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Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 21:03:36 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2008

Stop the GOP from Sabotaging Our Health Care System407048

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:03:19 -0500

WASHINGTON -- This is a week to keep focused on the most urgent question in domestic policy and politics: Will Republicans snatch health insurance from millions of Americans and slash the vital Medicaid program by nearly $1 trillion, all to enable massive tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful? Plenty of other news is vying for attention. President Trump spent Monday morning venting on Twitter about how President Obama did "NOTHING about Russia" and its election meddling -- despite Trump's frequent claims that the whole Russia controversy is "fake news" and a Democratic Party "hoax." The...

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The Fate of the Democrats' Future May Lie in Georgia418740

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:07:28 -0500

In the middle of the last century, Ringgold, Georgia, was the town that expedited the formation of an institution that built the country in that era, namely, early marriage. At the time, you could get married at the age of 15 -- provided you had the consent of your parents or guardian -- and, thanks to Ringgold's 45-minute blood test, you could get married quickly. Word got out rapidly, and this tiny little town just over the Tennessee state line became known as the marriage mecca of the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic. It fulfilled the hasty youthful heart expediently and enabled the young...

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Can We All Get Along?419305

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:55:50 -0500

Nobody ever called the late Rodney King a model citizen of Los Angeles. But he gave the world what was likely the most plaintive, plangent query of our time. He wanted to know, in the aftermath of the LA burning, "Can we all get along?" Can we -- huh -- rather than wallop each other and turn the air blue with the making of strained political points? The King question, in something of its original anguish, comes to mind as the U. S. Supreme Court sets up a constitutional affray over the right of a Colorado baker to decline -- or otherwise -- making a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The...

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Hacking Threat Worries Election Officials as Midterms Loom419287

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:17:18 -0500

Russia will be back, but will the U.S government be ready? It has been well established by this point that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including by hacking into the Democratic National Committee and two state elections databases. Many lawmakers and experts agree it will happen again, during the 2018 midterm elections and beyond. Roughly seven months after Election Day, however, it’s less clear what anyone will do about it — and even those lawmakers with the power to act fear that this time will be no different. The issue has so far suffered...

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Are Illinois & Puerto Rico Our Future?416468

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:14:30 -0500

If Gov. Bruce Rauner and his legislature in Springfield do not put a budget together by Friday, the Land of Lincoln will be the first state in the Union to see its debt plunge into junk-bond status. Illinois has $14.5 billion in overdue bills, $130 billion in unfunded pension obligations, and no budget. "We can't manage our money," says Rauner. "We're like a banana republic." Speaking of banana republics, Puerto Rico, which owes $74 billion to creditors who hold its tax-exempt bonds, and $40 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, has already entered bankruptcy proceedings. The island's...

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With Inaction, Trump Shows a Weakness for Russia418844

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:08:18 -0500

Every once in a while, as often as a blue moon or a politician forgoing the use of the word "frankly," I utter a soft "Right on" in response to something President Trump has done or said. This occurred recently when he took Barack Obama to task for his weak -- and tardy -- response to Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. For a moment there, Trump forgot that Vladimir Putin can do no wrong. But for that rare moment, the president was absolutely right. The Obama administration's response to Russia meddling was ineffective and oddly torpid. It was also secretive. For the longest time, only...

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Young Voters for Old Socialists418153

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:58:57 -0500

The thing about old socialist politicians, like Bernie Sanders, 75 and Britain's Jeremy Corbyn, 68, is that they have youth on their side. Across the pond, the youth vote allowed the British Bernie Sanders to do a lot better than the so-called experts thought he'd do in the recent general election. Here in America, we all know how the millenials went ga-ga for Bernie. He got more millennial votes in the primaries than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -- combined. I recently made a reservation for dinner at a restaurant in a very liberal city in North Carolina -- using only my first name,...

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Democrats Need to Shake Their Depression418755

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:32:31 -0500

Elvis said, "When things go wrong, don't go with them." Depression warps one's thinking. It saps energy and magnifies problems, making it hard to deal with them calmly. Democrats' overreaction to the recent loss in a Georgia special election bore all the trademarks of depression. "Why Do Democrats Keep Losing in 2017?" was among the self-flagellating headlines, this one in The Atlantic. Democrats badly need a little cognitive therapy to challenge negative patterns of thought. So they lost special elections in South Carolina, Kansas, Georgia and Montana. These were all conservative...

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A Brave New World None of Us Can See373681

2017/06Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:22:52 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Much analysis of Yuval Harari's brilliant new book "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" focuses on the harrowing dystopia he anticipates. In this vision, a small, geeky elite gains the ability to use biological and cyborg engineering to become something beyond human. It may "upgrade itself step by step, merging with robots and computers in the process, until our descendants will look back and realize that they are no longer the kind of animal that wrote the Bible [or] built the Great Wall of China." This would necessarily involve the concentration of data, wealth and power,...

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CBO: 22 Million Could Lose Insurance Under Senate Plan419210

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:33:22 -0500

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday that as many as 22 million fewer people could have health insurance in a decade under Senate Republicans’ proposed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. The estimate, released less than a week after Republicans in the upper chamber unveiled their health care legislation and just days ahead of a potential vote, could complicate the already difficult task of getting enough GOP support to pass the measure. More than a half-dozen Republican senators have publicly stated either opposition to the legislation or skepticism that they...

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Clues to Gorsuch's Ideology Seen in Pairings With Thomas419263

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:29:22 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) -- To see where Justice Neil Gorsuch might fit on the Supreme Court, watch the company he keeps. Gorsuch has already paired up four times with Justice Clarence Thomas - the court's most conservative member - in separate opinions that dissent from or take issue with the court's majority rulings. While the sample size is small, the results show Gorsuch's commitment to follow the strict text of the law and a willingness to join Thomas in pushing the envelope further than the court's other conservatives. Gorsuch was picked by President Donald Trump to be a reliable conservative in...

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Why Trump Is Earning Latino Support419250

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:18:47 -0500

Commentary One of the little-told stories of the 2016 election was Donald Trump’s 28 percent take of the Hispanic vote, besting Mitt Romney’s 2012 showing. We on Team Trump won’t throw parades for winning less than one-third of the Latino vote nationally, but lessened enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton among Hispanics represents a key reason, perhaps the primary reason, she was ultimately uncompetitive in Florida. Why did Latino support for Trump massively outperform expectations? For one thing, millions of Hispanics rejected the relentless mainstream media narrative that Trump is an...

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Election Meddling; the Cop Conundrum; Conservative Divide; JFK in Berlin

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 07:35:11 -0500

Good morning, it’s Monday, June 26, 2017. Fifty-four years ago today, John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin where he delivered one of the most stirring presidential addresses of the 20th century. I wrote about the “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech five years ago, which only underscores why studying history is not a static pursuit: In 2012, the Oval Office was not occupied by a man who was elected president while promising to build a wall on the U.S. southern border. In fairness, the “big beautiful wall” Donald Trump promised is not intended to keep Americans from...

Bridging the Conservative Divide

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 07:34:48 -0500

Commentary Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency precipitated a rift of unprecedented proportions in American conservatism. To prevent a permanent split, conservatives must recover an appreciation of the enduring tensions that constitute their movement. Too few conservatives, however, are focusing on conciliation. In 2016, many reluctantly concluded that Trump, despite manifest flaws and eclectic priorities, was more likely than Hillary Clinton to advance a conservative agenda of limited government, economic prosperity, and strong defense. A number of prominent establishment conservatives,...

Congress Must Stop Russia's Meddling in Our Elections419239

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 06:03:10 -0500

Commentary President Trump is not interested in the threat Russia poses to our elections, going by anything he says on the subject. After being briefed for nearly a year now on unanimous intelligence reports regarding Russia’s assault on the 2016 campaign, Trump remains dismissive. “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin adamantly denies that he did it, it’s frankly not an issue to the president,” Sam Nunberg, who worked for Trump’s campaign, told the New York Times this weekend. Indeed, the Trump administration is set to reverse a retaliatory action taken by the Obama...

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The Big Lies About Health Care418167

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:55:25 -0500

WASHINGTON -- To succeed in gutting health coverage for millions of Americans, Senate Republican leaders need to get a series of lies accepted as truth. Journalists and other neutral arbiters must resist the temptation to report these lies as just a point of view. A lie is a lie. Lie One: Democrats and progressives are unwilling to work with Republicans and conservatives on this issue. "If we went and got the single greatest health care plan in the history of the world, we would not get one Democrat vote," President Trump told an Iowa crowd last Wednesday. In fact, Democrats, including...

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Is the Labor Shortage Here?417961

2017/06Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:19:12 -0500

WASHINGTON -- Do we have a worker shortage? Maybe. For months, I've planned to write a column on the future of the U.S. labor market. Stacked on my desk are reports on "the gig economy," "independent workers," "contingent workers," "freelancers" and the like. All signify a new, less secure labor market. Workers won't have long-lasting career jobs, as the old post-World War II employment model promised. Now it's survival of the fittest. Workers who can adapt to constant change will thrive. As for everyone else, tough luck. I never wrote that column. The main reason is that I never felt certain...

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Gal Gadot, the Wonder Woman Wowing the Box Office

2017/06Sun, 25 Jun 2017 08:19:28 -0500

This month, an exhausted 32-year-old mother of two young children posted a make up-free photo of herself on Instagram with the caption: “Sleepless night, colic 3 months old baby and an early wake up by my 5 year old. Went to the garden to get some fresh air with my coffee to help me wake up . . . ” Within days it had been “Liked” more than 1.25m times. “The real Wonder Woman,” wrote one admirer. Gal Gadot, an Israeli model and former soldier, turned actor, is indeed Wonder Woman, taking the title role in this summer’s...

Should We Hate Cops, or Hug Them?419008

2017/06Sun, 25 Jun 2017 07:57:57 -0500

The long-delayed release of the Philando Castile video, along with a Minnesota jury’s inexplicable decision to acquit the policeman who killed him, raises basic questions of self-governance in this country. I’ll mention three. First: Is competent, humane policing really that difficult? Second, does our criminal justice system even function in such cases? Thanks to the obtuseness of Minneapolis’ gay rights leaders and their enablers in the media, a third question arises: Why do liberals keep stepping on their own message—dividing Americans by race, class, gender, sexual...

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The Illusory Savings From Cutting Medicaid410813

2017/06Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:32:26 -0500

When economists talk in their sleep, they say, "There is no such thing as a free lunch." This axiom is drilled into them from day one of their undergraduate education and never leaves their minds. Any economist who tried to deny it would find herself suddenly choking in pain and unable to speak. What it means is that if the government does something that costs money, some human somewhere will bear the expense. "Free" public schools, "free" parks and "free" roads all have to be paid for by the citizenry. Collectively, we can't get something for nothing. This useful insight has long been...

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With Two Tweets, Trump Settles Tape Question Raised in Earlier Tweet418592

2017/06Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:29:45 -0500

WASHINGTON -- "I don't know there was a game," White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday in response to a question about President Donald Trump's latest tweets, in which he denied taping former FBI chief James Comey. Actually, it is a game -- a 41-day back-and-forth marathon called "snooker," played not with cue sticks and red balls, but with cryptic social media posts prodding reporters' raised hands and shouted questions. Once again, Trump has managed to make journalists look easily dispatched on a fool's errand to investigate what turned out to be a...

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This Would Be the Worst Time for Justice Kennedy to Step Down418537

2017/06Sun, 25 Jun 2017 11:32:58 -0500

WASHINGTON -- The end of the Supreme Court term looms, and with it the prospect -- the terrifying prospect -- of a retirement. Specifically, the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will turn 81 next month and is the longest-serving current justice, named to the high court almost 30 years ago. So if Kennedy is inclined to retire, it is hard to begrudge him that choice. But his departure would be terrible for the court and terrible for the country. It could not come at a worse time. Any court vacancy these days, under a president of either party, triggers a battle between liberal and...

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Health Bill a Test of McConnell's Leadership Skills417110

2017/06Sat, 24 Jun 2017 08:48:29 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pass or fail, there will be one man singularly responsible for the fate of health care legislation in the Senate: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The shrewd Kentuckian has made himself practically the sole arbiter of the bill and will be largely responsible for the outcome, whether it's a win, a loss, or a win that turns into a loss over time as unpopular consequences of the legislation take hold. McConnell decided to keep the bill close, writing it in secret with a close circle of aides and eschewing committee hearings, despite grumbling from fellow Republicans. GOP...

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Mitch McConnell Seeks Votes to Help Push Health Care Bill Through Senate418877

2017/06Sat, 24 Jun 2017 08:44:24 -0500

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nevada Republican Dean Heller became the fifth GOP senator to declare his opposition to the party's banner legislation to scuttle much of Barack Obama's health care overhaul on Friday, more than enough to sink the measure and deliver a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump unless some of them can be brought aboard. Echoing the other four, Heller said he opposes the measure "in this form" but does not rule out backing a version that is changed to his liking. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he's willing to alter the measure to attract support, and...

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Israel, American Jewry and Trump's Republican Party418844

2017/06Sat, 24 Jun 2017 05:02:39 -0500

Earlier this month Norway, Denmark and Switzerland did something surprising. Norway announced that it was demanding the return of its money from the Palestinian Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Secretariat, for the latter’s funding of a Palestinian women’s group that built a youth center near Nablus named for PLO mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi. Denmark followed, announcing it was cutting off all funding to the group. And last week, the Swiss parliament passed a resolution directing the government to amend Swiss law to block funding of NGOs “involved in racist, antisemitic or...

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