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North Korea Halts All Nuclear and Long-Range Missile Testing446980

2018/04Sat, 21 Apr 2018 07:59:24 -0500

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea announced that it will suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of its summits with Seoul and Washington, but stopped short of suggesting it has any intention of giving up its hard-won nuclear arsenal. The announcement, which sets the table for further negotiations when the summits begin, was made by leader Kim Jong Un at a meeting of the North Korean ruling party’s Central Committee on Friday. It was reported by the North’s state-run media early Saturday. Kim justified the suspension to his party by...

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Echoes of Barbara Bush in This Past Week's Three Heroines446955

2018/04Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:02:19 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Something tells me that Barbara Bush would have enjoyed reading the news over the last week -- and I don't mean the glowing tributes to the former first lady. No, some of the rest of the news, about who in the Trump administration is confused about what; about the nerves-of-steel pilot who brought a crippled airliner to safety; about the kerfuffle over infants on the Senate floor. All three episodes involve women of a very different age than Bush but a similar sensibility: confident and no-nonsense, intolerant of fools and foolishness. The generational divide is stark between...

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Trouble in Missouri; Haley Stands Tall; Barbara Bush's College; Saving Social Security

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:54:30 -0500

Good morning, it’s Friday, April 20, 2018, another chilly spring morning here in Washington, D.C. It was worse 35 years ago today, when the weather along the Eastern Seaboard was uncommonly cold. The mercury dropped below freezing in Charleston, the latest it had ever done so, distressing South Carolina’s farmers and gardening enthusiasts. As is usually the case, the weather became more extreme the farther north one went. Temperatures were so bracing in Baltimore that fewer than 7,000 fans bundled up to see the Orioles, who would win the World Series that year. Ice storms caused...

Trump Backs Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee Senate Bid446937

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:21:04 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has endorsed Marsha Blackburn in the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat from Tennessee. Trump tweeted Thursday that the sitting congresswoman is a “wonderful woman who has always been there when we have needed her.” Trump added that she’s great on his key issues of the military, border security and crime and works hard for the people of Tennessee. Trump said, “I will be there to campaign with her!” He did not announce any dates. Blackburn initially faced a challenge from former Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen...

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Fired FBI Deputy Chief Andrew McCabe Faces Criminal Referral441053

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:19:25 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department’s inspector general has sent a criminal referral about fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe to federal prosecutors in Washington, his lawyer said Thursday. The referral to the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia does not mean McCabe will ever be charged, but it does raise the prospect that the longtime law enforcement official could face a criminal investigation into whether he illegally misled officials about his authorization of a news media disclosure. Prosecutors could decide to charge him if they conclude he...

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Rudy Giuliani Joins Trump Legal Team in Russia Probe446935

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:16:46 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump since the early days of his campaign, is joining the team of lawyers representing the president in the special counsel’s Russia investigation. With the addition of Giuliani, Trump gains a former U.S. attorney, a past presidential candidate and a TV-savvy defender at a time when the White House is looking for ways to bring the president’s involvement with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to a close. The president has been weighing whether to sit for...

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Comey's Handling of Hillary Clinton Shows Us He's No Hero437101

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:32:44 -0500

After being pressed by former top Bill Clinton political aide George Stephanopoulos on ABC News, James Comey admitted that he had "screwed up a couple of things." The former FBI director wasn't talking about his failure to notify then-President elect Donald Trump that unsubstantiated rumors paid for by his political opposition were helping fuel the creation of a special counsel. No, Comey was admitting that he had made mistakes regarding the 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton. And no, he wasn't begrudgingly apologizing for failing to recommend criminal charges against the candidate. It's...

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Why the Authoritarian Right Is Rising446170

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:31:44 -0500

A fortnight ago, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party won enough seats in the Hungarian parliament to rewrite his country's constitution. To progressives across the West, this was disturbing news. For the bete noire of Orban's campaign was uber-globalist George Soros. And Orban's commitments were to halt any further surrenders of Hungarian sovereignty and independence to the European Union, and to fight any immigrant invasion of Hungary from Africa or the Islamic world. Why are autocrats like Orban rising and liberal democrats failing in Europe? The autocrats are addressing the primary and...

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A Moral People No More445294

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:30:39 -0500

The American experiment is at an end. The nation will continue. But barring some crisis that rouses the American people to our better angels, the experiment is over. Our founders determined that our republic had to be premised on a good and moral people. The law is only as good as the people. There are just too many examples of the people not being so good. Evangelical support for the president is at an all-time high. This news comes as more Playboy playmates and porn stars come forward to confess to adultery with the president while his wife was pregnant. Even many of the president's ardent...

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Space: the New Frontier of Warfare423310

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:29:34 -0500

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Sitting at the controls of a Boeing space-flight simulator, "docking" the company's planned "Starliner" craft with an imaginary space station, you begin to understand why the Pentagon is so focused on such advanced systems. Space is the new frontier of warfare. That was the theme of a "Space Symposium" here this week that gathered thousands of military and corporate experts from around the globe. A version of the Boeing simulator may someday be training the 21st-century version of fighter pilots. The future battle may be in the heavens. But you can already see a...

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Trump's Foreign Policy Is More Like International Lurching445614

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:28:38 -0500

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is succeeding wildly at one thing: sowing utter confusion about its foreign policy. Perhaps "foreign policy" is the wrong term. "International lurchings" might be more apt. Allies and adversaries alike are having to learn which pronouncements to take seriously, which to ignore and which are likely to be countermanded by presidential tweet. Trump announces he has accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whose nuclear arms and ballistic missiles have provoked a dangerous crisis. No groundwork for such a meeting has been laid,...

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Haley, Integrity Intact, Is the Exception to the Trump Rule446934

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:26:27 -0500

COMMENTARY Nikki Haley’s surprising remonstrance, issued this week from under the bus, earned huzzahs from both parties and showed the world what successfully surviving service in the administration of President Trump looks like. It also showed the lady can throw some damn good shade. After she appeared last Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and announced there would be new sanctions on Russia to follow recent airstrikes in Syria, the White House said the ambassador was mistaken. Larry Kudlow blamed it on “momentary confusion,” to which Haley responded: “With all...

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Greitens Scandal Casts Shadow Over Missouri Senate Race446888

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:07:41 -0500

Ordinarily, a GOP governor filing a restraining order against his state's Republican attorney general, who happens to be running for one of the most competitive U.S. Senate seats in the country, would be politically devastating for the candidate. In Missouri, however, Republicans hope it will help the challenger’s campaign to defeat Sen. Claire McCaskill. Earlier this week, state Attorney General Josh Hawley announced his office found evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing by Eric Greitens, alleging the governor stole electronic property by using the donor list from his veterans...

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Will Smith College Finally Warm to Barbara Bush?446871

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:50:54 -0500

COMMENTARY While the nation mourns the passing of former first lady Barbara Bush, the question is: Will there be any mention of her at next month’s commencement ceremony at Smith College? To recap: Mrs. Bush briefly attended the elite Northampton, Mass., women’s college before dropping out after her freshman year at age 19, to marry George H.W. Bush the following winter. (The two had met during their prep-school years; Bush, as a World War II naval aviator, named three of his planes after her.) In March of this year, just weeks before she revealed she was in failing health, Mrs. Bush filed...

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Playboy Comes to D.C.445009

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:20:48 -0500

Playboy Enterprises just announced that it has purchased a table at this year's White House Correspondents Association dinner. Swell. Just what we need. The dinner, as you've probably heard, is an annual ritual of narcissism in which leading press figures don black tie and hope to see, or better yet, be seen with, Hollywood stars. Like much of politics, much of journalism has become entertainment, and though journalists dub the dinner the "nerd prom," the self-deprecation becomes more strained with each passing year, as journalists themselves have become, literally and otherwise, "beautiful...

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Evangelicals Can't Advance Human Dignity by Dehumanizing Others440410

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:15:08 -0500

WASHINGTON -- If the stages of a social movement are emergence, coalescence, bureaucratization and decline, the reaction against the Trump evangelicals among other evangelicals is still in the emergence stage. But one significant act of coalescence took place recently at Wheaton College, where a group of 50 ethnically and denominationally diverse evangelical leaders met to discuss the sad state of their movement. The setting was appropriate. Wheaton (my alma mater) was founded by abolitionist evangelicals in the mid-19th century. Its first president, Jonathan Blanchard, was an anti-slavery...

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Doctored Images Affecting Our Kids433511

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:31:50 -0500

Imagine being an impressionable child growing up in a world that bombards you with tens of thousands of images of what beauty looks like -- only it's fake, thanks to a plethora of social media filters, Photoshop-like apps and other digital tools that artificially enhance one's looks. In modern America, kids are growing up spending an excessive amount of time on Snapchat, Instagram and other social networks, where millions of people, including advertisers and the modeling industry, post altered, more perfected versions of themselves or their clients. That friend, classmate or model they see in...

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Collusion, Anyone?420810

2018/04Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:08:24 -0500

As the likelihood that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of collusion seems headed upward toward certainty. The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Donald Trump's dealings in Russia and candidate Trump's off-putting praise of Vladimir Putin. It was fueled by breathless media coverage of such trivial events as Jeff Sessions' conversation with the Russian ambassador at a Washington reception -- and, of course, by the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special...

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Nikki Haley's SOS to the Nation444226

2018/04Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:50:40 -0500

WASHINGTON -- "With all due respect, I don't get confused." These eight words from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will go down as among the most powerful indictments of the rancid governing culture President Trump has fostered. They may also shed light on one of the great mysteries of the moment: Why is it that Trump regularly backs off when it comes to confronting Vladimir Putin and Russia? The matter-of-factness of Haley's comment made it all the more acidic. She was pushing back against efforts by White House staffers to toss her overboard after she had declared,...

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Democrats See Wisconsin as Proving Ground for Party Revival446852

2018/04Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:48:00 -0500

PARDEEVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Margo Miller thanked her hosts, covered herself in a blue poncho and headed back into the driving sleet Saturday morning, with more doors to knock in this rural subdivision but with another new volunteer’s name on her clipboard. Miller and about 50 other Democratic activists who braved the spring storm returned with 160 petition signatures for a special state Assembly campaign, a local sleeper election that Democrats hope will be anything but. Since Republican Donald Trump’s surprise win in Wisconsin helped hand him the White House, Democrats like...

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Ryan's Money Tree; Texas Senate Race; Mexican Election; Lexington & Concord

2018/04Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:04:27 -0500

Good morning, it’s Thursday, April 19, 2018. In yesterday’s newsletter I wrote about a famous chapter in America’s founding -- the midnight ride of Paul Revere -- and today, in a passage reprised from my recent book, I’ll continue the story of “the shots heard ’round the world.” Alarmed about the militancy blossoming in Boston and surrounding towns, British Gen. Thomas Gage decided to seize the Americans’ cache of rifles, artillery, and ammunition stored by the Massachusetts militia in Concord. On the night of April 18, 1775, Gage dispatched two...

Trump Says He May Exit North Korea Summit If It's 'Not Fruitful'446851

2018/04Thu, 19 Apr 2018 07:07:10 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said that although he’s looking ahead optimistically to a historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he could still pull out if he feels it’s “not going to be fruitful.” Trump said that CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Kim “got along really well” in their recent secret meeting, and he declared, “We’ve never been in a position like this” to address worldwide concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons. But speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday,...

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Ryan Shows Fundraising Vigor Amid Retirement Concerns446822

2018/04Thu, 19 Apr 2018 19:27:18 -0500

Paul Ryan headlined three fundraisers for Republican congressional candidates in Washington Wednesday, a demonstration of strength a week after his surprise retirement announcement set off concerns about whether the speaker could continue his pace as the House GOP’s top fundraiser. Ryan headlined an event for Debbie Lesko, a state senator running in an Arizona special election next week, that was expected to bring in around $70,000 for her campaign, according to sources familiar with the event. “Early voting is looking good, but they’re throwing all this money at her,...

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Politics Polarize; Community Unites424835

2018/04Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:23:41 -0500

News outlets are routinely filled with commentary and analysis suggesting that 21st-century America is a deeply polarized nation. Countless stories are presented as a battle between conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, private sector and public. Political activists fan the flames with talking points "proving" that they hold the moral and rational high ground. They convey a sense that anybody who disagrees with them is either stupid or corrupt. Watching all this makes many people fighting mad and fills them with a burning desire to beat the other team. Far too many nice and...

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Comey Tells Ex-Clinton Aide Stephanopoulos That Trump Is 'Morally Unfit'446632

2018/04Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:26:54 -0500

Fired ex-FBI head James Comey told ABC News "chief anchor" George Stephanopoulos that Donald Trump is "morally unfit to be president"? Think about this. Comey offered this assessment to Stephanopoulos, whose former boss, first candidate and then President Bill Clinton, was credibly accused of rape and sexual assault, had sex in the Oval Office with an intern, and then lied about it under oath, for which he was impeached. But Comey tells Stephanopoulos that Trump is "morally unfit to be president"? Also, Fox News' Sean Hannity, a staunch President Trump defender, got hammered for not...

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