Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The queen, the truth, the noise

Good morning. Welcome to #247 in my ongoing series “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be APR? Why is he talking?” Yes, yes it is. And because.

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted out what would be easy to pass off as #infinity plus one in his ongoing series “Hey look, I’m a fascist asshole.” In this episode, Trump made yet another repetition of his baseless claim that CNN and MSNBC are “fake news.” Which makes this sound like a pretty boring episode. But this time there’s a twist.

This time Trump preceded and trailed that fake news claim with a whine about how social media has been picking on the right. And he threatened to do something about it. That something could be an executive order. It might be a regulation from the FCC. It might even be a bill hastily drafted up by Mark, Devin, Jim, Dana, or any of

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Saturday open thread for night owls: Afghanistan—a war of ultimate repetitiousness

Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch and The Nation writes about Afghanistan—The War Piece to End All War Pieces:

Fair warning. Stop reading right now if you want, because I’m going to repeat myself. What choice do I have, since my subject is the Afghan War (America’s second Afghan War, no less)? I began writing about that war in October 2001, almost 17 years ago, just after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. That was how I inadvertently launched the unnamed listserv that would, a year later, become TomDispatch. Given the website’s continuing focus on America’s forever wars (a phrase I first used in 2010), what choice have I had but to write about Afghanistan ever since?

So think of this as the war piece to end all war pieces. And let the repetition begin!

night owls

Here, for instance, is what I wrote

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Nuts & Bolts: Inside a Democratic campaign—clean campaigns in a dirty world

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

Every time there is an election, there are accusations about “dirty campaigns.” When it comes to campaigns, you’ll find that some people, with almost no scruples, are willing to do or say anything in order to confuse voters, muddy the water, and bash your candidate. How in the world do you run a clean campaign in a dirty world? 

While this series focuses on downballot (small) races, this is a challenge faced by campaigns at every level. No matter what kind of campaign you want to run, someone—whether it is your opponent or an outside advocacy group—will definitely sling some mud. How does

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This week in science: fires from space

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo had a nice summary this week touching on the science of human behavior. There are two themes therein, the first on how a guilty person behaves, and a more subtle point on how most of us usual, normal people harbor resistance of a sort from coming to the obvious conclusion when that conclusion is unsettling and/or lies far outside the usual norms:

[T]he President has used every power at his disposal to stop investigations into what happened. He tried to end the investigation into Michael Flynn. He demanded loyalty and protection from the head of the FBI. He fired the head of the FBI because of the Russia probe. He tried to fire Robert Mueller. He tried to bully Jeff Sessions into resigning … He has been at more or less constant war with the FBI and the Intelligence Community. He openly dangles pardons to thwart

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This week in the war on workers: Puerto Rico’s school year starts, and it’s chaos

School privatization advocates have used the devastation of Hurricane Maria to close hundreds of public schools in Puerto Rico while pushing vouchers and charter schools. As we’ve seen again and again, chaos and destruction are favorite tools of privatizers, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the school year has started in Puerto Rico with massive problems.

More than 56,000 students projected to be enrolled in Puerto Rico’s schools this year haven’t shown up and 18,000 were never enrolled. Some schools also have missing teachers after teachers have been repeatedly reassigned. Schools are in terrible shape:

Dozens of schools were still badly in need of repairs. A survey of the island’s 856 schools conducted by the Association of Puerto Rican Teachers the week before classes started found leaky roofs, mold and unusable bathrooms. One school had a rat infestation, according to the survey. Another was still littered with

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Picks of the Week: Our favorite stories from the Daily Kos Community

Last weekend, we introduced a new weekly “Staff Picks” series, where your fearless Daily Kos staffers chose their favorite diary written during the week. Folks around here seemed to like it well enough, but commenters durrati and Krotor made the very, very smart suggestion that we should expand the series to feature Community writers, too!

(actual footage from Thursday’s Daily Kos staff meeting)

Ask and you shall receive, dear readers. 

In no particular order, we lovingly present some of the Community diaries that really stuck with us this week. We know we’ve got some of the best writers on the web in the Daily Kos Community, and it’s a joy to show off some of them here.

Grab a snack and check them out … and be sure to come back next week for more.

Spotlight on green news & views: The Anthropocene’s ‘new normal’; Trump promotes dirtier air

This is the 569th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue). Here is the August 11 edition. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.



xaxnar writes—The West may have Fires, But the East has Floods – This is the New Normal in the Anthropocene: “The news has not gotten better since then. Here’s a sampling from a quick web search August 13, 2018. Flash Flood Watch in Eastern New YorkEmergencies Declared as Storms Persist in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New YorkFlash flooding threat continues for East Coast after wet weekendPennsylvania flooding prompts water rescues around stateDrenching rain, flooding wreaks havoc in PennsylvaniaHeavy rain prompts flash flood emergencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey • This

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Staff Picks: Our favorite stories of the week

You may have your favorites from Daily Kos this week, but these are the articles our staff writers picked as the ones they liked best, or stuck with them the longest, or hit them hardest emotionally, or felt were the most important. Here are the staff picks for this week.

And if you were one of several people who recommended last week that something similar be done for community posts … good idea! Hang around, say, 30 minutes or so.

Carolyn Fiddler

West Virginia Republicans are trying to execute a state Supreme Court coup

In a step toward a Republican-engineered coup of an entire branch of government, the GOP-controlled West Virginia House voted to impeach all four remaining (of five total—more on that shortly) state Supreme Court justices late Monday night.

But in a surprise move Tuesday morning, Democratic Justice Robin Davis announced her resignation just in time to trigger a special

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This week at progressive state blogs. Bannon apparently back; ‘consumer protection is so outdated’

This week at progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Here is the August 11 edition. Inclusion of a blog post does not necessarily indicate my agreement with—or endorsement of—its contents.

At Show Me Progress of Missouri, Willy Kay writes—Josh Hawley: Not as smart as they thought?

So what about Josh Hawley? There’s this little morsel (as noted by Michael Bersin here) which indicates that perhaps the guy just isn’t working with all the lights burning:

In Missouri’s U.S. Senate race, Josh Hawley (R) slammed Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) this morning for “hiding out” in Washington, D.C. For the record, the Senate is in session, which means McCaskill just went to work.

One twitter commentator suggested that Hawley might need a tutorial on how government works. In

Show Me Progress, state blog

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Georgia Republican tries to move the goalposts when it comes to whether Trump said the n-word

“This is not where I expected this conversation to go, Senator,” said a shocked Victor Blackwell after Georgia state senator Michael E. Williams offered a rambling defense of Donald Trump’s rumored use of a racial slur. Williams, whose failed gubernatorial campaign made headlines this spring thanks to his appalling “Deportation Bus,” has long boasted of being the first elected official in Georgia to back Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. As such, it’s not particularly surprising to see the malignant millionaire bend over backwards to find a way to make blatant racism acceptable.

The mental gymnastics required to preemptively forgive Trump’s rumored hate speech are, indeed, baffling, but are consistent with today’s Republican branding. GOP politicians and pundits have been actively working to lower the standards of acceptable behavior for the entirety of Trump’s stolen presidency, it seems—especially when it comes to the Russia investigation.

The hypocrisy Williams displays, however, is still startling; Blackwell is

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Saturday midday open thread: CEO-to-worker compensation hits 312-1; China goes to WTO on solar levy

79 days remain until the November midterms

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos …

  • How Daily Kos Elections analyzes and reports on polls, by David Nir
  • The final battle of the Civil Social Justice War will be in the heart, mind and spirit of the nation, by Frank Vyan Walton
  • Marijuana, opioids, and alcohol: It is time to change the paradigm, by Egberto Willies
  • Trump tariffs hurting farmers, and GOP could pay a price in midterms, by Sher Watts Spooner
  • 7 questions for Erica Newsome, West Virginia teacher, about the West Virginia teacher’s strike, by David Akadjian
  • Why Donald Trump needs to increase immigration, by Jon Perr
  • Support the troops—by allowing them to be ripped off, by Mark E Andersen
  • ‘Trumpslaining’ the narrative about Puerto Rico’s recovery, by Denise Oliver Velez
  • While obsessing over ‘endangered’ white people, mainstream media helps normalize white supremacy, by Kelly Macias
  • Trump uses race, culture

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Abbreviated Science Round-up: But her pocketses, the inside scoop on wheat, robot peer pressure

Since I was late this morning in finishing my science reading (I got caught up fuming over things like freedom of speech and the culture of cruelty, because I haven’t learned to keep my head down on Saturday morning), I’m munging together popular articles, mostly from secondary sources, and peer-reviewed research this afternoon. Though hopefully not in a way that makes it impossible to tell which is which.

With that in mind, here is clearly the most important science news of the week: Women’s pockets are too small. As reported with admirable completeness (and keen diagrams) at the site, science has confirmed something that every woman has been aware of since … ever. That being that you can’t fit a decent phablet into any pocket on any piece of clothing owned by anyone sporting a double-X set of chromosomes.

There are few things more frustrating than collecting your belongings

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View from the Left: Media shifts from ‘But her emails’ in 2016 to ‘But Pelosi’ in 2018

We are in the midst of watching the collective Washington media commit journalistic malpractice all over again this election cycle, with Nancy Pelosi taking over Hillary Clinton’s starring role as their lead obsession while they give the GOP a virtual pass. In 2016, Donald Trump broke nearly every norm imaginable, from not releasing his taxes, to proposing a ban on people of certain religions from entering the country, to never really even bothering to lay out a cohesive platform beyond, “I alone can fix it.” But it was Hillary’s emails that captured that imaginations of political journalists and dominated the media scape, according to a meticulous study of press coverage reported on last year by Columbia Journalism Review.

In just six days, The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election…

During that

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It’s no coincidence that ICE agents are ramping up cruelty as Trump prepares their medals

On Wednesday afternoon, Joel Arrona was driving his wife Maria to a hospital in San Bernadino, CA for a scheduled Cesarean section. The two parents-to-be were nervous, but they were also out of gas, so Joel pulled over at convenience store to fuel up. As CBS Los Angeles reports, they were followed into the parking lot by a pair of SUVs. Men got out of SUVs and identified themselves as ICE agents. A few minutes later, ICE took Joel away.

They left the pregnant Maria standing in a parking lot, crying, hours away from delivery, and alone.

Under questioning by the media, ICE produced a statement, that Joel Arrona was “was taken into custody Wednesday by ICE Fugitive Operations Team officers.” According to ICE, these operations are “on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.” However, they provided no evidence that Arrona was

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Trump’s getting his extremist choices in Republican primaries. That’s bad news for his party.

As Donald Trump uses his position as Supreme Glorious Leader of the Republican Party to weigh in on individual state governor races, two questions remain. The first is whether he’s even making a difference; that’s not clear. Trump has tended to back one Republican primary candidate over another late in each race, when the outcome has largely been baked in, and some observers have dismissed his endorsements as being more focused on riding the likely winner’s coattails than on anything else.

The second question is whether Trump’s predictable advocacy for whichever Republican has humped his leg the most recently is going to further exacerbate his party’s bleak election chances in November. That one is easier to answer: Yes. Yes, it will.

With Trump’s approval ratings in the low 40s and a high-energy Democratic base, Republicans were already expected to lose governorships in the fall, especially in blue-tinted states like Maine

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Activists plan marches, protests, and a voter registration drive to mark Hurricane Maria anniversary

As the anniversary of Hurricane Maria approaches, marking a full year in which the Trump Administration did anywhere from Nothing to Not Damn Much to help Puerto Rico repair and rebuild, the Latino Victory Project and Power 4 Puerto Rico are launching several efforts to channel the anger of now-displaced Puerto Ricans into votes against the Republican incumbents who sat on their hands during and after the crisis.

The largest of those efforts is a $1.5 million campaign to register Puerto Ricans displaced from the island and to recruit new Puerto Rican candidates to run for office themselves. Florida is the most prominent target, but New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, and other states also have large numbers of recently displaced Puerto Ricans. Activists like Melissa Mark-Viverito of Power 4 Puerto Rico are fed up.

“We have a fiscal crisis that exists compounded by the emergency of the hurricane,” she

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Trump speaks out to defend hate speech, violence, and lies

Donald Trump generally has less executive time on weekends—tee times come earlier than the start of Trump’s ‘business’ day—but Trump started early on Saturday by whining that social media sites are “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices.” This follows the removal of hate-site InfoWars and its founder, Alex Jones, from most sites, and a temporary suspension from Twitter. It’s not the first time that Trump has made claims that social media sites filter more right-leaning posts, despite consistent evidence that shows this isn’t true. In fact many sites, including Facebook, are much more likely to promote conservative news sites over more progressive information.

But Trump didn’t stop with whining. He also stated that “Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let [the supposed discrimination] happen.” Which would seem to imply that Trump intends to press for some sort of law or regulation that would prevent sites for blocking hate

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Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has died

Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and widely-regarded champion of human rights around the globe, has died at age 80.

Annan became the head of the United Nations at a time when that organization was under attack and in disarray. He lead it through the crises following 9/11 and a second term that included the war in Iraq and widespread unrest. He was frequently named as the “world’s greatest diplomat,” who worked constantly to establish stronger ties between nations and fought against isolationism and factionalism.

His reform of the tangled UN bureaucracy revitalized the organization. He was the first Secretary General actually elected to that office by a vote of the UN representatives. He was the founder and driving force behind the United Nations Global Compact, a program that works with business leaders to use sustainable practices, uphold human rights, support strong labor laws, and fight against

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Fundamentals favor the Democrats in November

Nate Silver/FiveThirtyEight:

The 5 Big Takeaways From Our House Forecast

Democrats are favored to gain control of the House of Representatives in this year’s midterm elections, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model. But — a very FiveThirtyEight-ish sentence follows — the range of possible outcomes is wide and Democrats’ prospects are far from certain. Relatively small shifts could allow Republicans to keep control of the House, or could turn a blue wave into a tsunami.


Open thread for night owls: ‘War is a Racket’

At The Baffler, “The Nostalgia Trap” podcast is hosted by historian David Parsons and produced by Peter Sabatino. Each week they engage in conversations with some of the left’s leading thinkers and writers in an exploration of “how individual lives intersect with the big events and debates of our era.” A recent session—War is a Racket—featured Nate Bethea. He co-hosts the podcast A Hell of a Way to Die, which looks at the intersection of leftist politics and American military culture:

While serving as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 2007-2014, and deploying to Afghanistan in 2009-2010, Bethea reports that he “lived the Army values so hard that I became a socialist.” In this conversation, he discusses the hazards of being openly left while on active duty, the disturbing rise of MAGA-style fascism among veterans, and how his experience at war deepened his political commitments:


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