Rep. Mark Stanford (R-SC) questions Trump out loud….

Politico is out with a long piece about Mark Stanford , who is willing to say outloud what other Republicans whisper to reporters who will not give name names ….

The president, Sanford says, “has fanned the flames of intolerance.” He has repeatedly misled the public, most recently about the national murder rate and the media’s coverage of terrorist attacks. He showed a lack of humility by using the National Prayer Breakfast to ridicule Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Most worrisome, Sanford says, Trump is unprepared for the presidency.

“Is he an honest man?” I ask.

If you’ve already been dead, you don’t fear it as much. I’ve been dead politically.”

For the first time, Sanford begins to measure his words. “I’ve got to be careful,” he says. “Because people who live in glass houses can’t throw stones.”

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Chris Christie is back on the hook for Birdgegate?

A local Jersey judge is letting a case against the Governor proceed after Gov Christie skirted Federal charges….

A judge has found probable cause to charge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with official misconduct for his role in the Bridgegate scandal, according to reports Thursday.

Presiding Bergen County Municipal Court Judge Roy McGeady cited testimony from the federal trial of two former Christie aides convicted of scheming to close approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge in 2013 as revenge against a mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s successful re-election bid.

McGeady’s ruling stems from a complaint filed last year by retired Teaneck firefighter and political activist Bill Brennan, a Democratic candidate for governor who is seeking to have Christie prosecuted for second-degree official misconduct.

That crime is punishable by up to ten years in the slammer.

A Christie spokesman said McGeady was “violating the law, pure and simple.”…..

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VP Pence on a ‘Reassurance’ tour in Europe….

Defense Sec Mattis did one to Asia…..

Sec of State Tillerson is already doing damage control in Europe for the G-20 Meeting …(he’s actually being housed in a sanitarium because of late scheduling)

Now the Vice President is being shuffled out of Washington to Europe to clean up after his boss sent tremors thru NATO and Europe with his ‘off the cuff’ early leaning towards Russian President Putin and the ‘America First’, Evereybody else second Steve Bannon rhetoric ….

Pence’s trip comes as other top administration officials make similar overtures abroad. Mattie made a trip to the Pacific soon after being confirmed as the Pentagon chief, huddling with allies in South Korea and Japan to ensure them the U.S. remains steadfast in its commitment to the region. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Europe this week and huddled with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

The recent firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn still hangs over Pence, whom Flynn misled about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the transition. But the White House is quick to say Trump’s dismissal of Flynn sends the signal that the president and vice president are on the same page….

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Trump says new No Enter ban on the way…

Washington State Atty Gen says he will seek court action for any  ban that seems unlawful ……

He will have company….

President Trump announced Thursday that his administration will be releasing a new, narrower executive order on travel to replace one that’s been shot down by multiple federal courts.

The order temporarily suspended travel from seven mostly Muslim countries and halted refugee admissions but is not in effect after court defeats.

Trump did not clarify details of the new order, saying only that it would be “tailored” to the “bad” courts that described the original order as overreaching, suggesting it would be narrower in its focus.

In a brief filed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, the Department of Justice argued that the court was wrong in its move to not reinstate the travel ban earlier this month. But government lawyers said they did not seek a reconsideration of the decision because a revamped executive order is in the works.

That new order would supersede the old one, lawyers wrote.

Government lawyers said the appeals court should vacate its prior decision when the new executive order is issued.

Still, Trump defended the original order when speaking to reporters on Thursday…..

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Come 2020 those Rust belt states are gonna be losing some electoral votes….

And that means the states that cost Hillary Clinton the election will be less of a factor for Republicans and Democrats…..

The census is gonna reward southwestern MORE electoral votes….

Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona are gonna be where the political fight is gonna be for President….

Three years from now, in 2020, hundreds of thousands of census takers will fan out across the country to carry out the constitutionally mandated U.S. population count. That count will determine how the 435 seats in the House and 538 votes in the Electoral College will be distributed among the states starting in the 2022 congressional election cycle (and therefore in time for the 2024 presidential election).

The 2020 census will almost certainly show a continued shift in population — and therefore electoral power — away from the Northeast and Midwest and toward the South and West. The political impact of that shift is harder to assess: Most of the fastest-growing states voted for Trump in 2016, but the demographic groups that are growing fastest, particularly Latinos, tend to vote Democratic. Cities, which voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, are likewise growing faster than rural areas, which voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

What is clear, however, is that demographic trends are accelerating the existing southward migration of the nation’s center of political gravity. Traditional Northern and Midwestern swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio are likely to lose electoral votes and congressional seats, while states like Texas and Arizona — which aren’t swing states now but are becoming more competitive — are likely to gain them. Florida, which is already among the swingiest swing states, will also likely gain seats. That means Trump’s strategy of appealing to Rust Belt voters could be less successful in future races….

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Nobody likes you Donald. Well, except for non-college whites. How long will that firewall hold?

 By kos  @ Daily Kos

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 15: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) reacts to a reporter shouting a question as he departs with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) following a joint news conference at the East Room of the White House February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump hosted Prime Minister Netanyahu for talks for the first time since Trump took office on January 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Can the incompetent asshole hold on to his core base?

The popular-vote loser is a supremely unlikeable person. Sure, he snuck into the White House thanks to an antiquated electoral system designed to protect the interests of slaveholders, but he didn’t get off to a rousing start. He got no honeymoon period. And somehow, he’s finding new depths of unpopularity to explore, with Pew clocking his favorabilities at 39-56. Of those, 46 percent disapprove “strongly,” which is higher than anything President Barack Obama saw, ever.

Now, lest anyone think that Trump is an anomaly, and not really representative of the GOP (an argument we’ll hear more and more in the months and years ahead), there’s this, “84 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners approve of the way he is handling his job as president.” He’s unambiguously their president.

Now it’s clear that there’s a dramatic racial divide in our nation’s politics, but there’s a dramatic difference among whites based on whether they have a college degree or not:

Approve Disapprove
White 51 48
Black 12 80
Hispanic 25 72
White, College 38 61
White, non-college 57 41

And that white, non-college-educated cohort is Trump’s firewall. He’ll bleed support among all those other groups, but there’s relatively not much room to drop. So if he’s going to end up in the low 30s or even high 20s, very possible within six months, it’ll be because non-college whites start abandoning him. And if Trump loses those guys, there’s nothing else propping up the GOP. And 2018 will be a political bloodbath.

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Chaffetz seeks Charges Against ex-Clinton aide IN Email Inquiry…

HUH?

The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has refused Democratic requests to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving President Donald Trump, is seeking criminal charges against a former State Department employee who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday asking him to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist who helped establish Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state.

Pagliano did not comply with two subpoenas ordering him to appear before the oversight panel. The GOP-led committee later voted to hold him in contempt of Congress.

Earlier this month, Chaffetz met with Trump at the White House and agreed not to discuss oversight. He has rebuffed calls for his panel to look into Trump’s businesses and possible conflicts….

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said pursuing charges against Pagliano would be a waste of time and money.

“Apparently, Chairman Chaffetz and President Trump are the only two people in Washington today who think we should still be investigating Secretary Clinton,” Cumming said in a statement. He added: “The Oversight Committee can’t afford to be distracted by political vendettas against Hillary Clinton while our constituents are begging us to conduct responsible oversight of President Trump.”….

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He Cannot Run This Administration Like A TV Show…

That from Maine Governor Paul LaPage……A Republican….

…from  Susan Wright @ Red State…

I’ve actually said this myself, quite a few times.

Trump’s experience is as a showman and a reality TV huckster. He’s about as out of his element as he can be, but the post turtle is there, and now we have to figure out how to deal with him.

On Thursday, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage had a bit of advice for the president:

“We’ve got to tell him that the TV show’s over and that he’s gotta move on now,” LePage said on Newsradio WGAN, as first reported by CNN.

LePage apparently feels that the rumors of internal conflict within Trump’s Cabinet may be due to a bit of prompting from Trump, himself.

“I think he does promote some competition,” he said of Trump, the former host of NBC’s “The Apprentice” competition reality show. “He brings that business aspect to it.”

“In [Trump’s] case, too much competition,” LePage added. “Everybody’s fighting to be that No. 1 person. You’re going to have a lot of slip-ups.”

“If you allow too many people at the top, you break down the communications. Everything’s got to flow through your key people, and if it doesn’t do that, you’re going to have enormous problems.”

And he’s got a good point. Competition in the business world can be a good thing, but in a government, there can’t be room for ego, with so many pressing issues that need to have all hands on deck….

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Trump freelances a Press conference….

The word is the guy decidied to day to just go before the camera’s….

Why?

Probably to TRY and divert the steady media attention building on the Mike Flynn Russian connection stories….

Seems that the President settled down and actually enjoyed himself as the center of attraction in the room and media….

The problem is that BHIS view of things and most others are mostly VERY DIFFERENT….

VERY….

President Donald Trump launched a barrage of attacks on the press and leakers in an unsteady, unwieldy 77-minute press conference in the East Room of the White House on Thursday.

With his administration in crisis, Trump also defended the chaotic first month of his presidency, claiming that he had “inherited a mess” from President Barack Obama and that his administration “is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

“I’m making this presentation directly to the American people with the media present … because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect they deserve,” Trump said.

“Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system,” he said.

“The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people, a tremendous disservice,” said Trump. “We have to talk about it. We have to find out what’s going on because the press, honestly, is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”

Trump’s White House is reeling from scandals related to his campaign’s communications with Russian officials, which the president has dismissed as “nonsense” and part of a media conspiracy against him….

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President Trump on Thursday aired his grievances against the news media, the intelligence community and his detractors generally in a sprawling, stream-of-consciousness news conference that alternated between claims that he had “inherited a mess” and the assertion that his fledgling administration “is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

“To be honest, I inherited a mess,” Trump said, in a news conference that lasted more than an hour and was at times rambling, combative and pointed. “It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country.”

Yet moments later, the president seemed to acknowledge the widespread reports of turbulence and upheaval emanating out of his West Wing, only to claim that his White House — which so far has been marred by staff infighting, a controversial travel ban, false statements and myriad leaks — was operating seamlessly.

“I turn on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos — chaos,” he said. “Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my Cabinet approved.”….

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Flynn Told the FBI he didn’t discuss sanctions with the Russians…He DID…

NSA intercepts show that then private citizen Mike Flynn supposedly spoke that the Trump Admin would work on lessening  sanctions against the Russians….

Many believe that Flynn’s assurances was the reason that Russian leader Putin did NOT reciprocate against Obama Admin expulsion of intelligence agents at the end of his term….

The Washington Post has a piece out in the last few hours that revealed that Flynn did NOT own up to actual conversations….

The question will end up on Atty. Gen. Sessions desk….

What to do with Flynn’s answers to FBI agents that where counterdicted by the intercept  transcripts…..

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn denied to FBI agents in an interview last month that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States before President Trump took office, contradicting the contents of intercepted communications collected by intelligence agencies, current and former U.S. officials said.

The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy, as lying to the FBI is a felony, but any decision to prosecute would ultimately lie with the Justice Department. Some officials said bringing a case could prove difficult in part because Flynn may attempt to parse the definition of sanctions.

A spokesman for Flynn said he had no response. The FBI declined to comment….

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The Intelligence agancies are holding back on their President?

A couple of reports are out that US Intelligence agencies are hoilding back stuff from going to the White House….

We know they are leaking stuff to the media…

We know that Donald Trump doesn’t trust the comminuty and the feeloing is likewise….

I remember reading something about some intel people resoning that anything said IN the White House has a straight line back to Moscow….

Could be…

With Trump using unsecured cell phones and landline phone EVERYTHING he says IS bound to be scooped up by the Russian’s, Chienese and just about every other foreign country….

U.S. intelligence officials have not been sharing some sensitive information with President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Current and former officials told the news source that some information was withheld from Trump in fear that that it would be compromised or leaked.

According to the report, some information presented to the president omitted sources and methods used by intelligence agencies during their operations.

The officials said they were not aware of any instance in which crucial national security threats were omitted from intelligence briefings.

A White House official told the publication that “there is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”

More….

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence denied on Wednesday reports that intelligence community officials have withheld intelligence from President Donald Trump.

The ODNI statement, released late Wednesday night, comes in response to a Wall Street Journal story reporting that intelligence officials have kept intelligence from Trump over concerns that that information might be leaked or otherwise compromised by a White House reportedly lacking in organization and besieged by internal conflict.

“Any suggestion that the U.S. Intelligence Community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the President and his national security team is not true,” the ODNI statement said….

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Trump picks Alexander Acosta for Labor Sec as second choice…..

His first pick dropped out after it became apparent he would NOT be confirmed.

Image result for alexander acosta

image…nbcnews.com

Acosta is looked at a ‘safe’ choice for confirmation…

He is NOT pat of the Billionaire club that other cabinet secretaries are….

A Cuban born lawyer….

He would be the firsta nd only Latino in the Trump cabinet….

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his intent to nominate Alexander Acosta, a former Justice Department official and current dean of Florida International University College of Law, for labor secretary, just a day after first pick, fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder, backed out.

“He’s had a tremendous career,” Trump said from the White House. “I think he’ll be a tremendous secretary of labor.”

Acosta, who was born in Cuba, would become the first Hispanic member of Trump’s cabinet. He has been confirmed by the Senate for three prior positions, which could help smooth his path to the Labor Department…..

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Trump could be looking to put a political loyalist over the Intelligence Community…

Stung by persistent leaks about his and others close to him contacts with Russia…..

Donald Trump maybe looking to put ANOTHER Billionaire friend of his Stephen A. Feinberg,to oversee another branch of the government ….Of course the guy is a buddy of Steve Bannon , the shadow President, who seems intent on creating hius OWN shadow group of political operatives over the government…

Man?

Sure is beginning to look like a Billionaire’s takeover of the American Government that the Congress isn’t gonna stop….

That maybe up to the Media and the Intelligence people….

President Trump plans to assign a New York billionaire to lead a broad review of American intelligence agencies, according to administration officials, an effort that members of the intelligence community fear could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.

The possible role for Stephen A. Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, has met fierce resistance among intelligence officials already on edge because of the criticism the intelligence community has received from Mr. Trump during the campaign and since he became president. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump blamed leaks from the intelligence community for the departure of Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, whose resignation he requested.

There has been no announcement of Mr. Feinberg’s job, which would be based in the White House, but he recently told his company’s shareholders that he is in discussions to join the Trump administration. He is a member of Mr. Trump’s economic advisory council.

Mr. Feinberg, who has close ties to Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, declined to comment on his possible position. The White House, which is still working out the details of the intelligence review, also would not comment….

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Update….

President Trump is considering tapping New York financier Stephen A. Feinberg to lead a broad review of U.S. intelligence agencies but said Thursday that such a move might not be necessary once his team is fully in place.

Speaking at a news conference, Trump said that Feinberg, a longtime friend, had “offered his services,” then added: “It’s something we may take advantage of, but I don’t think we’ll need that at all.”….

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What Could Donald Trump & Company be hiding?

Reading into todays news I am struck by two stories in Political wire….

They all by scream that Donald Trump IS hiding something that the American Intelligence community alone KNOWS and is fighting against…

The Republicans in Congress seem to be avoiding asking hard questions to get to the bottom of things fearful that Trump could be forced out of the Presidency just when the party has control of two of the three parts of the government….

For all intents and purposes the American executive branch is being ran by three or four people with everyone else reduced to wait every morning for Trump’s twitter rant of the day….

Increasingly Trump is trying to cut the media out due to their questioning of his actions….

Carl Burstein, the Washington Post reporter that worked the Nixon coverup that made him leave the Presidency is thinking that Trump and close friends in the White House DO have something to hide ….

And it appears that so far that American President IS NOT gonna give his secrets up…..

But everyday the suspicions grow….

SOMETHING is or has been going on that we, the people , should know about….

Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein told CNN the Trump administration is trying to cover up its ties to Russia.

Said Bernstein: “There has been a real attempt to stonewall the press, to stonewall the FBI to stonewall congressional investigators. That’s what we know so far from people around the Trump campaign, where this goes and the seriousness of it we don’t know in terms of the ultimate disposition and what all the facts are.”

He added: “In this instance what we are finding out is that there appears to be some attempt somewhere to cover up what has occurred and we are trying to penetrate that cover up. Whether or not the cover up involves those closest to the President of the United States, independent operators, former campaign aides, all of that will be determined.”…..

Politicalwire….

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The IRS won’t withold your refund if you don’t have insurance…

The Trump Admin makes smalll changes in which the Affordable Healthcare is administered which soften the Obama mandate filing deadline and will help insurance companies while making it harder for some one to buy insurance by cutting the enrollment period and giving insurance companies leeway to hike deductibles …

It appears that the Trump Admin is helping the big business insurance companies at the expense of the consumer, something that Republicans live by….

The Trump administration is taking its first steps to put its imprint on the Affordable Care Act, reversing plans to withhold tax refunds this year from Americans who flout an insurance requirement in the law while proposing a series of rule changes to encourage insurers to remain in ACA marketplaces.

The Internal Revenue Service has revoked an Obama-era instruction to taxpayers that was taking effect during the current filing season as a way to further compliance with the ACA’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Under the instruction, the IRS had announced that it would no longer process tax returns for people who fail to send a notice with their returns that they have insurance, are exempt from the requirement or are paying the fine.

Instead, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday, tax returns will be processed as always, even for individuals who do not provide the required information. The IRS said the decision, made earlier this month but not previously publicized, was in line with an executive order that President Trump signed hours after his inauguration, giving agencies broad authority to lighten the burden of federal rules under the ACA.

The IRS confirmed the change on the same morning that Health and Human Services officials proposed a set of rules to help protect insurers and shore up ACA marketplaces in the short term while Republicans work on demolishing the law. The proposal drew swift praise from the insurance industry and condemnation from consumer advocates and congressional Democrats….

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Note….

The IRS action will be for this tax session….

The proposed rule changes only allow for 20 days of comments and will mostly go in effect NEXT year , when Midterm elections will be held….So of the rule changes where also under consideration by the Obama Admin….

Update….

The NY Times is out with a piece that gives more details on the GOP moves which would NOT make any structural changes in the Affordable Healthcare Law know as Obamacare , but would help richer people with healthcare insurance while hurting those who are poorer…

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Donald Trump may NEVER release his tax forms…

People have NOT forgotten about the put-off Donald Trump has keep up about NOT showing his taxes …..

Which is something EVERY modern day President has done…..

And will be protested in the streets across the country this spring….(April 15)

More than 800,000 Americans have signed a petition demanding the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns. Polls show that a majority of the country wants to see the documents.

On April 15, tens of thousands plan to take to the streets in protest of the president’s refusal to release his tax returns to the public. Some worry Trump is hiding financial ties to Russia. Others want to understand all the conflicts of interest that flow from his failure to divest from his business interests. Twenty thousand people say they’re going to a Los Angeles protest. Eleven thousand are signed up to attend in New York City. Folks will protest in Boise, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Raleigh, Pittsburgh, Knoxville, Salt Lake City, and other municipalities throughout the U.S.

And this week, the movement got a new champion and 23 new targets for ire.

The champion is Represenative Bill Pascrell, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee. He found that “a rarely invoked 1924 law could be used to examine President Donald Trump’s tax returns for possible conflicts of interest and Constitutional violations,” USA Today reported. “The 1924 law gives congressional committees that set tax policy the power to examine tax returns. It was used in 1974 when Congress looked at President Richard Nixon’s returns, and in 2014 when the Ways and Means Committee released confidential tax information as part of its investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications for nonprofit status.”….

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