Monday Open Thread | Attorney General White Citizens Council’s Impending Attack on the Black Community

From The Washington Post:

How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs
By Sari Horwitz
April 8 at 8:32 PM

When the Obama administration launched a sweeping policy to reduce harsh prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, rave reviews came from across the political spectrum. Civil rights groups and the Koch brothers praised Obama for his efforts, saying he was making the criminal justice system more humane.

But there was one person who watched these developments with some horror. Steven H. Cook, a former street cop who became a federal prosecutor based in Knoxville, Tenn., saw nothing wrong with how the system worked — not the life sentences for drug charges, not the huge growth of the prison population. And he went everywhere — Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News, congressional hearings, public panels — to spread a different gospel.

“The federal criminal justice system simply is not broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as designed,” Cook said at a criminal justice panel at The Washington Post last year.

The Obama administration largely ignored Cook, who was then president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. But he won’t be overlooked anymore.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought Cook into his inner circle at the Justice Department, appointing him to be one of his top lieutenants to help undo the criminal justice policies of Obama and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. As Sessions has traveled to different cities to preach his tough-on-crime philosophy, Cook has been at his side.


Law enforcement officials say that Sessions and Cook are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration.

Crime is near historic lows in the United States, but Sessions says that the spike in homicides in several cities, including Chicago, is a harbinger of a “dangerous new trend” in America that requires a tough response.


But sentencing reform advocates say the tough crime policies went too far. The nation began incarcerating people at a higher rate than any other country — jailing 25 percent of the world’s prisoners at a cost of $80 billion a year. The nation’s prison and jail population more than quadrupled from 500,000 in 1980 to 2.2 million in 2015, filled with mostly black men strapped with lengthy prison sentences — 10 or 20 years, sometimes life without parole for a first drug offense.

Make no mistake- the War on Drugs is a war on Black people.
Nothing about how they must crackdown on those opioid/heroin users. They aren’t a menace?
Well, isn’t that interesting.
We already know what the War on Drugs cost the Black community.
Attorney General White Citizens Council doesn’t think that’s enough.
Where are the Blackademics? They couldn’t rush fast enough to a microphone to decry what President Obama WAS NOT DOING. Yet, they continue to be quiet as church mice pissing on cotton in the era of Dolt45.
Michelle Alexander will have a few more chapters to an updated ‘ The New Jim Crow’, after these evil people are through.

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102 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Attorney General White Citizens Council’s Impending Attack on the Black Community

  1. jonathanufi says:

    Mandatory minimum sentences are a really bad idea. They swell prison populations, cost taxpayers billions, and lock lots of nonviolent people away for years. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was passed in the aftermath of the tragic death of Len Bias. Look at how well that reactionary piece of legislation worked?

  2. Liza says:

    Colson Whitehead wins the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for ‘The Underground Railroad’

    Colson Whitehead won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in fiction Monday for “The Underground Railroad.” It caps a sweep of accolades that the book has received since its publication by Doubleday in August 2016, including winning the National Book Award in November and being selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club.

    The Pulitzer committee praised “The Underground Railroad” as “a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.”

    “The Underground Railroad” took Whitehead 16 years to write. He received a MacArthur fellowship in 2002.

  3. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Future destination of United Airlines?
    Deserted Aisles.

  4. BREAKING: Judge again finds that Texas’ strict voter ID law was intentionally crafted to discriminate against minorities. via @AP

  5. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    I decided to take a break and look at artworks. I think Joshua Mays workI is super!–IgpuhhJA–/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/1381827758586639655.png
    (I’ll post another video of a mural he created of Marian Anderson in the reply box to my comment here.)

  6. rikyrah says:

    Chicago News 04/10/2017, 04:04pm
    Officer involved in dragging man off United flight now on leave

    Social-media video of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight Sunday evening is being viewed worldwide. | Twitter photo screen grab

    Mitch Dudek, Fran Spielman and Jordan Owen
    Sign-Up for our News & Politics Newsletter Sign-Up
    An embarrassing viral video of a man being forcibly dragged off a United Airlines flight has resulted in an officer with the Chicago Department of Aviation police force being placed on leave.

    “The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department,” Aviation Department spokesperson Karen Pride wrote in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.”

    Pride said she doesn’t know whether the leave is paid or unpaid. Nor could she explain why only one aviation security officer is targeted for disciplinary action when several officers were at least tangentially involved in the incident.

    • Liza says:

      “Nor could she explain why only one aviation security officer is targeted for disciplinary action when several officers were at least tangentially involved in the incident.”

      If United wants redemption after this, they will have to own this, apologize, and fire the CEO. Stop blaming the goon squad. This is airline policy. And it’s wrong.

  7. Liza says:

    Wow. Look at what they did to this guy. #united3411— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) April 10, 2017


  8. rikyrah says:

    Found this at BJ:

    David Farenthold just won a Pulitzer for his coverage of the Trump Foundation and Don’s shenanigans. Great stuff

    • Liza says:

      Blame it on the black guy. I’ve been waiting for this.

      The goon squad was summoned, were they not? Who summoned the goon squad and why? Could it be policy?

      Why did the captain of the crew not take action? He is responsible for the safety of passengers on his flight, if I’m not mistaken.

      Better yet, why didn’t cheap ass United offer more money if it was so important to have those seats? Now it will cost them millions instead of a few hundred.

      • Liza says:

        The CEO of United is the one who needs to be fired. Accountability for this goes straight to the top, IMHO.

        I’m not saying there aren’t others, but the CEO is at the top of the list.

  9. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    This tweeter fixed United Airlines’ statement:

  10. Liza says:

    How to reduce the chances of getting dragged off your United flight
    Ethan Wolff-MannYahoo FinanceApril 10, 2017

    United Airlines (UAL) “deplaned” one of its paying passengers late Sunday, dragging him from his seat and down the aisle.

    Airlines routinely overbook planes and pay people to take the next flight when necessary. On this particular flight, United needed four seats for employees hitching a ride. It offered $800 vouchers, but no one on the plane volunteered. Instead, United selected four passengers at random.

    When one passenger didn’t comply, United had three men forcibly remove him. And soon after, a video of the incident went viral—giving United another round of bad press.

    Despite the outrage expressed on social media, and by a concerned passenger in the video, United’s actions indicated it considered itself in the right. The reason is simple: a half-pound stack of paper called the “contract of carriage.”

    Like the terms of service agreements most people scroll through quickly and click “I agree,” the United contract of carriage is something you likely agreed to without reading or understanding, something that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently said can be trouble.

    Airlines don’t value economy customers as much

    Under Rule 25—on page 35 if you print it out—the agreement says exactly what happens if the flight is oversold. “If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily,” the language reads. (Of course, the deplaned man was not denied boarding, he was already boarded.)

    The language continues however, shining light on how these “other Passengers” are chosen. It’s not random, it’s “in accordance with UA’s boarding priority.” That means that if you have a higher fare class, have a complex itinerary, have status (e.g. gold or platinum), have checked in early, or are a frequent flier, you are less likely to be asked to take the next flight. Even if it’s just a frequent flier card that you never use, it might save you from being forcibly dragged off a plane.

    Any kind of priority is better than no priority, when it comes to not getting forcibly removed from a plane.

    For passengers looking to take advantage of the budget seats offered, this unspoken ranking and largely unknown class system is important to know. Though companies take great pains to say otherwise, if you paid less, you are not as valued a customer.

  11. Liza says:

    No, this is not good enough. You must openly state that you are against the brutalization of customers.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 10, 2017


  12. rikyrah says:

    Mitch McConnell secures an ignoble place in political history
    04/10/17 11:21 AM—UPDATED 04/10/17 11:31 AM
    By Steve Benen
    As the contentious drama surrounding the Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination unfolded in the Senate last week, many found themselves asking, “How did things get this bad? How did the breakdowns in our politics become so severe?”

    These are, of course, complex questions with multifaceted answers, but it’s not unreasonable to start the conversation by taking a closer look at one individual. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank had an important piece over the weekend on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whom the columnist described as a man who effectively “broke America.”

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      Thanks for posting this story. I am so frightened by the story that I will never, never fly on United Airlines.

  13. rikyrah says:

    PTSD in black women needs attention, study of South Side group says

    By Grace Wong
    Chicago Tribune

    March 23, 2017, 12:10 PM

    Nortasha Stingley doesn’t remember a lot about the weeks after her 19-year-old daughter was shot and killed nearly four years ago. All she could do was cry. All she wanted to do was scream.

    After Stingley lost 40 pounds in a matter of weeks, her sister finally took her to see a doctor, and she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    “It’s still a battle,” said Stingley, 40. “I died and they just forgot to bury me. It’s a struggle.”

    Like Stingley, many African-American women in disadvantaged neighborhoods have PTSD, experts say. A recent Northwestern Medicine study that examined the South Side neighborhood of Oakland found that 29 percent of the 72 African-American study participants have the disorder and an additional 7 percent exhibited a large number of signs that are part of a PTSD diagnosis. Researchers said they believe that points to a need for more mental health services and screenings in poor neighborhoods.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Cook County judge shot dead, woman wounded outside South Side home

    By Elvia Malagon, Jeremy Gorner and Megan Crepeau•Contact Reporters

    April 10, 2017, 9:50 AM

    A Cook County judge was killed and a woman was wounded in a shooting outside the judge’s South Side home Monday morning, a police source said.

    Associate Judge Raymond Myles, 66, and a 52-year-old woman were found outside the home in the 9400 block of South Forest Avenue around 4:50 a.m., police said.

    Myles suffered several gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said. The woman was hit in the leg and was taken to Christ in serious condition.

    Police roped off much of the block as investigators combed the backyard of the judge’s two-story brick home with its manicured lawn and well-maintained shrubs.

    No one was reported in custody.


    The same neighbor said residents at a recent block club meeting had discussed installing cameras on the block in response to an uptick in home burglaries.

    “Yeah, the area is going down, that’s for sure,” she said.

    Most of the homes on the block are owned by their original owners, Patterson said. She has lived in her home since the 1970s. It’s only been in the past five years that she’s noticed crime in her neighborhood.

    “We’ve never seen this before,” she said.

    • Liza says:

      Just another POS carrying Trump’s slop jar.

      • Why would he want to risk his career and prison for the likes of Donald Trump?

      • Liza says:

        Well, SG2, you ask the tough questions. I have actually given this some thought in the past couple of months.

        For some of them, like Jeff Sessions, the answer is pretty straightforward. Trump getting elected was pretty much a fluke, and Jeff Sessions could never have imagined himself as Attorney General otherwise. So, now it’s real, it’s his big chance to have a BIG JOB and be on TV, etc… He carries the Trump/Bannon slop jar because he believes in what they are doing. He revels in the power of the white supremacist and is blissfully unaware that it is temporary and the pendulum will eventually swing hard in the other direction.

        But Nunes is more difficult to understand because it’s hard to see what is in this for him. We, of course, don’t know what Trump et al said to him or promised him. But maybe all it comes down to is that he’s just smart enough to be a Republican “representative” (which y doesn’t require much intelligence) but too stupid to be a crook. He didn’t ask enough “what if” questions before he injected himself into one of Trump’s clusterf!!ks.

      • rikyrah says:

        Nunes’ business partners are close with Putin. For me, that’s the beginning, middle and end of the story.

  15. rikyrah says:

    DeVos praises this voucher-like program. Here’s what it means for school reform.
    By Emma Brown
    April 9 at 10:13 PM

    Florida has channeled billions of taxpayer dollars into scholarships for poor children to attend private schools over the past 15 years, using tax credits to build a laboratory for school choice that the Trump administration holds up as a model for the nation.

    The voucherlike program, the largest of its kind in the country, helps pay tuition for nearly 100,000 students from low-income families.

    But there is scant evidence that these students fare better academically than their peers in public schools. And there is a perennial debate about whether the state should support private schools that are mostly religious, do not require teachers to hold credentials and are not required to meet minimal performance standards. Florida private schools must administer one of several standardized tests to scholarship recipients, but there are no consequences for consistently poor results.

    “After the students leave us, the public loses any sense of accountability or scrutiny of the outcomes,” said Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County public schools. He wonders what happens to the 25,000 students from the county who receive the scholarships. “It’s very difficult to gauge whether they’re hitting the mark.”

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a longtime advocate for school choice, does not seem to be bothered by that complaint.

    • Liza says:

      It’s costing tax payers something like a million dollars per month to provide security for her stupid billionaire a$$ while children are having their school lunches taken from them because they have no money. And all she intends to do is destroy public education.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Sessions orders Justice Dept. to end forensic science commission, suspend review policy
    By Spencer S. Hsu
    April 10 at 9:30 AM

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers.

    In a statement Monday, Sessions said he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013.

    A path to meet needs of overburdened crime labs will be set by a yet-to-be named senior forensic adviser and an internal department crime task force, Sessions’s statement said.

    The announcement came as the commission began its last, two-day meeting before its term ends April 23 and as two of its most wide-reaching final recommendations remain hanging with the department. Two officials said no decision has been made one calling for the Justice Department to set written standards for examining and reporting forensic evidence in criminal courts across the country. A second proposal to more fully disclose the statistical limits of results is to be voted on by the commission Monday.

    “The availability of prompt and accurate forensic science analysis to our law enforcement officers and prosecutors is critical to integrity in law enforcement, reducing violent crime, and increasing public safety,” Sessions said in the statement. “We applaud the professionalism of the National Commission on Forensic Science and look forward to building on the contributions it has made in this crucial field.”

    The action marked the latest break by Sessions, a former federal prosecutor, with Obama-era priorities. The former Alabama senator last week announced top aides will review agreements reached with troubled police forces nationwide to ensure the pacts to overhaul departments do not counter the Trump administration’s goals of combating violent crime and promoting police safety and morale.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley expected to resign this week amid scandal, @aldotcom is reporting

    — Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 10, 2017

  18. Look at these violent mofos, people. United overbooked and watch what happened.

    • rikyrah says:


    • Liza says:

      Wow. Just incredible. Thank God for the video. I hope the victim gets an 8 figure settlement at the very least.

      • Liza says:

        I’ve upped that to 9 figures after reading more about this incident.

        Here’s what is interesting. The idiots who work for the airline call “law enforcement” because this man refused to leave voluntarily after being selected at random, supposedly.
        (I’ve read that they “may” select from the lowest cost seats). Anyhow, “law enforcement” proceeds to assault this man without knowing a damn thing about him.

        People have all kinds of issues both mental and physical. So you get some swinging dick “law enforcement” goon to just pick up a guy with force and drag him off the plane because he was selected “at random” to give up his seat for your employee after you overbooked the flight intentionally?

        Thank God for videos.

    • Liza says:

      I hope United goes bankrupt. And I hope this doctor who was assaulted gets 100 million at the very least.

      F!!K these people who operate like this.

      • What about this doctor’s patients? What about their lives? Disgusting goons terrorizing paying customers.

      • Liza says:

        United doesn’t care about passengers especially economy passengers or why they are travelling.

        But before this is over they will learn that overbooking is not a justification for assault. The man was sitting peacefully in his seat so they will have a hell of time defending themselves. And I wouldn’t bet that their “random” selection was so random.

        However, they know absolutely nothing about this passenger before they assault him. I flew home the day after having my neck cut open. What if I had been assaulted like that?

        I’d say United has a huge problem and they know it. Their lawyers are more than likely preparing the settlement right now.

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      Horrible. I will never fly United Airlines again.

      • Liza says:

        I flew United when I went to Florida in February. I had a flight cancelled for “maintenance” reasons. They spent about six hours telling everyone it was delayed then finally said it was cancelled. Everyone went to a hotel for three hours to sleep, got food vouchers that were useless because everything was closed, then headed back to the airport at 4:30 AM for another flight. And other flights were cancelled that night for the same reason.

        Well, I think it is pretty obvious that they are trying to run that airline on a shoestring budget. That’s what all this overbooking is about.

  19. rikyrah says:

    The question we should be asking:

    If Russia secured Syria’s chemical weapons, why does Syria still have chemical weapons?

    — Jason Kander (@JasonKander) April 10, 2017

  20. Liza says:

    Good morning, y’all,
    A new week starts in Donald Trump’s AmeriKKKa,

    Rikyrah, I am so glad that you posted the WaPo article about Jeff Sessions.

    What I’ve said privately and now publicly is that he was picked because Bull Connor is dead.

    A spotlight needs to stay focused on this evil little white supremacist until he’s gone for good, just like the rest of them working for Steve Bannon.

  21. rikyrah says:

    The Media’s Reaction to Syrian Strikes Was Right Out of the Washington Playbook
    by Nancy LeTourneau April 10, 2017 10:03 AM

    When uber-hawk Lindsay Graham suggests that Syrian President Assad is saying a big “F you” by continuing to launch military attacks against his own people from the air base the U.S. just struck with Tomahawk missiles, we can be assured that Trump’s military intervention didn’t work out very well. But I suspect that, when it comes to the American media and his political fortunes, the president got exactly what he wanted out of them.

    Margaret Sullivan summarized a few of the reactions.

    The cruise missiles struck, and many in the mainstream media fawned.

    “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night,” declared Fareed Zakaria on CNN, after firing of 59 missiles at a Syrian military airfield late Thursday night…

    “On Syria attack, Trump’s heart came first,” read a New York Times headline.

    “President Trump has done the right thing and I salute him for it,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens — a frequent Trump critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist. He added: “Now destroy the Assad regime for good.”

    Brian Williams, on MSNBC, seemed mesmerized by the images of the strikes provided by the Pentagon. He used the word “beautiful” three times and alluded to a Leonard Cohen lyric — “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons” — without apparent irony.

  22. rikyrah says:

    The Fourth Estate Has an Obligation to Question Trump’s Motives in Syria
    by D.R. Tucker April 10, 2017 5:00 AM

    Last week, after the Washington Post published a bizarre story suggesting that the Trump administration had come around to supporting both a federal value-added tax and a carbon tax, Kevin Drum labeled the story bullpucky:

    Sure they are. This sounds more like a strategic leak to demonstrate “seriousness” on Trump’s part than anything that’s really under consideration. Just give it a moment’s thought:

    * Republicans hate both VATs and carbon taxes. Hate hate hate.
    * A package that included top marginal rate cuts, corporate cuts, plus a VAT and/or a carbon tax to make it revenue neutral, would be almost comically regressive. Democrats would hate it even if the carbon tax were for real.

    There’s zero chance that anything like this could make it through Congress. The “administration official” peddling this is just blowing smoke.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Kushner, Cohn and Their Wall Street Friends Are Not Moderates or Centrists
    by David Atkins April 9, 2017 3:51 PM


    Of all the narratives in media, this is probably the one that frustrates me the most. Super-rich men in real estate and finance who are vaguely socially accepting, interventionist in foreign policy, and insistent on tax cuts are not “centrists.” They are just as deeply ideological as Bernie Sanders or Steve Bannon, and in fact their ideology is less popular among voters than either of the “extremes.”

    Broadly speaking, no one is more unpopular than Wall Street types and landlords. Few policies are more unpopular than tax cuts for the rich. Americans are tired of foreign wars. Opposition to job offshoring and trade policy that hurts American workers is strong in both parties.

    Bannon and his coterie of open racists are fond of calling Goldman tycoon Gary Cohn “Globalist Gary”–an attack that is dismissed in many quarters as thinly veiled anti-Semitism. It almost certainly is, but there is also no question that globalist neoliberalism is an incredibly unpopular ideology right now on both the right and the left. The Trumpist alt-right and the progressive left both despise the hegemony of corporate power and crony capitalism that has decimated low-skill labor and hollowed out the economy in developed countries. The biggest difference is that the alt-right wants to preserve the hegemony of white males, while the progressive left wants a universal socialism.

    But the ideology universally rejected by voters in America and around the world is one in which rootless wealthy financiers predate on their own societies for maximum profit under the veneer of global, color- and gender-blind meritocracy. A world in which the only permissible distinction between “right” and “left” is not about the fundamental structures of the economy, but the degree to which those left furthest behind in the glorious new world of instability may or may not be partially subsidized with sops to their dignity like paid child leave.

    Yet that very ideology is the only one legitimized by mainstream media as “centrist” and normal, which in turn has led to political revolt on both the right and the left. But make no mistake: Kushner, Cohn and friends are neither normal nor centrist in any way. David Roberts expressed this most ably in his seminal piece on how politics works in the modern era:


    Bannon and his alt-right allies are terrible, bigoted people who endanger the lives and welfare of millions. But they’re not more extremist than their toxic, neoliberal corporate-friendly opponents in the White House. In fact, they have more legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and their policies are the more popular.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Syria and North Korea Are Not Impressed
    by David Atkins April 9, 2017 4:18 AM

    Yesterday I pointed out the shoddy thinking behind the notion that Trump’s airstrikes in Syria were an effective “message” to either Assad or other adversarial states. The airstrikes themselves were wildly ineffective. America’s options against the Syrian regime remain limited. A ground war would be stupid, air strikes alone accomplish very little, and there is no military solution to a brutal civil war with bad actors on all sides.

    But it’s not just Syria for whom Trump is posturing. He is also fronting against North Korea, sending carriers into the waters off the coast of the country. He is even considering placing nuclear weapons in South Korea for some reason. To hear pundits tell it, Trump’s actions are supposed to show resolve that intimidates North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un into submission.

    In reality, the North Korean regime isn’t impressed, because it knows Trump’s military threats are empty. China has no intention of reigning in their buffer against an open and democratic society in South Korea. North Korea’s deterrent threat of strikes against Seoul remain in place no matter what military action the United States might take.

    There is a reason that the North Korea problem has plagued both Republican and Democratic administrations in an intractable way: it’s almost impossible to solve by military means or with military threats.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Republicans scramble to hold on to seat in ruby-red Kansas
    04/10/17 10:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    When Donald Trump tapped Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA, the Republican had to give up his seat in Congress, though his party didn’t much mind. Pompeo represented a very Republican district in a very Republican state, so keeping his seat “red” wouldn’t pose much of a challenge.

    At least, that was the idea. The reality, as the Wichita Eagle reported the other day, is a very different story.

    National Republicans are wading into a Kansas congressional race few analysts thought would be competitive ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas will join Republican candidate Ron Estes at an airport rally Monday in Wichita, a day before voters in southern Kansas head to the polls to pick a new congressman. Vice President Mike Pence is also scheduled to record a robocall on Estes’ behalf, according to a state party official.

    Cruz’s appearance comes on the heels of last-minute spending on television ads by the National Republican Congressional Committee and a fundraising push by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin on Estes’ behalf.

    In case this isn’t obvious, these are the steps a party takes when it’s panicking. Republican officials expected to win Kansas’ congressional special election without lifting a finger, and the fact that party leaders are scrambling to this degree suggests GOP officials are genuinely afraid of a Democratic upset.

    And that would be extraordinary under the circumstances. This is, after all, a district Donald Trump won by 27 points.

    A local GOP consultant told Politico the other day, “Kansas should not be in play, but Kansas is in play.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Trump’s Syria attack brings uncomfortable truths into focus
    04/10/17 09:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    It’s been about four days since Donald Trump launched a military offensive against Syria’s Assad regime. What have we learned about the administration and the broader political/policy dynamic? Several uncomfortable truths.

    1. There’s no reason to believe the attack was effective. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained yesterday that the purpose of Thursday night’s attack “was to target the air base from which these chemical attacks were launched and to render that air base, certainly its infrastructure, no longer usable.” If that the goal of the operation, there’s very little that suggests it was a success – since the Assad government was using that same air base soon after.

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an enthusiastic proponent of a vastly increased U.S. presence in Syria, said on “Face the Nation” yesterday that the fact that Syrian jets were taking off from the same base less than 36 hours later “is not a good signal.” McCain added that U.S. forces could have “cratered the runways,” but Trump has already publicly declared that he chose not to.

    2. The Trump administration hasn’t yet settled on its own talking points. The top two voices on foreign policy in the Trump administration, aside from the president and members of his family, are Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. On the Sunday shows yesterday, Haley said the administration will work towards toppling Assad in Syria, while Tillerson argued it’d be up to Syrians to oust their own dictator. This seems like the sort of thing the administration probably should’ve worked out ahead of time.

    Complicating matters, Haley’s and Tillerson’s rhetoric last week contradicted the rhetoric they used the week before.

    3. No one has any idea what, if anything, will follow Thursday night’s attack. A senior administration official told the Washington Post, “We don’t yet know if this is a one-time effort or not. We can’t predict what may or may not happen.”

    The near future, in other words, is almost impossible to predict, since no one seems to have any idea what Trump wants or expects.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Why Trump keeps doing the opposite of what he said he’d do
    04/10/17 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    When describing his vision on health care policy, Donald Trump, before the election and after, made a series of fairly explicit commitments. The Republican wouldn’t just repeal the Affordable Care Act, he said, he’d replace it with a system that brought insurance to all Americans, while also lowering premiums and deductibles.

    In practice, Trump abandoned every promise he made, embracing legislation that would’ve delivered the exact opposite results. The president radically changed direction without explanation, largely because House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told him the House Republican plan had merit, and Trump, indifferent towards policy details, accepted the assurances at face value.

    Trump didn’t have any working understanding of the GOP legislation – by all appearances, he hadn’t even read it – but the president didn’t think it mattered. The Speaker told the White House it was the best available option, and Trump eagerly went along, promises to the public be damned.

    To a very real extent, the president got played, and his ignorance made it easy. As Vox’s Ezra Klein put it a few weeks ago, “This is the problem with not knowing or caring much about the details of policy – it’s easy to get spun by people who do know and care.” It’s an often overlooked detail: Trump abandoned the course he promised voters he’d pursue because the president listened to allies who cared vastly more about the substance of the debate than he did.

    If this dynamic sounds familiar, it’s because there’s ample reason to believe something similar happened last week – except, this time, Trump wasn’t ignoring his own promises and instincts on health care, he was ignoring his own promises and instincts on national security policy as applied in the Middle East.

  28. rikyrah says:

    GOP sets new partisan precedent with Gorsuch confirmation
    Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate, talks with Rachel Maddow about the future of Supreme Court nominations now that Republicans have set a precedent of blocking a nominee because of the nominating president’s party.

  29. rikyrah says:

    In a legal fight against Twitter, the Trump administration blinked
    04/07/17 04:23 PM—UPDATED 04/08/17 01:33 PM
    By Steve Benen
    Donald Trump’s presidency has generated all kinds of notable developments, including an important one through social media: career officials at various agencies, unhappy with the executive branch’s new direction, claim to have created various “alt” and “rogue” Twitter accounts to voice their dissatisfaction, publicly but anonymously.

    There are plenty of questions about the legitimacy of these accounts, and it’s difficult to say with confidence whether they’re actually controlled by frustrated administration officials – as opposed to people pretending to be associated with the agencies. That said, accounts like @Alt_Labor and @Alt_CDC are active and popular feeds, which may offer a meaningful peek behind the scenes.

    And then there’s the @ALT_USCIS account, which as the New York Times reported, has become the basis for a bizarre controversy.

    Last month, the federal government issued a summons ordering Twitter to hand over information about an anonymous account that had posted messages critical of the Trump administration. Now, the government has blinked.

    Customs and Border Protection on Friday withdrew its demand that Twitter unmask the anonymous account, a day after the social media company sued the government to block the summons. The person or people behind the account in question, @ALT_USCIS, had claimed to be a current employee of Citizenship and Immigration Services and had regularly posted messages at odds with White House policy.

  30. rikyrah says:

    With Gorsuch confirmed, McConnell gets away with stealing a seat
    04/07/17 01:01 PM—UPDATED 04/08/17 01:33 PM
    By Steve Benen
    In the wake of Senate Republicans changing the chamber’s rules yesterday through the nuclear option, the outcome of today’s floor vote was a foregone conclusion, but it nevertheless marked the end of dejecting process.

    The Senate confirmed judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Friday in a mostly party-line 54-45 vote that reflected weeks of bruising political fighting which deepened congressional divides and changed the nature of high court appointments in the future.

    Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first major court nominee, will fill the seat that has been vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February of 2016. He will be officially sworn in on Monday morning.

    Shortly before this morning’s vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters, “As I look back on my career, I think the most consequential decision I’ve ever been involved in was the decision to let the president being elected last year pick the Supreme Court nominee.”

    I’m very much inclined to agree. After Justice Antonin Scalia died, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a center-left, compromise jurist to fill the vacancy, which opened the door to a historic opportunity, unseen in a generation: the Supreme Court could finally stop drifting towards the right. McConnell instead decided to impose an unprecedented high-court blockade, gambling that Americans may elect a Republican president and Republican Congress.

    The gamble was very “consequential,” indeed. McConnell stole a Supreme Court seat from one administration and handed it to another. Instead of a center-left judge working alongside a conservative minority on the court, we’ll have yet another conservative majority – this time with Neil Gorsuch, who is only 49, and who’s likely to serve as many as four decades.

    Last year, McConnell declared, “One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, ‘You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.’” It’s the kind of pride one feels when they steal something and know they’ve gotten away with it.

    • Liza says:

      This was usurpation of executive power. The Democrats waited too long to raise a ruckus, and it was obviously too late. They should have been raising hell because blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination may very well turn out to be the most consequential of the GOP obstructions during the Obama Administration.

      As for McConnell, I would just as soon see him tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

      • Liza says:

        And what hope do we have now except that some of these younger “conservative” SCOTUS members have aneurysms sitting in their stupid heads that are just waiting to burst. A terrible thought, but that is what APPOINTED FOR LIFE means.

        The Democrats, of course, were so confident that Hillary would win.

        Now I need an Advil.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Democrats moving senior staffers to Orange County in an effort to flip Republican House seats

    Source: LA Times

    The arm of the Democratic Party in charge of winning control of Congress is moving senior staffers from Washington, D.C., to Orange County in hopes of flipping Republican-held House seats out west during the 2018 midterm elections.

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is aiming to defeat seven California Republicans who represent congressional districts where Hillary Clinton beat President Donald Trump — including a cluster of seats in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.The committee will send staffers in charge of overseeing House races in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington to work out of an Irvine office in an effort to make inroads in Republican strongholds that have traditionally been sure bets for the GOP.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, Rikrah & Everone.

      #45 & Co. has declared war on All Americans who aren’t MALE, WHITE, RICH, & HETERO

      • Liza says:

        I was just now thinking how sad it is that we wake up to this sh!t every single day, and we can’t even go to bed with any level of confidence that they haven’t done something horrifying during the night.

        Not even three months, and everyday it’ a nightmare.

      • Liza says:

        ** it’s a nightmare **

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