Monday, March 27, 2017


Ted Koppel tells Sean Hannity he is bad for America

David Morgan

NEW YORK -- In a report that aired on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” about the polarization of politics and the media in the Age of Trump, “Sunday Morning” special contributor Ted Koppel charged Fox News host Sean Hannity with contributing to the increased antipathy toward opposing viewpoints that is prevalent in America.
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Hannity made no qualms about presenting his own conservative agenda, but objected to Koppel characterizing his viewers as not being able to discriminate editorial content from news.  

 “We have to give some credit to the American people that they’re somewhat intelligent and that they know the difference between an opinion show and a news show,” Hannity said. “You’re cynical.”

“I am cynical,” said Koppel.

“Do you think we’re bad for America? You think I’m bad for America?”


“You do? Really?”
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“In the long haul I think you and all these opinion shows --”

“That’s sad, Ted. That’s sad.”

“No, you know why? Because you’re very good at what you do, and because you have attracted a significantly more influential --”

“You are selling the American people short.”

“No, let me finish the sentence before you do that.”

“I’m listening. With all due respect. Take the floor.”

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“You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.”

In a series of tweets, Hannity later accused CBS of offering “Fake Edited News.”


Maybe if the weenie had told everyone "I'm President and you're not" (while using his GRRRR face, of course), they might have listened.......

Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War



WASHINGTON —Trump ignites a lot of fights, but the biggest defeat in his short time in the White House was the result of a long-running Republican civil war that had already humbled a generation of party leaders before him.
A precedent-flouting president who believes that Washington’s usual rules and consequences of politics do not apply to him, Mr. Trump now finds himself shackled by them.
In stopping the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years, the rebellious far right wing of his party out-rebelled Mr. Trump, and won a major victory on Friday over the party establishment that he now leads.
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Like every other Republican leader who has tried to rule a fissured and fractious party, Mr. Trump faces a wrenching choice: retrenchment or realignment. Does he cede power to the anti-establishment wing of his party? Or does he seek other pathways to successful governing by throwing away the partisan playbook and courting a coalition with the Democrats he has improbably blamed for his party’s shortcomings?
“It’s really a problem in our own party, and that’s something he’ll need to deal with moving forward,” said Representative Tom Cole, a moderate Republican from Oklahoma who is part of the center-right Tuesday Group, which stuck with Mr. Trump in the health care fight and earned the president’s praise in the hours after the bill’s defeat.
“I think he did a lot — he met with dozens and dozens of members and made a lot of accommodations — but in the end there’s a group of people in this party who just won’t say ‘yes,’” Mr. Cole said. “At some point I think that means looking beyond our conference. The president is a deal maker, and Ronald Reagan cut some of his most important deals with Democrats.”
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Mr. Trump is not there yet. So far he is operating from the standard-issue Republican playbook. While he is angry and thirsty for revenge, he seems determined to swallow the loss in hopes of marshaling enough Republican support to pass spending bills, an as-yet unformed tax overhaul and a $1 trillion infrastructure package.

On Friday evening, a somewhat shellshocked Trump retreated to the White House residence to grieve and assign blame. He asked his advisers repeatedly: Whose fault was this?

Increasingly, that blame has fallen on Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, who coordinated the initial legislative strategy on the health care repeal with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, his close friend and a fellow Wisconsin native, according to three people briefed on the president’s recent discussions.

Mr. Trump, an image-obsessed developer with a lifelong indifference toward the mechanics of governance, made a game effort of negotiating with members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, even if it seemed to some members of that group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, that he did not have the greatest grasp of health care policy or legislative procedure.
He told one adviser late Friday that his loss — a legislative debacle foreshadowed by the intraparty fight that led to the 2013 government shutdown — was a minor bump in the road and that the White House would recover.

In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Mr. Trump insisted that the administration was “rocking.” The problem, he suggested, was divisions among Republicans.
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There are “a lot of players, a lot of players with a very different mindset,” Mr. Trump said. “You have liberals, even within the Republican Party. You have the conservative players.”

But his advisers were more realistic. Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, according to people familiar with White House discussions, described what happened as a flat-out failure that could inflict serious damage on this presidency — even if Mr. Bannon believes Congress, not Mr. Trump, deserves much of the blame.

Mr. Bannon and the president’s more soft-spoken legislative affairs director, Marc Short, pushed Mr. Trump hard to insist on a public vote, as a way to identify, shame and pressure “no” voters who were killing their last, best chance to unravel the health care law.

One Hill Republican aide who was involved in the last-minute negotiations said Mr. Bannon and Mr. Short were seeking to compile an enemies list. But Mr. Ryan repeatedly counseled the president to avoid seeking vengeance — at least until he has passed spending bills and a debt-ceiling increase needed to keep the government running.

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Mr. Trump, bowing to the same power-sharing realities that the besieged Mr. Ryan must cope with in leading the fractured Republican majority in the House, decided to back down. But the president’s advisers worry about the hard reality going forward — the developer with the tough-guy veneer was steamrollered by various factions in the Republican Congress.

Trump and his team lamented outsourcing so much of the early bill drafting to Mr. Ryan, and one aide compared their predicament to a developer who has staked everything on obtaining a property without conducting a thorough inspection.

Despite Trump’s public displays of unity with the speaker, his team was privately stunned by Mr. Ryan’s inability to master the politics of his own conference, according to two West Wing aides. Trump, they said, is still sizing up Mr. Ryan’s abilities, despite Mr. Trump’s public statements of support.

As the dust settled on the health care debacle, it was clear that Mr. Trump’s lieutenants in the Republican civil war had been divided on how they thought the health care fight should have been handled, which does not augur well for the political battles to come.
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Mutual disgust with the Freedom Caucus seems to be pulling Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan together, at least for now — just as it briefly united President Barack Obama and John A. Boehner, Mr. Ryan’s long-suffering predecessor, during their doomed effort to reach a “grand bargain” on a tax overhaul in 2011.

In a meeting before the Republican House conference convened on Thursday night, Mr. Trump’s team met for two hours of negotiations with Freedom Caucus members, leaving them sour and frustrated at the ever-changing list of demands emerging from the group’s leader, Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

Many on Mr. Trump’s team disengaged from the process even as he dug in.
Gary D. Cohn, Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, had originally been tasked with playing a large role in shepherding the legislation from the White House side. But Mr. Cohn had grown leery of the bill, and the White House recognized that Mr. Cohn, a former president of Goldman Sachs and a liberal Democrat, was not a good messenger to deal with recalcitrant conservatives.
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Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who returned on Friday from a family skiing trip to Aspen, Colo., had said for weeks that he thought supporting the bill was a mistake, according to two people who spoke with him. The president, according to two Republicans close to the White House, expressed annoyance that Mr. Kushner, who has described himself as a first-among-equals adviser, was not on site during the consequential week of wrangling. And Tom Price, who left Congress to become Mr. Trump’s health and human services secretary, was singled out for blame for the bill’s failure.

Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, took on a bigger role pushing the bill, telling his former colleagues that the president wanted an up-or-down vote on Friday.

Mr. Trump had told allies on Wednesday night that if he did not push for the bill himself, it would not pass. Several, speaking on the condition of anonymity, expressed astonishment that the president had not come to that realization much earlier.

Until the final week, Mr. Trump’s team was deeply divided over whether he should fully commit to a hard sell on a bill they viewed as fundamentally flawed, with Vice President Mike Pence pointedly advising the president to label the effort “Ryancare,” not “Trumpcare,” according to aides.

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Mr. Trump brushed aside those concerns in the last few days, and embraced the conventional role as leader of his party. He has one speed when he decides to shift to sales mode, aides said, and he had trouble modulating his tone, issuing cringe-inducing superlatives like “wonderful” to describe an ungainly bill his aides described as anything but.

After it was all over, Trump dutifully blamed the Democrats, a party out of power and largely leaderless, after turning his back on their offers to negotiate on a bipartisan package that would have addressed shortcomings in the Affordable Care Act while preserving its core protections for poor and working-class patients.

Several aides advised him the argument was nonsensical, according to a person with knowledge of the interaction.

For Mr. Trump’s Republican opponents, here was poetic revenge served cold. As a candidate in 2016, he initially scoffed at signing a Republican loyalty pledge, at times behaving more like an independent invading the Republican host organism than a normal presidential candidate.

As president, Mr. Trump has left dozens of critical administration jobs unfilled, rejecting stalwart Republican applicants deemed insufficiently loyal to him — and now he is decrying the disloyalty of the 20 to 30 conservative members who outmaneuvered and overpowered him on health care.

“We all learned a lot — we learned a lot about loyalty,” a solemn Mr. Trump told reporters late Friday.

The dynamic that led to his defeat is bigger than Mr. Trump, despite his tendency to personalize every win or loss. Republicans who gained power by savaging Washington are in full control and cannot agree on a path forward.

“We were a 10-year opposition party,” Mr. Ryan said late Friday. “Being against things was easy to do.”

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, said on Friday, with a chuckle, that he was “getting some déjà vu right now.”

“Do you think Donald J. Trump goes home tonight, shrugs and says, ‘This is what winning looks like’?” Mr. Gingrich added. “No! But this is where the Republican Party is right now, and it’s been this way for years.”

But Mr. Trump put on his best face on Saturday morning. “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE,” he said on Twitter. “Do not worry!”


Trump Tells Americans To Watch Show That Demands Ryan Step Down

Alex Pfeiffer


Trump told Americans Saturday morning to watch “Justice Jeanine” on Fox News. Jeanine Pirro started her show with a segment calling for House Speaker Paul Ryan to “step down.”

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Trump publicly expressed confidence in Ryan after the White House-backed Obamacare replacement bill had to be pulled as there weren’t enough votes. However, there have been reports that Trump and his allies are upset about Ryan’s performance as speaker.

Trump directed people through a tweet to watch Pirro, a former county court judge and district attorney. Her “opening statement” was, “Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill.”

She said that “Americans elected the one man they believed could do it,” and that Speaker Ryan came in with his “swagger and experience” and sold Trump a “bill of goods which ends up a complete and total failure.”

“I want to be clear this is not on Trump,” Pirro added.

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The Fox News host insinuated that Ryan wanted the bill to fail as he knows “very well” the “inside workings of Washington” and the different demands of factions in Congress. “What was your agenda?” Pirro asked of Ryan. She said that his “loyalty was always in question.”

The former judge said that she hadn’t spoken with Trump about “any of this,” but that she could “only imagine that he and his aides took on healthcare because they believe you had his back and you didn’t.”

“The American people won’t forget this and neither should Trump,” Pirro said.


YIKES!  That's one goony looking mountain troll. Probably felt good telling him to go fuck himself.......

Report: Bannon told conservatives 'this is not a debate,' you have to back bill

White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon told a group of House conservatives they had no choice but to back the GOP's ObamaCare repeal bill days before the bill was pulled, according to a new report.

Bannon confronted members of the House Freedom Caucus earlier this week during the White House's push for the American Health Care Act, Axios's Mike Allen reported Saturday in his newsletter.

"Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill," Bannon reportedly said.
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A Freedom Caucus member reportedly replied: "You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn't listen to him, either."

The conservative group met with President Trump at the White House on Thursday, but the president
reportedly did not want to discuss policy specifics of the healthcare legislation.

Freedom Caucus members were calling for additional changes to the GOP plan to further dismantle ObamaCare.

Trump singled out the caucus in a Friday morning tweet, arguing funding for Planned Parenthood would remain intact should members vote against the GOP plan.

"The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!" the president


Sunday, March 26, 2017


false hope

selected poems, with and without context, from 2006 & 2007. published 2008, 92 pp.



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G.O.P. Responds to F.B.I. Inquiry by Changing Subject


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WASHINGTON — The headline from Capitol Hill on Monday was bracing:
confirmation of a criminal investigation into connections between associates of a sitting president and Russian operatives during a presidential election.

But the response from Republicans was almost as striking: During hours of testimony in which James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, acknowledged the inquiry, they shrugged off its implications and instead offered a coordinated effort to defend  Trump by demanding a focus on leaks to news organizations.

Throughout the 5½-hour hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, as Democrats tried to highlight
the criminal investigation, Republicans demanded a renewed focus on how its existence was revealed in news reports months ago.

When Democrats raised the issue of Mr. Trump’s
Twitter posts accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him — and Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. had “no information that supports those tweets” — Republicans railed against leaks.

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When Democrats pressed Mr. Comey on evidence of coordination between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian operatives, Republicans questioned the F.B.I. director about how the names of those associates became public in news reports.

The political strategy appears clear: Republicans are betting that they can deflect attention from the
investigation into the president’s campaign advisers by insisting that more needs to be done to prevent the leaking of classified material.

Again and again on Monday, the president’s allies urged Mr. Comey and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to answer for the illegal dissemination of information to reporters.

In one remarkable back and forth, Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, insinuated that several top Obama administration officials — including John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, and Benjamin J. Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser — might have been the source of leaks to news organizations.

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“One thing you and I agree on is the felonious dissemination of classified material most definitely is a crime,” Mr. Gowdy, whose own Benghazi investigation was known as a porous source of information to reporters, told Mr. Comey, who repeatedly refused to say that he was even investigating the release of classified information.

“I can’t say because I don’t want to confirm that that was classified information,” Mr. Comey said.

Whether the Republican approach works may depend on the outcome of the investigation itself, which remains shrouded in secrecy and is unlikely to be fully resolved within months or even years. That may lead to more leaks, and to a continuing effort by the president’s defenders to demand that they stop.

At one point in the hearing, Mr. Comey noted that leaks of sensitive government information have bedeviled the nation’s leaders since George Washington’s time, though he conceded that leakers have been “unusually active” in recent months.

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“It does strike me there’s been a lot of people talking or at least reporters saying people are talking to them,” Mr. Comey said.

Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut, nodded toward the importance of plugging leaks, saying that Republicans “will get no argument from this side on the importance of investigating, prosecuting leaks.”

But Democrats are determined to try to keep the focus on Mr. Trump, his campaign aides and Russia’s meddling in the election. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the panel, offered a long, detailed description of the publicly available reports of Russian activity and contacts with members of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

“Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence?” Mr. Schiff asked. “Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental.”

Republicans seemed much less interested in the answer.

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The effort to change the subject began with Mr. Trump, who
said on Twitter early Monday that the “real story” is the “leaking of Classified information.” Later, he asked: “What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians?”

At the White House, Sean Spicer, the press secretary, returned to the subject of leaks again and again during his daily briefing for reporters, echoing the Republican lawmakers from the presidential podium.

Mr. Spicer railed against the “illegal leak” of the names of some of Mr. Trump’s associates under investigation. And he insisted that news organizations are refusing to cover the real story from Monday’s hearing: the need for the federal government to stop national security leaks.

Mr. Spicer also evaded questions about Mr. Trump’s associates by repeatedly returning to what he said were Hillary Clinton’s ties to Russia, even though Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign was hurt by Russian operatives’ hacking.

Mr. Spicer accused journalists of ignoring stories alleging that the Democratic National Committee had not provided the F.B.I. access to its hacked servers, a claim Democratic officials deny. Mr. Comey said Monday that the investigators got the information they needed to investigate the hack.

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“Why? What were they hiding? What were they concerned of?” Mr. Spicer said. In confusing, rapid-fire fashion, Mr. Spicer noted accusations about “donations that the Clintons received from Russians” and decisions by
Mrs. Clinton to sell “tremendous amounts of uranium” to Russia.

“Where’s the concern about their efforts on the Hillary Clinton thing?” Mr. Spicer said.

Demands for leak investigations are nothing new in Washington, where the targets of critical stories — regardless of party — are often quick to try to expose the sources of those reports. Mr. Obama’s White House
was particularly aggressive in seeking the source of leaks, prosecuting more whistle-blowers than all his predecessors combined.
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Mr. Trump, by contrast, appears to have had a significant change of heart regarding leaks since he won the presidential election. During the campaign, Mr. Trump frequently praised WikiLeaks, the website that investigators believe was used by Russian operatives to leak emails from the D.N.C. and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman. At one rally in Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump declared, “I love WikiLeaks!”

Now, faced with leaks about the Russia investigation and the dissemination of other information from inside his administration, Mr. Trump appears increasingly frustrated that information is finding its way to reporters.

“Must find leaker now!” he said in a
Twitter message Monday morning.

That, in a nutshell, was the message of the day for Republicans. But the strategy of deflection required many more words, repeated over and over for the cameras.


Security, parking, garbage irk Ivanka Trump's DC neighbors

Ben Nuckols

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Residents of a posh Washington neighborhood say Ivanka Trump and her family don't make for very good neighbors, taking up much of the parking on an already crowded street and leaving trash bags at the curb for days. A big part of the complaint: a huge security presence, with even a trip to the playground requiring three vans. 

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Neighbors of Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and their three children have groused that sidewalks have been closed, public parking overrun and that the family and their staff haven't learned the trash pickup schedule outside their $5.5-million home.

"It has been a three-ring circus from the day that they've moved in," Marietta Robinson, who lives across the street, told with The Associated Press.

The house in the Kalorama neighborhood was bought in December by a company with ties to a Chilean billionaire. The company is renting it to Kushner and Trump, who moved in just after the inauguration of her father,  Donald Trump. Both work in the White House as advisers to Trump.

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Residents of the enclave of four- and five-story townhomes and elegant single-family properties about 2 miles north of the White House are accustomed to VIP neighbors. Former President Barack Obama and his family have lived there since he left office, and the Secret Service closed off their entire block to traffic. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought a home there, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also moved in recently.

Yet no one has raised the ire of the community like the Trumps. At a recent neighborhood commission meeting, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was among those who showed up to complain about parking problems.

Some in the neighborhood have also complained about the family's rental arrangement. The company that owns the house didn't obtain a rental license for two months, securing one just this week after it was warned by city regulators. 
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"Maybe some of the upset has to do with politics a little. I couldn't say for sure, but I know that people don't seem to be upset about Tillerson's situation. It's much less intrusive," said Ellen Goldstein, an elected neighborhood commissioner.

The Secret Service has sole responsibility under law for protecting the family, but neighbors have noticed what they describe as an unusually large and aggressive security presence. Ivanka Trump arrives and departs in a four-vehicle motorcade, Robinson said.

"There are more of them than I have ever seen," Robinson wrote in a letter to Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials. "Frequently several of them are milling outside of the house at all hours having conversations and staring meanly at anyone in view."
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The letter — which also complained about parking, trash and noise — spurred the city government into action. On Friday morning, District transportation crews were outside the house, removing "No Parking" signs.

The department said no permits had been sought for parking exemptions or sidewalk closures on the street since Trump moved in. Yet vehicles associated with the Trump-Kushner house have been seen parking in the restricted areas for hours at a time, and barriers have been erected on the sidewalk in front of the house, forcing pedestrians to cross the street, next-door neighbor Rhona Wolfe Friedman said. 

Even without extra restrictions, street parking for non-residents is limited to two hours.

"The parking patrol on Tracy Place has always been ultra-vigilant," Robinson wrote to the mayor. "Suddenly, the parking enforcement has disappeared."
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A Secret Service spokeswoman, Nicole Mainor, said agency officials met with neighbors and city officials on Friday morning and addressed their concerns about parking and other disruptions. She declined to answer specific questions about the level of protection the family receives, citing agency policy.

It's not clear whether Ivanka Trump is aware of any complaints, saying in a statement emailed Friday afternoon by an aide: "We love the neighborhood and our family has received an incredibly gracious welcome from our neighbors."

Christopher Chapin, president of the neighborhood council — who doesn't live as close as the neighbors who've complained — said all the attention is good for Kalorama.

"We are delighted to have political figures like the Obamas, the Kushners and the Tillersons living in our neighborhood," he said.


Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this report.


How many stories like this are we going to see?  5 million?  10?  20?

        'Trump troubadour' loses trust in president over health care: 'I feel betrayed'

Kraig Moss followed Trump to more than 45 campaign rallies, but lost faith in the president over his push for the GOP backed
health care bill.

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I love it - This Coulter dipshit has no Democrats to whine about these days, so she starts to attack Republicans for not being Republican enough.  This wingnut has daddy issues or mommy issues or something.  Everything she says seems to be a variation of "Pay attention to me!  I'm outrageous!"  She seems like what Rush Limbaugh might give birth to out his asshole after a hard day of eating pork rinds and popping oxycodone...

Coulter, Breitbart, Drudge torch health care bill backed by Trump

Christopher Wilson

With the vote on the American Health Care Act looming, conservative media personalities and outlets that were backers of Donald Trump throughout the campaign are attacking the Obamacare replacement bill the White House supports.
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Ann Coulter, right-wing provocateur and an avid supporter of the Trump campaign, has been attacking the bill as “Obamacare Lite” since its text became public, hammering House Speaker Paul Ryan along the way. “Could some investigative reporter write a piece explaining why Ryan is so hellbent on this deeply unpopular healthcare bill?” she wrote earlier this week, before criticizing Trump and Ryan for making tax cuts next on their legislative agenda instead of trade and immigration.

 “This is beginning to look like every other Republican administration: massive spending on the military, which wastes $125 billion a year, according to a McKinsey report. He’s moving money from one swamp to another. We don’t want war; we want more jobs, a wall and lots of deportations, not all of this stuff that is indistinguishable from the Jeb Bush administration.”
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Matt Drudge, who had mostly stayed out of the AHCA fray, turned the banner of his website against Ryan on Friday morning. The line Drudge chose echoes a 2010 Nancy Pelosi quote, in which the then-House speaker said of the Affordable Care Act, “we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it,” a quote that was played often on Fox News and defended by Pelosi.

Breitbart News — formerly headed by Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon — has also been hammering the bill, which the right-wing site dubbed “Ryancare.” On Friday, it promoted a New York magazine story stating that Bannon had expressed concerns over the fact the bill was “written by the insurance industry.” The site has also been hammering Ryan, including releasing audio of the speaker during the 2016 campaign saying he wouldn’t support Trump and publishing so many stories criticizing Ryan and the bill that its journalists were scolded by the conservative National Review.
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Earlier this month the conservative outlet Newsmax published a story urging the president to abandon the Freedom Caucus and work on a bipartisan plan to pass a “Medicaid for All” bill. Christopher Ruddy, the founder of the site and a longtime Trump friend, wrote the piece.