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Postponed prison date will allow Trump's former lawyer time to testify before House committees

Intimidation from Donald Trump and his current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, forced the postponement of House testimony by Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen—but now, with the start of Cohen’s prison term delayed, he’ll testify to two House comm
Daily Kos

Postponed prison date will allow Trump's former lawyer time to testify before House committees

Intimidation from Donald Trump and his current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, forced the postponement of House testimony by Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen—but now, with the start of Cohen’s prison term delayed, he’ll testify to two House committees after all.  “I am pleased to announce that Michael Cohen’s public testimony before the Oversight Committee is back on, despite efforts by some to intimidate his family members and prevent him from appearing,” House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said in a statement. “Congress has an obligation under the Constitution to conduct independent and robust oversight of the Executive Branch, and this hearing is one step in that process.” Cohen will appear before the Oversight Committee on Feb. 27 and then, in closed session, before the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 28. Cummings released a memo laying out the scope of his committee’s questions for Cohen, who will not be under subpoena. The Oversight Committee won’t ask Cohen about Trump’s interactions with Russia, focusing instead on Trump’s “debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election”; his business practices and conflicts of interest; and his compliance with financial disclosure requirements, tax laws, and campaign finance laws. Cohen will also be asked about the Trump Foundation’s shady practices and Trump and Giuliani’s efforts to intimidate him not to testify. So that’s a lot … and then the next day, Cohen will be in closed session with the Intelligence Committee, which will ask him about Russia. This is all brought to you by the 2018 midterm elections and Democratic committee chairs, because elections matter.

Morning TV confessionals: From Nick Sandmann to Jussie Smollett, these interviews fail us

More often morning news shows are treating celebrity controversies with an Oprah touch. That's not their role
Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture Salon

Morning TV confessionals: From Nick Sandmann to Jussie Smollett, these interviews fail us

More often morning news shows are treating celebrity controversies with an Oprah touch. That's not their role

Morning Digest: GOP gets its first candidate for Alabama Senate, but major hardliner group hates him

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

Morning Digest: GOP gets its first candidate for Alabama Senate, but major hardliner group hates him

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● AL-Sen: On Wednesday evening, Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne became the first notable Republican to announce a bid against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Byrne, who has represented a safely red House seat in the Mobile area since 2013, is very unlikely to have the GOP primary to himself, though. Jones is running for re-election in a state that backed Donald Trump by an enormous 62-34 margin, and a number of other Republicans are eyeing this contest. Campaign Action Indeed, the radical anti-tax Club for Growth made it clear just before Byrne jumped in that they very much wanted an alternate candidate. The Club released a poll from WPA Intelligence of a hypothetical GOP primary between Byrne and fellow Rep. Gary Palmer, and they showed the two tied 27-27. Palmer, who won his suburban Birmingham seat in 2014 with the Club’s help, has not yet shown any obvious interest in this contest. Back in November, Republicans told Politico that they doubted he’d run now that he's been elected chair of the House Republican Policy Committee. However, it sounds like the Club will keep casting around for another candidate to take on Byrne if they don’t get Palmer. Their leader, David McIntosh, declared that “people who know Byrne, know he’s not a conservative,” and added, “The people of Alabama deserve better than a fake politician who says one thing in Alabama and votes the wrong way in Washington.” The Club often opposes candidates close to the party establishment in GOP primaries, and Byrne very much fits that mold.

Pelosi plans House vote on resolution rejecting Trump's national emergency power grab

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she plans to move «swiftly» to hold a vote within the coming days on a resolution to invalidate Donald Trump's national emergency declaration. In a letter to her House colleagues, Pelosi said Trump's us
Daily Kos

Pelosi plans House vote on resolution rejecting Trump's national emergency power grab

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she plans to move «swiftly» to hold a vote within the coming days on a resolution to invalidate Donald Trump's national emergency declaration. In a letter to her House colleagues, Pelosi said Trump's usurpation of power to build his border wall “undermines the separation of powers and Congress’s power of the purse.« Trump's declaration allows him to raid about $6 billion in funding budgeted for other purposes and redirect it toward his wall. Trump has also admitted that he didn't »need« to invoke an emergency, he simply wanted to build the border wall faster. But Pelosi took issue with Trump's end run around Congress. »The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated," Pelosi wrote, encouraging lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to vote for the disapproval resolution. Such a resolution need only pass both chambers by majority vote and, if the House passes it, the Senate is required to give it a vote. If all Senate Democrats voted for the measure, it would have to attract the support of just four GOP senators in order to clear the upper chamber. Trump can ultimately issue a veto, which could only be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both chambers.  But the effort will nonetheless force Republicans in both chambers to go on record either in support of Trump's power grab or against it. Many Republicans have already expressed deep unease with Trump's move, making it unlikely that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be able to hold his caucus together on such a vote. And if the measure passes through both chambers, Trump can be expected to go on the war path.

Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage spent $22,000 of taxpayer money at Trump's D.C. hotel

Right-wing former Maine governor spent state funds on $1,100 hotel rooms and filet mignon dinners at Trump hotel
Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture Salon

Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage spent $22,000 of taxpayer money at Trump's D.C. hotel

Right-wing former Maine governor spent state funds on $1,100 hotel rooms and filet mignon dinners at Trump hotel

Scholar Eddie Glaude Jr. on despair, justice and Black History Month in the Trump era

Leading scholar of black history calls for radical hope: «Imagine yourself beyond the circumstances of the now»
Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture Salon

Scholar Eddie Glaude Jr. on despair, justice and Black History Month in the Trump era

Leading scholar of black history calls for radical hope: «Imagine yourself beyond the circumstances of the now»

Can Gavin Smythe, of Chagrin Falls USA, replace his phone battery?

JOIN the INNER HIVE, for exclusive early access to comics©️, extra comics®️, and much, MUCH™️ more. GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. “Ruben Bolling is one of my cartooning heroes, and The EMU Club Adve
Daily Kos

Can Gavin Smythe, of Chagrin Falls USA, replace his phone battery?

JOIN the INNER HIVE, for exclusive early access to comics©️, extra comics®️, and much, MUCH™️ more. GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. “Ruben Bolling is one of my cartooning heroes, and The EMU Club Adventures is seriously, mysteriously funny! - Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid ->Book One here. - Book Two here. FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitter.

Barack Obama has been giving advice to Trump challengers, but will stay out of the primaries

Former President Barack Obama has preferred to keep a low profile since departing the White House, continuing the (perhaps flawed) bipartisan tradition of past presidents demurring when asked to weigh in on their successors. That's not to say he hasn't been l
Daily Kos

Barack Obama has been giving advice to Trump challengers, but will stay out of the primaries

Former President Barack Obama has preferred to keep a low profile since departing the White House, continuing the (perhaps flawed) bipartisan tradition of past presidents demurring when asked to weigh in on their successors. That's not to say he hasn't been lending himself to Democrats contemplating taking Trump on themselves, however. He has counseled more than a dozen declared or likely candidates on what he believes it will take to beat President Trump, holding private talks with leading contenders like Ms. Harris, Mr. Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren; underdogs like Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; and prominent figures who remain undecided on the race, like Eric H. Holder, his former attorney general, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York. Obama's advice, at least according to the New York Times, has been to avoid intraparty battles and to push back on Trump's «divisive» rhetoric with messages that even rural and other Trump-leaning voters can get behind. This is certainly how Obama himself chose to run and govern, so it makes sense that he would push would-be contenders to follow the same path. What he is not offering, and is not expected to offer, is an endorsement of a particular candidate, instead preferring to let primary voters make that decision. The candidate that might make the most difference to is former Vice President Joe Biden, who might have been hoping for that particular boost-up. Not much can be gleaned from the rest of the Times' report. Obama has words of praise for a number of candidates, including some distant long shots. Some unnamed Democrats appear to be unsatisfied with his reluctance to weigh in on behalf of a specific contender, which we might take as a hint that some fundraisers are still pining for a more «moderate» candidate that will not upset the apple cart as roughly as the Democratic base itself is pushing for. It is impossible to read too much into such reports because, yet again, early campaign coverage of this sort tends to focus excessively on what individual behind-the-scenes strategists and functionaries want to see reported. There is indeed a school of thought inside the Democratic Party that tends to get nervous in the vicinity of big ideas, and downright hostile to big ideas that stand in opposition to the dozen or so of the nation's most generous business interests. That notion was ascendent in the party for decades—and a good number of its “Blue Dog” adherents got their behinds handed to them in the recent political restructurings, which saw the ideological divide between the two parties grow into the current stark partition. It is not clear whether such theories have much remaining sway with the actual voters who will decide these things, no matter how much money is spent to convince them. So what you can read from this is that Barack Obama has been graciously offering advice to any Democratic contender who requests it; that he's not intending to play a large role in the primary process itself or pre-endorse a given candidate; and that a lot of different people have a lot of different ideas on whether that's good or bad or indifferent or whatever. That sounds about right. And if that situation changes, we'll let you know.

Open thread for night owls: Gov't-paid research at later development stages would mean cheaper drugs

Dean Baker at Truthout writes—The Key to Cheap Drugs: Pay Research Costs Upfront: Drugs are almost invariably cheap to manufacture. But, if a drug company has a monopoly on a drug that can save a person from cancer or some other deadly or debilitating dis
Daily Kos

Open thread for night owls: Gov't-paid research at later development stages would mean cheaper drugs

Dean Baker at Truthout writes—The Key to Cheap Drugs: Pay Research Costs Upfront: Drugs are almost invariably cheap to manufacture. But, if a drug company has a monopoly on a drug that can save a person from cancer or some other deadly or debilitating disease, it will be able to charge a very high price for it. Patients or their families will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more typically, get an insurance company or the government to pick up most of the bill. While there are instances where companies producing generic drugs can gain monopoly power and jack up their prices, this is a relatively small part of the story of high drug prices. Drugs produced by the brand drug sector account for roughly 75 percent of drug costs, even though they are just 11 percent of sales. This means that generic drugs account for only one-quarter of drug spending despite being almost 90 percent of sales. Even these numbers understate the role of patent and related protections. Some generic drugs also benefit from government-imposed protections, such as a six-month period of exclusivity for the first generic to enter a market. [...] The justification for patent monopolies is that it gives drug companies the incentive to research and develop new drugs. While the drug companies hugely exaggerate the cost of developing drugs, there is no doubt that it is expensive and they would not be able to recover their research costs if their newly developed drugs were sold in a free market without protection. But, we don’t have to rely on patent monopolies to pay for drug research. We could, for example, pay for the research costs upfront. In fact, the government already does this to a substantial extent. It spends close to $40 billion a year financing biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies. There is bipartisan agreement that this is money that is very well spent. However, as it stands, most of this funding is for basic research. It is essentially a gift to the pharmaceutical industry, which does the additional research needed to develop and test drugs and bring them through the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process. There is no reason that federal funding has to be restricted to more basic research, rather than supporting the development and testing of new drugs. If the federal government were to pay for the later stages of drug development and testing, and bring drugs through the FDA approval process, then newly developed drugs could all be sold as generics. This could mean that the next big cancer drug might sell for a few hundred dollars a year rather than a few hundred thousand. On this date in 1939, 22,000 Nazis celebrated their fanaticism at Madison Square Garden. Night at the Garden is a chilling, award-winning, 7-minute film about that get-together. You can watch it and read about it here. TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES QUOTATION «We look at science as something very elite, which only a few people can learn. That's just not true. You just have to start early and give kids a foundation. Kids live up, or down, to expectations.»            ~~Mae Jemison, first black woman in space, 1992 TWEET OF THE DAY xmember when the president wa snormal?i memberpic.twitter.com/sW9puze8g5— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 20, 2019 BLAST FROM THE PAST On this date at Daily Kos in 2007—Bloggers at Last Unite Tony Snow and WH Press Corps: Tony Snow and «real journalists» finally agreed on something tonight at a roundtable held for very serious people at the National Press Club: Blogs suck. They’re mean. And ... and ... and ... they actually expect reporters to do their jobs! We’ll skip Tony Snow. Who cares? But via Think Progress, a couple of journalists had some interesting things to say, kind of opening a door into the higher minds that are raised so far above the rest of us. NBC News’ David Gregory bemoaned how political coverage has «become so polarized in this country...because it’s the internet and the blogs that have really used this White House press conferences to somehow support positions out in America, political views.» Can you imagine that? The nerve! People actually use White House press conferences to form and support political views! And then they write about those views! Where anybody can read and see and respond and argue and fact-check them! And they haven’t been seen—not once!—at a cocktail party in DC. Next thing you know, they’ll start thinking regular old ordinary people have a right to opinions or something. LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

Government admits terrorist watchlist is widely shared with private sector

That terrorist watchlist initiated by the Bush administration and robustly continued since, known to be error-ridden and loaded with names of perfectly innocent people, has been shared with more than 1,400 private entities. That's after years of three separat
Daily Kos

Government admits terrorist watchlist is widely shared with private sector

That terrorist watchlist initiated by the Bush administration and robustly continued since, known to be error-ridden and loaded with names of perfectly innocent people, has been shared with more than 1,400 private entities. That's after years of three separate administrations—George W. Bush's, Barack Obama's, and Donald Trump's—insisting that the list is not generally shared outside of law enforcement. Now we know that private entities, including hospitals and universities, are given access to the list—it's still happening—which potentially could be adversely affecting things like university admissions or research grants, job prospects, firing decisions, all manner of activities beyond the well-documented travel difficulties people put on the no-fly list have experienced. We don't know for sure, because the government hasn't said what restrictions it puts on the use of that data in private organizations. «We've always suspected there was private-sector dissemination of the terror watchlist, but we had no idea the breadth of the dissemination would be so large,» Gadeir Abbas, a lawyer with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the AP. Specifically, 1,441 private entities have access to it, and now CAIR is asking a judge to tell the government to clarify specifically which entities are involved and what they're doing with the information. The admission that this is government policy was revealed in documents filed in a class-action lawsuit in a federal court in Virginia brought by a group of Muslims who say «they regularly experience difficulties in travel, financial transactions and interactions with law enforcement because they have been wrongly added to the list.»

No, New York Times, Medicare for all isn't 'radical'; it's what voters are ready to talk about

The New York Times is looking for trouble among Democrats and has settled on the obvious: healthcare reform, and how the nation is going to expand access to quality, affordable health care for everyone. In its reporting, we learn that the Medicare-for-all sin
Daily Kos

No, New York Times, Medicare for all isn't 'radical'; it's what voters are ready to talk about

The New York Times is looking for trouble among Democrats and has settled on the obvious: healthcare reform, and how the nation is going to expand access to quality, affordable health care for everyone. In its reporting, we learn that the Medicare-for-all single-payer system proposed by Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris and others is «radical.» Which would be news to the rest of the developed world, which is providing care with much better outcomes at much lower costs with such systems. It's also news to the American voter, with whom it's actually pretty popular and certainly an idea that they would consider. Which means not only is it not radical, but it's something Democrats need to be talking about and educating voters on. There isn't deep division among Democratic hopefuls on this issue, but there is a question of vision. Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown, for instance, are approaching this more incrementally. Neither rules out single-payer as a potential and good final position, but they're not ready to go there now. «It could be a possibility in the future,»  Klobuchar said in a CNN town hall on Monday night. «I'm just looking at something that will work now.» Brown says, «I want to help people now, and helping people now is building on the Affordable Care Act.» That's absolutely valid, and the promise of protecting people's health care in the immediate term is crucial. But it's also a given with any Democratic nominee. After a decade of assault from the Right on an incremental approach on health care, which the Affordable Care Act most certainly is, there's not much to lose politically by being aspirational on this issue. Running on Medicare for all, embracing the idea, and having an honest discussion about how it works and how we get there is something the American voting public is ready to hear. It's abundantly clear in the age of Trump that trying to moderate on some of these fundamental issues in hopes of wooing away his voters is a fool's errand. Campaigns are the time to be aspirational, the time to set out the grand vision. Americans are ready to hear it, more ready than they've been in a few generations. That's especially true of Democratic primary voters.

Putin threatens to aim new missiles at U.S.; Pence pushes Europe to Putin's side

Welcome to Cold War II. Vladimir Putin, also known as the man whom Donald Trump trusts more than his own intelligence services, has ratcheted up the threat of new high-tech missiles, promising new weapons that are faster and more evasive than anything now in
Daily Kos

Putin threatens to aim new missiles at U.S.; Pence pushes Europe to Putin's side

Welcome to Cold War II. Vladimir Putin, also known as the man whom Donald Trump trusts more than his own intelligence services, has ratcheted up the threat of new high-tech missiles, promising new weapons that are faster and more evasive than anything now in service. And now that both the U.S. and Russia have cast off the three-decades-old agreement on the deployment of intermediate-range nuclear weapons, Russia is free to menace Europe with its new low-flying hypersonic missiles that are much more difficult to block with any existing, or contemplated, defense system. To counter the Russian deployment, the United States would need to find places for its next generation of missiles, yet to be constructed, somewhere in Europe. Except there are two problems.  First, as the New York Times reported, Mike Pence was just sent home from Europe with a big “No, thank you” to any suggestion that Donald Trump’s America knows anything about its defense. In fact, Trump’s approach to Europe has been so off-putting that it’s gone beyond just threatening the integrity of alliances that have held since World War II. Trump has actually managed to encourage such staunchly Western governments as Germany to “flirt” with Russia. With polls showing that Germans now trust Vladimir Putin more than they doTrump, the danger isn’t just that Trump will wreck NATO; it’s that he’ll flip it. The second problem is what Putin says he will do if the U.S. does try to deploy new missiles to someone willing to take them. As Bloomberg reports, Putin states that he’ll target the host countries and aim additional nukes at the United States, saying, “Russia will be forced to produce and deploy weapons that can be used not only against the territories from which we face this direct threat but also those where the decision is made to use these missiles.” One of the primary reasons that the intermediate-range treaty was created in the first place was because these were felt to be among the classes of weapons most likely to be used. They can strike beyond the range of most conventional forces and be used to target those forces at their bases in preparation for a military advance. After decades in which both the number of nuclear weapons and the threat of their use have decreased, both now seem to be on the rise.

In Louisiana, a frightening pattern emerges of people kept locked up long past their release dates

According to a 2017 Louisiana state auditor’s report, the state’s prison system and local jails engage in a practice of routinely keeping people locked up past their release dates—for weeks, months, and, in some cases, even years. Though the official nu
Daily Kos

In Louisiana, a frightening pattern emerges of people kept locked up long past their release dates

According to a 2017 Louisiana state auditor’s report, the state’s prison system and local jails engage in a practice of routinely keeping people locked up past their release dates—for weeks, months, and, in some cases, even years. Though the official numbers aren’t quite clear, it seems that hundreds of people have been impacted. According to NOLA.com, for every week over the last decade, court records show that prison staff found at least one person who remained incarcerated longer than was required by their sentence. In one extreme example, one state inmate, James Chowns, was kept for an absolutely inexcusable amount of time. Chowns  “was imprisoned 960 days, almost three years, past his official release date.” Chowns was sentenced in 2002 for aggravated incest. He received five years in prison with probation of 10 years. Due to a clerical error, it was determined incorrectly that he was to spend 10 years in prison.  Overdetention in Louisiana’s criminal justice system is a problem that appears to have an easy fix, according to criminal justice experts. They say that it requires state and local authorities to improve their coordination with each other. Instead, they pass the buck—with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office placing the blame on the Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC), and the DOC claiming it’s the fault of the sheriff’s office. While these two entities duke it out, their lack of coordination is ruining lives and wasting millions of dollars of taxpayer money. It’s an issue that will now get sorted out in court, because civil rights lawyers are suing both of them. They say that this is a problem that was well-known by officials for years, and that they simply failed to address it.  “The criminal justice system is based on the idea that if you do a crime you serve your time and then you go free. And that going free part is not being carried out correctly in Louisiana,” said civil rights attorney William Most, who has lawsuits pending against DOC and local sheriff’s offices related to the alleged overdetention of five different clients.

Trump links California lawsuit against his 'emergency' to his yanking of state high-speed rail funds

There has never been a modern presidency more devoted to screwing the administration's perceived enemies. After California and other states filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's declaration of a still-invisible «national emergency» on the southern b
Daily Kos

Trump links California lawsuit against his 'emergency' to his yanking of state high-speed rail funds

There has never been a modern presidency more devoted to screwing the administration's perceived enemies. After California and other states filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's declaration of a still-invisible «national emergency» on the southern border, it took only about a day for Trump's Transportation Department to respond by pulling $929 million from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, with a further threat to find some legal mechanism for requiring the state to repay the $2.5 billion in federal funds already spent. But wait, you say. Perhaps the timing is coincidental, and perhaps Donald Trump has nothing to do with it. Mmm-hmm. xAs I predicted, 16 states, led mostly by Open Border Democrats and the Radical Left, have filed a lawsuit in, of course, the 9th Circuit! California, the state that has wasted billions of dollars on their out of control Fast Train, with no hope of completion, seems in charge!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2019 Or perhaps Donald Trump blurts out whatever he thinks whenever he thinks it, providing an astonishing if unnerving map of a malfunctioning, revenge-obsessed human brain at work. The California High-Speed Rail project has been something of a mess since its inception. The original project to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles began with inadequate funding and planning; after delays and staggering cost overruns, new state Gov. Gavin Newsom caused a stir when he announced the project would be scaled back and refocused on completing only the already-under-construction segments in the Central Valley, eventually connecting Bakersfield to Merced, with the rest of the ambitious project to be worked out at a later date. Whether the federal government can yank remaining funds due to a change in project scope is not clear, and will no doubt be hashed-out in court; the threat to pull funds already spent is more dodgy still. We should note in passing that there is no topic on which Donald Trump can resist lying his behind off. Trump followed his first tweet with one insisting that the «failed Fast Train project» is «hundreds of times more expensive» than his demanded «Wall.» The most recent estimates for completing the entire Los Angeles-San Francisco line are around $77 billion; Trump's demands for funding an initial, unspecified portion of border wall have fluctuated in the $2 billion to $5 billion range. We would point out that 77 billion is not «hundreds of times» more than 5 billion, which again raises questions as to whether Donald Trump, self-alleged billionaire, knows how numbers work.

In the past year, Silicon Valley became even more dystopian, unequal: report

Sexual assault rose, women suffered, residents fled, and poverty increased — but if you're rich, the news is good
Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture Salon

In the past year, Silicon Valley became even more dystopian, unequal: report

Sexual assault rose, women suffered, residents fled, and poverty increased — but if you're rich, the news is good

Is Roger Stone prison-bound? He keeps digging in new email, and his Florida home goes up for rent

Roger Stone has prided himself for his life’s work as a dirty political operative. He even has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. He’s built this entire persona around being the loudest guy in the room, especially when it comes to his fashion choices
Daily Kos

Is Roger Stone prison-bound? He keeps digging in new email, and his Florida home goes up for rent

Roger Stone has prided himself for his life’s work as a dirty political operative. He even has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. He’s built this entire persona around being the loudest guy in the room, especially when it comes to his fashion choices. And now his loud mouth is getting him into deep trouble with a federal judge who will be considering whether to revoke his bail tomorrow, days after he posted a photo on Instagram of Judge Amy Berman Jackson with a rifle crosshairs symbol next to her head. Stone lifted the image from a conspiracy-laden website, and less than a week after the same judge issued a gag order in his case.  To say Roger has had a bad week is an understatement, and all of it is his own doing. You’d think after the swift outcry from observers and the order from Judge Berman Jackson to appear in court to explain himself, Roger Stone might close his mouth for once in his life. But, no: On the same day Judge Berman Jackson issued the order, Roger Stone sent a fundraising email saying, this “may be the last time you hear from me if I am gagged by the Judge.« Furthermore, he bashed Judge Berman Jackson, insinuating she was part of a “deep state” plot. From The Hill: In the email, Stone refers to Jackson as an »Obama-appointed Federal Judge« and wrote that the »real reason they want to gag me is so I cannot raise the money necessary to mount a vigorous legal defense." Sure, Roger. He went even further, saying he was only under investigation because of his relationship with Trump. 

Trump calls the New York Times an 'ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE' for exposing his obstruction of justice

Tuesday's blockbuster New York Times report detailed Donald Trump’s «sustained» efforts to undermine law enforcement probes into Russian election hacking, its ties to the Trump campaign, and related criminal acts. Among the details presented: a
Daily Kos

Trump calls the New York Times an 'ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE' for exposing his obstruction of justice

Tuesday's blockbuster New York Times report detailed Donald Trump’s «sustained» efforts to undermine law enforcement probes into Russian election hacking, its ties to the Trump campaign, and related criminal acts. Among the details presented: an attempt by Trump to get acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to reinstall a Trump-allied U.S. attorney as head of federal investigations of «hush money» payments to several Trump mistresses. The Trump White House gave no indications it knew such a report was coming, and whether Trump's extremely sour mood of late was related to the upcoming report or to something else is unknown. Instead, Trump blasted «The Press» in general: «The writers don't even call asking for verification. They are totally out of control.» He singled out the New York Times reporting as «false,» declaring that the Times specifically is «a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!» Trump's objections were, as usual, performative. Times reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN that of course the Times reporters who prepared the report sought verification and comment from the White House, and that the White House ignored their questions. So Trump is either lying to the American people, yet again, or he got played by his own staff. Said Haberman, “That’s a lie, and I don’t know whether he knows it’s a lie or whether he is telling himself this is true, whether his staff doesn’t tell him that we have reached out, but I find that awfully hard to believe that his staff did not brief him, once again, that this kind of a report was coming.” Haberman is a reporter with deep White House contacts, one who knows more than most about the inner workings of Team Catastrophe, but this is still a tough call. It seems entirely plausible that Trump's staff would not tell him about an upcoming devastating public report of his attempts to Do Crimes. Who would tell him? Sarah Sanders? Bill Shine? Who would willingly pop over to the Oval Office to face the rage of an always-infuriated man-child to tell him still more leaks of his improper behavior have dribbled out from his supposed allies? Trump being kept in the dark on this one seems plausible. But it is also possible, even rote, for Trump to be intentionally lying about this as he does about Every. Single. Thing. Ever. The man has one lever, and it flips between smug bluster when someone is praising him to defiant, delusional gaslighting when someone is not. In the end it doesn't matter. Perhaps he's lying. Perhaps his staff lied to him. Perhaps both. It doesn't change the underlying report: Donald Trump attempted to install a favored, Trump-allied attorney to oversee a criminal investigation into his own actions, not recognizing the impossibility of what he was asking for and not caring about the overt corruption of such a request. Upon being exposed, he breaks out the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE language yet again, a clear betrayal of the Constitution and his supposed oath. He should be tossed out of office for that alone—and would be, if his party had not slid itself into whatever levels of corruption were necessary to prop the man-child up.

EPA issued 'emergency' approval to spray 16 million acres with bee-killing pesticide

Sulfoxaflor is a systemic insecticide that works by destroying the nervous system. Insects exposed go into tremors, then spasms, then death. Unfortunately, insects exposed means essentially all insects, including bees. In fact, sulfoxaflor is particularly h
Daily Kos

EPA issued 'emergency' approval to spray 16 million acres with bee-killing pesticide

Sulfoxaflor is a systemic insecticide that works by destroying the nervous system. Insects exposed go into tremors, then spasms, then death. Unfortunately, insects exposed means essentially all insects, including bees. In fact, sulfoxaflor is particularly hard on pollinators. That’s why in 2016 the Ninth Circuit Court overruled the EPA’s approval of the pesticide. As Reuters reported at the time, the court responded to a suit by associations of beekeepers by finding that “the EPA had made an error” in ever allowing broad use of the chemical. In October of that year, the EPA issued new guidelines that restricted the use of the chemical to crops that do not attract bees, or to post-bloom periods when bees should not be attracted to fields. But that was the pre-Trump EPA. As EcoWatch reports, in 2018 the EPA issued what it called “emergency” approvals to spray the substance that is “very highly toxic” to bee, on more than 16 million acres of crops that do attract bees. The EPA’s own inspector general found that the practice didn’t consider either the effect on the environment, or on human health. Just as with the National Emergency Act, the EPA’s ability to allow emergency use of otherwise restricted substances is supposed to be limited. The authority is there to protect against outbreaks of insects that might spread disease or threaten the food supply. However, neither of those things applied in this case. The 16.2 million acres sprayed was on sorghum and cotton plants across 19 states. There was no widespread threat. No new insect ravaging these crops. No emergency. But again, just as with the National Emergency Act, the EPA’s authority in making these rulings includes a lot of leeway, with the expectation that good judgement will be involved. Instead, the EPA under Scott Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler has been searching out reasons to issue these orders.

Coast Guard officer charged with plotting mass murder of Democrats, journalists

Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested last week in Maryland on drug charges and that investigation spiraled, revealing Hasson was in possession of 15 guns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a hit list of people to murder. The list in
Daily Kos

Coast Guard officer charged with plotting mass murder of Democrats, journalists

Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested last week in Maryland on drug charges and that investigation spiraled, revealing Hasson was in possession of 15 guns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a hit list of people to murder. The list included many Democratic elected officials like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, along with journalists Chris Hayes and Ari Melber, among others.  Seamus Hughes, a former Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senior Counterterrorism adviser, broke the news on Twitter with the court filing detailing the absolutely frightening charges. Prosecutors said, “The Defendant is a domestic terrorist bent on committing acts dangerous to human life.” In fact, the first sentence of the motion for detention pending trial (seen below), is quite alarming: “The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.” As you can see in the Twitter thread below from Hughes, prosecutors say Hasson had contacts with white supremacists, advocated for a “white state” in America, and was a fan of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people, including 59 children in 2011.  Hasson’s target list included Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Richard Blumenthal, Tim Kaine, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Kristin Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, John Podesta, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, Ari Melber, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, and Van Jones. He used racist or inflammatory names for many of the people on his list.  More from The Washington Post: Christopher Paul Hasson called for “focused violence” to “establish a white homeland” and dreamed of ways to “kill almost every last person on earth,” according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland. Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.” Prosecutors say these are the first of many more charges. Hasson was arrested on illegal weapons and drug charges on Friday, but the government says those charges are the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.” Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland outlined Hasson’s alleged plans to spark chaos and destruction in court documents, describing a man obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views. “Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads,” Hasson wrote in a letter that prosecutors say was found in his email drafts. “Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world.”

Betsy DeVos' free rein at the Education Department is over with a Democratic House

The oversight-free party is over for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, with Democratic Rep. Robert Scott now in charge of the House Education Committee. He's got a long and growing list of issues Democrats are going to hold DeVos accountable for. Among th
Daily Kos

Betsy DeVos' free rein at the Education Department is over with a Democratic House

The oversight-free party is over for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, with Democratic Rep. Robert Scott now in charge of the House Education Committee. He's got a long and growing list of issues Democrats are going to hold DeVos accountable for. Among the things Democrats are planning: requiring the department to hold states accountable for achievement gaps between white students and students of color, as the law requires; asking for an explanation for why the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools was reinstated after it had been stripped of its certification by the previous administration: and, in a new revelation, obtaining a response as to why her department is interfering in its inspector general's investigation into her decision to reinstate ACICS. Scott also wants to know DeVos' «justifications for rescinding policies meant to protect black students from being disproportionately suspended and placed in special education and student borrowers from predatory lenders and higher-education diploma mills.» Scott says he's less interested in a public grilling of DeVos than in having accountability. «Theater doesn't advance anybody's agenda,» he told the New York Times. «I'm interested in what research and evidence they used to come to these conclusions.» He apparently held his tongue firmly in cheek by suggesting that there was actual research and evidence behind any of DeVos' policy decisions. Scott has important allies in these efforts, the Times points out: Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. The Maryland Democrat is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and his intervening with DeVos apparently helped her decide to halt the effort to replace the inspector general who is investigating her. Cummings says he will look into the «countless decisions that have negatively impacted students across the country, including dismantling protections against predatory for-profit lenders.» For her part, DeLauro, who is chair of the Appropriations subcommittee on education, says that she will «hold the secretary accountable for the hollowing out of the Education Department» through staffing and program cuts, and fight DeVos' privatization schemes. «I believe that, overall, the mission of the Department of Education these days is to privatize public education,» she said, «and I want to block them.» Because that's what Article I of the Constitution demands. And because one congressional body has no interest in fulfilling its duties, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is far more interested in amassing his personal power than making the institution of the Senate work.

Writing middle-aged men in crisis: Novelists Lindsay Stern and Andrew Ridker in conversation

The authors of «The Study of Animal Languages» and «The Altruists» discuss failed fictional patriarchs and more
Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture Salon

Writing middle-aged men in crisis: Novelists Lindsay Stern and Andrew Ridker in conversation

The authors of «The Study of Animal Languages» and «The Altruists» discuss failed fictional patriarchs and more

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