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.

Intelligence sources: Russia totally attacked Florida’s election systems

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) got a lot of heat from Republicans and the traditional media a couple of weeks ago for saying that Russian hackers had “penetrated” some of the county voting systems in Florida. His detractors included his general election opponent, the odious Gov. Rick Scott, on whose watch this happened. Because according to three people who are aware of the intelligence involved talked to NBC News, it totally happened.

Nelson was informed of the attack by the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, because they wanted him to “let supervisors of elections in Florida know that Russians are inside our records” Nelson said. He also said that Russian hackers “have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about.” The attacks began with a 2016 hack of a Florida elections vendor, VR Systems, by hackers working for Russian military

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House Republicans threaten to subpoena Twitter CEO over ‘discrimination’ against conservatives

House Republicans are once more ignoring the graft, the corruption, the election interference that put the Republican party in total control of government, and are instead focusing on being victims, as usual. This time it’s Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s decision to finally get rid of Russian bots and put crazy conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones on “time outs” on the platform and they’re threatening to subpoena him. Which means we’ll have more totally farcical, but headline-grabbing, hearings from them.

“But his tweets.”

A staffer on the Energy and Commerce committee tells Politico that Twitter is “delaying” and “stonewalling” the committee in their efforts to get Dorsey to come testify about things that are not happening, like the supposed “shadow banning” the bloated orange creature in the Oval Office has shrieked about. On Twitter. Where his every racist and sexist and garbage thoughts are presented to the world without

Continue reading “House Republicans threaten to subpoena Twitter CEO over ‘discrimination’ against conservatives”

Texas Republican shows what desperation looks like with lie about his opponent’s fundraising

Republican Rep. Will Hurd is losing the fundraising game to Gina Ortiz Jones, the Daily Kos-endorsed Filipina-American former Air Force Intelligence officer running for Texas’s 23rd Congressional District. So he’s decided to start lying about the money Jones is raising.  

“When you raise more money from Massachusetts than you do from Texas, that is not a good indication of your broad-based support,” Hurd said of Jones.

More money from Massachusetts, a far-away state with less than 7 million residents, than from Texas, the state the race is located in with more than 28 million residents? Whoa, if true … but it’s really, really not true.

Hurd’s campaign is counting every donation that went to Jones through ActBlue as coming from Massachusetts, because that’s where ActBlue’s office is. But ActBlue is, as its many many donors know, a conduit. It passes money from donors around the country to candidates and causes.

Continue reading “Texas Republican shows what desperation looks like with lie about his opponent’s fundraising”

Hackers have already weighed in help ‘Putin’s favorite Congressman’ Dana Rohrabacher

A Democratic challenger to Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican congressman so obviously in the pocket of Vladimir Putin that other Republican congressmen joke about how he’s in the pocket of Vladimir Putin, is going public over hacking attempts that plagued his campaign before the recent primary. Stem-cell scientist Dr. Hans Keirstead lost the June 5 primary in California Congressional District 48 by a razor-thin 125 votes, finishing behind Rohrabacher and real estate investor Harley Rouda in California’s top-two primary system.

But, according to Rolling Stone, Keirstead had more to worry about in his race than just trying to finish ahead of the pack. Starting in August 2017, Keirstead was subject to a “spear-phishing attempt” similar to those used in infiltrating the accounts of Democratic consultant John Podesta and members of the DNC.  It’s not clear that this effort allowed the hackers into Keirstead’s system, but a few months

Continue reading “Hackers have already weighed in help ‘Putin’s favorite Congressman’ Dana Rohrabacher”

The Republican tax cuts plan, now with more people losing their health insurance

What was definitely missing from the Donald Trump Tax Cuts Act the House Republicans unveiled this week? It didn’t have enough Obamcare repeal. So they’re going to add it. Because it’s just one more way to screw over the middle class.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Friday that lawmakers are considering repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate as part of their tax-reform bill given President Trump’s repeated demands to do so.
Brady said Trump has told him twice by phone and once in person that he wants the mandate repealed in the tax bill. Trump has also publicly called for the idea. […]

“No decisions have been made; we’re listening to members and certainly the president as well,” Brady said.  

Still, he noted that the idea is under consideration. He said lawmakers have asked the Congressional Budget Office for an updated analysis with the mandate’s repeal

Continue reading “The Republican tax cuts plan, now with more people losing their health insurance”

The Republican tax cuts plan, now with more people losing their health insurance

What was definitely missing from the Donald Trump Tax Cuts Act the House Republicans unveiled this week? It didn’t have enough Obamcare repeal. So they’re going to add it. Because it’s just one more way to screw over the middle class.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Friday that lawmakers are considering repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate as part of their tax-reform bill given President Trump’s repeated demands to do so.
Brady said Trump has told him twice by phone and once in person that he wants the mandate repealed in the tax bill. Trump has also publicly called for the idea. […]

“No decisions have been made; we’re listening to members and certainly the president as well,” Brady said.  

Still, he noted that the idea is under consideration. He said lawmakers have asked the Congressional Budget Office for an updated analysis with the mandate’s repeal

Continue reading “The Republican tax cuts plan, now with more people losing their health insurance”

House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy

Campaign Action

The House Republicans, along with a handful of not-very-bright Democrats, passed their poisoned Children’s Health Insurance Program funding bill Friday, 242-174. This is not a children’s health bill. This is an Obamacare and Medicare sabotage bill. It jeopardizes the CHIP program even more than if it hadn’t passed because this bill is too poisoned to pass the Senate, which means it will create further delays as the Senate and House have to figure out a compromise. And at this point, 34 days after the funding authorization for the program has expired, every day that passes makes it harder for states to keep the program going and plan for its future. Every day that passes puts more kids in jeopardy of losing their coverage.

The bill contains several poison pills, including making Medicare premiums more expensive for some higher-income beneficiaries. Because it wouldn’t be a Republican “health” bill if

Continue reading “House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy”

House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy

Campaign Action

The House Republicans, along with a handful of not-very-bright Democrats, passed their poisoned Children’s Health Insurance Program funding bill Friday, 242-174. This is not a children’s health bill. This is an Obamacare and Medicare sabotage bill. It jeopardizes the CHIP program even more than if it hadn’t passed because this bill is too poisoned to pass the Senate, which means it will create further delays as the Senate and House have to figure out a compromise. And at this point, 34 days after the funding authorization for the program has expired, every day that passes makes it harder for states to keep the program going and plan for its future. Every day that passes puts more kids in jeopardy of losing their coverage.

The bill contains several poison pills, including making Medicare premiums more expensive for some higher-income beneficiaries. Because it wouldn’t be a Republican “health” bill if

Continue reading “House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy”

Three House Republicans try to oust Mueller over laughable uranium deal conspiracy theory

On the very week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe started producing evidence of problematic Russian contacts by the Trump campaign, three House Republicans suddenly want to kneecap Mueller. Who could have guessed it? The Washington Post writes:

Three conservative House Republicans are expected to file a resolution Friday calling on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to recuse himself from his probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, accusing him of conflicts of interest.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who wrote the resolution, accuses Mueller of having a conflict of interest because he was serving as FBI chief when the Obama administration approved a deal allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canada-based mining group with uranium operations in the United States, according to a draft obtained by The Washington Post.

Now keep this in mind: While there is zero evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved

Continue reading “Three House Republicans try to oust Mueller over laughable uranium deal conspiracy theory”

Three House Republicans try to oust Mueller over laughable uranium deal conspiracy theory

On the very week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe started producing evidence of problematic Russian contacts by the Trump campaign, three House Republicans suddenly want to kneecap Mueller. Who could have guessed it? The Washington Post writes:

Three conservative House Republicans are expected to file a resolution Friday calling on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to recuse himself from his probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, accusing him of conflicts of interest.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who wrote the resolution, accuses Mueller of having a conflict of interest because he was serving as FBI chief when the Obama administration approved a deal allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canada-based mining group with uranium operations in the United States, according to a draft obtained by The Washington Post.

Now keep this in mind: While there is zero evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved

Continue reading “Three House Republicans try to oust Mueller over laughable uranium deal conspiracy theory”

Republicans either don’t know yet or are covering up what’s in their big tax plan

Republicans are planning a big package of tax cuts, they keep telling us. But what’s going to be in it? Possibly changes to your 401(k) retirement plan, despite Donald Trump’s promise to leave those untouched. And, uh, well, beyond that, it’s kind of a mystery. Here’s the Washington Post on what House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady is saying—or what he isn’t saying:

For example, he said he hasn’t decided what income levels would merit certain tax rates.

He said he hasn’t decided how many tax deductions to eliminate to partially offset the lower rates.

He said he hasn’t decided whether to impose a top tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.

He said he hasn’t decided whether the tax cuts would be retroactive to income earned in 2017.

He wouldn’t say how the tax bill would impact the type of taxes paid by hedge fund managers, even though

Continue reading “Republicans either don’t know yet or are covering up what’s in their big tax plan”

Republicans again face defections on a top priority. This time, tax cuts.

Republicans are once again struggling to get the votes they need to pass one of their own top priorities—in this case, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House needs to pass the Senate’s budget resolution to allow Senate Republicans to use reconciliation to pass the tax cuts with 51 rather than 60 votes. But there’s a sticking point in the House: Republicans from higher-taxed states are worried about the elimination of a provision that currently allows people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes.

“I need to know what the endgame is going to look like if I’m going to vote on it,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the bloc of concerned Republicans. MacArthur attended a White House meeting on the issue Tuesday where he said he “didn’t make the progress I had hoped for.” […]

Three

Continue reading “Republicans again face defections on a top priority. This time, tax cuts.”

Democrats’ early fundraising eclipsing that of GOP incumbents

Republicans are stunned at both the sheer number of Democratic candidates throwing their hats in the ring for 2018 and the cash they are amassing in these early fundraising days. Politico writes:

Animated by opposition to President Donald Trump and the Republican congressional majorities, at least 162 Democratic candidates in 82 GOP-held districts have raised over $100,000 so far this year, according to a POLITICO analysis of the latest FEC data. That’s about four times as many candidates as House Democrats had at this point before the 2016 or 2014 elections, and it’s more than twice as many as Republicans had running at this point eight years ago, on the eve of capturing the House in the 2010 wave election.

Nearly three dozen Republican incumbents were outraised by Democratic challengers in the third quarter of this year – a stunning figure. Nine GOP incumbents already trail a Democratic opponent

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Tom Price is coming after Medicare, Obamacare under the guise of helping doctors

Campaign Action

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, arguably the most corrupt member of the Trump administration outside of the Trump family, is going after Medicare and the Affordable Care Act and government all in one fell swoop. He’s doing it for his fellow physicians, he says, which is probably true. But there’s no doubt that his toxic anti-government, anti-Medicare ideology is at work here.

It was, on its surface, another of the health secretary’s many meetings with “victims” of Obamacare — this time with some of the conservative physicians who felt the law was hurting their patients and their own bottom lines. An official readout from Price’s staff trumpeted the eight participating physicians as “witnesses” to Obamacare’s failings.
But that wasn’t Price’s only message to the doctors, according to two participants in the meeting. The health secretary also signaled he would protect the doctors from a raft of

Continue reading “Tom Price is coming after Medicare, Obamacare under the guise of helping doctors”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Sen. Mike Lee escalates Republican war on CBO with astounding dishonesty

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), best known as Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) sidekick, just can’t let go of his hurt feelings over the reliably disastrous scores the Congressional Budget Office gave the various iterations of Trumpcare. He’s taking his war on nonpartisan, reality-based economic projections to the Senate floor, and op-ed pages. The CBO, he insists, was off “by more than 100 percent” in its projections of coverage on the health insurance exchanges. He also said it was off “by around 100 percent” on its Medicaid enrollment projections. But if you click on the links Lee is providing in his op-ed, you’ll notice that he’s linking to the 2010 estimates from the CBO—the ones before the Supreme Court decided that not every state had to participate in the Medicaid exchanges. But in reality, when you consider the CBO’s subsequent analyses:

The CBO actually nailed the overall impact of the law on

Continue reading “Sen. Mike Lee escalates Republican war on CBO with astounding dishonesty”