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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 60,536

Journal Archives

Bolton on whether Kim was responsible for Warmbier's death: 'My opinion doesn't matter'

Source: The Hill

BY MICHAEL BURKE - 03/03/19 09:50 AM EST

National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that his opinion "doesn't matter" when asked if he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died after being imprisoned there.

“My opinion doesn’t matter," Bolton said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" when pressed on the subject by host Jake Tapper.


Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/432362-bolton-says-my-opinion-doesnt-matter-when-asked-if-he-believes-kim

Bolton: Trump taking Kim's word on Warmbier 'doesn’t mean that he accepts it as reality'

BY BRETT SAMUELS - 03/03/19 09:47 AM EST

National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday argued that just because President Trump said he took North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's word that the strongman did not know about the death of American Otto Warmbier, the president may not actually believe it.

"When he says 'I’m going to take him at his word,' it doesn’t mean that he accepts it as reality. It means that he accepts that was what Kim Jong Un said," Bolton said on "Fox News Sunday."

Anchor Chris Wallace pressed Bolton on Trump's habit of giving credence to the explanations of autocrats over evidence presented by U.S. intelligence agencies. Bolton suggested that Trump's efforts to negotiate American interests is more complex than addressing one particular statement from a foreign leader.

In addition to Kim, Trump has previously cited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's denial that he was involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi, and Russian president Vladimir Putin's insistence that he did not know of efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.

"In the case of all three of those countries we’ve got to pursue American national interests and that involves matters much weightier, much more important than some of these statements by the leaders," Bolton said.

"Look, foreign leaders who are friends of ours lie to our face as well," he added. "This is nothing new in international relations."


Judiciary chairman to request documents from dozens close to White House


Printed news article:

Poll: 60 percent of Americans oppose Trump's emergency declaration to fund wall

BY JUSTIN WISE - 03/03/19 09:22 AM EST


Sixty percent of Americans voiced disapproval to the move Trump made last month, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The survey found that 53 percent of Americans strongly disapproved of using a national emergency to divert military funds for construction of a border while seven percent said they "somewhat" disapprove.

Meanwhile 39 percent of Americans said they did support a national emergency to fund a border wall. Just 1 percent of Americans are unsure.

The poll comes weeks after Trump declared a national emergency to allocate unappropriated funding to building a border wall. Trump made the announcement as he agreed to sign a Congressional spending bill without the $5.7 billion in funds he wanted for a steel barrier along the border.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll also found that just 37 percent Americans believe Trump has been honest when it comes to the Russia investigation. Fifty-eight percent believe he hasn't been truthful about the probe.

In addition, 48-percent of respondents said that special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference has given them increasing doubts about Trump. Forty-seven percent said it has given them no more doubts.


NBC News/WSJ poll: 2020 race will be uphill for Trump, but he has strong party loyalty

Source: NBC News

NBC News/WSJ poll finds President Trump facing headwinds on Russia investigation and border wall but bolstered by strong GOP support and a good economy.

March 3, 2019, 9:01 AM EST
By Mark Murray

WASHINGTON — A year and a half before the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump faces formidable obstacles in his bid for re-election, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Just four in 10 voters say they would re-elect him next year; 58 percent don’t think he’s been honest and truthful regarding the Russia probe; and 60 percent disapprove of his recent national emergency declaration to build a border wall. But Democrats who want to defeat Trump have hurdles of their own. The president's job rating remains stable with nearly 90 percent of Republicans approving of his job. And a majority of Americans remain confident in the economy, believing that there won’t be a recession in the next year.

Add it up, and 2020 is shaping up to be yet another close presidential race, say the Democratic and Republican pollsters who conducted the NBC/WSJ survey.

“It’s a 45-55 against the president at this stage of the game,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/nbc-news-wsj-poll-2020-race-will-be-uphill-trump-n978331?cid=public-rss_20190303

Joe Conason - Ramble On: At CPAC, Trump Rants Until Auditorium Starts To Empty

Joe Conason

Ramble On: At CPAC, Trump Rants Until Auditorium Starts To Empty

March 2, 2019 8:24 pm

When Donald Trump showed up for his annual appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington on Saturday afternoon, he must have anticipated a happy ending to a very bad week. Here seated before him were thousands of buzzing cult followers, eager to rise and applaud repeatedly even as he rambled on inanely for hours. Scheduled to speak for 50 minutes, according to the CPAC schedule, Trump just couldn’t tear himself away from the “love” in that big hotel ballroom, as he put it. So he just didn’t stop for a long, long time.

Well before he finally did stop, however, people started to stream out of the ballroom — just around the moment when his meandering remarks turned to crowd size, one of his favorite topics. It was amazing to hear him boast that nobody had left while he spoke, even as he watched them walking out the doors — and then to hear him predict that the media would report people had left, as if it were untrue. (At that point, someone in the rear yelled, “Fake news!”)

That scary little moment showed again how Trump gaslights his base and how susceptible they are to his tricks. No doubt those who walked out while he was talking would later agree with the president that nobody had out. Anyone who laments the loss of presidential dignity would find no agreement among these fine people, bless their hearts. They jump up and cheer when they hear him scream “Bullshit!” and “We kicked their ass!”

As for the speech itself, we’ve all heard most of this guff before. Trump remains obsessed with many of the same matters that have preoccupied him for years, from the number of rubes who attended his inauguration to his theory that tariffs can make America rich. At first, the speech text focused on trade policy — with Trump hilariously claiming that he personally had “found” several dusty US statutes that justified his tariffs — but soon veered “off script.” He had won the presidency by going off script, he gibed, and he isn’t about to change.

Perpetually self-indulgent, Trump just lets it all hang out. And in recognition of that stream-of-consciousness style, let’s not pretend that he delivered a coherent speech at CPAC — and instead, simply note a series of moments:

Early on he reminded us that his election in 2016 “was the greatest of all time.”

He reasserted the wisdom of firing FBI director James Comey, a “bad cop” who “did a horrible job…Everybody hated him.”

He wanted to be sure we know all the reasons why Robert Mueller should not be investigating him, including that he wanted to be FBI director, that “Comey is his best friend…and those are a few of the conflicts.”

When the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, he promised, “we will get together with the Democrats” to bring America “really great health care.” (That sounds very familiar.)

Blasting the “socialist” Democrats, he explained: “Socialism is only about one thing. Socialism is about power for the ruling class.” (But obviously it’s not socialism to appoint a cabinet of billionaires.)

He renewed his ridiculous claim that Mexican drug cartels flourish because ICE “doesn’t have a border wall behind them.”

Mocking Senators, including Republicans, he lispingly noted that they’re “concerned about precedent” set by his national emergency declaration. Well, he’s concerned about murderers and rapists flooding across the border.

By the way, we have to fix “our broken immigration system,” especially “chain migration.” Please don’t tell Grandpa Drumpf — or Melania’s parents.

He complained that media saw midterm election as “a humiliating defeat” for him, when it was truly a great victory. “I wasn’t running!” he cries. (Although he told everyone to vote as if he was.)

Never ever call those other people “the Democratic party,” Trump instructed. Always call them “the Democrat party” — because “it sounds bad.” (He’s really a “conservative” now, see?)

There can be no collusion, he argued, because Melania once said: “You never spoke to anyone from Russia, darling!” (OK, forget collusion. Does anyone believe she called him “darling”?)

The failed summit with Kim Jong Un was “very productive…And we haven’t given him anything yet.” (Except for exactly what the dictator wanted.)

We should feel sorry for Trump, not the Warmbier family. Although he lampooned their suffering, he loves the Warmbiers, including their late son Otto. But he needed to suck up to Kim, whose regime tortured Otto to death. “I’m in a horrible position,” Trump said.



Posted with the permission of the author

State lawmakers pushing for laxer vaccine rules despite measles outbreaks

'We still get messages that say these diseases are good for you,' says one Oregon lawmaker who opposes efforts to let more parents opt out.

By VICTORIA COLLIVER 03/03/2019 07:05 AM EST

Measles is spreading from New York to Texas to Washington state in the worst outbreak in years, but some state lawmakers want to take the vaccination debate in the opposite direction: Loosening rules covering whether kids get inoculated.

In Oregon, state lawmakers will consider a so-called transparency bill favored by the "vaccine hesitant." New York is simultaneously considering eliminating and expanding exemptions that allow parents to opt out. One bill in Texas would prohibit the state from even tracking exemptions.

The push to loosen the rules is occurring even as the U.S. has experienced more than 160 measles cases in 10 states since Jan. 1, including 74 in Washington state and Oregon linked to the outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, according to the states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreaks have turned 2019 into one of the most active years for vaccine policy in recent memory, inspiring several states to try to toughen their vaccination mandates with the aim of stemming future outbreaks. Yet some legislators are advocating giving parents more control over whether their children need to be vaccinated.

While few if any such bills will pass, the split underscores how divisive the issue has become during an era in which three 2016 GOP presidential candidates — including Donald Trump — made the false claim that vaccines cause autism. (Since his election, Trump has been silent on the issue.) And it dismays public health supporters who have seen childhood vaccines become a haven for conspiracy theorists, with Russian bots stirring up trouble on social media and some vaccine advocates enduring harassment and even death threats.


Texas GOP races to shore up the suburbs for 2020

The state party is placing organizers in big metro areas early to bolster newly competitive districts.

By RENUKA RAYASAM 03/03/2019 07:08 AM EST

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Republicans barely escaped a colossal defeat last year. Now the party is scrambling to avoid a repeat in 2020.

Facing a rapidly changing voter base, anti-Trump fervor and a more motivated Democratic Party, the state GOP is moving earlier than ever to prepare after watching two House members lose in 2018 and another half-dozen win by fewer than 5 points.

The party has set new fundraising goals and placed field staffers in Dallas and Fort Worth nine months earlier than in the last election cycle to facilitate more engagement with voters, with plans to expand the early hiring to other major metro areas to stanch bleeding Republican support in the suburbs.

"We are taking seriously our need to earn every vote in Texas," said James Dickey, chairman of the Texas Republican Party. And donors "are also taking it much more seriously when I tell them how desperately I need them to participate or become a supporter of the party," Dickey added.

The state GOP will be adding organizers in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and even traditionally Democratic El Paso to its early hires. Those metro areas overlap with the districts of the six House Republicans who won narrowly in 2018: Reps. Michael McCaul, Chip Roy, Pete Olson, Will Hurd, Kenny Marchant, and John Carter.


Democratic presidential candidates marking Selma anniversary

Several Democratic White House hopefuls are visiting one of America's seminal civil rights sites to pay homage to that legacy and highlight their own connections to the movement

By ERRIN HAINES WHACK AP National Writer SELMA, Alabama — 1h ago

Several Democratic White House hopefuls are gathering at one of America's seminal civil rights sites on Sunday to pay homage to that legacy and highlight their own connections to the movement.

Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who already are in the 2020 race, and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who could soon join them, are scheduled to participate in events surrounding the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Alabama.

On March 7, 1965, peaceful demonstrators were beaten back by Alabama state troopers as they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It was a moment that galvanized support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year.

This year's commemoration comes in the early days of a Democratic primary that has focused heavily on issues of race. Several candidates have called out President Donald Trump as a racist while others have voiced support for the idea of reparations for the descendants of enslaved black Americans.

The candidates visiting Selma intend to highlight how civil rights have shaped their narratives.


Democrats have big plans for every age group. Republicans call that socialism.

Cycle of life: 2020 candidates have cradle-to-grave proposals for universal child care, tuition-free college and larger Social Security benefits.

March 3, 2019, 8:00 AM EST
By Benjy Sarlin

WASHINGTON — For everything there is a season, and for every stage of life there’s at least one Democratic presidential contender with a plan to address it.

From children to students to parents to retirees, the 2020 field is rallying behind an ambitious slate of economic ideas, many of which are targeted at specific parts of the life cycle.

For Democrats, the potential upside is clear. These proposals could give candidates a path to woo different constituencies, both in the primaries and the general election, with big-ticket promises that speak directly to voters' pocketbook concerns.

"What I'm saying is to promise everybody something," Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of the liberal politics hub Daily Kos, told NBC News. "The Democratic Party is the party that should be delivering goodies for people, and it can do so."

At the same time, some in the party worry the micro-targeting of policy proposals also carries a risk of pitting generations against one another or undermining a broader economic message with a confusing array of narrow plans. And, on the GOP side, opponents see a chance to portray their ambition as too costly and radical.


Democratic Fight for Nevada Is Wide Open

March 3, 2019 at 7:40 am EST By Taegan Goddard

Politico: “While the lion’s share of media attention is focused on Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Democratic hopefuls from Elizabeth Warren to Kamala Harris to Michael Bloomberg are quietly making early, behind-the-scenes moves that underscore the state’s sway: Warren has moved quickest to establish state-level campaign infrastructure, while Harris dropped into Nevada this weekend and Bloomberg, as well as Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, have met with the influential Culinary Union in the past week.”

“The activity highlights the 2020 opportunity available in Nevada, which operatives described as wide-open and waiting for a candidate to stake a strong claim to the state.”


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