We are witnessing a total political system failure in America!


February 28, 2019

The government is ours. We pay for it. And right now, it’s broken. Lobbyists write our laws, and big money controls our elections.

Jennifer Lawrence explains how we can unbreak America in this new short film.

Unbreaking America

The government is ours. We pay for it. And right now, it's broken. Lobbyists write our laws, and big money controls our elections.Jennifer Lawrence explains how we can unbreak America in this new short film.

Posted by RepresentUs on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

We need Medicare for All!

Business Leaders for Medicare for All shared a post.

When you’re facing a life-threatening illness, how to pay for treatment shouldn’t be a concern. We need Medicare for All!

February 28, 2019

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Seth takes A Closer Look at Michael Cohen’s all-day congressional hearing.

Late Night With Seth Meyers

February 28, 2019

Seth takes A Closer Look at Michael Cohen’s all-day congressional hearing.

Michael Cohen Testifies to Congress About Trump: A Closer Look

Seth takes A Closer Look at Michael Cohen’s all-day congressional hearing.

Posted by Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

North Korea calls Trump Administration a racist billionaires club!


North Korea calls Trump Administration a racist billionaires club!

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a New Year’s speech at an undisclosed location on January 1.GETTY

North Korea accused the Trump Administration of being a billionaires’ club that harbors a “policy of racism” while exacerbating social inequalities and denying freedom of the press and health coverage to citizens.

The “White Paper on Human Rights Violations in the U.S. in 2017,” issued by the Institute of International Studies in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Wednesday, claimed that human rights in the U.S. have deteriorated since President Donald Trump took office last year.

“Racial discrimination and misanthropy are serious maladies inherent to the social system of the U.S., and they have been aggravated since Trump took office,” the paper read. “The racial violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12 is a typical example of the acme of the current administration’s policy of racism.”

The paper, which is being circulated by North Korean diplomats in Geneva, did not refer to the row between North Korea and the U.S. and its allies over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, nor to the international sanctions imposed against it.

A summary of the paper was released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday.

The KCNA summary accused Trump of packing his cabinet with billionaires, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; former private equity investor Wilbur Ross, who is now Secretary of Commerce; ex–Goldman Sachs investor Steven Mnuchin, who is now Secretary of the Treasury; and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

“The total assets of public servants at the level of deputy secretary and above of the current administration are worth $14 billion,” the paper said.

The North Korean paper then said that genuine freedoms of the press and of expression did not exist in the United States, and that crackdowns against the media had intensified in the past year.

The report summary also argued that an “absolute majority of the working masses, deprived of elementary rights to survival, are hovering in the abyss of nightmare,” citing unemployment statistics and homelessness as evidence.

Pyongyang released the White Paper shortly after Trump criticized North Korean human rights abuses during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. During that speech, the president called Kim Jong Un “depraved” and told the world that North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear missiles could “soon threaten” the U.S. mainland.

Trump border emergency is fake and climate crisis is real.

USA Today

Paul Bledsoe, USA Today       February 27, 2019

National emergency declared on Trump’s border wall, explained.

Is Trump following through on his promise to lower drug prices?

Late Night With Seth Meyers

February 26, 2019

Is Trump following through on his promise to lower drug prices? Seth checks in.

The Check In: Prescription Drug Prices

Is Trump following through on his promise to lower drug prices? Seth checks in.

Posted by Late Night with Seth Meyers on Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Trump lands in Vietnam for North Korea summit

MSNBC Live with Katy Tur

NBC News

Trump lands in Vietnam for North Korea summit as shadow of Mueller, Cohen loom over him

Analysis: The president’s critics say they’re worried domestic pressures may force him into an unwise deal with Kim Jong Un.
By Jonathan Allen     February 26, 2019

President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on upon his arrival in Vietnam on Tuesday evening. Manan Vatsyayana / AFP – Getty Images

HANOI, Vietnam — President Donald Trump, who arrived here on Tuesday for a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is desperate for a win.

At home, the fallout from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice continues to spread. Trump’s domestic agenda is still suffering the aftereffects of a 35-day government shutdown. And he’s fighting Congress and more than a dozen states over his plan to transfer billions of federal dollars to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

It appears that Trump, who touched down on Air Force One at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport shortly before 9 a.m. ET, is likely to be spared the indignity of Mueller’s final report being filed while he is abroad, but Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, is set to testify for three days, beginning Tuesday, on Capitol Hill about the president’s business dealings, his efforts to influence the 2016 election and his level of compliance with tax laws.

Trump’s arrival was greeted with a red carpet, a 26-man Vietnamese honor cordon and a bouquet of flowers, which was handed to him by a Vietnamese woman.

The president shook hands with a delegation of Vietnamese and U.S. diplomatic officials, before giving a quick wave to the assembled media and ducking into his limousine — “The Beast” — for the ride to his hotel. He did not have any public events planned until Wednesday morning in Hanoi, where the time is 12 hours ahead of Washington.


In short, Trump needs to put some points on the board.

The president and Kim are set to have dinner Wednesday before their summit meeting Thursday. Both the dinner and the summit will take place at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Trump’s political opponents say they’re worried that his domestic concerns may play a decisive role in Hanoi this week, pushing him into grasping for unwise bargains with North Korea.

“Given Trump’s aversion to briefings and policy papers, the Kim summit was always a dubious enterprise with high risks, but Trump’s disastrous last two months weaken his already unsteady hand at the negotiating table,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Kim Jong Un knows how to exploit weakness when he sees it.”

And if the past is any guide, the president may find a way to declare victory — or simply to say that he’s struck another agreement with Kim — whether or not he emerges with a concrete plan to halt Pyongyang’s ongoing development of nuclear weapons.

There is concern in Washington foreign policy circles, among both Democrats and Republicans, that in his hunger to chalk up a public win, Trump — who has already boasted that his diplomatic efforts with regard to the regime have been Nobel Prize nomination-worthy— could give up too much and get too little in return.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, said in response to emailed questions from NBC News that he hopes the president will be firm with Kim about demanding complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization before the U.S. decreases pressure on North Korea.


“The administration should make clear to Pyongyang that the only way we will dismantle the U.S. and international sanctions regime is when Pyongyang completely dismantles every single nut and bolt of its illicit weapons programs — not a minute earlier,” he said.

The process this time has to move beyond the generalities of the Singapore summit, said Laura Rosenberger of the German Marshall Fund, a former foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton.


When he met with Kim in Singapore, Trump heralded an agreement to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but U.S. intelligence officials have said that while Pyongyang has taken steps to dismantle some of its nuclear capabilities, it has not demonstrated that it is willing to abandon its program.

Trump has blasted his own administration’s intelligence officials for breaking with him publicly on the threats posed by North Korea, Iran and the Islamic State group.


On Twitter, he countered Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’s public assessment that “North Korea is unlikely to give up all of its nuclear weapons and production capabilities” by saying there’s a “decent chance” of denuclearization.

And in the run-up to the latest summit, Trump has appeared to lower the bar for claiming victory out of the event by tempering expectations for a quick and comprehensive deal on denuclearization, saying last week that he is in “no rush” to make that happen.

“I have no pressing time schedule,” he said.

North Korea’s wish list includes not just the removal of crippling U.S. and international economic sanctions — Trump has tried to sell Kim on the idea that his nation could one day be a Pacific Rim powerhouse — but also the removal of U.S. troops from South Korea. American forces have been stationed there since the unofficial end of the Korean War nearly 70 years ago.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told NBC News in response to emailed questions that he is supportive of diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff with North Korea but has reservations about what the president’s track record means for this summit.

“I’m concerned that President Trump will again be quick to make concessions without getting anything in return,” he said, pointing to a decision to cancel joint military exercises with South Korea after June’s summit. “At Hanoi, the president needs to demand North Korea disclose details of its current stockpiles and capabilities, then agree on a clear, shared definition of denuclearization including benchmarks to show verifiable progress toward that goal.”

On that score — the idea that success means a real process for denuclearization rather than an announced deal that ends up allowing Pyongyang to continue to quietly develop its weapons program — Republicans and Democrats in Congress appear to be in agreement.

But the political calculation for Trump remains the same — which means that a declaration of victory, no matter the policy achievement, is far more likely than a decision to walk away from another detail-free offer. For a president facing both turmoil at home and pressure abroad born of his failure to extract concessions at the last Kim summit, failure — or, at least, the appearance of failure — may not be an option.

McConnell Blames Entitlements, Not GOP, for Rising Deficits

Veterans Against the GOP shared a post

February 26, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs a swift kick in the nads. Maybe several considering the millions of dollars he has made on a base salary of $174,000 a year as a U.S. Senator. He’s the next one who needs a special counsel.


McConnell Blames Entitlements, Not GOP, for Rising Deficits

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the budget deficit is “very disturbing.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed rising federal deficits and debt on a bipartisan unwillingness to contain spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and said he sees little chance of a major deficit reduction deal while Republicans control Congress and the White House.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg News when asked about the rising deficits and debt. “It’s a bipartisan problem: unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.”

McConnell’s remarks came a day after the Treasury Department said the U.S. budget deficit grew to $779 billion in Donald Trump’s first full fiscal year as president, the result of the GOP’s tax cuts, bipartisan spending increases and rising interest payments on the national debt. That’s a 77 percent increase from the $439 billion deficit in fiscal 2015, when McConnell became majority leader.

McConnell said it would be “very difficult to do entitlement reform, and we’re talking about Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid,” with one party in charge of Congress and the White House.

“I think it’s pretty safe to say that entitlement changes, which is the real driver of the debt by any objective standard, may well be difficult if not impossible to achieve when you have unified government,” McConnell said.

Politically Unpopular

Shrinking those popular programs — either by reducing benefits or raising the retirement age — without a bipartisan deal would risk a political backlash in the next election. Trump promised during his campaign that he wouldn’t cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, even though his budget proposals have included trims to all three programs.

McConnell said he had many conversations on the issue with former President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

“He was a very smart guy, understood exactly what the problem was, understood divided government was the time to do it, but didn’t want to, because it was not part of his agenda,” McConnell said.

“I think it would be safe to say that the single biggest disappointment of my time in Congress has been our failure to address the entitlement issue, and it’s a shame, because now the Democrats are promising ‘Medicare for all,”’ he said. “I mean, my gosh, we can’t sustain the Medicare we have at the rate we’re going and that’s the height of irresponsibility.”

Divided Government

McConnell said the last major deal to overhaul entitlements occurred in the Reagan administration, when a Social Security package including an increase in the retirement age passed under divided government.

McConnell said he was the GOP Senate whip in 2005 when Republican President George W. Bush attempted a Social Security overhaul and couldn’t find any Democratic supporters.

“Their view was, you want to fix Social Security, you’ve got the presidency, you’ve got the White House, you’ve got the Senate, you go right ahead,” McConnell said. The effort collapsed.

The Office of Management and Budget has projected a deficit in the coming year of $1.085 trillion despite a healthy economy. And the Congressional Budget Office has forecast a return to trillion-dollar deficits by fiscal 2020.

During Trump’s presidency, Democrats and Republicans agreed to a sweeping deal to increase discretionary spending on defense and domestic programs, while his efforts to shrink spending on Obamacare mostly fell flat.

Tax Cut

Republicans in December 2017 also passed a tax cut projected to add more than $1 trillion to the debt over a decade after leaders gave up on creating a plan that wouldn’t increase the debt under the Senate’s scoring rules.

At the time, McConnell told reporters, “I not only don’t think it will increase the deficit, I think it will be beyond revenue-neutral.” He added, “In other words, I think it will produce more than enough to fill that gap.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York responded Tuesday by saying McConnell and other Republicans “blew a $2 trillion hole in the federal deficit to fund a tax cut for the rich. To now suggest cutting earned middle-class programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid as the only fiscally responsible solution to solve the debt problem is nothing short of gaslighting.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement, “Under the GOP’s twisted agenda, we can afford tax cuts for billionaires, but not the benefits our seniors have earned.”

With assistance by Erik Wasson

trump in Hanoi; what could go wrong?

CNN posted an episode of CNN Replay. 

February 26, 2019

“Regardless of what happens in Hanoi, the President will tweet afterwards that it was the greatest diplomatic achievement in human history … I am reluctant to predict that he will be disciplined in this setting.”

Tom Countryman, ex-Senior State Department official, on President Trump’s summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.


Fmr. State Dept. official on Hanoi summit: I am reluctant to predict Trump will be disciplined

"Regardless of what happens in Hanoi, the President will tweet afterwards that it was the greatest diplomatic achievement in human history … I am reluctant to predict that he will be disciplined in this setting." Tom Countryman, ex-Senior State Department official, on President Trump's summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.https://cnn.it/2SpPSjf

Posted by CNN on Tuesday, February 26, 2019