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.

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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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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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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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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In Texas, some migrant dads who were reunited with their kids were briefly re-separated, report says

A group of migrant families who were separated at the U.S./Mexico border and then reunited under Judge Dana Sabraw’s court order were again separated for a short period this week, according to The Texas Tribune, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alleged “disruptive behavior” at the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas and moved about 16 dads to a different facility overnight. However, the dads and their advocates are saying this was retribution from ICE.

According to RAICES, “armed ICE officers”—as many as 60, Express News reported—stormed the facility’s hallways and arrested more than a dozen migrant parents who had only recently been reunited with their children.” ICE essentially claimed the dads had been acting out. “But advocates characterized it as backlash against migrants who had been speaking out about their conditions,” including launching a hunger strike earlier this month.

Other detained dads who were also separated and taken

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Cartoon: Trump’s hate tape stash

Anyone still waiting for evidence that Trump is racist is either lying or has been trapped in a sensory deprivation tank for at least 30 years.

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Trump administration readies Medicaid changes threatening coverage for tens of thousands

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Undeterred by the law or anything resembling human decency, the Trump administration is readying a new round of Medicaid waivers that will mean tens of thousands of people could be dropped off coverage. They’re adding drug use disclosure to work requirements and are prepping to approve the waivers in three more states, Arizona, Wisconsin and Maine. That’s despite the fact that they got slapped down by a federal judge on work requirements in Kentucky and are currently being sued in Arkansas for a work requirement waiver there.

To make it even more heinous, the administration is likely to circumvent Arizona’s attempt to exempt Native Americans from its waiver, another Trump attack on the identity and sovereignty of the tribal nations. The Trump administration says that the tribes are a race and not discrete nations and thus should get the exemption Arizona has asked for them. The administration says

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Donald Trump doesn’t know sh*t from Shinola either

Though climate change policy and activism ought to be getting my full attention, every day I get up wondering what fresh outrage the squatter in the White House is up to. Wondering how much damage he will inflict on a broad range of domestic policies and international relationships by the time he leaves office and how much of this destruction will be permanent.

Only his policy-related tweets interest me. The tweeted personal foibles, including the grammar screw-ups, were titillating for a while, but now they’re just boring. Produced by a low-life. With a low IQ. Sad.

Unfortunately, the pr*sident has shown himself perfectly adept at turning personal grudge into political attack and personal bias into reckless policy. Insults, and cries of “fake news,” and self-praise are easy to ignore after the twentieth time. But tweeted threats of shutting down the government over immigration or raining down fire and brimstone on other nation-states can’t. So I have to pay attention

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Black colleges aren’t worried about working with Trump; they’re focused on Congress instead

We’ve watched Donald Trump spend the last week having a meltdown on Twitter about Omarosa Manigualt Newman spilling the tea about her experience as an employee in the Trump administration. In all the drama, it’s easy to forget that she had an actual job (at least in theory) in which she was, among other things, supposed to be the liaison between the White House and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Though the administration staged a lovely photo-op with black college leaders and penned an executive order about them at the beginning of last year, nothing actually happened. HBCUs have never had any real engagement with the Trump White House and have had little contact since Omarosa was fired in December. Of course, in her book, Omarosa is saying that the administration completely mucked up establishing possible relationships with HCBUs. She cites Betsy DeVos—whom you may remember was vigorously and appropriately booed by the students 

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As hundreds of separated migrant kids remain locked up, White House to honor ICE and CBP ‘heroes’

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As hundreds of separated migrant children continue to remain under U.S. custody and at ongoing risk of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, Donald Trump plans to honor the border agents who kidnapped them from their parents’ arms and locked them up in cages in the first place.

Politico reports the White House has planned a “Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs [and] Border Protection” event for next Monday, coming a few days after Trump claimed that immigration agents “have been absolutely abused.” All right, if he wants to talk abuse, let’s talk abuse.

Despite a federal judge’s court order, the Trump administration continues to hold more than 560 kids under U.S. custody, including two dozen kids aged five years old and under. Not only is the administration blatantly violating a court order, it’s continuing to keep kids locked up in facilities where migrant children have

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GOP counts on their base to be stupid enough to still believe they have a plan to replace Obamacare

Eight years later, and Republican candidates are STILL pretending like they’ll repeal Obamacare, if the base just believes hard enough to elect them again. Never mind that they’ve had the White House and the Congress for nearly two years and have only managed to demonstrate they can wreck all the things that made the law popular.

They have updated the idea from “repeal and replace” to “repeal and bring back the stuff that you like so much in the law,” which is as tricky to run on as it sounds. A lawsuit to declare the whole thing unconstitutional? “Sure, anything that’s going to actually get rid of it, yes,” says Mike Braun, the Republican running for Senate in Indiana. “And then be ready to come back and talk about what you’re ready to do about pre-existing conditions and no limits on coverage. That’s where you don’t hear much conservative

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Democrats willing to sue over the documents proving that Trump’s SCOTUS nominee lied to the Senate

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Senate Democrats know that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath to them before, in 2006 during his confirmation hearing to sit on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. That lie is central to the documents fight they’ve been having with Republicans, who are pushing Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing weeks before the National Archives can even produce the fraction of documents they’re willing to allow. Democrats have been forced to unprecedented measures in trying to get the documents, having to file a Freedom of Information request from the National Archives and threatening a lawsuit if the documents aren’t released ahead of the scheduled September 4 hearing.

“We stand ready to sue the National Archives for Judge Kavanaugh’s full records if necessary,” Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said. “The American people deserve a methodical and thorough examination of a nominee to the Supreme Court who will yield immense influence

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Donald Trump’s favorite lie: All my invisible friends think I am doing super-great

The “president” of the United States is such a shameless liar that there is now an entire media beat dedicated to individual sub-categories of his lies. Among his more predictable tics: the famous I have a girlfriend in Canada, but you wouldn’t know her routine. He wants everyone to know that he just talked to a guy who talked to a guy who is just so damn supportive of everything Trump is doing but, um, you wouldn’t know him. The name isn’t important, after all. Or the company. Or whether or not Donald can only see him after doing three lines of cocaine.

Bloomberg is the latest outlet to chronicle some of Donald’s imaginary friends. Each of them is a variation of, well, this.

“I was with one of the greatest companies in the world. The chief executive officer. Very short while ago. And it really affects him,” Trump said

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Commander of SEAL raid that killed bin Laden blasts Trump: You have ’embarrassed,’ ‘humiliated’ U.S.

In an open letter to Donald Trump published in the Washington Post, retired Navy admiral William McRaven blasts Trump over his revocation of former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance. McRaven was the commander of the U.S. Navy SEAL race that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He does not mince words in telling Trump what he thinks of him.

I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.
Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs. […]

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the

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Private prison group sued for forcing immigrant detainees to work for $1 a day or be punished

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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is suing CoreCivic, a private prison profiteer accused of forcing immigrant detainees jailed under a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “to work for as little as $1 a day to clean, cook, and maintain the detention center in a scheme to maximize profits.” The lawsuit lasers in on one facility in Georgia that has essentially been threatening detainees with torture unless they work.

“Detained immigrants at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia who refuse to work,” SPLC said, “are threatened with solitary confinement and the loss of access to basic necessities, like food, clothing, products for personal hygiene, and phone calls to loved ones, in violation of federal anti-trafficking laws, according to the lawsuit,” and all part of a depraved plan to save the company cash despite $1.7 billion in profits last year.

“The ‘Dollar-a-Day’ program creates a lucrative profit scenario

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Trump is so ready to talk to Mueller … his legal team will fight it all the way to Supreme Court

Rudy Giuliani has been keeping up the pretense that Donald Trump is “eager” to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump will talk about anything. Except his business. Or obstruction. Or collusion. Or anything where Mueller might charge him with perjury. Which sounds a lot like nothing. And to underscore how much Trump wants to talk to the special counsel’s team, Trump’s attorneys are preparing not for that conversation, but to fight a subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Washington Post reports the Giuliani and the rest of Trump’s team are “still awaiting a response from special counsel Robert S. Mueller” to the letter sent last week. That letter was sent as a reply to a letter from Mueller which Giuliani painted as close to Trump’s requirements, but it also seemed to be the precipitating factor in an explosion of tweets by Trump attacking Mueller and his team which suggests that

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Migrant teen fed, changed diaper of toddler detained with her: ‘If I hadn’t, no one else would have’

None of the guards were taking care of the migrant toddler kidnapped from her parents at the U.S./Mexico border and detained inside a cage at a McAllen, Texas immigration processing center, so a 16-year-old girl imprisoned along with her did. The teen, who declined to be named for her own safety, tells Marie Claire that she was caged with about 100 girls for four days in Texas, after being separated from her mom at the border. “They had other cages for the boys, men, and women,” she said. “It was prison,” and a prison where some children were apparently left to fend for themselves.

“I met five girls who were taking care of a little girl from Honduras who looked to be about two years old,” she said. “We knew her name because she had a bracelet on her wrist, but nothing else.” She told Marie Claire that

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350 newspapers run editorials against Trump’s press attacks. Now, about their news coverage …

Hundreds of newspapers across the country ran editorials Thursday pushing back on Donald Trump’s slur against the media as the “enemy of the people.” These are the very same newspapers that offer a litany of mealymouthed excuses for not labeling Trump’s lies as lies and helped put him in the White House by focusing on imaginary Hillary Clinton scandals while ignoring real Trump scandals, but now that he’s openly campaigning against the free press, they are bringing the weight of their editorial pages, if not their news coverage, to push back.

The Miami Herald wrote that “If one first comes successfully for the press as an ‘enemy of the American People,’ what stops someone for coming next for your friends? Your family? Or you?” According to the Des Moines Register, “The true enemies of the people—and democracy—are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the

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Claims that tweet shows special information about Trump’s security revocations are conspiracy theory

This tweet went out on July 24—two days before the date written on the document Sarah Sanders read on Wednesday announcing that Donald Trump was revoking the security privileges of former CIA director John Brennan and putting nine others under review.

x

According to Google Translate, that message reads:

Ex-CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, ex-FBI director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe, ex-director of the National Intelligence Service James Clapper, ex-national security adviser Susan Rice say goodbye to access to classified materials. Welcome to the real world!

In addition to starting with Brennan, all of those names are on

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