February 2017
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Headlines News

February 2017
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02/20.2017 – Angst in GOP over Trump’s trade agenda:  Republican lawmakers are concerned about where President Trump is headed on trade and are asking who in the administration is in charge of policies that could affect their home-state economies. Their biggest worries are what will replace the Trans-Pacific Partnership — the largest trade deal in U.S. history until it was scrapped by President Trump — and the future of NAFTA, which the president has called “the single worst trade deal in history.”  Trump talked tough on trade during the campaign, pledging to renegotiate deals that he said have ripped off American workers. But many lawmakers on Capitol Hill are confused about what comes next amid crosstalk from different voices in the administration.   Another trade-related concern is Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) push for a 20-percent across-the-board tax on imports that some Republicans fear could play havoc with export markets. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals on that idea as well.  Texas, the most populous Republican state in the country, is heavily dependent on trade with Mexico; a trade war could cause significant disruptions to its economy.   THE HILL – Read On>>>>>
02/20/2017 – Refugees Will Cost Taxpayers an Estimated $4.1 Billion in FY 2017   American taxpayers will spend more than $4.1 billion in the 2017 budget to support the 519,018 refugees who have been resettled by the federal government in the United States since October 2009, according to a cost estimate by Breitbart News.   To put that very large number in context, $4.1 billion can buy 10,677 new homes for $384,000 each, which is the average price of a new home sold in the United States in December 2016. Or it could buy 170,124 new autos for $24,100 each, which is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu.   Even if the Trump administration were to entirely shut down the flow of refugees into the United States in FY 2018 and beyond, the refugees who have already arrived in the country will cost at least another $3.5 billion in 2018, and about $2 billion to $3 billion annually thereafter until FY 2022 and beyond.   The annual $4.1 billion cost of these refugees is about eight percent of “the total annual fiscal impact of first generation [immigrants to the United States] and their dependents, averaged across 2011-2013,” which the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in September 2016, estimated “is a cost of $57.4 billion.”    BREITBART – Read On>>>>>
02/10/2017 – Five big Trump narratives to watch:  Donald Trump’s first month in office has delivered a wallop to Washington, D.C.  The news cycle in Trump’s White House seems to move at light speed, and the incredible interest in his presidency from around the globe has rocked politics, the media and the entertainment industry. The sheer volume of events and surprises makes it difficult to narrow down a list of story lines, but here are five of the biggest.  Trump and the travel ban  Trump’s executive order blocking people from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States set off the biggest controversy of his presidency.  The order, signed just a week after he entered office, triggered protests around the country and waves of criticism as even green card holders were initially prevented from returning to the United States. Opponents argued it was a Muslim ban, and the New York Daily News published a front page with the image of the Statue of Liberty shedding a tear.  Republicans on Capitol Hill were caught off guard. The White House held few talks with lawmakers before moving forward with the order — something that appeared to catch up with the administration when two courts essentially suspended it.
THEHILL – Read ON>>>>>
02/17/2017 – Yikes: Canada’s Healthcare System Has Some Of The Longest Wait Times In The World:   It looks as though Canadians have some of the best healthcare in the world–provided they live long enough to actually see a doctor.  A new survey of 11 developed countries shows that Canada was in last place for wait times (tied with Norway) and also scored quite poorly on the availability of doctors during nights and weekends. This means that Canadians have the highest rate of emergency room usage out of the 11 countries surveyed.As it turns out, these numbers are actually an improvement since the last time the survey was conducted.  The survey found that only 43 per cent of Canadians were able to secure same-day or next-day appointments with their primary-care physicians, a tie for last place. Still, that figure was an improvement over the last time the Commonwealth Fund asked the question in 2013, when only 38 per cent of Canadian patients said they could see their doctors right away.  In top-performing Netherlands, 77 per cent of respondents reported snagging a same-day or next-day appointment the last time they were sick, followed by New Zealand (76 per cent) and Australia (67 per cent).  Only 34 per cent of Canadians said it was easy or somewhat easy to get medical care outside the emergency department on evening or weekends. Only Sweden fared worse.  TOWNHALL – Read ON>>>>>
02/16/2017 – Trump to announce new Labor secretary nominee   President Trump plans to announce his new Labor secretary nominee at a noonpress conference Thursday at the White House. The announcement comes one day after fast food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination after losing support from Republican senators over allegations of domestic abuse.    Read the full story here
02/16/2017 – Trump Book Hits NY Times Bestseller List: Despite a major media blackout of a blockbuster new book on the Trump presidency, The New York Times reports that it is debuting at No. 6 on its bestseller list.In this Sunday’s New York Times, David Horowitz’s “Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America” will be the No. 6 bestseller in the nation for both hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction.Released the week of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the book immediately shot to the top of online bestseller lists, including Amazon.”Big Agenda” is the first major book to be released on Trump’s presidency. It reveals what Horowitz says is Trump’s “secret plan” to radically change America and roll back President Barack Obama’s policies in his first 100 days.   
02/16/2017 – Trump unveils new pick to head Labor Department:  President Trump on Thursday announced he was nominating Alexander Acosta to be his Labor secretary, less than 24 hours after his first nominee for the position withdrew amid criticism by Republican senators.”He has had a tremendous career,” Trump said of Acosta in a press conference, listing off highlights of his nominee’s resume.”I think he’ll be a tremendous secretary of Labor,” the president added, noting that Acosta has gotten through the Senate confirmation process before.  Read the full story here
02/16/2017 – Trump dismisses aides’ alleged contacts with Russia as ‘fake news’:  President Trump on Thursday dismissed reports of his campaign advisers’ contacts with Russians as “fake news.””You can talk all you want about Russia, which is all a fake news, [a] fabricated deal,” he said at a news conference at the White House.   Read the full story here
02/15/2017 – Report: Trump Won’t Tolerate Anti-Israel Agenda in UN:  The Trump administration is letting it be known to Palestinian leaders and the United Nations that it will no longer tolerate anti-Israel actions, The Washington Free Beacon reports.  White House officials and congressional sources told the Free Beacon that President Trump will “unabashedly support Israel” in the months and years ahead.    Their comments came after the administration stunned the U.N. by moving to block the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as a special U.N. representative for Libya.  Sources inside the White House told the Free Beacon the move was meant to signal to the Palestinians that this type of action undermines Israel.  “The United States was disappointed to see a letter indicating the intention to appoint the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister to lead the U.N. Mission in Libya,” said Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.  “For too long the U.N. has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel.”   NEWSMAX – Read On>>>>>
02/14/2017 – Drama grips Trump inner circle, as president charges ahead on agenda:The Trump inner circle is becoming less like “The Apprentice” and more like “Survivor.”  National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn may or may not survive scrutiny regarding his ties to Russia. White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway is building out her staff, reportedly with an eye toward greater influence – even as she has been reprimanded for promoting Ivanka Trump products. Press Secretary Sean Spicer is the subject of a viral parody that apparently has his boss fuming, and outside personnel are interviewing for unspecified jobs in his communications department.   But does the daily drama constitute just the right level of chaos for a president who thrives in these environments and famously encourages competition among his deputies?  “The president is extremely focused on his biggest job that he has, that’s keeping our country safe; he’s doing everything he can to ensure that’s the No. 1 priority,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on “America’s Newsroom.” “I know he’s reviewing [the Flynn] situation, and certainly we’ll leave that to him to make any announcement, if there is any.”  FOXNEEWS -= Read On>>>>>
02/14/2017 – President Trump roils sports world:  The divisive political climate roiling the entertainment industry is extending into the sports world.  Six members and counting on the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will skip a trip to the White House.  NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors insulted Trump in a recent interview with the Mercury News, saying the president is an asset “if you remove the ‘et.’ ”  The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James announced his opposition to Trump’s executive order suspending travel to the United States by refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority nations.  “I stand with the many, many Americans who believe this does not represent what the United States is all about,” James said while accepting an NAACP award, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  THE HILL – Rea On>>>>>
02/14/2017 – GOP chairman: Oversight won’t investigate Flynn:  House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Tuesday that his panel won’t investigate the circumstances that led to Michael Flynn stepping down Monday as President Trump’s national security adviser.  Instead, Chaffetz deferred to the House Intelligence Committee, which is already investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the presidential elections, a scope that includes campaign communications with the Russian government.  “I think that situation has taken care of itself. I know that the Intel committee is looking into the hacking issue,” Chaffetz told reporters. “I think he did the right thing stepping down.”
THE HILL – Read On >>>>>
02/11/2017  SCHUMER: ‘WE’RE VERY, VERY — PLEASED’ WITH HOW WE TREATED TRUMP’S NOMINEES  Chuck Schumer is congratulating himself and his fellow democrats for their part in disparaging President Trump’s cabinet nominees.   “We think we have done a real service to America,” he said.   Seriously Chuck?   You’ve served Americans by further driving a wedge between them and their rightful President?  You’ve served Americans by deceiving them, showing them how obnoxious and vile obstructionists can be, and pandering to a base that couldn’t get your candidate elected with their leftist, liberal ideals?   Congratulations!   You believe you’ve planned well for the eventual failure of Trump and his nominees.   But, you’ve failed to see their potential for success.  Who’s going to look like the idiot when they do succeed?   Read On>>>>>
02/05/2017 – Trump immigration order could target 8M undocumented workers:    President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement may put 8 million undocumented workers in the United States at risk of deportation, according to an analysis conducted by the Los Angeles Times.  “Almost everyone who is here illegally could potentially be considered a priority,” Jessica Vaughn, the Center for Immigration Studies’ director of policy studies, told the newspaper.  The order, signed Jan. 25, will allow immigration officials to detain anyone they encounter who has illegally crossed the border.  The newspaper notes that the order calls for officials to deport undocumented workers who have been convicted of crimes and those who may have perpetrated “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” This extends to the estimated 6 million people thought to have crossed a border “without passing through an official border crossing,” according to the Times.   THEHILL – Read On>>>>>
02/05/2017 – Rubio disputes Trump’s Russia-U.S. comparison:  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Donald Trump’s onetime campaign rival, is disputing the president’s implication this weekend that the United States isn’t so pure when it comes to criticizing Russia’s human rights record.  Rubio, a prominent member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tactics go far beyond anything seen in the United States.  “We are not the same as #Putin,” he wrote on Twitter, asking when a Democratic political activist in the U.S. “poisoned by the GOP, or vice versa?”   THEHILL – Read On>>>>>
02/02/2017 – BREAKING: Senate passes first bill to reverse the War on Coal! It’s heading to Trump’s desk!  Victory! Today in a bipartisan 54 to 45 vote the Senate repealed Obama’s so-called “stream buffer rule” that was designed to be “atomic” for the coal industry!  Four Democrats did the right thing and voted yes: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Kudos to them and to the American Commitment members who wrote to them to put the pressure on. One Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, voted no.  President Trump will sign the resolution and officially strike down this disastrous rule – the first piece of Obama’s anti-American War on Coal of many to be reversed.   What’s next?     We need to get the Senate to stop stalling President Trump’s highly qualified nominee to run the EPA, Scott Pruitt.  Stopping the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Buffer Rule is a huge victory, but we can’t truly end the War on Coal and the most costly, aggressive attacks on American energy and jobs until Pruitt gets to the EPA and cleans house.
02/02/2017 – Trump vows to repeal political limits on speech by pastors – WASHINGTON (AP) — Warning that religious freedom is “under threat,” President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to repeal the Johnson Amendment, an IRS rule barring pastors from endorsing candidates from the pulpit.”   “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution,” Trump said during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, a high-profile event bringing together faith leaders, politicians and dignitaries.   Trump made a similar pledge as a candidate but has not detailed how he plans to scrap the rule or how quickly he will proceed in doing do.   Religious conservatives whose overwhelming support propelled Trump to the White House have been watching closely for him to deliver on promised protections for religious objectors to gay marriage and abortion. Kelly Shackelford, head of First Liberty Institute, a non-profit legal group that specializes in religious freedom cases, said no other presidential candidate was “more outspoken on their commitment to religious freedom” than Trump.   GOPUSA – READ ON >>>>>
2/02/2017 – Florida businesses that ban guns could be held liable for leaving patrons defenseless  Say a movie theater in Florida banned its patrons from carrying concealed handguns, but a mass shooter came in anyway and attacked — not unlike what happened in Aurora, Colo. almost five years ago.  Under an NRA-backed measure proposed this week in the Florida Legislature, victims who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon could sue the theater for damages, because its weapons ban left them disarmed when they might have been able to use their gun to thwart or stop the attack.  The new proposal (SB 610) from Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube — a conservative Sarasota Republican who has proposed a slew of controversial gun-rights measures this year — says the “Legislature intends to find a balance” between gun-owners’ rights and private property rights.    And Steube’s plan to do that means businesses would be held responsible — and put at risk of being sued — for decisions to ban guns.   GOPUSA – READ ON>>>>
02/02/2017 – GOP suspends rules to push through EPA pick despite Dem boycott  Republicans on a Senate committee on Thursday suspended panel rules to force a vote on President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominee over a Democratic protest.   Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), changed the rules governing a quorum so that only the panel’s Republicans needed to be in attendance to approve Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the EPA.  The committee’s full roster of Republicans — including Sen. Jeff Sessions(R-Ala.), whose nomination to be attorney general is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor — attended Thursday’s hearing and approved Pruitt on an 11-0 vote.D   emocrats protested Pruitt’s hearing for a second straight day, refusing to enter the hearing to deny the committee a quorum. Previous rules required at least two members of the minority party, but committee Republicans voted unanimously to approve Pruitt’s nomination.   Pruitt’s nomination now goes to the floor, where he appears likely to win confirmation. No Republican has come out against his nomination, though the vast majority of Democrats are likely to oppose him  THEHILL – READ ON >>>>>
2/02/2017 – Gutiérrez: Democrats now the pro-immigrant party  Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), one of the nation’s staunchest proponents of providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers, says he sees the election of President Trump as an opportunity.   “Immigration now is seen in the context of a national issue, like reproductive rights are, like LGBT rights are, like environmental issues are, like raising the minimum wage,” Gutiérrez said in an interview with The Hill.    “It took us awhile to get that standing in the hierarchy of causes. We have become a value in the Democratic Party that needs to be protected.”   That wasn’t always the case.   THEHILL – READ ON >>>>>



John Nelson - jenkan04@gmail.com
Bob Gilmore
Dick Fankhauser