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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 25,472

Journal Archives

Some days the Trump administration looks like a new kind of protection racket - Tom Toles


The committee probing the Russia scandal has erupted into open warfare

By Paul Waldman March 24 at 1:39 PM

There’s a war breaking out in the House Intelligence Committee over the unfolding Russia scandal. And in a weird way, the evident desire of the chairman of that committee to protect President Trump may only be increasing Trump’s problems.

Today brought some new developments in the saga when Intel Committee Chair Devin Nunes and ranking Democrat Adam Schiff held dueling news conferences. Nunes took what appear to be new steps to shield the committee’s investigation — into Russian meddling and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign — from public view, and Schiff issued some scalding criticism of Nunes that has really pushed hostilities to a higher level.


Which brings us to today’s developments. First, Nunes announced that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed to testify before the committee. Given Manafort’s business relationships with pro-Russian strongmen and oligarchs, and the report that he was paid $10 million a year (apparently to advance the political interests of Vladimir Putin’s regime), that could be some interesting testimony indeed (though unfortunately, it will probably take place behind closed doors).

But that’s not all. Nunes also announced he was canceling a hearing scheduled for Monday that was to include three former Obama administration officials: director of national intelligence James Clapper, CIA director John Brennan, and Sally Yates (whom Trump fired as acting attorney general). Nunes said their public hearing was canceled so that the committee could have a closed hearing with FBI director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers, who have already testified in an open hearing.

But Schiff wasn’t having it. “We don’t welcome cutting off public access to information,” Schiff said at his own press conference. “I think that there must have been a very strong pushback from the White House about the nature of Monday’s hearing.” Nunes also did apologize to the rest of the committee for going behind their backs to brief the president, but Schiff said: “I’m deeply discouraged by this week’s events.”

It’s clear that this committee, which is ordinarily among the most nonpartisan of all congressional committees, is now at war with itself. We could see something resembling what happened with the House Oversight Committee during the Obama years: Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings regularly shouting at each other in public; a lot of tense hearings and mutual distrust; and competing leaks to the media.


Speaker Paul Ryan Admits Defeat: 'Obamacare For The Foreseeable Future'

Source: Talking Points Memo

By MATT SHUHAM Published MARCH 24, 2017, 4:38 PM EDT

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Friday laid blame for the failure of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare on Republican members of the House, and said he would move on to other issues that “people have even more agreement on.”

“You have all heard me say this before, moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains,” Ryan said at the beginning of a press briefing. “And, well, we're feeling those growing pains today.”

Noting that “the President gave his all in this effort,” Ryan instead pinned blame on the bill’s failure on the members of his own House Republican caucus. “There is a block of no votes that we had, that is why this didn't pass,” he said, after one reporter asked him if he blamed the conservative House Freedom Caucus for obstructing the bill.

“They were sufficient number of votes that prevented it from passing and they didn't change their votes,” he continued. “We were close. Some of the members of that caucus were voting with us, but not enough were. And therefore – and I met with their chairman earlier today, and he made it clear to me that the votes weren't going to be there from their team. And that was sufficient to provide the balance to not have this bill pass.”

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ryan-obamacare-foreseeable-future

'Anybody tired of all this winning?': Twitter heaps scorn on Trump and GOP over Trumpcare debacle

On Friday afternoon, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pulled their healthcare bill from the floor before it could go to a vote — a vote that it was virtually certain to lose.

The bill was Pres. Donald Trump’s first major legislative push and represents a humiliating failure for his administration.

Naturally, Twitter users were there to make the most of the president’s pain and his party’s failure to make good on its years of anti-Obamacare posturing.



Shep Smith nails Trumpcare fail: GOPs been 'screaming' about this for 7 years and can't get it done


Trump's First Legislative Effort Fails as G.O.P. Pulls Bill to Repeal Obamacare


WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders, facing a revolt among conservatives and moderates in their ranks, pulled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act from consideration on the House floor Friday afternoon in a humiliating defeat for President Trump on the first legislative showdown of his presidency.

Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, rushed to the White House shortly after noon to tell Mr. Trump he did not have the votes for a repeal bill that had been promised for seven years — since the day President Barack Obama signed his landmark health care act into law.

Vice President Mike Pence and Tom Price, the health secretary, rushed to Capitol Hill for a late appeal to House conservatives, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

“You can’t pretend and say this is a win for us,” said Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina, who conceded it was a “good moment” for Democrats.

“Probably that champagne that wasn’t popped back in November may be utilized this evening,” he said.


Report: Bannon Wants A 'S*** List' Of Health Care 'No' Votes

Source: Talking Points Memo

By MATT SHUHAM Published MARCH 24, 2017, 3:14 PM EDT

The Daily Beast reported Friday that the White House plans to keep a “shit list” of Republicans who vote against the American Health Care Act, President Donald Trump’s preferred bill to replace Obamacare.

Citing multiple unnamed Trump administration officials, the Daily Beast reported that Steve Bannon, the President’s chief strategist, had advised Trump to keep, depending on the source, a “shit list,” “hit list” or “a running tally of who want to sink this.”

“Not sure if I’d call it an ‘enemies list,’ per se, but I wouldn’t want to be on it,” one source told the publication.

Though some conservative outlets have already begun pinning responsibility for the shaky-legged legislation on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the White House has emphasized that they have worker with the Speaker.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/bannon-health-care-hit-list

FOILED AGAIN! House GOP Pulls Health Care Bill Before Sure Defeat

By TIERNEY SNEED Published MARCH 24, 2017, 3:35 PM EDT

GOP congressional leadership pulled from the floor Friday its Obamacare repeal bill after facing resistance from both the party’s conservative and moderate wings.

President Trump told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa over the phone that the bill was being pulled.

A day earlier the vote had been delayed in the hopes that one last round of negotiations could cement the report. But even after the White House delivered a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum Thursday night and a major last-minute change was added to assuage the far-right hardliners, Republicans were by Friday morning at best unsure the bill, the American Health Care Act, would pass.

The cancellation of the vote is an acutely embarrassing setback for Republicans, who for seven years made the repeal of the Affordable Care Act central to their campaigns and took dozens of symbolic anti-Obamacare votes but never coalesced around a singular, viable alternative plan. The absence of agreement among Republicans over how Obamacare should be replaced – or even on the basic questions of health care policy – grew even more evident after President Trump’s election, when repeal became possible.


Mike Flynn secretly met Turkish officials to plan illegal 'dead of night' extradition of fugitive...

Source: RawStory

Mike Flynn secretly met Turkish officials to plan illegal ‘dead of night’ extradition of fugitive cleric

24 MAR 2017 AT 15:29 ET

Former CIA Director James Woolsey said that he attended a secret meeting in September with ousted Trump national security adviser Adm. Mike Flynn to plan a covert operation to “whisk away” a fugitive cleric and hand him over to Turkey’s authoritarian government.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Woolsey and other people present at the meeting confirmed that Flynn was coordinating with officials from the cabinet of right-wing Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan in anticipation of extraditing Fethullah Gulen back to Turkey should Trump win the presidency.

The “dead of night” operation was intended to circumvent normal U.S. extradition laws, Woolsey said. The meeting took place on Sep. 19, and Woolsey said he arrived late only to be startled and alarmed that the discussion was treading into potentially illegal territory.

The plan, according to Woolsey, was “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away.” Gulen is wanted in Turkey for allegedly aiding last summer’s failed military coup against the Erdogan regime.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/mike-flynn-secretly-met-turkish-officials-to-plan-illegal-dead-of-night-extradition-of-fugitive-cleric/

Nearly half of Americans say Republican healthcare reform 'not an improvement': Reuters/Ipsos poll

Source: Reuters

Fri Mar 24, 2017 | 3:20pm EDT

By Chris Kahn | NEW YORK

Nearly half of American adults said the Republican healthcare reform measure is "not an improvement" over Obamacare, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday. The Republican bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which is up for a vote in the House of Representatives later on Friday, is expected to cut the federal deficit while greatly increasing the number of Americans without health insurance.

Democratic leaders are unified against the bill while some conservative Republicans have criticized it for not doing enough to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the measure familiarly known as Obamacare which was passed in 2010 and was the signature domestic achievement of former President Barack Obama.

According to the March 13-23 poll, 49 percent of American adults said the AHCA was "not an improvement" over Obamacare, which helped about 20 million people get insurance coverage. Another 33 percent said the Republican bill was "an improvement" over Obamacare, and the remaining 18 percent did not know.

The responses were largely split along party lines. Some 19 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans said the AHCA was better than Obamacare, while 73 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Republicans said it was not an improvement.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-obamacare-poll-idUSKBN16V2KC?il=0
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