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Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by Laura Clawson
McDonald's worker with a sign made to look like a paycheck to an
McDonald's workers are once again rallying ahead of the company's shareholder meeting, boosting their call for $15 an hour pay and the right to join a union. There was no ignoring the protest Wednesday:
McDonald's shut down a restaurant near its headquarters Wednesday after the area was swamped by hundreds of protesters calling for pay of $15 an hour and a union.

The restaurant was closed because of traffic concerns, said Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, a spokeswoman for McDonald's. The company also told employees in a building targeted by protesters they should work from home, she said.

McDonald's has only made a weak token gesture toward raising worker pay, saying it would raise wages in the small percentage of stores operated directly by the company, then using that to boost its case that McDonald's is not responsible for wages and working conditions in stores operated by franchisees. But the low-wage worker movement for $15 pay has had a big national impact, with the Los Angeles city council having voted this week to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Los Angeles follows Seattle and San Francisco in passing such a law, while other cities like Chicago and Oakland have raised their minimum wages above the levels passed by any state government to this point.
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Republican congressional candidate for New Hampshire's first district Frank Guinta gestures before speaking at the New Hampshire Republican Party State Convention in Concord, New Hampshire September 25, 2010. Guinta is challenging Democrat incumbent Rep.
Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH)
Rep. Frank Guinta's trouble with the Federal Election Commission shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone. The $355,000 the New Hampshire Republican loaned his own campaign in 2010 was clearly shady from the beginning, since there was no way he had $355,000 to lend himself. But obvious shadiness didn't stop Guinta from being elected in the Republican wave years of 2010 and 2014, and, since New Hampshire is an early primary state, it didn't stop some Republican presidential candidates from sucking up to him:
Among presidential contenders, Bush has been most generous by far. He donated $5,200 through his super PAC, Right to Rise, in February. [...] Bush also headlined a fundraiser for Guinta during a whirlwind tour of New Hampshire in March.

Bush also personally donated $1,000 to Guinta's campaign last October. Filings with the Federal Elections Commission show that Bush listed himself as a "self-employed" giver from Coral Gables, Fla. when he made the donation on Oct. 14.

Donald Trump and Rick Perry's PAC both gave Guinta money, while Carly Fiorina campaigned for him last fall.

Let's be clear: Even if these actual and potential candidates join other Republicans in backing away from Guinta—Bush has issued a statement saying he "does not believe Congressman Guinta's actions were appropriate"—they cozied up to him despite knowing that he'd engaged in extremely questionable campaign finance activities. This was not some murky, unknown story, it was just an issue the FEC hadn't finished investigating. Bush in particular aggressively courted Guinta either knowing about this issue or not having bothered to do the most basic due diligence on someone he was giving thousands of dollars. Backing away a few steps once Guinta is facing widespread calls to resign isn't exactly a strong stand for campaign ethics.

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A member of the media conducts an interview while holding images of potential Republican Presidential candidates during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED ST
GOP 2016 hopefuls have decided it's all about the base on immigration. Alan Rappeport reviews their stances and finds most of them are saying, border security first, report to deport, and no path to citizenship. Which is not at all what they were saying before.
On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey told Megyn Kelly that a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants was an “extreme way to go” and explained why he has changed his view on the issue.

“I think I have learned over time about this issue and done a lot more work on it,” Mr. Christie said. “I think everyone has to do what you need to do to be able to get educated on these issues and learn.”

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin also defended his new and harder line on immigration to Fox’s Bret Baier.

In 2013, Mr. Walker said that a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “makes sense” and that he wants people from anywhere in the world to come to America and work hard.

However, on Tuesday night he said that he was against amnesty and that illegal immigrants who live in the United States must go back to their countries of origin and apply for citizenship if they want legal status.

Oh, yes, they've all learned so much and now they see the error of their ways and, most importantly, the warm glow of the base's embrace on the horizon.

But the grandest flip-flopper of them all on immigration is Sen. Marco Rubio, as we've noted before.

“If we want to move forward on immigration, the first thing we’re going to have to do is prove to the American people that future illegal immigration is under control,” he said.
Just FYI guys, Obama "got tough" on enforcement and deported at a record pace (far higher rates than George W. Bush). Guess what, immigration reform still failed in 2013 and we still have roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
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(L-R) U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) lock arms and sing
The little-known Export-Import Bank is in peril as the GOP crazy caucus sharpens the knives to cut its funding entirely (or not reauthorize it, to be more precise). The government bank loans money to American companies like Boeing and General Motors that export products overseas. Its supporters say the bank's responsible for thousands of jobs and losing those jobs is something House Speaker John Boehner would like to avoid, putting him in a pickle yet again with his right flank. Lauren French has the details:
Democrats want to reauthorize the bank and say it would pass if the speaker allowed a vote, but that would mean defying the wishes of a majority of the GOP conference.

[Texas Rep. Jeb] Hensarling, along with Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Raúl Labrador of Idaho and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, said enough of the 245-member Republican delegation are opposed to preserving the bank that House Republican leaders should let the agency die on June 30.

Still, there are deep divisions within the GOP over the bank. Boehner has said letting the bank’s authorization expire could kill thousands of jobs, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are pushing aggressively to extend its charter.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (along with every GOP 2016 hopeful) also favors killing the bank, which really puts the screws to Boehner. But the bank's Senate supporters, both Republican and Democratic, hope to reauthorize funding through an amendment to the trade legislation McConnell is pushing to finish by week's end. If they succeed, Boehner will really be in the hot seat.
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Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) talks to reporters during a series of votes in Washington December 17, 2011. The U.S. Senate voted on Saturday to extend a payroll tax cut for two months in legislation that also attempts to force President Barack Obama to appro
Thursday morning, the Senate voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but getting to cloture was a challenge. Ultimately, the price for some Democratic lawmakers to give their support was a promise from Republican leadership that they would forward an extension of the Export-Import Bank, the federally backed bank that provides assistance to U.S. corporations selling their goods abroad. They got that assurance, including from House Speaker John Boehner.
Speaker John Boehner said if the Senate passes an extension of the Export-Import Bank he would allow the bill to come to the House floor under an "open amendment process."

The plan, which Boehner said he laid out for House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, would test support for the government-backed institution. There are sure to be amendments to end, wind down and reform the bank, which guarantees loans for companies doing business overseas.

Meanwhile, the Club for Growth is stepping up with attack ads against House Republicans who support the extension of the Ex-Im Bank.
The ads will begin Friday in the home districts of Reps. David McKinley of West Virginia, Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart of Utah, and Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, a spokesman for the group said Wednesday.

The spots, which will air on both broadcast and cable networks, are part of $1 million campaign from the Club timed to coincide with Congress's debate over reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank. (The bank is better described as a government credit agency that backs loans to foreign entities as incentive to sign deals with U.S. companies. The Club sees this as corporate welfare.) […]

In the TV spots, the lawmakers are criticized for supporting a "petri dish of corruption and graft." In Bishop and Stewart's case, they are compared unfavorably to fellow Republican colleagues Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch. In West Virginia, the Club said McKinley supported a program backed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

That last bit is pretty funny, the comparison with Orrin Hatch. Because the TPA bill is being managed in the Senate by Hatch, who had to have agreed with having this Ex-Im Bank vote to move TPA forward. Nonetheless, tea party Republicans in the House will probably tank the Ex-Im Bank extension, making this demand from Democrats to support TPA look pretty pointless.
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U.S. former Secretary of State, and now a Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, attends a Georgetown University luncheon to deliver remarks and present awards for the Advancement of Women in Peace and Security in Washington April 22,
Public Policy Polling has some new numbers from Washington State that suggest two things: 1) the Republican field is a total wild card; 2) Hillary Clinton is a far more competitive candidate than any of her Democratic rivals, at least at this stage of race.

Here's a glimpse of the first phenomenon:

Clinton leads the GOP hopefuls by anywhere from 10 to 15 points. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio come the closest, each trailing by 10 at 49/39. Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are each down by 11 at 48/37 and 49/38 respectively. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul face 12 point deficits at 50/38. Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry lag by 13 points at 50/37. And Chris Christie does the worst of the Republican field with a 15 point deficit at 49/34.
Ben Carson—this Ben Carson, and this Ben Carson—leads the GOP pack! Along with Marco Rubio. If that's the "deep bench" Republicans have been all abuzz about, bring it!

PPP points out that while Clinton's showing doesn't quite match the 15- to 17-point margins Barack Obama won Washington by in 2008/2012, it far exceeds the 5- to 7-point margins that Al Gore and John Kerry bested their GOP rivals by in 2000 and 2004.

The firm also matched up Scott "Shifty" Walker against Clinton's (potential) Democratic rivals in the deep blue state and found that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders did the best, but he still only tied old Shifty.

Bernie Sanders achieves a tie at 35, and the rest of the Democrats trail him--Jim Webb by 1 point at 33/32, Martin O'Malley by 3 points at 34/31, and Lincoln Chafee by 6 points at 35/29. The weak performances of the alternate Democrats are a byproduct of their being so little known that they get only 54-61% of their own party's vote but nevertheless they show how much more formidable Clinton is than anyone else on her side.
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Mugshots of the Baltimore Police officers who killed Freddie Gray
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has announced that a grand jury has returned indictments for six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. The officers are Lt. Brian W. Rice, Officer Edward M. Nero, Officer Garrett E. Miller, Sgt. Alicia D. White, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., and Officer William G. Porter.

All face charges ranging from assault and involuntary manslaughter to, in the case of Goodson, "Second degree depraved heart murder." The officers are to be arraigned on July 2nd.

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Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney speaks about national security at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in this file photo from May 21, 2009. Cheney, 69, was hospitalized in George Washington Hospital on February 22, 2010 after experienci
No kidding.
In the much-needed pile-on lambasting the most recent round of Iraq War whitewashing, Ex-CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell appeared on the TV to say that yes, the Bush administration lied to the public about the intelligence presented to them. He was the one briefing the White House on that intelligence at the time, and so he is among the most very qualified people on earth to make that assertion. But he didn't pipe up with this at the time, you must understand, because that wasn't his job.
[CHRIS MATTHEWS]: You're the briefer for the president on intelligence, you're the top person to go in and tell him what's going on. You see Cheney make this charge he's got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, "No that's not what we told him." [...]

MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA's best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they're saying on TV.

Given the magnitude of death and destruction unleashed as a result of those misrepresentations, you have to admire the man's devotion to his own job security. A true hero.
MATTHEWS: So you're briefing the president on the reasons for war, they're selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn't. So they're using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted. [...]

MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects.

Add this to the pile, then. There were many, many Americans that knew at the time that the intelligence being presented to justify the Iraq War was weak or simply fraudulent; the case being made against the war at the time relied on U.N. weapons inspectors, nuclear experts, foreign policy experts and others who regularly piped up to say that assertions about "aluminum tubes" or "yellowcake uranium" or an "Al-Qaeda connection" were simply false. The intelligence community knew it as well, which is why the neoconservative team of Cheney, Rumsfeld and so on quickly began to rely on a separate, less rigorous intelligence pipeline of their own design.

The question of whether or not a candidate would go to war knowing what we know now is moot; nearly all of these people supported the war at the time, because it simply would not do to be seen as weak on terror, whether that terror was real or invented, and so we have a very good idea whether they would have supported the war using known-dubious claims unsupported by intelligence. Because they did that thing.

The more salient question (below the fold):

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Reposted from Meteor Blades by Meteor Blades
Global warming.
That arrogance does not, however, come from the scientists behind the 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers that say civilization's emissions of greenhouse gases are driving climate change. Nor from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who are 95 percent certain the human activities are causing climate change.

Rather it is the lethal arrogance of the shills for the fossil fuels fools who have, over the past quarter-century, done the bidding of their paymasters in twisting the facts about climate change—when they haven't been fabricating "facts" outright.

They started out, some of them, claiming even that the whole greenhouse gas theory was bogus. Over time they've moved through various levels of denial: climate change isn't happening, seasons aren't being altered, sea levels aren't rising; it's happening but it's not a big deal and humans aren't causing it; it's happening but its impacts are minor and far in the future; it's happening but it will open up beneficial new commercial opportunities like growing food crops farther north; it's happening but it's too expensive to do anything about it and trying to prevent it from getting worse will kill jobs. Et cetera, ad nauseam. There has been the occasional step backward in the progression of denial, too, as with the claims that there's been a "pause" or "hiatus" in warming, something scientists say is simply not the case when the entire atmospheric-oceanic system is taken into account.

Now Mr. Jeb Bush might seem on the surface not to be among the worst of the deniers. His Wednesday remarks seem to show him trying to straddle the issue:

"I don't think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It's convoluted," he said at a house party in Bedford, New Hampshire.

"For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you," he continued. "It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality."

But such a remark makes him no better than Republican James Inhofe, the Senate snowball tosser who has repeatedly claimed, including in his ridiculous book, that climate change is a liberal hoax. Even Inhofe has moved on from his original stance that the climate isn't changing at all to agreeing that it is changing but that humans aren't the cause of it. Inhofe has said: "My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

There's more on this below the orange calligraphy.

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The administration has sent dire warnings about NSA having to shut down its dragnet surveillance system of phone metadata which will expire in 10 days unless Congress acts.
"After May 22, 2015, the National Security Agency will need to begin taking steps to wind down the bulk-telephone-metadata program in anticipation of a possible sunset in order to ensure that it does not engage in any unauthorized collection or use of the metadata," the memo states.
Never mind that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the ongoing collection of metadata is currently unauthorized, operating illegally and subject to a constitutional challenge. Without a change in the law, the court will in all likelihood shut the program down. So that takes us to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set up Saturday cloture votes on the program. One vote is on the USA Freedom Act as passed overwhelmingly in the House. The other is on McConnell's preferred choice, a two-month extension of the program as is.

It's not clear that either bill actually has 60 votes to pass cloture. It's also not clear what happens if they do pass cloture, extending debate into next week and Memorial Day. In the case of a short extension, the House has made it pretty clear that it will reject it, and at any rate is scheduled to leave for recess on Thursday. Additionally, House leadership has committed to not trying to pass a short-term extension by voice vote or unanimous consent while the House is in pro forma sessions during recess.

So at this point, the only way the program will continue would be for the Senate to accept the USA Freedom Act without amendments. Sen. Rand Paul's not-really-a-filibuster filibuster Wednesday raises the question of whether that's a possibility. The likeliest outcome at this point is that these programs sunset, at least for a while, until the Congress comes back next month and McConnell restarts the fight between straight reauthorization and reform.

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Governor Scott Walker, potential Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX1E0LB
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)
As the Republican presidential primary gets into gear, the candidates are having to get themselves in line with what Republican primary voters want to hear—even if it means saying things that will hurt them in a general election. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's problems have been so extreme that he's been forced to try to redefine what flip-flop means, but he's not alone in his struggles. Jeb Bush's flailing on the Iraq question may someday enter the realm of political legend, and he's had to quit talking about "respect" when opposing marriage equality.

Especially coming after Mitt Romney's performance in 2012, this has to make some Republicans nervous:

“You have to be careful when you are doing this — that you don’t so embrace your base that it becomes impossible to move and have some flexibility or nuances in your position moving forward,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
But Stuart Stevens, a former top Romney adviser, thinks there's nothing to worry about:
Said Stevens, “It’s like watching people warm up for the Super Bowl and then saying: ‘What do you think the consequences will be in the third quarter?’ ”
If the Romney campaign thought the early primary campaign was just a warm-up period that didn't matter to the election, that might explain a lot. And if the current candidates want to see it that way, too, far be it from me to stand in their way.
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  • Today's comic by Ruben Bolling is On Iraq: W.W.J.H.D.? (What Would Jeb Have Done?):
    Cartoon by Ruben Bolling - On Iraq: W.W.J.H.D.? (What Would Jeb Have Done?)
  • Initial unemployment compensation claims rise, but still historically low: For the week ending May 16, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment compensation were 274,000, up 10,000 from the previous week, the Department of Labor reports. For the comparable week of 2014, the number was 325,000. The four-week running average, which flattens volatility in the weekly numbers, was 266,250, down 5,500 from the previous week. The four-week after is the lowest since April 15, 2000. For the week ending May 2, the total number of Americans claiming compensation was 2,195,714, down 58,933 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2014, there were 2,620,550 persons making claims.
  • A bunch of Foxaganda blowhards blast Obama for calling climate change a national security threat: Lou Dobbs did it, Charles Krauthammer did it, Eric Bolling did it, Stuart Varney did it. The president they said, each in his own way, was out of it to label climate change a threat. Bolling said Wednesday: "It's not a real threat. It's not a credible threat. It's not an imminent threat. ISIS is." That's not, says Media Matters, the view of the Pentagon, which has been raising the issue of climate change privately for a decade and publicly since its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. For instance, here's a slice from the Center of Naval Analyses' report National Security and the Accelerating Risk Of Climate Change:
    The nature and pace of observed climate changes--and an emerging scientific consensus on their projected consequences--pose severe risks for our national security. During our decades of experience in the U.S. military, we have addressed many national security challenges, from containment and deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War to political extremism and transnational terrorism in recent years. The national security risks of projected climate change are as serious as any challenges we have faced. [...]

    In many areas, the projected impacts of climate change will be more than threat multipliers; they will serve as catalysts for instability and conflict.

  • Just in time for summer, House votes to end ban against sledding on Capitol Hill:
    The legislation passed by the House of Representatives urges the U.S. Capitol Police not to enforce the law, which has prohibited sledding for security reasons since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

    "Today the commonsense non-enforcement of the sledding ban on Capitol Hill, the way it has been for many years, is assured," Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement late on Tuesday.

    Winter sports fans no doubt hope there is no filibuster on this in the Senate.
  • N.J. most circulated newspaper says Christie has "lost touch with reality":
    The editorial board of The Newark Star-Ledger slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Wednesday for having "lost touch with reality" so much that he believes he still has a shot at the presidency.

    The scathing editorial in the state's biggest newspaper referenced a recent Quinnipiac poll that showed 65 percent of New Jersey residents believed Christie wouldn't make a good President. The governor spun that statistic to defend his 2016 prospects in an interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly that aired Monday night.

  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook May 20:
    Bush CIA Deputy Director Admits We Were Lied Into Iraq War, by ericlewis0

    UPDATE: WELL I'LL BE DAMNED: Luis Lang quits GOP, calls for Single Payer., by Brainwrap

    UBS Pleads Guilty to Biggest Financial Scam in History - Citibank & J.P. Morgan Also Plead Guilty, by ericlewis0

  • Six people are locked in a dome on Mauna Loa, pretending that they are living on Mars:
    When they’re not performing their experiments, the group finds ways to kill the time much like other Mars simulations. They play board games that last for weeks. They watch movies, read (Dunn had to specifically request that VICE articles be cached for her since it is typically blocked on NASA networks) and even golf, splitting the communal upkeep on a rotating basis. Meals are generally informal affairs, with crew members able to take breakfast and lunch at their leisure. Dinners are cooked in rotation by the crew members, who take on the role of chef about once a week, and serve as more of a communal affair for the crew.
  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin's 2016 roundup. Who failed Luis Lang? How docs pass the dull moments. Crashing at the Capitol. NSA's smartphone trap door. Banning local bans. The worst of "Stand Your Ground." Right's 54th try at their own MoveOn.


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