WHCA chief slams Trump’s attempts to 'delegitimize' media - White House Correspondents' Association President Jeff Mason fired back against President Donald Trump’s anti-media rhetoric during his introductory spee...
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How do you fit into that calculation, and the pressure to vote the Republican line.On the face of it, this is encouraging--the kind of senator I want to see. But we'll have to see how he actually votes.
"I already spoke to the leaders, I already spoke to them, and the whip. I told them, I said, 'With all due respect I really don't know a lot of you people and you don't know me, but maybe that's good because I'm gonna vote how I want to vote. But I'll be respectful and I'll tell you why and how and you can certainly let me know your thoughts and maybe I'm missing something, but I'm gonna just vote how I feel is important to vote. And they were cool, they said, 'OK, do whatever you want. You could probably do whatever you want right about now, Scott, so that's OK.' So they were very respectful, and they understand, they understand that all eyes are on me."
You pride yourself on being a multitasker, but you can begin to answer all that mail and e-mail?It doesn't sound like he's aiming to be a one-term senator.
"I did already. I already answered them. And the letters, obviously, I open them, I read them, and then I give them to a staff person to respond, but I sign them all and personalize them. If somebody's gonna take the time to write me a letter or write me an e-mail I'm gonna do my very best to write them back. It may not be today but it will definitely be within a couple of days. That's what makes our office so good. When we get e-mails or phone calls, I pick up the phone and call them up. I don't e-mail them back, I don't write them, I call them. And that's what's gonna set us apart from every other office down there. We're so psyched. We're gonna have a constituent office second to none. That's our no 1 priority."
Along those lines, past and present, who are your political role models?Fuck you, man. What Bush did to this country in response to 9/11 is one of the worst tragedies of the last half century. McCain and Lieberman, ick. Can't the Northeast give us someone better than another Giuliani-style hack?
"Well first of all, I haven't read that book, I'm looking forward to it. I said it during the debate, and during that thing when Dan Rea said, 'Give me one person,' well, I can't give you one person. You know, different decades. Obviously JFK, everyone -- he was, everybody's president. Ronald Reagan, what he did with the Iron Curtain. You know, President Bush in terms of what he did after 9/11, in terms of our security. I didn't agree with hardly anything on what he did on domestic fiscal issues. And you know Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman."
On immigration, you sounded excited about the aide you hired. Is that a big issue for you?Well, I suppose that's somewhat encouraging.
"It's huge, it's huge now, especially with Haiti. It's huge, it's the no. 1 issue affecting -- that will affect my office, and I have the best person in place to handle it. And I'm so honored -- I'm just like overwhelmed, I almost, like, you know, cried when she said yes, she'll stay. Especially, you know, there are a lot of single kids, kids that are being adopted, people -- Americans and citizens that are still there trying to get home, they're not getting help with the embassy. When I met with the ministers, they actually gave us some names which we forwarded off to try to find out the status. So yeah, immigration is important, but my policy hasn't changed with regard to how we deal with the immigration issue. It's just a question of, we have to immediately provide the resources to process these people quicker. It's immoral to let them wait in line so long. If we can find money for the banks, we can find money to process people through immigration quickly."
a marijuana legalization initiative will be on the ballot in California this fall. Today the backers of the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act turned in nearly 700,000 signatures; they need just 434,000 to qualify the measure for the ballot. The Los Angeles Times notes that "a Field Poll taken last April found that 56% of voters in the state and 60% in Los Angeles County want to make pot legal and tax it."
This special election came about because we lost someone very dear to Massachusetts, and to America. Senator Ted Kennedy was a tireless and big-hearted public servant, and for most of my lifetime was a force like no other in this state. His name will always command the affection and respect by the people of Massachusetts, and the same goes for his wife Vicki. There's no replacing a man like that, but tonight I honor his memory, and I pledge my very best to be a worthy successor.Needless to say I disagree with the notion that captured terrorists don't have the right to a fair trial when taken outside a theater of war. We tried the Nazis at Nuremberg, and we can certainly try other despicable enemies of humanity like Al Qaeda's leaders and operatives.
I said at the very beginning, when I sat down at the dinner table with my family, that win or lose we would run a race which would make us all proud. I kept my word and we ran a clean, issues oriented, upbeat campaign - and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
[..] This little campaign of ours was destined for greater things than any of us knew, and the message went far beyond the name on the sign.
It all started with me, my truck, and a few dedicated volunteers. It ended with Air Force One making an emergency run to Logan. I didn't mind when President Obama came here and criticized me - that happens in campaigns. But when he criticized my truck, that's where I draw the line.
We had the machine scared and scrambling, and for them it is just the beginning of an election year filled with surprises. They will be challenged again and again across this country. When there's trouble in Massachusetts, there's trouble everywhere - and now they know it.
In every corner of our state, I met with people, looked them in the eye, shook their hand, and asked them for their vote. I didn't worry about their party affiliation, and they didn't worry about mine. It was simply shared conviction that brought us all together.
[..] In health care, we need to start fresh, work together, and do the job right. Once again, we can do better.
I will work in the Senate to put government back on the side of people who create jobs, and the millions of people who need jobs - and as President John F. Kennedy taught us, that starts with an across the board tax cut for individuals and businesses that will create jobs and stimulate the economy. It's that simple!
I will work in the Senate to defend our nation's interests and to keep our military second to none. As a lieutenant colonel and 30-year member of the Army National Guard, I will keep faith with all who serve, and get our veterans all the benefits they deserve.
And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation - they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.
Raising taxes, taking over our health care, and giving new rights to terrorists is the wrong agenda for our country. What I've heard again and again on the campaign trail, is that our political leaders have grown aloof from the people, impatient with dissent, and comfortable in the back room making deals. And we can do better.
They thought you were on board with all of their ambitions. They thought they owned your vote. They thought they couldn't lose. But tonight, you and you and you have set them straight.
[T]he “Gingrich-Bush shield” [protected] Democrats all across the northeast for fifteen years, by making a vote for a Republican seem like a vote for the folkways of the American South. [Steve Kornacki's] argument is similar to the one advanced in Chris Caldwell’s late-1990s essay on “The Southern Captivity of the G.O.P.”, which argued that “the southern presence in the Republican Party” was becoming so overwhelming that it threatened to permanently alienate the rest of the country.Yankee Doodle, folks.
Now, of course, both Bush and Gingrich are gone, taking the shield with them, and suddenly northeastern swing voters are willing to consider “voting for a Republican candidate as a way of expressing frustration with the ruling Democrats.” Thus Chris Christie in New Jersey; thus Scott Brown in Massachusetts; thus Pat Toomey’s small lead in the Pennsylvania polls.
Former New York Governor George Pataki now holds a significant lead against potential Democratic rivals for the 2010 New York Senate seat according to recent polling, reports Steven Greenberg of the Siena Research Institute. Among potential voters, Pataki now holds a wide lead over current Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, at 51% to 38% . This is in contrast to the results of a poll just over a month ago that had Gillibrand in the lead at 46% to 43%. Pataki holds an even larger lead over former Tennessee Representative Harold Ford, Jr., at 54% to 32%.Well that's a shocker if it bears out, but it's one poll--take the requisite grains of salt.
Just as cicadas thrum more urgently at the start of autumn, sensing that the end is nigh, internet users in China have been seizing in animated fashion on what one called “the last crazy days of Google.cn”.Go read the whole FT article.
With the US technology giant allowing uncensored searches in Chinese for the first time, citizens of the People’s Republic are this week indulging their curiosity ahead of a widely expected crackdown.
“I’ve been doing all sorts of crazy searches, really distracting myself from my work,” says one. “I’ve done Tiananmen Square, the love affairs of national leaders, the corruption of leaders’ children. Everything.”
Another internet user says the buzz of illicit abandon is reminiscent of the mood in Tiananmen Square itself, shortly before the People’s Liberation Army crushed the protests there in 1989. “There is no way that Google will get away with this. They will have to leave China for sure,” he adds.
In California and Washington State, full legalization is now looking more and more likely:
The Washington state legislature will hold a preliminary vote Wednesday on whether to sell pot in state liquor stores, though even its authors say the bill is unlikely to pass. The same day in California, backers of a well-funded ballot measure to legalize marijuana are expected to file more than enough signatures to put the initiative before state voters in November.It's coming in the nation's capital as well. And the polls are shifting swiftly in favor:
Activists have also been busy in Washington state, with one group filing a marijuana-legalization initiative last Monday to put the issue on the November ballot. Activists in Oregon, meanwhile, say they have collected more than half of the signatures they need by July to allow a vote on whether the state should set up a system of medical-marijuana dispensaries.
According to an Angus Reid poll, 53 percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing marijuana. A further 68 percent of respondents said that the war on drugs has been a “failure.”
All told, Brown strikes me as the right sort of leader for the Republican party of 2010. Not exactly a social conservative, but not particularly liberal either, he represents the larger middle on social issues. On economics he is a fiscal conservative, and he doesn’t seem particularly hawkish beyond the standard, boiler-plate support for Israel. On abortion he makes a great deal of sense, and on healthcare I think he could potentially be a strong ally of some bi-partisan legislation in the future should the current bill fail.Andrew correctly points out that Brown's Op-Ed contains absurdities. Sure, that's political salesmanship for you. But essentially I think he can do a lot of good for moderates as a Republican senator beholden to constituents in a very liberal state.
Quite frankly – though it’s far too early to say – I think he’s presidential material. He’s good looking, confident, well spoken, with strong conservative credentials and sensible, moderate social positions. He’s certainly strikes me as more down to earth than Mitt Romney.
[..] two thirds of other Massachusetts Republican state legislators were more conservative than he was. This is evidence for my claim that he’s a liberal even in his own party. What’s remarkable about this is the fact that Massachusetts Republicans are the most, or nearly the most, liberal Republicans in the entire country!So think of Maine's Snowe and Collins...that's the sort of sensible northeast Republican senator we can expect him to be. It'll be interesting if he becomes a presidential contender eventually.
Every politician says something he has to walk back once in a while. In the case of Bradley Byrne, a Republican candidate for governor of Alabama, it was
I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not.Mr Byrne was battered by so much criticism that he quickly trudged to a Piggly Wiggly grocery store to hold a press conference and recant. Claiming he had been misquoted, he said
I believe the Bible is true. Every word of it.Mr Byrne's momentary hesitation about the literal truth of every word of the Bible makes him the religious hippie in the Republican field. James Potts, another runner, thinks that public property should be allowed to display monuments to every faith—except Islam: "Either you accept our way of life or you go back to another country that is Muslim." All supported voluntary school prayer. All but one thought that public-school teachers should be allowed to teach from the Bible.
The one dissenter on that last question? Roy Moore, the judge famously stripped of his job as the state's chief justice for installing, then refusing to remove, a 5,200-pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments in his courthouse. Yes, nearly all of the Republican candidates are running to Mr Moore's right on the role of Christianity in public life. Mr Moore's reason for not wanting to teach from the Bible in school was not, of course, because the Bible isn't perfect. He argued that government teaching of scripture could ruin it. Good to see that anti-government orthodoxy can still, sometimes, trump religious orthodoxy, in today's GOP.
A lot of the arguments over the excise tax are getting caught in a bad, and even slightly dishonest, sales job from its supporters. Sen. John Kerry's blog post defending the policy, for instance, isn't playing it straight. Saying it won't tax employees is a distinction without a difference: It will tax insurers, which will add the tax into the cost of their plans, and employers will either choose different plans or pass the cost on to employees. Similarly, saying it will affect only "3% of premiums in 2013" is designed to obscure the fact that it will hit a lot more policies in 2020. But this is one of those cases when bad arguments mask a good policy, rather than the other way around.
Health benefits should be taxed. There's no reason the system should make a dollar in employer-provided health insurance worth more than a dollar in wages. That's a straight incentive for employers to spend more and more on health insurance, which is contrary to the needs of the country right now. The excise tax begins to expose a small portion of employer-provided health-care costs to taxes. Meanwhile, someone who doesn't get employer-provided health care and buys their own insurance is getting taxed on every dollar they spend on health care.
No one defends this system in principle. They only defend it in practice. The excise tax has its opponents, but none of them say we should make food, or broadband Internet, tax free as long as it is provided by employers -- even though those things are also important! You don't even hear them demanding that the bill make non-employer-provided health care tax free. No one, in other words, is interested in expanding this system to other sectors, or even to the rest of the health-care sector. But given that this subsidy is worth about $250 billion a year, it's got a lot of defenders.
As a final note, the excise tax is a substitute for simply capping the employer tax exclusion. The swap came about because the politics of the excise tax are superficially better: Rather than taxing "workers" or "businesses," you're taxing "insurers." But insurers pass the cost along, of course. And the excise tax is more regressive than capping the exclusion. If you cap the exclusion, people get taxed at their normal marginal tax rate, which is virtually nothing for low-income workers. The excise tax, by contrast, is a flat surtax of 40 percent, no matter what your income. in this case, making the tax sound more populist also made it substantially more regressive.
KY SEN, Ron Paul's son, Dr. Rand Paul (yes, named after Ayn) is now leading...or slightly leading... in the Republican primary (incumbent Sen. Jim Bunning is retiring). The GOP establishment chose Secretary of State Trey Grayson, but Paul has pushed hard on his party's dissatisfaction with GOP leaders. (There's a bit of Mitch McConnell fatigue in his home state.) Paul is ostensibly a libertarian, but he's getting support from all the conservative establishment interest groups, including the taxpayers union he once headed. For TV producers, the Paul pa-son angle is irresistible. And the "audit the Fed" message resonates beyond the confines of the ReLOVEution. Also funky: one of those campaign-aides-posts-something-racist-and-has-to-resign angles. Grayson, again, is running a conventional NRSC campaign against Washington (jobs, Democrats, D.C.); Paul is running against Grayson as an embodiment of Washington. The primary is May 18.
[I]f it seems as though torture ever yields important and actionable intelligence more quickly than alternative methods, we’re supposed to take it for granted that this completes the necessary utilitarian analysis. And this is just absurd. How does torture affect the willingness of enemy combatants to surrender? How much does it complicate our relations with allies? How many people does it help to radicalize against the United States? How many non-radicals does it leave sufficiently disgusted that they’re less motivated to assist the U.S. in fighting radicalism in their communities? You’ll notice that torture-fans never really attempt to deal remotely seriously with any of these questions; they just babble inanities about how Fanatics Will Hate Us No Matter What. Which, of course, some will—but that’s hardly to the point, is it?
WASHINGTON POST -- Kim's government in the past two years has closed some large markets, shifted Chinese-made goods to state-run shops and ordered that only middle-aged and older women can sell goods in open-air markets, to try to limit the number of North Koreans who abandon government jobs for the private sector. But capitalism seems to have already taken root. U.N. officials estimate that half the calories consumed in North Korea come from food bought in private markets, and that nearly 80 percent of household income derives from buying and selling in the markets, according to a study last year in the Seoul Journal of Economics.(via Perry)
Private markets are flooding the country with electronics from China and elsewhere. Cheap radios, televisions, MP3 devices, DVD players, video cameras and cellphones are seeping into a semi-feudal society, where a trusted elite lives in the capital Pyongyang. Surrounding the elite is a suspect peasantry that is poor, stunted by hunger and spied upon by layers of state security.
In the past year, the elites in Pyongyang have been granted authorized access to mobile phones -- the number is soon expected to reach 120,000. In the border regions with China, unauthorized mobile phone use has also increased among the trading classes. And unlike most of the mobile phones in Pyongyang, the illegal phones are set up to make international calls. Chinese telecom companies have built relay towers near the border, providing strong mobile signals in many nearby North Korean towns. Those phones have become a new source of real-time reporting to the outside world on events inside North Korea, as networks of informants call in news to Web sites such as the Seoul-based Daily NK and the Buddhist aid group Good Friends.
Affordable electronics are also cracking open the government's decades-old seal on incoming information. Imported radios -- and televisions in border areas -- are enabling a substantial proportion of the North Korean populations to tune in to Chinese and South Korean stations, as well as to Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, according to an unpublished survey of newly arrived defectors in South Korea. It found that two-thirds of them listened regularly to foreign broadcasts.
Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.But remember, things would somehow be better if we got rid of all the greedy insurance companies and had Medicare For All!
More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman.
BAGHDAD — Iraqis on Friday reacted with disbelief, anger and bitter resignation to news that criminal charges in the United States had been dismissed against Blackwater Worldwide security guards who opened fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007.The accused have their own rights, and the court concluded they were violated by government officials offering immunity for testimony.
[..] The attack, at Nisour Square, left 17 Iraqis dead and 27 wounded. Many of the victims were riding inside cars or buses at a busy traffic circle when a Blackwater convoy escorting American diplomats rolled through and began firing machine guns, grenade launchers and a sniper rifle.
The Blackwater guards said they believed they had come under small-arms fire from insurgents. But investigators concluded that the guards had indiscriminately fired on unarmed civilians in an unprovoked and unjustified assault.
The incident calcified anti-American sentiment in Iraq and elsewhere, raised Iraqi concerns about the extent of its sovereignty because Blackwater guards had immunity from local prosecutors and reopened a debate about American dependence on private security contractors in the Iraq war.
For all I know that was the right legal call. It was stunning to hear that the first U.S. agents to interview the Blackwater guards offered them immunity: not only were they from the State Department, not the Justice Department, but they were from the division of State that oversees the contract Blackwater held. Whether they intended to sabotage a prosecution is unknown, but that’s exactly what they effectively did.The resulting dismissal is tragic but apparently necessary according to the standard that no one is obligated to testify against themselves.