Daily Kos Recommended

ICYMI: Here are the top stories of the week so far:

The Daily Kos Recommended email includes our most read and widely shared stories from Daily Kos staff and our community.

Want to write your own stories? Log in or sign up to post articles and comments on Daily Kos, the nation’s largest progressive community.

Follow Daily Kos on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Thanks for all you do,
The Daily Kos team

Do you support Bernie Sanders? [YES or NO]

<> on August 14, 2015 in Clear Lake, Iowa.Following victories in early primary states, Senator Bernie Sanders is surging in polling across the country – with key states and the national averages seeing increases. Does the recent “Sanders surge” affect whether you support him?

Do you support Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary?

YES>>

NO>>

UNSURE>>

This new pulse poll closes tonight when the debate starts, so please respond quickly!

With the current lead that Bernie Sanders has over other candidates in the race, some are calling for progressives to consolidate their support and rally behind Sanders as the nominee; but with only two states having completed their primaries, others are calling the move premature.

What do you think, Robert – should progressives unite behind Sanders or wait until more states finish their primaries?

Take the new member pulse poll today! >>

Thanks for all that you do,

— Zach, PFAW

Petition to support Rep. Adam Schiff

Hi everyone — the team working to re-elect Rep. Adam Schiff to the House this November is putting together a thank-you card to show Adam how much we’ve appreciated his work over the past few months.

Add your name to the thank you card and join the Schiff team working to re-elect Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28).

ADD YOUR NAME 


download

Over the past few months, Rep. Adam Schiff has worked tirelessly to defend our democracy and ensure that no one — not even the President of the United States — is above the law.

This has been a historic and somber journey, and through it all we’ve been proud of how Adam has never wavered in his determination to do the right thing, and to call on his colleagues in both parties to do the same.

Despite the onslaught of vicious attacks from President Trump, the GOP, and Fox News, Adam stood up and stood strong. And we want to make sure he knows that for millions of Americans around the nation, right matters, truth matters.

Will you take a moment to thank Adam by signing our thank-you card today? We’ll be delivering it to him in the next couple of days, and we know it’ll mean so much for him to see your name on there.

ADD YOUR NAME

Thank you for always having Adam’s back,

Team Schiff

Petition: Support Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

vindmanWill you sign the petition stating that we stand in solidarity with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and do not accept Trump’s retaliation against witnesses who testified on impeachment in front of the House?

With a blank check from the Senate’s sham impeachment trial in hand, Donald Trump is out for revenge. He’s lashing out against anyone who put their loyalty to the country ahead of their loyalty to him—and against people whose only involvement is being related to individuals who testified before Congress.

Lt. Col. Vindman has been pushed out of his role at the National Security Council and was escorted from the White House. The American people will not sit quietly by as President Trump fires a decorated military officer in childish retaliation.1

Sign this petition stating that we stand in solidarity with Lt. Col. Vindman and that Trump cannot retaliate against witnesses in his own impeachment trial.

Sign Devon’s petition

 

Alexander Vindman is the top Ukraine expert who was on the fated July 25 phone call where Trump tried to extort an investigation into the Bidens from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman later testified before the House about what he heard on the call.

Vindman did this country a great service. He felt, in his words, a “sense of duty” to tell Americans the truth—and now, that honorable act has cost him his job, his career, and his privacy. It also led to the dismissal of Lt. Col. Vindman’s brother, who had no involvement in the testimony. Vindman needs to know that Americans are thankful for his courage—and that Trump’s attacks can’t change the important truth that he told.

And the White House must be met with a nationwide outcry that we will not allow for witness retaliation and that we condemn Trump’s abhorrent decision to punish Vindman for his patriotism.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks for all you do.

–Devon Nir, Common Cause

Source:

1. “Trump Fires Impeachment Witnesses Gordon Sondland and Alexander Vindman in Post-Acquittal Purge,” The New York Times, February 7, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/116729?t=10&akid=256826%2E41173931%2E1i5geo

 

Free Sticker: “VOTE THEM OUT!” – Moveon.org

The last few weeks of Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate have thrown into sharp relief just how corrupt Trump is—and how far Republicans will go to protect him from any consequences for his criminality.

But we won’t forget their complicity in Trump’s crimes. We won’t forget their sham proceeding with no witnesses and no documents. And in November, we’ll make sure that they pay for it at the ballot box.

To help spread this message far and wide, MoveOn has just printed a big batch of “Vote Them Out” stickers, and we’re giving them away for free, while supplies last.

Just click here or on the image below to order your sticker now.

We don’t yet know exactly what Trump will say tonight during the State of the Union, but if he follows his old patterns, he will certainly use this national air time to promote conspiracy theories, demonize immigrant and refugee communities, lie about his record, and work to demoralize Democrats and progressives while rallying his base. And he may brag about his impending “total exoneration.”

But if his goal is to stamp down our energy, he has already failed. We are outraged, and we are turning that outrage into action.

For the next nine months, MoveOn members and our allies will flex our muscles and build an unstoppable grassroots movement to defeat Republicans up and down the ballot, and elect Democrats to the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.

Will you help us spread the message, Robert? Click here to order your free “Vote Them Out” sticker now.

Thanks for all you do.

–Kelly, Oscar, Tzyh, David, and the rest of the team

Moveon.org: Free Impeachment stickers!

It’s official: The House has just voted to impeach Donald Trump, making him only the third president in United States history to achieve such an infamous designation.

This is an enormous milestone, driven in large part by the work of MoveOn members like you, Robert.

To mark this momentous day—and to remind the senators who will now pick up the process that no one is above the law—MoveOn has printed a big batch of these impeachment stickers, and we’re giving them away for free while supplies last.

Just click here or on the image below to order yours now!

As we move into this next phase of the impeachment and removal fight, let’s not forget just how much work went into building a movement to make this day possible.

MoveOn called for Trump’s impeachment over two years ago, after his first attempts to obstruct the investigation into Russian election meddling, and ever since, MoveOn members and our allies have been steadily growing a coalition of support for impeachment in the face of Trump’s continued, blatant, and unrepentant criminality.

Although the House voted to impeach Trump on only two counts—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—they point to the larger pattern of his corruption and cruelty.

As the Mueller report laid out, Trump attempted to obstruct that investigation at least ten times, and he encouraged contacts between his campaign and Russian agents.

Not only did he attempt to bribe Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 elections, he then openly called for China to do the same and directed his administration to refuse to cooperate with the House’s investigation of those efforts.

And most heinously, he violated international law by ripping children from their families at the border and holding immigrants and asylum-seekers in concentration camps, often without access to food, water, hygiene products, or medicine.

Donald Trump may not have earned much in his life on his own, but he earned his impeachment.

Now let’s spread the word that Trump is not above the law and make sure that the Senate does its job by convicting and removing him from office.

Click here to get your free sticker now.

Thanks for all you do.

–Kelly, Kate, David, Mark, and the rest of the team

Report: UAE linked to illegal influence in 2016 US election

Adviser to UAE crown prince allegedly funnelled over $3.5m in illegal campaign contributions, New York Times says.

An indictment links the United Arab Emirates to illegal campaign donations [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]
An indictment links the United Arab Emirates to illegal campaign donations

A federal indictment unsealed in the United States details how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sought influence in the campaigns of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump in the 2016 election, according to a report by the New York Times.

The indictment, which was released this week by the US Department of Justice, accuses businessman George Nader of funnelling more than $3.5m in illicit campaign donations through fellow businessman Ahmad Khawaja.

Khawaja has also been charged with acting as a conduit for Nader’s illegal contributions.

The donations sought to attain “favour” and “potential financial support” in Washington for an unnamed foreign government , at first with Democrat Clinton and her allies, and then with Trump after he unexpectedly won the election, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper said that a close-reading of the 64-page indictment makes it clear that the government in question is the United Arab Emirates, where Nader runs a business and advises Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

While lobbyists with foreign clients regularly make contributions to US political campaigns, critics told the newspaper that the alleged scheme detailed in the indictment is one of the most brazen attempts by a foreign government to buy foreign influence during a campaign in recent memory. Rarely, the newspaper noted, has a head of state been so closely linked to allegedly evading campaign finance laws.

Nader had previously testified last year during the Federal Bureau of Investigations inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He is in jail in the US on charges related to the possession of child pornography.

‘Baklava’, ‘Our Sister’, and ‘HH’

The federal indictment detailed that Nader and Khawaja, in messages, often referred to the back-channel donations as “baklava”, candidate Clinton as “Our Sister” or “the Big Lady”, and the UAE crown prince by the initials “HH” for his His Highness.

Leaked documents show Saudi, UAE bid to influence Trump

“Will send you a note on the matter as per HH instruction,” Nader wrote in a text message in late June 2016, which also described a million-dollar payment of “baklava”, according to the report.

Several exchanges quoted in the indictment also show Nader reassuring Khawaja about the delivery of large sums of money to pay for donations.

“Fresh hand made Baklva on the way designed especially for that private event at your house later this month! First tray on the way!” Nader wrote in a message in July 2016. “Once you taste it and you like the choices more on the way soon.”

The messages also indicated that Nader kept the crown prince abreast of his efforts.

“Traveling on Sat morning to catch up with our Big Sister and her husband: I am seeing him on Sunday and her in Tuesday Sir! Would love to see you tomorrow at your convenience. . . for your guidance, instruction and blessing!” Nader wrote in June 2016 to an Emirati official who appears to be the crown prince, the New York Times report said.

A representative of the Emirati embassy in Washington declined to comment to the newspaper.

Petition: Investigate US Rep. Devin Nunes for complicity in the Ukraine affair.

Nunes.jpgThe House Intelligence Committee has submitted its report of the Trump impeachment inquiry—and it is definitive, detailed & utterly damning.

But what’s also noteworthy is how Rep. Devin Nunes—the ranking Republican on that committee—was directly involved in all aspects of the scheme he was pretending to investigate. He was more than just a Trump apologist. He is a Trump accomplice.

We already knew that in November 2018, Devin Nunes traveled to the Ukraine with three aides—where he allegedly met with corrupt former prosecutor Viktor Shokin for the express purpose of supporting Trump’s conspiracy theory against Joe Biden.

Now, the committee’s 300-page report shows that in April 2019, Nunes spoke with indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas—who was tasked by Trump to investigate the Biden’s activities in Ukraine. And we also now know that Nunes had talks with Rudy Giuliani, right when he was orchestrating the move to oust the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine.

The fox was guarding the henhouse. Devin Nunes was more than just a partisan Republican, eager to defend Trump for political expediency. He was actively involved in enabling Donald Trump’s abuse of power, which should get the president impeached.

Sign the petition: Impeaching Donald Trump is not enough. We need to investigate Rep. Devin Nunes, for his outrageous complicity.

Click to AUTOMATICALLY sign the petition
Our message to the House Ethics Committee:
I am deeply disturbed at reports that Rep. Devin Nunes traveled to the Ukraine to help Trump dig up dirt on Joe Biden. It seems likely that he is doing more than just defending the President, but has instead abused his role on the House Intelligence Committee to jeopardize our national security and the integrity of our elections.

Keep fighting,
Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos

Aljazeera: What are US articles of impeachment, and what happens next?

House Speaker Pelosi says she has instructed the House Judiciary panel to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.

Trump attends the NATO leaders summit in Watford, UK [File: Toby Melville/Reuters]

Trump attends the NATO leaders summit in Watford, UK

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday asked the House Judiciary Committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

The announcement came after weeks of public hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, a 300-page report and divisive rhetoric highlighting the political divide that has come to define the impeachment process.

More:

With Democrats moving forward with impeachment charges, here’s a quick guide to how impeachment works, what happens next.

1. What is impeachment?

The founders of the United States included impeachment in the US Constitution as an option for removal of presidents by Congress.

They agreed that presidents could be removed if found guilty by Congress of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

2. What are articles of impeachment?

The sole authority under the Constitution to bring articles of impeachment is vested in the House of Representatives where proceedings can begin in the Judiciary Committee. If the House approves articles of impeachment, or formal charges, he or she would then be subject to trial in the US Senate.

In the context of Trump, Democrats first pursued a two-month inquiry, led by the House Intelligence Committee, which submitted a 300-page report about its findings earlier this week.

Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his power of office.

“The facts are uncontested,” Pelosi said on Thursday. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and (a) critical Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.”

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes a statement at the Capitol in Washington

The inquiry is centred on a July phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential frontrunner, and his son Hunter, who served on a board of a Ukrainian gas company. Trump also wanted an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 elections.

At the time of the call, the Trump administration was withholding nearly $400m in military aid from Ukraine.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, calling the impeachment inquiry a hoax.

It’s unclear what articles of impeachment will be presented, but Pelosi’s comments on Tuesday offered a framework for what they may look like. They could also include obstruction of Congress and Justice, Democrats have said. The White House has stonewalled requests from the House for testimony and documents.

3. What happens next?

The House Judiciary Committee has announced it will hold a hearing on Monday that will include presentations on the evidence form the impeachment inquiry.

It’s unclear how long the process will take, but many expect the full House to vote by the end of the year on formal impeachment charges. Impeachment in the 435-member House must be approved with a simple majority.

Before then, however, the House Judiciary Committee will draw up and vote on articles of impeachment.

If the House votes to impeach, the matter moves to the Senate, where a trial is held. The chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial.

A two-thirds majority vote is required in the 100-member Senate to convict and remove a president from office.

The Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. At this point, no Republicans have indicated they will vote against the president should a trial take place.

4. Who would become president if Trump was removed?

A Senate conviction that removed Trump from office would automatically elevate Vice President Mike Pence to become president, completing Trump’s term, which ends on January 20, 2021.

 

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Trump administration moves to eliminate food stamps for 700,000 of his constituents. (He’s a Christian.)

The US Department of Agriculture has finalised a rule tightening work requirements for government food assistance.

Emma Goldman Quote: “Ask for work. If they don’t give you ...
With the implementation of a new work requirement rule, the US government could potentially take food assistance away from nearly 700,000 Americans 

The administration of United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said it will make it harder for states to keep men and women in the country’s food stamp programme, a move that is projected to end benefits for nearly 700,000 people.

Trump has argued that many Americans receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment. The programme provides free food to 36 million Americans.

More:

Three million could lose food stamps under new Trump proposal

New US rule would target immigrants who use public benefits

Food prices are skyrocketing, and economists are worried

The administration has finalised a rule that tightens guidelines on when and where states can waive limits on how long certain residents can receive benefits. The changes will move more “able-bodied” adults into the workplace, said US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“States are seeking waivers for wide swaths of their population[s], and millions of people who could work are continuing to receive SNAP benefits,” he told reporters.

The US generally limits the amount of time that adults can receive food stamps when they are aged 18-49 and who do not have dependents or disability benefits. The limitations are usually three months within a 36-month period unless the adults meet certain work requirements.

States can apply for waivers to this time limit due to tough economic conditions. However, counties with an unemployment rate as low as 2.5 percent have been included in waived areas, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency that runs SNAP.

The USDA is stiffening guidelines defining where recipients can reside to be eligible for waivers and standards for demonstrating whether an area has enough jobs to justify a waiver.

The US unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in October.

“We need everyone who can work to work,” Perdue said.

But critics say the moves will hurt poor Americans.

“This is an unacceptable escalation of the administration’s war on working families, and it comes during a time when too many are forced to stretch already-thin budgets to make ends meet,” said US Congressional Representative Marcia Fudge, an Ohio State Democrat.

The administration has sought to tighten requirements for food stamps without congressional approval after the US Congress blocked a Trump-backed effort to pass new restrictions through the Farm Bill last year.

The latest rule will take effect next year and save the government $5.5bn over five years by removing about 688,000 people from the food stamps rolls, said Brandon Lipps, a USDA deputy undersecretary.

“For those impacted, it will mean less nutritious meals or meals that are skipped altogether,” said Cassie Ramos, policy associate for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group.