Open Thread for Dec. 1, 2016…Insurance Companies to get help in Obamacre redo….

Anybody surprised with this?

Republicans will ‘Repeal’ Obamacare, which is actaully the Affordable Healthcare Law….

But it will take a few years ….

Something tells me that Republicans are gonna make sure that Insurance companies make MORE money in the redo….

Sounds like a Hand out Bailout to me….

One Republican lobbyist said that in discussions about a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement, insurers are “painting a picture of the market that isn’t very pretty and Republican staffers are getting the picture.”

“They want to pump money back in to the insurers without appearing like they’re giving them a handout or bailing them out,” the lobbyist added.

A second lobbyist said Republican staff is discussing the effects of actually getting into law a repeal bill similar to the one passed last year through the fast-track process known as reconciliation. That measure would have taken out the core of ObamaCare on a two-year delay.

The lobbyist said Republicans are discussing: “What’s the impact on the 2018 plan year for that, and if it’s as bad as some people say, what are our options to mitigate the impact without looking like we’re bailing out the health insurance industry?”

Asked about the talks with insurers, a Republican House Ways and Means Committee aide said: “We’re talking with all stakeholders and discussing the best next steps as we work to reform this broken health care system.”

It is unclear what specific policies could end up being enacted. A starting point is programs similar to ObamaCare’s risk adjustment, reinsurance and risk corridors.

Those programs help guard insurers against losses by shifting money from insurers faring better financially to those faring worse.

Republicans, though, long denounced those programs as “bailouts” of insurers.

A more likely option could be to get the Trump administration’s Health and Human Services Department to make regulatory changes favorable to insurers….

Iowa insurance commissioner Nick Gerhart, a Republican, sounded concerns about repealing the law without a replacement earlier this month.

“If the new Congress passes a bill to repeal all of the ACA, I hope that a replacement for the ACA is stapled to that bill,” he wrote. “An immediate repeal would lead to devastating consequences in the disruption of people’s care, and create even more uncertainty for millions of Americans.”

More…

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In the end?…The Grand Ole Party people DO have Trump’s attention…Not the Trump loyalists …

Remember ALl the noise Donald Trump made about running against his adopted party?

Remember how all the party people, beliveing that Donald Trump, the entertainer and snake oil salesman had NO CHANCE of winning the Republican nomination let alone the White House snobbed him and said ‘un nice’ things about him?

Remember how the Trump loyalists stayed with their guy and acted crazy like him?

Remember how EVERYBODY thought Trump would ‘shake tthings up in Washington’?

NOPE…..

The Grand Ole Party types ARE holding Trump’s ears

Except for Steve Bannon….

Almost NONE of Trump’s early supporters are getting appointments or influence ….They have been in the media trying to keep Trump from naming Mitt Romney Sec of State…Chris Christie is back in Jersey…Rudy Guiliani is a forgotten man…Kellyanne Conway won’t join the Trump admin and others are just bidding their time ….The Old Bush people ARE sowing influence ….(And even some Reagan era people such as Kissenger, Dole , Gates and Session’s)

The Republican party establishmnet and elites are fine thank you….

They’ve been with him from the beginning — when no one believed he could win, and when the Republican Party establishment wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.

But now, as President-elect Donald Trump builds out his administration, the loyalists who helped launch his campaign and powered its stunning early victories are growing worried they won’t be getting plum jobs.

Many of them say they’ve heard nothing about their career prospects and, during furtive huddles, have been commiserating with one another about how they can’t seem to get their calls to top Trump transition brass returned. Some are convinced that party establishment figures who’ve taken the reins of the transition are giving them short shrift.

Compounding their frustration is that a number of top posts are going to mainstream party figures who previously actively opposed Trump. The president-elect is seriously considering tapping Mitt Romney, a onetime leader of the Never Trump movement, to be secretary of state. He has already made Todd Ricketts, whose family funded an anti-Trump super PAC during the primaries, deputy commerce secretary. And on Thursday, Trump met with retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, who had been vetted by Hillary Clinton as a possible vice presidential choice but now may end up in Trump’s administration….

“Even most of the people closest to Trump have not been offered jobs,” said one transition source. “I get that some of these people are concerned, but many of them have been told that they’ll be taken care of. There has actually been an effort to keep them.”

For some, the reassurance isn’t enough.

“None of us are exactly Cabinet-level,” said one staffer who is among those pining for a job but so far hasn’t been given any promises. “Most of us just want to do a good job and help the country, but apparently we don’t play the game very well.”

More….

Note….

ALL of the ex-General’s who will head Dfense and Intelligence jobs served under President Obama at some time in the last 8 years….

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Hillary Clinton comes back into the World…Warns agains ‘Fake News’…

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Clinton spoke to th audiance at the tribute to retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid…..

Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for a bipartisan fight against an “epidemic” of fake news, sounding the alarm one month after she lost an election buffeted by the public spread of misinformation.

“This is not about politics or partisanship,” Clinton said during remarks at a tribute to retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “Lives are at risk.”

Clinton’s reference to the “real-world consequences” of fake news comes days after a gunman briefly occupied a Washington pizza restaurant mentioned in false reports of a child sex-trafficking ring linked to the former secretary of state. But Clinton went beyond domestic sources of fake news to decry “foreign propaganda,” touting a bipartisan effort in Congress to “boost the government’s response” to it.

Senior Democrats have urged the Obama administration to de-classify information related to Russia’s involvement in the election. Members of Congress in both parties have indicated they plan to conduct further oversight on the issue next year, after Donald Trump takes office….

Clinton’s remarks were not all serious. She kicked off with a self-deprecating reference to the viral photo she took with a woman who ran into her on a hike the day after she conceded to Trump.

“This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election,” Clinton told an audience that included more than a dozen current and former members of Congress. “But after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to come out.”….

More….

image….John Shinkle/POLITICO

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Trump Admin picks Updated December 8, 2016

Announced or generally-reported choices, so far, of the President-Elect (via a Bing search for “Trump cabinet”):

(Cabinet departments in order of creation and succession; other hierarchy informal and unofficial with not every significant post or agency included)

Department of State
Secretary – ??
Ambassador to the United Nations – Nikki Haley
Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China – Terry Branstad
Special Trade Representative-

Department of the Treasury
Secretary – Steven Mnuchin

Department of Defense
Secretary – Gen. James Mattis

Department of Justice
Attorney-General of the U.S. – Jeff Sessions
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (fixed-term) – James Comey
Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration – ??

Department of the Interior

Department of Agriculture

Department of Commerce
Secretary – Wilbur Ross
Deputy Secretary – Todd Ricketts

Department of Labor
Secretary – Andy Puzder

Department of Health & Human Services
Secretary – Tom Price
Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Seema Verma

Department of Housing & Urban Development
Secretary – Dr Ben Carson

Department of Transportation
Secretary – Elaine Chao

Department of Energy

Department of Education
Betsy DeVos

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Department of Homeland Security
Secretary – Gen. James Kelley
Federal Emergecy Management Agency Dir. – ??

Office of the President
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
Counsel to the President – Donald F. McGahn II

National Security Council
National Security Advisor – Gen. Michael Flynn
Deputy National Security Advisor – Kathleen T. McFarland

Director of National Intelligence
Director – ??
Director of Central Intelligence – Mike Pompeo

Office of Management & Budget
Director – ??

Council of Economic Advisors
Chairman – ??

Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator – Scott Pruitt

Small Business Administration
Director – Linda McMahon

Note….

All of the above picks must be confirmed by the US Senate except for 

Office of the President
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
Counsel to the President – Donald F. McGahn II

National Security Council
National Security Advisor – Gen. Michael Flynn
Deputy National Security Advisor – Kathleen T. McFarland

Courtesy of DSD….

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Donald Trump…Call me UNPREDICABLE…

Donald Trump ain’t a LOT of things….

But being impulsive and inclined to do ANYTHING to get attention and WIN….Irrespective of the risk is HIM….

Image result for Trump

And THAT is NOT how you run this country*….

At least NOT up to now…..

How long will it take for him to get worn down  from  spread chaos and come get with the program…..Ah, If he don’t quit or gets sent packing?

Some suggest that there is a method to Trump’s madness, that he is trying to make would-be adversaries think he is irrational and capricious, thereby making foes and rivals wary of pushing him too far. This is why North Korea’s Kim Jong Un gets a wide berth. On a lesser scale, this also underpinned Richard Nixon’s “Madman Theory” during the Vietnam War: If he appeared to be crazy enough to use nuclear weapons, the theory went, North Vietnam and the Soviet Union might back down.

But in Trump’s application of the Madman Theory there seems to be less theory than madman. There may be advantages to keeping foes and opponents off guard, but Trump is baffling friends and allies, too. In foreign affairs, unpredictability spooks allies and spreads instability. And unpredictable policy at home has long been seen as toxic for business.

For these reasons, George W. Bush made predictable leadership a matter of pride….

More…

*Republicans are ALREADY beginning to cut their President down to size in several area’s….

Predicability is SOMETHING large organizations need to operate…..

Donald Trump has NO concept of  what he is walking into….

image…The Atlantic

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Republicans in Congress get ready to look hard at possible Russian influence on America…

Donald Trump likes Russian President Putin….

That inspite of reacurring reports that Putin & Co. have been doing thinkls that MIGHT just be efforts to influence things going on in America…..

That has set off alarm bells in US Defense and Intelligence circles….

And now Congress…..

Leading Senate Republicans are preparing to launch a coordinated and wide-ranging probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. elections and its potential cyber threats to the military, digging deep into what they view as corrosive interference in the nation’s institutions.

Such an aggressive approach puts them on a direct collision course with President-elect Donald Trump, who downplays the possibility Russia had any role in the November elections — arguing that a hack of the Democratic National Committee emails may have been perpetrated by “some guy in his home in New Jersey.” The fracture could become more prominent after Trump is inaugurated and begins setting foreign policy. He has already indicated the country should “get along” with Russia since the two nations have many common strategic goals.

But some of Trump’s would-be Republican allies on Capitol Hill disagree. Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (Ariz.) is readying a probe of possible Russian cyber incursions into U.S. weapons systems, and said he has been discussing the issue with Select Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (N.C.) with whom he will be “working closely” to investigate Russia’s suspected interference in the U.S. elections, cyber threats to the military and other institutions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been apprised of the discussions. Burr did not respond to requests for comment.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) also said he intends to hold hearings next year into alleged Russian hacking. Corker is on Trump’s shortlist for secretary of state, according to the Trump transition team…..

More….

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Donald Trump wants to keep making money from his ‘Celebrity Apprentice ‘ show…

He wants to keep his name on the show as Executive Producer and make some money WHILE IN OFFICE….

President-elect Donald Trump will continue receiving payments and will continue to be credited as an executive producer of the NBC reality series “Celebrity Apprentice” when it starts its new season in January, Variety reports.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will host the 15th season of the show which helped propel Trump’s image and celebrity as a hard-charging businessman. Trump will be listed as an executive producer alongside MGM TV President Mark Burnett who created the show, and Schwarzenegger.

Though its not clear how much Trump will earn from the show, Variety reports it will be somewhere in the low five figures. Asked about the report and whether Trump will collect the royalties or direct them elsewhere, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett,” and that “Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th.”….

More…

Note….

We’ll see if he can get away with this….

(Congress could  close this down in the future)

The show probably won’t have a problem with getting ad dollars with Trump trying to ‘brand’ it….

BTW?

Several places with the Trump name on it are taking that name down….

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Rep. Tim Ryan to run for Governor of Ohio?

Fresh from his challenge to Rep. Nancy Pelosi for the Democratic House leadership ….Ryan is thinking about leaving Washington for a Governor’s spot…..

Image result for Tim ryan

Hmmmm?

Wonder what he ‘s doing about 2020?

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan knows he has a reputation for flirting with bids for higher office only to retreat to the safety of his House seat. Now, as he’s eyeing a 2018 run for governor, he says he’s going to once again rely on his instinct for timing.

“Everyone says ‘He never runs … he flirts,’” he said at the Capitol on Thursday. “Well, you know, we got slaughtered in 2010 when the speaker wanted me to be lieutenant governor with [Ted] Strickland and then they wanted me to run for Senate last time. I was glad I didn’t do any of that.”

A decision about 2018 will similarly be based on his gut — and the economy under a Donald Trump presidency and Republican rule in Ohio.

“That’s the gamble everyone has to try to make,”….

More…..

image….Huffington Post

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First American Earth Orbit Astronaut John Gleenn has is gone….

Image result for john glenn

He was 95 and had also been a US Senator from Ohio….

John Glenn, who became an American hero as the first U.S. citizen to orbit the Earth and then relived that glory 36 years later as the oldest man to go into space, has died. He was 95.

Glenn, who also served for 24 years as a U.S. senator from Ohio, died after being hospitalized in Ohio on Wednesday.

Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake confirmed his death, releasing a statement Thursday.

“The Ohio State University community deeply mourns the loss of John Glenn, Ohio’s consummate public servant and a true American hero. He leaves an undiminished legacy as one of the great people of our time,” he wrote.

In his first historic flight, Glenn circled the Earth for nearly five hours in a tiny spaceship on Feb. 20, 1962. To return to space on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1998, he had sold himself as a human guinea pig who — at 77 — would demonstrate the effects of space travel on the elderly…..

More….

image…NBC News

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House passes Budget extension…2 Democrats in the Senate balk…

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) have put the Senate on notice they will hold up the Continuing Resolution until their request to extend miners  health benefits….

This is the first round in the Healthcare Wars that Congress will be fighting in the future….

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declined to discuss what the endgame is, but acknowledged Democrats have “problems” with the miner language.

Under Senate procedure, Manchin and Brown could hold up the spending bill until Sunday, though a blockade of that length would take efforts from more Democratic senators than just those two. The government shuts down at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday without congressional action. Cornyn said that Senate won’t leave until it wraps up its work, which may mean weekend work and a Monday session.

Manchin’s West Virginia colleague, Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, also said she will oppose the spending legislation. But the funding bill is likely to pass when it gets a vote, Republicans said.

“They don’t have the votes,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). “It’s just a question of how much they want to drag it out. Right now, sounds like a lot.”

Manchin is scheduled to go to Trump Tower on Friday just hours before the Friday shutdown deadline, and according to news reports, he may be interviewing for a job in the Trump administration.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers assured reporters a government shutdown would not happen. Asked if his committee would have to draft a three-day stopgap bill in case the Senate doesn’t clear the continuing resolution by Friday night, he said. “That call will come from leadership. We’ll be ready if that happens.” Asked if he would be getting on a plane after the House’s final votes this afternoon, he said, “No I’m not.”

More….

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We may have a President who goes with his intincts NOT the facts on Russia….

As the President-Elect gets briefed in about things the Russian’s have doing behind the scene’s to American politics and other things….

We may get a President that continues to live in ANOTHER Universe ……

THAT could prove to be a looming issue for the country…..

A President that seems to be STRONGLY inclined to believe that Russia is NOT a adversary to the West on many fronts….

President-elect Donald Trump believes that American intelligence agencies were motivated by politics, and not hard evidence, when they determined earlier this year that Russian state-sponsored hackers were behind the theft and release of internal emails from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe [Russia] interfered,” Trump told Time magazine in his “Person of the Year” interview, released Wednesday.

“That became a laughing point, not a talking point,” he went on. “Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.’”

When Time reporters asked Trump if the conclusions reached by U.S. intelligence professionals who analyzed the hacks were “politically driven,” Trump replied, “I think so.”

The remark has received relatively little attention since the interview was published. But it is astonishing to hear an American president-elect accuse the nation’s intelligence community ― which comprises 16 separate agencies and thousands of employees, many of whom perform dangerous jobs with zero recognition ― of conspiring to lie to the country in order to bolster one political candidate over another.

Trump’s comments are likely to further alienate him and his incoming administration from career intelligence officers, who serve on the front lines of America’s most sensitive military and diplomatic endeavors.

Already, Trump has raised concerns among intelligence professionals for his decision to skip most of his daily intelligence briefings, widely considered to be the most significant daily meetings on a U.S. president’s calendar….

More….

Thought…

If Donald Trump loses the trust of enough people in Congress does he walk himself into Congress and his own government Defense and Intelligence community turning away from him?

Could we have a situation where Congress either moves to impeach him ….or move to tac away powers from the office of the Presidency due to Trump’s actions?

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About Donald Trump’s evolving Muslim Ban….

The Washington Post does a piece on how Donald Trump introduced the idea that he wanted America to institude a ban on Muslim ‘s coming into this country….

The piece looks at how Trump floated the idea….

Was pushed to drop it…..

But based on crowd feedback?….

NOT POLLING ….

Image result for trump and muslims

He went on to use the view on keeping support from his base…..

AND how now a winner in the Presidential sweepstakes?

He has added this to his list of things he has backed away from……

(The list get longer EVERYDAY)

One year ago tonight, during a rally on an aircraft carrier in South Carolina that was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States.

The president-elect made the announcement five days after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and 24 hours after Barack Obama used an Oval Office address to urge tolerance, saying the fight against terrorism must “not be defined as a war between America and Islam.”

Trump read aloud a prepared statement that he had dictated to his spokeswoman. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,” he said, speaking in the third person.

“We have no choice,” he added, repeating that line three times to the crowd aboard the retired USS Yorktown. “This is pretty heavy stuff. It is common sense, and we’ve got to do it.”…

He saw an opportunity to exploit the fears of the American people, and he captured it. He saw a rising tide of xenophobia and prejudice across the country, and he swam with the current.

Because he has few core principles, beyond winning, Trump was perfectly willing to stake out a position that he knew his major Republican rivals – for constitutional, legal, moral, practical and national security reasons – would never be willing to embrace. That gave him a textbook wedge issue, which worked to his advantage throughout the primaries.

“I’ve had good instincts in life, and a lot of this is instinct,” Trump told The Post in an interview later, adding that three of his Republican primary rivals “confidentially” told him that they agreed with the ban but could not publicly say so.

Indeed, as Trump got into the SUV after his rally last Dec. 7, he turned to his staff and noted how the crowd had reacted when he read them the statement. “Well, there’s your poll,” he said. “That’s how people feel about this!”

— The next morning’s 202 predicted that Trump would get a short-term boost in the polls (which was right) but prove fatal in the long-term (which was obviously wrong).

Why? Because during the general election phase of the campaign, with poll after poll showing the majority of Americans opposed to his hardline position, Trump routinely muddied the water and refused to let himself get pinned down on specifics….

More….

Note….

Hillary Clinton ran ON SPECIFICS.

She LOST.

Trump ran on hunches and Bull Shit….and NOT on the polls….

Somewhere in there is a lesson on politics in the 21st Century

Update….

“The United States is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom,” Obama said. “The United States is not a place where citizens have to carry an ID card.”

Many congressional Republicans, who spoke out against Trump’s proposal last year, now dismiss it as one of those things that was not intended to be taken “literally.” They’re eager to move on and definitely don’t want to stop to talk about it in the Speaker’s lobby or the Senate cloak room.

But Muslim leaders remain scared, and their fears have been heightened by some of Trump’s staff selections….

Muslims make up a quarter of the world’s population. Demographers expect that there will be more Muslims than Christians on the planet sometime around 2050…

Source….

Image…Huffington Post….

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A Kennedy getting ready to run for Illinois Governor…

Robert F. Kennedy’s son is setting up to run….

Image result for Chris Kennedy

Businessman Chris Kennedy is interviewing potential pollsters and consultants as he moves toward a possible 2018 gubernatorial run, sources close to Kennedy told POLITICO Illinois.

Kennedy, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, has increased his public profile since the spring and has publicly discussed the possibility of running for governor — without making commitments.

Top Illinois Democrats who have met with Kennedy say they would welcome his candidacy but were not sure if he’ll actually make the run, given his flirtations with higher office in the past.

But a top aide to Kennedy told POLITICO Illinois on Tuesday that he is preparing to file papers with the state board of elections “in short order … some time in the next month.”

“He’s making pretty aggressive outreach across the state,” said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He has made a decision internally that he is going to move forward.”…..

More…..

image….Hearld  News

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Trump signal’s…He Will ‘Work Something Out’ For Dreamers…

Is Donald Trump backing out of ANOTHER promise he made to get voter support?

What does that mean, exactly? There were no clues in an interview with Time magazine for its “Person of the Year” coverage, published Wednesday.

“I want Dreamers for our children also,” Trump told Time. “We’re going to work something out. On a humanitarian basis it’s a very tough situation. We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation.”

“They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here,” he added. “Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”…

More…..

Here’s more from Trump’s Person  of the Year interview with Time Magazine….

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Next!…Trump complains about Drug prices….

Trump turns his ‘jawboning’ arrow at Drug prices….

Biotech and pharmaceutical stocks rose after the election, reflecting investor optimism that a Trump presidency would mean less focus on drug prices. Not so fast, president-elect Trump said in his interview for Time ‘Person of the Year.’

“I’m going to bring down drug prices,” Trump told Time in an interview in his dining room after the election. “I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.”

No additional detail about what Trump would do to lower drug prices was available, and his transition team did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

But Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, a firm focused on pharmaceutical economics, said that what Trump may be doing is sending a signal to the industry.

“Historically, a lot of manufacturers have increased the prices of their products at the beginning of the year,” Fein said. “I think that president-elect Trump is trying to send a message to sort of encourage manufacturers to not take their usual price increases. . . . He may be trying to use his bully pulpit to signal, ‘you should change the system’ — without necessarily saying how he’s going to change the system, or what should be done.”…

More….

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House Democrats contunue to exclude Middle America members from power….

Nancy Pelosi is from California…..

Her two top people in the Democratic leadership Hoyer and Clyborn are from the East Coast…..

In response to Rep Tim Ryan challenge?

Pelosi added more people to leadership posts….

One is from the places where Hillary Clinton lost a month ago….

ONE…..

Some Democrats  running things do NOT get it…..

Democrats NEED to make inroads’ the Rust Belt states that President Obama carried….

If not in those states?

Then in the southwestern states where they have closed voting numbers on the Republicans….

But continuing to play to the ‘Safe’ STRONG Blue states is NOT gonna help the party come 2018 and beyond….

A number of middle-of-the-country lawmakers are cheering the leadership expansion, saying the regional considerations are overblown.

“One member said, ‘Well, there’s too many people from the West Coast,’ ” Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) said Tuesday. “I said, ‘Well, the end-all-be-all is not geography, it’s also the person.’ And I think that’s what we saw.”

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-­Iowa) said the changes mark “a good start.”

“We’ve just got to continue to work on the party itself and make sure at the national level the party understands the concerns of us in the broad expanse of the rest of the country,” he said.

Bustos is also defending the leadership structure despite being the lone Midwestern voice.

“I’m the only Midwesterner, but we have good representation from the [Congressional Hispanic Caucus], from the CBC; we have women, we have men,” she said. “Anybody has an opportunity to take these positions; it just depends on what they put into it. So I think we’ll be OK.”

But for others, the leadership team retains too much power for the coasts at the expense of other regions….

More…

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People are smoking cigarettes less…

…from the NY Times…

For the first time since record keeping began 50 years ago, the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes has dropped below 40 million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between 2005 and 2015, the percentage of cigarette smokers declined to 15 percent from 21 percent. There were significant reductions in smoking across all ages, races and ethnicities, socioeconomic levels and regions of the country.

In 2005, there were 45.1 million smokers in the country. By 2015 there were 36.5 million.

Sixteen percent of men and 14 percent of women smoked in 2015, down from 24 percent and 17 percent in 2005.

Smoking declined most sharply in the youngest age groups. But 13 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, 18 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds, 17 percent of 45- to 64-year-olds, and 9 percent of those over 65 were still smoking….

More….

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