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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

GOP May Pursue Wildly Unpopular Planned Parenthood Defunding All the Way to a Government Shutdown

By Ed Kilgore

March 24, 2017
1:35 p.m.

As noted earlier today, the likely impending failure of the American Health Care Act legislation, if not today then later, would leave some unresolved issues for the GOP to deal with above and beyond the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The most urgent politically is that darling of the anti-abortion movement, the defunding of Planned Parenthood. This is a cause that many, many conservatives are willing to shut down the federal government over, and that is precisely what could happen shortly, when the current continuing appropriations measure keeping the lights on runs out on April 28. If conservatives insist on defunding Planned Parenthood in any appropriations extension, and Democrats take up the challenge by filibustering it, we could have an impasse and a shutdown, all coming up very soon.

This issue could represent another political disaster for the GOP. It’s one thing to defund Planned Parenthood in a giant bill that’s “about” something else, namely Obamacare. It’s another thing altogether if it’s the center of attention. As a new survey from Quinnipiac showed yesterday, once people understand that no federal funds currently pay for abortions by Planned Parenthood, the idea of “defunding” it becomes very, very unpopular.

After hearing an explanation of what “defunding” Planned Parenthood would and would not do, respondents to this national survey opposed it by an astounding 14/80 margin. Self-identified Republicans oppose it 32/60, and Trump’s “base” demographic of non-college-educated white voters oppose it 17/77.

Even without the explanation of current law, Q-Pac respondents opposed the defunding of Planned Parenthood by a 33/61 margin (28/68 among independents, and 43/52 among non-college-educated whites). It’s a politically perilous idea by any calculation that the Republican Party has no choice but to advance wherever it can. That’s one bit of fallout from a screwed up health-care plan that its sponsors, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, may soon have to answer for among Republican members of Congress having to walk the Planned Parenthood plank with no cover.



Andrew Sullivan: Is Political Gravity Finally Sinking Donald Trump?

March 24, 2017
8:19 a.m.

Is he waving or drowning? Swimming or sinking?

I ask this question because we’re more than two months in and the trauma has not subsided, but it has, perhaps, bifurcated. Sure, Trump still shows alarming potential as a would-be tyrant, contemptuous of constitutional proprieties, and prone to trashing every last norm of liberal democracy. But he is also beginning to appear simultaneously as a rather weak chief executive, uninterested in competent management or follow-through, bedeviled by divisions within his own party, transfixed by cable news, and swiftly discrediting himself by an endless stream of lies, delusions, and conspiracy theories. Even the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal challenged his credibility last Tuesday. They did this because, at this point, among sane people, he quite obviously has none.

The polling, meanwhile, is brutal. Gallup puts Trump a full 21 percentage points below average for presidents at this point of their administration. Real Clear Politics’ poll of polls shows a new high in disapproval this week, over 50 percent, and a new low in approval, at 43. Gallup finds him in the upper 50s of disapproval, and in the upper 30s in approval. Even GOP-friendly Rasmussen now has his disapproval at 53. Quinnipiac sees his support among whites and men falling, and discovers that 60 percent of Americans think he’s dishonest and 61 percent say his values are different than theirs. Yesterday, Quinnipiac also found that the Republican Obamacare replacement — the first serious agenda item of the Trump era — is opposed by a whopping three-to-one margin. Money quote: “One out of every seven Americans, 14 percent, think they will lose their health insurance under the Republican plan. That 14 percent includes 27 percent of voters in families with household income below $30,000, 18 percent of working class families and 14 percent of middle class families.” Good luck with those midterms, guys.

In Washington this week, as this shambolic health-care plan staggered, zombielike, into the House, there was a palpable sense that political gravity may, for the first time, be operational around Trump. If he somehow muscles this legislation through, he will be stuck with an avalanche of angry.

So time to take a deep breath? I’d say a shallow one. I can see two possible scenarios that could follow a drawn-out Trump slump. One is the nightmare I’ve been having for more than a year now. A president hobbled domestically by his own party’s divisions and the opposition’s new energy may be tempted — Putin-like — to change the subject in a way that vaults him back to popularity. A foreign altercation from which he will not back down? A trade war? A smidge likelier, I’d say, is an over-the-top response to an inevitable jihadist terror attack in a major American city. A demagogue loses much of his power when he tries to wrestle complicated legislation through various political factions, in the way our gloriously inefficient Constitution requires. He regains it with rank fear, polarization, and a raw show of force. Heaven knows what the Constitution will look like once he’s finished.


Trump touts Charter hiring that was in works for two years

Source: Reuters

Fri Mar 24, 2017 | 2:24pm EDT

By Steve Holland and David Shepardson | WASHINGTON

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday touted Charter Communications Inc's decision to invest $25 billion in the United States and a plan the company announced before he was elected to hire 20,000 workers over four years.

At a White House event with the second-largest U.S. cable company's Chief Executive Thomas Rutledge and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Trump praised Charter for planning to close its offshore call centers and move them to the United States.

Much of the announcement was not new. Charter said last May that it planned to add 20,000 jobs as part of its merger with Time Warner Cable and acquisition of Bright House Networks. As early as June 2015, Rutledge said Charter would need an additional 20,000 employees after those deals.

On a number of occasions, Trump has touted job announcements at the White House that had been previously planned or announced

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-charter-commns-idUSKBN16V22I

John Lewis passionately opposes GOP health care bill

John Lewis passionately opposes GOP health care bill: ‘I will fight any bill that turns the clock back’


'Vindicated how?': Reporter calls out Baghdad Spicer for claiming Trump was right about false wireta

‘Vindicated how?’: Reporter calls out Baghdad Spicer for claiming Trump was right about false wiretap claims



The GOP civil war isn't over: If the AHCA goes down, Trump will seek vengeance

FRIDAY, MAR 24, 2017 01:50 PM EDT

The GOP civil war isn’t over: If the AHCA goes down, Trump will seek vengeance

The right-wingers of the House Freedom Caucus are about to learn that Donald Trump doesn’t take betrayal lightly


Whether consciously intended or not, every group effort has its own ethos. For decades, the guiding principle of Donald Trump’s leadership style has been loyalty — to his enterprise and above all to him personally.

The far-right Republicans who comprise the Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives are about to learn this lesson the hard way, once the dust settles on the American Health Care Act, the joint effort of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

At this writing, a vote on the AHCA is scheduled to happen by Friday evening. This is the second time a formal vote has been scheduled by Ryan’s leadership team after the small band of Freedom Caucus rebels managed to scuttle one that was supposed to happen on Thursday.

As administration officials see it, Freedom Caucus members keep trying to shift the goalposts of what they claim to want in the final version of the health care law. Some have pushed the White House to insert provisions that would remove many of the most popular elements of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010, including regulations that prohibit insurance companies from refusing customers based on pre-existing medical conditions and a regulation that allows adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance policies. Ryan and the Trump administration have already added several Freedom Caucus measures to the AHCA package, but these requests are seen as going too far.

Instead of dragging out negotiations with the Freedom Caucus and more moderate Republicans fearful that the AHCA will cause millions of people to lose their health coverage, President Trump has instead directed Ryan to make the Friday vote the last one on the issue.


Vote now scheduled to begin at about 3:30 p.m.

By Mike DeBonis, Kelsey Snell and Ed O'Keefe March 24 at 1:32 PM

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) visited White House at midday Friday to brief President Trump on an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system, amid mounting evidence that enough House Republicans would spurn their pitches and send the bill to defeat.

Ryan was prepared to tell Trump there are not enough votes to pass the legislation, two GOP aides familiar with his plans said. It was unclear whether leaders would proceed with a planned afternoon vote. As Ryan met with Trump at the White House at 1:30 p.m., Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during his daily briefing that a vote would proceed at 3:30 p.m.

A House GOP aide confirmed the expected timing of a vote.

If the bill does not pass Friday, a day after Trump delivered an ultimatum to lawmakers, it would represent multiple failures for the new president and the Republican Congress.

It would leave the Affordable Care Act in place and leave a major GOP campaign promise unfulfilled. It would cast doubt on the GOP’s ability to govern and specifically to move forward on other high-stakes agenda items, such as tax reform and infrastructure spending. And it would undermine Trump’s image as a skilled dealmaker willing to strike compromises to push his agenda forward.


Virginia court rules for Trump in travel ban dispute; order still halted

Source: Reuters

Fri Mar 24, 2017 | 1:31pm EDT

By Mica Rosenberg

A U.S. federal judge in Virginia ruled on Friday that President Donald Trump's travel ban was justified, increasing the likelihood the measure will go before the Supreme Court as the decision took an opposing view to courts in Maryland and Hawaii that have halted the order.

U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga rejected arguments by Muslim plaintiffs who claimed Trump's March 6 executive order temporarily banning the entry of all refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries was discriminatory. The decision went against two previous court rulings that put an emergency halt to the order before it was set to take effect on March 16. The order remains halted.

Trump has said he plans to appeal those unfavorable rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed, and differing opinions by lower courts give more grounds for the highest court to take up the case.

Trenga, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, said the complaint backed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights group, found that more than 20 individuals who brought the suit had been able to show they were harmed by the travel ban since they might be unable to reunite with their relatives.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-legal-idUSKBN16V2DE

Spicer Leaves No Daylight Between Ryan, Trump On Health Care Bill

Source: Talking Points Memo

By MATT SHUHAM Published MARCH 24, 2017, 2:04 PM EDT

Despite some efforts to pin responsibility for a flailing Obamacare repeal bill on House Speaker Paul Ryan, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer emphasized Friday that President Donald Trump and Ryan had worked closely together on the bill.

Responding to questions from reporters at his daily press briefing, Spicer called the American Health Care Act a “joint effort” between Congress and the President, and mentioned multiple times that Speaker Ryan was updating Trump at the White House.

“I think the Speaker has done everything he can,” Spicer said, when asked if the White House was happy with Ryan's job performance. "He’s worked really closely with the President," Spicer continued. "I think at the end of the day, I said this yesterday, you can’t force people to vote. But I think we’ve given them every single reason to fulfill every pledge that they’ve made, and I think this is the right thing to do.”

Spicer said that the White House had agreed, “in coordination with the House,” to pursue health care as the first major item of Trump’s agenda.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/spicer-no-trump-ryan-coordination-ahca

Spicer Tries To Sing A Happy Tune: 'The Sun Is Coming Out'

By MATT SHUHAM Published MARCH 24, 2017, 1:46 PM EDT

White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to say on Friday that Republicans had the votes to repeal Obamacare, but he did scold one reporter who asked what President Donald Trump would do if the bill failed.

“If this fails today, is the President done with heath care?” one reporter asked.

“So negative,” Spicer said.

“That’s what we’re hearing,” the reporter replied.

“That is what you are hearing?” Spicer responded. “I haven't heard that yet. So why don't we continue with a very positive, optimistic Friday? The sun is coming out. I feel really good. So we are going to continue to work as late as we can to get the votes. As I said, the upside is we continue to pick up votes.”


Barbara Lee slams 'hypocrisy' by GOP colleagues 'who say they are religious' but support Trumpcare

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