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Defense bill passes House

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CAPITOL HILL – One of the most consequential bills on the House of Representatives calendar each year, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), got a thorough hearing over three days last week before ultimately passing 344- 81 on Friday.

“This bill is the vehicle by which we usually, for 55 years at least, fulfill our responsibilities under the Constitution that I mentioned, to provide for the common defense. I believe that’s the first job of the federal government,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas-13), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “It is fundamentally wrong to send men and women out on dangerous missions without providing them the best equipment, in the best shape, with the best training that our country can possibly provide.”

The NDAA for fiscal year (FY) 2018 authorizes $696 billion in defense spending, $28.5 billion more than the amount requested by President Donald Trump. Among the added expenditures are $7.9 billion in aviation readiness funds and $5.9 billion for the U.S. naval presence, as well as $2.5 billion for missile defense efforts. The bill increases funding for cyber operations by $1.7 billion and for U.S. Cyber Command by 16 percent.

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Pee-wee Herman and today's political scene

pee wee herman

 

“I know you are, but what am I?” are the famous words of man-child Pee-wee Herman when caught in a heated argument. Should there really be any surprise that this is the same reaction of the other famous man-child, Donald J. Trump, when he reacts to those who question his fitness for the presidency or the actions he takes as president?

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The business of government is not a business

donaldtrumpThe American voters elected a businessman to run the federal government because they mistakenly believed that the government would be run more effectively with a businessman at its helm. Why, then, is there any surprise that Donald J. Trump is running the federal government exactly as he had run Trump Enterprises? Why, then, is there any surprise that he expects federal government employees to respond to him exactly as Trump employees had?

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Federal infrastructure and us

White House Front TwilightCongressman John Sarbanes, Senator Chris Van Hollen and a host of other federal elected officials say they have a bone to pick with President Donald Trump.
Van Hollen, along with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (talk about your strange bedfellows) are among those urging the Trump administration not to return two diplomatic compounds in the U.S. to Russian control. Intelligence reports indicate the two compounds – one in Maryland and one in New York – were used by the Russian government for intelligence-related purposes.
“The properties were seized because 17 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that Russia used covert cyberattacks, espionage and harmful propaganda to try and undermine our democracy,” Van Hollen and Graham said in a letter to the president.
The senators say returning the compounds to the Russians is unjustifiable.
“It would both make it easier for the Kremlin to continue its intelligence operations in our own backyard and make it clear that they can avoid consequences for their actions,” the senators said in the letter.

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Dreaming the impeachable dream

Don Quixote tilting at windmillsIn 1868 the House of Representatives resolved to adopt articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson because, it was contended, the president violated the Tenure of Office Act. This Act required Senate approval for removing certain office holders.
It was the contention of the House that the president violated this Act when he removed Edwin McMasters Stanton, the Secretary of War, from office and replaced him with Lorenzo Thomas.
The Tenure of Office Act, by the way, was only in effect from 1667 to 1887.
Did this violation by President Johnson truly warrant impeachment or was adopting articles of impeachment purely a political act by Congress? Your guess is as good as mime regarding this impeachment hearing, but of note President Johnson was not convicted by the Senate.

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Taking an “oaf” of loyalty

donaldtrumpThe primary reason Donald J. Trump fired F.B.I. Director James Comey was, simply, because he could. It is his firing of people that somehow satisfies his rather insatiable thirst for power. It was, as you will remember, the key component of his television show, the Apprentice. “You're fired!” was the signature line of that show and it served to demonstrate for all to see who, exactly, held the power. Donald J. Trump.

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Maybe it's merely the longest 100 days - yet

trump thumbs up low resMore than 100 days or so into this administration and I must admit I have not grown tired of winning. I am just waiting for it to begin unless you consider Trump's firing the individual ultimately responsible for the F.B.I. investigation into his administration regarding the Russian connection a win. Well, I guess he considers that a win, at least for his own self-interest, for the time being. Whatever did happen to Boris Epstyn?

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Post hoc ergo propter hoc

20170503 100417President Donald Trump. Saying the name is a joke and an insult all at the same time. Not since Richard Milhous Nixon has the nation faced a more direct and vile threat to its existence.
Of Nixon, upon his passing, Hunter S. Thompson opined, “He was the real thing -- a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family.”
It isn’t a stretch to imagine this as a description of President Donald Trump.

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