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Open thread for night owls. Serwer: 'What Americans do now will define us forever'

Adam Serwer at The Atlantic writes—What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever: If multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere: The conservative intelligentsia flocked to the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.
Daily Kos

Open thread for night owls. Serwer: 'What Americans do now will define us forever'

Adam Serwer at The Atlantic writes—What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever: If multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere: The conservative intelligentsia flocked to the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., this week for the National Conservatism Conference, an opportunity for people who may never have punched a time clock to declare their eternal enmity toward elites and to attempt to offer contemporary conservative nationalism the intellectual framework that has so far proved elusive. Yoram Hazony, the Israeli scholar who organized the conference, explicitly rejected white nationalism, barring several well-known adherents from attending, my colleague Emma Green reported. But despite Hazony’s efforts, the insistence that “nationalism” is, at its core, about defending borders, eschewing military interventions, and promoting a shared American identity did not prevent attendees from explicitly declaring that American laws should favor white immigrants. Some other attendees, such as National Review’s Rich Lowry, took pains to distance themselves from the president’s brand of nationalism. “We have to push back against Donald Trump when he does things to increase that breach between the right and African Americans,” Lowry said. But in the fall of 2017, when Trump attempted to silence black athletes protesting police brutality, Lowry praised his “gut-level political savvy,” writing, “This kind of thing is why he’s president.” The conference stood solidly within the conservative intellectual tradition, as a retroactive attempt by the right-wing intelligentsia to provide cover for what the great mass of Republican voters actually want. Barry Goldwater did not break the Solid South in 1964 because the once Democratic voters of the Jim Crow states had suddenly become principled small-government libertarians; voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016 did not do so because they believed a nonracial civic nationalism had been eroded by liberal cosmopolitanism. The consensus that American civic nationalism recognizes all citizens regardless of race, creed, color, or religion was already fragile before Trump took office. That principle has been lauded, with varying degrees of sincerity, by presidents from both parties, and in particular by the first black president, who reveled in reminding audiences that “in no other country in the world is my story even possible.” The nationalism that conservatives say they wish to build in fact already existed, but it was championed by a president whose persona was so deformed by right-wing caricature that they could not perceive it. Instead, they embraced the nationalism that emerged as a backlash to his very existence and all it represented. [...] Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION “Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.”                 ~~Sinclair Lewis, Our Mr. Wrenn (1914) TWEET OF THE DAY xIn 2000 George Bush sent robocalls accusing John McCain of fathering an «illegitimate black child.» In 2004, George Bush sent mailers accusing gay people of wanting to ban the Bible. https://t.co/Rj7ZgXiLri— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) July 18, 2019 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2007—Huzzah for Harry Reid: The Brown Derby closed several years ago, but if I could lay my hands on that house-sized hat, I'd give it a tip for Harry Reid. Let me start with the confessions.  First, I have not always held tight to my pom-poms.  More than once in the last six months, I've said some... not all that supportive things about Senator Reid and his ability to move things through the «collegial» axle grease of the Senate. A big part of this was frustration at seeing all that «first hundred hours» legislation come rocketing through the House, only to enter a Senatorial time warp. A bigger part of that was the failure to keep popping that same vetoed Iraq bill back onto Bush's desk until either sweet reason prevailed or Bush's fingers got too tired to scrawl his 'X.' The biggest reason of all was a deep personal need to see Mitch McConnell face down in the mud while Senator Reid does a Riverdance clog on his back (Oh, and Bill O? That there is one of them met-a-phors). Forget that. My past criticisms arguably makes me little more than a fair weather friend, but I see a lot of blue skies today, and I see one tough senator standing out in the sunshine. I'm damned impressed with Senator Reid. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: SDNY unseals Cohen search warrant documents, and we find Trump all over the hush money deals. (Duh.) There’s an alternate theory about that, by the way. Hey, what is it with right-wing pedophilia projection? Will Epstein take even more big names under? x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!) LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

What kind of idiot believes we didn't land on the moon?

There are some people in this country who just try to undermine everything good about our society, and they are the fundamental reason we can’t have nice things. This group is usually made up of many people called Republicans, but in truth it goes much d
Daily Kos

What kind of idiot believes we didn't land on the moon?

There are some people in this country who just try to undermine everything good about our society, and they are the fundamental reason we can’t have nice things. This group is usually made up of many people called Republicans, but in truth it goes much deeper than that. As much as people can get into “America: Love it or leave it” exceptionalism, listening to shitty Lee Greenwood music while drinking Michelob from a Stars and Stripes beer koozie, there is a separate category of assholes who feel the need to question and doubt every aspect of information for … reasons. Skepticism and critical thought are good things. They’re necessary in a world with businesses and conmen that’ll rob people blind if given the chance. But when the reasons for doubting the obvious become ideological, whether politically, religiously, or dogmatically, things go off the rails into cuckoo crazy town. The Apollo program is considered by many to be one of the greatest accomplishments in human history, and a mark of greatness for the United States as a country, as proof of what people can achieve through science and government (i.e., don’t let conservatives know it was done through socialism). However, it is a popular myth that the moon missions were overwhelmingly popular and had broad support from the public. Even during the 1960s, a majority of Americans did not believe the Apollo program was worth the cost, with the exception of polling done in 1969 around the time of the moon landing. In 1979, 10 years after the landing in the Sea of Tranquility, only 47% of the public felt it had been worth it. When it comes to government funding for the space program, there is a weird coalition of liberals who feel every dollar spent to get “Whitey on the Moon” is a dollar not being used for social programs and conservatives who think of it as money that needs to be sent back to the 1% as tax cuts. But beyond just opposition, there is a sort of person who takes a look at the image above and just wants to shit on it to feel special. It’s the sort of person who watches two airplanes loaded with jet fuel crash into buildings, then sees those buildings burn for hours and crumble on live television, and then thinks, “The sheeple will probably think that’s the way it actually happened.” Or the kind of guy who hates the first black president so much, his fat ass accuses him of not being a “real” American. Or a TV network that hates Democrats so much, it tortures a murder victim’s family with a (Russian-induced) conspiracy theory to get views and clicks from the trash in its audience. So I thought it might be interesting to look at the dumbest conspiracy theories, and what drives people to think, for example, that we never put men on the moon. Millions of people, with their own eyes, watched NASA launch rockets toward the moon. We have pictures and video documenting the journeys. The astronauts even brought back moon rocks. And yet there are still idiots who think the whole thing was directed by Stanley Kubrick on a soundstage in Nevada.

Daily Kos Elections 2Q 2019 House fundraising reports roundup

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from April 1 to June 30, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on July 15 at midnight Eastern Time. Below is our chart of fundraising numbers for House candidates in all key race
Daily Kos

Daily Kos Elections 2Q 2019 House fundraising reports roundup

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from April 1 to June 30, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on July 15 at midnight Eastern Time. Below is our chart of fundraising numbers for House candidates in all key races this cycle. (Click here for our companion chart for the Senate.) That includes, among others: Races we expect to be competitive in next year's general elections Open seats in otherwise safe districts that feature primaries Under-the-radar contests where a candidate raised or self-funded an unexpectedly high sum Incumbents who potentially face a credible primary challenge Incumbents who might retire or run for higher office As always, all numbers are in thousands. The chart, and an explanation of each column, can be found below. (Click here for our chart listing fundraising data for every House incumbent.) x Embedded Content x Embedded Content

Merkel, Trudeau condemn Trump's racist attacks on members of Congress

Donald Trump’s racist tirades against four elected Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives and his ongoing nativist appeals to his base of supporters are not meeting resistance from members of the Republican Party. People who are not Repub
Daily Kos

Merkel, Trudeau condemn Trump's racist attacks on members of Congress

Donald Trump’s racist tirades against four elected Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives and his ongoing nativist appeals to his base of supporters are not meeting resistance from members of the Republican Party. People who are not Republicans, however, are condemning the vile rhetoric spewing from the Oval Office and at Trump campaign rallies. In addition to Democrats, including those running to replace Trump in 2020, condemnation of Trump’s racist spewing has come from leaders of countries that are nominally still U.S. allies, despite all the administration continues to do to encourage them to give up on us. Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, was asked about Trump’s attacks on Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, whom he suggested should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Merkel did not hesitate in her answer. “Yes. Yes. I distance myself from this decidedly and feel solidarity with the women who were attacked," she said at a press conference in Berlin, according to her translated remarks. She also said, “People of very different nationalities have contributed to the strength of the American people, so these are ... comments that very much run counter to this firm impression that I have. This is something that contradicts the strength of America.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed the unacceptability of the comments, saying, “I think the comments made were hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable. I want everyone in Canada to know these comments are completely unacceptable and should not be allowed or encouraged in Canada.”

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and resistance FRIDAY!

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Late Night Snark: Racist-in-Chief Edition «Trump has spent the week reeling off a series of unhinged tweets and tirades defending his racist attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color, in which he told them to '
Daily Kos

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and resistance FRIDAY!

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Late Night Snark: Racist-in-Chief Edition «Trump has spent the week reeling off a series of unhinged tweets and tirades defending his racist attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color, in which he told them to 'go back and help fix the totally-broken and crime-infested places from which they came.' Of course, they're Americans—three of them were born here and the fourth is a refugee and naturalized citizen. So, [Trump], if their country is broken and crime-infested, that's on you.» ---Seth Meyers And ye shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven. «This morning he wrote, 'Those tweets were not racist. I don’t have a racist bone in my body.' Here's the thing. We're not worried about your bones being racist, we're worried about your brain and your mouth being racist. » ---Jimmy Kimmel «If Trump strikes you as a little racist, you do not know the meaning of the word little.» ---Stephen Colbert «Our government now describes asylum not as an internationally recognized right, but as a 'discretionary benefit,' which is bullshit. A 'discretionary benefit' is free make-up samples at Sephora.» ---Samantha Bee And 10 years ago this week: «To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, the astronauts from Apollo 11 visited the White House. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were allowed to set foot inside the White House while Michael Collins was forced to drive around in circles outside.» —Conan O'Brien C’mon down and splash. The kiddie pool’s filled with Tang and tonight we’re bobbing for chunks of freeze-dried ice cream. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Susan Collins is going to be very disappointed about this

Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, told 60 Minutes that a grassroots funding drive for her eventual Democratic opponent was «classic quid pro quo» and bribery. «I think that if our politics has come to the point where people are try
Daily Kos

Susan Collins is going to be very disappointed about this

Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, told 60 Minutes that a grassroots funding drive for her eventual Democratic opponent was «classic quid pro quo» and bribery. «I think that if our politics has come to the point where people are trying to buy votes and buy positions, then we are in a very sad place.» That same Susan Collins just uploaded a bunch of stock videos for those «unaffiliated» Super PACs to use for ads that are totally not coordinated with her campaign but are totally in support of her campaign. So, yes, the woman who freaked out over Ady Barkan's CrowdPAC trying to buy the election and the flood of out of state money is ... inviting PACs to flood the state with out of state money to buy the election. So American Bridge PAC (our side) accepted the invitation. The result is fabulous. xAsk for help and you shall receive: @SenatorCollins’ first campaign ad of 2020 👇 #MESen #mepolitics https://t.co/wWti5kfvku pic.twitter.com/vP0oR7a6Zs— American Bridge (@American_Bridge) July 19, 2019 Let's make sure she stays disappointed. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these crucial Senate races, but especially the one in Maine!

Trump administration forcing agency relocations is a war on government and on science

Donald Trump is doubling down on the decades-long Republican war on government. He just feels empowered to take it to levels never before conceived of. Where Republicans previously tried to do it within the normal bounds of the appropriations process, by star
Daily Kos

Trump administration forcing agency relocations is a war on government and on science

Donald Trump is doubling down on the decades-long Republican war on government. He just feels empowered to take it to levels never before conceived of. Where Republicans previously tried to do it within the normal bounds of the appropriations process, by starving agencies and forcing attrition, Trump is doing it by literally playing with employees’ lives. The administration is relocating two research agencies within the Department of Agriculture from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City (it hasn’t been disclosed so far whether that’s the Missouri side or the Kansas side) and most of the Bureau of Land Management's D.C. staff to Grand Junction, Colorado. This means dozens of federal workers who can't just uproot their lives and their families from their homes are leaving the government. That's not the only problem, though, because the targeted staff are some of the leading experts in their agencies, scientists and regulators who've made their careers in public service. It's a war on government and a war on science. «These decisions […] are meant to displace seasoned scientists and regulators who have honorably served Republican and Democratic Administrations alike,» Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, told ThinkProgress. «This Administration is acting to undermine the subject-matter experts at many of our federal agencies,» said Van Hollen, who noted that he would «continue to use every tool available to push back against these actions.» More than half of the employees in the USDA's Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture have declined to relocate. The ERS staff, in particular, are concerned that it's intended to disrupt their scientific work on climate change and environmental issues. Employees in these two agencies have been issuing reports and conducting studies showing the impact that Trump's trade war with China and his environmental policies have been having on agriculture in particular. The workers rightly see these relocations as retribution. One option Congress has, with Democrats in control of the House, is to block funding for the relocations, and Van Hollen, along with other senators, has introduced legislation to keep the agencies in D.C.

Huge crowds of supporters welcome Rep. Ilhan Omar home to Minnesota

It’s been a long week for Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar—first, she was told by the president to “go back” to her home country of Somalia rather than criticize his policies, and then she faced chants of “send her back” from the crowd at o
Daily Kos

Huge crowds of supporters welcome Rep. Ilhan Omar home to Minnesota

It’s been a long week for Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar—first, she was told by the president to “go back” to her home country of Somalia rather than criticize his policies, and then she faced chants of “send her back” from the crowd at one of Trump’s rallies.  Still, none of that seemed to dampen her spirits as she returned home to Minnesota on Thursday. A crowd of nearly 100 supporters greeted her with chants of “welcome home, Ilhan” in a touching display of solidarity. xI’m still emotional after being there to welcome @IlhanMN HOME. Hundreds of people chanting “Welcome home, Ilhan!” was exactly what I needed to restore some faith in humanity. #IStandWithIlhan #WelcomeHomeIlhan pic.twitter.com/OTPSIc7feS— Amanda (@amandakegs) July 18, 2019

National Conservatism Conference was a coming-out party for unvarnished white nationalism

Recently, Republicans have demonstrated a huge amount of concern over the idea that there might be someone in Congress who holds anti-Semitic views. Someone suggesting that Jewish Americans have divided loyalties. And it turns out this concern is very well-fo
Daily Kos

National Conservatism Conference was a coming-out party for unvarnished white nationalism

Recently, Republicans have demonstrated a huge amount of concern over the idea that there might be someone in Congress who holds anti-Semitic views. Someone suggesting that Jewish Americans have divided loyalties. And it turns out this concern is very well-founded … as demonstrated ably by Missouri Republican Josh Hawley.  Hawley might be somewhat familiar from his appearances during some recent hearings. Or his claims that Google returns liberal results. Or his statements during the Barr hearing that showed Hawley believes some genuinely bizarre conspiracy theories. But it was Hawley’s keynote address at the National Conservatism Conference that nailed down who he is, what he believes, and where his party is going in a way that should be absolutely terrifying for every American. Here’s part of that address: For years the politics of both Left and Right have been informed by a political consensus that reflects the interests not of the American middle, but of a powerful upper class and their cosmopolitan priorities. This class lives in the United States, but they identify as ‘citizens of the world.’ They run businesses or oversee universities here, but their primary loyalty is to the global community. And they subscribe to a set of values held by similar elites in other places: things like the importance of global integration and the danger of national loyalties; the priority of social change over tradition, career over community, and achievement and merit and progress. Call it the cosmopolitan consensus. Even if you don’t speak white nationalist dog whistle, this speech is pretty shocking. Hawley is claiming that the United States is run, and has been run, by a secret group of international “elites” who value terrible things—such as education, achievement, and progress. People who think women should be able to have a career rather than be forced to stay at home.  But it’s far, far worse if you understand what he’s really saying, and understand the purpose of this convention.

Al Gore gives a thumbs-up as Gov. Cuomo signs climate law labeled New York's Green New Deal

Climate news has been mighty grim for the past few years. But Thursday there was some excellent news from the Empire State. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the aggressive Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, calling his decision “the mos
Daily Kos

Al Gore gives a thumbs-up as Gov. Cuomo signs climate law labeled New York's Green New Deal

Climate news has been mighty grim for the past few years. But Thursday there was some excellent news from the Empire State. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the aggressive Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, calling his decision “the most consequential of my administration.” Late last month, the Democrat-controlled New York legislature passed the bill, known widely as the state’s Green New Deal, which is designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the replacement of fossil fuel power plants with renewable sources.  A 22-member Climate Action Council will be established and spend the next three years developing a «scoping plan» to recommend regulations, incentives, and other measures to meet the law’s mandates. One of the council’s objectives will be to integrate and expand the state’s existing climate and clean energy programs.  Former Vice President Al Gore was on hand for the signing, calling it “the most ambitious, the most well-crafted legislation in the country." Cuomo had previously labeled the bill a “political placebo” with unrealistic goals. But, after four years failing to get the bill passed through a legislature in which a gang of eight renegade Democrats in the state Senate had enabled Republicans, grassroots activism coordinated by New York Renews—a 180-member coalition of environmental and other groups—finally succeeded in seeing a bill pass as a result of tossing six of those Democrats out during the 2018 primaries. But ultimately, passage required Cuomo to present his own, weaker bill.  While the law puts New York ahead of the other 49 states in mandating renewables, it follows in the footsteps of eight pioneers that pushed aggressive moves to curb emissions and spread renewables—California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. Seven of those states have called for 100% clean energy in the next few decades, but New York will get there first if the mandates in its law are attained. The New York plan exceeds the goals of other states by calling for 70% renewables by 2030, decarbonization of the state’s electricity system by 2040, and decarbonization of the state’s whole economy—or close to it—by 2050. Last year, renewables provided 26.4% of New York’s electricity. In addition, the law mandates slashing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. The other 15% will be dealt with by planting trees and sequestering carbon underground.

House Democrats rip DHS head over abhorrent detention conditions, kids 'sitting in their own feces'

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee chastised the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary on Thursday for the physical conditions migrant children and families have been forced endure on his agency’s watch, including accusation
Daily Kos

House Democrats rip DHS head over abhorrent detention conditions, kids 'sitting in their own feces'

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee chastised the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary on Thursday for the physical conditions migrant children and families have been forced endure on his agency’s watch, including accusations of sexual assault, retaliation, and detention facilities unfit for an animal. “What does that mean? What does that mean, when a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower? Come on, man! What’s that about?” committee Chair Elijah Cummings asked Kevin McAleenan. “None of us would have our children in that position.” Cummings is absolutely right, because when Sen. Mazie Hirono asked Trump officials last year if they’d put their own kids in the migrant family jails that now-acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Matthew Albence compared to a “summer camp,” they stammered and refused to answer. According to USA Today, «This would not be allowed as a kennel for dogs,» Rep. Jackie Speier said, “holding up a photo she took last weekend during a trip to migrant facilities along the border. The photo showed a shirtless man in a crowded cell holding up 4-0 on his fingers, the number of days he'd been held in the facility without a shower or being able to brush his teeth.” But it’s not just the physical conditions that are a crisis; it’s also Border Patrol’s deep-rooted toxic, violent, and misogynist culture. Case in point: the recently exposed, not-so-secret Facebook group of former and current agents who, in just two examples of their vile posts, mocked the death of a child on their watch and shared a meme of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being sexually assaulted. She confronted McAleenan on his subordinates’ actions. “Did you see the images of officers circulating photoshopped images of my violent rape?” she asked. «Yes I did,» he responded. Ocasio-Cortez also asked if he’d seen “the posts planning physical harm to myself and Congresswoman Escobar” when they recently conducted their oversight responsibilities at two detention facilities. «Yes,» he said, “and I directed an investigation within minutes of reading the article."  Some 70 agents are reportedly under investigation for their participation in the group, and Ocasio-Cortez wanted to know if any of those agents were still on the job and overseeing children and families. McAleenan “said several agents have been put on administrative duties while the investigation continues,” USA Today reported. But McAleenan couldn’t get out of this without making himself the victim, claiming, “We do not have a dehumanizing culture at C.B.P.,” and, “Those posts are unacceptable, they’re being investigated … I don’t think it’s fair to apply them to the entire organization.” But one of the members of that Facebook group was Border Patrol chief Carla Provost, who, as of today, is still in her job. It’s a rotten agency from the top down—and House Democrats need to stop funding it as it stands now.

Trump administration may delay abortion gag rule, but no one knows what in the hell is going on

After announcing Monday that it would immediately slap an abortion gag rule on family planning clinics receiving federal funds, the Trump administration appears to be backing off slightly. The rule prevents those providers from referring patients to abortion
Daily Kos

Trump administration may delay abortion gag rule, but no one knows what in the hell is going on

After announcing Monday that it would immediately slap an abortion gag rule on family planning clinics receiving federal funds, the Trump administration appears to be backing off slightly. The rule prevents those providers from referring patients to abortion services. The announcement came soon after a friendly federal court lifted an injunction against the policy and before a scheduled meeting between providers and the administration to discuss the policy implementation. Following that meeting, the administration is now considering delaying enforcement, according to The Washington Post, «amid widespread confusion among clinics about the changes.» On Thursday, Department of Health and Human Services official Diane Foley told more than 200 leaders in the 90-group network of providers receiving federal funding that «she wanted to give them 60 days to comply with the rules and that federal lawyers were reviewing the idea, according to three participants in the closed meeting and others who were told afterward.» That threw even more confusion and chaos into the situation, with clinics that receive federal funds not knowing what to do right now to be in compliance. Immediately following the apparently premature message from the administration on Monday, several reproductive care providers said they would either stop accepting federal funding or withdraw from the Title X program, under which services are provided to about 4 million low-income women and girls annually. Those include Planned Parenthood, the largest grantee under Title X. One state governor, Democrat J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, announced Thursday that the state would give up the $2.4 million it receives in federal funding and provide the services from state funds. «Under my administration, Illinois will always stand with women and protect their fundamental right to choose,» he said. That was before the apparent potential delay was announced by Foley. The grant recipients say they have received no formal instruction from the administration on how to comply with the new rules, one of the reasons Foley said she wanted to delay implementation. Yet again, the administration is demonstrating that it doesn't know what in the hell it is doing or how in fact to run a government. That millions of people's lives and health care hang in the balance is of little importance to Trump or to most of the people he's brought into government.

A Game of Tankers: Multiple ships seized as situation in Middle East edges toward conflict

The BBC is reporting that forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have followed through on threats to seize a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The Stena Impero has apparently been taken over by the Iranian forces, directed away from it
Daily Kos

A Game of Tankers: Multiple ships seized as situation in Middle East edges toward conflict

The BBC is reporting that forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have followed through on threats to seize a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The Stena Impero has apparently been taken over by the Iranian forces, directed away from its destination in Saudi Arabia, and is currently bound for Iran with 23 crew still aboard. This follows an incident on July 4 in which British Marines boarded and detained a tanker near Gibraltar after suspecting it of breaching EU sanctions by carrying Iranian oil to Syria. That ship, the Grace 1, is still being held under U.K. control.  Since the capture of the Grace 1, Iranian forces have tried, and failed, to board another U.K. tanker. But the Stena Impero was taken in international waters on Friday, apparently by parties aboard small speedboats.  It also appears that Iran has captured the Panamanian-flagged tanker Riah, after initially claiming the ship was halted in their waters because of mechanical issues. This situation is developing rapidly, and comes on the heels of a series of clashes between the U.S. amphibious landing ship Boxer and smaller Iranian craft, that included several close passes from helicopters and ended with the apparent shooting down of an Iranian drone. Tensions in the region remain very high, and the possibility of a military strike on Iran from the U.S., the U.K., or both would appear to be increasing. Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 7:52:21 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner CNN is now reporting that Iran has seized another tanker, the Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar. Iranian forces seem to be intent on seriously disrupting traffic through the Strait.

Why America needs the leadership of black women

The media has given us a frustratingly sexist and racist narrative that the only formidable Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election is a white man. We have been bombarded with headlines and sound bites that reinforce the idea that only a whit
Daily Kos

Why America needs the leadership of black women

The media has given us a frustratingly sexist and racist narrative that the only formidable Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election is a white man. We have been bombarded with headlines and sound bites that reinforce the idea that only a white man can beat Donald Trump in 2020. Ironically, this is happening on the backdrop of an election cycle that will have the most diverse field of Democratic candidates based on gender, race, and sexuality ever in this country's history. There are more women running, people of color, and candidates with a broad spectrum of ideas and backgrounds, but the mainstream narrative continues to center around the idea that the only “electable” presidential candidates are white men. Why are we so obsessed with the notion that only a white man can save us from Trump? Fact is, as the American electorate becomes younger and more diverse, there is a growing desire for candidates that are also more reflective of this new electorate.   We are in a defining moment in this country’s political history and voters are looking for something different. We believe that the majority of voters want a reflective democracy. Last year’s blue wave gave us the most diverse Congress in our history, with over 100 women serving in the House for the first time ever. A record 37% of them were women of color. And it wasn’t an accident—women and candidates of color were more likely to win their primary races, proving that the electorate hungers for more diverse leadership and reflective democracy. Another data point: no white male presidential candidate has ever hit 63 million votes. Two candidates have hit 65 million: a black man, and a white woman. Makes sense, doesn’t it, that candidates that look like America get more votes, right? Sure there are those that refer to the fact that Biden is currently polling higher than most of the other Democratic candidates. Yet we are much too early in the election cycle to actually know and/or be able to determine who will win the Democratic nomination, much less determine who is more “electable” as a result. Indeed, the first Democratic primary debate turned the race upside down, with Kamala Harris piercing Biden’s veil of invincibility and inevitability. And with eight months to the first contests, and with countless campaign events, forums, debates, and news cycles until then, Biden’s current lead, as thin as it already is, means nothing right now. Recent history (and the last few weeks!) have taught us two things: polls are not necessarily the determinant of who actually wins and in a highly competitive political environment anything can shift in a matter of weeks or even days. Trump’s election as president is solid evidence for both points.

Trump abandons claim that he tried to stop racist chant, praises the 'fine patriots' who chanted

Donald Trump spent Thursday evening claiming that he had “tried to stop” his followers at a North Carolina rally when they fell into a “Send her back!” chant following Trump’s extended lies about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. But on Friday morning th
Daily Kos

Trump abandons claim that he tried to stop racist chant, praises the 'fine patriots' who chanted

Donald Trump spent Thursday evening claiming that he had “tried to stop” his followers at a North Carolina rally when they fell into a “Send her back!” chant following Trump’s extended lies about Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. But on Friday morning the press paused long enough to point out—no he didn’t. Instead, Trump stepped back from the microphone and literally waited until the chant had died out on its own, before stepping back to the microphone to … continue lying about Rep. Omar. So on Friday afternoon, Trump decided to clear this up straight from the Oval Office, not to admit that he lied about trying to stop the chant, but to clarify that there was nothing wrong with that chant after all. According to Trump, the people making a demand that a naturalized American citizen be shipped to Somalia for the crime of being black and insufficiently grateful were not racists. They were “fine patriots.” Which is Trump’s new way of saying “very fine people.” Trump declared that far from being upset by the chants, what really bothered him was the person being chanted at. «You know what I'm unhappy with—the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country.” After recycling the same lies that he told to generate ugly racism in the first place, Trump followed up by saying that Omar was “lucky to be where she is. Let me tell you.” So it’s not like he chanted “Send her back” behind the Resolute Desk. He only praised the “patriots” who did, called Omar a disgrace who hates the country, and declared she was lucky to be here. Trump then spent some time on his favorite topic—how big the crowds were. He bragged that it was a “record attendance” and claimed that he could have filled the stadium “ten times” over. This comes after his campaign director claimed attendance was over 20,000. The capacity of the stadium is about 8,000. There were maybe 100 more outside. When the press pried Trump away from expressing his pride at how he magically packs racists in three to a chair, they asked him about the debt ceiling. Trump gave one of those reassuring Trump responses by saying “I understand the debt ceiling.” Then he went into an extended rant about Obama having a big one before saying “I certainly understand the highest rated credit ever in history, and debt ceiling.» So no. He doesn’t understand the debt ceiling. And now … three days of golf.

Midday open thread: 29 World Heritage sites added; as coal fades, Wyoming faces economic trouble

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is 'R' is for Racist:  What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:  The alt-right has a plan to win 2020, and it involves YOU—so listen up, by Chris Reeves  #CowardTrump can't disavow racist 'send her back' chant a day la
Daily Kos

Midday open thread: 29 World Heritage sites added; as coal fades, Wyoming faces economic trouble

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is 'R' is for Racist:  What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:  The alt-right has a plan to win 2020, and it involves YOU—so listen up, by Chris Reeves  #CowardTrump can't disavow racist 'send her back' chant a day later. When it counted he said nothing, by Ian Reifowitz  Ignore conservatives' advice on how to pick the Democratic nominee, by Sher Watts Spooner  It took a lot more than a small step to land on the moon, by Mark E Andersen  We must stop Trump from winning with the race card. It starts with the traditional media, by Egberto Willies  'Mapping Resistance': Activism past and present and the New York Young Lords, by Denise Oliver Velez  Why you can't be nice to neo-Nazis or their enablers in the GOP, by Frank Vyan Walton  How the press rewards GOP cowardice in the age of Trump, by Eric Boehlert • UNESCO inscribes 29 new properties as World Heritage Sites: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adds World Heritage properties based on those that are “unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.” Among the additions this week: the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu City in the Yangtze River Basin on the southeastern coast of China; Bagan, a site on the Ayeyarwady River on the central plain of Myanmar that includes a broad range of Buddhist art and architecture, including temples, stupas, and frescoes dating from the 11th–13th centuries CE; a megalithic jar site in Xiengkhuang in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, featuring 2,100 tubular-shaped stone jars used for funerary rituals in the Iron Age dating from 500 BCE to 500 CE; eight scattered U.S. properties displaying the 20th century architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, including Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin. • Wanna know how Elon Musk plans to install a computer in your brain? MIDDAY TWEET xDow, a chemical company, gave $1 million to Trump‘s inauguration.Now one of their chemicals, which is known to cause brain damage in children, conveniently won’t be banned by Trump’s EPA.@MikeLevinCA has the story linked ⬇️ https://t.co/FrIEOHZhrb— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 19, 2019 • Appalachian fracking operation not going so well financially: Leaders of EQT, the nation’s largest independent producer of natural gas, don’t agree with each other on how to proceed. EQT acquired Rice Energy, a major Appalachian fracker, but Toby and Derek Rice convinced shareholders last week that they, not EQT’s team, can manage the company better. Since 2010, EQT has lost $8 billion, which is pretty good evidence that new leadership was needed. The Rices said they can lower production costs using expensive new technology that so far has been commercially unproven. EQT’s former CEO, Steve Schlotterbeck thinks this approach won’t do what its adherents claim for it. Not too long ago, he called the natural gas fracking industry “an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor.” He said the industry is “self-destructing from the success of the shale gas technologies [...] They continue to believe that volume growth is necessary for them to be successful, although we now have several years of data that demonstrates the opposite.”  • How A 10-Year-Old-Boy Helped Apollo 11 Return To Earth. • Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 would lift pay for 33.5 million workers: That’s a fifth of the entire U.S. workforce. On Thursday, with just three Republicans in favor, and six Democrats opposed, the House of Representatives voted to raise the federal minimum to $15 an hour from the paltry $7.25 set a decade ago. A full-time worker earns a gross annual income of $15,000 at the current rate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who never sees a piece of Democratic legislation he can’t shelve, said there won’t be a Senate vote on the House bill because the higher hourly wage “would kill jobs and depress the economy.” That’s BS, as noted in a number of studies.  • Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal-producing state, faces a tough economic future: As Mark Sumner wrote on Wednesday about a new report, many communities, regions, and entire states are facing big financial troubles as the coal industry continues its nationwide decline. One of those is Wyoming, which, at 580,000 people, is the least populated state. Nearly 40% of U.S. coal is mined in Wyoming, which has been the leading coal-producing state for 33 years. The industry had 5,535 employees as of the end of 2018. from coal extraction, taxes pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue for state and local governments in Wyoming last year: The diminishing value of coal draws ominous parallels to the subprime mortgage bubble that precipitated the Great Recession of 2008. But the coal free-fall is likely to be even worse than the housing market crash, because houses always retained some value, while coal mines could end up worthless if investors see costs that outstrip potential income, said energy analyst Clark Williams-Derry of the Sightline Institute, a sustainability think tank. With mines likely to close, Wyoming is entering a new and untested paradigm for coal — reclamation without production. Typically, mines clean up their mess as they go; if they don’t, then the state can shut down operations until they do. But once a company goes broke and the mine shuts down, the only funds for cleanup are reclamation bonds, which critics say are inadequate in Wyoming.[...] Meanwhile, coal’s collapse is delivering a one-two punch of unemployment and unpaid taxes to Campbell County, where more than one-third of all coal in the U.S. is mined from the Powder River Basin. The Blackjewel bankruptcy put nearly 600 miners out of work, and the county may never get $37 million in taxes owed by the company, which was run by Appalachian coal executive Jeff Hoops. This is partly because of the county’s lenient approach to collecting back taxes. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: SDNY unseals Cohen search warrant documents, and we find Trump all over the hush money deals. (Duh.) There’s an alternate theory about that, by the way. Hey, what is it with right-wing pedophilia projection? Will Epstein take even more big names under? x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!) LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

Wingnut federal judge rules against people with pre-existing conditions, so have fun with that, GOP

Reliably wingnutty Judge Richard Leon, of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, has ruled that the Trump administration can break the law, in this case the Affordable Care Act, and expand the sale of junk, short-term health insurance policies. The ACA allowed f
Daily Kos

Wingnut federal judge rules against people with pre-existing conditions, so have fun with that, GOP

Reliably wingnutty Judge Richard Leon, of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, has ruled that the Trump administration can break the law, in this case the Affordable Care Act, and expand the sale of junk, short-term health insurance policies. The ACA allowed for the sale of bare-bones insurance plans that don't meet the essential benefits coverage standards established in the law for a duration of no longer than three months. They were intended to be used as bridge plans for people outside of the window of open enrollment periods who didn't have qualifying life events to allow them onto the exchanges. The Trump administration has issued a rule to allow the plans to last as long as 364 days and to be renewable for three years. Challengers argued that this would undermine the ACA markets, driving healthy people out of the larger pool into these cheap, crappy plans and causing premiums to increase for people in the ACA-compliant plans. They also argued, correctly, that this undermines the protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the law. The short-term plans Trump is allowing would not have to extend those protections. Leon was not swayed by reality. «Not only is any potential negative impact» from the rule «minimal, but its benefits are undeniable,» he wrote, saying that there is no evidence that the rule «is having or will have the type of impact—substantial exodus from the individual market exchanges—that would threaten the ACA's structural core.» The benefits of people having nothing but crap insurance plans for as long as three years is unclear, should any of those people need health insurance. The savings they'd see in premiums would be completely wiped out, many times over, were they to be sick or injured. It's hard to imagine that people, including federal judges, are really so stupid that they don't understand the basic premise of how health insurance works, but the evidence from Republicans and partisans such as Leon argues otherwise. That, or they're just fundamentally dishonest and don't give a damn, and so cynically make this shit up. Which is likelier. The D.C. Circuit is not dominated by troglodytes, so this ruling will probably be tossed out on appeal. But the fact remains that hyperpartisan judges like Leon and those on the 5th Circuit who look ready to toss the entire ACA are going to make political life very hard for Republicans in 2020. Which is just deserts.

DHS head says 'fewer than 1,000' kids recently separated, like it's something to be proud of

During a House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday, the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary said that “fewer than 1,000 juveniles have been separated from their parents crossing the border this fiscal year,” like that’s something to be pro
Daily Kos

DHS head says 'fewer than 1,000' kids recently separated, like it's something to be proud of

During a House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday, the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary said that “fewer than 1,000 juveniles have been separated from their parents crossing the border this fiscal year,” like that’s something to be proud of. “Under current practice governed by both executive and court orders, along with operational guidance, separations of parents and guardians and the children they cross with are rare,” claimed Kevin McAleenan, saying that separations “are undertaken in the best interests and safety and welfare of the child.” But only in the Trump administration’s twisted thinking can 1,000 separations be “rare,” because that’s still roughly a third of the number of children that were kidnapped from their parents under the barbaric “zero tolerance” policy last year, and of those nearly 3,000 kids stolen, 30 remain in U.S. custody, more than a year after a court order. Border officials have continued to separate hundreds of families by exploiting a clause in that order that allowed a child to be removed if they were considered to be in danger. McAleenan references some sort of “operational guidance,” but advocates have said border officials have been tearing families apart with no input from actual child welfare experts, instead falsely accusing some parents fleeing gangs of having gang ties. Nor does the number cited by McAleenan “include children who come with older siblings, or aunts and uncles and grandparents and are separated under longstanding policy meant to guard against human trafficking,” PBS reports. “McAleenan said Congress would need to amend laws to allow border officers more discretion in order to keep those groups together.” Interesting when the Trump administration chooses to be bound by Congress and when it chooses not to be bound by Congress.  Nonbiological parents are equally valid guardians for children, and border officials can make the decision to keep them together, but instead they’re tearing them apart just as they tear apart children who are coming with their biological parents. It’s never been about “the best interests and safety and welfare of the child,” as McAleenan has claimed; it’s been about the cruelty. Family separation remains a crisis. 

Gov. Jay Inslee: 'We need to make Donald Trump a blip in history'

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state and 2020 presidential hopeful, is most known for his detailed plans to tackle our planet’s biggest threat: the climate crisis. But as he explained to Daily Kos backstage at Netroots Nation, he has ideas on how t
Daily Kos

Gov. Jay Inslee: 'We need to make Donald Trump a blip in history'

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state and 2020 presidential hopeful, is most known for his detailed plans to tackle our planet’s biggest threat: the climate crisis. But as he explained to Daily Kos backstage at Netroots Nation, he has ideas on how to solve what he believes is America’s biggest problem: Donald Trump. “We need to make Donald Trump a blip in history,” Gov. Inslee told us backstage at the progressive conference. Trump, Inslee noted, “has never missed an opportunity to give license to racial hatred” and “has never used his position of leadership to bring more love and less hate.” Inslee didn’t deal in niceties when it came to how important it is to vote the president out of office. He used a word to describe the president that might ring true to your own perception of him, too: insecure. “We have suffered because we have a person in the White House who is very insecure,” Inslee said, “and he has decided to intentionally use the power of fear rather than the energy of hope.” Utilizing the energy of hope, and cleaning up the countless messes created by Donald Trump, can also describe the overarching theme of Netroots Nation, the country’s biggest progressive conference. At the conference, held this year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, organizers, activists, and politicians, including many of those running for the Democratic presidential nomination, gathered to share their insights on how to get this country back on track.  The video interview embedded below is part of Making Progress, a new, exclusive series here at Daily Kos. In addition to Gov. Inslee, we’ve shared interviews with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. In addition to the 2020 hopefuls, we have dozens of fresh takes from leading organizers and activists from around the country, all with one goal in mind: making progress. A transcript is below.

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