Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Republican Senators introduce their health-care bill. In its current form, the bill is at least 3 votes short of the 50 votes needed. Moving right to capture them could lose centrist Republicans.
On the current vote count, here’s the Washington Post story.
And the criticism from outside groups is fierce. Here’s one report on criticism by healthcare groups (Bloomberg)
Surprisingly, Obama doesn’t like it, either. He posted on FB. I planned to quote it but it runs longer than a Fidel Castro speech.
The best summary of the differences between the House bill (as passed) and the Senate bill (as introduced) is here at the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (link)
Comment: Negotiations ahead in the Senate. Uncertain if Pres. Trump will get involved.
Comment: I asked an expert, a Mr. W. Whitman, . . . .
◆ Quick Tip: If you have a huge weapons stash, don’t get caught shoplifting ammo
Ramadan Abdullah was arrested for theft in upstate New York (Binghamton Homepage)
-4 loaded handguns
-8 assault weapons
-64 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices
-1 loaded shotgun
-thousands of rounds of ammunition for rifles, pistols, and assault weapons, including 50 caliber armor piercing incendiary rounds, numerous firearm parts, and flak jackets.
Cornwell says subsequent search warrants executed at other properties tied to the suspect resulted in the seizure of:
-numerous rounds of 38 caliber ammunition
-high-capacity ammunition feeding devices and ammunition
-an additional loaded firearm –Binghamton Homepage
Comment: Mr. Abdullah said that being arrested during his namesake holiday was especially ironic.
Comment: This could be a valuable expenditure, if it were done right and not too expensive.
◆ Qatar’s neighbors issue a long list of demands to end crisis (Associated Press)
The Saudis, Egyptians, and others issued a 13-point list
insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute. –Associated Press
Comment: Getting the Turks out and keeping Iran out are the keys. They also want to shut Al Jazeera.
New Sec. of Transportation Elaine Chao said nixed the next multi-billion dollar tranche of federal funding. (SF Gate via Legal Insurrection blog)
The move is not permanent. It is a pause until a full audit is done.
The immediate effect is to delay prospects for high-speed rail from SF to Silicon Valley for some time and perhaps forever.
Comment: If I ran a tabloid, the headline would be “Chao Chops Choo-Choo”
Mass transit is a great idea and rapid transit is even better. Why not anticipate what’s really coming: self-driving busses?
It would be much less expensive to build dedicated highways for autonomous rapid-transit vehicles. They could be partially funded by high fees for private vehicles, such as Google busses and UPS delivery.
Second Comment: The US should reconsider why these intra-state projects are funded from Washington at all. Let California, Texas, and Michigan fund the vast bulk all projects that are not primarily interstate.
Third Comment: In other news, “Hey, Chris Christie. Watch it and weep. This is how you do it.”
Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Trump’s initial Cabinet appointments tell me he intends to move swiftly to pass a far-reaching agenda and will work closely with a Republican House and Senate to do it.
Comment: Tom Price is an expert of health care and committed to dismantling Obamacare and replacing it with a market-oriented system. Betsy DeVos is an expert on charter schools and vouchers and will make big changes at the Department of Education. Elaine Chou has extensive experience in government and a background in infrastructure, which she will bring to the Department of Transportation.
The ties to Capitol Hill are strong, without the K-Street strings. Price has worked extremely closely with Paul Ryan, as has Chief of Staff, Reince Preibus. Chou, who was born in Taiwan and has helped manage her family’s transportation interests, was a long-serving Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush. She is married to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. Vice-President-elect Pence served in both the House and Senate before becoming Governor of Indiana.
These appointments suggest the Trump Administration will work closely with Ryan and McConnell to move a big agenda. They have majorities in both houses (but not a super-majority in the Senate), and have already passed a lot of Republican proposals that died on Pres. Obama’s desk. So, they won’t have to start from scratch.
- Economic growth, beginning with deregulation
- Repealing and replacing Obamacare
- Tax Reform
- Security the border
He discussed those priorities in a Wisconsin radio interview and says he is in close touch daily with Pres.-elect Trump. (Talking Points Memo)
Comment: China’s problem here is vexing. They do not want to break the vulnerable Kim regime, but they don’t want to see South Korea and Japan start arming themselves to cope with North Korea’s rising threat.
◆ ISIS calls attacker at Ohio State a “soldier.” (New York Times) He appears to have been inspired online, rather than trained directly.
Comment: White House spokesman Josh Ernest was truly embarrassing as he tried to describe the attack without saying the word “Islam.” It was like the author who wrote an entire novel without using the letter “e.” Yes, you can do it. But why?
Seen any interesting news or commentary?
I welcome your suggestions. Charles (dot) Lipson at Gmail (dot) com
Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Get ready for a LOT more of this: Norway’s planned donations to the Clinton Foundation for next year are down 90% from their peak. (Daily Caller)
Comment: Utterly predictable. When the donations are mainly to cultivate your future power-in-office, then they will decline sharply when your political future dies.
Comment: Speaking engagements now open!
◆ IowaHawk has the best comments on the cast of Hamilton lecturing Mike Pence:
◆ How Japan filled a huge, giant, enormous sinkhole–65 feet deep–in the middle of a city within a week. (Wired) Chicago officials scoffed, noting that “in our city, 3 potholes can provide steady employment for city workers for 13 years.”
◆ ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, seems a tad worried he might be targetted by the US. Refuses to sleep without a suicide vest. (Fox News) Also, demands the flowers, hard candy, and Tempur-Pedic bed in his hotel suite.
◆ An interview with Steve Bannon. (Hollywood Reporter) Make up your own mind.
I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist . . . Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement. It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. –Steve Bannon in the Hollywood Reporter
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Tom Elia for IowaHawk
◆ Michael Lipson for Japanese sinkhole