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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: 26,178

Journal Archives

Top Dem Threatens Gov't Shutdown Over Quick Vote On O'Care Repeal

Source: Talking Points Memo

By TIERNEY SNEED Published APRIL 27, 2017 11:29 AM

A top House Democrats threatened a possible government shutdown if Republicans scheduled a quick vote for their Obamacare repeal bill.

“If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said in a statement Thursday.

The threat comes has rumors have circulated that Republicans are hopeful for a vote this weekend, in time for President Trump’s 100th day in office, on their recently revived health care overhaul bill, the American Health Care Act. In the meantime, Congress will need to pass a short-term funding bill by Friday to avert a government shutdown and give them a few more days to pass a longterm spending measure.

Trump appeared to respond to Hoyer’s threats in a tweet that referenced a provision in the short-term bill protecting miners’ health benefits.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/hoyer-shutdown-threat-obamacare-repeal-vote

Four more detention centers for tortured gay men found inside Chechnya

Source: LGBTQ Nation

By Dawn Ennis · Thursday, April 27, 2017

The detention of gay men and men believed to be gay in Chechnya, a horrifying problem that the pro-Russian government denies even exists, just got worse. The same investigative newspaper that broke the story reports four more concentration camp-like prisons have been found, bringing the total to six.

This report comes just days after a threat by Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov to eliminate the LGBTQ population by the start of Ramadan on May 26. Novaya Gazeta originally reported more than 100 men were rounded up, tortured and some were killed.

But now, with new reports that the number has grown to hundreds of gay men — who are only released once their families offer bribes to police — it is being seen around the world as incontrovertible proof of a gay purge on a large scale.

“Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov,” Sir Alan Duncan, deputy to foreign secretary Boris Johnson, revealed to Parliament, as LGBTQ Nation reported last week.

Read more: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/04/four-prisons-gay-men-found-inside-chechnya/?utm_source=LGBTQ+Nation+Subscribers&utm_campaign=96057de7fb-20170427_LGBTQ_Nation_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c4eab596bd-96057de7fb-429583333

Carter Page Alleges 'Horrendous Civil Rights Violation' Against Him

Source: Talking Points Memo

By MATT SHUHAM PublishedAPRIL 27, 2017, 11:06 AM EDT

Carter Page maintained his argument Thursday that he had been placed under investigation by the FBI for his criticisms of the American government during the Obama administration, calling it “the most horrendous civil rights violation in recent U.S. election history.”

The former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign — though both Page and members of the campaign have attempted to distance themselves from each other — made the charge in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday.

Cuomo asked Page why, unlike even the conspiracy-prone President of the United States, he did not accept the conclusions of the intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“Chris, the main reason is the fact that I have been the victim of one of the most horrendous civil rights violations in recent U.S. election history,” Page said. He referenced former President Barack Obama’s recent remarks at the University of Chicago, in which Obama urged students to get involved in public life.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/page-alleges-civil-rights-violation

Trump Goes After Dems In Scattershot Tweetstorm As Possible Shutdown Looms

Source: Talking Points Memo

By ESME CRIBB Published APRIL 27, 2017, 11:24 AM EDT

President Donald Trump tried a new negotiating strategy on Wednesday as the deadline looms to avert a government shutdown: posting a series of scattered, incoherent tweets attacking Democrats, whose support Republicans need to keep the lights on.

Trump claimed that Democrats are guilty of “bailing out insurance companies,” “blocking” miners’ health care,”jeopardizing the safety of our troops” and “Politics!”

He also asked Democrats to think of family values — namely, the families Trump claimed won’t be able to go on vacation in national parks if the government shuts down.

“Terrible!” the President tweeted.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-asks-democrats-to-think-of-family-vacations-shutdown

The Daily 202: Trump is setting up Paul Ryan to be his fall guy

By James Hohmann April 27 at 11:31 AM

THE BIG IDEA: The conventional wisdom when Donald Trump took office was that Paul Ryan would be in the driver’s seat on policymaking. That has turned out to be wrong.

The thinking was that the new president doesn’t care deeply about the particulars of policy, so he would defer to the Speaker – who does – as long as he could get wins.

But the collapse of the Obamacare repeal effort last month left a bad taste in Trump’s mouth, leading him to conclude that he shouldn’t have agreed to focus on health care first, that he shouldn’t have been so hands-off early in the process and that he shouldn’t have outsourced so much of the substance to House leadership.

Trump is trying to learn from his mistakes, and that’s manifesting itself this week in the debate over taxes and health care.

-- The tax reform proposal that the president unveiled yesterday makes clear that he is not content to let Ryan take the lead on the issue that has animated him more than any other during his two decades in Congress.

The administration’s framework does not include a border adjustment tax, a signature element of Ryan’s plan that is designed to pay for cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The Speaker’s team warned publicly and privately that cutting the rate to 15 percent is untenable, would blow up the debt and could never pass Congress. Trump embraced it anyway.


Sound and Fury, But Not Much Action in Trumps Noisy First 100 Days

POLITICS APR 27 2017, 8:40 AM ET

Sound and Fury, But Not Much Action in Trump’s Noisy First 100 Days


Yesterday — President Trump's 97th day in office — was maybe the most instructive yet of his early tenure. Consider all of the news from Wednesday:

The White House said it was unveiling the "biggest tax cut ever";

It bussed over the entire U.S. Senate to the White House for a classified briefing on North Korea;

Politico reported that the Trump White House was considering an executive order withdrawing from NAFTA;

The conservative House Freedom Caucus said it was supporting the House health-care plan after the crafting of a new amendment to change the legislation;

And Trump told the Washington Examiner he was "absolutely" considering splitting up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But here is the reality behind those developments:

That "biggest tax cut ever" was just a single sheet of paper with no details behind it (conservative economist Peter Morici told NPR that it's what a 12-year-old Newt Gingrich would have asked Santa Claus for Christmas);

Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker said the White House briefing on North Korea was just "OK," per NBC's Frank Thorp. (Corker: "It was an OK briefing." Q: What do you mean, you didn't really learn much? Corker: "I—it was OK…");

Late last night, the White House said that "Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time," and that the leaders of Canada and Mexico said they would work to renegotiate the treaty;

While House Republicans have picked up additional votes for their health-care legislation, it's unclear whether they have the 216 needed for passage (and the Senate seems to be an even harder pull);

And if you think Trump is going to be able to split up the 9th Circuit, we have a bridge to sell you…

A lot of sound. A lot of fury. But so little real action (with the possible exception of the health-care news). And that's so emblematic of Trump's first 100 days — sizzle but little steak. Indeed, yesterday seemed like a Trump campaign speech ("I'm going to give you the biggest tax cut ever"; "Believe me, I'm tearing up NAFTA"; "Lock up the 9th Circuit"). Diehard supporters eat it up, and it makes it SEEM like the White House is bustling with real activity. For someone who said the first 100 days is a "ridiculous" benchmark, it's pretty clear he cares a lot about the optics of these first three-plus months in office.



GOP lawmaker knifes his own party's health bill: Sick people would pay more than they do now



Pentagon warned Flynn in 2014 against taking foreign payments; IG launches investigation

Source: CNN

By Manu Raju, Jim Sciutto and Tom LoBianco, CNN
Updated 10:05 AM ET, Thu April 27, 2017

(CNN)Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was warned by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 against accepting foreign payments as he entered retirement, according to new documents obtained by the House oversight committee.

The inspector general of the Department of Defense also opened an investigation of Flynn earlier this month, according to an April 11 letter released by the oversight committee Thursday.

"These documents raise grave questions about why General Flynn concealed the payments he received from foreign sources after he was warned explicitly by the Pentagon," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee, in a statement. "Our next step is to get the documents we are seeking from the White House so we can complete our investigation. I thank the Department of Defense for providing us with unclassified versions of these documents."

The news comes two days after Cummings and House oversight chairman Jason Chaffetz said Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments he received from RT-TV, a station widely considered to be a propaganda arm of the Russian government.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/27/politics/michael-flynn-foreign-payments-investigation/index.html

'It was a dog and pony show': Sen Tammy Duckworth torches Trump's North Korea briefing


The Trump family's massive grift: Who cares about policy? As a business and branding venture...

The Trump family’s massive grift: Who cares about policy? As a business and branding venture, this presidency is going swell

Legislative accomplishments? Zilch. But in terms of building the family fortune for the future, it's all going well


In an apparent attempt to fool people into thinking his first 100 days have been wildly successful, President Donald Trump is engaging in a flurry of activity this week. Evidently he hopes that will serve as a proxy for accomplishment. He’s started a trade war with Canada, chatted up astronauts and talked about sending Americans to Mars, signaled that he plans to withdraw from NAFTA and then changed his mind in the same afternoon, offered up some talking points that he called a tax plan, piled the entire U.S. Senate into buses and summoned them to the White House for a briefing on North Korea (later described by one senator as “a dog and pony show”) and jump started the doomed Obamacare repeal zombie. And in the middle of all this he weirdly punted on his biggest campaign promise, the “big, beautiful wall.” Trump may not have been productive, but he’s been busy.

The tax proposal is the most interesting because it’s a revealing illustration of Trump’s self-serving White House grift, which carries on regardless of anything else that’s happening in this administration. It’s basically a blueprint for massive profits for himself and his children. Naturally enough, Trump has proposed eliminate the estate tax because it’s so unfair that Ivanka and the boys should have to pay taxes on their immense windfall when their daddy passes on. But that’s just the beginning, as the New York Times reported:

Beyond cutting the tax rate to 15 percent for large corporations, which now pay a rate of 35 percent, Mr. Trump also wants that rate for a broad range of firms known as pass-through entities — including hedge funds, real estate concerns like Mr. Trump’s and large partnerships — that currently pay taxes at individual rates, which top off at 39.6 percent

After presenting this wish list to the press, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that Trump had no plans to ever release his tax returns, because he has been more transparent than any president before him. So they will not be voluntarily produced, period. Mnuchin also acknowledged that a scheme such as the one they are proposing for pass-through companies like Trump’s could potentially be used as a tax shelter, but assured everyone that it would not be used as a loophole, whatever that means.

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