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

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

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”

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.”

Can Trump quit hurling insults long enough to unite Republicans around tax cuts for the rich?

The White House is gearing up to make an all-out push for that package of tax cuts for rich people that is Republicans’ last chance to end 2017 looking like they have a clue what they’re doing. The problem is, Donald Trump is once again getting in his own way. With Trump about to head to Capitol Hill for lunch with Senate Republicans, he’s feuding with Sen. Bob Corker—again. Corker went on the Today show Tuesday morning and ever so politely told Trump to butt out of the tax bill-writing process, saying:

“What I hope is going to happen is the president will leave this effort, if you will, to the tax-writing committees, let them do their work and not begin taking things off the table that ought to be debated in these committees at the proper time.”

That was in response to Trump promising no changes to 401(k) accounts.

Continue reading “Can Trump quit hurling insults long enough to unite Republicans around tax cuts for the rich?”

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”

Republicans in disarray insist that fighting Trump is ‘healthy’

The first six months of the Trump presidency will go down as the least productive, most tumultuous ever for a unified government. The Republican House, Senate, and White House should be a juggernaut of dystopian productivity. Instead, we’re heading into the August recess with the Senate two weeks earlier than planned, having taken taken precautions to make sure Trump can’t make recess appointments while they’re away. What Republicans have managed to achieve in the past few months has been done without any help from the administration or to actually isolate and hamper Trump.

Among its more notable successes this year, and against Mr. Trump’s objections, Congress passed a tough Russia sanctions bill with a veto-proof majority, which the president begrudgingly signed this week. Congress also approved a law to help veterans get health care—a bipartisan, bicameral, messy but ultimately successful effort that came together with zero involvement from the administration.

Continue reading “Republicans in disarray insist that fighting Trump is ‘healthy’”

Trump is not going to let Trumpcare go

It is now August. The House of Representatives got the hell out of town last week. Senate leadership is rushing to the doors. And popular vote loser Donald Trump is still having his Trumpcare tantrum.

While Republicans in the Senate have announced plans for bipartisan hearings on health care beginning when Congress returns to work after Labor Day, the White House is making clear that President Donald Trump continues to look for more immediate answers on a GOP health care bill that would involve getting only a majority of Republican votes in the Senate, as he meets Wednesday afternoon with one key GOP lawmaker, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. […]
Portman has made clear to reporters in recent days that while last week’s defeat of the GOP ‘skinny’ bill was a setback, he’s not ready to give up on the GOP figuring out how to get to 50 votes in

Continue reading “Trump is not going to let Trumpcare go”

Trump is not going to let Trumpcare go

It is now August. The House of Representatives got the hell out of town last week. Senate leadership is rushing to the doors. And popular vote loser Donald Trump is still having his Trumpcare tantrum.

While Republicans in the Senate have announced plans for bipartisan hearings on health care beginning when Congress returns to work after Labor Day, the White House is making clear that President Donald Trump continues to look for more immediate answers on a GOP health care bill that would involve getting only a majority of Republican votes in the Senate, as he meets Wednesday afternoon with one key GOP lawmaker, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. […]
Portman has made clear to reporters in recent days that while last week’s defeat of the GOP ‘skinny’ bill was a setback, he’s not ready to give up on the GOP figuring out how to get to 50 votes in

Continue reading “Trump is not going to let Trumpcare go”

Angered by deportation raids, Senate Democrats plan to grill next Trump Homeland Security pick

Democratic senators who voted for John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security apparently feel bamboozled by his department’s swift moves to ramp up deportation efforts, efforts which appear to be targeting longtime residents with greater aplomb than the “violent” undocumented residents Trump was supposedly intent on going after. That means that now that Kelly is abandoning the post for a new position as Trump’s head babysitter, those senators are feeling much less charitable about going along with whatever new Trump sycophant will be announced for the position.

“There’s going to be an opportunity to recap what they’ve done and why they’ve done it and see if we can make it so that families aren’t torn apart,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who backed Kelly’s nomination in the committee and the full Senate, told TPM Monday evening. […]
“We should take a look at exactly what has happened as

Continue reading “Angered by deportation raids, Senate Democrats plan to grill next Trump Homeland Security pick”

Angered by deportation raids, Senate Democrats plan to grill next Trump Homeland Security pick

Democratic senators who voted for John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security apparently feel bamboozled by his department’s swift moves to ramp up deportation efforts, efforts which appear to be targeting longtime residents with greater aplomb than the “violent” undocumented residents Trump was supposedly intent on going after. That means that now that Kelly is abandoning the post for a new position as Trump’s head babysitter, those senators are feeling much less charitable about going along with whatever new Trump sycophant will be announced for the position.

“There’s going to be an opportunity to recap what they’ve done and why they’ve done it and see if we can make it so that families aren’t torn apart,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who backed Kelly’s nomination in the committee and the full Senate, told TPM Monday evening. […]
“We should take a look at exactly what has happened as

Continue reading “Angered by deportation raids, Senate Democrats plan to grill next Trump Homeland Security pick”

Angered by deportation raids, Senate Democrats plan to grill next Trump Homeland Security pick

Democratic senators who voted for John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security apparently feel bamboozled by his department’s swift moves to ramp up deportation efforts, efforts which appear to be targeting longtime residents with greater aplomb than the “violent” undocumented residents Trump was supposedly intent on going after. That means that now that Kelly is abandoning the post for a new position as Trump’s head babysitter, those senators are feeling much less charitable about going along with whatever new Trump sycophant will be announced for the position.

“There’s going to be an opportunity to recap what they’ve done and why they’ve done it and see if we can make it so that families aren’t torn apart,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who backed Kelly’s nomination in the committee and the full Senate, told TPM Monday evening. […]
“We should take a look at exactly what has happened as

Continue reading “Angered by deportation raids, Senate Democrats plan to grill next Trump Homeland Security pick”

Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head

By a vote of 92-5, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm Trump pick Christopher Wray to be the nation’s new director of the FBI. Wray replaces James Comey, who was fired by Trump over the department’s investigations into Russian election hacking and potential ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Despite being elevated into the position by a president who, we repeat, fired Wray’s immediate predecessor over his department’s investigation of Trump’s own campaign and administration, the vote to confirm Wray was overwhelming; Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillbrand were the only no votes; senators Burr, Franken and McCain were not present. Wray’s nomination was previously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote.

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official known for his low-key demeanor, pledged to lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would never pledge loyalty to the president and

Continue reading “Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head”

Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head

By a vote of 92-5, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm Trump pick Christopher Wray to be the nation’s new director of the FBI. Wray replaces James Comey, who was fired by Trump over the department’s investigations into Russian election hacking and potential ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Despite being elevated into the position by a president who, we repeat, fired Wray’s immediate predecessor over his department’s investigation of Trump’s own campaign and administration, the vote to confirm Wray was overwhelming; Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillbrand were the only no votes; senators Burr, Franken and McCain were not present. Wray’s nomination was previously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote.

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official known for his low-key demeanor, pledged to lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would never pledge loyalty to the president and

Continue reading “Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head”

Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head

By a vote of 92-5, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm Trump pick Christopher Wray to be the nation’s new director of the FBI. Wray replaces James Comey, who was fired by Trump over the department’s investigations into Russian election hacking and potential ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Despite being elevated into the position by a president who, we repeat, fired Wray’s immediate predecessor over his department’s investigation of Trump’s own campaign and administration, the vote to confirm Wray was overwhelming; Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillbrand were the only no votes; senators Burr, Franken and McCain were not present. Wray’s nomination was previously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote.

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official known for his low-key demeanor, pledged to lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would never pledge loyalty to the president and

Continue reading “Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head”

Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head

By a vote of 92-5, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm Trump pick Christopher Wray to be the nation’s new director of the FBI. Wray replaces James Comey, who was fired by Trump over the department’s investigations into Russian election hacking and potential ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Despite being elevated into the position by a president who, we repeat, fired Wray’s immediate predecessor over his department’s investigation of Trump’s own campaign and administration, the vote to confirm Wray was overwhelming; Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillbrand were the only no votes; senators Burr, Franken and McCain were not present. Wray’s nomination was previously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote.

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official known for his low-key demeanor, pledged to lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would never pledge loyalty to the president and

Continue reading “Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head”

Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head

By a vote of 92-5, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm Trump pick Christopher Wray to be the nation’s new director of the FBI. Wray replaces James Comey, who was fired by Trump over the department’s investigations into Russian election hacking and potential ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Despite being elevated into the position by a president who, we repeat, fired Wray’s immediate predecessor over his department’s investigation of Trump’s own campaign and administration, the vote to confirm Wray was overwhelming; Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Ed Markey, and Kirsten Gillbrand were the only no votes; senators Burr, Franken and McCain were not present. Wray’s nomination was previously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote.

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official known for his low-key demeanor, pledged to lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would never pledge loyalty to the president and

Continue reading “Senate votes 92-5 to confirm Christopher Wray as new FBI head”