Don’t we want a president America can be proud of?

Don’t we want a president America can be proud of?

I like a complex policy discussion as much as the next person. Charts, graphs, and numbers are great tools to make an argument about why one approach is superior to another, or why a particular law is not working out as advertised. This week, however, my post is not going utilize any such tools. I’m going to take a more visceral rather than analytical approach. That seems fitting, because if there’s one thing we can say about the presidency of Mr. 46 Percent of the Popular Vote, it’s that he definitely takes a more visceral rather than analytical approach.

We could take any week of Trump’s time in the White House and find multiple examples of him making an ass of himself. This week, however, offered one of his bigliest sets of ass-making actions and statements. Out of the many examples, let’s focus on a few. Regarding the first, I’ll start with a question: Did you ever imagine a president of the United States would publish a statement calling another American citizen a “Horseface”? Did you ever imagine explaining to your kids that he did?

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“Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees.” @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018

Let’s note a couple of things, beyond the obvious point that this represents a national embarrassment, although certainly not the worst one this man has inflicted on the presidency. One, his placement of the comma in the final sentence actually identifies him, Donald Trump (“me”, in the tweet), as “a total con.” Don the Con. That’s exactly right.

Although that grammatical slip-up represented some accidental truth-telling, this little bit of public relations was far from off-the-cuff. Apparently he “trial-ballooned” and “workshopped” this comment “among White House aides, close friends, and acquaintances,” according to the Daily Beast. All that preparation still didn’t stop him from spelling Stormy Daniels’ name wrong. Oh, and what does it say about a person when he insults the looks of a woman he pursued for sex? Just sayin.’

You wanted a reality-show president? You got one. And, as we know, “Horseface” is far from the first time Trump has reduced a woman to her looks or her body parts. Will this disgusting language affect Trump and his Republican allies at the ballot box? The New York Times speculated that it “could also prove problematic for Republicans facing female opponents.” Here’s one scholar’s take:

“This rhetoric is the kind of thing that has turned off college-educated Republican women who voted for Trump in 2016, but have fallen away,” said Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Calling the president’s comment “adolescent,” Ms. Walsh said that “you cannot continue to be a party in power if the voters that you are appealing to are white men over the age of 60.”

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Republicans want to take away your Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid

Republicans want to take away your Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid

Mitch McConnell is disappointed:

After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said of the deficit, which grew 17 percent to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018. McConnell explained to Bloomberg that “it’s a bipartisan problem: Unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.” The deficit has increased 77 percent since McConnell became majority leader in 2015.

New Treasury Department analysis on Monday revealed that corporate tax cuts had a significant impact on the deficit this year. Federal revenue rose by 0.04 percent in 2018, a nearly 100 percent decrease on last year’s 1.5 percent. In fiscal year 2018, tax receipts on corporate income fell to $205 billion from $297 billion in 2017.

The Republican tax cuts for the wealthy gutted federal revenues and exploded the deficit, just as the CBO said they would, but it’s not the Republicans’ problem. That’s Republican logic for you. And of course their solution isn’t to undo the damage they inflicted but to inflict more. By gutting the budget. McConnell has some very specific spending targets:

McConnell said it would be “very difficult to do entitlement reform, and we’re talking about Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid,” with one party in charge of Congress and the White House.

“I think it’s pretty safe to say that entitlement changes, which is the real driver of the debt by any objective standard, may well be difficult if not impossible to achieve when you have unified government,” McConnell said.

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Stop the handwringing and conjecture about the ‘Latino vote,’ and support groups doing GOTV

Stop the handwringing and conjecture about the ‘Latino vote,’ and support groups doing GOTV

As the midterm elections draw closer and closer, major media outlets have turned once again to pontificating about and predicting the “Hispanic” or “Latino” vote, and comparing it to past white and black voter turnout demographics. This includes hand wringing, scolding, and finger pointing. A quote about how this is “bad news for (insert name of Democrat running for office)” is always included, along with an interview of someone “Hispanic” who is both a Republican and an ardent Trump supporter. Some have even gone as far as to predict that if the “blue wave” doesn’t happen, it will be Latinos’ fault—because “they don’t vote.” It kinda reminds me of all the people still re-hashing 2016, saying “if only those black people had voted like they did for Obama.”

ARGH! 

There have, of course, been a slew of weighty “think” pieces on whether “Democrats have a problem with Hispanic voters,” and long lists of what Democrats are doing wrong when it comes to messaging, and taking Latinos for granted, and the “Oh my, I’m so surprised and disheartened that ‘they’ won’t vote, don’t vote, or might vote for Republicans” take. Why that is a surprise is beyond me. After all, no one seems surprised about a majority of white people voting for Trump, who doesn’t give a damn about them either.

If I had a dollar for every white (non-Latino) person who has asked me, “How could any Latino vote for Trump? I mean he is so horrid to people of color,” I’d be rich. My answer is “How could all y’all white folks do it?” And, “Who says all Latinos are, or think of themselves as, people of color?”

Makes me wanna holler, tear out my hair, and throw up both my hands.

Lumping Latinx into a box, as if ‘they’ are a racial category, is simply wrong. Failing to realize the tremendous ethnic, class, and cultural diversity between and among groups who may be Spanish speakers, hail from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, or who have roots here dating back to before the U.S. became a nation causes much of the confusion. That big-box, one-size-fits-all demographic category of Latinos, Hispanics, Latinx, Latin@s—whichever term you use, creates a very false picture of the political map. ‘They’ run the gamut, are not homogeneous, are not always white, and are sometimes black. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same as “black American.”

Don’t get me wrong. There are research groups and scholars who do a very good job of surveying and studying various segments of our Latino/Hispanic communities. I’ll be referencing some of them here.

My question today is a simple one. If you are ‘concerned’ about voter turnout in these communities, what will you do to support the groups who are out there busting butt doing GOTV, and what support can you give to Democratic Latinx candidates who are currently running for office? (There are quite a few.) 

Support doesn’t just mean money, either: you can also help get the word out. 

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: We interrupt this APR for a message from the emergency broadcast system

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: We interrupt this APR for a message from the emergency broadcast system

Oh f@ck. That’s not a statement from an big money pundit. That’s the only possible reaction to the news that came at the end of Donald Trump’s Saturday night rally in Nevada. After hours of declaring that Democrats mean mobs and leading the lock ‘er up chants, Trump declared that the United States is going to build a new generation of nuclear weapons. Thousands, and thousands. And thousands of new nuclear weapons. If that seems impossible when the US is constrained (thank God) by decades of nuclear treaties that cap the number of weapons in service, The Guardian provides the simple, and simply horrific, answer.

Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons,” the president told reporters in Nevada after a rally. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”

Donald Trump is going to pull the United States out of the treaty limiting Intermediate-range nuclear weapons. That treaty, signed by that wimp Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, required the destruction of nearly 2,700 missiles. And it ended what was then the most dangerous part of the nuclear arms race—a race to develop small, “portable” weapons that were more difficult to track and easier to deploy by rail or road. Missiles that were to be scattered over the United State, and Russia, and pretty much everywhere else. Missiles that made the possibility of a nuclear weapon being deployed on a modern battlefield infinitely greater.

Those smaller weapons, with warheads only tens or hundreds of more power than the bombs that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were solidly in the much-less-unthinkable category for military planners. No one wanted to be the first to hit a major city with an H-bomb, but lobbing a few “battlefield nukes” to soften up those enemy armor columns (literally) looked way too attractive to way too many people. People like John Bolton. Killing the INF is the pure, distilled essence of wet dream for John Bolton. Because he really, truly, not exaggerating, likes the idea of using these things. Not “using them for leverage.” Using them.

Don’t worry. I’m getting to the pundits. But until then … worry. Because this is the most staggeringly dangerous move anyone has made since well before the Berlin Wall fell.

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Open thread for night owls: Progressive leaders push opening corporate board rooms to workers

Open thread for night owls: Progressive leaders push opening corporate board rooms to workers

Sarah Anderson at Inequality.org writes—US, UK Progressive Leaders Aim to Open Corporate Boardrooms to Workers:

When corporate directors meet to approve lavish CEO pay packages, nothing can spoil the mood quite like having a rank-and-file worker at the table.

“They get embarrassed,” one worker representative on the board of a major European company told the London-based Centre for Labour and Social Studies.

“Knowing full well that I represent people who’ve had a 1 percent rise in pay for the last five years,” it’s hard for them to award a massive CEO bonus, the worker explained.

Prominent progressive leaders in both the United Kingdom and the United States want to crank up this embarrassment factor by requiring large corporations in their countries to include worker representatives on their boards.

“Decisions taken in boardrooms affect people’s pay, their jobs, and their pensions,” UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said as he announced a plan recently to allow workers to select up to 30 percent of board members. “Workers deserve a real say in those decisions.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced a similar proposal. Her Accountable Capitalism Act would require corporations with annual revenue of more than $1 billion to allow employees to pick at least 40 percent of board members.

The proposals are popular in both countries. A 2016 poll by the UK Trades Union Congress found that 59 percent of Brits support worker reps on boards of large corporations, with only 10 percent opposed. In a recent poll of likely U.S. voters, 52 percent were supportive and only 23 percent were opposed. […]

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The president is covering up a journalist’s murder and his party is engaged in a nationwide campaign of voter suppression, but at least none of them has done anything as unpatriotic as kneel during the national anthem.

— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) October 21, 2018

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2011—What do you call a jobs plan that wouldn’t create jobs? The Republican plan!

Ouch. This is just the headline for The Washington Post’s fact check on the Republican jobs bill: “The GOP’s ludicrous claim about their jobs bill.” Ludicrous seems generous.

The crux of the problem is the claim that the plan, “mostly a mish-mash of previous offered bills, such as that hardy perennial—a balanced budget amendment to the constitution,” would create five million jobs. So the fact checker, aka Glenn Kessler, digs down into the methodology used by Republican Sens. Rand Paul, John McCain and Rob Portman to claim that five million figure.

Moira Bagley, a spokesman for Paul, said the figure was derived from three proposals: individual and corporate tax cuts that reduced the top tax rate of 25 percent, which the Heritage Foundation said would boost employment by 1.6 million jobs over the next decade; a tax holiday allowing U.S. companies to return cash held overseas, which a Chamber of Commerce study said would create 2.9 million jobs in two years; and a study by energy consultant Wood MacKenzie, which said allowing access to domestic energy resources and imports of Canadian oil would generate more than 1 million jobs by 2018.

There are several problems with these figures.

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

LINK TO DAILY KOS STORE

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‘I’m the racist and he’s the rapist!’: Gorka’s book party perfectly sums up Trump administration

‘I’m the racist and he’s the rapist!’: Gorka’s book party perfectly sums up Trump administration

Nazi-sympathizing former White House aide Sebastian Gorka continues to stay in the public imagination via his new book. The launch party for the book, titled something like I Desperately Want to be Seen as an Alpha Male,* was held at … Washington, D.C.,’s Trump Hotel. Shock! Special guests at the event included Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News troll Kimberly Guilfoyle, as well as a real-life White House staffer! According to the Washington Post, Darla Shine, wife of Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive and now Minister of Propaganda White House deputy chief of staff for communications, introduced her husband to the bigoted literati by saying “I’m the racist and he’s the rapist!”

[Pause for laughter.] [Take a deep breath, try to relax.]

Darla Shine wasn’t done.

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Nuts & Bolts: Inside a Democratic campaign—social media gotchas!

Nuts & Bolts: Inside a Democratic campaign—social media gotchas!

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

The advent of the internet has seen a major sea change for campaigns. Nothing you have ever written or said really, really disappears thanks to the internet. Trust me, I get this—stories I’ve written on Daily Kos about difficult issues will always be out there in one form or another, and, even running for a party office, I have to think carefully about what I’ve written and how it could be used. 

For candidates running for an open elected office, Facebook and Twitter have quickly become the first places that media look to learn more about you. This isn’t just about things you’ve posted, but on Twitter posts, you have liked, on Facebook items you’ve shared, and groups you have joined.

This week, we’re going to talk about social media gotchas.

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This week in science: Ghosts and goblins in the dark

This week in science: Ghosts and goblins in the dark

One big reason America has such a hard time with opiates compared to other western nations is because addiction is a chronic condition and we don’t have universal healthcare, which is what helps those countries deal with chronic illnesses in general. In fact, some of the most effective treatments are so difficult to get without health coverage that addicts in the US trying to kick the hard stuff are reduced to scoring the medicine that helps them do so on the black-market:

[P]atients who have prescriptions for buprenorphine sometimes sell or give it away, which is known as diversion. Some policymakers and officials point to diversion as a reason to further increase regulations. Providers already need to be certified to prescribe it, and there’s a cap on the number of patients they can give the drug to. But addiction treatment professionals argue the problem of buprenorphine diversion is often misunderstood. A black market exists in part, they point out, because addiction treatment can be hard to find.

If we could treat cancer with the efficacy and cost we can treat opiate addiction, the entire world would be united in celebration. Instead, the DEA and other authoritarian police forces are expanding their grip on the Bill of Rights, further limiting the ability of doctors to prescribe substances like methadone and suboxone, and of course cracking down on legitimate chronic pain patients, while the GOP dreams of taking away the one, thin lifeline millions of Americans now cling to.

Planet Nine from outer space: A new fantastic TNO, aka The Goblin, literally points to its possible location:

That’s what prompted the survey that found TG387 (and also found VP113 back in 2012). And speaking of which, TG387 seems to have an orbit that fits right in with the other objects!

Ghostly particles that may upset the Standard Model in physics have been detected coming up through the Antarctic ice cap:

There’s something mysterious coming up from the frozen ground in Antarctica, and it could break physics as we know it. Physicists don’t know what it is exactly. But they do know it’s some sort of cosmic ray …

There are easier ways and harder ways to win an election. Hard ways include trying to convince total strangers with clever tweets or shaming the proud and the cruel by sharing posts on social media. A smarter way would be to identify someone you know, someone who doesn’t vote much, maybe they’re not terribly political, maybe they’re young or old or generally un-engaged, and making a day of it. The mid-terms are but a month away. But there’s still time to make it fun with someone. This has the added benefit of committing you both.

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This satirical Ted Cruz website is your smile of the day

This satirical Ted Cruz website is your smile of the day

For most Americans, Texas Republican douchenozzle Ted Cruz represents the bare grotesqueness of ambition and narcissism. Many of us would not be surprised if Beelzebub himself arose out of a volcano to do a few campaign ads for Cruz. Like most prominent GOP officials, Sen. Cruz has made a career of doing almost nothing for his constituents, while doing a lot for himself and the men that pay his bills. Comedian Deno DeMartino decided to have fun at Ted Cruz’s expense back in 2016 by setting up the wonderful, satirical tedcruzforhumanpresident.com. With Sen. Cruz up for election again in the next couple of weeks, it is high time we revisit the smile-inducing website.

The website reads like it was written by the Bot himself. With call-out lines like:

I have over 42 years!

I once observed a child traversing on wheeled shoes. I will work tirelessly to find out what this technology is called and demand the earth children turn its schematics over to me, forthwith

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Hurricane Michael victims can’t use phones to summon help, thanks to Trump’s FCC head and Rick Scott

Hurricane Michael victims can’t use phones to summon help, thanks to Trump’s FCC head and Rick Scott

As of Friday, several Florida counties devastated by Hurricane Michael have registered double-digit outages in their wireless service, which is currently one of the only means available for Michael’s victims in those areas to get any help from the outside world.

Four Florida counties are still registering double-digit-percentage outages in wireless service, according to the FCC’s latest status report — Bay at 47 percent, Gulf at 34.8 percent, Washington at 20.5 percent and Gadsden at 19.4 percent.

The failure of the telecoms to restore service has created a handy political football for Florida’s Senate Race between Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott, both of whom had slammed these admittedly easy targets for their slow response to the disaster. Trump FCC head and former telecom lawyer Ajit Pai—whose claim to fame thus far has been to work on behalf of the telecommunications industry to end net neutrality and open the door to massive fee hikes—took the out-of-character step of condemning the telecoms as well (something he notably did not do in the wake of the near total obliteration of wireless service following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico).

As noted in the Politico article linked above, the speed by which wireless service is restored in the areas devastated by Michael may actually decide the Florida Senate election, as well as other downballot elections in the state.  So it’s more than useful to trace the root cause of the widespread outages, and more importantly, why service is taking so long by the telecom companies to be restored.

The main culprits appear to be Trump FCC head Ajit Pai and Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott.

As pointed out by ArsTechnica, in his rush to radically deregulate the telecom industry, Pai specifically repealed the very rules that President Obama passed following Superstorm Sandy. Rules which would have protected consumers from the same lengthy power and service outages that victims of Hurricane Michael are experiencing right now.

Among other things, the November 2017 FCC action eliminated a requirement that telcos turning off copper networks must provide Americans with service at least as good as those old copper networks. This change lets carriers replace wireline service with mobile service only, even if the new mobile option wouldn’t pass a “functional test” that Pai’s FCC eliminated.

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