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Last Build Date: Mon, 22 May 2017 14:37:01 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2008

Why the Budget Doesn't Balance386811

2017/05Mon, 22 May 2017 14:10:18 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Almost everyone has a simple cure for America's stubborn budget deficits: faster economic growth. The Trump administration is particularly keen on this. It argues that its proposed tax reductions and regulatory cuts will accelerate economic growth and shrink the deficits. No doubt faster growth would help. But a more realistic appraisal is that, even with accelerated growth, huge gaps would remain between government spending and taxes. As the White House presents its first full budget (segments were released earlier), this is worth emphasizing. It suggests that only unpopular...

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Comey, Mueller and Anthrax; Gubernatorial Map; Trump & NAFTA; John Carroll's Memo

2017/05Mon, 22 May 2017 08:18:04 -0500

Good morning, it’s Monday, May 22, 2017. Fourteen years ago today, John S. Carroll, the editor of the Los Angeles Times, sent a memo to the section editors of his newspaper. The son of a venerated journalist Wallace Carroll, John had covered the Vietnam War for the Baltimore Sun and the White House for the New York Times before becoming an editor. At a succession of newspapers -- the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lexington Herald-Leader, Baltimore Sun and, finally, in Los Angeles -- he became the most respected and acclaimed editor of his generation. Carroll was a reporter’s editor, too....

Trump Arrives in Israel in Search of "the Ultimate Deal"414873

2017/05Mon, 22 May 2017 08:16:28 -0500

JERUSALEM (AP) -- President Donald Trump opened his first visit to Israel Monday, saying he sees growing recognition among Muslim nations that they share a "common cause" with Israel in their determination to counter the threats posed by Iran. Arriving directly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Trump expressed his hope for cooperation among U.S. allies in the Middle East. His second stop on the nine-day tour aimed to test the waters for reviving the dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Trump, who had previously suggested that it would be easier than anticipated to solve the conflict that has...

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Republican Businesswoman Lena Epstein to Run for Senate in Michigan

2017/05Mon, 22 May 2017 07:53:08 -0500

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Republican businesswoman Lena Epstein announced Monday she will run for U.S. Senate in 2018, saying Michigan is ready for another outsider with business experience after its voters favored Donald Trump in the presidential election. Epstein's family owns Vesco Oil Corp., a large distributor of automotive and industrial lubricants based in the Detroit suburb of Southfield. A relative political newcomer who has not held elective office, she was a co-chair of Trump's Michigan campaign last year and said she will "take the fight directly to" Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat...

Can the Pope Save Trump?391992

2017/05Mon, 22 May 2017 09:32:13 -0500

WASHINGTON -- If anyone ever needed a conversion experience -- and fast -- it is President Trump. The issue here is not switching religions. What he could use is an honest examination of his conscience, his attitude toward himself and others, and his approach to what it means to be a leader. Even to suggest such a possibility seems absurd, more an inspiration for a "Saturday Night Live" sketch than a serious prospect. Moving an incorrigible narcissist toward self-criticism is as likely as changing the course of a river or the trajectory of the Earth's rotation around the Sun. But some people...

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Sizing Up the 2018 Gubernatorial Map414623

2017/05Mon, 22 May 2017 14:04:47 -0500

Analysis Over the past few weeks, we’ve established that the 2018 Senate map is worrisome for Democrats, but what about the gubernatorial map? An enormous number of the country’s laws are made at the state level and, perhaps more significantly, many of the governors elected in 2018 will have a say in the next round of congressional redistricting. That gives Democrats, who have a low level of power in the states and sometimes assert that gerrymandering is at the heart of their minority status in the House, a big incentive to invest in these races. And right now, many on the left seem...

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America's Internet Delusion351133

2017/05Mon, 22 May 2017 08:43:18 -0500

WASHINGTON -- The United States may have escaped most digital damage from the global "ransomware" virus, though cyber experts fear more attacks. One possible explanation is that the malicious software ("malware") harms older versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, which most Americans have replaced. Perhaps many users in other countries haven't. Whatever the explanation, this is not the end of internet threats. The unmistakable lesson of recent years is that the internet is a double-edged sword. Despite enormous benefits -- instant access to huge quantities of information, the...

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When Comey and Mueller Bungled the Anthrax Case414728

2017/05Sun, 21 May 2017 08:03:07 -0500

In the wake of Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, the Justice Department named Robert S. Mueller III as a special prosecutor to investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. It was a decision greeted with a chorus of supportive croaking from inside official Washington, aka The Swamp. “If anyone can stay on course and not be deterred by the whims of politics, it’s Bob Mueller,” said former Missouri senator and U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft. “A great choice,” added John McCain. “Somebody we all trust,”...

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An Unsustainable Presidency414543

2017/05Sun, 21 May 2017 05:37:01 -0500

WASHINGTON -- So much for the notion that the second 100 days would be calmer or more reassuring. As April drew to a close, and with it the artificial marker of the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, it was possible to conjure a relatively comforting scenario: It could have been worse. After all, President Trump launched his administration with the dangerous duo of Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Steve Bannon ascendant. The 100-day period ended with Flynn fired, Bannon diminished, and the new national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, joining forces with Defense Secretary...

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Trump's Road to Riyadh412813

2017/05Sun, 21 May 2017 05:38:45 -0500

WASHINGTON -- In the long list of things that few would have anticipated last year, consider this scenario: President Donald Trump starting his first foreign trip in Saudi Arabia, where he expects a strong welcome from Muslim leaders. Critics at least would not be surprised at the circumstances, Trump skipping town leaving a trail of bad headlines in his wake. As a candidate in 2016, Trump accused the Saudis of blowing up the World Trade Center and vowed to make them pay their fair share of U.S. military costs to stabilize the region. Trump's campaign also promised "a shutdown of Muslims...

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Don't Rush to Impeachment403915

2017/05Sun, 21 May 2017 16:11:06 -0500

To everything there is a season, the Bible and Pete Seeger told us. The season to impeach Donald Trump may come, or it may not. Trying to do it now would be like harvesting sweet corn before it's ripe, yielding something stunted and indigestible. Plenty of critics don't want to wait. "We're fiddling while Rome is burning," insists Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, agrees. "The mantra should be ITN -- impeach Trump now," he says. The liberal activist group insists that the president "must be impeached immediately." J.B. Pritzker, a Democratic candidate for...

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RCP's Trende & Byler Highlight Dems' Challenges in Fight for Senate Control412691

2017/05Sun, 21 May 2017 07:58:21 -0500

Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics has become one of the nation's top political analysts. Sean and his colleague David Byler have just released a new tool for analyzing the 2018 U.S. Senate elections. Drawing upon recent history, they have identified a few key factors that will determine control of the Senate -- the president's job approval rating, which incumbents are running for re-election, and whether either party has nominated an especially problematic candidate. They let you make your own assumptions, push a button, and a computer program runs 10,000 data-driven simulations to determine...

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Don't Bet Against Tax and Health Care Reform in 2017395856

2017/05Sat, 20 May 2017 05:36:13 -0500

If the smart money folks on Wall Street think a special counsel to oversee the Russian probes spells defeat for business tax cuts, they're leaning well over their skis. The Dow Jones industrial average sold off over 300 points on Wednesday, but it may have come back to its senses with a 140-point gain on Friday. And while there's never 100 percent probability in forecasting political risk, it seems the likelihood of health care reform by the summer and tax reform by year's end (or early 2018) is quite high. Paradoxically, special counsel Robert Mueller will provide cover for President Trump,...

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Putting Country Above Party Works Both Ways411239

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 12:15:39 -0500

Throughout Donald Trump's short but eventful presidency, Democrats have been imploring Republicans to show loyalty for country over party. If you believe our bumbling president's hiring of the likes of Paul Manafort or Mike Flynn -- who was apparently under investigation when he joined the administration -- reflects abysmal judgment, I'm with you. If you believe those decisions could turn out to be scandals, it's difficult for me to disagree. If you believe Trump's admiration for authoritarians in Russia undermines our standing in the world, I'm there as well. Then again, recklessly throwing...

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Judiciary Panel; Trump-Clinton Nexus; Commencement Podcast; Super Secretariat

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 07:59:36 -0500

Good morning, it’s Friday, May 19, 2017. Tomorrow, the aging dowager known as Pimlico Race Course will gussie herself up for the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. This year’s odds-on favorite is Always Dreaming, the winner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Wiseguy horseplayers will be looking for value elsewhere. As the old saying goes: “Ain’t a man alive, “Who paid the mortgage at eight to five.” I got hooked on horse racing myself 44 years ago today, the date of the 1973 Preakness. The U.S....

Congress Must Govern -- With or Without the President405252

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 06:38:34 -0500

Republicans controlling Congress, panicked that scandals and investigations engulfing President Trump’s administration will imperil their agenda of sweeping tax reform and a health care overhaul, are right -- they will. They’re desperate to show they’re hard at work, but so far not so good, and the clock is ticking. It's time for a radical move: forget about Trump and legislate with Democrats. Since the start of the “unified Republican government,” things have gone from bad to worse, to even worse, each week it seems. The goal to repeal and replace Obamacare on...

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The Politics of Commencement Speeches414581

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 06:26:41 -0500

'Tis the season for pomp and circumstance and politics. As the country’s young graduates prepare to go out into the world, their commencement speakers are not just searching for inspiring words but weighing whether and how to address the nation’s intense and contentious political mood. Characteristically, President Trump hasn’t shied from the latter. In his commencement address to Coast Guard Academy graduates Thursday, he used the occasion to air grievances in responding to yet another self-inflicted controversy. “Over the course of your life, you will find that...

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Trump's Persecution Complex Is Frighteningly Dangerous413616

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 21:18:10 -0500

WASHINGTON -- President Trump believes he is being persecuted, and that is a frighteningly dangerous mindset for a man with such vast power. Amid a week of dizzying developments on multiple fronts, Trump gave a graduation speech Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy portraying himself as a victim, unfairly besieged by those who would destroy him. "No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly," Trump said. That is an absurd claim that cannot be taken seriously, of course, but it does give a sense of how the president feels about the...

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Trump Takes Page From Bill Clinton Crisis Playbook414526

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 20:30:10 -0500

President Trump fancies himself an innovator, but his political playbook to try to dig out of scandal quicksand owes a lot to the 42nd president. On Thursday, Trump aped defense techniques used during Bill Clinton’s impeachment saga (with the added twists of a Republican complaining in 2017 about a vast left-wing conspiracy via social media that didn’t exist in the late 1990s). In three formats -- Twitter, a roundtable session with TV anchors, and an afternoon joint news conference -- the president repeated his belief that the special counsel appointed by the deputy attorney...

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Rosenstein Joins the Posse414504

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 16:28:44 -0500

"With the stroke of a pen, Rod Rosenstein redeemed his reputation," writes Dana Milbank of The Washington Post. What had Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein done to be welcomed home by the Post like the prodigal son? Without consulting the White House, he sandbagged President Trump, naming a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Russia connection that could prove ruinous to this presidency. Rod has reinvigorated a tired 10-month investigation that failed to find any collusion between Trump and Russian hacking of the DNC. Not a single indictment had come out of the FBI...

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Anger Games335990

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 15:53:10 -0500

"Hate is a more powerful motivator than love." According to the new Netflix documentary "Get Me Roger Stone," that is one of the "rules" the self-described Republican "agent provocateur" has lived by. Stone, of course, is a showman. The "evil political operator" pose is to some degree an artifice -- a brand he's selling. Still, his style of politics has now moved from the wings to center stage. We're engaged in an experiment to see how much damage we can do to our society by adopting Stone's rules. The new Stone documentary (clearly produced by left-leaning filmmakers) forms a precise bookend...

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No More Benefits of Doubt413673

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 13:05:24 -0500

We are on a national trajectory toward seeing what happens when the immovable object of Donald Trump collides with the unstoppable force of the Democrat resistance. The outcome will be certain disaster for our constitutional republic. We are not in normal times, and the level of partisan rancor escalates each day. People who once defended the indefensible during the Obama years are now outraged by the indefensible of the Trump years. The reverse is true too. The people who once impeached a man for lying now regularly defend a liar. The people who defended a president who regularly lied to the...

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A Commander in Chief Without Command of Self412375

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 11:01:18 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump offered America a deal: He may cut ethical corners and trash democratic norms, but he would fix the country. After all, the argument went, things could hardly get worse. They could. They did. There are serious arguments to be made about the moral bankruptcy of Trumpism, with particular attention to its divisiveness, dehumanization and contempt for the weak. But let us, for a moment, set aside morality for effectiveness, as much of the voting public seemed to do last November. By this standard, how should Trump be judged? The president could not hold up his end of...

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The Demotic Politics of Theresa May -- and Donald Trump399928

2017/05Fri, 19 May 2017 09:53:29 -0500

DURHAM, England -- When I first visited England to cover a British election 20 years ago this month, there were striking similarities between British and American politics. In Britain, Tony Blair's Labour Party was about to sweep to a landslide victory after 18 years of Conservative Party government, promising a third way between the free market policies of Margaret Thatcher and the socialist policies of traditional Labour. Voters and politicians seemed filled with exhilaration at the prospect of an articulate, optimistic 44-year-old leader promising an exit from the politics of...

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Koch Groups Will Spend Millions in Tax Reform Push379670

2017/05Thu, 18 May 2017 12:41:45 -0500

A powerful conservative network will attempt to refocus congressional Republicans and the White House on tax reform following a rash of bombshell revelations regarding President Trump and ongoing investigations into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia. In the latest twist, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Wednesday that he would name former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. The new setback for the president also threatened to further impede efforts to advance his legislative agenda — lately stymied by the...

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