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Trump attacks Democrats for obstruction on appointees

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President Donald Trump on Sunday blamed Senate Democrats for the dearth of experts at the State Department, ignoring the department’s high turnover and the number of positions for which there is no nominee.

“The Democrats continue to Obstruct the confirmation of hundreds of good and talented people who are needed to run our government … A record in U.S. history. State Department, Ambassadors and many others are being slow walked. Senate must approve NOW,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The lack of experts at the State Department is receiving renewed attention after the announcement that Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may meet for a possible historic summit. Their talks, which would be the first time in history a sitting U.S. president met with the country’s leader, could even include discussion of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, potentially accomplishing a long-held goal of getting North Korea to give up its nation’s prized weapons program.

Despite the March 8 announcement of the possible talks, the U.S. currently does not have people in a number of key roles. Trump has not named an ambassador to South Korea and the U.S. special envoy to North Korea resigned late last month. Along with the South Korea opening, Trump has yet to name an ambassador to the European Union. The president is correct in claiming that some of ambassador picks have been held up, including Richard Grenell, a former spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, who he tapped to be U.S. ambassador to Germany.

POLITICO has previously reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is hollowing out the State Department by leaving other top positions unfilled amid a wave of retirements, although the secretary has scaled back those efforts.

Later on Sunday, Trump blamed the media for downplaying his approval ratings.

“Rasmussen and others have my approval ratings at around 50%, which is higher than Obama, and yet the political pundits love saying my approval ratings are “somewhat low.” They know they are lying when they say it. Turn off the show – FAKE NEWS!,” he wrote on Twitter, although the most recent edition of Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll pegged Trump’s approval rating at 44 percent of likely voters.

The Real Clear Politics polling average has the president’s approval rating at just shy of 41 percent. Some polling experts have claimed that the method of the poll has an effect on the outcome, but that opinion is not universal.

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/11/trump-blames-democrats-state-department-vacancies-454408

#Headlines, #Money, #Politics, #PresidentCheeto, #TheNewz, #WorldNews, Corruption and Greed | #Corruption

Government advising New Jersey town on ferry service to Kushner resort

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Long Branch city and transit officials working to get more funds for pier and ferry service to resort co-owned by Kushner

The federal government has been advising a beach town on the Jersey Shore on plans to build a pier and start a ferry service that would speed New Yorkers to the doorstep of a resort co-owned by Jared Kushner.

Related: Christie: Trump’s reliance on family hurts ability to run White House

Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/09/government-advising-new-jersey-town-on-ferry-service-to-kushner-resort

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International Women’s Day: Spain’s workers in ‘feminist strike’

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What’s the Deal With Stormy Daniels?

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At its core, what is the Stormy Daniels story about?

I ask this because the Daniels topic, just entering its seventh week in the news spotlight, has become so choked with details, nuance and avenues of entry that it’s easy to get confused. What we need is one of those mnemonic devices where you imagine a physical location—like a palace—and fill its rooms, closets, vestibules and floors with the scandal’s factual detritus to maintain perspective.

As we enter the memory palace, let’s make the first of our many deposits: Is the Daniels story primarily about the original allegation, sourced to Daniels, of a sexual affair spanning the years 2006 and 2007 with Donald Trump? If so, do we now all agreed that despite Trump’s adamant denial through his attorney, Michael Cohen, that such affair really happened? So the story is about sex, right?

Or is it about money? Everybody concedes that Cohen paid Daniels the sum of $130,000 in October 2016, just before the election, to button her lip. How likely is it that Trump would deny having sex with a woman but would pay her through a cutout to make sure she never claimed that they did have sex? Is the deeper story here one about Daniels being a gold digger who exploited their consensual relationship for financial gain?

Or is the story really about sex? Thanks to the various reports, we now know that around the time Trump allegedly trysted with Daniels, he is believed to have gotten it on with a Playboy model. So the story just isn’t about philandering but serial philandering? The philandering came four months after Melania Trump give birth to Trump’s son Barron, which makes it post-partum sex with a woman not his wife.

Or is the Daniels story primarily a legal one? Lord knows we have a half-dozen bullet items to support this contention. Take your pick: Daniels has filed a lawsuit against Trump, demanding release from a 2016 nondisclosure agreement that she signed but he did not. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the president “won” the case in arbitration. NBC News now reports that Cohen has obtained a new “secret” restraining order to silence her. The do-gooder group Common Cause has filed a campaign finance complaint saying the $130,000 payoff amounts to an undeclared in-kind donation to Trump’s presidential campaign. Elsewhere, legal beagles are alleging legal misconduct by Cohen that might lead to his disbarment. If Daniels took the $130,000 omerta check, does she deserve our criticism for using a technicality—that Trump didn’t sign the agreement—for going back on her promise to stay silent?

For those who put morality first, the Daniels story is probably about the adulterous, lying ways of politicians—and about the hypocrisy of Trump voters. As Kirsten Powers put it last night on CNN, the people who voted for Donald Trump do care when Democrats tomcat around but don’t care when Republicans do it. And vice versa.

With a nod to Watergate, maybe the real story is about Trump’s alleged cover-up. That is, we shouldn’t care so much about what he did as to the measures he took—including lying—to conceal it.

For those who put morality last, the story isn’t a story at all. They’re quick to point at Bill Clinton and cite the whatabout principle. For them, Trump’s affair with Daniels didn’t happen, but if it did it happened it happened a long, long time ago before Trump was a candidate so it doesn’t matter and the payoff and the coverup and the legal complications don’t matter, either. (If you’re especially pressed for time and don’t want to read about the Daniels affair, I suggest you endorse this interpretation.)

The takeaway that probably fits everybody, from pro-Trumpers to anti-Trumpers, is that the 45th president has successfully demolished a norm so outrageous that nobody ever thought to spell out as a norm: Presidential Candidates Should Never Get Caught Having Sex With Adult Film Actors.

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Or is Stormy Daniels a press story? You recall that in October 2016, just before the election, Fox News spiked its story about a Daniels and Trump liaison. Send your Daniels musing to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com. My email alerts supported the president even after he stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue shot that guy and didn’t lose any voters. My Twitter feed blushes at the mention of adult films. My RSS feed failed its audition to star in an adult film.

#Europe, #Headlines, #Money, #Politics, #PresidentCheeto, #TheNewz, #Trending, #WorldNews

Trade wars: EU plans retaliatory levies on US whisky, orange juice and peanut butter

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The European Union is planning to levy tariffs on imports of US whiskey, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice in retaliation for Donald Trump’s promised new imposts on steel imports, the Brussels commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has confirmed.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/trump-tariffs-eu-levies-us-whisky-orange-juice-peanut-butter-trade-wars-a8243881.html