US Politics in Trump era Public date: 19.09.2019 21:40:40

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5 Jun 2019

This chart shows how badly the census could undercount people of color

According to a new report from the Urban Institute, the census is on track to severely undercount people of color — even more so than the past two surveys. This chart looks at how the 2020 census would perform if it was conducted at 2010 levels, then compares it to the actual projections using the census planning documents. The effects of the citizenship question aren’t included.
According to a new report from the Urban Institute, the census is on track to severely undercount people of color —...

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14 Feb 2019

Yemen war: Progressive activists get a big foreign policy win. It’s been an uphill battle.

The House passed a resolution Wednesday, February 13, to end US support for the war in Yemen. It’s the culmination of a years-long effort by progressive activists and lawmakers to claw back war-approving authority from the president and end US participation in a war that has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
The House passed a resolution Wednesday, February 13, to end US support for the war in Yemen. It’s the culmination of...

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7 Feb 2019

Trump tax bill and refunds: why fewer people are getting them

Whether you get a refund or owe extra to the IRS at filing time is a function not just of your total taxes owed, but also of how much tax is withheld from your paycheck by your employer on paydays. And the big story here is that as a result of the new tax law, the Treasury Department tweaked things so that on average taxpayers’ withholdings fell by more than their actual taxes owed.
Whether you get a refund or owe extra to the IRS at filing time is a function not just of your total taxes owed, but...
2 Feb 2019

January jobs: The US economy added 304,000 jobs. Workers got a 3-cent raise.

Employers added 304,000 new jobs to the US economy in January — once again surpassing economic forecasts, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the latest jobs report once again shows little wage growth, which remains the biggest weakness in the American economy. The average US worker hasn’t seen their paycheck get much bigger since the Great Recession, which ended around 2009.
Employers added 304,000 new jobs to the US economy in January — once again surpassing economic forecasts, according to...

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21 Dec 2018

Trump to turn back asylum seekers coming to US through Mexico

The US is going to start forcing asylum-seekers who try to enter the US without papers to wait in Mexico for their asylum claims to be processed, instead of allowing them to enter the United States first. A senior administration official described the policy as “one of the most significant border security developments in decades” on a call with reporters Thursday.
The US is going to start forcing asylum-seekers who try to enter the US without papers to wait in Mexico for their...

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18 Dec 2018

Trump EEOC nominee held up by Sen. Mike Lee for supporting LGBTQ rights

Conservative Sen. Mike Lee is taking a lone stand against a Trump nominee, blocking her from joining the office that takes workplace complaints because of her support for LGBTQ rights. Lee has argued that the nominee, Chai Feldblum, wants to “use the might of government to stamp out traditional marriage supporters” and called for a nominee “who respects the institution of marriage and religious freedom for all Americans.”
Conservative Sen. Mike Lee is taking a lone stand against a Trump nominee, blocking her from joining the office that...

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11 Dec 2018

Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legacy can be summed up in just one number: $343 billion. That’s the increase between the deficit for fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018 — that is, the difference between the fiscal year before Ryan became speaker of the House and the fiscal year in which he retired. If the economy had fallen into recession between 2015 and 2018, Ryan’s record would be understandable. But it didn’t. I
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legacy can be summed up in just one number: $343 billion. That’s the increase between the...

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8 Dec 2018

Trump’s EPA plans to lift CO2 limits on coal power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency, now led by acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, has announced more rollbacks regulations on coal-fired power plants. It’s a striking move for two big reasons: No new coal plants are being built in the US, and the EPA itself (along with 12 other federal agencies) recently put out a sweeping report detailing the need to reduce emissions from fossil fuels because of the grave threat of climate change.
The Environmental Protection Agency, now led by acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, has...

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7 Dec 2018

Kathy Kraninger is confirmed as director of the CFPB

The US Senate voted to confirm Kathy Kraninger as the next head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal government’s top consumer watchdog. She will take permanent charge over the CFPB and replace Mick Mulvaney. who critics say he’s sought to undermine its mission and scale back its enforcement and oversight efforts. Those same critics have echoed concerns about Kraninger, wondering whether she’ll continue on the same path as Mulvaney at the CFPB. They also point to her lack of experience in the consumer sector.
The US Senate voted to confirm Kathy Kraninger as the next head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the...

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4 Dec 2018

George H.W. Bush’s presidency: what it says about Trump and Kavanaugh

The 41st and 45th presidents may have differed greatly in their approach to politics. But when it comes to their legacies, one thing is exactly the same: Both nominated men to the Supreme Court who would be accused of sexual misconduct, and both stood behind those men in their confirmation battles. Clarence Thomas has now served on the Supreme Court for 27 years, his decisions affecting Americans long after Bush, a one-term president, left office. Brett Kavanaugh is also likely to serve on the Court for decades, long outlasting Trump’s presidency no matter what happens in 2020.
The 41st and 45th presidents may have differed greatly in their approach to politics. But when it comes to their...

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15 Nov 2018

Jeff Flake says he’ll block judicial nominees until Mueller protection bill gets a vote

Sen. Jeff Flake, the lame-duck Arizona senator who’s long clashed with President Donald Trump, is once again threatening to use his position to express concerns about executive power and the fate of the Russia investigation. It’s not an empty threat. But it’s not yet clear to what extent he’ll follow through.
Sen. Jeff Flake, the lame-duck Arizona senator who’s long clashed with President Donald Trump, is once again...

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10 Nov 2018

Matthew Whitaker advised Donald Trump on investigating Hillary Clinton

Matthew Whitaker, whom President Donald Trump named as his acting attorney general on Wednesday, privately provided advice to the president last year on how the White House might be able to pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president’s political adversaries, Vox has learned.
Matthew Whitaker, whom President Donald Trump named as his acting attorney general on Wednesday, privately provided...

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27 Oct 2018

Trump Ebola response: security officials have banned health experts from helping

One of the largest Ebola outbreaks in history shows no signs of slowing — and the Trump administration barred US health experts who want to help at the outbreak’s epicenter in the Democratic Republic of Congo from traveling there. The relatively tepid response from the US, at a time when the outbreak is spiraling, has former CDC officials and global health experts concerned. “I do worry that in the worst-case scenario, we could have an outbreak of tens of thousands of people,” said Daniel Bausch, the director of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, “and complete destabilization of an already unstable region.”
One of the largest Ebola outbreaks in history shows no signs of slowing — and the Trump administration barred US...

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19 Oct 2018

Jamal Khashoggi: Jared Kushner tells Trump to support Saudi Arabia – Vox

Jared Kushner reportedly told President Donald Trump to stand by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — despite mounting evidence that the royal was involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi two weeks ago. Kushner’s reasoning? International outrage over other incidents, like Saudi Arabia’s bombing of innocent children in Yemen and kidnapping of Lebanon’s prime minister, decreased with time.
Jared Kushner reportedly told President Donald Trump to stand by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman —...

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9 Oct 2018

North Korea didn’t make a big nuclear concessions, despite Pompeo’s comments

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made “significant progress” over the weekend toward dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The problem is it’s not clear what advancement he’s pointing to.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made “significant...

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27 Sep 2018

Kavanaugh hearings: Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley has filed an injunction to stop the Kavanaugh vote

Merkley is alleging that the Trump administration is violating the separation of powers by not releasing hundreds of thousands of documents related to Kavanaugh’s time as a lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, charging that this knowingly prevented senators from doing their constitutional duty to advise and consent the president by vetting Kavanaugh.
Merkley is alleging that the Trump administration is violating the separation of powers by not releasing hundreds of...

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22 Sep 2018

Brett Kavanaugh: Trump nominee facing new scandal after Ed Whelan tweets

On Thursday night, conservative legal operative Ed Whelan sent a series of tweets suggesting that the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh were likely a case of mistaken identity. His evidence was that a high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s kind of looked like him, and lived in a childhood home that sounded similar to the home where Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, described the assault taking place.
On Thursday night, conservative legal operative Ed Whelan sent a series of tweets suggesting that the sexual assault...

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20 Sep 2018

North and South Korea’s agreement is bad news for Trump

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s agreement is bad for President Donald Trump’s denuclearization efforts. On the issue that matters most to the United States — the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program — no one can claim much progress. Kim said he’d allow international inspectors into the country to watch as he destroys a missile engine testing site and a major nuclear facility, but experts say Pyongyang doesn’t actually need those specific sites anymore, which makes that a much less significant concession than it sounds.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s agreement is bad for President Donald...
13 Sep 2018

Social Security, food stamps, other programs kept 44 million people out of poverty

The US Census Bureau just dropped its annual load of statistics on American poverty and income, and the data shows that 2017 was a good year for many Americans, and not-so-great for others. On the upside: 2.4 million more people snagged full-time jobs, the median household income ticked up, and poverty rates dropped slightly. The bottom 10 percent of US households — earning an average income of $14,219 — saw their incomes fall slightly compared to the previous year, adjusting for inflation.
The US Census Bureau just dropped its annual load of statistics on American poverty and income, and the data shows that...

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31 Aug 2018

Michael Cohen, CNN, Trump-Russia: the controversy, explained

Late last month, in the midst of a federal investigation into Cohen, sources close to the former Trump lawyer made a bombshell claim to CNN. They said that, according to Cohen, Donald Trump himself knew in advance about his son Don Jr.’s secret meeting with a Russian delegation during the 2016 campaign. These anonymous sources added that Cohen would be happy to tell special counsel Robert Mueller all about this. And other media outlets, such as the Washington Post, soon heard similar things from a source close to Cohen.
Late last month, in the midst of a federal investigation into Cohen, sources close to the former Trump lawyer made a...

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24 Aug 2018

White House may have squashed bipartisan Senate bill to stop election interference

A Republican-led, Democrat-supported bill to safeguard US elections from foreign interference is stuck in the bowels of Congress. Here’s a possible explanation: The White House doesn’t want it to pass. The Secure Elections Act, which Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) introduced, would have made significant changes to the way states protect their voting systems in three significant ways.
A Republican-led, Democrat-supported bill to safeguard US elections from foreign interference is stuck in the bowels of...

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18 Jun 2018

Family separation at the border: 2,000 kids taken in just 6 weeks

The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border — taking children from their parents, arresting the parents, and taking the kids into custody — sounds almost too cruel to be real. But the separations are, in fact, real, and new data reported by the Associated Press shows just how many children have been separated from their parents.
The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border — taking children from their parents,...

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13 Jun 2018

Trump-Kim summit: Trump is killing America’s alliances

Trump’s betrayal of South Korea and eruption at Trudeau are not one-offs, or events you can write off as simple quirks of the president’s personality. It is part of a broader slate of Trump policies and diplomatic efforts that have, put together, fundamentally weakened America’s ties with its traditional allies — in ways that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the world.
Trump’s betrayal of South Korea and eruption at Trudeau are not one-offs, or events you can write off as simple...

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12 Jun 2018

Jeff Sessions all but slams asylum door on migrant survivors of domestic, gang violence

Tens of thousands of people who are currently waiting for their asylum cases in the US to be resolved — or waiting for their chance to apply — just got the door all but slammed on them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a ruling Monday in an immigration case, Matter of A- B-, that will make it hard or even impossible for Central Americans fleeing gang violence in their home countries, and women fleeing domestic violence, to get asylum in the US — or even be allowed to stay in the US to seek asylum instead of being summarily deported. 
Tens of thousands of people who are currently waiting for their asylum cases in the US to be resolved — or...

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4 Jun 2018

Ric Grenell: Trump ambassador to Germany’s Breitbart interview created a mess

Prior to becoming Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell was a  Republican operative with a history of making bombastic — one might even  say “undiplomatic” — statements. Over the weekend, this habit got Ambassador Grenell in trouble when he gave an unguarded interview to Breitbart in which he seemed to imply that he would actively work to topple the current centrist German government.
Prior to becoming Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell was a  Republican operative with...

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31 May 2018

Trump and Hurricane Maria: the true death toll in Puerto Rico

A highly credible new study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that the ultimate fallout from Hurricane Maria was 4,600 “excess deaths” — more than twice the mortality of Hurricane Katrina and the deadliest natural disaster on US soil in more than a century. Suspicion will, of course, linger for years that there’s a connection between Trump’s habit of weaponizing anti-Latino hysteria as the centerpiece of his politics and the unfolding of an essentially unprecedented human tragedy in a Spanish-speaking US territory. The possibility that Trump and his team simply have no idea what they’re doing should not, however, be dismissed out of hand.
A highly credible new study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that the ultimate fallout from Hurricane...

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4 May 2018

Trump has helped inspire a wave of strict new abortion laws

Donald Trump promised during his presidential campaign that he would appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and that Roe v. Wade would be overturned “automatically.” As many have pointed out, the Supreme Court doesn’t actually work that way. But Trump’s presidency may be shaping abortion law around the country anyway.Perhaps  emboldened by his judicial appointments, legislators are introducing  new abortion bans that directly challenge the tenets of Roe. 
Donald Trump promised during his presidential campaign that he would appoint anti-abortion judges to the...

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17 Mar 2018

James Mattis is linked to Theranos’s massive corporate fraud and nobody wants to talk about it

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is implicated in one of the largest  business scandals of the past decades, described by the Securities and Exchange Commission as an “elaborate, years-long fraud” through which Theranos, led by CEO Elizabeth Holmes and president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, “exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis is implicated in one of the largest  business scandals of the past...

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28 Feb 2018

Brad Parscale will run Trump’s 2020 campaign. And he’s linked to the Russia scandal

The young tech guru who ran the Trump campaign’s digital operations from his office in San Antonio is an extremely controversial choice to run the president’s 2020 campaign. That’s because Parscale is intimately tied to a company called Cambridge Analytica,  a shady data analytics firm that has become a major focus of both the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. 
The young tech guru who ran the Trump campaign’s digital operations from his office in San Antonio is an extremely...

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26 Feb 2018

The Democrats’ rebuttal to the Nunes FISA memo is utterly devastating

Having now read both memos, I can say with confidence: Schiff makes his case. Schiff quotes key FBI documents that explicitly contradict the Nunes memo’s core arguments. Any fair-minded observer who reads these two documents side-by-side can only conclude one thing: Nunes is either deeply misinformed or straight-up lying.
Having now read both memos, I can say with confidence: Schiff makes his case. Schiff quotes key FBI documents...

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8 Feb 2018

Democrats flipped a Missouri state legislature seat that Trump won by 28 points

Democrats had another good Tuesday night of special elections, this time in Missouri, where Mike Revis won a 3-point victory in House District 97, which President Donald Trump had won by 28 points. That 31-point swing relative to the 2016 election was extraordinarily large, but actually not the greatest swing of the night. Over in House District 144, Democrats took a relatively narrow 53-47 loss in a district that Trump carried by  59 points.
Democrats had another good Tuesday night of special elections, this time in Missouri, where Mike Revis won a 3-point...

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28 Jan 2018

Trump’s latest interview shows he’s not really the president

Trump is holding the office of president, but he’s not  doing the job of president. He seems to have no real idea what’s going on, even with his own signature policy moves. Some of his misstatements have the color of propaganda, but often he seems to be caught up in other people’s propaganda or even to have misunderstood his own talking points. He’s disengaged from the details of big questions like NAFTA — “I may terminate NAFTA, I may not,” he says profoundly. He can’t even describe his own negotiating positions in the immigration standoff accurately.
Trump is holding the office of president, but he’s not  doing the job of president. He seems to have no real idea...

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19 Jan 2018

Trump isn’t behind the lowest black unemployment rate in decades

Since Trump first took credit for the lower unemployment rates earlier this month, journalists and economists have noted that he isn’t really the cause of the decline. Unemployment among black Americans has been  declining pretty steadily after coming close to 17 percent in 2011.
Since Trump first took credit for the lower unemployment rates earlier this month, journalists and economists have noted...

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30 Dec 2017

Donald Trump’s New York Times interview is scary to read

The president of the United States is not well. That is an uncomfortable thing to say, but it is an even worse thing to ignore. Consider the interview Trump gave to the New York Times on Thursday. It begins with a string of falsehoods that make it difficult to tell whether the leader of the free world is lying or delusional.
The president of the United States is not well. That is an uncomfortable thing to say, but it is an even worse thing to...

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15 Dec 2017

Net neutrality and the consequences of repealing the law explained!

Classifying ISPs as utility companies under Title II meant they had to  treat the internet like every other utility — that is, just like gas, water, or phone service — and that they couldn’t cut off service at will or control how much of it any one person received based on how much that person paid for it. The idea was that the internet should be a public service that everyone has a right to use, not a privilege, and that regulating ISPs like utilities would prevent them from hijacking or  monopolize that access.
Classifying ISPs as utility companies under Title II meant they had to  treat the...

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14 Dec 2017

Alabama Senate election results: Roy Moore’s loss means big trouble for the GOP

Republicans are now in trouble everywhere. The easy thing for Republicans to tell themselves after the stinging loss of a Senate seat in Alabama is that they only went down to defeat because the party had the misfortune to nominate someone accused of preying on teenage girls. And there is something to that. But the Republican Party nominated a man accused of sexual misconduct to run for president in 2016, and that didn’t stop him from winning 62 percent of the vote in Alabama.
Republicans are now in trouble everywhere. The easy thing for Republicans to tell themselves after the stinging loss of...

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3 Dec 2017

Republican tax bill shows the GOP’s debt panic was a fraud

There is a long-running, almost metaphysical, argument about the GOP’s deficit hawkery. One school of thought holds that it has always been pure cynicism. Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts without offsets and paid for neither Medicare Part D nor the Iraq War. When they began decrying the deficit and debt during President Obama’s administration, under this theory, it was nothing but opportunistic political attacks, and it was obvious they would be abandoned as soon as Republicans regained power.
There is a long-running, almost metaphysical, argument about the GOP’s deficit hawkery. One school of thought holds...

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30 Nov 2017

The Senate’s tax bill is a sweeping change to every part of federal health care

The Senate tax bill is really a health care bill with major implications for more than 100 million Americans who rely on the federal government for their health insurance. The bill reaches into every major American health care program: Medicaid, Medicare, and the Obamacare marketplaces. 
The Senate tax bill is really a health care bill with major implications for more than 100 million Americans...

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29 Nov 2017

Rex Tillerson hired a CEO to overhaul the State Department. She quit 3 months into the job.

The woman who Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chose to help him streamline the State Department just quit after only three months on the job. It’s the latest in a string of high-profile resignations that highlights growing chaos and declining morale at the top agency in charge of carrying out US foreign policy.
The woman who Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chose to help him streamline the State Department just quit after...

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21 Nov 2017

H.R. McMaster reportedly thinks Trump is an “idiot” with the brain of a “kindergartner”

The White House denied the report, as did the tech CEO with whom McMaster was dining. Such denials would be credible if McMaster’s  comments sounded out of character for senior members of Trump’s national  security team. They don’t. Instead, they sound exactly likewhat those officials have tended to say about their boss.
The White House denied the report, as did the tech CEO with whom McMaster was dining. Such denials would...

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16 Nov 2017

The Trump administration rejected 4,000 “late” DACA renewals. Some were sitting in its mailbox at the deadline

It’s beginning to look like a lot of immigrants were denied one last renewal of their deportation protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — even though they made good-faith efforts to file their paperwork.
It’s beginning to look like a lot of immigrants were denied one last renewal of their deportation...

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31 Oct 2017

Paul Manafort’s central role in the Trump-Russia investigation, explained

Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, is facing charges in Mueller’s investigation. But though Manafort’s history of pro-Russia consulting work and experience with international skullduggery have long made him a prime suspect for potential collusion, Monday’s indictment does not actually have anything to do with the question of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.Instead, it largely relates to matters predating Manafort’s involvement in Trump’s campaign. It’s about whether Manafort and Gates appropriately disclosed about a decade of foreign work, and whether they were was involved in illegal money laundering.
Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, is facing charges in Mueller’s investigation. But though Manafort’s...

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21 Sep 2017

Blue states face steep cuts under Graham-Cassidy. Red states reap the rewards.

The latest Obamacare repeal plan, known as Graham-Cassidy after the senators who proposed it, fundamentally does two big things: It cuts federal funding for health insurance, versus Obamacare, and takes money  from the states that best implemented the Affordable Care Act and gives it to the states that obstructed the law.
The latest Obamacare repeal plan, known as Graham-Cassidy after the senators who proposed...

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28 Aug 2017

Robert Mueller is looking into Michael Flynn’s potential ties to Russian hackers

Back in June, a tantalizing set of reports from Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal  gave us one indication that collusion may have occurred, or was at least attempted, between supporters of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian hackers who targeted Democrats’ emails.
Back in June, a tantalizing set of reports from Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal  gave us one indication...

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4 Aug 2017

Exclusive: top FBI officials could testify against Trump

Shortly after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told several of the highest-ranking managers of the bureau they should consider themselves possible witnesses in any investigation into whether President Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials.
Shortly after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told several...
21 Jul 2017

Trump lifted the cap on H-2B worker visas. Then his businesses asked for 76 of them.

This week, the Trump administration defied its “America First” rhetoric with a policy change that would make it easier for companies to hire guest workers from foreign countries. The Trump Organization is already poised to benefit from it. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security raised the cap on H-2B visas for foreign guest workersfrom 66,000 visas per year to 81,000. On Thursday — just three days later — Trump’s properties told the Department of Labor that they wanted approval to hire 76 guest workers using those visas. 
This week, the Trump administration defied its “America First” rhetoric with a policy change that would make it...

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13 Jul 2017

Trump’s tax cuts would give the poor $40 each and the ultrarich $940,000

A new analysis by the Tax Policy Center finds that the tax cuts included in the Trump administration’s outline for tax reform released in April could cut federal revenues by as much as $7.8 trillion over 10 years, and that the benefits would go almost exclusively to the top 5 percent of earners.
A new analysis by the Tax Policy Center finds that the tax cuts included in the Trump administration’s...

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12 Jul 2017

The other shoe has fallen, and the Trump presidency may fall with it

Donald Trump Jr. was in serious legal trouble even before the New York Times obtained his emails. As my colleague Zack Beauchamp has explained, his very decision to meet with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to see what dirt she had on Clinton may well have violated campaign finance law. That’s because you don’t have to actually get anything of value from a foreigner; simply sitting down with a Russian national to see whether she had information that could help Trump and damage his rival could be enough to constitute a federal crime.
Donald Trump Jr. was in serious legal trouble even before the New York Times obtained his emails. As my colleague...

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1 Jul 2017

A new report raises some big questions about Michael Flynn and Russian hackers

A tantalizing new report from Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal  gives the strongest indication yet that collusion may have occurred — or was at least attempted — between supporters of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian hackers who targeted Democrats’  emails. And it raises serious questions about whether fired  National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was involved in these efforts to contact hackers.
A tantalizing new report from Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal  gives the strongest indication yet...

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29 Jun 2017

This is how Trumpism died

Donald Trump’s enthusiastic support for the Senate health care bill is proof that there is no such thing as Trumpism, and there never will be. Health care was the issue on which Trump had gone furthest to differentiate himself from traditional Republicans. “This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can't afford private,’” he told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes. “But I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now.”
Donald Trump’s enthusiastic support for the Senate health care bill is proof that there is no such...

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6 Jun 2017

Trump’s defense secretary is trying to clean up the president’s messes. It’s not going well.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis spent the weekend trying to reassure jittery US allies in Singapore and Australia that President Trump has their back. The problem is that Trump keeps suggesting the opposite — and that the Pentagon chief’s credibility is suffering because his boss keeps contradicting him. email: alex.ward@vox.com
Secretary of Defense James Mattis spent the weekend trying to reassure jittery US allies in Singapore and Australia that...

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6 Jun 2017

Experts to Trump: climate change threatens the US military

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has come under attack from elected officials across the United States and the CEOs of some of America's biggest companies. But it’s also likely to cause anger and unease at a surprising place: the Pentagon. That’s because some of the Defense Department’s top officials have already expressed their fears that a warming planet poses serious threats to the US. Defense Secretary James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that climate change would make the world less stable and require the entire government to curb it.
President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has come under attack from...

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19 May 2017

It’s official: the FCC has started rolling back net neutrality protections

The new Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to begin the process of rolling back Barack Obama’s network neutrality rules. These rules were designed to ensure that all online content and services get equal treatment online. But Trump’s choice to lead the FCC, Ajit Pai, argues that they represent unnecessary government meddling in the internet’s infrastructure.
The new Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to begin the process of rolling back...

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9 May 2017

Trump has just begun massively reshaping American appeals courts

President Trump is reportedly naming 10 nominees to federal courts  on Monday — and, intriguingly, at least two of the people he's appointing are likely contenders for the Supreme Court in the future. By putting Larsen (who’s only 48), Stras (42), and Thapar (48) on appeals courts, Trump is further burnishing their credentials for future Supreme Court vacancies. The most likely next vacancies are either Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an 84-year-old two-time cancer survivor who might need to retire for health reasons, and Anthony Kennedy, who’s now 80 and who former clerks told Reuters is pondering retirement this year or next, especially now that his former clerk Gorsuch is on the Court. Replacing either of them with Larsen, Stras, or Thapar would create a bloc of five solid conservatives (Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, Thomas, and the new justice) who could consistently overrule the remaining liberal bloc.
President Trump is reportedly naming 10 nominees to federal courts  on Monday — and, intriguingly, at...

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5 May 2017

4 winners and 4 losers from the Republican vote to replace Obamacare

Rich people do well. Sick people don’t. House Republicans have passed the American Health Care Act, a bill that would greatly reduce funding for Obamacare’s coverage programs, leaving millions fewer people with health insurance. The bill would dramatically remake the American health care system, changing who can afford coverage in the individual market — and who will be left uninsured. It also revealed new fault lines in the Republican Congress, showing who had the power to shift the bill’s priorities and who yielded little influence.
Rich people do well. Sick people don’t. House Republicans have passed the American Health Care Act, a bill that would...
28 Apr 2017

It’s not just Trump — Mexico threatened to leave NAFTA too

Mexico doesn’t want to be bossed around. After alarming the world with news about potentially ending NAFTA, Trump seemed to backtrack, saying in a Wednesday statement that he had “pleasant and productive” calls with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation,” he said. “It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”
Mexico doesn’t want to be bossed around. After alarming the world with news about potentially ending NAFTA, Trump...

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21 Apr 2017

Trump wants to make it easier to drill in national parks. We mapped the 42 parks at risk.

It’s no secret that oil and gas companies are on the hunt for new places to drill. But the quest for more fossil fuels could heat up in places you might not expect: our national parks. With President Donald Trump’s executive order on energy, federal agencies are now reviewing all rules that inhibit domestic energy production. And that includes regulations around drilling in national parks that, if overturned, could give oil and gas companies easier access to leases on federal lands they’ve long coveted. Weaker regulations could mean oil and gas pollution and spills in pristine national parks.
It’s no secret that oil and gas companies are on the hunt for new places to drill. But the quest for more fossil fuels...

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8 Apr 2017

“Democrats are acting like a bunch of cowards”: Trump’s Syria strike opens a rift on the left

Progressive activists say they’re dismayed that senior congressional Democrats aren’t more strongly condemning President Donald Trump’s strikes against Syria on Thursday night. Some Democrats in Congress dinged Trump on the process — not seeking congressional approval — but largely supported the action  itself. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called punishing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad “the right thing to do,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) labeled the strikes a “proportional response.” Pelosi has also called for the House to end its recess and reconvene to discuss the attacks.
Progressive activists say they’re dismayed that senior congressional Democrats aren’t more strongly...

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7 Apr 2017

“It’s just weird”: a former employee on Rex Tillerson’s empty State Department

Details coming out of Rex Tillerson’s State Department tell a story of staff vacancies, scarce meetings, and general bewilderment from aides who have worked through multiple administrations. The emerging picture is of a secretary of state who has given little direction to his team on how he plans to run the diplomatic wing of the US government. State Department employees are even discouraged from making eye contact with Tillerson while he’s in the office, the Washington Post reported last week.
Details coming out of Rex Tillerson’s State Department tell a story of staff vacancies, scarce meetings, and general...

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29 Mar 2017

The controversy over Sally Yates’s planned testimony before Congress, explained

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is embroiled in yet another controversy. A new report from the Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous says that Trump administration officials wouldn’t approve former acting  Attorney General Sally Yates’s planned testimony before the committee on certain topics, claiming they were “likely covered by the presidential communications privilege.”
The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is embroiled in yet...

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17 Mar 2017

Trump’s budget has a radical plan for remaking US foreign policy

The budget won’t pass. But what it says about the president is really, really important. Using the Pentagon’s massive budget as a baseline, 55 billion is a relatively small increase. But it’s paid for, in part, by a relatively huge cut to the State Department. State’s $55 billion budget, $19 billion of which is spent on operations related to American wars, is slashed by 29 percent (leaving it with a total of $39 billion). The operative words for State are fewer and less: fewer diplomats, less development aid, and less support for international organizations like the United Nations.
The budget won’t pass. But what it says about the president is really, really important. Using the Pentagon’s...

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10 Mar 2017

The staggering, sudden change at the US border

Fear of Donald Trump might have kept tens of thousands of people from coming to the US. It’s extremely unlikely that Trump is the only reason for the drop. It takes several weeks for someone to come to the US from the Northern Triangle - not to mention the time it takes to save up to pay smugglers and coyotes — and smugglers and traffickers often spread misinformation to create fake demand for their services. And part of the reason the drop looks so big is because November and December 2016 were much busier than usual on the US/Mexico border — possibly because people were trying to make it to the US before Trump took office.
Fear of Donald Trump might have kept tens of thousands of people from coming to the US. It’s extremely unlikely that...

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7 Mar 2017

ICE isn’t just detaining “bad hombres.” They’re scooping up anyone in their path

President Donald Trump has promised the only immigrants being deported now that he’s in office are “bad hombres”: convicted criminals, threats to American safety and the national interest. News reports from across the country are making clear that’s not true
President Donald Trump has promised the only immigrants being deported now that he’s in office are “bad hombres”:...

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3 Mar 2017

Jeff Sessions, under oath, said he didn’t communicate with Russians. A new report says he did.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under oath at his confirmation hearing,  told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he didn’t communicate with  Russians during the 2016 campaign. But a new report by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller for the Washington Post found that Sessions did speak with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under oath at his confirmation hearing,  told the Senate Judiciary Committee...

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25 Feb 2017

Trump has sidelined Rex Tillerson just when the US most needs a strong secretary of state

President Trump isn’t allowing Tillerson to shape policy, choose staff, or speak to the press. On Thursday, a pair of devastating articles in Politico and the Washington Post described how the former Exxon Mobil CEO has been cut out of the loop on major foreign policy shifts, slapped down by the White House on personnel choices, and given virtually no opportunities to make public appearances with President Trump.
President Trump isn’t allowing Tillerson to shape policy, choose staff, or speak to the press. On Thursday, a pair of...

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23 Feb 2017

Donald Trump is dangerous when he’s losing

Klain served as chief of staff to both Vice President Al Gore and Vice President Joe Biden. He led Hillary Clinton’s debate prep — which is to say, he was deeply involved in their effort to understand Trump’s psychology — and he was widely rumored to be the frontrunner for chief of staff in Clinton’s White House. He understands how government works, and I’ve always found him unusually sober in his view of it. Klain had a theory that combined Trump’s authoritarian impulses and troubled White House management in a way I found hard to dismiss. In Klain’s view, it’s Trump’s dysfunctional relationship with the government that catalyzes his illiberal tendencies — the more he is frustrated by the system, the more he will turn on the system. 
Klain served as chief of staff to both Vice President Al Gore and Vice President Joe Biden. He led Hillary Clinton’s...

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20 Feb 2017

Trump transition ordered government economists to cook up rosy growth forecasts

As the White House staff tries to put together a budget for President Donald Trump, they face a fundamental problem. Trump has promised to cut taxes, increase spending on the military and infrastructure, and avoid cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The only way to do that without producing an exploding budget deficit is to assume a big increase in economic growth. And Nick Timiraos at the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump is planning to do just that — by making things up.
As the White House staff tries to put together a budget for President Donald Trump, they face a fundamental problem....

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19 Feb 2017

No, Hillary Clinton did not “give Russia 20 percent of the uranium” in the US

During his chaotic 77-minute press conference on Thursday, President Donald Trump was on the defensive about his relationship with Russia. One key point he made, attempting to prove that that he wasn’t soft on Moscow, was to paint the previous administration as weak in handling the Kremlin — by claiming again that Hillary Clinton gave Russia “20 percent of our uranium” as secretary of state.
During his chaotic 77-minute press conference on Thursday, President Donald Trump was on the defensive about...

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17 Feb 2017

The 5 biggest disagreements Republicans have on Obamacare

Deep uncertainty and serious divisions within the Republican coalition about the way forward on Obamacare have surfaced in the new Congress, and they’ve put the future of repeal and replace in doubt. It’s become evident that there is little GOP unity on how much a replacement plan should cost, how to pay for it, whether the Medicaid expansion should be rolled back, or how to fix the individual  markets. 
Deep uncertainty and serious divisions within the Republican coalition about the way forward on Obamacare have...
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16 Feb 2017

Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary is withdrawing

The withdrawal comes amid reports that several Republican senators were refusing to support Puzder, and it makes him the first Cabinet nominee in Donald Trump’s administration to go down in flames. Republicans revolted against Puzder, CEO of the fast-food conglomerate CKE Holdings, amid two particularly high-profile scandals — a revelation that he’d hired an undocumented immigrant and failed to  pay employer taxes, and an ugly divorce in which his ex-wife accused him of assaulting her.
The withdrawal comes amid reports that several Republican senators were refusing to support Puzder, and...

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12 Feb 2017

A top Putin critic on how to oppose Trump: “making him look like a loser is crucial”

The US president shouldn’t need to speak like a tyrant. But Trump’s still obsessed with legitimacy; hence his constant falsehoods about overwhelming victory and crowd size. You have an entirely unqualified president with autocratic instincts and dangerous advisers, who is quite possibly compromised by a malign foreign interest. We gave Putin a chance in Russia, and it was the last free election we ever had. It’s far better to act and later admit you overreacted than to do nothing until it’s impossible to act.
The US president shouldn’t need to speak like a tyrant. But Trump’s still obsessed with legitimacy; hence his...

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7 Feb 2017

The big lesson of Trump’s first 2 weeks: resistance works

It’s easy to miss amid Donald Trump’s frenetic pace of activity and nonstop media coverage, but the most important story in American politics right now isn’t about what Trump is doing: It’s that the  opposition is working.
It’s easy to miss amid Donald Trump’s frenetic pace of activity and nonstop media coverage, but the most...

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3 Feb 2017

Steve Bannon in 2016: legal immigration is the real “problem”

Trump’s public stance has seemingly always been to keep the “bad people” out and let the smart people in. But a conversation between Bannon and Miller from March 2016, on a Breitbart News podcast first resurfaced by the Washington Post, shows Bannon and Miller may both hold a more conservative view on immigration. “Isn’t the beating heart of this problem, the real beating heart of it, of what we gotta get sorted here, not illegal immigration?” Bannon asked Miller. “As horrific as that is, and it’s horrific, don’t we have a problem? We’ve looked the other way on this legal immigration that’s kinda overwhelmed the country?”
Trump’s public stance has seemingly always been to keep the “bad people” out and let the smart people in. But a...

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1 Feb 2017

After meeting with pharma lobbyists, Trump drops promise to negotiate drug prices

A lot happened in the 2016 campaign, but one of the things Donald Trump did to win the election was shift to the left on a number of key issues — promising to avoid cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits and adopting a longstanding Democratic pledge to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts in the price it pays for prescription drugs.
A lot happened in the 2016 campaign, but one of the things Donald Trump did to win the election was shift to...

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1 Dec 2016

The true story of America’s sky-high prescription drug prices

Why does an arthritis drug that costs $2,669 here cost $822 in Switzerland? Article argues that this simply happens because in other places in the world governments regulate and negotiate drug prices but in the US they don't. My question is why is it that government can negotiate on outsourcing the way Mr, Trump just did with the Carrier jobs but they don't do this with the drug companies?
Why does an arthritis drug that costs $2,669 here cost $822 in Switzerland? Article argues that this simply happens...

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22 Nov 2016

Bernie Sanders: “It is not good enough for someone to say, ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’”

What Sanders’s remarks about "identity politics" say about the Democratic Party’s future. Having the party embrace both gender and racial diversity is a necessary first step, Sanders said. But if “identity politics” means promoting black and female candidates who don’t have “the guts to take on the oligarchy,” Sanders argued, it’s largely beside the point.
What Sanders’s remarks about "identity politics" say about the Democratic Party’s future. Having the party embrace...

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22 Nov 2016

Bernie Sanders said he would work with Donald Trump. Then he saw Trump’s infrastructure plan.

At first, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tone with Donald Trump was conciliatory: “To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him,” he said in a statement after Election Day. Then he saw Trump’s infrastructure plan. Sanders’s tone changed; he tweeted that the president-elect’s plan for infrastructure is a “scam,” proving just how difficult working with a Trump administration will be in practice:
At first, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tone with Donald Trump was conciliatory: “To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious...

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20 Nov 2016

Don’t let Donald Trump’s antics distract you from what’s really important

He’s paying fraud fines and collecting bribes — and distracting you with Hamilton tweets. The truth is that nothing about the Hamilton story - is in any way important to how he runs the country. By contrast, foreign governments directly putting money into Donald Trump’s pocket is very important. The fact that these attempted bribes are being paid to a man who is also paying out millions of dollars to avoid standing trial for his corrupt business practices is very important.
He’s paying fraud fines and collecting bribes — and distracting you with Hamilton tweets. The truth is that nothing...

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18 Nov 2016

Republicans plan to “drain the swamp” by gutting campaign finance laws – Vox

Billionaire donors could get lots of shiny new tools for controlling the American political system. There is really not all that much left to prevent big money from influencing American politics. Donors can already spend as much as they want on “independent” Super PACs that take out millions in political advertisements. Corporations can give as much as they want to these Super PACs, and they’re finding ways to do so entirely in secret.
Billionaire donors could get lots of shiny new tools for controlling the American political system. There is really not...

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18 Nov 2016

10 things we learned about Trump adviser Steve Bannon from this recently surfaced speech – Vox

Stephen Bannon, the CEO of far-right media outlet Breitbart News and Donald Trump’s newly named chief strategist, believes we are in the midst of a crisis — of both global economy and moral standing. Godlessness and libertarianism has “sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals,” and the Muslim world is growing in numbers, Bannon told a conference at the Vatican in 2014. “Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn’t act.”
Stephen Bannon, the CEO of far-right media outlet Breitbart News and Donald Trump’s newly named chief strategist,...

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17 Nov 2016

For years, I’ve been watching anti-elite fury build in Wisconsin. Then came Trump.

I did not set out to study rural resentment of "elites," but that’s what I found. We did not see the Trump victory coming because at least one part of their resentment has grounding in reality: Urbanites have not been listening to the concerns of people in rural America. Indeed, resentment is also part of another big story of this election: the inaccuracy of polls. If you are a rural resident who believes that urban institutions like mass media and universities ignore and look down upon people like you, why would you spend time answering one of their surveys?
I did not set out to study rural resentment of "elites," but that’s what I found. We did not see the Trump victory...

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12 Nov 2016

Trump does have an Obamacare replacement plan – and it would cause 21 million to lose coverage

In broad terms, Trump's plan looks a lot like the dozen or so other Republican Obamacare repeal plans that have come out over the past few years. Trumpcare allows insurance companies to go back to refusing coverage for preexisting conditions, a key barrier to coverage before Obamacare's coverage expansion.
In broad terms, Trump's plan looks a lot like the dozen or so other Republican Obamacare repeal plans that have come out...

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28 Oct 2016

The Trump and Clinton campaigns finally had a substantive climate debate

The energy advisers to the two campaigns squared off. It wasn’t half bad. The hour-long debate featured its share of depressing nonsense, like when Cramer waffled on whether humans are causing global warming. (Spoiler: They are.) But the discussion was genuinely substantive, and the advisers delved into issues like the Paris climate deal, nuclear power, and (oh yes) transmission policy.
The energy advisers to the two campaigns squared off. It wasn’t half bad. The hour-long debate featured its share of...

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26 Oct 2016

“The mandate penalties are not working”: an expert explains what is broken with Obamacare

There are a few challenges. Enrollment continues to fall short of expectations, which is contributing to instability. We’ve got all of the  sickest people, who are highest need, and they enrolled in 2014. Each year, the marketplaces have continued to not pick up enough healthy people to create a stable risk pool. That’s one big issue.
There are a few challenges. Enrollment continues to fall short of expectations, which is contributing to instability....
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3 Oct 2016

Whatever is actually in Trump’s tax returns is worse than what the New York Times says

Trump is making clear that whatever is really in his tax returns would be devastating to his campaign. NYTimes took a gamble speculating on Donald's returns. All Donald had to do was release his returns and prove NYTimes wrong. He hasn't!
Trump is making clear that whatever is really in his tax returns would be devastating to his campaign. NYTimes took a...

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28 Sep 2016

The press thought Trump’s first 30 minutes were his best. They were his worst.

The press needs to do its job, not the voters’ job. The first 30 minutes was called for Trump in the debate. Eventhough the author agrees that stylistically this was Trumps' best portion of the debate, factually it was his worst. He was wrong on NAFTA, trade, jobs.
The press needs to do its job, not the voters’ job. The first 30 minutes was called for Trump in the debate....

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16 Aug 2016

The controversy over Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, explained

Trump’s proposed foreign policy would, intentionally or no, aid Vladimir Putin in ways the Russian dictator could only dream about before Trump. Trump has repeatedly expressed wild admiration for Putin personally; his campaign staff and businesses have extensive ties to Russian interests. (Just yesterday, the New York Times reported the existence of a handwritten ledger documenting $12.7 million in payments to Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, from Ukraine's pro-Russian deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych).
Trump’s proposed foreign policy would, intentionally or no, aid Vladimir Putin in ways the Russian dictator could only...

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5 Aug 2016

The US did not pay a $400 million “ransom” to Iran. Here’s what actually happened.

WSJ and right wing media are miss-characterizing the payments to Iran insinuating that the money was in exchange for hostages, were in fact the money was owed to Iran based on a military purchase in 1979 that was never delivered.
WSJ and right wing media are miss-characterizing the payments to Iran insinuating that the money was in exchange for...

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