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Progressives furious as ‘pathetic’ Chuck Schumer rubber stamps 15 more right-wing judges for Trump

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With progressives still mobilized and angrier than ever following Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s successful confirmation to the Supreme Court amid credible sexual assault allegations, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) provided further cause for fury—and added to already deafening calls for new leadership in the Democratic Party—by cutting a deal behind closed doors with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) late Thursday to fast-track 15 more of Trump’s right-wing judges to lifetime federal court positions.

“Make no mistake, today was yet another step in the GOP’s takeover of our courts, stacking the deck against women and families at every level. Immediately following Kavanaugh’s confirmation and all of the energy and despair around it, this deal is especially painful,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.

“Through this deal,” Hogue continued, “Democrats allowed Mitch McConnell and Republicans in Congress to fast track 15 more of Donald Trump’s nominees, including David Porter and Mark Norris, whose biased views and extreme anti-choice records indicate they will shape our country in Donald Trump’s brutal image for decades to come.”

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, declared in a statement of her own on Thursday that, with the essential backing of the Democratic leadership, the Senate has become little more than a “rubber stamp for Trump’s takeover of our courts.”

“In recent weeks, people from all corners of our country have risen up and spoken out about how a fair and independent judiciary is essential to protecting our civil and human rights. Yet, today the Senate is jamming through controversial judicial nominees without adequate debate,” Gupta said. “Every single senator should take their responsibility to consider lifetime appointments to our courts more seriously.”

Senate Democrats’ deal with McConnell is the second time in just two months that Schumer has agreed to help the GOP confirm a slew of Trump’s federal court nominees—many of which are hand-picked by the right-wing Federalist Society—with almost zero debate or public scrutiny.

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As journalist Eoin Higgins detailed in a lengthy Twitter thread on Thursday, Trump’s latest batch of judges is a heinous and entirely predictable mixture of anti-civil rights, anti-LGBTQ, anti-women appointees who are now set to mold federal law for the next several decades.

While Democrats ostensibly agreed to help the GOP ram through judges in order to allow vulnerable Democrats to return home and campaign through the Nov. 6 midterm elections, progressives argued that Democrats are making a massive political mistake by refusing to use all of the tools at their disposal to combat the right-wing takeover of the judicial system, which will have severe ramifications for women, people of color, the planet, and the poor far into the future.

New Yorker writer Osita Nwanevu was among many commentators suggesting that Democrats easily could have allowed red-state Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns to return home while the rest of the Senate Democratic caucus remained to fight Trump’s nominees, but Schumer opted to fully cave to McConnell instead.

“This period will be long remembered not just for the historic number of judges Trump has been able to confirm, but also because of how passive Democrats were in response,” Demand Justice chief counsel Chris Kang said in a statement. “The progressive grassroots have awoken to the crisis of Trump’s takeover of the courts, and are not going to tolerate this kind of weakness for much longer.”

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

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Critics lament as 126 House Democrats join forces with GOP to hand Trump ‘terrifying’ mass domestic spying powers

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Privacy advocates and civil liberties defenders are expressing outrage after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night voted down a bipartisan amendment designed to end, as one group put it, the U.S. government's "most egregious mass surveillance practices" first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a final vote of 253-175, it was 126 Democrats who joined with 127 Republicans to vote against an amendment introduced by Rep Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) that would have closed loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that critics charge has allowed the NSA to abuse warrantless surveillance capabilities and target the emails, text messages, and internet activity of U.S. citizens and residents. See the full roll call here.

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The real threat to America isn’t Trump’s ‘deep state’ — it’s Trump’s corrupt state: Robert Reich

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Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats, and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media, for conspiring to remove him from office in order to allow the denizens of foreign shi*tholes to overrun America.

But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s Corrupt State.

Not since Warren G. Harding’s sordid administration have as many grifters, crooks and cronies occupied high positions in Washington.

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Why is America’s suicide epidemic hitting Trump’s base so hard?

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We hear a lot about suicide when celebrities like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade die by their own hand. Otherwise, it seldom makes the headlines. That’s odd given the magnitude of the problem.

In 2017, 47,173 Americans killed themselves. In that single year, in other words, the suicide count was nearly seven times greater than the number of American soldiers killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars between 2001 and 2018.

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