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Scientists have finally figured out the mystery of where Bronze Age iron came from

A new study in the Journal of Archaeological Science seems to have solved a long-standing mystery that archeologists and scientists have faced: the discovery of iron artifacts that date back to the Bronze Age. The fact of iron in the Bronze Age record (320
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Scientists have finally figured out the mystery of where Bronze Age iron came from

A new study in the Journal of Archaeological Science seems to have solved a long-standing mystery that archeologists and scientists have faced: the discovery of iron artifacts that date back to the Bronze Age. The fact of iron in the Bronze Age record (3200 BCE—1200BCE) goes against the idea that humanity had yet to have the knowledge and capability to smelt iron. This meant that while many scientists and archeologists suggested an extraterrestrial solution—meteors—there were people who could still argue: Aliens So far the limited testing that’s been done on Bronze Age iron has supported the meteorite theory. However, what has been hampering efforts to find out the exact makeup of more of these artifacts was the fear of destructive testing that would harm them. These scientists were able to find a way to non-destructively test the iron elements. Albert Jambon, from the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, studied museum artefacts from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and China, analysing them using an X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer to discover they all shared the same off-world origins. "The present results complementing high quality analyses from the literature suggest that most or all irons from the Bronze Age are derived from meteoritic iron," writes Jambon in his published paper. Part of what differentiates iron that humans make and iron that comes from the sky is the level of nickel.

Nuts & Bolts: A guide to Democratic campaigns—preventing fundraising nightmares

Welcome back, Saturday Campaign D-I-Y’ers! For those who tune in, welcome to the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. Each week, we discuss issues that help drive successful campaigns. If you’ve missed prior diaries, please visit our group or follo
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Nuts & Bolts: A guide to Democratic campaigns—preventing fundraising nightmares

Welcome back, Saturday Campaign D-I-Y’ers! For those who tune in, welcome to the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. Each week, we discuss issues that help drive successful campaigns. If you’ve missed prior diaries, please visit our group or follow Nuts & Bolts Guide. Every couple of months I revisit fundraising. Not because fundraising is fun, or that it is the most important element, but because successful fundraising helps lay the groundwork for successful campaigns. Part of successful fundraising, though, is preventing fundraising nightmares. Fundraising is a difficult enough task as it is, why make it even more difficult by committing cardinal sins you can avoid before you start? We’ve covered organization in activism this year as well as candidates, and one thing they both share in common is the need to raise money to support their efforts.  Ready to talk about the big mistakes you should avoid?  Let’s go.

University janitor with no criminal record faces deportation after nearly two decades in U.S.

Remember that when Donald Trump tells you he is keeping America safe by sweeping up only “bad hombres” for deportation, he’s lying to you. In fact, the only “bad hombres” we’ve seen of late are the unshackled Immigration and Customs Enforcement
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University janitor with no criminal record faces deportation after nearly two decades in U.S.

Remember that when Donald Trump tells you he is keeping America safe by sweeping up only “bad hombres” for deportation, he’s lying to you. In fact, the only “bad hombres” we’ve seen of late are the unshackled Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who have been targeting hardworking, taxpaying undocumented immigrants like Francisco Acosta, a Wesleyan University janitor: When Acosta left Colombia, and his wife and teenage sons, in 2001, he hoped he’d be able to bring them to the United States soon. After three days of driving from Colombia, Acosta crossed the border into El Paso, Texas, and immediately applied for political asylum from the brutal violence he had left behind. Acosta was denied asylum and hasn’t seen his wife and sons since. During his appeal of the asylum case, he came to Connecticut because other members of his family live here, and he now works as a janitor at Wesleyan University in Middletown. On Monday, he will face a deportation order that will send him back to a country where he says he was threatened with death for teaching and supporting unions. While Acosta had worked with an attorney for seven years to petition for asylum, only to have it rejected. Still, he had been allowed to stay in the U.S. and work legally under the Bush and Obama administrations, so long as he continued checking in regularly with ICE. But when he went to his check-in under the Trump administration, he was ordered to buy a one-way plane ticket and prepare to leave his home and life.

DOJ is making the most insane argument that protesters and journalists should go to jail

The Washington Examiner has transcripts of the Department of Justice’s closing remarks in their case against six protesters and one journalist for their participation in Inauguration Day protests. We all realize that the right wing of our country is workin
Daily Kos

DOJ is making the most insane argument that protesters and journalists should go to jail

The Washington Examiner has transcripts of the Department of Justice’s closing remarks in their case against six protesters and one journalist for their participation in Inauguration Day protests. We all realize that the right wing of our country is working diligently to squash all dissent, even if that means trampling on the Bill of Rights. But Sessions’s DOJ isn’t even pretending that they are trying to prosecute vandalism and violence. They’re attacking people for protesting. During closing arguments Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rizwan Qureshi offered no evidence that the six committed acts of violence or vandalism, or attended planning meetings for an anti-capitalism march that ended in the arrest of about 240 people in downtown Washington. If you aren’t going to provide evidence or even argue that these individuals did something actually illegal (destroying private property for example), what is it exactly that you are arguing. Instead, Qureshi likened the defendants to robbery get-away drivers, guilty because they helped anonymize others in a crowd. “That’s exactly what this sea of black was, it was the getaway car,” he said. That “sea of black,” is supposed to reference the black outfits that some protesters wear. But, guess what? That argument will work for skin color as well—because it’s a completely unconstitutional attack on our rights to assemble and protest as Americans. But the arguments Qureshi made during the trial were equally odious. Brittne Lawson and Michelle Macchio argued that they—besides not wearing black—served as medics to people that had been hurt. “Ms. Lawson was prepared for war and she was going to make it succeed,” Qureshi said, saying she planned “to mend them and get them up on their way.” “What do you need a medic with gauze for? I thought this was a protest,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with being a medic, but she was aware there was a riot going on.” Ummmm. Wow. Considering that the DOJ isn’t interested in the never-ending stream of Second Amendment lunatics carrying GUNS to protests, this line of arguing is not simply transparent in its partisanship, it’s fucking insane. Deliberations are supposed to take place on Thursday and into Friday. I will try to update if anything gets decided.

VP of tax-paid Republican opposition research group has been spying on EPA employees for a year

On Friday, I took note of an investigative piece written by three Mother Jones’ reporters about Definers Group, a Republican opposition research firm hired for $120,000 with a no-bid contract by the Environmental Protection Agency to  “track and shap
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VP of tax-paid Republican opposition research group has been spying on EPA employees for a year

On Friday, I took note of an investigative piece written by three Mother Jones’ reporters about Definers Group, a Republican opposition research firm hired for $120,000 with a no-bid contract by the Environmental Protection Agency to  “track and shape press coverage of the agency.”  As it turns out, that’s not all the group is doing. It was founded by Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, and Joe Pounder, another longtime Republican operative. A Definers’ vice president has for the past year been investigating EPA employees critical of the Trump regime, according to Eric Lipton and Lisa Freedman at The New York Times. They report: A vice president for the firm, Allan Blutstein, federal records show, has submitted at least 40 Freedom of Information Act requests to the E.P.A. since President Trump was sworn in. Many of those requests target employees known to be questioning management at the E.P.A. since Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, was confirmed. Mr. Blutstein, in an interview, said he was taking aim at “resistance” figures in the federal government, adding that he hoped to discover whether they had done anything that might embarrass them or hurt their cause. [...] The requests focused on agency employees like Michael Cox, who worked in the E.P.A.’s Seattle office and had sent a retirement notice in March to colleagues that raised questions about Mr. Pruitt’s management as well as agency employees who had participated in a public outreach program called “Why do you love the E.P.A.,” which tried to build support for maintaining the agency’s budget. Pruitt, the EPA administrator who hates the EPA, wanted to chop the agency’s budget by 31 percent. Even congressional Republicans thought that went too far. But Pruitt is working hard to create the same effect as deep cuts with lax enforcement of agency rules. That has the obvious benefit of helping industrial polluters, at least some of whom were contributors to Trump’s campaign, and the obvious drawback of damaging the environment and potentially harming the health of people protected by rules, all of which have been developed after extensive study and public comments. Charles Tiefer, who teaches contract law at the University of Baltimore, noted that the no-bid aspect of the contract with Definers Group seemed to indicate that the firm was hired solely for ideological reasons. “This has crony favoritism and bias written all over it,” he said. “This is not merely letting the fox into the henhouse. This is hiring, at a high price, the fox.” Indeed. As we have seen, so very much of the Trump regime is populated by foxes, men and women whose chief reason for being hired is their hatred for the mission of the agencies and departments to which they have been appointed. As can be seen at EPA, any employees who object are being watched by an organization focused on curbing dissent and paid with our tax dollars. 

Tax-paid Republican opposition research group has been spying on EPA employees for a year

On Friday, I took note of an investigative piece written by three Mother Jones’ reporters about Definers Group, a Republican opposition research firm hired for $120,000 with a no-bid contract by the Environmental Protection Agency to  “track and shap
Daily Kos

Tax-paid Republican opposition research group has been spying on EPA employees for a year

On Friday, I took note of an investigative piece written by three Mother Jones’ reporters about Definers Group, a Republican opposition research firm hired for $120,000 with a no-bid contract by the Environmental Protection Agency to  “track and shape press coverage of the agency.”  As it turns out, that’s not all the group is doing. Founded by Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, and Joe Pounder, another longtime Republican operative, Definers has for the past year been investigating EPA employees critical of the Trump regime, according to Eric Lipton and Lisa Freedman at The New York Times. They report: A vice president for the firm, Allan Blutstein, federal records show, has submitted at least 40 Freedom of Information Act requests to the E.P.A. since President Trump was sworn in. Many of those requests target employees known to be questioning management at the E.P.A. since Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, was confirmed. Mr. Blutstein, in an interview, said he was taking aim at “resistance” figures in the federal government, adding that he hoped to discover whether they had done anything that might embarrass them or hurt their cause. [...] The requests focused on agency employees like Michael Cox, who worked in the E.P.A.’s Seattle office and had sent a retirement notice in March to colleagues that raised questions about Mr. Pruitt’s management as well as agency employees who had participated in a public outreach program called “Why do you love the E.P.A.,” which tried to build support for maintaining the agency’s budget. Pruitt, the EPA administrator who hates the EPA, wanted to chop the agency’s budget by 31 percent. Even congressional Republicans thought that went too far. But Pruitt is working hard to create the same effect as deep cuts with lax enforcement of agency rules. That has the obvious benefit of helping industrial polluters, at least some of whom were contributors to Trump’s campaign, and the obvious drawback of damaging the environment and potentially harming the health of people protected by rules, all of which have been developed after extensive study and public comments. Charles Tiefer, who teaches contract law at the University of Baltimore, noted that the no-bid aspect of the contract with Definers Group seemed to indicate that the firm was hired solely for ideological reasons. “This has crony favoritism and bias written all over it,” he said. “This is not merely letting the fox into the henhouse. This is hiring, at a high price, the fox.” Indeed. As we have seen, so very much of the Trump regime is populated by foxes, men and women whose chief reason for being hired is their hatred for the mission of the agencies and departments to which they have been appointed. As can be seen at EPA, any employees who object are being watched by an organization focused on curbing dissent and paid with our tax dollars. 

Abbreviated Science Round-up: Traveling bees, crocs vs Lucy, inevitable inequality

Bees tackle a seriously tough math problem At some point in your life, whether you know it or not, you’ve tried to solve “the traveling salesman problem.” In fact, you’ve tried many, many times. The classic version of the problem postulates a sales
Daily Kos

Abbreviated Science Round-up: Traveling bees, crocs vs Lucy, inevitable inequality

Bees tackle a seriously tough math problem At some point in your life, whether you know it or not, you’ve tried to solve “the traveling salesman problem.” In fact, you’ve tried many, many times. The classic version of the problem postulates a salesman out on the road, facing many stops ahead and looking for the optimal route that will reduce the distance traveled to the minimum. If the route is simple enough, intuition is generally enough to develop a near-optimal approach. But add a few more stops, some more options in routing, and this falls under that big group we discussed a few weeks ago — NP-C problems. That nasty class of issues where there seems no neat way to find the best solution except by testing them all. Keep that in mind as you ponder the best way to grab those last minute gifts. You’re not going to come up with the best route to the book store, the cheese shop, and that place with the quirky jewelry. Just drive. The good news is that real life rarely penalizes a less-than-perfect solution to this issue. Real world human beings may be years discovering all the potential shortcuts and side routes that can be taken to squeeze in that one last stop for the day, and unless the pressure for best route is “getting back to the cave ahead of something whose name includes the word ‘saber,’” it’s rarely fatal. Good enough is generally … good enough. But better is still better. Every mile saved is gas in that salesperson’s tank or, in the case of bees, more calories returned for calories expended. As it turns out, bees confronted with multiple sources of food do improve their routes over time … but their number-crunching isn’t all that hard core: On our array, bees did not settle on visit sequences that gave the shortest overall path, but prioritised movements to nearby feeders. Nonetheless, flight distance and duration reduced with experience. This increased efficiency was attributable mainly to experienced bees reducing exploration beyond the feeder array and flights becoming straighter with experience, rather than improvements in the sequence of feeder visits. Flight paths of all legs of a flight stabilised at similar rates, whereas the first few feeder visits became fixed early while bees continued to experiment with the order of later visits. Stabilising early sections of a route and prioritising travel between nearby destinations may reduce the search space, allowing rapid adoption of efficient routes. So the routes got shorter over time because the first parts of the route became straighter, though bees did continue to experiment with different orders for later stops on the route … which isn’t a bad approach, especially if the initial positions are already near-optimal. Actually, what makes this study impressive isn’t just the test of insect-path-solving, but the technology that let the researchers tag and continuously track six bees closely enough to map their paths in very fine detail. Okay, let’s take a direct path to more research ...

In the final holiday shopping rush? Here are some ways to shop your values

Americans spend a lot of money on holiday gifts. Beyond the pleasure of finding the right thing for someone you love, wouldn’t it be nice to feel a little bit good about where your money was going? There’s probably no such thing as the perfect business, o
Daily Kos

In the final holiday shopping rush? Here are some ways to shop your values

Americans spend a lot of money on holiday gifts. Beyond the pleasure of finding the right thing for someone you love, wouldn’t it be nice to feel a little bit good about where your money was going? There’s probably no such thing as the perfect business, of course, and consumer dollars are never a substitute for strong policy. But here are some places you might want to look in that last-minute holiday shopping rush: The AFL-CIO has a union-made holiday gifts guide ranging from See’s Candies to Joseph Abboud suits. Or maybe someone you know would appreciate a nice Harley-Davidson, which is certainly in your gifting budget. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has its Made in America holiday gift guide with something from every state: sleeping bags from Alabama, jewelry from Alaska and Arkansas and Oregon and Rhode Island, toys from Arizona and Colorado and Indiana and Pennsylvania, and much more. The DoneGood shop allows you to search for products from mission-driven companies. You can choose to highlight companies that are eco-friendly, empower workers, give back, are woman- or minority-owned,  or manufacture in the U.S., and ones that make products that are organic or GMO-free, recycled or upcycled, toxin-free, cruelty-free, or vegan. Take a look and see if you can’t find some gifts to feel good about buying as well as giving.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: GOP scrambling to pass tax bill, Democrats eye 50-state strategy

Dear America:  Donald Trump is awful (we told you), and the GOP enables him. They as a party endorsed and backed Roy Moore (with few exceptions, thank you Sen. Shelby). They are talking your health care and shredding your safety net. What are you going to
Daily Kos

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: GOP scrambling to pass tax bill, Democrats eye 50-state strategy

Dear America:  Donald Trump is awful (we told you), and the GOP enables him. They as a party endorsed and backed Roy Moore (with few exceptions, thank you Sen. Shelby). They are talking your health care and shredding your safety net. What are you going to do about it? xDemocrats have seen an insane growth in small donors this year. Just look at what happened in Virginia... 2009 cycle Democrats: 14,351 small donors Republicans: 12,918 small donors 2017 cycle Democrats: 153,442 small donors Republicans: 7,332 small donors pic.twitter.com/0sY3O4ufk1— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) December 14, 2017 xHow good are Democrats feeling right now?@IsaacDovere reports Sens. Schumer and Van Hollen are recruiting Democrat Brandon Presley in MISSISSIPPI.https://t.co/VQmTNj3zSk— Kevin Robillard (@PoliticoKevin) December 14, 2017

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: GOP scrambling to pass tax bill, Democrats eye 50 state strategy

Dear America:  Donald Trump is awful (we told you), and the GOP enables him. They as a party endorsed and backed Roy Moore (with few exceptions, thank you Sen. Shelby). They are talking your health care and shredding your safety net. What are you going to
Daily Kos

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: GOP scrambling to pass tax bill, Democrats eye 50 state strategy

Dear America:  Donald Trump is awful (we told you), and the GOP enables him. They as a party endorsed and backed Roy Moore (with few exceptions, thank you Sen. Shelby). They are talking your health care and shredding your safety net. What are you going to do about it? xDemocrats have seen an insane growth in small donors this year. Just look at what happened in Virginia... 2009 cycle Democrats: 14,351 small donors Republicans: 12,918 small donors 2017 cycle Democrats: 153,442 small donors Republicans: 7,332 small donors pic.twitter.com/0sY3O4ufk1— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) December 14, 2017 xHow good are Democrats feeling right now?@IsaacDovere reports Sens. Schumer and Van Hollen are recruiting Democrat Brandon Presley in MISSISSIPPI.https://t.co/VQmTNj3zSk— Kevin Robillard (@PoliticoKevin) December 14, 2017

Open thread for night owls: Elite U.S. commandos deployed to 149 nations in 2017

Nick Turse at TomDispatch writes—Wider World of War: Elite Commandos Deployed to 149 Countries in 2017: In 2017, U.S. Special Operations forces, including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, deployed to 149 countries around the world, according to figures p
Daily Kos

Open thread for night owls: Elite U.S. commandos deployed to 149 nations in 2017

Nick Turse at TomDispatch writes—Wider World of War: Elite Commandos Deployed to 149 Countries in 2017: In 2017, U.S. Special Operations forces, including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, deployed to 149 countries around the world, according to figures provided to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command. That’s about 75% of the nations on the planet and represents a jump from the 138 countries that saw such deployments in 2016 under the Obama administration. It’s also a jump of nearly 150% from the last days of George W. Bush’s White House. This record-setting number of deployments comes as American commandos are battling a plethora of terror groups in quasi-wars that stretch from Africa and the Middle East to Asia. “Most Americans would be amazed to learn that U.S. Special Operations Forces have been deployed to three quarters of the nations on the planet,” observes William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. “There is little or no transparency as to what they are doing in these countries and whether their efforts are promoting security or provoking further tension and conflict.” “Since 9/11, we expanded the size of our force by almost 75% in order to take on mission-sets that are likely to endure,” SOCOM’s Thomas told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May. Since 2001, from the pace of operations to their geographic sweep, the activities of U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) have, in fact, grown in every conceivable way. On any given day, about 8,000 special operators—from a command numbering roughly 70,000—are deployed in approximately 80 countries.   The Trump White House has attacked Barack Obama’s legacy on nearly all fronts. It has undercut, renounced, or reversed actions of his ranging from trade pacts to financial and environmental regulations to rules that shielded transgender employees from workplace discrimination. When it comes to Special Operations forces, however, the Trump administration has embraced their use in the style of the former president, while upping the ante even further. President Trump has also provided military commanders greater authority to launch attacks in quasi-war zones like Yemen and Somalia. According to Micah Zenko, a national security expert and Whitehead Senior Fellow at the think tank Chatham House, those forces conducted five times as many lethal counterterrorism missions in such non-battlefield countries in the Trump administration’s first six months in office as they did during Obama’s final six months. • An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events • Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION "Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole."                ~William Burroughs, The Adding Machine, (1985) TWEET OF THE DAY xTrump hosted the NRA at the White House on the anniversary of Sandy Hook massacre https://t.co/kuUmEUFbKD— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 15, 2017 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2004—Another missile test fails: Another failed test. An attempt to launch an interceptor missile as part of the U.S. missile defence shield failed early Wednesday in the first test of the system in nearly two years. The Missile Defense Agency said the ground-based interceptor automatically shutdown "due to an unknown anomaly" shortly before it was to be launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean [...] The missile defense shield was meant to be in operation by the end of 2004. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: The Internet of Things is watching you. Even if you’re Canadian. Cambridge Analytica under the lights. It’s science: Trump is a horrific liar. Eric Posman riffs on “permission structures,” post-AL-SEN. Still trying to figure out how Yemen happened. x Embedded Content YouTube|iTunes|LibSyn|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)

Osman Enriquez is free from ICE detention, but 800,000 DACA recipients continue to live in fear

Campaign Action Osman Enriquez, the 27-year-old dad who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while waiting to reapply for his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections, was released from immigration detention Thursday n
Daily Kos

Osman Enriquez is free from ICE detention, but 800,000 DACA recipients continue to live in fear

Campaign Action Osman Enriquez, the 27-year-old dad who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while waiting to reapply for his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections, was released from immigration detention Thursday night. Enriquez is one of the hundreds of DACA recipients whose renewal applications were rejected due to delays that were no fault of his own. Enriquez and others were told by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that they would get a chance to reapply and to wait for more information. But ICE agents got to him first, taking him into custody on his way to work: On Thursday morning, Enriquez’s lawyer filed a motion to expedite his hearing for release on bond; that afternoon, a bond hearing was scheduled for December 26th. But later that afternoon, Enriquez’s fiancee, Sindy, got a call from him saying he might be released. By that evening, Enriquez was home. Enriquez was released on an order of recognizance, which allows him to remain out of detention while his deportation case continues. However, according to his lawyer, Troy Mattes, Enriquez’ case had not yet been filed in immigration court as of Thursday — even though Enriquez had already been issued a Notice to Appear in immigration court. This leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Was Enriquez released because he was eligible to reapply for DACA — and if so, why was he detained to begin with? Or was he released because of the media coverage his case received, and the pressure from advocacy groups to release him? And in that case, are there other cases of people who went from waiting for a DACA reapplication notice to ICE detention, and even to deportation, without the media knowing? And the overarching question: will Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allow a vote on the DREAM Act by the end of this month so that Enriquez and 800,000 young immigrants will no longer have to live in uncertainty? Every day that passes, another 122 DACA recipients lose their protections and become vulnerable to ICE. Since Donald Trump announced the end of the program, 12,000 have fallen out of status. “Enriquez already fell into a bureaucratic nightmare,” said an editorial from Pennsylvania’s LancasterOnline.com. “More such nightmares await DACA recipients whose statuses are in limbo unless Congress acts—and soon."

Cartoon: Trump ends the War on Christmas!

x Vimeo Video It is the high season for fighting back against the “War on Christmas,” a war that doesn’t seem to actually exist. President Trump is determined to oppose said imaginary war with a full-throated defense of Christianity and all things Ch
Daily Kos

Cartoon: Trump ends the War on Christmas!

x Vimeo Video It is the high season for fighting back against the “War on Christmas,” a war that doesn’t seem to actually exist. President Trump is determined to oppose said imaginary war with a full-throated defense of Christianity and all things Christmas. Meanwhile, what is not imaginary are attacks on the social safety net. Health care for 9 million children is going unfunded while a 1.5 TRILLION dollar tax cut is speedily working its way through Congress. Republicans in Congress and the Tweeter-in-Chief are doling out tax breaks and other goodies to millionaires and billionaires. And when they’re not doing that, they will surely try to make you forget they just endorsed an anti-gay, anti-Muslim, twice-removed judge who is facing very credible charges of child molestation. That’s the kind of thing we probably shouldn’t forget, even though African Americans in Alabama just saved our bacon and sent Roy Moore packing. Enjoy the cartoon, and be sure to visit me over on my Patreon page!

Abbreviated pundit roundup: GOP tax bill gets even worse, net neutrality gutted and more

Alan Rappeport and Thomas Kaplan at The New York Times bring us the latest analysis of the Republican tax bill: Republicans, who reached agreement Wednesday on a merged version of the House and Senate tax plans, expect to unveil the final bill on Friday an
Daily Kos

Abbreviated pundit roundup: GOP tax bill gets even worse, net neutrality gutted and more

Alan Rappeport and Thomas Kaplan at The New York Times bring us the latest analysis of the Republican tax bill: Republicans, who reached agreement Wednesday on a merged version of the House and Senate tax plans, expect to unveil the final bill on Friday and vote on the legislation early next week so that it can be sent to President Trump before Christmas. But those plans were thrown into some disarray on Thursday when Mr. Rubio said that he would vote no on the bill unless it included a greater expansion of the child tax credit, which he and another Republican senator, Mike Lee of Utah, have been pushing for to benefit lower-income individuals. Here is Paul Krugman’s take: As usual, Republicans seek to afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable, but they don’t treat all Americans with a given income the same. Instead, their bill — on which we don’t have full details, but whose shape is clear — hugely privileges owners, whether of businesses or of financial assets, over those who simply work for a living. And this privileging of nonwage income isn’t an accident. Modern Republicans exalt “job creators,” that is, people who own businesses directly or indirectly via their stockholdings. Meanwhile, they show implicit contempt for mere employees.

British white supremacist leader Trump retweeted is arrested for hate crimes

You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep (and retweet). As president, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with white supremacists like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and caused an international uproar after retweeting Paul Golding, anothe
Daily Kos

British white supremacist leader Trump retweeted is arrested for hate crimes

You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep (and retweet). As president, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with white supremacists like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and caused an international uproar after retweeting Paul Golding, another white supremacist across the Atlantic Ocean. Golding is the leader of Britain First, which is a far-right group behind the fake news Trump spread to his followers just a few weeks ago. He was arrested in connection with hate speech uttered during a rally. The Guardian reports: Paul Golding, 35, was arrested shortly after arriving at Belfast magistrates court. He was accompanying his deputy, Jayda Fransen, 31, to her first appearance after being charged with “using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour” at the same rally. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: “Detectives investigating speeches made at the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism rally on Sunday 6 August this year have arrested a 35-year-old man today, Thursday 14 December, in the Belfast area. He has been taken to Musgrave PSNI station for interview. There are no further details at this stage.” Golding’s deputy Fransen was also arrested today and released on bail. Her next court appearance is in January.

So much for rewarding work. Republican tax plan has a big giveaway for the idle rich.

“I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all,” Donald Trump claimed earlier in the month. “And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing be
Daily Kos

So much for rewarding work. Republican tax plan has a big giveaway for the idle rich.

“I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all,” Donald Trump claimed earlier in the month. “And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his and her ass off.” That was Trump’s big argument for welfare reform attacking needy people, and it had no relationship to the reality of aid programs. But that type of arrangement—someone who doesn’t work at all “making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his and her ass off”—is written into the Republican tax plan. To benefit rich people, of course. It comes back to the tax on pass-through businesses, businesses where profits are taxed as the personal income of the business-owner. Pass-through income already goes overwhelmingly to the top one percent, but Republicans plan to double down on that: The House tax bill cuts the top income tax rate for pass-throughs from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, which would cost taxpayers nearly $600 billion over 10 years. About 86 percent of small business owners would not benefit because all of their income is already in the 25 percent tax bracket or lower. Republicans’ much-touted ma and pa shops usually don’t earn make enough to be in the top tax brackets, which kick in at $153,000 of taxable income for couples. The most explicit benefits for the passively rich come from Republicans’ attempt to prevent people from turning themselves into a one-person business. To do that, the House bill makes professionals like lawyers ineligible for the pass-through benefit, while those who actively run an eligible business pay a reduced rate. Pass-through owners only automatically pay the 25 percent rate when someone else runs their business. In other words, the wealthiest Americans are rewarded for not working. Daniel Shaviro, a tax law professor at New York University, labels it the “New Plutocratic Industrial Policy,” adding that it’s the the worst federal income tax proposal he’s ever seen. Shaviro tells Mother Jones that the Senate tax bill is “slightly less plutocratic” because it allows business owners in all tax brackets to deduct a share of their pass-through income. Nevertheless, he says the policy works great for an heir on “the international ski circuit.” Republicans: it’s never really about rewarding work. Rewarding rich people, on the other hand ...

DACA recipient whose renewal application was rejected due to postal delay has been detained by ICE

Campaign Action Osman Enriquez, a 27-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who was waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to contact him about how to resubmit the DACA renewal application that was rejected
Daily Kos

DACA recipient whose renewal application was rejected due to postal delay has been detained by ICE

Campaign Action Osman Enriquez, a 27-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who was waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to contact him about how to resubmit the DACA renewal application that was rejected in October through no fault of his own, is now sitting in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and could face possible deportation: On Monday morning — six days before his son’s first birthday — as Enriquez drove down Route 83 to his contracting job, he was pulled over by a Pennsylvania State Police officer. The officer told him his vehicle registration had expired. Enriquez’s fiancée says the family thought they had kept their registration current; since Pennsylvania doesn’t put registration-date stickers on license plates, Carranza speculates that the only way the trooper would have known Enriquez’s registration had lapsed would be if she’d run his license plates when he drove by. Enriquez was ultimately issued a ticket not for the expired registration, but for his expired driver’s license. But in the meantime, Carranza says, the state police officer had called Immigration and Customs Enforcement to come pick up Enriquez. ICE agents took him to the York detention center and served him with a notice to appear in immigration court — formally starting deportation proceedings against him. “Two days later, Enriquez is still in detention,” writes Vox’s Dara Lind. “Unless something changes, he’ll miss his son’s birthday on Saturday.”

Gonna cut federal regulations back to 1960, Trump announces, no matter who dies as a result

In a political stunt Thursday from the Roosevelt Room at the White House, P&#@*&^%t Trump announced that he wants to cut federal regulations back to where they were in 1960. That’s 185,000 pages in 2017 vs. 20,000 pages 57 years ago, according to th
Daily Kos

Gonna cut federal regulations back to 1960, Trump announces, no matter who dies as a result

In a political stunt Thursday from the Roosevelt Room at the White House, P&#@*&^%t Trump announced that he wants to cut federal regulations back to where they were in 1960. That’s 185,000 pages in 2017 vs. 20,000 pages 57 years ago, according to the White House. This announcement no doubt brought big smiles to certain barons of industry who have already toasted the regime’s trashing of regulations that began practically the minute the man first sat in the big chair in the Oval Office. If you’re old enough, or have read a bit of history on the subject, you may remember that in 1960 there was no Clean Air Act, no Occupational Safety and Health Administration, no Environmental Protection Agency, no Mine Safety and Health Administration, a highly limited Clean Water Act, no Department of Energy, no Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, no Office of Energy & Renewable Energy, no Commodity Futures Trading Commission, no Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, no Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. And then there’s the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. About the only surprise is that Trump didn’t say 1930 instead of 1960. Then he could also have lopped off regulations developed by the Securities & Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Soil Conservation Service.  Give him a second term and he’ll skeletonize those as well. Eric Lipton and Michael Tackett report: The president said that for every new regulation adopted, his administration has killed 22, a claim that some experts in regulation said was difficult to verify, but which he said was far more than the two rules killed for each new one that he pledged earlier this year. The president also said little about the impact of his actions, which have created opportunities for regulated industries that supported his campaign — and that in many cases have played a direct a role in orchestrating the changes through their lobbying efforts. In no part of government have the consequences of Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse the actions of the Obama administration been more apparent than in the Environmental Protection Agency. But the reach of the actions were pronounced even on Thursday, when the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Obama era regulations known as net neutrality, which prohibit internet service providers from blocking or charging websites for higher-quality service.

Republicans consider giving working families the shaft, yet again, in tax bill negotiations

Congressional Republicans are struggling to keep the cost of their tax bill under $1.5 trillion, and they’re sure not taking away anything they’ve offered up to corporations. So naturally, they’re looking at the tax cut they’ve promised you, the worki
Daily Kos

Republicans consider giving working families the shaft, yet again, in tax bill negotiations

Congressional Republicans are struggling to keep the cost of their tax bill under $1.5 trillion, and they’re sure not taking away anything they’ve offered up to corporations. So naturally, they’re looking at the tax cut they’ve promised you, the working person. Congressional Republicans are looking at shortening the duration of tax cuts that their plan would give to families and individuals, a leading lawmaker said Thursday. That change would free up more revenue for additional changes to their tax overhaul, but it could also heighten complaints that the bill prioritizes cuts for corporations over households. Under a tax overhaul bill passed by the Senate earlier this month, tax cuts for all American households would expire at the end of 2025. But Republicans are now considering having those tax cuts expire in 2024. “Heighten complaints that the bill prioritizes cuts for corporations over households.” Gee, you think? Possibly because it heightens that reality, which already had a fairly extreme height. This is basically a tax cut for corporations and heirs to multimillionaires and billionaires, with a bunch of other stuff thrown in most to confuse matters, and if Republicans aren’t careful, that will become less confused and more obvious and the bill will become even less popular than it already is.

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