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Last Build Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:45:29 -0500

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Senate Intel Leaders Aim to Restore Trust in Russia Probe408074

2017/03Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:45:17 -0500

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Richard Burr and Mark Warner made clear Wednesday they want to restore bipartisanship and cohesion in the congressional probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as their counterparts in the House are in a standoff. In a rare joint news conference, the two senators said they have asked 20 individuals to be interviewed by their committee and have five already scheduled—including President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who organized meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. Chairman Burr said it "would be safe...

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Nunes Uproar; the Danish View; Weaponized Words; Tyler's Legacy

2017/03Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:55:42 -0500

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, March 29, 2017. On this date in 1790, John Tyler was born in Charles City County, Virginia, at an estate called Greenway on the road between Richmond and Jamestown. Greenway is a private residence these days, and not open to the public. I suppose that’s fitting enough for the little-remembered 10th U.S. president, but it’s not necessarily the last word. I’ll explain in a moment. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces...

Nunes Uproar Sidelines House Intel Panel, Puts Eye on Senate407932

2017/03Wed, 29 Mar 2017 05:42:23 -0500

Amid growing calls for his recusal from the investigation of Russian meddling in the election, and revelations that raise questions about his partisanship, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes is digging in his heels. "Why would I not?" the California Republican told reporters when asked whether he would continue to lead the Russian probe. "That sounds like their problem," he said of Democrats, including Ranking Member Adam Schiff, who argue the chairman's proximity to the Trump administration as a member of the transition team, his recent briefing of a president whose associates are under...

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Benjamin Crump: TV's Rising Fake News Star298804

2017/03Wed, 29 Mar 2017 20:34:07 -0500

He's the new Al Sharpton on steroids -- and he's coming to a TV near you. Benjamin Crump, camera-lovin' lawyer for the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, rocketed to fame perpetuating the "Hands up, don't shoot" lie. Never mind that even the left-wing Obama Justice Department concluded that the 22 witnesses who manufactured the Black Lives Matter-promoted narrative were unreliable, inconsistent, self-contradictory, unsupported by a shred of forensic evidence, or outright lying. In Crump World, anti-police ideology trumps facts. Social justice trumps actual justice. And lying about...

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Trump Is Now the CEO of a Very Public Company407621

2017/03Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:08:34 -0500

WASHINGTON -- As the White House reboots for "Trump 2.0" after a largely unsuccessful first two months, one lesson should be obvious: The radical, polarizing politics of the campaign trail don't work well in governing the country. America isn't Russia or the Philippines. Our system has speed bumps, carefully constructed by our Founders. Presidents don't rule simply by executive order. They must shape policies that are comprehensible to the public and can be enacted into law. In Trump's first two months, he too often behaved as an insurgent and disrupter, rather than a chief executive. He paid...

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Free Market Care383571

2017/03Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:36:47 -0500

President Trump and Paul Ryan tried to improve Obamacare. They failed. Trump then tweeted, "ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!" But I do worry. Trump is right when he says that Obamacare will explode. The law mandates benefits and offers subsidies to more people. Insurers must cover things like: --Birth control. --Alcohol counseling. --Depression screening. --Diet counseling. --Tobacco use screening. --Breastfeeding counseling. Some people want those things, but mandating them for everyone drives up...

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Too Much Politics in a Badly Divided Nation407839

2017/03Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:42:17 -0500

Commentary It’s amazing how politics has seeped into everybody’s lives. Republicans are now happy campers––relieved, finally, that there’s a politically incorrect, mostly conservative president in the White House. Democrats in the Trump era, however, seem more like the brooding, gloomy characters in a Cormac McCarthy novel. Recent polls paint a stark picture of a divided America. It’s no surprise that 86 percent of Republicans and a scant 8 percent of Democrats are optimistic about the direction of the country, according to a Fox News poll. But, bifurcated feelings...

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Purists Kill Whatever They Believe In405375

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:22:12 -0500

According to The New York Times, 10 moderates, 15 conservatives and eight other Republicans would have voted against the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. So, then, 15 or so conservatives made it impossible to pass the bill favored by nearly every other Republican and President Donald Trump. If that is the case, what we have here is another conservative example of purism and principle ruining another major opportunity to do good. The first purist conservative example were the Never-Trumpers, who believed it was better for Hillary Clinton to be elected president and for the left...

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The Ryancare Rout -- Winning by Losing?407790

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:46:16 -0500

Did the Freedom Caucus just pull the Republican Party back off the ledge, before it jumped to its death? A case can be made for that. Before the American Health Care Act, aka "Ryancare," was pulled off the House floor Friday, it enjoyed the support -- of 17 percent of Americans. Had it passed, it faced an Antietam in the GOP Senate, and probable defeat. Had it survived there, to be signed by President Trump, it would have meant 14 million Americans losing their health insurance in 2018. First among the losers would have been white working-class folks who delivered the Rust Belt states to...

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Dems Dig In; Conservative Groups' Clout; Ryan on Pelosi's Path? FDR's Health

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 07:54:48 -0500

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Seventy-three years ago today, Franklin D. Roosevelt had an appointment with his cardiologist. It did not go well. Dr. Howard G. Bruenn gave the wartime president, then entering his 11th year in office, a blunt diagnosis: hypertension, hypertensive heart disease, cardiac failure, and acute bronchitis. The president’s condition, as Bruenn later explained to Jan Kenneth Herman, editor of Navy Medicine, was “god-awful.” That’s not what the American people were led to believe. It’s not what key U.S. allies were told,...

How Trump Can Get His Groove Back407621

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 04:28:53 -0500

WASHINGTON -- The central promise of the Trump administration -- the repeal and replacement of Obamacare -- has failed. The central premise of the Trump administration -- that Donald Trump is a brilliant negotiator -- has been discredited. In the process of losing a legislative battle, Trump has lost the theory of his presidency. It was a profoundly personal rejection. Trump's ignorance of policy details alienated legislators. His ill-timed threats backfired. His bonhomie fell flat. The lessons, however, run deeper. Like other politicians before him, Trump ran for office arguing, in essence:...

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Trump Could Learn Plenty from His Mistakes -- If Only He Acknowledged Them407792

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 04:26:53 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Last week's health care fiasco could end up being a positive experience for President Trump if he learns a few obvious lessons. Spoiler alert: He won't. The first thing that should dawn on Trump is that the warring Republican factions in Congress have multiple agendas, none of which remotely resembles his own. This is why the bill that House Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to withdraw on Friday -- the abominable American Health Care Act -- made such a cruel mockery of Trump's expansive campaign promises. A "populist" president who promised health insurance "for everybody" ended up...

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Is Israel Losing Its Soul Over the West Bank?377942

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 04:22:42 -0500

WASHINGTON -- On what seems a regular basis, the United Nations takes a poke at Israel -- for its settlements policy, its treatment of Palestinians and, once, in the 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, merely for existing. Altogether, the U.N. and its agencies have condemned Israel so many times that, on one of those proportional maps, tiny Israel would loom over Saudi Arabia, with its beheadings and ban on women driving. This, in itself, calls for a resolution. Recently, a report prepared for a U.N. agency returned to the racism theme and called Israel an "apartheid regime." It was...

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Democrats See Little Upside in Working With Trump407726

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 01:56:28 -0500

The Trump administration, burned by its own party on its first major piece of legislation, has started to make a pitch for bipartisanship, suggesting the president is now interested in working across the aisle to secure votes on top agenda items such as tax reform. But the interest is not mutual. And for now, at least, congressional Democrats see little incentive in working with President Trump, whose approval rating has declined further in recent days. Instead, the GOP's failure last week on its own health care bill has emboldened Democrats who unified against it. Even when it comes to the...

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Conservative Groups Won't Be Sidelined, Health Vote Shows407777

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:54:23 -0500

In the Oval Office earlier this month, President Trump met to discuss health care reform legislation with some of the conservative group leaders who would scheme to derail it. Seated around the Resolute Desk on March 8 were Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation; Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots; Club for Growth President David McIntosh; Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action; Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks; and Tim Phillips, president of the Koch brothers’ advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity. “This is going to be great,” Trump told them,...

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GOP Plays Obscure Deregulation Card, But Clock Is Ticking407730

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:43:10 -0500

Republicans have utilized a little-known law to overturn 11 major regulations enacted in the last days of the Obama administration. After languishing unused for more than 15 years, the Congressional Review Act has become GOP’s weapon of choice when it comes to governing. Observers expect another dozen regulations – many of them dealing with environmental protection -- to be targeted in the next two months in a historic attack on federal regulatory authority. The use of the act is a major departure for Congress, which before January had appropriated it only once to rescind a...

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Health Care and We, The People406191

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:12:15 -0500

The Obamacare debacle -- we might as well call it by its right name -- underscores an abiding truth about democratic politics; to wit, politicians rarely get anything important done. Theirs, save on rare occasions, is the wrong forum for doing important things. In politics, you work with open minds and closed minds and reprobates and time-servers, along with the occasional statesman or patriot: the whole assemblage representing a hundred different points of view -- or no point of view at all. You work to scrape together consensus. Sometimes you succeed, especially on smaller matters. Just as...

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With Health Bill Failure, Ryan May Be on Pelosi's Midterm Path407720

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:08:40 -0500

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi bet the House in March 2010 when she oversaw the vote to pass President Obama’s health-care law. She lost. Did Speaker Paul Ryan just make a similar wager with last week’s failed vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act? “Republicans need to have a long conversation about what they want to be because they’re going to be a minority party if they can’t do better than this pretty quick,” said former Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. House Democrats passed the controversial ACA without a single Republican vote....

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U.S. Must Build On Short-Term Steps in Israeli Peace Effort407719

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:58:37 -0500

Commentary TEL AVIV--President Donald Trump’s penchant for entwining reckless utterances and sound pronouncements was on vivid display at his joint White House press conference last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is still too early to determine which will predominate in administration policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But with Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt having recently concluded his first trip to Israel in an official capacity and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer (pictured) having affirmed at AIPAC this week that “there is no daylight between our...

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Carmakers, Don't Pick a Fight With California396283

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:51:37 -0500

News flash: The Obama-era fuel-economy standards would add $875 to the average price of a new vehicle. But proposed border taxes or other tariffs on Mexican imports would add $2,000. President Donald Trump wants a weaker mandate on mileage, and he also wants the tariffs. Digest those numbers when assessing Trump's claim to be helping U.S. carmakers control their manufacturing costs. As for that $875 for new technology, drivers would save three times as much at the pump over the lifetime of the vehicle. Trump has ordered a review of the rule that new cars and light trucks must achieve a...

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The (GOP) Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight407162

2017/03Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:42:41 -0500

Remind me not to ask Paul Ryan or his GOP House posse to ever arrange a one-car funeral -- because the odds are good that they'd find a way to foul it up. On March 23, 2010 President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Which means that Paul Ryan and his team had seven years to come up with a replacement for Obamacare, a replacement that would get enough votes from fellow Republicans to at least make it out of the House. Instead, they pulled their health care bill before the vote -- a major blow to the president and the Republican Party. And what made it worse is that they...

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The Lessons Trump and Ryan Failed to Learn from History406440

2017/03Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:47:26 -0500

WASHINGTON -- If President Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) had paid attention to Mitt Romney, they could have avoided the fiasco of their now dead and unmourned health-care bill. They would not now face a situation in which both of them are being blamed because they both deserve to be. And the Republican Party would not be engulfed in a festival of recriminations. I speak here of the Romney who, in 2006 as governor of Massachusetts, saw government's job as coming up with business-friendly solutions to problems the market couldn't solve on its own. Believe it or not, Republicans...

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Opposing Gorsuch; Tom Price's Misfortune; Trump's Hard Lesson; Final Fours

2017/03Mon, 27 Mar 2017 08:32:41 -0500

Good morning, it’s Monday, March 27, 2017. Over the weekend, the Final Four took shape in men’s college basketball’s annual “March Madness” tournament. Only one member of NCAA hoops royalty, the University of North Carolina, is still playing. The Tar Heels are joined by two schools, Gonzaga and South Carolina, that are in the semifinals for the first time. The fourth team, Oregon, has been there once before, but not since 1939 -- the first year the tournament was played. The first title game took place on March 27, 1939 before 5,500 fans at Patten Gym in...

Meet the Man Who Really Owns Obamacare: Tom Price407577

2017/03Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:38:22 -0500

Commentary “I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own Obamacare, 100 percent own it,” said President (and part-time political pundit) Donald Trump, minutes after surrendering the fight for his American Health Care Act bill. This is not correct. If any one person “owns” the seven-year-old law, that person is now Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Literally. Price, the orthopedic surgeon and former member of the House Tea Party Caucus, may have become the saddest man in Washington on Friday afternoon. According to the New York Times,...

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The GOP's Lost Health Care Conscience407162

2017/03Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:46:05 -0500

WASHINGTON -- I really miss liberal Republicans. People like Mitt Romney. No doubt the former Massachusetts governor would be aghast at being called such a thing. Of course Romney is not a liberal in any conventional sense. But 11 years ago -- it now seems like a lifetime -- Romney acted in the great tradition of liberal Republicans. He saw a problem and tried to solve it in the most business-friendly way possible. The result was the Massachusetts health care plan. At a celebration for the new law, as recounted in a 2011 New Yorker piece by Ryan Lizza, Romney tried to explain why his approach...

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