Drop in mortality among whites linked to joblessness, low wages, and despair

Drop in mortality among whites linked to joblessness, low wages, and despair

Daily Kos

If non-college educated whites are the base of the Republican Party in the Trump-era, the GOP is in long-term trouble. Middle-aged whites with little or no college are dying younger and with less children than they have in decades. The trend toward longer, happier lives that began centuries ago and picked up steam in the last few generations seems to have peaked and dramatically reversed course, but the reasons for the sudden shift should come as no surprise to anyone

These deaths of despair have been accompanied by reduced labor force participation, reduced marriage rates, increases in reports of poor health and poor mental health. So we are beginning to thread a story in that it’s possible that [the trend is] consistent with the labor market collapsing for people with less than a college degree.

If baby boomers are successfully corralled into trading away the benefits they will sorely need for the rest of their lives so that zillionaires can get more tax cuts, you’ll be seeing a decided shift in the age of homeless populations, death by treatable disease or injury, and no-way-out suicides. If wealthy corporations are able to offshore US job and rotate temps through to pose as full-time employees, you’re going to see more and more of this in middle aged and younger people. Death by despair. Get used to it, America.

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Trump adviser Carl Icahn is advising government to cut the regulations that hurt his own companies

Trump adviser Carl Icahn is advising government to cut the regulations that hurt his own companies

Daily Kos

Meet the Swamp.

Since Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor, was named by President Trump as a special adviser on regulatory matters, he has been busy working behind the scenes to try to revamp an obscure Environmental Protection Agency rule that governs the way corn-based ethanol is mixed into gasoline nationwide.

All right, so Donald Trump has tasked billionaire Carl Icahn with the task of cutting regulations on American businesses. Billionaire Carl Icahn, ever helpful, has set his sights on ethanol rules as being one of the things most needing reform. Billionaire Carl Icahn may or may not have stumbled on ethanol rules as the thing the Trump Administration should take an axe to based on the fact that he:

is a majority investor in CVR Energy, an oil refiner based in Sugar Land, Tex., that would have saved $205.9 million last year had the regulatory fix he is pushing been in place.

To, ahem, “critics” of this arrangement, it seems like blatant crookery. Billionaire Carl Icahn, however, don’t care.

Mr. Icahn, 81, in a series of interviews in the last week, was unapologetic. He said he was not subject to conflict of interest rules because he is an informal, unpaid adviser to Mr. Trump, not an official government employee.

The belief that you don’t have to have ethics if you’re not getting paid seems endemic, on team Trump. Though the ones cashing paychecks are, we must admit, not doing much better.

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The government will run out of funding in one month and the shutdown talk has already begun

The government will run out of funding in one month and the shutdown talk has already begun

Daily Kos

Hey, look at this! Government funding runs out in one month! The last 20 days in the House of Representatives has been absolutely bonkers. But get used to it, because you know what happens when there isn’t a budget, and appropriations committees don’t work, and the government has been running on a continuing resolution from the last administration? You got it, government shutdown threats.

In fact, one Republican tells Mike Allen of Axios that a shutdown is “more likely than not,” and that’s a problem because “Wall Street is not expecting a shutdown and the markets are unprepared.”

And Chris Krueger of Cowen Washington Research Group today will warn financial clients: “Hello April 29 government shutdown.” […]

A senior GOP aide disputed the bearish forecasts: “The White House and Republicans on the Hill cannot/won’t risk a shutdown. Given the last week — it’s out of the question.”

Reality check: While the GOP may have the will, party strategists don’t see the way: The bleak House GOP math remains, with no sign it’ll change. And the GOP can’t count on the twin hail Marys floated over the weekend: enlisting moderate Dems (as we reported yesterday), or the Congressional Black Caucus (as Jonathan Swan revealed in his Sunday-night newsletter, Sneak Peek).

That’s a pretty spot-on reality check.

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Univision anchor: Congressional Republicans won’t talk to us anymore

Univision anchor: Congressional Republicans won’t talk to us anymore

Daily Kos

Journalist and Univision anchor Enrique Acevedo says that Republican members of Congress have consistently been ignoring the network since Donald Trump’s inauguration. That’s unsurprising news considering the party’s sole Latino outreach right now seems to be ICE raids and a wall. 

Trump’s own feud with Univision stretches back to 2015, when Trump’s bodyguard physically threw Jorge Ramos out of a press conference in Iowa after the acclaimed journalist dared to ask him about his anti-immigrant policies (the one other man to physically eject Ramos for asking tough questions? Fidel Castro). Now with Trump as the party’s standard-bearer (and probably eager to avoid hardball questions about his deportation force), Republicans are joining in on his feud:

Acevedo said GOP members of Congress — save for those who represent the Miami area, where Univision is headquartered and is particularly strong — have been avoiding the network, the nation’s largest Spanish language platform, since inauguration day.

“It’s happened more since the inauguration. It’s harder to get access to Republicans than it is to get access to Democrats and I understand why that is. Republicans think they have more to lose going on Univision,” Acevedo said, citing his attempts to get Republican senators like Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on the air. “If we get an answer, which is an exception, the answer is: ‘It’s a busy week, they’re not doing media,’ and then we see them on Fox or CNN.”

According to POLITICO, two Senate Republican aides “acknowledged that they have avoided or would avoid Univision because they don’t feel as though they’ll get fair treatment from the network.” Because apparently facing questions about your party’s racist, anti-immigrant policies targeting moms, U.S. Army veterans, Dreamers, and millions of other undocumented immigrants for arrest and deportation somehow equals being treated unfairly.

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Trump takes a break from Mar-a-Lago to get free advertising for some of his other properties

Trump takes a break from Mar-a-Lago to get free advertising for some of his other properties

Daily Kos

Donald Trump didn’t go to Florida over the weekend. But although he wasn’t hyping Mar-a-Lago and his two nearby golf courses, the Trump properties still got a lot of free advertising for yet another weekend. Trump went to his Virginia golf club on both Saturday and Sunday and had dinner at his Washington, D.C., hotel on Saturday night.

Saturday’s stops marked the eighth weekend in a row — out of the 10 weekends he has been in office — that Mr. Trump has visited a Trump-branded property, including his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. […]

Mr. Trump has now made three visits to the Trump National Golf Club, a string of trips that started after Eric Trump came to Washington this month to promote the 2017 Senior P.G.A. Championship tournament. It is being held at the Virginia golf course on Memorial Day weekend.

Tickets to the event are being sold as Mr. Trump is pushing the golf course into the spotlight, with reporters and photographers in tow on Saturday for a daylong visit.

No, really. The presidency is being used to sell tickets to a golf tournament.

The White House says Trump went to the Virginia golf club for meetings (apparently the White House isn’t good enough for holding meetings) and wouldn’t confirm he golfed, but social media pictures suggested that—bombshell, here—he probably did. 

Saturday night he went to dinner at the one restaurant he was able to entice into his D.C. hotel, where “a reporter from The Times was already having dinner”—and what do you want to bet other news organizations have also learned that if you want to be able to report on what Trump does on any given weekend evening he isn’t in Florida, you book a table in his hotel?—and where he was greeted by a built-in friendly audience, because people who are willing to stay or eat at a Trump property are people who are going to be excited to see the man in person.

An ego boost plus personal profit? That’s everything Donald Trump wants from life, and the presidency delivers it up to him every time he visits one of his properties. The usual concerns of the office, like the Constitution, the responsible governance of the nation, and the welfare of the American people can go hang.

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Trump appoints anti-LGBT activist to head HHS civil rights office

Trump appoints anti-LGBT activist to head HHS civil rights office

Daily Kos

According to HuffPo, the so-called “most pro-LGBT Republican president” quietly appointed Roger Severino—a former Heritage staffer who has railed on everything from marriage equality to bathroom access for trans people—to head the Civil Rights Office at HHS, a position charged with making sure that the very people Severino has attacked “have equal access to health care.” What could ever go wrong with this?

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, called Trump’s selection—made last week during the failed Trumpcare fiasco in Congress—“appalling”:

Severino has attacked the way the previous Barack Obama administration enforced civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community, particularly in regards to transgender people.

He claimed that allowing people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity will traumatize female sex abuse victims and be taken advantage of by men. (There is no evidence that gender-segregated restrooms are safer for cisgender women than unisex restrooms, according to Lambda Legal.) Severino has also opposed protections for gender identity when it comes to healthcare.

This is especially relevant to his new job, because the civil rights office at HHS is tasked with making sure people have equal access to healthcare. The office does this in part by collecting complaints of discrimination, investigating them, and enforcing the rules. And the Affordable Care Act has a nondiscrimination provision that the Obama administration, after seeking thousands of public comments, defined as including gender identity and sex stereotyping. (A federal court put the gender identity provision on hold last December.)

Robin Maril, associate legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said that Trump’s move meant “that someone would be placed in charge of enforcing some of our nation’s most important civil rights laws who doesn’t necessarily believe that discrimination against LGBTQ people is a problem.” While Severino can’t single-handedly undo gains made from the previous administration, he still wields immense power in his position, and that’s enough to worry many LGBT advocates.

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Trump to strike down Clean Power Plan on Tuesday

Trump to strike down Clean Power Plan on Tuesday

Daily Kos

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan was created through executive orders supported by careful analysis and supporting regulations at agencies. That, unfortunately, makes it completely vulnerable to an action backed up by no information and no concern for the outcome.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says President Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday to roll back the Obama Clean Power Plant initiative, which aimed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Following the hottest year ever (that’s a NASA link, so get it while you can) it might seem reasonable to at least review the information behind the Clean Power initiative before drawing a line through the whole thing. But then, reasonable is not exactly a quality Trump is known for.

And watch as Pruitt plays into the Trump Digs Coal fantasy:

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Desperate for a win, some Republicans suddenly embrace ballooning the deficit to pass tax cuts

Desperate for a win, some Republicans suddenly embrace ballooning the deficit to pass tax cuts

Daily Kos

Tax reform was never going to be easy. But now, flailing politically in the wake of the health care debacle, GOP fissures are already clouding the party’s efforts to overhaul the tax code. The White House likely won’t be keen to let Paul Ryan’s House steer the effort after Ryan’s dismal legislative debut. Ryan likewise feels the same distrust of a White House that has pointed the finger at everyone and anyone associated with the health care reform defeat—except Donald Trump.

Even within the Trump administration, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is already warring over taxes with conservatives, both within his own agency and in the West Wing.

And then there’s the ideological divide within the GOP caucus itself, between members who want to spend more money bulking up the military and those who have historically refused to spend more money on anything that increases the deficit.

If Republicans manage to get anything through on taxes, it will be the result of sheer desperation, writes Alan Rappeport:

Under pressure to get something done, some Republican deficit hawks appear ready to abandon the fiscal rectitude that they embraced during the Obama administration to help salvage Mr. Trump’s agenda.

In a rare shift, Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, whose House Freedom Caucus effectively torpedoed the health legislation, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that he would not protest if tax cuts were not offset by new spending cuts or new streams of revenue, such as an import tax. […]

“Does it have to be fully offset? My personal response is no.”

Of course offsets aren’t necessary now that Barack Obama isn’t president.

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Following Trumpcare flop, Trump is back to scapegoating undocumented immigrants

Following Trumpcare flop, Trump is back to scapegoating undocumented immigrants

Daily Kos

Trumpcare flopped bigly last week, so Donald Trump’s regime has fallen back to doing what they always do best: attacking undocumented immigrants and their families. During a press conference earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to punish cities that have taken or will take steps to protect undocumented immigrants, by starving them of federal dollars:

Sessions said Monday that the Justice Department will begin using federal law to prevent any “sanctuary cities” from receiving much coveted federal grants for state and local law enforcement.

“I urge our nation’s states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies,” Sessions said from the White House. “Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars.”

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks to create a police state in which local and state law enforcement are acting at the behest of the federal government to round up immigrants in communities across the country,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“Cities seeking to comply with the constitution and protect immigrant communities should be able to do so without heavy-handed threats from the federal government. We will continue to stand up against this administration’s actions that promote unlawful profiling and xenophobia.”

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House votes Tuesday on letting your ISP sell your browsing history to the highest bidder

House votes Tuesday on letting your ISP sell your browsing history to the highest bidder

Daily Kos

Campaign Action

While the nation was distracted by the House Republican’s slow meltdown over Trumpcare last week, the Senate was doing dastardly deeds, destroying your online privacy in a partisan vote. Using the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that gives Congress the authority to review newly issued federal regulations and overrule them in an expedited process. They’re going gangbusters on this one, cutting down late Obama administration regulations as fast as they can, and this one is particularly pernicious.

Last year the FCC passed a set of rules for how ISPs deal with their customers’ data. The commonsense rules updated longstanding federal protections for Internet users. Under the rules, ISPs would be required to protect your data and wouldn’t be allowed to do a host of creepy things, including sell your Internet browsing records without your consent.

Those rules were a huge victory for consumers. Of course, the ISPs that stand to make money off of violating your privacy have been lobbying Congress to repeal those rules. Unfortunately, their anti-consumer push has been working. […]

If the House passes it, you’ll be even more at the mercy of your ISP. Because Congress is using a CRA resolution, the FCC will be prohibited from writing similar rules in the future. And thanks to the current legal landscape, no other federal agency has the authority to protect you against privacy invasions by your ISP.

Those creepy things? EFF has the list: Selling your data to marketers; hijacking your searches; snooping through your traffic and inserting ads; pre-installing software on your phone and recording every URL you visit; and injecting undetectable, undeletable tracking cookies in all of your HTTP traffic. All of these were practices internet providers routinely used before the regulation. That’s why the FCC created this rule in the first place. It’s going to happen again unless we defeat it.

The House is set to vote on this on Tuesday, hoping to rush it through while we’re celebrating a Trumpcare victory. We can stop them, as Trumpcare’s defeat demonstrates. They need to get as many calls about this as they did about Trumpcare. Your online privacy could be a thing of the past, forever.

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