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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Current location: Greenfield
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 57,671

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Journal Archives

New details in GOP Obamacare replacement leaked

Latest plan still includes a tax credit that conservatives panned as a new entitlement.

By PAUL DEMKO 03/03/17 09:52 AM EST Updated 03/03/17 10:59 AM EST

House Republicans aren’t backing down from their Obamacare repeal plan that sparked backlash from the party's conservative wing.

The latest version of the House’s Obamacare repeal bill — which has yet to be publicly released — contains few significant changes to a previously leaked draft, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.

The bill still includes new tax credits for individuals based on age, a proposal that hardline conservatives derided as "Obamacare lite" after POLITICO published a previous version of the draft legislation last week. However, one significant change to the tax credit is being considered: not allowing wealthier Americans to qualify for assistance. No specific proposal for cutting off eligibility has been added to the legislation, but staff have been directed to come up with possible proposals, according to a source familiar with the deliberations.

The latest draft, dated Feb. 24, also still includes a plan to phase out Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Instead the program’s current open-ended federal entitlement would be replaced by capped payments to states based on the number of Medicaid enrollees.


Why is the speaker so blase' about Russian meddling? Maybe because he knows it helped the GOP win...

FRIDAY, MAR 3, 2017 08:10 AM EST

How much did Russian hacking affect congressional races? And how deeply was the GOP involved?

Why is the speaker so blasé about Russian meddling? Maybe because he knows it helped the GOP win close races



One of those discomfited was House Speaker Paul Ryan who was quoted in the article saying, “Vladimir Putin is an aggressor who does not share our interests,” and accusing the Russian leader of “conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks” on our political system.

This was just one of the many times Ryan zigged and zagged during the campaign, constantly calibrating how far he could go in criticizing Trump while keeping Trump’s passionate voters off his back. This particular issue was a tough one, since until quite recently the Republicans had been inveterate Russia hawks and the abrupt switch to dovish goodwill was undeniably disorienting.

Prior to Sessions’ recusal on Thursday morning, Ryan held a press conference in which he blamed the Democrats for “setting their hair on fire” to get the press to cover the story. That was ridiculous. The press needs no prodding to cover this scandal; it’s as juicy as they get. Ryan also pooh-poohed the idea that Sessions had any obligation to remove himself from the investigation unless he was personally implicated and robotically repeated the contention that nobody had seen any evidence that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

That may be true, and presumably we’ll find out sooner or later. But it’s important to remember that DNC and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta were not the only targets of hacking. Russian agents also allegedly hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That story has been scandalously under-covered, a fact for which Paul Ryan is no doubt very grateful.



Canada has seen jump in asylum seekers from US: officials


03 MAR 2017 AT 09:07 ET

The number of migrants applying for refugee status in Canada after crossing the border from the United States has been rising since the beginning of the year, officials said Thursday.

“Canada has seen an increase in the number of asylum claims in January of this year, compared to the same time last year,” the Canada Border Services Agency told a briefing.

From January 1 to February 21, a total of about 4,000 people filed refugee claims, up from 2,500 during the same period last year.

The figure includes border jumpers and those arriving from the United States at border checkpoints.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/canada-has-seen-jump-in-asylum-seekers-from-us-officials/

Parents fearing deportation pick guardians for US children

Source: Reuters

03 MAR 2017 AT 08:52 ET

Parents who immigrated illegally to the United States and now fear deportation under the Trump administration are inundating immigration advocates with requests for help in securing care for their children in the event they are expelled from the country.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) advocacy group has been receiving about 10 requests a day from parents who want to put in place temporary guardianships for their children, said spokesman Jorge-Mario Cabrera. Last year, the group said it received about two requests a month for guardianship letters and notarization services.

At the request of a nonprofit organization, the National Lawyers Guild in Washington D.C. put out a call this week for volunteer attorneys to help immigrants fill out forms granting friends or relatives the right to make legal and financial decisions in their absence.

In New Jersey, immigration attorney Helen Ramirez said she is getting about six phone calls a day from parents. Last year, she said, she had no such calls.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/parents-fearing-deportation-pick-guardians-for-us-children/

Less than half of Republicans think a free press is necessary for democracy

Source: International Business Times

03 MAR 2017 AT 08:39 ET

President Donald Trump has made a habit of criticizing the media, calling both stories and news outlets he doesn't like "fake news" and declaring the press the "enemy of the people." While some bristle at the idea of the president of the United States attacking the fourth estate, it would appear that Trump's base doesn't actually think a free press is all that necessary.

In a new poll, only 49 percent of Republicans and people who lean Republican said it was very important for American democracy that "news organizations are free to criticize political leaders." The poll, which was published Thursday by the Pew Research Center, found that 76 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning respondents said the free press was an important part of maintaining a strong democracy.


Pollsters also asked people if the right of the people to nonviolently protest was important, and 68 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners said it was, compared to 88 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners. Pollsters also asked if it was important that "rights of people with unpopular views are protected." Eighty percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners agreed with that statement, while just 66 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners said unpopular views should be protected.

In two other questions about the components of a strong democracy, the partisan divide disappeared. Eighty-three percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats said it was very important to have a "system of checks and balances dividing power between the president, Congress and the courts." Republicans valued "open and fair" national elections slightly more than Democrats, 92 to 90 percent, respectively.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/less-than-half-of-republicans-think-a-free-press-is-necessary-for-democracy/

Trump 'golden shower gate' file to reopen as former British spy called to testify in Senate

Source: International Business Times

03 MAR 2017 AT 08:35 ET

President Donald Trump has been under the scanner over his alleged links with Russia, which further escalated after a 35-page document released by CNN in January claimed the 70-year-old was involved in obscene sexual acts. Britain's former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, who is believed to have authored the dossier, has now been called in by the Senate to testify over the scandal, the Independent reported Thursday.

After CNN’s report, other news publications followed suit. The dossier contained reports of material that Russian operatives had allegedly collected on Trump. It also included the infamous “Golden Shower Gate” episode, where Trump allegedly paid prostitutes to urinate on a bed that had been used by former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama. The document was reportedly presented to both Trump and Obama.

Trump had attacked Steele declaring the report on the Kremlin connection as a fabricated work put together by a “failed spy.” He got into a fight with several media publications such as BuzzFeed News that dumped the entire dossier after admitting its findings had not been verified, and also busted CNN accusing the cable network of being "fake news."

The allegations have been dismissed by both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Sputnik International.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/trump-golden-shower-gate-file-to-reopen/

UPDATED - Feds arrest suspect behind at least 8 bomb threats against Jewish community centers

Source: RawStory

03 MAR 2017 AT 09:33 ET

Law enforcement officials are set to announce that an arrest has been made of the man who is allegedly responsible for a wave of bomb threats that have been made this year against Jewish community centers.

ABC Newss Dan Linden is reporting that both the FBI and the New York City police department have confirmed that a 31-year-old man named Juan Thompson has been arrested for allegedly being behind at least eight different threats to Jewish community centers. The suspect was arrested by FBI officials in St. Louis, Linden reports.


NBC News reports that authorities believe Thompson was behind several copycat threats to Jewish centers, and that he is not behind the larger wave of bomb threats.



Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/feds-set-to-announce-arrest-of-suspect-behind-wave-of-bomb-threats-against-jewish-community-centers/


Disgraced journalist Juan Thompson suspected in 8 ‘copycat’ bomb threats against Jewish centers

03 MAR 2017 AT 10:22 ET

A suspect arrested in a series of bomb threats against Jewish community centers has been identified as a former reporter who fabricated quotes and invented sources for numerous stories.

The FBI arrested 31-year-old Juan Thompson, of St. Louis, in connection with at least eight threats against Jewish community centers, including some in the New York City area, as part of what federal prosecutors called a “campaign to harass and intimidate” a woman after a breakup.

Nearly 100 JCCs and schools have received bomb threats in five separate waves, most recently Monday — when 21 bomb threats were called in to 13 JCCs and eight Jewish schools in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Investigators consider Thompson a “copycat” and said he was suspected in only a few of the nationwide threats in recent months.

He allegedly made some of the threats in his own name and others in the victim’s name, and investigators also said Thompson sent hoax faxes to the woman’s employer last year detailing claims about her alleged anti-Semitic statements on social media.


Trump and Russian foreign minister use exact same phrase to denounce widening scandal

03 MAR 2017 AT 07:48 ET

President Donald Trump and the Russian foreign minister used the same phrase to push back against the widening scandal engulfing the White House.

Both Trump and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, issued statements after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the investigation of alleged ties between the Republican presidential campaign and Russia.

Trump said in his statement late Thursday that Sessions was “an honest man” who “did not say anything wrong” by denying during his Senate confirmation any contacts with Russian officials — despite having twice met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.

“He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional,” Trump said in his statement.

“This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win,” the president continued. “The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!”


TRMS Exclusive: DHS document undermines Trump case for travel ban

03/02/17 09:15 PM—UPDATED 03/03/17 12:14 AM

The Rachel Maddow Show has obtained, exclusively, a Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment document. The document, from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, makes the case that most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists are likely not radicalized when they come to the U.S., but rather become radicalized after living in the U.S. for a number of years.

The document follows another piece of research (pdf) from Homeland Security that undercut President Trump’s rationale for a travel ban as a means of keeping violent extremists out. On Friday, the Associated Press published an analysis from Homeland Security that said citizenship in any given country – including the seven countries listed in the executive order – is likely an unreliable indicator of whether someone poses a terrorist threat.

The new assessment, obtained by the Rachel Maddow Show and dated March 1, tracks 88 violent, foreign-born extremists in the United States. More than half of them had been in the U.S. more than 10 years before they were indicted or killed.

Homeland Security tonight has confirmed the authenticity of the document. The department says production of it began in August 2016, and that it likely would have reached the White House. We have asked the White House for comment tonight. They have not responded.

Read the document below:


Arkansas plans to execute 8 men over 10 days

Source: CNN

By Dakin Andone, CNN
Updated 2:21 AM ET, Fri March 3, 2017

(CNN)Eight men are scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Arkansas in the space of just 10 days, according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office.

The state -- which has not put anyone to death for 11 years -- plans to execute the men in pairs between April 17 and April 27.

"This action is necessary to fulfill the requirement of the law," Gov. Hutchinson said in a statement sent to CNN on Thursday. "But it is also important to bring closure to the victims' families who have lived with the court appeals and uncertainty for a very long time."

So many executions in such a short amount of time is "unprecedented" in the United States, a spokesman for a group that monitors US executions said.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/02/health/arkansas-eight-executions/index.html
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