing nations and vulnerable people in the more developed nations by the extractive industries, they viewed the whole movement as a low or nonexistent priority. They were reinforced in their views when the slaughter abroad came home. Just a week after Earth Day, on April 29, the U.S. sent troops into Cambodia and, within three weeks, six students had been killed during protests at Kent State and Jackson State universities.

Despite the demurrers, however, millions of people, including many on the left, joined in Earth Day activities. There were plenty of objections to be made. Among them was the fact that even some of the best events were peppered with corporate sponsors, many of whom were more interested in making a public relations coup than doing anything environmentally substantive. Mere marketing.

Nonetheless, for a time?in part because Richard Nixon needed something positive to balance his administration's disastrous continuation of the war and because he was pressured by Democrats such as Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson and eco-advocates in his own party?quite a number of successful environmental initiatives were undertaken, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and legislation on clean water and clean air.


Rep. Seth Moulton enters 2020 Democratic presidential primary

Rep. Seth Moulton is the latest Democrat to join the 2020 presidential primary, after having previously spurred primary talk of a different kind with his feckless and failed attempt to unseat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As a result, his presidential announcement should spur other Massachusetts Democrats to move on bids for his House seat.

Moulton, 40, is a veteran of the Marines who will make his military service the centerpiece of his campaign, as he has of his time in public service thus far. He?s also spent the years since he was elected to the House in 2014 making his youth a calling card, only to have that angle pre-empted by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Appearing on Good Morning America, Moulton said that ?I am running because I am a patriot, because I believe in this country, and because I have never wanted to sit on the sidelines when it comes to serving it. That is why I joined the Marines, it is why I ran for Congress to try to prevent what I saw got us into Iraq from happening again, and it is why I am running to take on the most divisive president in American history to bring this country back together.?

Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to join the race later in the week.


Morning Digest: Mueller report backs up ex-senator's claim on Russia hacking Florida election system

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

Leading Off

? FL-Sen: While we had thought that the Digest would be a Mueller-free zone, it turns out that there's at least one aspect of the report that's directly relevant to our interests. Mother Jones reporter Pema Levy points out that one key line in Robert Mueller's findings buttresses former Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson's assertion last year that Russian military hackers had compromised Florida's election systems:

We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government.

At the time, Nelson, who was up for re-election, was bitterly derided for his warning, which he said was based on classified information. As Levy puts it, "Republicans and the media alike painted his comments as dangerous make-believe." That even included the Washington Post's "fact checker" awarding four "Pinocchios" to Nelson, insisting, "Not a single speck of evidence backs him up, and we have serious doubts whether the classified information he cited even exists." Even if the press were to walk this back now, it carried water for the GOP by undermining the credibility of anyone who might sound a similar alarm in the future.

And while we don't know whether Putin's hackers were able to manipulate the election, it's important to remember just how close Nelson's election was: He lost to Republican Rick Scott by just 10,000 votes out of 8.2 million cast statewide?a margin of only 0.1%.


Cartoon: The extremely exoneratey report

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Cheers and Jeers: Monday

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?

I have never seen...

A bison throw a cigarette butt out a window

A flock of geese blow the top off a mountain

paper beats rock
It?s also a day to remind ourselves that Mother Earth can also be a merry prankster.

A seal cause an oil spill

A raccoon go out and leave all the house lights on

A bobcat fight legislation to lower carbon emissions

A songbird sing "Drill Baby, Drill"

A pride of lions wage war over oil

A honey bee recycle nothing but right-wing talking points

A naked mole-rat assert that our biggest worry is global cooling

A salmon pollute a stream with mercury

An elephant claim that God says it's okay to pillage the world's natural resources because pachyderms are the "chosen ones"

A mockingbird mock public transportation

A polar bear claim that the melting ice caps are no big deal

An armadillo shrug off earthquakes related to fracking

A monarch butterfly buy enough Congress members to retain billions in oil subsidies.

A wild reindeer in the lower 48 do much of anything lately

Today is Earth Day, an event we celebrate every year to remind ourselves that we do not, in fact, have to be the biggest parasites on the third rock from the sun. We choose to be. Unlike the other parasites, we know what we're doing to this planet?and how?and why?and the kinds of things we must do to stop turning it into a ball of uninhabitable human-made garbage.

As an inhabitant of this spectacular planet, I'll continue to try and treat it with the respect it deserves, mostly by following the Four Rs: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rout the Republicans."

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


Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The case for censuring Trump and excoriating Barr

Neal Katyal and Joshua Geitzer/WaPo on AG William Barr:

Barr tried to exonerate Trump. That?s not how the special counsel rules work.
The attorney general isn?t supposed to be rebutting the special counsel.

The point here is not to say that Trump obstructed justice or that he should be impeached. Our concern is with law and process: Corrupt intent is a complex question, especially when evaluating the behavior of the president. But Barr has put too much emphasis on whether there was an underlying Russia-related crime. That might be defensible if he were Trump?s personal attorney, making the best case he could for his client. That?s not Barr?s role, though. He?s the attorney general of the American people, and he?s been handed a report by a crack prosecutorial team that lays out 10 instances in which Trump possibly obstructed justice. Barr shouldn?t be offering a rebuttal. He should be offering the report to Congress ? and then leaving it to lawmakers to determine what comes next.

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Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Happy Easter Monday, Canadians! And Happy Earth Day, Earthlings!

And Happy Dyngus Day, Buffalo, NY! And Happy Dingus Day, Donald Trump! But then, every day is Dingus Day for you, isn?t it?

It?s been an unbelievable 100 years since the (latest Barr-version of the) Mueller Report came out, and we?re still not done parsing it. Luckily, Trump insists he?s enjoying things, and living his best days as president,* so there?s no need to stop thumbing through it on his account.

So we may just keep going with that this week.

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

PODCAST LISTENERS: There?s a new podcast platform in town, and the big news is: this one pays! RadioPublic pays podcast producers at $20 CPM for listens on their native app (available for iPhones & Androids), financed by pre- and post-roll ads they insert. Not a bad way to support the show, with somebody else?s money!

So if you?re a podcast listener, please consider downloading the RadioPublic app on your Android or iOS phone. Yes, you can still download directly from their site, or listen to the player embedded here at Daily Kos. But it?s listens in their app that count toward payment. And get this: listen to just three episodes in their app, and we earn a one-time, $1 ?loyal listener? bonus.

Nothing changes on our end. It?s still Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando. Plus also, me. And you! As always, we still want your voice on the air with us. Sit down with your smart phone or other electronic recording device and send us your stories and commentary to share with the audience. There?s no easier way to try your hand at podcasting, without all the hassle!

Of course there?s no substitute for having your support via Patreon, or one-time contributions via Square Cash. (And hey, if you want a cool trick for donating sorta-kinda cost free, get their cash.me app and use this share code to get $5 in your account (plus $5 in mine) when you send your first $5 (to anyone)!

For now, how about one on the house? Here?s what we did on our last show:

Friday, finally! Some of us could use a little break from all of this before they snap. Not David Waldman, and not any of you reading this, who are now about to hit play on today's KITM. We need a couple of hours to prepare for the dozens of hours we plan on devoting our attention to Mueller report analysis this weekend! Armando returns to remind us that the administration of justice is a constitutional responsibility that is shared by all three branches. Unlike William Barr, Robert Mueller agrees that Congress has this responsibility as well. For a moment there, a few Democratic leaders spaced on that. Lately, some are beginning to smarten up, others? no. Speaking of smarts, Donald Trump kept trying to break the law, but was continually stymied by his smarter, law abiding staff. Certainly, plenty of his staff were neither, as shown by the Special Counsel's 14 referrals of potential criminal activity to outside offices. Only two referrals are publicly known at this point, but the report does describe Mike Flynn contacting foreign intelligence services for Hillary Clinton dirt, and Steve Bannon and Erik Prince exchanging dozens of text messages (since acid-washed from their phones, natch). Prepare to return to the Seychelles in the coming months. There?s plenty more dumbness and dishonesty to discover. For instance, Sarah Sanders helped out where she could. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr fed the White House Senate intelligence. Rod Rosenstein wouldn?t stick his neck out for Trump, although he?s still happy to stand behind those who do. By the way, that mountain man lawyer on Rod?s right represents a whole different (maybe) can of worms. By the way, how dumb and dishonest can you be to not collude with the Russians only because you couldn?t ask for anything in return? because you know your entire life is filled with blackmailable offenses?

Thanks 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.


Sunday night owls. Denison: 'The Abominations of Congress'

Dave Denison at The Baffler writes?The Abominations of Congress. An excerpt:

MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS AGO Charles Lewis noted in The Buying of the Congress that for most Americans the national legislature is ?a distant abomination.? You can put the emphasis on ?distant??fewer than half the citizenry can name their representative and even fewer can name both their senators. Or you can emphasize the ?abomination,? since most people are aware that Congress is perennially in the grip of the high-paid influencers who haunt its marbled lobbies and fund congressional campaigns. It?s part of our national folklore to believe, as Mark Twain put it, ?There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.?

In a simpler age it was customary to find humor in the fact that some of the most, um, ordinary intellects stumbled into the august chambers of the United States Congress. Today?s longest-serving House member, Alaska Republican Don Young, is known for sometimes brandishing a penis bone of a walrus?and for once pulling a knife on former Speaker John Boehner. Louisiana Democrat Rep. William Jefferson was indicted in 2007 for taking about a half million dollars in bribes. The FBI found $90,000 in his freezer.

Ghost_Owl_2.jpg

When I was a grade school student, I became aware that there was a man who represented mein Congress, sent to Washington, D.C., from our Second Congressional District in Indiana. His name was Earl Landgrebe, and he was a Republican, as were most people in the district of small towns in Northwest Indiana?s Lake and Porter counties. Yet in the summer of 1974, when I was riveted to the televised Watergate hearings and was becoming aware that the president was corrupt, and that some Republicans were beginning to acknowledge as much, I also learned that my own representative was unable to speak intelligently about the national crisis.

The House had voted earlier that year 410?4 to authorize the Judiciary Committee to start impeachment hearings. Rep. Landgrebe was among the four dissenting voters. He was loyal to Nixon all the way to the end: the day before Nixon resigned Landgrebe made himself famous by telling a reporter, ?Don?t confuse me with the facts. I?ve got a closed mind. I will not vote for impeachment. I?m going to stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.? That was the year the magazine New Times named Landgrebe to their ?Ten Dumbest Congressmen? list.

To be young in America, in every generation, is to become at least vaguely aware that an incompetent and malignant Congress is not entirely funny. These people can get you killed. It was a clear and present danger when neither party was able to put a stop to the Vietnam War, and again when Congress authorized George W. Bush & Co. in 2002 to launch an invasion of Iraq. And it?s true today, as any high school student knows who walks through metal detectors and endures ?active shooter? drills at school: Congress, despite its constant protestations, has a long record of negligence when it comes to meaningful national security?especially for young and marginalized people.

Yet it?s a feature of #resistance politics today to focus almost entirely on the abuses of presidential power. We?re stuck in a president-centric political system?and the unlimited goonery of the current president makes it almost impossible to gain perspective on the depth of our democratic dysfunctions. But a corrupt president can be voted out after four years. Congress can be impervious to reform for generations at a time. [...]

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2006?More Flu Stories:

It's interesting that ANY discussion of bird flu engenders a reflex "fear/hype" response amongst some posters, (and the usual media culprits) as if the very existence of the discussion (and the provision of neutral information) is an affront to propriety. For example,  here's a simulation from the Los Alamos National Laboratory on Avian Flu infection dynamics should 10 people be found positive in a major America City like Los Angeles. The low probability, high impact nature of the Quicktime movie simulation speaks for itself. But as the Science editorial goes on to say:

An energetic response to H5N1 does not have to be alarmist. [emphasis mine] We can marshal existing concern about this particular strain of avian influenza to build a long-lasting international infrastructure to monitor and thwart threats from such emerging infections.

And Americans are concerned. They're a little concerned about bird flu (or the pandemic flu version) and very concerned about the government's ability to deal. 

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.?


Politicians are not celebrities, and we are constituents, not fans

I think I first started hearing the words ?I am a fan of?? in regard to politicians in 2008, when Barack Obama was running. Granted, I had probably heard it most of my life, but I?d never paid much attention to it. In 2008 I did not think much of it?just the turn of a phrase. However, in 2019, the use of that phrase has grown, and when used with a politician?s name?the cult of personality is a very dangerous path to do down.

Now this is not an uncommon occurrence in American politics. In recent history one only has to look back to the 1960s to see it with the Kennedys and Camelot, or to remember how Reagan, Schwarzenegger, and Trump used their celebrity to propel them to state and national offices.

If you are a fan of Bernie, Kamala, Pete, Joe, or, heaven forbid, Donald, then you need to look at yourself in the mirror and promise to change. Politicians are not celebrities; they do not deserve fawning worship. They are public servants, who can and should be scrutinized, and must be held accountable for their actions. On the obverse, we are not fans; we are constituents, and we must demand better from our public servants. We must hold their feet to the fire, and if they fail?they must not be re-elected.



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