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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Amherst. MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 20,828

Journal Archives

Ryan: 'We Will Decide Later' How And When To Tackle Medicare Privatization

Source: Talking Points Memo

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that plans to overhaul Medicare remain “unresolved” in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s inauguration. “We haven’t addressed that. That’s an unresolved issue. I haven’t even spoke with the president-elect about that,” Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in a Monday interview.

The House speaker has for years proposed radical reforms to Medicare that involve replacing the current system with private health insurance supported in part by government subsidies.

A number of Republican House lawmakers, including Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, have called on Congress to move quickly on Medicare privatization now that the GOP has control of the House, Senate and White House. Some GOP senators have expressed reservations, however.

Ryan suggested he has no plan of dropping the issue but that the timing and method for taking on Medicare is not yet decided.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/paul-ryan-medicare-reform-unresolved-not-addressed-with-trump

Ryan: Obamacare 'Transition' Will Take Time To Make Sure 'No One Is Worse Off'

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) acknowledged Monday that the GOP’s long-held goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare would take time and involve some kind of “transition" to ensure that Americans are not “worse off” after President Barack Obama’s signature health care program is dismantled.

“Clearly there will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off,” Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The purpose here is to bring relief to people who are suffering from Obamacare so that they can get something better.”

The House Speaker recently listed addressing Obamacare as one of his top four priorities for the new Congress, but his comments to the Journal-Sentinel suggest that replacing this complex legislation may not be done quickly.

“It will clearly take time. It took them about six years to stand up Obamacare. It’s not going to be replaced come next football season,” Ryan said.



Kaine: Trump's Taiwan Call Is 'Amateur Hourish' But Hiring Bannon Is Worse

Source: Talking Points Memo

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the defeated Democratic nominee for vice president, said he wasn't surprised by President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwan's president – a move that disregarded nearly four decades of foreign policy precedent.

"It's kind of amateur hourish is what I would say," Kaine told reporters Monday on Capitol Hill. But despite all the criticism of the the Taiwan call, Kaine said it's not anywhere close to the top of his list of concerns with Donald Trump.

"I would say amateur hourish, but it's the not the thing I am most worried about. You know having somebody as a key adviser who has connections to white nationalists and anti-Semites is a much bigger order of concern," Kaine said, referencing Trump's selection of Steve Bannon as a top White House adviser. "Putting somebody in who wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act as HHS secretary much bigger order of concern. I would put this as a kind of amateur hour thing."

Kaine returned to the Senate earlier this month after he served as Hillary Clinton's VP pick. On the campaign trail, Kaine was a dogged critic of Trump, but since returning to the Senate has tried not to weigh in on every moment of Trump's transition.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-s-taiwan-call-is-amatuer-hourish-but-hiring-bannon-is-worse

Cosby's testimony can be used against him at criminal trial: judge

Source: Reuters

05 DEC 2016 AT 17:50 ET

Comedian Bill Cosby has lost a bid to keep Pennsylvania prosecutors from using his own words against him at his criminal sexual assault trial, currently scheduled to begin no later than June.

Judge Steven ONeill of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, ruled on Monday that prosecutors can introduce potentially damaging sworn testimony the 79-year-old entertainer gave about his sexual history during a civil case in 2005.

The testimony, in which Cosby acknowledged giving young women Quaaludes before engaging in what he described as consensual sexual acts with them, helped persuade the Montgomery County district attorney to file charges after it was unsealed in 2015 by a federal judge.

Cosby, the star of the 1980s television hit The Cosby Show, has seen his once family-friendly reputation buried under a blizzard of sexual assault accusations from around 50 women going back decades. The Pennsylvania case is the only criminal prosecution he faces, though he has been hit with multiple civil lawsuits.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/cosbys-testimony-can-be-used-against-him-at-criminal-trial-judge/

Chuck Schumer Really Doesn't Think Ben Carson Is Qualified For HUD

Source: Talking Points Memo

By LAUREN FOX Published DECEMBER 5, 2016, 3:38 PM EDT

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he has deep concerns about Ben Carson's ability to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Carson's nomination on Monday.

“I have serious concerns about Dr. Carson’s lack of expertise and experience in dealing with housing issues," Schumer said in a statement. "Someone who is as anti-government as him is a strange fit for Housing Secretary, to say the least. As he moves through the confirmation process, Americans deserve to know that their potential HUD Secretary is well versed in housing policy and has a vision for federal housing programs that meets the needs of Americans across the country and seeks to provide access to those that we haven’t reached already.”

Carson had previously been considered, but his spokesman Armstrong Williams had come out and said that Carson was not interested in serving because he didn't have the experience. "Dr. Carson was never offered a specific position, but everything was open to him," Williams told The Hill newspaper in November. "Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he's never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency."


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/no-bur-really-chuck-schumer-doesn-t-think-ben-carson-is-qulified

Is He In? Allen West Meets With Pence, Flynn, McFarland At Trump Tower

Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL)—perhaps most known for his scorched-earth rhetoric and controversial comments, including accusing Wal-Mart of bowing to Sharia law by not allowing underage employees to sell alcohol and calling #BringBackOurGirls a distraction from Benghazi—met with top members of President-elect Donald Trump's inner circle on Monday.

West told reporters at Trump Tower in New York that he discussed national security issues with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, retired Gen. Mike Flynn, and Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland on Monday. Trump selected Flynn as his national security adviser and named McFarland as his deputy national security adviser in November.

"We talked about some national security issues, and you know how maybe I can continue to serve my country," West said, according to a transition pool report. He said that no particular position was offered to him.

"I mean they know my reputation very well," West told reporters. "I'm just a simple soldier. He can choose whoever he wants for secretary of state," he added, saying that he was considering how to "best serve this country and through this administration."



North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's Defeat Is a Cautionary Tale for LGBTQ Opponents

By Mark Joseph Stern

North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory finally admitted defeat on Monday, conceding to his Democratic rival, current state Attorney General Roy Cooper. In a video message, McCrory asserted that he has “continued questions” about possible voter fraud, but that “I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken.” He noted that the election was “the closest North Carolina governor’s race in modern history.”

McCrory’s concession was not at all inevitable. Although he faced a deficit of more than 4,000 votes the morning after Election Day—a gap that has since grown to more than 10,000—he insisted that he might be the rightful winner. For weeks, McCrory alleged that rampant voter fraud swung the election to Cooper, launching a series of baseless challenges at county election boards in an effort to disqualify as many votes for Cooper as possible. Eventually, the Republican-controlled state election board ordered a recount in Democrat-heavy Durham County. By Monday morning, it was clear that the recount would not close McCrory’s deficit, likely spurring the governor to concede formally.

Lingering in the background of McCrory’s incessant voter fraud allegations was the possibility of a de facto legislative coup. North Carolina law allows the Legislature to choose the winner of a governor’s race when “a contest arises” as to “the conduct or results of the election.” Its decision, according to the relevant statute, is “not reviewable” by the courts. Thus, McCrory could have declared that rampant fraud (for which there was no evidence) cast doubt on Cooper’s victory, and allowed the Republican-dominated Legislature to declare McCrory to be the true winner. It would have effectively marked the end of democracy in the state. And it was completely within the realm of possibility.

Luckily, that option is now off the table. McCrory, however, may have one trick left to upend another of the state’s democratic outcomes. On Election Day, voters ousted a conservative justice on the state supreme court, replacing him with a progressive—and tipping the balance of the court to a 4–3 liberal majority. Legislative Republicans refuse to deny swirling rumors that they will pass a bill expanding the state supreme court to 9 members, allowing McCrory to appoint two new conservatives before leaving the governor’s mansion. Worrisomely, McCrory called a special legislative session on Friday, raising the very real possibility the legislature will quickly pass a court-packing bill in the coming weeks—overturning the decision of the voters and maintaining the court’s conservative majority.



This is how Republicans deliver domestic disaster - By Jennifer Rubin

By Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

Republicans are in serious danger of overreaching on domestic policy. Donald Trump won on a populist message of helping the middle- and working-class voters who had not made an easy transition to the 21st-century economy. If Republicans deviate too sharply from that — give handouts to the rich or claw back health-care benefits — they risk an electoral revolt in 2018.

Republicans are kidding themselves if they think they are going to deliver a massive tax cut for the rich that adds several trillion dollars to the debt. Former treasury secretary Lawrence Summers writes that Trump’s plan would “massively favor the top 1 percent of income earners, threaten explosive growth in federal debt, complicate the tax code and do little if anything to spur growth.” Summers continues:

A core principle agreed to by all in 1986 was that tax reform would not reduce the tax burden on high-income taxpayers. Reagan achieved this objective while reducing top marginal rates because he raised capital-gains rates, scaled back investment incentives, increased corporate tax collections, curtailed shelters, and left estate and gift taxes alone. Unfortunately, neither the Trump plan, nor the one put forward by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), provides for nearly enough base-broadening to finance all the high-end tax-cutting they include.

In his “60 Minutes” interview, Ryan kept insisting all voters care about is “growth.” He missed the message of 2016: The trickle-down Reagan agenda of the 1980s is a political loser. That’s why Trump’s treasury pick, Steven Mnuchin, keeps promising no net tax cut for the rich. They had better stick to that, although it is hard to see how that is possible given what Ryan has articulated:



Joe Scarborough: Mika and I Personally Speak With Trump a Few Times a Week

by Justin Baragona | 12:05 pm, December 5th, 2016

In a Politico piece detailing the on-again, off-again relationship between President-elect Donald Trump and the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough revealed that he and co-host Mika Brzezinski speak to Trump on a personal basis a few times a week now.

This revelation comes after CNN’s Chris Cuomo called out the pair on Twitter last month, accusing them of being “boosters” and “transition spokesmen” for Trump. It also shows that the Trump relationship has come full circle for Joe and Mika, who were accused of being overly friendly with him during the GOP primary — he even called them supporters in February — but were then regularly attacked by Trump through the general election for being unfair to him. But, while Trump hasn’t appeared on the program in months — he used to a be a regular guest — the MJ duo now appear to be part of Trump’s trusted media sources and gain access few in the press enjoy.

Indeed, most viewers seemed to agree, knowing the cohosts’ direct pipeline to Trump Tower. Scarborough, in an interview, declared that he and Brzezinski talk several times a week with Trump himself. And last week, Brzezinski traveled to Trump Tower and visited Ivanka Trump for coffee.

“We talk to Trump a few times a week and say the same thing to him on the phone that we say publicly on the show,” Scarborough said. “We’re just as blunt in person as we are on TV, whether we happened to be critical on the show that particular day or not.”



Top House GOPer Won't Back Trump's Idea To Tax Businesses That Move Abroad

Source: Talking Points Memo

By LAUREN FOX Published DECEMBER 5, 2016, 1:51 PM EDT

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) refused Monday to outright endorse Donald Trump's proposal to tax U.S. companies that move jobs overseas.

McCarthy tried to avoid answering the question in a meeting with reporters, according to multiple accounts, but eventually warned that the U.S. should be careful not to get into a trade war over tariffs.

"I think the point the president-elect was trying to make was he wants to create jobs in America,” McCarthy said, according to a report in Politico. “Today, the best way to make that change is through tax reform. … I think there are other ways to achieve what the president elect is talking about, but the only way you can do any of this is you’ve got to have tax reform.”

McCarthy's unease over Trump's trade policy is one of the many expected fault lines between the President-elect and leaders in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Trump campaigned against U.S. trade policy whereas Ryan spent the better half of 2015 fighting to pass a free trade deal in his chamber.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/top-republican-won-t-back-trump-s-idea-to-tax-businesses-that-move-abroad

Sen. Collins Signals GOP Wall On Obamacare and Medicare Is Cracking

Source: Talking Points Memo

By LAUREN FOX Published DECEMBER 5, 2016, 11:44 AM EDT

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has "reservations" about privatizing Medicare, she told the Portland Press Herald. “Suffice it to say I have a number of reservations,” Collins told the newspaper. “A complete upending of a program (Medicare) that by and large serves seniors well is not something that appeals to me.”

Collins' comments signals an early and significant departure from GOP unity on the issue, which will be needed to overhaul something like Medicare and will be essential to repealing and replacing Obamacare. If Republicans lose too many lawmakers on these topics, they won't be able to follow through with promises to gut Obamacare.


In the interview, Collins also revealed she was uneasy about repealing Obamacare if Republicans hadn't drafted legislation to replace it. That's significant because every Republican member matters a lot when it comes to repealing Obamacare. One of the strategies up for discussion right now among Senate Republicans is to repeal Obamacare in January using budget reconciliation, a special process that only requires 51 votes in the Senate, and then give senators up to three years to replace it.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has warned that could be problematic. He's urged a bit of patience among his colleagues to ensure individuals covered by Obamacare now aren't hurt in the process.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/susan-collins-has-reservations-about-privatizing-medicare

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