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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: 26,107

Journal Archives

Conway: Border wall remains a 'very important priority' for Trump

Source: Politico

By LOUIS NELSON 04/25/17 08:48 AM EDT

Speaking to Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” Conway said funding for the wall can be secured in the future and that in the meantime, additional resources have been directed and will continue to be directed to border security measures. Trump has insisted from day one of his presidential campaign that Mexico will pay for the wall, but since taking office has backtracked away from that position somewhat, suggesting that it be funded with taxpayer dollars for the sake of expediency while maintaining that the U.S. will be reimbursed by the Mexican government in one form or another at some point in the future.

“Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him. But we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year. And in the interim you see other smart technology and other resources and tools being used toward border security,” she said. “We’ll have those enhancements for border security and then moving on to funding and building the wall later on.”

Conway highlighted the executive order on immigration and border security signed by Trump on his sixth day in office and noted that illegal border crossings have hit a 17-year low. That dip, the counselor to the president said, is the result of Trump’s “resolve, plus the tools and resources” handed to immigration and border officials.

Money for the border wall would likely have been a major sticking point for Democrats should the president have insisted upon it in legislation that must pass this week in order to keep the government open. By deferring explicit funding for the wall into the future, Trump has removed one of the major obstacles to avoiding a government shutdown, one that would embarrassingly begin on his 100th day in office.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/25/kellyanne-conway-border-wall-trump-237570

Poll: 67 percent of gun owners say NRA 'overtaken by lobbyists'

Source: Politico

By LOUIS NELSON 04/25/17 09:00 AM EDT

With the NRA preparing to hold its annual convention, complete with a planned address from President Donald Trump, later this week in Atlanta, a new poll commissioned by an anti-gun violence PAC found that less than 50 percent of gun owners polled believe the NRA represents their interests.

In that same poll, sixty-seven percent of gun owners polled said they either strongly or somewhat agree that the NRA has shifted from an organization dedicated to gun safety to one “overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission.”

Twenty-six percent of respondents said they were members of the NRA and 74 percent said they were not. Fifty percent said they voted for Trump, who was endorsed early in his candidacy by the NRA, in last year’s presidential election, while 43 percent said they voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The NRA did not immediately return a request for comment.

The poll was provided to POLITICO by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the PAC created by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was survived a shooting at a constituent event in 2011, and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/25/poll-gun-owners-nra-237564

100 days of Democratic rage; Trump has enabled the Dem Party to overlook its serious problems.

100 days of Democratic rage

Trump has enabled the Democratic Party to overlook its serious problems.


By most traditional measures, the Democratic Party hit rock bottom at the outset of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The Democratic National Committee was leaderless and in shambles. Congress and the White House were under Republican control, as were about two-thirds of the statehouses. Perhaps the most popular national figure associated with the party, Sen. Bernie Sanders, refused to even call himself a Democrat.

Yet Trump’s first 100 days in office appear to have resuscitated the party, if for no reason other than the rank-and-file loathe him so deeply and furiously. Grassroots activism and organizing is surging. Irate Democrats are flooding GOP town halls even in conservative states like Idaho and South Carolina. Small-dollar fundraising is also on fire — six of the 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won collected over $2 million in the first three months of the year. For some of them, that represented more than had ever been raised in their state this early in the election cycle.

But while the president has generated a vibrant culture of resistance on the left, it’s obscuring the depth of the hole that the Democratic Party still finds itself in. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows more Americans view the party negatively than positively.


Flynn's Turkish lobbying linked to Russia

Source: Politico

The former national security adviser’s client had business dealings in Russia and worked with an executive in Russian oil companies on Turkish lobbying projects.

By ISAAC ARNSDORF 04/25/17 05:14 AM EDT

The Turkish man who gave Mike Flynn a $600,000 lobbying deal just before President Donald Trump picked him to be national security adviser has business ties to Russia, including a 2009 aviation financing deal negotiated with Vladimir Putin, according to court records.

The man, Ekim Alptekin, has in recent years helped to coordinate Turkish lobbying in Washington with Dmitri “David” Zaikin, a Soviet-born former executive in Russian energy and mining companies who also has had dealings with Putin’s government, according to three people with direct knowledge of the activities.

This unusual arrangement, in which Alptekin and Zaikin have helped steer Turkish lobbying through various groups since at least 2015, raises questions about both the agenda of the two men and the source of the funds used to pay the lobbyists. Although Turkey is a NATO ally, its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has grown increasingly authoritarian and friendly with Putin. And the hiring of Flynn by Alptekin came at a time when Flynn was working for Trump’s campaign and Putin’s government was under investigation for interfering with the U.S. election.

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment. In a filing with the Justice Department, Flynn said he relied on assurances from Alptekin that he was not directly or indirectly funded by a foreign government. But shifting explanations and a web of business ties raise questions about the arrangement.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/25/michael-flynn-turkey-russia-237550

Biggest Murder Spikes Not in Sanctuary Cities


Biggest Murder Spikes Not in Sanctuary Cities

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says rising crime rates make sanctuary cities unsafe. The statistics paint a much more complicated picture.


04.25.17 1:00 AM ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities a centerpiece of his first few months at the Justice Department—but some cities that have heeded his warning are seeing their murder rates spike anyway.

In a speech last week, Sessions said “sanctuary cities”—a term with no clear legal definition—are safe harbors for violent international cartels, putting “innocent life, including the lives of countless law-abiding immigrants, in danger.” And he singled out New York City in a later statement, saying it faces “gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance.”

But a new analysis of preliminary data shows that in 2016, murder rates went up dramatically in many cities that cooperate with the feds on immigration. Immigration advocates say this means the attorney general is overstating the impact of ending “sanctuary city” policies as a way to fight violent crime.

“Sanctuary cities are not connected to the 2016 increase in crime in some cities despite Attorney General Sessions’s ill-informed comments to the contrary,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “Many of the cities with the biggest increase in crime are not sanctuary cities. There is no evidence that increased immigration enforcement reduces crime on the local level, thus there should be no increase in crime rates when cities reduce cooperation with the feds.”


Video Shows Conflicting Stories in Tamir Rice Case

Right after two Cleveland police officers fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, they sat down for video interviews, which have just now—two and a half years later—been released to the public. The stories of the shooting told by Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback on the never-before-seen video vary in some ways from their written statements that were presented to a grand jury, which declined to indict the officers. Tamir Rice was killed on Nov. 22, 2014, outside the Cudell Recreation Center. Garmback and Loehmann willingly agreed to be interviewed on camera by internal-affairs officers and homicide detectives. In doing so, they invoked what are called Garrity rights, meaning they are protected from incriminating themselves in the statements to their employer, cleveland.com reports. Loehmann says in the video that he opened his car door when the cruiser was still about 30 yards away from Rice and that he presented his weapon and yelled “Put your hands in the air! Let me see your weapon! Freeze!” But in his written statement to the grand jury, he said he didn’t begin acting until the car had rolled to a stop. “The threat just became incredible,” Loehmann said in the video. “I had to make the decision fast because Frank and I were in immediate danger. If the subject did pull out the gun and point it towards us, I would have been shot and possibly my partner... We were basically sitting ducks.”




Team Bannon Pushed for a Shutdown 'Standoff'


Team Bannon Pushed for a Shutdown ‘Standoff'

Stephen Bannon and his loyalists are encouraging President Trump to stand firm on his demand to include border wall funding in the bill to keep the government funded.


04.24.17 8:10 PM ET

Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s recently embattled White House chief strategist, has advised the president and senior staff to take a hard “stand” on border-wall funding this week—a game of chicken with lawmakers on Capitol Hill that threatens an imminent government shutdown.

“This is a stand worth taking,” Bannon told allies last week, according to two White House sources with direct knowledge who talked to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity to speak freely. “We’re drawing a line in the sand.”

“(Bannon) was pushing for this standoff, very hard,” another Trump administration official said. “He is 100-percent committed to this (specific) fight… to show that (the White House is) tough on immigration (enforcement), tough on the border—show they’re serious about the wall.”

Last week, Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, signaled that the president was prepared to use the threat of a government shutdown at the end of this week as leverage to force Democrats into supporting some funding for building Trump’s desired wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The proposed trade, and set-up for a spending showdown, was clear: If Trump gets money for his wall, Democrats get money for Obamacare subsidies.

“ObamaCare is in serious trouble. The Dems need big money to keep it going - otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought,” the president tweeted on Sunday morning. “The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.”


Trump Administration Changes Its Tune on Ed Snowden, Moscow's Star Defector


Trump Administration Changes Its Tune on Ed Snowden, Moscow’s Star Defector

CIA Director Pompeo and AG Sessions blast celebrity leaker

By John R. Schindler • 04/24/17 12:00pm

The recent statement by CIA Director Mike Pompeo that WikiLeaks is a fraud and an anti-American actor on the global stage has led to gnashing of teeth among fans of that celebrated “privacy organization.” Pompeo did not mince words, declaring that WikiLeaks is an enemy of the United States and Western democracies and he denounced its founder Julian Assange in unusually blunt terms:

“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service…it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations. It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia… Julian Assange and his kind are not the slightest bit interested in improving civil liberties or enhancing personal freedom…Assange is a narcissist who has created nothing of value. He relies on the dirty work of others to make himself famous. He’s a fraud, a coward hiding behind a screen.”

The seriousness of the Trump administration’s outing of WikiLeaks and Assange as enemies of free societies has been demonstrated further by reports that the Department of Justice is seriously considering pressing charges against Assange over his role in recent leaks of CIA hacking tools. That Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week described Assange’s arrest as a “priority” for his department indicates that this is more than a theoretical debate for the Trump administration.

This represents a remarkable turnabout for the White House, particularly since last year Donald Trump professed his “love” for WikiLeaks when it was hurting Hillary Clinton by releasing emails that our Intelligence Community has assessed were stolen by Russian spies then passed to Assange to bolster the Trump campaign. Now, however, the president says he is okay with Assange’s arrest, and the rest of his administration has followed suit, abruptly changing its line on the fugitive who’s been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London for the last five years, on the lam from rape charges in Sweden.


How 'Shattered' Changed My Mind About Hillary: Now I Like Her More


As we look to 2020, an alternative to Trump won't be enough

By Bradley Tusk • 04/25/17 6:30am

Anyone interested in politics and not living under a rock (or without WiFi) knows that the first seminal tell-all, insider account of the 2016 presidential elections is now available for download or purchase. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign is a blow-by-blow account of the failed Clinton campaign, chronicling every misstep, bad decision, and fatal flaw that ultimately led to the election of Donald Trump. The reviews of Shattered are quick to blame Hillary for the result.


None of these interpretations are shocking. But after finishing the book this weekend, I came away with a different view of Hillary—one surprisingly more positive than I went in with. First, let’s stipulate a few things. The book establishes that she was a terrible candidate—wooden, scripted, inauthentic. Guess what? I already knew that, as did every single person who voted in the election, whether you were for her or not. Shattered also establishes that she’s bad at running presidential campaigns. Since she was the favorite in two separate races and managed to lose them both, I didn’t need a book to tell me that either.

But here’s what the book did teach me: the image I had of Hillary—someone who was selfish, entitled, poll driven, and a little sleazy—is not completely accurate. In other words, even though the book is mainly about Hillary’s failings, I actually came away from it liking and respecting her more. A few examples as to why:

* When Hillary confided to her friend Minyon Moore, “I don’t understand what’s happening with the country. I can’t get my arms around it,” she did something most politicians aren’t willing to do: admit they don’t know something about their own voters. And in fairness to Hillary, she was just as confused as the voters themselves, many of whom picked Trump because they too were unsure about where the world is heading and liked the sound of someone promising to restore us to earlier, more certain times.

* Even if Hillary’s actual life has been far more self-interested than she seems to realize, the book repeatedly establishes that her focus was on performing actual public service: helping families, helping children, helping the disadvantaged. Did some of Hillary’s actions—the high-priced speeches, the lavish homes—send the opposite signal? Absolutely. But her motives come off purer than I thought and better than those of most politicians I know.


After years of hiding their relationship, Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron enter the political stage...

After years of hiding their relationship, Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron enter the political stage together

By Rick Noack April 24 at 2:59 PM

PARIS — When French voters are asked to describe the centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, age appears to be a defining characteristic in several ways. The 39-year-old Macron could become the youngest contemporary French president. He would also be accompanied into the Élysée Palace by his wife, Brigitte, who is 24 years older than he is. Both would be highly unusual, if not unprecedented.

Since Macron founded his own political movement about one year ago, his wife has rapidly adapted to the sudden prospect of becoming the next first lady of France after spending much of her life as a high school teacher.

She had few other choices, given the rather intense interest in the private lives of presidential candidates in France. French voters, it appears, like some drama.

The unusual relationship between Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron has plenty of that to offer. Born as Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux, the now 64-year-old is the daughter of a family of chocolatiers who are known for their macaroons, a French type of confectionery that sounds remarkably similar to the name of the current presidential candidate.

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