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Profile Information

Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 37,482

About Me

Since 1995, a year after I was forced into a very early retirement due to Multiple Sclerosis, I have owned and operated a daily newsgathering service out of my home, for a clientele comprised of TV newscasters, Op-Ed columnists, book authors, a national wire-service and some online publications. I post many of the news articles I gather, here on DU. I also post news articles and Op-Eds written/reported/authored by my list of subscribers/clientele.

Journal Archives

Trump budget director says Obama 'weaponized' shutdown and this time will be different

Source: The Hill

BY JORDAN FABIAN - 01/19/18 11:30 AM EST

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Friday that if the government shuts down, it won’t be as bad as 2013 because former President Obama’s administration did things to make it worse.

Mulvaney said “the Obama administration weaponized the shutdown in 2013” for political purposes by closing popular attractions like national parks. He claimed the Trump administration isn’t planning to do the same.

The message appeared to conflict with President Trump's claims in the past few days the shutdown could have a devastating effect, especially for the military. The blame game was in full swing at the White House, just hours before government funding is set to run out.

Mulvaney said his office is “preparing for what we are calling the Schumer Shutdown,” referring to the Senate Democratic leader, Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/369732-trump-budget-director-says-obama-weaponized-shutdown-and-this-time

Trump Poised To Ring In Inauguration Anniversary With Government Shutdown

By Cameron Joseph | January 19, 2018 10:48 am

President Trump and congressional Republicans are poised to mark the one-year anniversary of the GOP seizing unified control of Washington by shutting down the government.

Funds for the federal government run out at midnight, and without a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations it appears that the GOP doesn’t have the votes to keep the lights on as dawn breaks on the first anniversary of Trump’s Jan. 20th inauguration.

Senate Democrats have dug in their heels in opposing the GOP’s plan for a bill to fund the government for one more month after Trump rejected a bipartisan deal to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he ended late last year.

With Republicans holding a narrow Senate majority – and a handful of GOP senators voicing opposition to the plan as well – it appears the party is far short of the 60 votes it needs to avoid a shutdown.

“There’s near zero chance of this thing passing,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) told TPM as he left for the night Thursday.


Fewer than 16,000 donors accounted for half the federal campaign contributions in 2016

Source: The Washington Post

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee January 19 at 6:00 AM

More than 3.2 million Americans contributed to federal candidates in the 2016 elections, but fewer than 16,000 of them provided half the donations— a sign of the increasing concentration of donor activity in the United States, according to a new report.

The analysis released Friday by the Bipartisan Policy Center mapped the growing influence of rich political contributors and independent political groups in the seven years since federal court decisions unleashed a new era of big-money spending.

Super PACs spent $1.1 billion in the 2016 elections, nearly 17 times more than such independent political committees put into federal races in 2010, the first year they came into existence, the report found.

“The system has completely transformed,” said Robert Bauer, a Democratic election law attorney who authored the report with GOP campaign-finance lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg and Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/less-than-16000-donors-accounted-for-half-the-federal-campaign-contributions-in-2016/2018/01/18/07a88420-fc61-11e7-8f66-2df0b94bb98a_story.html

We asked experts to grade Trump's first year as a president. Here's what they said.

By Justin Vaughn and Brandon Rottinghaus January 19 at 6:00 AM

Just one year in, President Trump already has had a remarkable effect on the presidency — on the U.S. government’s tone and policies. So what would experts put on his report card? We’ve surveyed presidential experts in the past. Here’s what they said for year one of the Trump presidency.

How we did the research

We surveyed current and past members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents and Executive Politics section on a variety of topics, asking for their assessments of Trump’s first year in office, both overall and on a few key dimensions of contemporary presidential leadership. The survey was conducted via Qualtrics and was live from Dec. 22, 2017, to Jan. 16, 2018. Of the 320 experts in presidential politics we invited to participate, we received grades back from 155. We then averaged the responses for a systematic assessment of the 45th president’s freshman year.

Other presidents have struggled during their first years in office; some notable examples include Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. But Trump’s evaluations still stand out as particularly critical. Experts graded Trump’s presidency as failing overall, although with more talent for some subjects than others. We asked respondents to select a grade A through F for each “course,” then translated these into a number (A=1, F=5) and averaged the scores.

We haven’t asked for similar grades in previous surveys, so we can’t compare these directly to expert assessments of other presidencies.

Legislative accomplishments: D-


Foreign policy leadership: F


Public communication: D


Embodying institutional norms: F


Overall presidential leadership: F


full article

Pence urges Democrats to vote for short-term spending bill and worry about DACA later

By Jenna Johnson January 18 at 6:06 PM

Vice President Pence said Thursday afternoon that congressional Democrats need to “set politics aside” and vote for a short-term spending bill so government can avoid shutting down. He promised that a key sticking point in negotiations — finding a solution for “dreamers,” the undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children — can then be addressed “in the days ahead.”

“We think those discussions will continue to go forward; we’ll continue to work toward resolving those issues,” Pence said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “President Trump and I feel very strongly that it’s absolutely imperative that the Congress come together, set politics aside, fund the government, fund our military. And we’re going to be working very earnestly in the next 36 hours to make sure that happens.”

Democrats have been holding out in hopes of shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were once protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which granted temporary work visas to some of those who were brought to the country as children. Pence made clear that the White House is not willing to budge on what it wants in exchange for reaching a compromise with Democrats on this issue: funding for a wall along the border, ending “chain migration” that allows U.S. citizens and green-card holders to bring relatives to the country and ending the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that grants visas to those who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Pence said that he and the president remain “hopeful” that Congress will approve a short-term spending bill before the Friday night deadline.

Pence accused members of Congress who don't support this bill of putting politics ahead of the military, which would be affected by a shutdown — a popular talking point for Republicans this week. Earlier on Thursday, Pence and Trump attended a meeting at the Pentagon, where they were briefed on some of the potential impacts of a shutdown, including that more than 2 million members of the military, including those working in war zones, would not be paid until the shutdown ended.

“At a time when we have U.S. soldiers in harm’s way in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan,” Pence said, “it would be unconscionable for Democrats in Congress to jeopardize funding for our military because some refuse to fund a border wall or reform immigration.”



Marching to Power

President Donald Trump ignited a fire within women. And it's still burning one year after the inaugural Women's March.

By Susan Milligan, Senior Writer | Jan. 19, 2018, at 6:00 a.m.

Donald Trump had just been sworn in as president, and millions of women responded by taking to the streets the very next day in what would become one of the largest, if not the largest, single-day demonstration in U.S. history. They clogged the streets of Washington, D.C. by the hundreds of thousands, while "sister marches" were held in venues big and small, including the ten who demonstrated in Adak, the westernmost town in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

It might have been a one-day thing, kind of a counter-celebration to the lesser-attended inauguration the day before and a chance for the the losers to let off steam after the 2016 elections. Instead, the Women's March gave voice to frustrations and grievances women had been grumbling more quietly about for years. The number of women running for office (and winning already) has exploded. And as marchers prepare this weekend to hold similar (though most likely smaller) anniversary events across the country, those who attended the 2017 events have mixed feelings – excited about the women's activism they have unleashed, but wondering a year into the Trump administration, what the movement has accomplished.

"It's true that a lot of women have been elected" to state and local offices since the 2016 election, "and for that I'm very grateful," says Susan Eason, a retired teacher in Pittsburgh. "But I feel some of the energy has been dissipated a little. I feel we should be in the street all the time, protesting the horror."

For Phoenix attorney Toby Brink, who crossed the country last year to march in Washington, the excitement over the new wave of feminist activism is tempered by the knowledge that the Trump administration has nonetheless made inroads on limiting abortion and birth control access and getting conservative judges confirmed to federal courts.

"That makes me feel more pessimistic. I wish the media would focus as much time on what's going on silently," Brink says. Still she adds, "I do feel more hopeful" than immediately after the election. "The march had such an impact on me. It was the first time I had been to a protest march. I can't even think of an adjective" to describe the day, Brink says. "It was such a good experience after feeling so crappy from November until January. I felt relieved and hopeful after so many weeks of feeling devastated."


Pence to hit campaign trail for 2018 Republicans

Source: Politico

By ALEX ISENSTADT 01/19/2018 06:00 AM EST

Vice President Mike Pence is launching a cross-country campaign tour aimed at boosting Republicans who are confronting an increasingly perilous 2018 midterm election.

Pence is slated to take over a dozen political trips through April, most of them to assist House Republicans who are fighting to keep control of the chamber.

The schedule has taken shape following a meeting earlier this month between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders at Camp David. During the sit-down, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave a sobering presentation on the House landscape and made a broad ask for help from the administration.

Pence’s push for House Republicans, according to an administration official briefed on the plans, will begin on Feb. 2, when he campaigns on behalf of Pennsylvania special election hopeful Rick Saccone.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/pence-to-hit-campaign-trail-for-2018-republicans-349299

The Members Of Congress Who've Aggressively Gone To Bat For Trump At All Costs

ROLL CALL: Trump's Biggest Enablers In Congress On Russia Probe

By Allegra Kirkland | January 19, 2018 6:00 am

The Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to derail, undermine, and distract from the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election has had some crucial help from the President’s enablers on Capitol Hill.

These Trump allies have turned public committee hearings with senior intelligence officials into debates about leaks to the media. They’ve proposed bills to decapitate special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, recasting the lifelong Republican former FBI director as a liberal hack. They’ve called for additional investigations into what they describe as anti-Trump bias at the FBI and DOJ. And of course, they’ve aimed to change the subject by attacking Hillary Clinton.

In doing all this, they’ve often appeared to put their loyalty to the president ahead of the need to conduct a full investigation into a major threat to national security.

In descending order, these are the GOP lawmakers who have most aggressively gone to bat for Trump.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)


Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA)


Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)


Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)


Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)


Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)


Full article:

Fox News Guest: US Border Has Moved North In Arizona

By Matt Shuham | January 19, 2018 10:05 am

Conservative commentator Mark Steyn told Fox News host Tucker Carlson Thursday that the immigration of Hispanic people into the United States would lead to a “cultural transformation,” and that media figures and Democratic politicians were trying to “[import] a class of citizen that they prefer.”

Carlson began the interview by saying Democrats should be held responsible for a potential government shutdown, due to their insistence that language be included in a funding bill to protect young undocumented people. He cut to tape of CNN’s Chris Cuomo chastising White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah for villainizing undocumented immigrants. Cuomo, Steyn noted, went on to say white supremacists were a bigger threat than immigrants who commit terrorism.

“It’s irrelevant,” Steyn, who was born in Canada, said. “The white supremacists are American citizens. The illegal immigrants are people who shouldn’t be here. And the organizing principle of nation states is that they’re organized on behalf of their citizens, whether their citizens are cheerleaders or white supremacists or whatever. You’re stuck with them.”

“This preference that Nancy Pelosi and Chris Cuomo and increasing people have for actually importing a class of citizen that they prefer to the ones they’re stuck with is actually very revealing,” he said.



House Republicans to head home despite likely shutdown

Source: Politico

By JOHN BRESNAHAN 01/19/2018 10:18 AM EST

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said GOP leaders will send the House home this weekend, virtually guaranteeing a shutdown unless some last-minute deal is struck.

“We’ve passed our CR,” McCarthy said in an interview following an hour-long House GOP leadership meeting. The House has approved a bill to keep to keep the government open until Feb. 16, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats want a resolution to decide the fate of 700,000 Dreamers, or children brought illegally to the United States as children.

Senate Democrats are also seeking a long-term budget deal. “Sen. Schumer needs to decide if he wants a shutdown,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said House GOP leaders do not support a “very short term” CR of four to five days. “We’ve passed a short-term CR,” he said.


Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/mccarthy-gop-leaders-will-send-house-members-home-this-weekend-349312
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