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brooklynite

Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 55,718

Journal Archives

House Votes to Push Government Shutdown Risk to December

Source: Bloomberg

The U.S. House voted to keep the government funded until Dec. 20 and avoid a shutdown when current spending authority runs out after midnight Thursday.

The stopgap spending bill, approved on a 231-192 vote, is set to be taken up by the Senate this week, and President Donald Trump will sign it by the deadline, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-19/house-votes-to-push-government-shutdown-risk-to-december

The UK's Johnson/Corbyn debate is underway...

Liveblog at: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/nov/19/general-election-2019-nhs-labour-conservatives-tories-corbyn-johnson-swinson-sturgeon-tv-debate-brexit

EU holds firm on West Bank settlements as US eases stance

Source: Politico

The EU's position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has not changed, the bloc's foreign policy chief said on Monday, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration would ease its stance toward Israel.

Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, said in a statement: “The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.”

Mogherini continued: "The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power," adding that the bloc "will continue to support a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of both parties."

The EU's statement came after Pompeo said the U.S. was rejecting a 1978 State Department legal opinion that called Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank “inconsistent with international law.”

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-holds-firm-on-west-bank-settlements-as-us-eases-stance/

Does Gavin Newsom have the answer to Democrats' health care fights?

Politico

As governor, Newsom’s health care program has been more incremental than promised, annoying some allies in the single-payer movement while winning some unexpected praise from industry groups. But he also may have found something larger than his own agenda: A health care path that builds on past successes, enacts fresh reforms and may eventually lead to a single-payer system — without the political earthquake that so many predict under Sanders’ bill or Warren’s financing plan.

Newsom’s is by far the most relevant — and revelatory — experiential test of the Democratic health care ideas that will be so hotly debated on the Atlanta debate stage Wednesday night. And it offers something for everyone in the race to chew on: A testament to the power that a promise of a single-payer system can have in galvanizing the party’s base; the unforgiving realities that make a quick conversion to single-payer practically, and probably politically, impossible; and a way for a leader to win broader support for incremental steps that — if pursued diligently enough — could lead to universal coverage.

“This is the signature issue of the progressive left, and it’s absolutely driven by what’s happening in California,” said Doug Herman, a Democratic strategist based in Los Angeles, who attests to the appeal of single-payer as an issue. “‘Medicare for All’ could help Bernie and Elizabeth in the Democratic primary the same way it helped Gavin Newsom win the primary in California. But the deeper you go, the harder it is to explain how you’re going to pay for it.”

Newsom’s alternative steps include a return of the individual mandate requiring people to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty; stricter coverage requirements on mental health parity; expanded subsidies to help low- and middle-income people purchase coverage; more Medicaid spending to cover undocumented immigrants; and the creation of a much larger state-operated group-purchasing plan to drive down prescription drug costs.

Trump on Vindman: 'I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in'

Source: The Hill

President Trump said Tuesday that he does not know Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the White House national security official testifying in connection with the House impeachment inquiry, and said he would let others make up their minds as to his credibility.

“I never saw the man. I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in,” Trump told reporters at the White House during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday when asked if Vindman was credible. “No, I don’t know Vindman at all. What I do know is that he said the transcript was correct.”

“Vindman, I watched him for a little while this morning, and I think he — I’m going to let people make their own determination,” Trump, who last month called Vindman a “Never Trumper,” continued.

His remarks came as Vindman testified on Capitol Hill about a July 25 phone call he listened in on between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/471113-trump-on-vindman-i-understand-now-he-wears-his-uniform-when-he-goes

Johnson, Corbyn to Square off in 1st UK Election Debate

Source: US News & World Report

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn prepared to square off Tuesday in the first live televised debate of Britain’s election, each trying to spark a lackluster campaign to life.

The hour-long encounter — the first-ever head-to-head TV debate between a British prime minister and their chief challenger — offers Corbyn a chance to make up ground in opinion polls, which show his Labour Party trailing Johnson's Conservatives ahead of the Dec. 12 election.

For Johnson, it’s a chance to shake off a wobbly start that has seen the Conservatives thrown on the defensive by candidates’ gaffes and favoritism allegations involving Johnson’s past relationship with an American businesswoman.

Johnson, 55, limbered up Tuesday by donning boxing gloves emblazoned with his campaign slogan “Get Brexit done” during a visit to a gym in northwest England. Corbyn, 70, was photographed having his beard trimmed at a barber shop.

Read more: https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2019-11-19/uk-leaders-square-off-in-first-debate-of-election-campaign

New poll shows likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers divided on health care

CNN

A CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll in Iowa finds that a majority of likely Democratic caucusgoers would prefer a health care option that isn't "Medicare for All."

About a third (36%) want Medicare for All while another third (34%) want to create a public option for buy in and 20% would prefer to restore lost provisions from the Affordable Care Act and work incrementally from there.

Together, a majority (54%) would prefer an option that isn't Medicare for All, while only 36% prefer the more liberal alternative.

Likely attendees of the Democratic caucus who support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as their first choice are more likely to support Medicare for All than supporters of other candidates (77% and 68% want Medicare respectively).

Jerusalem Post: Likud and White & Blue holding "secret meetings"

https://twitter.com/Gil_Hoffman/status/1196802834202873861

Translation: Netanyahu was unable to form a Government with Lieberman's Yisrael Party, which I could have told you three weeks ago. If a deal with White & Blue doesn't work out, it's off to a third election.

Ex-Envoy to Testify He Didn't Know Ukraine Aid Was Tied to Investigations

Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that he was out of the loop at key moments during President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to turn up damaging information about Democrats, according to an account of his prepared testimony.

As the House Intelligence Committee opens its second week of public impeachment hearings, Mr. Volker will say that he did not realize that others working for Mr. Trump were tying American security aid to a commitment to investigate Democrats. His testimony, summarized by a person informed about it who insisted on anonymity to describe it in advance, will seek to reconcile his previous closed-door description of events with conflicting versions offered subsequently by other witnesses.

Mr. Volker will be one of four witnesses appearing before the committee on Tuesday as it ramps up its investigation into the president’s effort to extract domestic political help from a foreign power while holding up $391 million in American security aid. The committee, which already had eight witnesses set for this week, added a ninth on Monday by calling David Holmes, a senior American Embassy official in Ukraine who overheard a conversation in which Mr. Trump asked about whether Ukraine was going to agree to carry out the investigations he wanted.

Mr. Trump, who remained out of public sight on Monday for the third straight day, wrote on Twitter that he would “strongly consider” testifying in the impeachment inquiry, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised the idea during a weekend television interview.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/us/politics/trump-impeachment.html

Epstein guards expected to face criminal charges this week: report

Source: The Hill

Two of the correctional officers who were guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he killed himself are expected to face federal criminal charges this week, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The guards are expected to be charged as early as Tuesday with falsifying prison records, two people familiar with the matter told the AP. These would be the first charges associated with Epstein’s death.

Federal prosecutors speculate that the guards did not check on Epstein every half-hour as required and faked log entries to say they did. The guards had rejected a plea bargain the federal prosecutors had offered, the AP reported Friday.

Both guards were reportedly working overtime due to staff shortages, and both have been placed on administrative leave while the FBI and Justice Department’s inspector general investigates.

Read more: https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/471023-epstein-guards-expected-to-face-criminal-charges-this-week
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