ABBREVIATED PUNDIT ROUND-UP: ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE. AND ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN ARE MERELY PLAYERS

May 1, 2017 by

 

Buenos Aires Journal:

The Mauricio Macri administration reverted a decision to award former US president Jimmy Carter the Order of the Liberator General San Martín — the maximum distinction that the country can give to a foreign personality —, under the pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration, CNN web site reported this week.

The official tribute, which had already been approved by the foreign ministry and was published in the Official Gazette, was cancelled after receiving a specific request by the US government, which would have suggested it would be better to delay it. Carter was to be given the award for his work in promoting human rights during Argentina’s last military dictatorship.

After being informed about the decision, the foreign ministry had again requested that President Macri give the award in spite of the rejection by Trump’s government since it had been made official, according to an anonymous foreign ministry official consulted by CNN’s David Cox.

WaPo:

After hard-left turn under Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s Labour Party on course for historic defeat

In 2015, Britain’s Labour Party tacked to the left, repudiating the middle-way philosophy that had won it three elections under Tony Blair. Voters responded by handing the party its worst defeat in three decades.

Rather than scramble back toward the center, Labour lurched further left. The party elected as its leader Jeremy Corbyn, a white-bearded baby boomer from the back benches who, like Bernie Sanders in the United States, ignited an improbable movement among young activists with his attacks on the rigged capitalist system and unquestioned fidelity to socialist ideals.

Now, with less than six weeks to go before Britain votes once more, the Corbyn-led Labour Party is on course for an electoral beatdown so broad and deep it would make the drubbing the party took in 2015 look like a triumph.

ABC News:

New York Democrats have hatched a plan to get a look at Donald Trump’s tax records by crafting a piece of legislation designed to get at his state returns that does everything but mention the Republican president by name.

The bill introduced this month in New York’s Senate and Assembly would require the state to release five years of state tax information for any president or vice president who files a New York state return.

While Trump’s state return wouldn’t include all the details from his federal return, it would offer the public much more information about the president’s potential conflicts of interest or how his finances would be impacted by his own tax cut proposal, according to supporters.

Democrats in New York and more than two dozen states have crafted bills that would require presidential candidates to release their federal returns in order to appear on that state’s ballot. None of those, however, would require Trump to release old returns. New York state “is in a unique position to change the national conversation,” according to Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman, of Manhattan, because the president is a native New Yorker.

“This is drawing a line in the sand: Are you for transparency or not?” Hoylman said. “This is an issue of national security.”

CNN:

Trump: GOP health care bill ‘guarantees’ coverage for pre-existing conditions

President Donald Trump says the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “guarantees” coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions — a claim that could undercut the legislation the White House is currently pushing on Capitol Hill.

“Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, ‘Has to be,'” Trump told CBS’s John Dickerson on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
Pressed further, Trump said that “we actually have a clause that guarantees” coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Trump also said the health care legislation is “changing.”
Trump’s comments come days after moderate New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur and leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus cut a deal that would require insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions; but, unlike the mandate under Obamacare, insurers could charge them higher rates than others in the plan if they allow their coverage to lapse.
Such a change could leave those with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, paying much higher premiums and potentially facing gaps in coverage, health care experts note.

Reuters:

Tiffany Cartagena said she was eating with her mixed-race girlfriend at a restaurant in Ohio last month when she heard nearby diners remark about the “monkey” at the next table.

Denver resident Gwendolyn Mami, an African-American, was on a January flight when another passenger proclaimed President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall would stem the flow of “those people”, she recalled. Allen Dees, a white Louisiana house painter, said two black men hurled racial slurs at him in March and told him to get out of their neighborhood.

As Trump nears his 100th day in the White House after a campaign punctuated by his inflammatory comments about Muslims and immigrants, a number of Americans say U.S. race relations are deteriorating, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

DC Examiner:

Sebastian Gorka to accept role outside White House

Gorka has served for months on the Strategic Initiatives Group, an internal organization within the White House, and as a national security adviser. His exit from the White House comes amid increased speculation that a reported lack of a security clearance prevented him from fully performing in his job.

But a source told the Washington Examiner that Gorka’s role in SIG was always meant to be temporary, and suggested he had been placed there while administration officials created a terrorism-related position for him elsewhere in the government. An official said Gorka has been in a “holding pattern” while he waited for the position, which will not be at the State Department, to be established.

A spokesman for the National Security Council said he did not “personally know” the details about Gorka’s move.

A White House source said Gorka’s role has always been unclear and said Gorka never had national security issues in his portfolio. “This guy has always been a big mystery to me,” the source said of Gorka’s contributions to the staff.

Glad to get this guy out, but he never should have been in.

Jill D Lawrence/USA Today:

Trump is a nightmare negotiating partner

Fragmentation in Washington, between Republicans and Democrats but also among Republicans themselves, means we’re in for months of intensive negotiation to get anything done. This week, Trump and lawmakers need a deal to keep the government open and funded until Oct. 1. By fall, Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling to keep America solvent. Deals will be necessary to move forward on health care, tax reform, infrastructure spending and Trump’s enormously contentious budget proposal.

But no amount of talking will get anyone anywhere if members of Congress can’t trust Trump to stick to a position, forgo revenge and threats, and demonstrate convincingly that he’s interested in more than his own polling, branding and wealth. Trump said he alone could fix Washington. At the moment, there’s a real case that he alone is breaking it.

The long awaited pivot that the news media can’t stop pretending exists.

WaPo:

How the Republican right found allies in Russia

Growing up in the 1980s, Brian Brown was taught to think of the communist Soviet Union as a dark and evil place.

But Brown, a leading opponent of same-sex marriage, said that in the past few years he has started meeting Russians at conferences on family issues and finding many kindred spirits.

Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, has visited Moscow four times in four years, including a 2013 trip during which he testified before the Duma as Russia adopted a series of anti-gay laws.

“What I realized was that there was a great change happening in the former Soviet Union,” he said. “There was a real push to re-instill Christian values in the public square.”

A significant shift has been underway in recent years across the Republican right.

On issues including gun rights, terrorism and same-sex marriage, many leading advocates on the right who grew frustrated with their country’s leftward tilt under President Barack Obama have forged ties with well-connected Russians and come to see that country’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, as a potential ally.

The attitude adjustment among many conservative activists helps explain one of the most curious aspects of the 2016 presidential race: a softening among many conservatives of their historically hard-line views of Russia. To the alarm of some in the GOP’s national security establishment, support in the party base for then-candidate Donald Trump did not wane even after he rejected the tough tone of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who called Russia America’s No. 1 foe, and repeatedly praised Putin.

Rick Perlstein/Newsweek:

The Battle of Berkeley accelerated the construction of a body of mythology: the left has escalated its resistance to Trump into literal war, so Trump supporters must be prepared to resort to violence to oppose it.

How afraid of this should you be?

The most interesting answers to that question do not come from the left. They come from concerned voices on the right, who’ve been monitoring the chatter with mounting alarm, going public with pleas to liberals to still the antifa renegades before bodies begin piling up.

The most convincing evidence that they have a point comes in the ensuing comment threads, where the need to prepare for armed force is taken as gospel.

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