POLITICS

Clyburn: Trump and family one of ‘the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime’

House Majority Whip James Clyburn isn't mincing any words or playing any games any more. Donald Trump is one of "the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime," he told NBC News. And then he went there.

"Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany. And he went about the business of discrediting institutions to the point that people bought into his stuff," he said, pointing out that Hitler's path from chancellor to dictator was essentially unimpeded. "Nobody would have believed it now. But swastikas hung in churches throughout Germany. We had better be very careful."

His message was for the traditional media and his colleagues in Congress. "To allow anybody to discredit the press, discredit the military, to discredit our leadership in—both in the Congress and outside—we are asking for dire consequences and I think it's time for the Congress, House and Senate, to grow spines and do what is necessary to protect this democracy," he said. "This man and his family are the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime."

He also is willing to go where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won't, at least not yet. Impeachment is within the realm of possibility, he suggested, even with a Republican Senate. "I think all of us know that impeachment is a political concept," he said, but "if the committees do their work properly, they will be able to bring the public along with them. They will be able to set the tone for impeachment if that is deserved." There is still Mitch McConnell, so Clyburn might be giving a little too much credit there.

But the case does still need to be made. Robert Mueller must be able to finish his work, and the results of it must be provided to the people. And impeachment needs to be restored as a usable tool for securing our democracy.

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Hundreds of Texas landowners get notice of Trump administration’s land grab

90-year-old Texan Elvira Canales said that while no one from the federal government has told her a proposed border wall could go through her land, she’s nonetheless prepared to fight to defend what is hers. "I won't sell it,” she said, “or I won't give it permission because it's my property for generations and generations.” Hundreds of others, however, could be bracing for a bitter fight.

“More than 570 landowners in two counties, Hidalgo and Starr, have received right-of-entry letters from the government asking to survey their land for possible border wall construction,” NPR reports. Possible, because Congress has firmly rejected Donald Trump’s border wall, and now his fake emergency is seeking to raid military pensions. The administration is seeking billions, but Texans who have fought the government over previous plans to build border barriers have been paid fractions of that. In 2007, Eloisa Tamez fought a plan to seize her land and lost. She got $56,000. "I converted some of that for scholarships for graduate nursing students,” she said.

Those hundreds of Texas landowners should know who’s to blame for this current mess. “We look forward to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz explaining to this 90-year old border landowner and others how this represents constituent service at its finest,” said Mario Carrillo of immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice. “The land grab pushed by Republicans seems strikingly at odds with the GOP's self-image as the party of small government and property rights, but Cornyn and Cruz’s acquiescence to Trump is on brand for our state’s senators.”

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Trump promised muscular economic growth would pay for his $1.5 trillion tax cut—he lied

Everyone knew it was a lie when Donald Trump and GOP leadership did it, and now White House officials are finally conceding what everyone knew. Their $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to the rich will not even come close to paying for itself, reports the New York Times.

The tax cut did provide a short-term boost to the economy, but Trump administration officials now admit that it cannot sustain the 3 percent growth they had forecasted over the long term. Naturally, Trump told an even bigger lie, touting a sustained 5 percent growth rate (and sometimes higher), while his advisers pushed a still heady, but slightly less fantastical, 3 percent long-term growth rate. Well, not so much.

A new report from the administration says the only way to meet that 3 percent pledge over the next decade would be to make more regulatory rollbacks on labor policies, pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, and enact another tax cut—because apparently the one Republicans conceived of and passed on their own was crap.

C'mon, who do these bozos think we are? Honestly, even if all these measures were possible with Trump at the helm (and they’re not), why in the heck should Americans believe a word of it? These are the same people who tossed out wildly unrealistic growth predictions and insisted they were true in the face of basically every real economist and other experts saying they were being unrealistic. 

As it is now, White House aides say the economy will slow to a 2 percent growth rate by 2026 if nothing is done to goose it again. Frankly, even that may be an overly sunny prediction. 

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Michigan bail reform bills aim to drop the price tag on the presumption of innocence

A bipartisan group of legislators in Michigan’s state House and Senate introduced a package of bills on March 13 that would result in major reforms of the state’s bail system. If the legislators are successful, low-income residents will no longer have to sit in jail before their trial dates just because they’re poor.

In most U.S. states, the cash bail system in effect creates two separate criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and well-off, and one that’s completely different for those who can’t purchase the presumption of their innocence. As Daily Kos reported in November, 451,000 people are currently incarcerated nationwide because they can’t pay bail amounts of as little as $300. According to state Democratic Rep. David LaGrand, who has been working on bail reform since 2014, on any given day “probably more than 10,000” people are incarcerated in Michigan alone due to their inability to post bail.

According to LaGrand, his package of bills will accomplish four major reforms. The first will be to provide people who have been arrested with a financial disclosure form they can fill out and hand to judges so the judges have an idea how much bail—if any—those before their bench can afford to pay. “In Michigan right now, judges don’t necessarily know how much money people have available to them when the judge sets a bond,” LaGrand explained to Daily Kos. “That means judges can inadvertently set, for example, a $300 bond for someone who’s only got $200 in their pocket. And there’s no difference between a $300 bond and a $1 million bond if you’ve only got $200.”

The second reform would require judges to explain their decisions when ruling on whether or not someone who has been arrested will be released or detained before trial. This will allow defendants to explain circumstances that judges may incorrectly assume make the defendants a flight risk.

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