Breitbart leaks Ryan tape . . .

Breitbart, which some call the White House Pravda, released audio tape of Speaker Ryan trashing Trump (last October) — his plan was to work with Clinton.  The fallout of this is unknown, but many say that DT and Ryan are not on the ‘same page’ with the new Health Ins. bill.

Republicans believe in the ‘market‘ not in social welfare programs.  All the social welfare programs were put into place by Democrats:  Medicaid, Social Security, ACA, etc.

Lack of *preventative* medical care generates greater costs later on.  This is not being sufficiently taken into consideration.

Why not *require* health insurance, like we do auto insurance?  At some point you ‘will’ need the benefits.  *Everybody* needs to pay in for it to be affordable — so it’ll work.  It won’t work if only ‘some’ pay in.  Younger enrollees will pay for the older ones, as has been the case with Social Security for quite some time.

Conway and Spicer speak words of ‘loyalty‘ not meaning.  What they engage in is very similar to what a ‘publicity agent‘ does for his celebrity client . . . some are calling  it flackery

When Conway’s critics pile on, she just keeps spinning. “She can stand in the breach and take incoming all day long,” Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, told me. “That’s something you can’t coach.” She’s figured out that she doesn’t need to win the argument. All she has to do is craft a semi-plausible (if not entirely coherent) counter-narrative, so that those who don’t want to look past the facade of Trump’s Potemkin village don’t have to.

The writer of this article (Molly Ball) adds (paraphrasing):  “Conway takes a factual question and pivots to feeding into people’s paranoia about being ‘bugged’ (via phones, TVs, microwaves) . . . effectively changing the subject and creating an alternative storyline for people who want to believe, to believe in.”

Every president sweeps into office with a coterie of friends and hangers-on who sometimes have minimal experience in the arcana of the federal government. But few have arrived with a contingent more colorful and controversial than that of Mr. Trump, whose White House is peppered with assistants and advisers whose principal qualification is their long friendship with Mr. Trump and his family.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin PR man, says RU is being “demonized” by America and that the US is “self-humiliating itself.”  He says RU has no desire to interfere with another nation’s domestic affairs.  Michael McFaul, former Ambassador to Russia, says that Peskov is just saying what he was told to say (and that what he says runs counter to what 17 of our Intel Agencies have told us).  McFaul says a non-partisan, 9/11-type review of Russia’s involvement is critical to getting all the facts out.  Scheduled to testify next week at open hearings into the Russian involvement in our 2016 election are:

  • James Comey
  • Sally Yates
  • Mike Rogers
  • John Brennan
  • James Clapper

The supermarket tabloid, The Enquirer, has become a propaganda arm for DT.  Trump must think readers of the rag can help him politically.  Trump and crew are calling into question what journalism is all about — which is the FACTS.  If facts are “malleable” it undercuts what journalism is all about.  

Our Founders based this country on enlightened argument — you need facts to make these kinds of arguments.  Because Trump doesn’t accept this it amplifies any existing antipathy w/in any given reporter. 

” . . . several journalists and news organizations are acquiescing to Trump’s authoritarian demands of the media, accepting off-the-record invitations to his Palm Springs compound or striking deals to provide more favorable coverage in exchange for greater access.”

DT loves ‘Fox and Friends.’  These ‘friends’ say shirts being sold are actually “Anti-Trump” shirts: (an opinion piece)

 The bar for television news was lowered once again Tuesday with a brief Fox & Friends news segment criticizing media companies for selling clothing with “anti-Trump rhetoric.”

“Media bias on full display,” inveighed Fox anchor Heather Childers. “Newspapers now cashing in on T-shirts splashed with anti-President Trump rhetoric. The Washington Post offering this shirt which says ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness,’ the LA Times selling shirts that says ‘Journalism Matters,’ and the Chicago Tribune’s feature the line ‘Speaking Truth to Power Since 1847.’ The shirts being sold for about 20 bucks.”

Noteworthy in this segment was the fact that none of the shirts appeared to actually talk about Trump at all. “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — if overwrought — is now on the masthead of every single edition of the Washington Post. And if anyone thinks lines like “Journalism Matters” and “Speaking Truth to Power” have become controversial and “anti-Trump” it speaks volumes about their relationship to the president — and real life.

Of course, on the other hand, the segment may have just been indulging Trump’s own suggestion yesterday that the media “be nice” to him.

Not that many are challenging what Donald Trump says . . . pushing back against it . . . naming it for what it is (many times) . . . bull and hot air.

Trump has changed the rules re: *drone strikes*.

The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — “areas of active hostilities” in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible.

That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.

The Obama administration put in place a rule that no drone strike could take place outside a war zone unless there was a “near certainty” that no civilian would be harmed. Obama also put the White House in the decision loop on most strikes against high-value targets. And, outside a war zone, the military or the CIA had to show that the target posed an imminent threat to the United States.

These and other rules — along with a general policy preference by Obama — led to a dramatic drop in drone strikes toward the end of the Obama presidency. The drop was also due to the fact that the al Qaeda threat in Pakistan diminished considerably.

Trump also appears to be reversing a policy preference by Obama to get the CIA, for the most part, out of the drone-killing business. A drone strike in Syria last month that killed Abu Hani al-Masri, a longtime terrorist with ties to Osama bin Laden, was the work of the CIA, U.S. officials told NBC News. Previously, the CIA had not been carrying out drone strikes in Syria.

. . . a group of former Obama administration officials and others sent Defense Secretary James Mattis a letter over the weekend urging that protection of civilians remain a top priority as the government reconsiders counter terrorism policies.

“I am concerned that loosening standards will harm our ability over time to carry out these operations, because it will affect our standing with the countries in which we need to operate,” said Matt Olsen, a signer of the letter and the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center.

“I think these rules proved effective operationally — I never saw an instance where we missed an opportunity to carry out a strike because of too much lawyering.”

A Turkish business consortium chaired by a businessman with lobbying ties to former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is co-hosting a three-day conference at Trump International Hotel in May.



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