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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: 26,155

Journal Archives

The Daily 202: West Wing infighting has ripple effects across the government

By James Hohmann April 26 at 8:42 AM

THE BIG IDEA: The continuing intrigue inside the West Wing is so much more than just a wild soap opera. Whoever has Donald Trump’s ear at any given time has immense power over the trajectory of this country. Another consequence of the dueling power centers is that it’s taking longer than usual to staff up the executive branch.

Lisa Rein has a fascinating story on the front page of today’s paper about Cabinet secretaries who are growing increasingly exasperated with how slowly the White House is moving to fill top-tier posts. They believe the vacancies in their departments are hobbling efforts to oversee basic government operations and promote Trump’s agenda.

It turns out that one important explanation for the sluggish process is that lots of people inside the White House have veto power over who gets even junior jobs. Trump, who fancies himself a decisive leader, is in many ways governing by committee, something Republicans often attacked Barack Obama for.

“Prospective nominees … must win approval from competing camps inside the White House," Lisa explains. "Around the table for weekly hiring meetings are chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, representing the populist wing; Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, leading the establishment Republican wing; White House Counsel Don McGahn; Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Josh Peacock; and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, representing a business-oriented faction. ... For economic appointments, Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, also sits in, as does the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, when a hiring decision piques her interest."


WATCH: Former President Barack Obama's first public speech since he left office

Gene Lyons - What Bill OReilly (And Roger Ailes) Should Have Learned From A Mirror

Gene Lyons

What Bill O’Reilly (And Roger Ailes) Should Have Learned From A Mirror

April 25, 2017 10:44 pm

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

A familiar kind of madness too often follows: Delusions of ratings-induced grandeur accompanied by the unmoderated sexual fantasies of 13-year-old boys. Unmoderated, that is, by that greatest of all male civilizing agents: fear of the laughter of beautiful women.

Soon enough, though, fame and money no longer suffice. Our hero takes to embroidering upon his personal myth. He transforms a comfortable suburban childhood into a Dickensian life of hardscrabble poverty. He begins fantasizing about athletic feats and martial glory. A successful Little League career becomes NCAA stardom; observing a distant war from a TV studio metamorphoses into a harrowing stint as a war correspondent. But who cares? Because Bill O’Reilly is a gifted bullshit artist , with a unique ability to embody the enthusiasms and resentments of his audience, the ratings and the money keep coming. It definitely takes a certain genius. Slate’s Justin Peters nailed it: “As a host, O’Reilly alternately channeled Mike Francesa, Mike Wallace, Krusty the Clown, and everyone’s blowhard Uncle Frank.”

A “War on Christmas,” for heaven’s sake. This in a country where it’s impossible to venture into a public space after Thanksgiving without hearing a Muzak rendition of O Little Child of Bethlehem.

You could even call it a Horatio O’Reilly tale, as in Horatio Alger. But then came the women. Let The Daily Beast’s Pete Dexter and Jeff Nale deliver the punch line of the year: “O’Reilly became a very important man at Fox News, and this he took to heart. His show reached number one of cable news shows, and Mr. O started letting his penis do the thinking. It is not a smart penis.”


Moderates chafe at Republican healthcare compromise

Source: Politico

Tuesday Group lawmakers are wary of a deal one of its members cut with the Freedom Caucus, casting doubt about whether it can pass the House.


If the White House manages to resuscitate its flat-lining effort to replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump may owe it to a moderate New Jersey Republican and multimillionaire who only reluctantly backed his candidacy for president.

Rep. Tom MacArthur has singlehandedly kept the embers of the failed repeal-and-replace effort burning, huddling with the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus to try to forge a deal. The negotiations have allowed the White House and GOP congressional leaders to insist that despite their embarrassing failure to pass health care legislation last month, they're still making progress.

But the MacArthur-as-Republican health care savior narrative has bothered some GOP moderates, who say the New Jersey lawmaker is flying solo in negotiations with the Freedom Caucus. Though he's one of three co-chairs of the Tuesday Group — a 50-member bloc of House Republican moderates — MacArthur has negotiated without the group's blessing in his quest to keep the health care talks alive, other Tuesday Group members say.

And many others say they’ve seen no details about the compromises the second-term lawmaker is offering or whether he’s getting enough concessions from conservatives. Some in the group “are pretty hot about this thing right now,” said a Tuesday Group member. “MacArthur is kind of on his own.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/26/obamacare-trump-repeal-macarthur-237605

Erin Moran's family unleashes holy hell on 'f*cking coward' Scott Baio

26 APR 2017 AT 06:57 ET

Scott Baio’s wife has been making apologetic phone calls on behalf of her husband after his assumption that his former co-star Erin Moran died due to drug and alcohol abuse. Moran actually died from complications due to her cancer. Now Moran’s brother Tony is fighting back, calling Baio out on Twitter.

TMZ reported Tony calling Baio out as a ‘coward’ and a “piece of sh*t” and attacking the size of Baio’s manhood. He was furious Baio’s wife was the one who contacted him to apologize for her husband and not Baio himself. Even Moran’s cousin Roy went off on Baio, calling him a “d*ck head.” Baio made the accusations in an interview Monday.


“My thing is, I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content. For me, you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die,” he told The Bernie & Sid radio show. Baio was speculating and didn’t have any evidence about Moran’s cause of death.

Once Baio found out Moran died from cancer, instead of apologizing, he doubled down in a long Facebook post arguing he was misinformed and his actions shouldn’t be considered criticism. He swore that he wasn’t suggesting she died due to a drug overdose, rather the argument that if she had it would have been horrible.

He then went on to blame political liberals and the media because he’s become a target after supporting Donald Trump for president. “I’m sure they’re attacking me because I’m a conservative. These people never attack the press for getting the story wrong about heroin. They attack me,” said Baio.


Ted Cruz Wants El Chapo To Pay For The Border Wall

Source: Talking Points Memo

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published APRIL 26, 2017, 8:47 AM EDT

Sen. Tex Cruz (R-TX) has a new plan to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

The Texas senator on Tuesday introduced legislation that would funnel any assets seized from Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as part of the United States’ criminal case against him. The U.S. is seeking $14 billion in criminal forfeiture from El Chapo.

“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” Cruz said in a statement announcing the bill. “Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities. We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”

Cruz’s bill, the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act, would funnel that $14 billion and any other assets seized from drug cartels toward Trump’s border wall.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ted-cruz-el-chapo-border-wall

Mulvaney Says Trump Will Sign Funding Measure Without Money For Border Wall

Source: Talking Points Memo

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published APRIL 26, 2017, 6:50 AM EDT

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Tuesday night said that President Donald Trump was willing to sign a temporary funding measure that did not include money to build a border wall.

During an interview on CNN, host Jake Tapper noted to Mulvaney that Republicans have proposed a funding measure without money for the wall and asked if Trump would be willing to sign that. Mulvaney replied that he was.

He added that the White House has agreed with Democrats on including funding for other aspects of border security.

“The offer that we received from the Democrats the last couple days included a good bit of money for border security,” Mulvaney said, adding that those funds will allow Trump to “follow through on his promise to make that border more secure.”

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/mulvaney-trump-sign-funding-without-border-wall

KEEPING PROMISES - President Jeff Sessions's First 100 Days

From the failed Obamacare repeal to the rise of the ‘Goldman gang,’ Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office may have disappointed the base, but the attorney general has been keeping Trump’s campaign promises for him.


04.26.17 1:15 AM ET

Over the last 100 days, one thing has become indisputably clear: More than any other member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the keeper of the flame.

He unflinchingly advances the president’s ideological priorities and frequently appears in conservative media to tout that work. He may be better at keeping Trump’s campaign promises than the president is himself. Like Eric Holder before him, he’s the ideological lodestar to the president—a true believer’s true believer.

In the last 100 days, everyone else has disappointed. House Speaker Paul Ryan couldn’t get his House conference to repeal Obamacare. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley exchanged friendly fire on the Sunday shows over what exactly the administration wanted to do in Syria. Gary Cohn, Jared Kushner, Steve Mnuchin, and the rest of the Goldman gang have undercut Trump’s populist bona fides and reportedly muscled out the White House’s most ideological senior staff. Mike Flynn got axed, K.T. McFarland got shipped to Singapore, and Betsy DeVos—well, she’s trying.

But as bedlam has unfolded at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, six blocks east in a quiet office on the fifth floor of the imposing Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Sessions has busily kept Trump’s campaign promises for him. The attorney general is prioritizing immigration prosecutions, delighting police unions, perusing the border to warn would-be undocumented immigrants to stay away, and rolling back the Justice Department’s litigation against voter ID laws.


Poll: Most Americans Think Russia Tried to Meddle in Election

Source: The Daily Beast

A majority of Americans say they believe Russia tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and about 39 percent even say that Trump’s campaign tried to assist them, according to the results of an ABC News/Washington Post poll. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they were convinced of the Kremlin’s meddling. Those opinions are largely drawn along party lines, with a majority of Democratic participants believing that Trump’s campaign helped the Russians and a majority of Republicans saying they think that former President Obama spied on the GOP candidate before he assumed office. Overall, only 32 percent of respondents say they think Obama’s administration intentionally spied on Trump or any members of his campaign over the course of the election. Among Hillary Clinton voters, a full 72 percent say Trump’s team helped Russia meddle.



Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2017/04/26/poll-most-americans-say-russia-tried-to-meddle-in-election?via=desktop&source=copyurl

US Navy fires warning flare at Iran vessel in Persian Gulf

Source: ABC News

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Apr 26, 2017, 6:57 AM ET

A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer fired a warning flare toward an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel coming near it in the Persian Gulf, an American official said on Wednesday, the latest tense naval encounter between the two countries.

The incident happened Monday as the vessel attempted to draw closer to the USS Mahan despite the destroyer trying to turn away from it, said Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.

The "Mahan made several attempts to contact the Iranian vessel by bridge-to-bridge radio, issuing warning messages and twice sounding the internationally recognized danger signal of five short blasts with the ship's whistle, as well as deploying a flare to determine the Iranian vessel's intentions," McConnaughey said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The Iranian vessel came within 1,000 meters (1,100 yards) of the Mahan during the incident, the lieutenant said. The vessel later turned and sailed away.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/us-navy-fires-warning-flare-iran-vessel-persian-47022854
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