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abortion rights group launches $5 million campaign to flip the house

members of the national abortion rights action league (naral) pro-choice america protest in washington, d.c., on  march 22, 2012. (paul j. richards/afp/getty images)the pro-abortion rights group naral is launching a $5 million, 19-state campaign to flip the house of representatives, targeting republicans who have voted to restrict abortion but have rarely had serious democratic challenges.“this is the moment naral was made for,” said the group’s president, ilyse hogue. “we’re seeing and feeling a deep anxiety that is ginning up enthusiasm to take back the house as a buttress against trump’s draconian agenda. it’s our job to translate it into wins.”naral’s spending plan, the largest in the group’s 49-year history, will take it into most of this year’s battleground...





trump canceled the summit with north korea. here’s the real missed opportunity.

president trump announced thursday that the planned june 12 summit with north korean leader kim jong un is canceled. what does the cancellation mean? does face-to-face diplomacy really matter?the summit would have been a historic first between a sitting u.s. president and the leader of north korea.analysts disagreed sharply in their assessments of what the meeting might have accomplished and even on whether engaging face-to-face was wise. here’s what we know about the effectiveness of face-to-face diplomacy, based on recent research in this field.1) trump and kim might have learned from what they said — but also what they saw face-to-face fear and mistrust can lead to otherwise avoidable conflict. determining the intentions of allies and adversaries is one of the biggest challenges...





trump’s north korea rhetoric was always bold predictions tempered with a ya-never-know

late last month, president trump raised the subject of his planned meeting with north korea at a rally in washington, mich.“a lot of good things are happening there, a lot of good things,” trump said. “i’m not going to give you what’s going to actually happen there because we don’t really know, but i’ll tell you one thing: we’re not playing games. i remember you know it was very rough three, four months ago.”the crowd broke out in a chant of “no-bel! no-bel!” — suggesting that trump was on his way to winning the nobel peace prize.trump laughed and walked away from the lectern.“that’s very nice! thank you. that’s very nice. nobel!” he said with a laugh. “i just want to get the job done.”there’s a recommendation in trump’s book “the art of the deal??...





senate democratic campaign chairman welcomes help from clintons in the midterms

bill and hillary clinton arrive at the u.s. capitol for the inauguration of president trump on jan. 20, 2017.  (win mcnamee/pool/ap)the chairman of the senate democratic campaign arm said thursday that he welcomes the help of bill and hillary clinton in the midterms, embracing the onetime power couple of the democratic party, even as they have become more polarizing figures since the 2016 election.“we welcome those individuals and everybody who wants to help,” said democratic senatorial campaign committee chairman chris van hollen of maryland, speaking of the clintons and former president barack obama. he said he would leave decisions about surrogates to each individual campaign.democrats are defending 10 senate seats in states where president trump defeated hillary clinton. republic...





gop immigration rebels push forward after trump promises to veto any bill without wall funding

house advocates for moderate immigration policies stood at the cusp of forcing votes on bills that would give young undocumented immigrants a pathway to u.s. citizenship — even as president trump threatened to veto any legislation that did not hew to his hard-line views.backers of a “discharge” petition that would spark an immigration debate over the wishes of house republican leaders stood five signatures short of reaching the necessary 218 after two republicans and six democrats added their names thursday.they signed as conservative and moderate republicans negotiated with house leaders to avert the discharge — and hours after trump responded to the effort by pledging to veto any bill that does not build “a real wall” along the u.s.-mexico border.“unless it improves a wall,...





house easily passes its version of annual defense bill

the house of representatives voted overwhelmingly thursday to pass its version of an annual bill to fund defense programs and u.s. military operations, despite objections from the white house over key elements of pentagon restructuring and from democrats over how it revamps the country’s nuclear arsenal.the 351-to-66 vote is not the final word on the matter, as the senate has yet to weigh in with its version of the defense bill, which the senate armed services committee completed work on this week. the two measures must be combined into a final product before congress can vote to send it to the president’s desk.house speaker paul d. ryan (r-wis.) cheered the passage of the bill as the next step in “a new era for our military,” he said, noting that era began last year with “the bi...





the group least likely to think the u.s. has a responsibility to accept refugees? evangelicals.

a syrian girl sits on a water container april 18 at a camp for displaced syrians from the former rebel bastion of douma, in al-bil, east of the rebel-held town of azaz, in northern syria. (zein al-rifai/afp/getty images)in february 2017, as debate raged nationally over president trump’s decision to curtail immigration to the united states, the conservative christian broadcasting network dipped into the bible to share what that sacred text said about refugees.“treat refugees the way you want to be treated,” it said, quoting leviticus. “invite the stranger in” (matthew) and “open your door to the traveler” (job).the first comment in reply to the article captures the tone of the rest of the feedback the site received: “shame on cbn for this very poorly written article full of ...





the letter trump sent to kim jong un canceling the summit, annotated

after weeks of receiving and even appearing to encourage chants of “nobel” ahead of a planned historic meeting with north korea dictator kim jong un, president trump on thursday abruptly canceled the june 12 summit. his withdrawal comes after days of wavering by north korea and then the united states on attending the summit. north korea issued a statement wednesday saying the united states should “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.” a north korean official also called vice president pence a “political dummy” after pence said in an interview the north korea negotiations could "end like the libya model ended” if no deal was made. trump hints at all that in his letter to kim. read it below with our annotations. click on the highligh...





what paul ryan gets wrong about identity politics

house speaker paul d. ryan says “moral relativism” is creating identity politics, but the truth is more likely the reverse.the lawmaker, who is retiring from congress after this term, spoke thursday at the national catholic prayer breakfast about how the conflicting values of different groups of americans are influencing our politics.“we live in a world where moral relativism has become pervasive, laying the groundwork for identity politics and tribalism. twenty-first century technology has only exacerbated this,” ryan said. “it's important we take time to reconnect with our faith — with our place in humanity.”ryan is both right and wrong.moral relativism — the belief that what is right or wrong varies depending on the individual, group or situation — did not come...





trump’s weirdly wistful breakup with kim jong un

if you didn't know better, you'd think president trump and kim jong un just broke up.“i felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters,” trump wrote in his letter canceling their planned june 12 summit in singapore. “some day, i look very much forward to meeting you.”he added: “if you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.” he later tweeted out the letter with an almost wistful “sadly” at the top.in case there was any doubt how badly trump wants his dialogue with north korea to work, there's the evidence. as i wrote earlier this week, trump didn't seem to want to let this go — and still doesn't seem to, even floating the possibilit...





who’s behind those political ads on facebook? now, you can find out.

graphics of facebook pages created by a russian troll factory are displayed during a congressional hearing. (shawn thew/epa-efe/rex/shutterstock)facebook and twitter forged ahead thursday with new efforts to disclose more information about the political advertisements that appear on their sites, part of a broad campaign to help users better understand why they see the content they do and who’s behind it.for both tech companies, the stakes are high ahead of the 2018 midterm election, two years after russian agents spread propaganda – through ads and other posts – on social media sites in a bid to create social and political unrest in the united states during the 2016 presidential race.starting thursday on facebook, political ads will include a marker at the top indicating who has pa...





trump cancels nuclear summit with north korean leader kim jong un

president turmp and north korean leader kim jong un. (mandel ngan/afp/getty images)president trump on thursday canceled a summit next month with north korean leader kim jong un, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” from the rogue nation in a letter explaining his abrupt decision. “i feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” trump wrote to kim in a letter the white house released thursday morning.the summit — which had the potential to be a major diplomatic victory for trump — had been planned for june 12 in singapore.speaking later at the white house, trump sounded a bellicose note, relaying that the u.s. military is “ready if necessary” to take action against north korea if it engages in a “foolish or reckless act” and that sou...





trump twitter ruling: what it takes to get blocked by the president

(j. david ake/ap)a federal judge ruled wednesday that the “interactive space” where people respond to president trump’s tweets is a “designated public forum” covered by the first amendment. as such, the white house cannot block users based on the viewpoints they express in their responses to trump.the suit was brought by seven individuals whose tweets got them blocked, along with the knight first amendment institute at columbia university.u.s. district judge naomi buchwald in new york rejected the administration’s arguments that the president, in blocking the users, was simply exercising the right a private individual might have to choose “not to engage” with the individuals who brought the lawsuit.  the audience for a reply on trump’s account isn’t just trump, she ...





china and japan now seem on friendlier terms. but is this a real bilateral thaw?

a japanese coast guard patrol shoots water over a taiwan coast guard vessel as a warning to a taiwanese leisure boat, right, in the east china sea in january 2013. (taiwan coast guard/ap)north korea has dominated much of the media’s attention, particularly since the inter-korean summit on april 27. this has left other areas of asian geopolitics largely out of the news — including, notably, an apparent thaw between china and japan.in recent years, bilateral relations have been tense, in part because the two countries have overlapping territorial claims to the diaoyu/senkaku islands, a set of eight uninhabited islands in the east china sea.[why china, japan and korea fuss over tiny islands — 4 things to know]in mid-april, chinese foreign minister wang yi traveled to tokyo — th...





trump says he might accept a ‘phase-in’ of north korea’s denuclearization

the united states might accept a “phase-in” of north korea’s denuclearization but the dismantling of kim jong un’s nuclear program must progress “rapidly,” president trump said in an interview broadcast thursday.“we’re going to see. i’d like to have it done immediately,” trump said on “fox & friends” on fox news. “but, you know, physically, a phase-in may be a little bit necessary, we will have to do a rapid phase in, but i’d like to see it done at one time.”trump’s comments, which were taped wednesday, came as north korea threatened to reconsider participation in a summit with trump next month in singapore. trump wants to negotiate an end to the north’s possession of nuclear weapons.north korea said wednesday that it is up to the united states to decide w...





trump: nfl players unwilling to stand for anthem maybe ‘shouldn’t be in the country’

nfl players unwilling to stand for the national anthem should be barred from playing and maybe “shouldn’t be in the country,” president trump said in a television interview that aired thursday.the president was reacting to the adoption wednesday of a new nfl policy that could bring disciplinary action for players who kneel or make other protests during the national anthem.trump said he objected to a provision in the new policy that will allow players to stay in the locker room while the song is played, but added: “still, i think it’s good.”“you have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe they shouldn’t be in the country,” trump said in an interview that aired thursday morning on “fox & friends” on fox ne...





trump promised to drain the swamp. michael cohen shows the swamp is just fine.

the bbc reported wednesday that president trump’s former personal lawyer, michael cohen, was paid at least $400,000 to arrange talks between trump and ukrainian president petro poroshenko last year.the allegation, which cohen denies, follows previous reports that cohen was paid at least $2.95 million in consulting fees after trump’s victory.cohen’s reported consulting contracts included:cohen also reportedly offered consulting services to ford motor co., uber and qatar.trump repeatedly railed against “consultants” in the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign, telling voters that a hillary clinton presidency would create a “constitutional crisis” because of her “pay-for-play” corruption.“i’m going to … expand the definition of lobbyists,” trump said on oc...





‘a real wall’ must be part of any immigration bill in the house, trump says

president trump is insisting that “a real wall” on the u.s.-mexico border be included in any immigration bill that emerges from congress if lawmakers want his signature.in a television interview that aired thursday, trump reacted to an effort underway in the house to force votes on bills protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation.centrists have been building support for a maneuver called a discharge petition that would prompt votes on a series of immigration bills, including a measure that would provide permanent legal status for the young immigrants, known as “dreamers.” that group includes those protected from deportation under the deferred action for childhood arrivals program that trump has canceled.“unless it improves a wall, and i mean a wall, a real wall, an...





the health 202: democrats are no longer cheering obamacare plans

the prognosissenate minority leader chuck schumer (d-n.y.) (photo by alex wong/getty images)congress’s official scorekeeper says obamacare premiums will rise more slowly next year and the marketplaces will be stable in most parts of the country. but don’t expect republicans -- or surprisingly, even democrats -- to be doing any wild cheering.in a dramatic shift that still leaves my head spinning, affordable care act plans have lost their most ardent political defenders, as democrats have switched from downplaying premium hikes to advertising them as the gop's fault. and republicans are now reticent to talk about the law at all, aware they reneged on their longstanding promises to fully repeal it.there are still some rough times ahead for the marketplaces, partly due to republican a...





the finance 202: the biggest banks are about to get their own relief in washington

the tickerformer federal reserve chairman paul volcker. (andrew harrer/bloomberg)the biggest banks may have missed out on the regulatory relief congress approved this week for the rest of the industry. but they won’t have to wait long for their share. the federal reserve is meeting next week to consider rolling back the volcker rule, a legacy of post-crisis regulation reviled by wall street banks. the rule, adopted in 2013, bars commercial banks with federally insured deposits from making certain kinds of risky bets with their own and their depositors’ money. bankers at those firms hate it because it curbed hefty profits from their trading desks and imposed compliance requirements they call overly burdensome and arbitrary. (jpmorgan chief executive jamie dimon once said the rule requi...