Here are the Republicans who would not budge from their decisions to vote “no” on the Healthcare bill. The 33 Republican members of Congress are listed below. The New York Times analyzed how the Republican bill compares with the Obama Affordable Care Act.
Raúl R. Labrador
Frank A. LoBiondo
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Christopher H. Smith
Walter B. Jones
OUR FREE OPINION
We do not express an opinion regarding what changes to the Affordable Care Act should be made here. However, it is clear that some are required. It is equally apparent that the conservative block of Republicans noted above are far too extreme in many instances. Our major point in this piece is to express dismay over how disorganized the Republicans are. For years, and particularly during the Presidential campaign, Republicans have been hammering “Obama Care” and in most cases, calling for the complete repeal of the bill. Now that the Republicans have the majority in the House, they can’t agree over what changes should be made. Because of their inability to reach a consensus, Obama Care lives on in full force. While it is true that reasonable people can disagree over what changes are needed, it is inconceivable that such a large number of Republicans can’t unite for the purpose of reaching SOME accord. It is as if the Republicans can’t handle the challenge. President Trump received a setback and is now left saying that “Obama Care” will self-implode, and that “politically” speaking, the failure of the bill to pass is a blessing in disguise– because in it’s present form, the bill is purely a Democrat creation. Trump’s spin on things may be true, but the bigger issue is the chaos in the Republican party. One can only guess how chaotic the tax reform process will be.
Marine Le Pen met with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in a surprise move likely to reignite fears in Europe about Russian support for the European far right. However, Putin told Le Pen Russia had no intention of meddling in the French presidential elections.
“We do not want to influence events in any way, but we retain the right to meet with all the different political forces, just like our European and American partners do,” said Putin.
Speaking after their meeting, Le Pen said Putin represented “a sovereign nation” and “new vision.” She added, “A new world has emerged in the past years. This is Vladimir Putin’s world, Donald Trump’s world in the United States, Mr [Narendra] Modi’s world in India,” she added.
Russian support for Le Pen draws some parallels between allegations that President Trump appears to have similar fond feelings towards Putin. Le Pen has publicly backed the Russian annexation of Crimea and frequently expressed admiration for Putin.
Records collected by hackers also appear to show that Le Pen had received a loan from a Russian bank in 2014 in return for taking pro-Moscow positions in public. Le Pen has denied those allegations.
There has been no proof that President Trump has any particular loyalties to Putin nor evidence to support the claim by Trump critics that Russia has in any way impacted the election between Trump and Hillary Clinton. There are significant similarities between Le Pen and Trump’s populist appeals regarding anti-immigration policies and nationalist concerns for their respective countries.
Police in Denison, Texas are pressing criminal charges against an 18-year-old woman who told them she lied about being kidnapped and raped two weeks ago.
Breana Talbott was arrested after telling police she had been raped by three black males wearing ski masks. She later admitted that her story was a hoax. Denison Police Chief Jay Burch called her actions “insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community”. Talbott has been charged with making false statements to the police.
Police say they will also seek restitution for the cost of the search and investigation. The false report commenced on March 8th when her fiance’ called the cops to report her missing. They began to search the area, and later that night Talbott walked into a nearby church wearing just a shirt, bra, and underwear, and with scratches and cuts on her body.The motive for the fake story and the involvement of her boyfriend were not immediately disclosed.
We have railed against the practice of solitary confinement several times on these pages arguing that the practice is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. A recent Op-Ed contributor to the Minneapolis Star Tribune described solitary confinement in this way: “Imagine living in a room the size of your bathroom for 600 days. The lights never go off, and there are no windows. Day and night are no longer distinct. Tracing cracks in the wall’s plaster becomes the centerpiece of your imagination, and counting the floor tiles your only source of mental stimulation.”
The writer, Sara Lederman, was criticizing the Minnesota Legislature for failing to codify the conditions of how and when inmates could be subjected to such confinement. Minnesota is among the minority of states that have neglected to address the medical and ethical problems caused by these inhumane practices.
Lederman correctly points out that inmates with mental disabilities disproportionately make up the majority of those inmates forced to live in these cramped and claustrophobic conditions. Although Minnesota currently has no laws directly addressing the use of solitary confinement, legislation is pending in Minnesota to correct this openly unfair practice. We urge the legislatures to move quickly to end this archaic and backward practice.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman, of the House Intelligence Committee released details about surveillance concerning certain persons involved in the incoming Trump Administration: The information was widely collected and assimilated in intelligence reports. Nunes said there were conversations pertaining directly to President Trump. He said, “what I’ve read has bothered me, and some of it is inappropriate.” Nunes added there was no Russian involvement.
Trump said he was somewhat vindicated by Nune’s report.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY added that the reports listed the names of people contained in the intercepted communications, some who spoke about the past and intended future meetings with President Trump. The names of individuals were not masked or minimized as is required by law absent a lawful court order.
King appeared on the O’Reilly Factor tonight and agreed with host Bill O’Reilly that “The Obama Administration surveilled the Trump Transition Team”. King said this would be “a one-hundred percent” correct assertion.
OUR FREE OPINION
Obama has been criticized throughout his two terms for trampling on the due process privacy rights of American citizens. The former president has doggedly pursued leaks and other journalism sources whenever the information the source included negative reports about his administration. We have little doubt that the Obama team surveilled the incoming Trump transition team. This would include repeating conversations heard at social and other events around the world.
The mainstream anti-Trump press has outright suggested that Trump was over-the-top on his allegations that Trump surveilled Trump Towers. Others have suggested that the words wiretapped, and surveillance, are interchangeable and that Trump’s language was loose. However, it now appears that Trump may have been generally correct. Either way, the sources of the leaks need to be identified
President Trump has apparently selected George T. Conway III, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, to head the civil division of the Justice Department. George is a graduate of Yale Law School and specializes in mergers and acquisition law. As head of this department, he will oversee such matters as President Trump’s executive orders regarding travel bans and lawsuits alleging that his business activities violate the Constitution.
The Conways, particularly Kellyanne, have been ardent supporters of Trump from the get-go and George Conway’s precise placement is not a surprising one. However, one cannot help but surmise that the two seem, by outward appearances, to be an odd couple. Kellyanne is outgoing, photogenic, and radiates a spirit of creativity and excitement—she is easy to look at. George presents as a person with methodical reservation and subserviency (note how he patiently and obediently holds Kellyanne’s mink stole). The two might confirm the expression that opposites attract—if that’s true for them. At any rate, we envisioned her hanging out with a more adventurous Harley Davidson-riding sort of guy.
Meanwhile, George should brace himself for an avalanche of civil suits challenging the travel bans and attacks from liberal groups taking aim at the legality of his property’s use by foreign countries while he is President. The complexity of these issues is likely to keep George busy. We don’t expect many changes on Kellyanne’s part—she has her parts down pat and does very well.
While it appears that Attorney General Sessions misspoke when he testified before Congress that he had not had any communications with the Russians, that is a far cry from lying about the rambling question he was asked by the Senator from Minnesota.
As it turns out, Sessions had met with the Russian Ambassador twice—once in his Senate chambers, and once briefly following an event at the Republican convention. There is no evidence to support the notion that Trump’s political campaign was discussed at either meeting.
Senator Chris Coons (Dem Del) told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that Congress should specifically investigate whether Sessions told a lie versus having simply misspoken. What nonsense. This is nothing but a distraction to keep President Trump from focusing on the main issues that are important to the country.
The purpose and goals of laws relating to politicians and their contacts with foreign nations are to protect against quid pro quo arrangements. There is zero evidence to show that Sessions violated any such laws. Concerning his answer about contacts with the Russians, he merely misspoke. He could have been more careful with his answers. But it is clear that his meetings were a matter of record, and it belies reason to assume that he would lie about them. The politicians need to move on and start paying attention to real issues.
President Donald Trump’s message to joint members of Congress was powerful, sober, straightforward and fruitful. Many of his themes were familiar. However, his theme of unity and pledge to deliver on his promises made during the election played well.
The most emotional moment came when Trump praisedCarryn Owens, the widow of Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens who died in a raid in Yemen. The crowd cheered the highly emotional Ms. Owens for several minutes.
The moment has been a political hot point since Owens’ father Bill Owens and Sen. John McCain criticized the president’s choice to execute the mission. But Trump used the speech to call it “a highly successful raid.”Trump confirmed that Owens performed a valuable mission putting that issue to rest.
Democrats reacted coldly throughout the speech, rarely applauding and sometimes turning their thumbs down during certain points. Almost all of them bolted from the arena immediately following the speech. Others refused to shake the President’s hand when he first entered the hall.
OUR FREE OPINION
The Democrats were disrespectful towards the President. Such occasions are not meant for partisan displays of contempt. It is even more disgraceful not to attend the speech as some members of Congress did.
Kellyanne Conway, advisor to President Trump, cannot catch a break from him her anti-trump detractors. Photos were taken of her taking pictures of leaders of historically black colleges while kneeling on an Oval Office couch that sparked debate over whether she was demonstrating a lack of respect for the office.
Ms. Conway was using her smartphone to take the pictures in response to the President’s request. The room was extremely crowded, and she was able to perch on the couch to shoot the pictures of the participants and the President.
Her critics on Twitter made no mention of President Obama’s frequent practice of resting his feet on the office’s desk.
OUR FREE OPINION
With all the news in the world, Ms. Conway’s critics seem to pick at the smallest of events to talk smack about Conway. We find her presence at the Whitehouse events, and frequent appearances on the cable shows and television to be quite refreshing. She is articulate and easy on the eyes.
Nigel Paul Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party from 2006 to 2009 and again from 2010 to 2016, had dinner with President Trump this week.
Farage spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this week and said that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union had begun a movement that would spread across the globe.
Farage earlier backed the president’s recent criticisms of the media. He told Fox News the media is “losing this battle big time.” About the media, he said, “They are simply not prepared to accept that Brexit happened, that Trump happened. They kind of want to turn the clock back and what they don’t realize is they are losing viewers, they are losing listeners.”
OUR FREE OPINION
President Trump’s low opinion of the press spawned from the negative and biased reporting he received from major publications and broadcasters throughout his campaign, and that still continues. Occupants of the White House have frequently waged similar battles over the years and have used various methods to bypass the press: President Roosevelt’s“fireside chats” comes to mind. Technology has changed, President Trump now uses Twitter and other social media to get his message directly to the people. We see nothing wrong with his approach.