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Last Build Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:25:17 -0500

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Trump Plans Lunch With Republican Senators as Focus Turns to Taxes433466

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:24:48 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is planning lunch with GOP senators after sparring with several of them, as congressional Republicans turn to overhauling the tax code. It will be Trump’s first appearance as president at Senate Republicans’ regular Tuesday policy lunch at the Capitol. The gathering has the potential for awkward moments, because it follows spats between Trump and GOP senators such as John McCain of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, as well as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell and Trump had a joint news conference last week to...

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How Trump Broke Conservatism432935

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:21:43 -0500

WASHINGTON -- A common defense of President Trump points to the positive things he has done from a Republican perspective -- his appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch and other conservative judges, his pursuit of the Islamic State, his honoring of institutional religious freedom. This argument is not frivolous. What frustrates is the steadfast refusal among most Republicans and conservatives to recognize the costs on the other side of the scale. Chief among them is Trump's assault on truth, which takes a now-familiar form. First, assert and maintain a favorable lie. Second, attack and discredit...

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Democrats' George W. Bush Nostalgia Smacks of Political Opportunism433413

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:28:23 -0500

I had a good chuckle this week watching Democrats and left-leaning media types fawning over former President George W. Bush. Our 43rd commander-in-chief gave a serious speech about the state of American politics, rebuking a national "discourse degraded by casual cruelty." He warned that “bigotry seems emboldened,” a feeling many Americans have had since the neo-Nazi/white supremacy march in Charlottesville, Virginia. President Bush said many things, all of them decent and civil. He was the same “W” as always, humble in demeanor and sincere in what he had to say. Some...

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Looks Like the Personal Really Is Political432603

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 19:30:38 -0500

"The personal is political," an army of activists, largely female, has been saying for a couple of decades. This sad and oh-so-modern turn of events is due to the habit of dressing up once-private, once-intimate human attitudes as symbols of disaffection and rage: about which elected politicians need to do something -- fast! As you've guessed, the question before us today regards President Donald Trump and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of Florida. What better gauge of the degree to which political pastimes have come to clog human discourse and bollix prospects for remediation. Let's see...

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Pregnant Immigrant Is Being Held Hostage by Anti-Abortion Zealots in Government432922

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 17:50:49 -0500

WASHINGTON -- All the Trump administration/"Handmaid's Tale" comparisons seemed overwrought. Then came J.D. She is a 17-year-old detained by federal authorities after illegally crossing the border in Texas without her parents, who she claims abused her. She is also pregnant -- 15 weeks and counting -- and wants an abortion. In fact, she's been seeking one for nearly a month. J.D. isn't asking the federal government to pay for an abortion; she just wants the government not to stand in her way. Instead, federal officials required J.D. to undergo counseling at a religiously affiliated,...

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Congress Needs to Reclaim Its War-Making Powers420875

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:28:48 -0500

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration, its foreign policy largely shaped by military men, urgently needs to tell Congress and the American people what we're doing in Niger -- and where else we're doing it. Like most Americans, I had no idea that roughly 800 U.S. troops were deployed in the arid, landlocked West African nation, where four soldiers were killed in an ambush on Oct. 4. Much more troubling is the fact that many key members of Congress -- including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. -- were clueless as well. "We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily,...

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Are Our Mideast Wars Forever?429326

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:28:22 -0500

"The Kurds have no friends but the mountains," is an old lament. Last week, it must have been very much on Kurdish minds. As their U.S. allies watched, the Kurdish peshmerga fighters were run out of Kirkuk and all the territory they had captured fighting ISIS alongside the Americans. The Iraqi army that ran them out was trained and armed by the United States. The U.S. had warned the Kurds against holding the referendum on independence on Sept. 25, which carried with 92 percent. Iran and Turkey had warned against an independent Kurdistan that could be a magnet for Kurdish minorities in their...

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Taking a Knee Is Bad For Business431436

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 15:33:24 -0500

It started as a one-man protest during the 2016 NFL season. Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, refused to stand during the National Anthem to make a point about what he saw as racial injustice in America. A few other players joined the protest, but only a few. Then, at a political rally in Alabama last month, out of nowhere, President Trump decided to pour gasoline on the bonfire. He called players who kneel during the anthem SOBs and said they should be fired. The battle lines were drawn. And when the NFL decided last week to continue to let players "take a knee" during...

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General Kelly Has Tarnished His Stars432491

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 15:17:23 -0500

Of all the repellent statements issued by Donald Trump or his aides, the one that came out of the mouth of Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week was maybe the most chilling. There she stood, a dead ringer for Aunt Lydia, the severe overseer in "The Handmaid's Tale," asking a White House reporter who the hell he thought he was to question the veracity of John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, who had just smeared a Florida congresswoman. "If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you," she cautioned. "If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that's...

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The Charges Against Weinstein and O'Reilly Need Sorting431827

2017/10Tue, 24 Oct 2017 12:38:14 -0500

It would take a really big jerk to steal the sexual predator headlines from Harvey Weinstein. Defrocked Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly apparently has what it takes. It was reported over the weekend that O'Reilly reached a $32 million settlement earlier this year with former Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl. She alleged that he had forced her into a sexual relationship. That's $32 million! Hollywood producer Weinstein's payouts to his accusers generally fell into the more modest $80,000 to $150,000 range. What O'Reilly may have done to merit such an extraordinarily large sum is subject to great...

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Lend-Lease: When American Largesse Saved the World433370

2017/10Mon, 23 Oct 2017 15:12:04 -0500

NEW ORLEANS -- Viewing the exhibits at the National World War II Museum here through the prism of our current political disunity gives one pause. I couldn’t help but wonder what it will take to get Americans pulling in the same direction, as the nation did more than seven decades ago. This is what George W. Bush and Barack Obama were getting at in separate oratories last week. Both speeches were portrayed as rebukes of the incumbent president. That’s probably accurate, but I don’t believe the former presidents were primarily registering a personal complaint, or even a...

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Failing the Fallen; NAFTA Subsidies; Alzheimer's Insight; Lending a Hand

2017/10Mon, 23 Oct 2017 08:13:26 -0500

Good morning, it’s Monday, October 23, 2017. I’m writing today from New Orleans where yesterday I toured the National World War II Museum. I’ve visited it previously, but viewing the exhibits through the prism of our nation’s current political disunity was a different experience. I couldn’t help but wonder what it will take to get Americans pulling in the same direction again. This is what George W. Bush and Barack Obama were getting at in separate oratories last week. Both speeches were portrayed as rebukes of the incumbent president. That’s probably...

Slinging Mud Over Fallen Soldiers433291

2017/10Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:42:18 -0500

Commentary The tragic and still-murky story of how four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger, what they were doing there, and whether their sacrifice was properly honored, has descended into a case study of America’s cancerous politics and tendentious media. The story has several distinct elements, which have been compressed and distorted by partisans. Those elements need to be disentangled and clarified. The first point is how little we actually know about the deadly mission. As citizens, we need to understand the essentials without spilling any operational secrets. There’s no excuse for...

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A Budget Primer for the Weary420984

2017/10Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:42:12 -0500

WASHINGTON -- It's that time of year again when Congress debates the federal budget. For most Americans, it's a turnoff. The dollar amounts are monstrous -- trillions, not billions. The vocabulary of government finances (budget-speak) is baffling. Little wonder people tune out. For the weary and confused, I offer a brief budget primer below. Here's what I think is important and why. --0-- --0-- --0-- (1)Over recent decades, there has been a vast reordering of national priorities, away from defense and toward the welfare state. From the 1950s through the late 1960s, defense spending often...

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Why Patriots Can't Serve Trump432501

2017/10Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:42:07 -0500

WASHINGTON -- The United States is in the middle of a very unfortunate experiment in how disoriented a great nation can become before it loses its moorings entirely. At times, politics seems fairly conventional with Republicans and Democrats arguing about health care and tax cuts, as they long have done. But former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama reminded us last week that there is nothing normal about this moment. They issued searing, overlapping condemnations of Trumpism without naming President Trump. Former commanders in chief of opposing parties don't do this sort of thing...

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Draining the Swamp433323

2017/10Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:42:00 -0500

For a businessman it must be frustrating to sit at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office and realize how unbusinesslike is the government surrounding you. President Trump issues executive orders, which can be stayed immediately by some obscure federal judge in a deep-blue state. He can ask the State Department to unwind the Iran treaty, but his own employees drag their feet. He negotiates with scores of congressmen who, like cats, enjoy being stroked but immediately go their own ungrateful way. And don’t even purr. No wonder he is said to be frustrated. Some of these vexations come with...

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Playing Politics With Families of the Fallen433111

2017/10Sun, 22 Oct 2017 05:35:29 -0500

Commentary The United States of America was not yet a country when our first commander-in-chief paid his respects to a fallen hero. In August 1775, Gen. George Washington visited a Boston area field hospital where William Simpson, a Continental Army rifleman from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, lay mortally wounded. A British cannon ball had destroyed Simpson’s foot. His leg was amputated and he died the following day. But in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gen. Washington started a tradition that continues to this day. Whether it survives Donald Trump’s presidency is another question. On Monday,...

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The General Shames the Briefing Room432501

2017/10Sun, 22 Oct 2017 07:21:26 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Since retired Gen. John Kelly became White House chief of staff, news outlets have portrayed him as the disciplinarian sent to impose order over an unruly President Donald Trump. Kelly rejects that scenario -- when it comes to taming, he has other fish to fry. To wit, at Thursday's press briefing, Kelly tongue-lashed the usually feisty White House press corps so relentlessly that in 18 minutes he reduced the usually swaggering scribes and talking heads into shamed silence. After Kelly slammed reporters for taking a "sacred" moment -- the notification of family when a military...

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Gen. Kelly, Women Should Be Seen as Equal, Not 'Sacred'426905

2017/10Sun, 22 Oct 2017 05:59:25 -0500

WASHINGTON -- John Kelly had me at the ice. He lost me at the women. Standing at the podium, in a briefing room that has rarely been so hushed, the White House chief of staff described how the bodies of fallen soldiers are packed in ice, not once but twice, to preserve them on their journey home. Soldiers, he could have said but didn't need to, like his son, Second Lt. Robert Kelly, killed in Afghanistan at age 29. So I was mesmerized and, to be honest, a bit teary-eyed as the retired four-star general spoke of what it is like to be on the early-morning receiving end of the news that would...

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Legal Marijuana Is Becoming the Norm426472

2017/10Sun, 22 Oct 2017 13:47:01 -0500

The war on drugs has been going on since 1971, and we have a winner: marijuana. Back then, possession of pot carried heavy penalties in many states -- even life imprisonment. Today, 29 states sanction medical use of cannabis, and eight allow recreational use. Legal weed has become about as controversial as Powerball. One sign of the shift came in Wednesday's debate among the Democrats running for governor of Illinois. The state didn't get its first medical marijuana dispensary until 2015, and it decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot only last year. But most of the candidates...

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An America First Tax Plan433191

2017/10Sat, 21 Oct 2017 07:21:57 -0500

American families and businesses can’t wait any longer for tax reform. The federal tax code has become outdated and inefficient in the 30 years since the last comprehensive reform. Americans spend billions of hours each year just completing their returns. The urgent need for reform is made clear by the huge number of voters who are upset with the current system. Sixty-eight percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the current tax system, according to a poll commissioned by America First Policies in late September. Thankfully, President Trump has made tax reform a key priority of his...

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Senate Passes Budget, Unlocking Vehicle for Tax Reform433121

2017/10Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:44:32 -0500

Senate Republicans passed a budget resolution Thursday evening, clearing a significant hurdle and setting up the process to consider tax legislation later this year. As expected, the approval margin was narrow, 51-49, with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and all Democrats voting against the measure. Though the budget resolution does not become law, it is a critical step in GOP plans to overhaul the tax code this year. It sets up the process known as reconciliation, by which Republicans can bypass a filibuster and pass tax legislation in the upper chamber with just 51 votes -- a likelihood if...

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Trump's the One Who Didn't Know 'What He Was Signing Up For'433096

2017/10Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:24:07 -0500

WASHINGTON -- One person who obviously didn't know "what he was signing up for" is President Trump. Others include Trump voters who believed they were electing a decent human being to be commander in chief. What Trump reportedly said to the grief-stricken widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who gave his life for his country, is not some kind of minor miscue or media-fueled distraction. It speaks to the core issue of Trump's character and demonstrates, as clearly as any incident to date, his unfitness for the office he holds -- and dishonors. Johnson and three other U.S. soldiers -- Staff Sgt....

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The Rubble in Raqqa Is a Reminder of American Military Might421875

2017/10Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:02:00 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Looking at photographs of the ruined, desolate streets of what was once the Islamic State's capital of Raqqa is a reminder of the overwhelming, pitilessly effective military power of the United States. Perhaps it's a tribute to the inevitable nature of American force, once it's engaged, that the fall of Raqqa this week provoked so little public discussion. Commentators focused on whether President Trump had dissed the parents of America's fallen warriors, but they barely seemed to notice that our military has achieved a goal that three years ago seemed distant and uncertain. The...

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Is Liberalism a Dying Faith?417497

2017/10Fri, 20 Oct 2017 13:01:54 -0500

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic -- and the model for mankind's future. Equality, diversity, democracy -- this is the holy trinity of the post-Christian secular state at whose altars Liberal Man worships. But the congregation worshiping these gods is shrinking. And even Europe seems to be rejecting what America has on offer. In a retreat from diversity, Catalonia just voted to separate from Spain. The Basque and...

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