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Campaign Action

All hell is breaking lose at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Popular vote loser Donald Trump is actually trying to figure out if he can pardon himself and all of his family because of their Russia connections—connections that are just getting deeper and deeper and extending smack dab into the middle of the Kremlin. He's openly talking about firing Robert Mueller, the guy looking into those connections, essentially confirming that yeah, he's in Putin's pocket.

His legal team is in turmoil, his White House staff is in turmoil. He just conducted an interview with The New York Times in which he demonstrated, repeatedly that he is losing what he had left of his mind.

Calling this a circus is an insult to the institution of the circus. And in the middle of all of that, after having declared defeat but being beaten back into submission by the deranged ringmaster himself, Mitch McConnell is going to force his caucus into voting to take health insurance away from 22 million people. Even worse, a possible majority of that caucus is A-okay with that, or he wouldn't still be trying. He's actually using all this confusion to force this vote. All as if it's business as usual as he horse-trades peoples lives away.

They are about ready to vote to sentence untold tens of thousands of people to death—because that's what Obamacare repeal will do—and very possibly end their own careers. All for a president who might just have been elected by Vladimir Putin, and even if he wasn't, is working hard to make sure Putin gets to pull the strings of our government.

This is not normal. This is massively fucked up. And what makes it even more fucked up is that right now, only Republicans can do anything about it! A very, very good start would be for at least three Republicans to put a stop to pretending like any of this is business as usual. If they want to save themselves and save their party (or what's left of it), they'll stop Trump, stop McConnell, and stop Paul Ryan in their tracks. Nothing would do that better than a massive legislative loss that would make the voters happy.

Make your Republican senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to repealing Obamacare and ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

When people hear that there is a program that sometimes pays farmers not to grow crops, it’s often taken as the height of government folly. In truth, there’s some very sound thinking behind the program.

The alternative for keeping farmers alive in an industry where a year of high crop yields can drop prices far below production costs is a system of government price supports. Under that system, farmers would plow fields, plant crops, and use all the normal amounts of water, pesticides, and fertilizer, all to produce crops the market didn’t need. Paying farmers not to grow the crops is better for the farmer, better for the environment, better for the markets, and far cheaper for the government. As side benefits, it helps recharge farm lands by encouraging fields to be fallow, improves biodiversity by providing more space for native plants, and reduces pest species by not holding vast amounts of unneeded crops in storage.

In some circumstances, paying people to not do something can turn out to be far more effective than paying them for some action—and that’s true not just in farming.

A team of researchers has shown that there is a surprisingly cheap and easy way to slow the pace of deforestation in Uganda: Just pay landowners small sums not to cut down their trees. Their study, published in the journal Science on Thursday, demonstrated this by conducting something all too rare in environmental policy — a controlled experiment.

The temptation for those who live near tropical forests all over the world is to sell off their trees. They can generate an immediate bump of income, and follow up by farming the former forest lands. However, this kind of farming is notoriously unsustainable, as forest soils tend to be poor. After a few years of crops, those living next to forests are left with little choice but to fell more acres of forest.

But what if instead of having an erratic, unsustainable income generated from deforestation, the people who live there were rewarded for being the guardians of the trees?

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Campaign Action

While it's completely unclear as of now what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to force the Senate to vote on as early as next Tuesday, it is clear he's still trying to bribe senators. It appears that he is trying to negotiate some kind of new Zombie Trumpcare (version 4.0?) while holding out the threat that he'll force the Republican caucus to vote on a straight Obamacare repeal if they don't cooperate. Or maybe he's just scrambling and keeping all his options open. What he is doing, however, is offering some of the Medicaid expansion state senators a pittance to try to bring them along.

Senate Republican leaders and Trump administration officials, trying to rally support for their health care bill, are apparently dangling an offer of some new money to help low-income people get health insurance. It could be as much as $200 billion over 10 years, according to reports in Bloomberg and The Hill. [...]

The Better Care Reconciliation Act, the proposal that Senate leaders are trying to bring to the floor next week, would take $756 billion out of Medicaid over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The bill would also reduce tax credits for people buying private insurance on their own, bringing the total reduction in federal spending to $1.2 trillion.

Putting something like $200 billion of that back into health coverage isn’t nearly enough to blunt the effects. A cynic might even say the primary goal in offering this money is to trick wavering Republican senators or to give them an easy excuse for voting yes, rather than to provide health insurance for the people who stand to lose it should the Senate bill become law.

There are myriad issues with this proposal, as laid out by HuffPost's Jonathon Cohn. But the biggest problem with that $200 billion over 10 years is that it’s a drop in the bucket of what it's going to cost, and will help only a small portion of the people it’s supposed to.

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Posted by Brian Goulet


Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

In this episode, I talk about the strangest inks I've tried, making a Goulet pen, and moving on up!

This week:

New/Upcoming Products: - (8:35)

Pens/Writing - (11:35)

1) William Y.- Facebook - (11:36)
What are your thoughts on putting in a little bit a liquid soap into flex pens to stop them from railroading? My Pilot Falcon seems to railroad a lot even with pilot ink but a little soap solve the issue completely. Love to hear your thoughts.
  • I've heard of some folks doing this, or just adding straight glycerine
  • honestly, I haven't tried it myself so I don't have firsthand experience
  • the people I've heard do it generally like it, though it's a "do at your own risk"
  • if you want to experiment with it, try in small quantities first, as you won't be able to undo it
  • if your Falcon is railroading, you could have other things going on too, like needing to slow down or the pen needing a good cleaning, or flexing more than it can really handle

2) Dylon K.- Twitter - (14:27)
Could you do a comparison between Platinum Maki-e pens and Namiki Maki-e pens? Thanks! Also the GPC Team is wonderful!
  • sure! 
  • There are different grades of Maki-e, for certain
  • Both companies use a variety of different techniques, and the cost of the pen is fairly correlated to the time/skill involved in the Maki-e 
  • Check out our blog post from May 25, 2016 on Namiki Maki-e
  • Hira- flat Maki-e (easiest)
  • Togidashi- burnished (harder)
  • Taka- raised (hardest)
  • combinations of these can be used, to add complexity
  • Raden

Ink - (22:50)

3) nahnat- Instagram - (22:52)
What are some of the strangest and interesting inks you have tried? I just watched Brian's video on noodlers blue nose bear and want to know if there are any other similarly weird inks!
(On Iroshizuku post) why exactly did they drop the price? I've been hearing different things, but mainly that the price will drop because the bottles are no longer handmade. Either way I'm happy, but I'm still curious!
  • there have been a lot of rumors flying around, no doubt
  • the bottles were previously made by hand
  • Pilot now sells them in quantities where machining them is economical, which drastically brings down the price
  • they will still be glass, I'm told you won't even notice the difference
  • we likely won't see them come through for a while, because Pilot USA is still working through old stock

Troubleshooting - (32:02)

5) aliaskiran- Instagram - (32:04)
I have a Pilot Decimo that I absolutely love, but sometimes it "spits" little droplets of ink when clicking it. I saw it suggested online to not submerge the nib completely in the ink when filling, to avoid it getting into nooks and crannies that are hard to clean, so now I always remove the cartridge and fill that with a syringe. That seemed to have done the trick, but now it's happening again. Is this something you've encountered, and do you have any further suggestions that might fix it? Naturally I'd prefer the ink to land where I actually put the nib down, rather than unintentionally decorating my paper with colourful splatter. Love the Q&As, keep up the good work!
  • not submerging the ink when filling will help temporarily, but eventually may do it
  • I suspect there's some use/carry/environmental factor here
  • I've never experienced it firsthand
  • I suspect ink has gotten into the trap door, and is being flicked out when you click it
  • rinse out the front section of the pen with water next time you think of it, see if that helps

Business - (37:38)

6) chudfumpy- Instagram - (37:39)
Brian, you started off making pens, you currently supply your own nibs, surely you must be itching to design and produce a complete fountain pen? "The Goulet Pen" or would business etiquette prohibit such a venture?
  • yes and no
  • manufacturing is a whole new setup from the operation we have going on
  • it's something I've always considered getting back into since that's part of our history
  • it's yet to become a concrete plan, but we did get a larger space with this possibility in mind
  • there are likely other avenues we'd pursue first, like co-branding (Edison, Conklin)

QOTW: What would you hope to see someday in a Goulet pen? Features, colors, filling mechanism, price, etc? - (47:54)

Thanks so much for joining us this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet
[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Jared Kushner may be up to his twig-thin neck in the Russia investigation, but that hasn’t stopped him or the other members of the Kushner Companies from turning the Trump White House into a shovel for digging up cash in other countries. In May, Kushner’s family was caught using his name as part of a program for selling U.S. visas at $500,000 a pop.

The potential investors were advised to invest sooner rather than later in case visa rules change under the Trump administration. “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said.

The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

The program for bringing investors into the U.S. already existed, but the Kushners were capitalizing on two things: Jared’s close connection to Trump, and the fear that the Trump campaign itself had generated. They didn’t stop short of spelling it out—Donald Trump may slam shut the gate, so if you want to be sure of getting in, then buy your way in through Kushner Companies.

Far from being shut down, the scheme is still going on, and Jared Kushner is more deeply involved than ever.

Jared Kushner's status as a top aide to President Donald Trump was used to lure Chinese investors to his family's New Jersey development, even after his family's company apologized for mentioning his name during a sales pitch in May, CNN has found.

Kushner is selling entry into the United States for people that invest in his buildings. And it’s working.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

So long, Spicey. We knew you all too well:

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

Mr. Trump offered Mr. Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to person with direct knowledge of the exchange.

Much more to come, no doubt—including, we can only hope, a final hurrah from Melissa McCarthy.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Campaign Action

If you need any more proof that Republicans visceral hatred of our country's first black president was driving the reaction against the Affordable Care Act, here you go.

Health care was not the top concern for Trump voters and Republican voters in the 2016 presidential election. It ranked far behind their general concerns about the direction the country is headed in, jobs and the economy, and their feelings about Hillary Clinton. Just 7% of Trump voters and a paltry 5% of Republican voters picked health care as the biggest factor in their vote.

Focus groups with Trump voters reinforce this picture; they are focused much more on making ends meet and, when health comes up, getting help with paying their premiums and deductibles. They hoped candidate Trump would find a way to help them pay their health care bills. Just like Democratic voters, and all voters, they care more about their health care costs than the partisan Washington debate about the ACA.

Republicans also don't show high levels of intensity on the issue. For example, in July, just 25% of Republicans said they had a "very favorable" view of the Republican ACA replacement plans, while 52% of Democrats said that about the ACA. [emphasis added]

They continue to say they want repeal, but that's just habit at this point. If that repeal happened and their healthcare costs start skyrocketing, they're going to turn on the Republicans in office for doing it. Because they can't blame it on the scary black man any more.

There's no jeopardy for Republicans in voting no on this crap bill (whichever one Mitch McConnell decides to throw up). The intensity against Obamacare just isn't there any more. The danger of ripping health care away from voters is definitely greater.

Make your Republican senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to repealing Obamacare and ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.

Please give $1 to each of our Senate funds so that Republican senators know there'll be a price to pay for repealing health care.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Campaign Action

Special counsel Robert Mueller has put the Trump White House on notice: preserve all the information relating to Donald Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting.

The letter from Mueller began: "As you are aware the Special Counsel's office is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump. Information concerning the June 2016 meeting between Donald J Trump Jr and Natalia Veselnitskaya is relevant to the investigation."

The preservation request is broad and includes text messages, emails, notes, voicemails and other communications and documentation regarding the June 2016 meeting and any related communication since then.

What happens when Trump’s people claim there are no documents, or just go ahead and destroy them despite Mueller’s request? That’s one more constitutional-crisis-style question we may learn the answer to all too soon.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Campaign Action

It's really hard to determine if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the path forward to a Trumpcare vote laid out and is just creating massive confusion over what his senators will even be voting on as a smokescreen, or whether he is truly scrambling and honestly doesn't have a clue which of three bills is going to the floor next week.

His choices: repeal and delay; Trumpcare 3.0 as disastrously scored by the CBO on Thursday; or Trumpcare 3.0 with the amendment from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that would turn the insurance exchange into a big, unaffordable high-risk pool. One thing is definitely certain: he's pissing off his caucus.

The uncertainty so close to a major vote is feeding a growing sense of chaos on Capitol Hill, where GOP senators are openly fretting about the lack of information about legislation that could leave anywhere from 22 million to 32 million more Americans without health insurance.

"I don’t even know what we’re proceeding to next week," said Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a centrist Republican who has called on her party’s leaders to take a more measured approach to fixing the current healthcare law.

"I don’t know whether we’re proceeding to the House bill, a new version of the Senate bill, the old version of the Senate bill, the 2015 repeal-and-hope-that-we-come-up-with something-in-two-years bill. I truly don’t."

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) compared the current Senate GOP healthcare discussions to a “bazaar,” with tens of billions of dollars being offered up to woo holdout senators. “I fear that it's beginning to lack coherency," Corker told reporters.

Beginning to lack coherency? Sounds like it's safe to say Collins is going to remain firmly in the "no" column. But it's the "bazaar" that is the problem.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump’s inner circle at Trump Tower in 2016, had sheepishly claimed she had no links to the Kremlin. A bombshell Reuters report proves Veselnitskaya isn’t a random Russian lawyer. She represented the FSB (formerly known as the KGB) in court for eight full years.

The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia's FSB security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show.

The documents show that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, successfully represented the FSB's interests in a legal wrangle over ownership of an upscale property in northwest Moscow between 2005 and 2013.

The FSB, successor to the Soviet-era KGB service, was headed by Vladimir Putin before he became Russian president.

Around the time of the meeting with Don Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, Veselnitskaya was in the United States to represent a Russian billionaire accused of money laundering in New York City, money laundering that coincidentally was done by buying expensive NYC real estate. 

Goulet Pens Is Movin' On Up!!

July 21st, 2017 09:46 am
[syndicated profile] gouletpens_feed

Posted by Brian Goulet


Yes, we're moving!!

For those of you that have been following our story, you know that we started Goulet Pens back in 2009 on our dining table, with just the two of us. We never could have imagined that it would blossom into what it is now: a team of 41 amazing people in a 12,000sf space. We’ve moved and expanded our space several times over the last several years, expanding into 3 connected suites in our existing building. Early last year we started thinking ahead, about our current lease term coming to an end and whether we thought we would continue to grow or if we should stay and expand further in our building or just try to make it work.

These kinds of decisions are never easy. Being an online retailer you would think that physical location isn’t much of a consideration for us like a retailer with a storefront. And while that’s true to some degree, we still have a lot of space needs with a large team and a lot of inventory to store! A decision to renew a lease or move is a huge decision.

Ultimately, it boiled down to one thing: are we going to make a conscious effort to grow or not?

For any of you that have run or worked with a small business before, you know this is a gut-wrenching decision. There’s so much uncertainty, there’s so much fear and doubt about the future. What if we expand and the economy takes a turn? What if we overextend ourselves and can’t emotionally or mentally handle the growth? What if, what if, what if…? These are all battles we’ve had to fight in our own minds, as we know that past success is no guarantee of future success. We’ve read the statistics about the likelihood of start up businesses to fail…and while being 8 years in we’ve beat most of the odds, it’s always something on our mind. The thing is though, we don’t live our lives by fear. We are optimistic, realistic, and really, really hard working. We believe in what we’re doing, and we have a whole team that believes in the Goulet Pens mission: "To provide fountain pen enthusiasts with the most personal online shopping experience, through comprehensive education, exemplary service, and products we believe in."

In order for us to continue to live out our mission, allow for future expansion into opportunities we see on the horizon, and better accommodate our team with a physical space that reflects the amazing culture that we’ve built here, we decided we would make the investment and move to a new location that’s close to double the size of what we have now. It’s about 10 minutes away from where we are now, and while it’s slightly further for the two of us to drive, it’s closer for just about all of our team. It’s going to be a larger, more functional, and much more intentionally designed space to accommodate the way our team operates and where we plan to expand in the future. We’ve also funded this whole project without debt, as that’s something we feel is important to us. That alone has been a challenge, and has kept us laser-focused.

All that said, this has been a huge, massive project requiring gobs of time, money, and energy. We started shopping for a commercial broker in January 2016, and we were looking at spaces throughout the spring and summer last year (while also working through our miscarriage). Once we found a place last summer, we then negotiated the lease and buildout terms over many months, hired a designer, shopped for construction crews, and have been overseeing a very sizable buildout. We’ve done all this unbeknownst to you, because there was so much in flux throughout the whole project, we weren’t sure how and when it would affect our ability to serve you as we normally do. We wanted to focus on still providing a great customer experience despite this moving project. We’re letting you know now because we are wrapping up the final stage of construction and we have official dates to share with you that will impact our normal availability.

So without further ado, here are the key dates and questions we can think to answer for you:

Our move will commence on Wed. August 9th and proceed through the weekend of August 13th. We will be fully operational in our new building starting on Monday, August 14th.


The Moving Schedule:

August 9 (Wed)
  • 12:00pm EDT through late afternoon - we will shut down our website and temporarily stop receiving orders so we can perform a physical inventory. 
  • Several hours later, our site will be back up and we will be able to receive your orders, but will not be able to ship them out until the following week.
August 10-11 (Thur/Fri)
  • We will be accepting orders through our site but not fulfilling them. We will be moving over all our inventory and furniture these days, setting up to be operational the following Monday.
  • We will look to have some coverage of email, LiveChat, phones, and social media during these days, just please be patient and flexible with us as we will have less coverage than normal during these days.

FAQs:

Will you still accept order placement, cancellations, changes during your move?
Yes, we will do our best to accommodate your needs as we normally would during the move. The only service that will be affected is our fulfillment operation because our inventory will be in transit during this time.
Will you have a physical storefront where I can try pens?
No. It’s in our mission statement that we serve the online fountain pen community, and our new space is designed to better accommodate this purpose. While we understand it would be really cool to have this as a customer, that’s a different business model than what we’ve established and we are not looking to move in this direction. Our building is located in a commercial office park that’s not zoned for physical retail, and our landlord prohibits establishing a storefront in our lease agreement.
Will you allow visitors in your new space?
Being in a new space, it’s going to take us a while to figure out how things work. Our whole team is going to be disrupted and need to figure out how to find a new (hopefully better) normal. Having visitors stream through our space is going to make it very difficult for us to get our bearings, so we are not encouraging any walk-in visitors for the immediate future.
Will you still allow local pickups of orders placed online?
This is something we’ve offered for several years in our current space, but we will no longer be able to accommodate this service for the foreseeable future, for the reasons mentioned above.
Where do I send my returns and exchanges so they don’t get forgotten about in your transition?
If you have any questions about returns, please email us. All USPS letters and packages will be auto-forwarded to our new address starting August 10. 
Will you offer FedEx Overnight and 2-Day shipping options during your move?
No, we will be able to accept orders but not fulfill them during our move. We will disable all expedited options and put disclaimers on our site starting August 8th through August 14th.

Thank you so much for the years of support that have allowed us to continue to serve you in bigger and better ways. We’re very excited about this transition and we’re so grateful for the opportunity to be able to be a part of this incredible fountain pen community. This whole experience has been new, eye-opening, and exciting (okay, sometimes terrifying), and it wouldn’t be possible without you. Thank you!!!

Please feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian and Rachel Goulet

Cartoon: Repeal & Whatever

July 21st, 2017 01:51 pm
[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

After trying varying degrees of cruelty with their replacement for the Affordable Care Act, it looks like Congressional Republicans may be throwing in the towel. Or not. They may try another last ditch effort that will satisfy a cold-hearted Senator Ted Cruz while at the same time appeasing a senator like Susan Collins of Maine. Balancing cruelty and extremism with more traditional conservative values sure is a difficult thing to do.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to exhibit all the legislative finesse of a MOAB. One day he wants to let Obamacare die while unleashing a tweet storm denying any personal responsibility, the next day he orders senators back to the negotiating table. (This, just one year after his “I alone can fix it” speech at the Republican National Convention.)

My guess is that Republicans in Congress won’t get their act together to pass their beloved “repeal & replace” bill and will instead try to kill the Affordable Care Act in thousands of smaller ways. Death by a thousand cuts because, you know, taxes. Enjoy the cartoon and be sure to visit me on Patreon!

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the House appear to be closing in on finalizing the Russian sanctions bill that passed the Senate 98 - 2 last month. But the Trump administration is still fighting to give Donald Trump ultimate control over when and why to lift sanctions that have been imposed on Russia. The Hill writes:

The legislation establishes congressional oversight of the Trump administration’s implementation of sanctions to prevent the president from lifting them if lawmakers disagree.

The White House has pushed back on those provisions, but [Republican Sen. Bob] Corker denied that the measure would be watered down.

"Yeah, he's a good friend and I really love my relationship with him, but that's not likely to occur,” Corker said of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, saying the administration wants flexibility when it comes to Russia policy. “I mean, congressional review is going to stay in this bill and there's no attempt ... whatsoever to move away from congressional review."

Some U.S. companies have also objected to certain provisions in the bill, but the main hurdle seems to have been stonewalling by the White House. House lawmakers said they were optimistic about sending the bill back to the Senate and finally putting it on Trump's desk before representatives leave for August recess at the end of next week. Accomplishing that goal is one hurdle—but the other is getting Trump to sign it.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Activity within Donald Trump’s legal team has reached a high boil, as Trump considers every possible way to interfere with the investigation into his connections with Russia.

Campaign Action

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

If pardoning everyone in sight isn’t enough, Trump is also preparing to kneecap Special Counsel Robert Mueller, building up reasons to support firing Mueller or ordering him to restrict the investigation.

With the Russia investigation continuing to widen, Trump’s lawyers are working to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work. They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers.

All of this comes in the wake of Trump drawing a ‘red line’ around his personal finances, and Robert Mueller making it clear he intends to step over that line. Whatever Trump is planning to do, it hasn’t gone down well even within his own legal team. Team spokesman Mark Carallo has left and Trump is pushing aside his longtime lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, who will no longer be heading the Sabotage Squad.

And while Trump giving himself an advance pardon may seem ridiculous, it may not be impossible.

LBCF, No. 144: ‘Two Swell Guys’

July 21st, 2017 11:40 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

“The scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward” (I Timothy 5:18). So tip 20 percent. At least. Divide by five and round up. If you also plan to: A) say grace aloud before the meal; B) ask your server if he/she is “saved;” and/or C) leave a gospel tract on the table when you leave, then make that 40 percent.
[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

NY-22: Wow: This is the kind of nasty garbage that, when they stoop this low, politicians usually let their surrogates whisper. Instead, GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney has outright decided to throw the "mafia" card at her Democratic opponent all by herself. In a recent interview with USA Today, Tenney saw fit to bring up the career of Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi's father, whom she claimed was "very heavily involved with the organized crime in Utica for many years, representing them."

What the hell does this have to do with Brindisi? Less than nothing—especially since the elder Brindisi ceased doing criminal defense in 1983—but in Trumpian fashion, Tenney transmuted hoary anti-Italian slurs from subtext to text, spitting out:

"Anthony's father represented some of the worst criminals in our community. You have to question ... some of things that have happened in his family. The voters make that decision. I'm not saying Anthony is part of any of that but that's the family you come from.

"His background is significant. I can't tell you how many people have come up to me in my community and said, 'Wow, I don't feel comfortable about some of the background that he has.'"

Brindisi, of course, called this all a load of bollocks, and the Italian-American community (which is sizable in New York's 22nd District) went appropriately ballistic: A former president of the local Sons of Italy declared, "Anytime your name ends in a vowel people feel it's fair to take the mafia shot at you. It's really horrible."

And Tenney? Totally unapologetic. Her campaign retorted that Brindisi was "feigning outrage" in order to "distract voters"—which, you know, is exactly what Tenney is trying to do by peddling this trash. Trump hasn't just given his fellow Republicans license to spew obscene personal insults, he's also a role model for projecting your sins onto your opponents.

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

July 21st, 2017 12:15 pm
[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Good morning, America (for now). How are you?

Looks like we’re about this close to Trump shooting a perfect 18 this weekend, if you know what I mean.

Hang in there, USA! I don’t want to have to explain to Greg Dworkin how we lost the country while he was away. Do you?

Yeah, I didn’t think so!

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

Where else can you get live, unvarnished news, commentary and opinion from Daily Kos editors David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando?

Well, sure, you could get that at Daily Kos. And this is Daily Kos.

But that doesn’t count, because reasons. Besides, reading is overrated! Except for what you’re reading right now, that is.

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Donald Trump, not the sharpest tool in the shed, sat down for yet another exclusive interview with his nemesis, The New York Times. This should produce a bit of “real news” today, so go ahead and read the excerpts to soak in the dumbness. Six months in, Trump hasn't passed a single bill of 10 he promised to pass in his first 100 days, not even TreasonCare. Trump can’t make a health care deal because he doesn’t understand health care. Not much Gop legislation is probably a good thing, but that leaves David Waldman and KITM to explore the seamy underbelly of the Trump organization… Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze is the 8th person to pop out of the Russian collusion meeting tied to Donald Trump Jr., and might be most important in defining what happened. Did wishful thinking and conspiracy sites lead Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort to arrange the meeting? Paul Manafort owed big bucks to pro-Russia interests before he became President Donald Trump’s campaign chairmanthen he made (exactly the same number of) big bucks. Then there’s Dana Rohrabacher, who hooked up with Putin before it was cool. Rohrabacher’s aide was tossed under the bus over Russia connections, but that won’t be enough to cover Dana’s tracks to Moscow last year, a secret document he received, his attempt to alter sanctions legislation and to set up a virtual show trial on Capitol Hill. Dana Rohrabacher is dirty… very, very dirty. Banks made billions of student debt disappear with this one weird trick.

(Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!)

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

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Donald Trump’s comments during an interview this week with The New York Times reveal a president who believes he is above the law and who has no qualms about hinting at the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller. Indeed, as The New York Times reports:

President Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation — or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused, according to three people with knowledge of the research effort.

Here is The New York Times editorial board on the interview:

In less than an hour on Wednesday afternoon, President Trump found a way to impugn the integrity and threaten the livelihoods of nearly all of the country’s top law enforcement officials, including some he appointed, for one simple reason: They swore an oath to defend the Constitution, not him. 

For a president who sees the rule of law as an annoyance rather than a feature of American democracy, the traitors are everywhere. [...]

In the end, Mr. Trump is concerned with nothing so much as saving his own hide, which means getting rid of the Russia inquiry for good. He previously said this was why he fired Mr. Comey, and it may yet be the undoing of Mr. Sessions, Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Mueller.

The Boston Herald:

The New York Times interview published yesterday was a scary — but perhaps not surprising — look into the mindset of a man who is playing the political game by his own rules — loyal to no one, other than family perhaps, and unbound by convention.

That is, of course, part of why he was elected in the first place. Many voters found that appealing. But at the six month mark of his presidency the Trump quirkiness has turned to anger and to grievance. Even his most loyal supplicants — those charged with the grunt work of carrying out the Trump agenda even as he tweets himself into a frenzy — are suspect.

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Essayist and media critic Chris Lehmann at The Baffler writes—More Mush from the Taste Police:

AMID THE GENERAL COLLAPSE of liberal governance, it remains an unshakable article of faith among our pundit class that liberal sensibilities possess a vicelike stranglehold on our cultural life. This fanciful belief may be, at bottom, a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy: since political commentators must, as a matter of professional pride, hold that their studiously branded mode of thought leadership sternly guides our republic through its many travails and challenges, the attitudes and taste preferences of our opinion makers are a matter of great political moment.

owls

It is, at any rate, a cinch that the prescription of first resort for professional prognosticators of our national politics is this peculiar pundit brand of mind-cure. In this backward-spooling cosmology of our public life, the more stubborn and deep-seated challenges of structural reform, painstaking political organizing, and demanding long-term strategizing yield magisterially to the modulations of attitude, taste, and Zeitgeist fealty that the Vox Populi supposedly demands from its pundit class and the allied liberal cognoscenti. The penalty for noncompliance is severe: a land rush of taste monitors will deem you fatally out-of-touch with the tenor of daily life in these United States.

The first noteworthy paradox in the taste-policing racket is that it’s a singularly lucrative and prestigious one—one that frequently elevates its adepts into the very cultural elite they profess to scorn as they deliver their camera-ready talking points. Charles Murray crafted a stupendously useless book from it, David Brooks has made a career of it, and pollsters lovingly dote over it.

The shortcoming of these prim re-education sermons is that even their hypothetical purchase on the public weal is plainly well past the sell-by date. We have, after all, endured a devastating recession, followed in short order by an austerity-driven upward distribution of wealth, and a white-nationalist uprising on the American right, all within the past decade. On what imaginable planet should the question of how and where liberals feed, entertain, and irksomely congratulate themselves for their reading habits be a subject that any sane person gives a shit about?

Yet, there the pointless, tail-chasing sport of liberal-taste-baiting hulks, smack dab in the center of our approved political discourse. A mere fortnight ago, the tirelessly chastising Pastor Brooks took to his New York Times column to relate the harrowing saga of how the less educated yeoman citizens of the working-class republic are menaced by the specter of Italian cold cuts. (Yes, really.) 

And now, in a sort of clickbaity apotheosis of the genre, comes Business Insider columnist Josh Barro, fretting over a point made by National Review editor Rich Lowry, about how liberals never win credibility among the horny-handed sons and daughters of toil because their cultural preferences are so resolutely foppish. As Barro argues, “Liberal moralizing tends to read as college-educated people in cities arguing that everyone should behave more like them. Usually, that’s the substance of the moralizing, too.”

And this substantive elite moralizing is just about everywhere, by Barro’s account. Meddlesome cultural Stalinists on the left want you to stop eating hamburgers at home, since meat-intensive agribusiness makes climate change worse (and because every pundit on earth has evidently staked out a position on meat sandwiches). They want you to refrain from watching football, since the sport is retrograde, racist, and dangerous. And the worst part is that they’re just getting started! [...]

If you’re condemned, as I am, to engage in the thankless scut work of media criticism, you’ll discover that the damning hyperlinks Barro supplies to document his case against “a movement” consist of a fashion-glossy advice column, a CNN explainer video, and a pair of click-bait offerings from British dailies. If this is what constitutes a PC police state in the making, then the HGTV channel must be broadcasting wall-to-wall North Korean agitprop. [...]

TOP COMMENTSHIGH IMPACT STORIES


QUOTATION

“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”
                              ~Stanisław Jerzy Lec, Polish poet and aphorist (1909-1966)


TWEET OF THE DAY

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2006Bush and African Americans:

Headline: "Bush laments poor Republican relations with blacks."

"I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historic ties to the African American community," Bush said. "For too long my party wrote off the African American vote and many African Americans wrote off the Republican Party."

Republicans didn't "write off" blacks, they used them as a demonizable prop to bring the Dixiecrat vote into their fold.

And who is Bush to talk, given the disaster he ignored in New Orleans? He could rush to DC on a midnight flight to sign the "let's meddle in the Schiavo family's affairs" bill, but couldn't be bothered to cut his six-week vacation short when Katrina hit.

Abraham Lincoln would be no more a modern-day Republican than Strom Thurmond or Jesse Helms would be modern-day Democrats.

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You would think this sort of thing had been stamped out, in the futuristic-sounding year of 2017, but apparently we're quite determined to roll back the national clock a few more decades: If you find yourself arrested on drug charges in White County, Tennessee, a judge may reduce your jail time if you agree to have a vasectomy or get a birth control implant so that you do not reproduce.

Judge Benningfield told NewsChannel 5 that he was trying to break a vicious cycle of repeat offenders who constantly come into his courtroom on drug related charges, subsequently can’t afford child support and have trouble finding jobs. [...]

“I understand it won’t be entirely successful but if you reach two or three people, maybe that’s two or three kids not being born under the influence of drugs. I see it as a win, win,” he added.

So if you come into Judge Benningfield's courtroom on drug charges that you can't afford to fight or facing jail time you cannot stomach, you may instead choose to be sterilized so that you cannot have children in the future.

If this sounds to you to be coercive—an offer to get out of an extremely bad situation if you agree to have a medical procedure done on your person—the ACLU agrees with you. The county District Attorney sounds none too happy about it either, so the policy may be reversed rather quickly, now that the national press has gotten wind of it.

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President Donald Trump examines a fire truck from Wisconsin-based manufacturer Pierce on the South Lawn during a "Made in America" product showcase event at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / Olivier Douliery        (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, on his way to a four-alarm incompetency fire 

It is “Made in America” week at the White House and Donald Trump had a field day playing on the American-made equipment on display at the White House. He once again boasted of his plan (a slogan really, not a plan) of bringing manufacturing back to the United States. 

But, after he climbed down out of the cab of that fire truck, he must’ve left that “Made in America” spirit right there on the lawn of the White House. Back in Florida, his company has quietly requested permission to hire a whole new batch of workers for his favorite destination: Mar-a-Lago. You cannot make this up. Apparently everyone in South Florida is gainfully employed and they simply have to bring in low-wage foreign workers. From Buzzfeed:

Mar-A-Lago, Donald Trump’s private club that he calls the Winter White House, is asking the government for permission to hire 70 temporary foreign workers as cooks, servers, and housekeepers, according to records posted by the Department of Labor on Thursday. The nearby Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, has requested permission to hire an additional six foreign cooks.

Trump has frequently urged US companies to hire American workers — a theme highlighted this week in what the Trump administration has dubbed “Made in America” week. But for his own Mar-A-Lago club, he has also defended hiring foreign workers by saying that it is “very, very hard to get help” during the Florida tourist season.

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Donald Trump’s recent history with banks has been … not good.

By the 2000s, the property developer and casino owner with ready access to the capital markets and the biggest New York banks was no more. A series of corporate bankruptcies had limited his financing options. 

That was also the period in which Eric Trump said:

“Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

But that’s not quite true. There was one bank out there which was still willing to extend massive loans to Donald Trump, in spite of his extremely checkered financial history. The big question is: Why?

Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. 

Those loans exposed Deutsche Bank to some extreme risks. That is, unless someone was underwriting the loans and limiting their potential loss.

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Posted by Fred Clark

Glioblastoma multiforme killed my grandmother. And then, years later, it killed my mother. That's what this disease does. It kills people. It is, as we keep hearing today in the news, a very "aggressive" form of brain cancer. There is no cure. It is a matter of months. Perhaps a year, but not two.
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Campaign Action

Here's legislation that has zero chance of passing, at least at the moment, but it sure does feel good. Democrats, led by Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, have formally compiled at least 88 instances in which Donald Trump has demonstrated that he has no business serving as the country's commander in chief. Surely, there's more than 88, but that's a start! TPM's Nicole LaFond writes:

Citing issues ranging from inaccurate reports about crowd sizes at inauguration to the gender pay gap at the White House to the way the President has handled the investigation into Russian interference in the election, Democratic lawmakers have filed a “no-confidence” resolution against President Donald Trump that lists 88 reasons why he’s unfit to serve as President. [...]

The resolution points to Trump’s refusal to divest or “otherwise give up his ownership interest in his worldwide business holdings” and his refusal to release his tax returns since taking the oath of office as key problems with the President’s conduct.

The resolution lists conflict of interest issues related to Trump courting foreign officials at his private hotels, the cost of his travel to resorts that he has ownership interest in and all the publicly known details about the President’s handling of the Russian investigation, from the firing of former FBI director James Comey to revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer.

At the very least, it's great to have documentation of all Trump's transgressions officially on record and all in one place. With any luck, history will find it useful.

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The New York Times interview with Donald Trump doesn’t just have slams on his attorney general, slaps at the former FBI director, and threats for the special counsel. It also contains educational material. It has … Trump History. Just think of it as drunk history but instead of alcohol, it comes with whatever it is that Trump takes. And it spans … centuries.

NAPOLEON

TRUMP: Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” [garbled] The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. 

Napoleon didn’t go to Russia “that night” because Napoleon hired some courtesans to perform a douche d'or using Louis XVI’s sheets. And by the time he got up and walked to Russia, everyone was dead.

Hitler

TRUMP: Same thing happened to Hitler. Not for that reason, though. Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army.

Hitler didn’t get the prostitutes and sheets. But his takeover bid for Russia Co. failed and he couldn’t finish that consolidation. In Trump’s mind, history is apparently about a week long, because all major events take no longer than a night.

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Some of the hottest statehouse action in the country right now is happening in the commonwealth of Virginia (New Hampshire notwithstanding, which I’ll get to in a bit), but with a major campaign finance reporting deadline hitting this week, we know now that Cash Rules Everything Around Many Democratic challengers this summer.

Time to get Back in the Game!

Campaign Action
  • Of the 17 Democrats running to flip Virginia House districts that Hillary Clinton won last November, 10 of them out-raised their Republican opponents in the reporting period that wrapped up on June 30. Eleven additional Democratic challengers raised more money than their entrenched, connected GOP opponents. The Virginia House Democratic Caucus itself closed out the reporting period with over $1 million cash-on-hand—a far cry from the $350,000 the campaign committee had in the bank at this point last cycle.

(FYI, Daily Kos will be boosting some Democratic challengers’ fundraising in the months to come—check out our first round of Virginia House endorsements here.)

  • One of these endorsees—the inimitable Danica Roem—raised almost 20 times as much as GOP Del. Bob Marshall in June. But Republicans want to keep this crusader against LGBT rights in this swing district, so we can’t expect this gap to persist, and Marshall himself has pledged to get off his butt in the near future.

The Democratic challengers who have out-raised their GOP opponents have another distinction: Most of them are women.

  • In fact, over half of the 54 Democrats taking on GOP incumbents this year are women. Currently, women make up only 17 percent of Virginia’s General Assembly, so even a handful of pickups by women this fall would have a big impact on the legislature’s gender ratio.
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Sonny Perdue, the political hack appointed to be secretary of agriculture, once labeled mainstream climate science “so ridiculous and so obviously disconnected from reality.”

As if having a science denier running the Department of Agriculture weren’t disastrous enough, Pr*sident Trump has now, as expected, picked another political hack—a former right-wing talk-radio host named Sam Clovis—to be the undersecretary of research, education, and economics, the USDA’s top science position. Like the man who will be his boss if he is confirmed, the native Iowan also doesn’t accept climate science, saying three years ago that he is “extremely skeptical.”

While obscure to most Americans, the undersecretary’s post is an important one, as Juliet Eilperin and Chris Mooney note:

The overall portfolio that would be managed by Clovis, if he is confirmed by the Senate, is worth about $ 3 billion, with $ 2 billion devoted to research and $ 1 billion to education, according to Catherine Woteki, a nutrition scientist who held the job before Clovis. The person holding the position administers the Agricultural Research Service, the Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The undersecretary also serves as the USDA’s chief scientist. The 2008 farm bill specifies that appointees to the post should be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” The measure noted that the job is “responsible for the coordination of the research, education, and extension activities of the Department.”

Woteki has a Ph.D. in human nutrition. She served as the first undersecretary for food safety at the USDA during the Clinton administration. At the time, she was dean of the school of agriculture at Iowa State University and subsequently became global director of scientific affairs for Mars, Inc. Clovis has 25 years service in the Air Force and three college degrees, including a doctorate in public administration. He taught college economics for 10 years. But he has no background in the hard sciences or in agriculture, nor any published work in peer-reviewed scientific or agricultural journals.

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Working for Donald Trump is voluntary. With the exception of those military people who have been pressed into White House roles with limited options, everyone who has taken an office in Trump’s White House has done so knowing who they were serving and the agenda he supports. And yet even the most dedicated Trump fan might be forgiven for not quite getting that Trump was just going to keep putting his tiny hand on that red hot burner.  

President Donald Trump’s persistent overtures toward Russia are placing him increasingly at odds with his national security and foreign policy advisers, who have long urged a more cautious approach to dealing with the foreign adversary.

Most people, when advised that something is an issue and likely to generate problems, might think twice before engaging in a behavior a second time. But Donald Trump is a Putin addict. 

Some top aides, including National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster, have been warning that Putin is not to be trusted. An intelligence officer-turned-politician, Putin is known for steering discussions in his own favor.

That addiction doesn’t just make Trump incapable of shaking off his need to go running back Putin, In fact, it seems to reinforce his tendency to throw off any restraints, ignoring even the recommendations of the Russian team in securing meetings.

The White House did not respond to questions about Trump’s refusal to have a note taker for his meeting with Putin, or about whether McMaster communicated his concerns to the president.

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The White House continues to bar television cameras from their press briefings because Donald Trump gets too agitated when he watches them. Why the White House is now bringing visual aids to those no-cameras-allowed briefings, however, is a mystery.

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That's AP reporter Jonathan Lemire, bringing us an impromptu snap of what the White House demands the American public be … barred from seeing. And it didn't end there: While Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein took a few stills herself during the briefing before apparently deleting them, the White House presentation on, ahem, "MAGAnomics" also featured, she says, "stacks of federal registers from Obama & Trump admins. Would have been more effective for WH on video."

Alas, however, we may never know what "MAGAnomics" is intended to mean. Making America Great-nomics appears to mean going to some expense to print out visual aides for presentations you then bar the national press from showing. It appears to involve copious amount of lying: Indeed, "MAGAnomics" may be like Bitcoin, but for lying. Or perhaps "MAGAnomics" is about accepting the numbers when they are good, and dismissing the numbers when they are bad. Or perhaps it is the principle of not giving a damn about actual economic conditions, but simply announcing that the economy is whatever the pretzeldent says it is at any given moment. It is a conundrum.

Whatever it is, it probably involves tax cuts for the rich. Creating posterboards that you then bar America from looking at has got to be expensive, but we can probably get by if we give less food to poor children. "MAGAnomics" suggests children do not need as much food as the experts have been supposing.

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Campaign Action

The taxpayer dollars you are sending to Washington, D.C., to help people get health insurance coverage are actually being used by the Trump administration to destroy the very program that would achieve that goal. Does that sound like something the federal government should be doing, using funding for a program to destroy that program? No? Well, it's happening.

The Trump administration has spent taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it.

The effort, which involves a multi-pronged social media push as well as video testimonials designed at damaging public opinion of President Obama’s health care law, is far more robust and sustained than has been publicly revealed or realized.

The strategy has caught the eye of legal experts and Democrats in Congress, who have asked government agencies to investigate whether the administration has misused funds and engaged in covert propaganda in its efforts to damage and overturn the seven-year-old health care law. It’s also roiled Obama administration veterans, who argue that the current White House is not only abdicating its responsibilities to administer the law but sabotaging it in an effort to facilitate its undoing by Congress.

That's on top of popular vote loser Donald Trump's direct threats to insurance companies that he'll take the funding they need to be able to continue to cover lower-income people away. That threat, to the Cost Saving Reduction payments, is old news. The extent to which they are trying to drive people out of the program is new.

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Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's second in command, apparently shares his boss's contempt and disdain for his fellow senators. When it comes to what they’re going to have to vote on next week with Trumpcare, what they don’t know is their problem.

x

Got that? Letting them know what they're voting on before they actually vote on it is a luxury. So forget all about even wanting to see a CBO score on the bill you're voting on. Letting them know if they're kicking 15 million or 17 million people off of health insurance in 2018—AN ELECTION YEAR—isn't as important as rushing through this disastrous (whichever one it is) proposal.

He couldn't give a bigger "fuck you" to his fellow Republicans if he tried. When are those Republicans going to accept the fact that their leadership doesn't give a shit about them, shut them out of this process, keeps them in the dark on purpose, and then forces them to take what will probably be the worst vote of their careers.

Now would be a really good time to stand up to that and vote no. If nothing else, to salvage just a little bit of their self-respect, not to mention the health and lives of millions of their constituents.

Make your Republican senator feel the heat and grow a goddamned spine. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to repealing Obamacare and ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.

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Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is COPS: Trump Edition:

1347ckTEASER-trumps-cops.png

 Forecasts for 2nd Quarter gross domestic product are being downgraded: The government’s first report on GDP growth for the second quarter comes out next Friday, and it appears the rebound from the first quarter’s paltry 1.4 percent annualized growth isn’t going to be nearly as high as was being forecast earlier this year. Ten weeks ago, the Atlanta Fed was forecasting a solid 4.1 percent for the second quarter, which runs from April-June. Now, the forecast is down to a 2.4 percent annual rate for the quarter. The New York Fed is forecasting 1.9 percent, and 1.8 percent for the third quarter. If that trend continues, GDP growth in 2017 may be lower than the paltry 1.6 percent of last year. 

Rep. Mike Simpson, the Idaho Republican, tells Politico that he’s ignoring Trump:

“I don’t even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration because I don’t care. They’re a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction. At first, it was ‘Well yeah, this is the guy we elected. He’ll learn, he’ll learn.’ And you just don’t see that happening.”

Rosebud Sioux tribal member died last month after being Tased 12 times while handcuffedZachary Bearheels, 29, died June 5 after a run-in with police in which he seemed to be impaired by alcohol or drugs. According to a report in the Omaha World-Herald, he was not only Tased but struck 15 times with fists and dragged by his hair. When police delivered him to a hospital, he was declared dead. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said a a press conference: “In this incident, despite our extensive training, we failed. The Omaha Police Department made a mistake on this occasion, and we’re doing whatever we need to to correct it.” He is recommending that the two officers be fired, and there may be criminal charges filed as well after a grand jury hears evidence in September. One of those officers had his body-cam turned off in violation of department policy. Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, a Republican, has said the incident has spurred her to set up a Native advisory board and seek cultural sensitivity training for police officers. Bearheels was on his way home to Oklahoma when the beating occurred. He was Rosebud Sioux on his father’s side and a Kiowa-Comanche-Apache on his mother’s side.

The Washington Post’s tally of people in the U.S. killed by cops so far this year: 547.

Got a titanium stomach? You’ll need it to watch Joe Lieberman explain the joys of centrism and why he didn’t support a public option in the Affordable Care Act.

That plan to attract climate researchers to France? It’s working: 

After his election, French president Emmanuel Macron created a program setting aside $69 million to fund researchers, especially from the U.S., to ply their trade in France. “Here, you are welcome,” Macron told scientists via Twitter, in a not-so-subtle jab at President Trump.

A month later, it appears researchers took Macron seriously. According to France’s national research agency, hundreds of climate scientists from around the world have applied for the program. Many hail from the U.S. The agency says most applicants are looking for short sabbaticals, but more than 150 applied to stay for four or more years.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, we desperately try to enter as many items on the record as possible on Russia, Trump Jr.’s treason meeting, Rohrabacher, the continuing Zombie Treasoncare debacle, and what the code word “adoption” really means. But as usual, there’s just too much!

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Campaign Action

The Congressional Budget Office has scored the latest iteration of Trumpcare, the one that McConnell couldn't bring to a vote most recently, and it's not much better than the previous version. It still takes coverage away from 15 million in the first year, 22 million over ten years. "In 2026, an estimated 82 percent of all U.S. residents under age 65 would be insured, compared with 90 percent under current law."

But, and this is key to the negotiations taking place right now, it would reduce federal deficits by $420 billion, compared to $321 billion in the previous version, because it retains some taxes. Which means Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has another $100 billion to spend on trying to bribe hold-outs. It maintains unsustainable cuts to Medicaid, $756 billion in this version compared to $772 billion in the previous one.

It also finds soaring premiums for older people: 64 year olds making $57,000 annually would see a premium hike from Obamacare's $6,750/year to $18,250/year, more than one-third of their income. The same 64-year-old making $27,000 would see their premium rise from $1,700 under Obamacare to $5,500, more than one-fifth of their annual income. But, hey, if you're 25, you get a great deal. Except that your insurance will be crap. This won't make the AARP change their minds about this bill.

About that crap, they estimate that in 2026, the deductibles in the most common plans will be $13,000. They then state the obvious, because with Republicans, you have to state the obvious. "Because a deductible of $13,000 would be a large share of their income, many people with low income would not purchase any plan even if it had very low premiums. […] Under this legislation, in 2026, that deductible would exceed the annual income of $11,400 for someone with income a 75 percent of the FPL. For people whose income was at 175 percent of the FPL ($26,500) and 375 percent of the FPL ($56,800), the deductible would constitute about a half and a quarter of their income, respectively." These are the people who will be choosing the "freedom" of not spending more than their annual income on healthcare.

Since we don't really know if this is the bill the majority leader will try to force on the floor next week, this isn't by any means what will be final. It does not include the amendment by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) which is rumored to still be being tweaked in order to get Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to change his mind and support it. But it also means that the Senate will probably vote on something as early as Tuesday, according to McConnell's number two Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), without having a CBO score. Or with senators who know what in the hell it is they're voting on anyway.

All we need are three Republican senators to stop this destruction of Obamacare. If you have a GOP senator, we need you to call their office at (202) 224-3121 and demand that they put their constituents above their party by voting to oppose it. After the call, tell us how the call went.

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Goal Thermometer

All 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates are on the ballot this fall, and Democrats are running in a record-setting 88 of them. Currently, the GOP controls the chamber with a 66-34 majority, and flipping 17 seats is a virtually unheard-of lift in a single cycle, especially when Republicans have gerrymandered the state House map to such an extreme degree.

But you can’t win if you don’t compete, and Democrats across the state have responded to Trump’s election by stepping forward to bring the fight to the GOP at the ballot box. In the commonwealth, the resistance has manifested in Democratic candidates signing up to take on Republican incumbents in every corner of the state, from rural Southwest Virginia to the rapidly growing suburbs and exurbs of Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia.

A record number of primaries this year resulted in strong, battle-tested candidates—and women make up more than half of this contingent of challengers. Indeed, 30 of the 54 Democrats taking on Republican incumbents this fall are women.

Daily Kos is pleased to roll out our first slate of endorsed Virginia House candidates—three women who will bring a much-needed perspective to the state capitol in Richmond. Hala Ayala, Debra Rodman, and Danica Roem are running in competitive districts and can help break the GOP’s stranglehold on the state House.

Help these three amazing women lead the resistance all the way to the Virginia House—contribute $3 to their campaigns today!

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Congressional Republicans like to every now and then pretend that they’re above Donald Trump’s crudeness, his abuse of power, his Russia ties. But they’ll go along with all of that as long as he’s helping them deliver their agenda by stripping health coverage from tens of millions of people and cutting taxes on the wealthy. Which means that right now, Republicans are starting to have more of a problem with Trump—because he’s not helping them pass legislation to hurt working Americans.

"I don't even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration because I don't care. They're a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction," complained Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). "At first, it was 'Well yeah, this is the guy we elected. He'll learn, he'll learn.' And you just don't see that happening."

Also, congressional Republicans are totally not afraid of Trump and his pressure to pass Trumpcare … as they’ll say anonymously.

A Republican senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wanted to preserve his relationship with Mr. Trump, put it more bluntly. The president, he said, scares no one in the Senate, not even the pages.

But the thing is, they don’t need to be afraid of Trump to do terrible things. The Republican agenda is filled with terrible things intended to hurt working people and make the rich richer. Congressional Republicans’ allegiance to Trump is precisely because they think he’ll help them do that. Their problem with him comes if he won’t or can’t make that happen.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions was staring an exit opportunity in the face but he blinked. After his boss savaged him Wednesday in an interview that's now coursing through the interwebs, Sessions could have demonstrated a bit of self-respect and, dare we say, integrity by tendering his resignation. But nope. The New York Times writes:

Mr. Sessions said he loves his job and will continue to serve “as long as that is appropriate.”

Asked whether he is considering resigning, Mr. Sessions said he and his colleagues intend to continue to do their jobs.

“We are serving right now. The work we are doing today is the kind of work that we intend to continue,” he said during a news conference announcing what he described as the dismantling of a dark web operation that sold narcotics and other illicit goods.

Sessions said he was "totally confident" that he and his colleagues could continue running the agency in an "effective way."

Of course, he's also the guy who gave Trump cover for firing the guy who was investigating and recently said he wanted to resurrect the '80s-era D.A.R.E. program to keep kids off drugs.  

So if you were hoping Sessions might save us all from his stewardship as our top law enforcement official, you're gonna have to wait a little longer. Stay tuned.

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Campaign Action

The window into popular vote loser Donald Trump's mind provided by that New York Times interview is, frankly, pretty fucking terrifying. But it's also kind of hilarious, if you can set aside the idea that the President of the United States is a raving lunatic. Who doesn't understand anything about how the world really works, but especially health insurance. Here he is talking about repealing Obamacare.

TRUMP: Nothing changes. Nothing changes. Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.

HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back.

TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can't give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you're 21 years old, you start working and you're paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you're 70, you get a nice plan. Here's something where you walk up and say, "I want my insurance." It's a very tough deal, but it is something that we're doing a good job of.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with pre-existing conditions, but there's only so much crazy we can tackle here. Your first thought might be that he heard "entitlement" from Haberman and started riffing on Social Security, which is the closest thing maybe to what he's trying to describe? But this is not the first time Trump has graced the nation with his vision of what health insurance is. Back in May he told The Economist: "Insurance is, you're 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance."

Make your Republican senator feel the heat. They’re still determined to do something to destroy Obamacare. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.

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Earlier, the Wall Street Journal discovered that a small Chicago bank had loaned former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his companies about $16 million soon after Donald Trump had won the presidency—a number that aroused prosecutor suspicion because it represented about a quarter of the bank's available capital, seemingly a high-risk venture for a small bank.

Now we may have a better idea of why he needed that money?

Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul J. Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016.

The money appears to have been owed by shell companies connected to Mr. Manafort’s business activities in Ukraine when he worked as a consultant to the pro-Russia Party of Regions.

A spokesman for Manafort told the New York Times that the records of the debt were "stale," though he did not dispute that the debts had existed.

“Manafort is not indebted to Mr. Deripaska or the Party of Regions, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign,” Mr. Maloni said. “The broader point, which Mr. Manafort has maintained from the beginning, is that he did not collude with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.”

Well now, that denial escalated quickly.

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Trump may have just laid down the boundary, but Special Counsel Robert Mueller is already crashing through.

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. …

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

Another area of the investigation is looking into the banks that routed all the Russian funds into the United States—banks that just happened to have another Trump connection.

Agents are also interested in dealings with the Bank of Cyprus, where Wilbur Ross served as vice chairman before he became commerce secretary, as well as the efforts of Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and White House aide, to secure financing for some of his family’s real estate properties.

That Trump Tower meeting starting Donald Trump Jr and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was actually a meeting of four large international real estate firms discussing how to keep the pipeline open for moving funds into the United States. Cyprus is a critical node on that money laundering pipeline.

Will Trump use this expansion as an excuse to carry through on his threats against Mueller?

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Campaign Action

Popular vote loser Donald Trump achieved very little in trying to bully a Republican Senate into reanimating Trumpcare with his Wednesday lunch. Too little, way too late seems to be the consensus among Republican senators, that and they're not scared of him.

A Republican senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wanted to preserve his relationship with Mr. Trump, put it more bluntly. The president, he said, scares no one in the Senate, not even the pages.

Nonetheless a group of supposedly hold-out senators met Wednesday night to see if there was anything to salvage. One of their difficulties is that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he's forcing a vote next week, but no one knows what they're voting on. Repeal and delay (disastrously scored by the CBO Wednesday)? The "replacement" plan that's lost Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) already (CBO score expected Thursday). Tellingly, Collins and Paul were not in the meeting. And there was another curveball thrown last night.

Indeed, senators left uncertain of how a planned vote will go next week, or whether it should even occur while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is being treated for cancer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pledged to hold a vote next week, but with McCain gone and Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) opposing the repeal and replace plan and not even attending the meeting, success appears far off. Republicans said privately they doubt McCain will be back next week.

Repealing Obamacare is a nightmare. Millions would lose their health insurance, and the cost of premiums would skyrocket. Call your Republican senator at (202) 224-3121 and give them a very angry piece of your mind. Then, tell us how it went.

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”Bizarre” is too kind a word to describe the interview The New York Times conducted Wednesday with the man squatting in the White House. It was brimful of the narcissism, nastiness, and delusionary nonsense that we have come to expect from Donald J. Trump in his six months pretending to be the best president America has ever had. That reporters Peter Baker, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman managed to keep their jaws off the floor of the Oval Office given the deluge of cray-cray and crapola Trump spewed is a testament to their professional skills. Here’s just one tidbit describing a moment in his visit to Paris at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron:

TRUMP: We had dinner at the Eiffel Tower, and the bottom of the Eiffel Tower looked like they could have never had a bigger celebration ever in the history of the Eiffel Tower. I mean, there were thousands and thousands of people, ’cause they heard we were having dinner.

Uh-huh. You betcha. Celebrating a visit by whom my friend who writes News Corpse calls the Orange Julius Caesar was a bigger deal than that day in late August 1944 when Parisians took to the streets in their tens of thousands after the Nazis were driven out. 

But by now we’re all familiar with the man’s never-ending, self-congratulatory fantasies. Since we’ve been drenched in them, they’re no longer particularly disturbing, just Trump being Trump, merely good for a smirk or two. What is disturbing are his views about how government should work, particularly the Department of Justice, and his unfettered willingness to attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and to threaten special counsel Robert Mueller:

TRUMP: Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

The reactionary, retrograde, neo-Confederate Sessions is no hero. In addition to his racism and other backwardness, his moves as A.G. on asset forfeiture, on drug prosecutions, on federal oversight of police departments, on treatment of immigrants, on support for more private prisons, and on reliable forensic science in the courtroom turn back the clock in arenas where progress, however limited, has been made. All bad, all damaging to the nation and its people. 

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Donald Trump’s Wednesday visit with the New York Times is the interview that keeps on giving … insanity. In addition to threatening Special Counsel Robert Mueller and tossing Jefferson Sessions under a bus followed by a steam roller, Trump took time out for a special heave of paranoia about former FBI Director James Comey and everyone connected to Comey, the FBI, or simply Comey-adjacent.

In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the president also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey’s dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. 

How did Comey “leverage” this dossier? He … told Trump it existed.

Mr. Trump recalled that a little more than two weeks before his inauguration, Mr. Comey and other intelligence officials briefed him at Trump Tower on Russian meddling. Mr. Comey afterward pulled Mr. Trump aside and told him about a dossier that had been assembled by a former British spy filled with salacious allegations against the incoming president, including supposed sexual escapades in Moscow. The F.B.I. has not corroborated the most sensational assertions in the dossier.

Comey tried to tell Trump about something that most people would find embarrassing discreetly, rather than making it part of the main discussion. How did Trump take this?

In the interview, Mr. Trump said he believed Mr. Comey told him about the dossier to implicitly make clear he had something to hold over the president.

Cartoon: COPS: Trump Edition

July 20th, 2017 01:50 pm
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FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book.

JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug's subscription club, the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE, for exclusive early access to comics, extra comics, and much more.

GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. (”Filled with wild twists and funny dialogue” -Publishers Weekly)  Book One here.  Book Two here.

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In just one part of a remarkable interview that, taken together, is sure to be a constitutional crisis in the making, Donald Trump told the New York Times that he never would have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Here Trump is, in all his glory, grousing about Sessions and how "unfair" he was to "the president," speaking about himself in third person.

TRUMP: Look, Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself.

BAKER: Was that a mistake?

TRUMP: Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

HABERMAN: He gave you no heads up at all, in any sense?

TRUMP: Zero. So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, “Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.” It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.

HABERMAN: Rosenstein.

TRUMP: Who is he? And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.

So there you have it. The world is out to get Donald and he had know idea that he would be victimized by his AG pick first and foremost. Hurrumph. Or, alternatively, maybe Trump shouldn’t have stacked his entire campaign with Russian moles. Trump went on to also criticize the acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and special counsel Robert Mueller.

But for now, any guesses how long Sessions lasts? Too bad he left that cushy Senate seat to take part in what history will judge as one of the most corrupt administrations in our nation’s history.

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On Wednesday, Donald Trump had an interview with the New York Times in which he said … everything. He threw attorney general and early Trump supporter Jefferson Sessions under the bus. Then drove the bus himself. He followed this up by accusing former FBI Director James Comey of attempted blackmail. And he put the cherry on top of the jaw-dropping hubris-a-thon by providing his own special red line for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Mueller was running an office rife with conflicts of interest and warned investigators against delving into matters too far afield from Russia. Mr. Trump never said he would order the Justice Department to fire Mr. Mueller, nor would he outline circumstances under which he might do so. But he left open the possibility as he expressed deep grievance over an investigation that has taken a political toll in the six months since he took office.

Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, “I would say yes.” He would not say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”

Mueller’s writ as Special Counsel actually has a broad degree of discretion. Not only is he empowered to address the Russian matter directly, but …

As special counsel, Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters," according to the Justice Department order Rosenstein signed.

That includes looking into how Trump’s business converted money from secret accounts at Cypriot held by Russian mobsters and into money laundering by the Trump Organization. After all, Trump was previously fined for covering up bank transactions with suspicion that money laundering was involved. And Trump’s real estate business is absolutely at the center of the conspiracy connected to the meeting at Trump Tower.

Thursday Things: Lamy Love

July 20th, 2017 07:55 am
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Posted by Sarah Mattozzi

A colorful Lamy inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.

This week's Thursday Things is for all of you color lovers out there! Did you know there was such a wide variety of colors available in your favorite Lamy pens? Just take a second to soak it all in. Sure makes you want to start collecting them all, doesn't it? We hope that Thursday Things: Lamy Love brightens your day with it's cheery hues and, who knows, maybe you'll find a new love too!

Featured products by grouping:

Top left

Top right

Lower left

Lower middle

Lower right


A colorful Lamy inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Lamy Safari Pink, Lamy Al-Star Purple, Lamy Safari Red
A colorful Lamy inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Lamy LX Palladium, Lamy LX Rose Gold, Lamy LX Gold, Lamy LX Ruthenium
A colorful Lamy inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Lamy Al-Star Pacific, Lamy Al-Star Ocean Blue, Lamy Al-Star Blue-Green
A colorful Lamy inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Lamy Safari Shiny Black, Lamy Safari Charcoal, Lamy Safari Petrol, Lamy Al-Star Graphite, Lamy Safari White
A colorful Lamy inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Lamy Safari Green, Lamy Vista Clear, Lamy Safari Yellow
A colorful Lamy inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.

What is your favorite Lamy color and model?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Cheers and Jeers: Thursday

July 20th, 2017 12:16 pm
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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE

> > > 3 < < < Weeks 'til Netroots Nation Atlanta

Time to get your bootie in gear if you're still on the fence about attending the hottest, wildest, brainiest gathering of moonbats on the planet. Here are the latest updates and vital links:

Logo for Netroots Nation 2017, August 10-13 in Atlanta GA

Just announced VIPs attending NN17: Senator Elizabeth Warren joins the all-star cast, along with “Iron Stache” Randy Bryce (who’s challenging Paul Ryan in 2018), a special training session with the Indivisible team, and a DFA-sponsored "meet the candidates" happy hour. All in addition to previously announced speakers Al Gore, MLK's daughter Bernice King, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Georgia House Minority Leader and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, and civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. For updates on future speakers and events, sign up here.

Squeee!!! The mighty Daily Kos Elections team is hosting a panel at #NN17. If you haven’t seen them in action, you're in for a jaw-dropping treat. They are walking congressional district encyclopedias.

► Grammy winner Killer Mike, the only rapper who has a huge 400-foot earth-boring drill named after him, will perform Thursday night, August 10th. Mike is also a social and political activist, focusing on social inequality, police brutality, and systemic racism. Opening for him will be five-time Grammy nominee Ashanti Floyd "The Mad Violinist." Word to the wise: stay on his good side.

►You can check out the complete list of Netroots Nation panels and workshops by clicking here.

waffle_house.jpg
Yum yum yum yum…...

► ZOMG you guys!!! Downtown Atlanta has its very own Waffle House! Just three blocks from the convention. Add a 9oz. orange juice to your order for only a buck! Open 24 hours! "Madam, we must all have waffles forthwith!"

Public transportation (aka MARTA) info is here.

► Sign up for volunteer discounts and the scholarship program here.

► Official hotel room info is here. Tomorrow is the last day to get the special Netroots Nation discounted rate.

Follow Netroots Nation via Facebook here and Twitter here.

21 days and counting. Time to tighten the lug nuts on the Tucker.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold...[Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

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The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

New Orleans, LA Mayor: On Friday, candidate filing closed for this fall's race to succeed termed-out New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Eighteen different candidates filed to run, though only five look like they'll have the resources to make an impact. Former Judge Desiree Charbonnet and City Councilor LaToya Cantrell appear to be the early frontrunners, while ex-Judge Michael Bagneris, who lost to Landrieu in 2014, has also been running for some time.

Campaign Action

Businessman Troy Henry, who lost to Landrieu four years before that, launched a late campaign on Friday, and rounding out the main contenders is rich guy Frank Scurlock, who operates a local bounce house empire, though it's not clear just how serious his candidacy is. All of these contenders are Democrats, though in classic Louisiana party-switching fashion, Scurlock was a Republican as recently as April. Charbonnet, Cantrell, Bagneris, and Henry are all African-American, while Scurlock is white.

All the candidates will compete on one ballot on Oct. 14, and if no one takes a majority, the top two vote-getters will advance to a Nov. 18 general election, regardless of party. And there's one programming note to be aware of: Mayoral elections in New Orleans have traditionally taken place in February, but because they kept coinciding with Mardi Gras season, they were recently bumped up, so the race that otherwise would have taken place in Feb. 2018 will now happen this October (as will future elections, every four years). However, Landrieu's departure from office still won't take place until May of next year, as originally scheduled, so the next mayor will have to wait an unusually long time before getting sworn in.

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

July 20th, 2017 12:01 pm
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Wow. What a day.

A lot of this week has started with a “Wow.”

Well, “At least it’s Friday.”TM

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

Where else can you get live, unvarnished news, commentary and opinion from Daily Kos editors David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando?

Well, sure, you could get that at Daily Kos. And this is Daily Kos.

But that doesn’t count, because reasons. Besides, reading is overrated! Except for what you’re reading right now, that is.

Especially this part: Help make the media you want, with a monthly, sustaining donation to our Patreon account! Or choose your own schedule with our Square Cash account.

How can you be sure it’s worth your support? How about I let you check out our last show, for FREE:

YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash

One sunny day Donald was playing with his wonderful trucks, and having a great and very beautiful time, believe me. Then, all at once everyone was talking about how his wonderful, very wonderful Trumpcare bill was just too great, and beautiful! Donald decided it was not his Trumpcare bill anymore, and he would make it die... “Cheer up Donald!”, pleaded his friends in the Gop. Eat some treats, and we’ll dream of future good times! “We might not be allowed to kill things today, but we can still hurt them—a lot!” Mitch, the evil turtle said… So, it wasn’t a fairytale ending, David Waldman and Joan McCarter remind us. We can recognize the victory, but will need to keep fighting. Mitch McConnell has run out of excuses for not accomplishing anything. Did Republicans underestimate the difficulty of TreasonCare, or overestimate the abilities of McConnell? Either way, they will try, try again. Back to the rot at the top. Jared Kushner will of course keep his security clearance, of course Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat all opposition, including Republican, and of course Trump talked more with Putin than he told you about. Did you know Donald’s wife is great and very beautiful?

(Thanks again to Scott Anderson for the show summary!)

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

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Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities

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