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.

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

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

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

Continue reading “Intelligence sources: Russia totally attacked Florida’s election systems”

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”

LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank

Do we even have laws anymore? It hardly matters what voters vote for if Republican politicians are simply going to ignore the laws they pass out of spite.

The LePage administration is rejecting applications for Medicaid from people who became newly eligible for the program under an expansion approved by voters last fall, according to documents and a progressive advocacy group that is suing the state.

Maine’s LePage is a prime example of a law-averse crackpot politician who in better times would have been run out of town on a rail by better people; in this case his administration has simply decided that no matter what measures voters approve they’re going to ignore it. Right now LePage and allies are appealing a court decision requiring them to Follow The Damn Law, an effort that appears to be nothing more than an effort to delay an inevitable outcome but, what the

Continue reading “LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank”

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

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

Melania Trump briefly thawed from cryogenic sleep to talk about cyberbullying again

Do you spend your days wondering what First Lady Melania Trump is doing? Do you anxiously scan the papers to see what causes the wife of Donald Trump, the grifter and traitor to his nation currently acting as grand ruler of the Republican Party and, when his staff can coax him into it, occasionally pretending at being “president,” is lending her name to?

Yeah, well too bad. If I have to read these insufferable press releases then I’m taking you with me.

The First Lady will attend the sixth FPBP Summit on Cyberbullying in Rockville, Maryland.  Mrs. Trump will deliver brief remarks addressing the positive and negative effects of social media on youth – a key issue of her Be Best campaign.  The First Lady will also attend a panel discussion with representatives from multiple social media platforms.

That’s right, kids, on the heels of the last eleventy different Donald Trump

Continue reading “Melania Trump briefly thawed from cryogenic sleep to talk about cyberbullying again”

Violence Against Women Act will expire soon, unless Congress acts

The last time the Violence Against Women Act was up for reauthorization, Republicans held it up for nearly a year—and that was when President Barack Obama was in the White House and Democrats controlled the Senate. So you can imagine the threat the law faces now, set to expire in September with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress.

As in 2012-2013, Republicans would doubtless be happy to vote for a bill called the Violence Against Women Act. They just wouldn’t want it to do anything much—their problem is with a bill that improves protection of women, since that typically means putting limits on men in a way Republicans aren’t on board with. This year:

Among its provisions, the 2018 bill would provide law enforcement with more tools to remove firearms from domestic abusers who are not legally allowed to own them. Gun violence

Continue reading “Violence Against Women Act will expire soon, unless Congress acts”

Republicans try to sneak fetal personhood language into tax plan

Republicans never stop trying to ban abortion—even, apparently, when drawing up plans on how to tax college savings. In the section on 529 college savings accounts, Republicans added a provision on “treatment of unborn children,” defined specifically as “a child in utero,” which “means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” Emily Peck reports that:

Pro-abortion rights advocates were quick to call out the language. “This is a back-door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said in a statement. “The tax code is no place to define what constitutes an ‘unborn child.’ What’s next, giving a Social Security number to a zygote?” […]

Abortion foes believe that if fetuses were legally considered people, then abortion would

Continue reading “Republicans try to sneak fetal personhood language into tax plan”

Republican tax plan could slam graduate students earning less than $30,000

The Republican tax plan is designed to be confusing. They don’t want us to know everything that’s in it ahead of time, because we’d notice how bad it is for us. So little bits of information trickle out, like this in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and they don’t necessarily get the attention they deserve:

The plan would also tax the tuition waivers that many graduate students receive when they work as teaching assistants or researchers.

Claus Wilke, an integrative biology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, explained on Twitter what this could mean to STEM education:

x

The result? “At that point, a PhD would not be a viable choice anymore, except for the

Continue reading “Republican tax plan could slam graduate students earning less than $30,000”

The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies

The public is not buying the Republican spin on their new would-be “tax plan.” They’re not buying the spin at all.

But nearly 60 percent of people believe corporations won’t “use that money to create jobs,” according to the CBS poll. […]
The plurality of respondents — 39 percent — say they don’t have an opinion about whether the tax plan is good or bad, according to NBC/WSJ. Just over one-third said it’s a bad idea, and 25 percent said it’s a good idea. […]

CBS found that 58 percent of Americans believe taxes on the wealthy should be higher.

This is polling that took place before the details of the bill were even revealed. Now that Republicans have presented it, however, it’s not just voter opinion that Republicans will need to reckon with; the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth is furious it didn’t go far enough

Continue reading “The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies”

The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies

The public is not buying the Republican spin on their new would-be “tax plan.” They’re not buying the spin at all.

But nearly 60 percent of people believe corporations won’t “use that money to create jobs,” according to the CBS poll. […]
The plurality of respondents — 39 percent — say they don’t have an opinion about whether the tax plan is good or bad, according to NBC/WSJ. Just over one-third said it’s a bad idea, and 25 percent said it’s a good idea. […]

CBS found that 58 percent of Americans believe taxes on the wealthy should be higher.

This is polling that took place before the details of the bill were even revealed. Now that Republicans have presented it, however, it’s not just voter opinion that Republicans will need to reckon with; the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth is furious it didn’t go far enough

Continue reading “The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies”

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 are selling their tax plan on a platform of lies

There are a few places where we can already see the gap between what Republicans are claiming their tax plan will do for you and what it will really do that should tell us all we need to know: if they need to lie and misdirect that much to sell the plan, voters definitely shouldn’t be buying. Take the claim that the plan would “lower the tax rate ‘for low– and middle-income Americans’ from 39.6 percent to 35 percent so ‘people can keep more of the money they earn’” … where the “low- and middle-income Americans” in question are earning $450,000 a year. Or take the $1,182 per year tax cut for a family making the median income of $59,000 a year. The reality behind that one gets complicated fast:

Under the current law, parents may claim personal exemptions on their tax forms for themselves, their spouses and their children. The

Continue reading “Republicans are selling their tax plan on a platform of lies”

Republicans refuse to believe polls showing most Americans don’t want corporate tax cuts

It’s not just Trump supporters who believe what they want to believe and everything else is “fake news,” it’s Republican lawmakers too. Three polls in the last couple months have come out showing most Americans and even many Republican aren’t all that jazzed about cutting the corporate tax rate—a central pillar of the GOP’s tax plan. Here’s the news from two separate September and October Politico/Morning Consult polls:

The GOP response? Vox writes:

“Who cares?” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said before I had a chance to say what the polls showed.

Others said they didn’t believe the numbers.

“I don’t believe that poll,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said. “I don’t believe it. It’s in all of our best interest to have these tax

Continue reading “Republicans refuse to believe polls showing most Americans don’t want corporate tax cuts”

It’s not just tax cuts for the super-rich day, it’s day 33 without Children’s Health funding

Campaign Action

Somebody’s hair really needs to be on fire on Capitol Hill. Preferably, everybody’s. House Speaker Paul Ryan and team introduced what should be called the “Tax Cuts for Donald Trump and Cronies” bill with big fanfare and a press conference today. No one in the traditional media bothered to remind them of the fact that they aren’t even competent enough to fund a program that has massive bipartisan support and is providing health care to 9 million children.

It is a fundamental failure in governing and morality on the part of the Republican Congress. While they don’t seem to give a damn, the people who are charged with taking care of children are on full alert.

The children most at risk of losing CHIP coverage soon are likely those who reside in states running out of funds quickly with separate CHIP programs. At least six states—Arizona, California, the District of Columbia,

Continue reading “It’s not just tax cuts for the super-rich day, it’s day 33 without Children’s Health funding”

Faced with Flake’s rally cry to save America, most Republicans say tax cuts are just too important

Campaign Action

Sure, GOP Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker made some good points Tuesday about how Donald Trump is “debasing” our political discourse and the entire country in the process, but they’re retiring from the Senate. Ask any Republican who plans on indefinitely clinging to his or her Senate seat, and they’ll tell you Flake and Corker are totally off track because giving tax cuts to America’s wealthiest is just too important to get sidetracked by the legal, ethical, moral, and existential questions surrounding Trump’s presidency. Take Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, for one.

”I’m focused on getting stuff done,” Portman said in response to a question about the Flake/Corker rally cry. “This week it’s about opioids, tomorrow it’s opioids. Today it’s tax reform. That’s my job.”

How about protecting the American people from a maniac—is that in your job description?

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, fighting for his political future

Continue reading “Faced with Flake’s rally cry to save America, most Republicans say tax cuts are just too important”