“bank of Cyprus” – Google News: Cyprus aims to maintain high surpluses and put debt on downward path – Cyprus Mail

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Cyprus aims to maintain high surpluses and put debt on downward path  Cyprus Mail

Cyprus aims at maintaining high primary surpluses and use windfall gains to reduce its high public debt or boost its cash buffers, thereby placing its public debt …

“bank of Cyprus” – Google News


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Trump Investigations and voters manipulations online from Michael_Novakhov (2 sites): “Mueller Investigation of voters manipulations online” – Google News: Facebook bans Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones for hate speech – CNYcentral.com

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Facebook bans Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones for hate speech  CNYcentral.com

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and others from its main *service* and from Instagram, saying they violated the …

“Mueller Investigation of voters manipulations online” – Google News

Trump Investigations and voters manipulations online from Michael_Novakhov (2 sites)


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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): MichaelNovakhov on Twitter: Putin signs Runet law to cut Russia’s internet off from rest of world zd.net/2IUgDvU via @ZDNet & @superglaze

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Putin signs Runet law to cut Russia’s internet off from rest of world zd.net/2IUgDvU via @ZDNet & @superglaze


Posted by

MichaelNovakhov
on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 7:27pm

MichaelNovakhov on Twitter

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): MichaelNovakhov on Twitter: RT @mikenov: Putin signs Runet law to cut Russia’s internet off from rest of world | ZDNet dlvr.it/R3xLCT

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Putin signs Runet law to cut Russia’s internet off from rest of world | ZDNet dlvr.it/R3xLCT


Posted by

mikenov
on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 4:52pm
Retweeted by

MichaelNovakhov
on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 7:27pm

1 retweet

MichaelNovakhov on Twitter

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): MichaelNovakhov on Twitter: How Philanthropy Can Preserve Press Freedom (Opinion) philanthropy.com/article/How-Ph… via @Philanthropy

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How Philanthropy Can Preserve Press Freedom (Opinion) philanthropy.com/article/How-Ph… via @Philanthropy


Posted by

MichaelNovakhov
on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 7:25pm

MichaelNovakhov on Twitter

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites): MichaelNovakhov on Twitter: Зеленский ответил на слова Путина об «общем» между Россией и Украиной vedomosti.ru/politics/artic… #putin #feedly

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Зеленский ответил на слова Путина об «общем» между Россией и Украиной vedomosti.ru/politics/artic… #putin #feedly


Posted by

MichaelNovakhov
on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 7:23pm

MichaelNovakhov on Twitter

Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (3 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Donald Trump | The Guardian: Donald Trump to award Tiger Woods with Presidential Medal of Freedom

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  • Golfer won first Masters title in 14 years last month
  • Woods and Trump are long-time golf and business partners

Tiger Woods’s rehabilitation continues with the news that he will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony next week at the White House.

The medal is one of the highest civilian awards in America, and Woods will be only the fourth golfer to receive one. The other are Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Charles Sifford, the first African American to play on the PGA Tour.

Related: Tiger Woods wins amazing fifth Masters 14 years after his last Green Jacket

Great morning at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida with @JackNicklaus and @TigerWoods! pic.twitter.com/mdPN4yvS8e

Continue reading…

Donald Trump | The Guardian

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Just Security: The Pentagon’s 2018 Civilian Casualties Report: What’s In It and What’s Next

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The Pentagon’s latest annual report on civilian casualties, released this morning, lists shockingly low numbers of reported casualties that the Department of Defense has assessed as “credible,” reflecting a need for better processes for determining how many civilians the United States is killing. While the report contains some improvements in reporting standards and parameters, it illustrates the serious gaps that remain to be address by both the department and Congress.

The department issued the report to comply with provisions in the last two defense authorization bills. This article provides readers with a refresher on the contents of the original provision in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the new requirements added in the 2019 bill, and how DoD responded to them in this latest report. (Readers can also look back at an analysis last June of the 2017 report.)

The May 2019 report is the second of its kind and the first report after Congress passed more robust reporting requirements in the FY 2019 NDAA. The latest report, due to the armed services committees yesterday and first reported by Missy Ryan in the Washington Post, was posted on Defense.gov this morning. It builds on a record of incremental progress toward greater transparency from the Pentagon on its record — and its methods — with respect to preventing, tracking, and responding to civilian casualties.

Importantly, the latest report helps surface some of the toughest remaining issues worthy of attention from DoD, such as the process that leads to such ostensibly low casualty figures. As it works to improve the accuracy of identifying civilians, both for preventing civilian casualties and for tracking those that occur, the Pentagon should work closely with outside experts and organizations that advocate for greater protections for civilians in war and against overly expansive definitions of who is targetable.

What the NDAA Requires 

The reporting requirement, which originated in Section 1057 of the 2018 NDAA, called on DoD to provide a list of the operations that were confirmed, or reasonably suspected, to have resulted in civilian casualties. The original provision also required the date and location of each operation, and whether or not the operations took place inside or outside a declared theater of active armed conflict.

Last year’s NDAA (Section 1062) amended the requirement in a few key ways designed to increase the level of detail into certain aspects of DoD’s analysis and to ensure that the report, including key information, would be made public at the same time that Congress received it.

The most notable revisions in the 2019 amendment (Sec. 1062) include:

  • The addition of “each specific strike, mission, raid, or incident” to the general requirement to provide a list of each operation that was reasonably suspected or confirmed to have resulted in civilian casualties.
  • The addition of a requirement to differentiate between those harmed and those injured in the department’s tallies.
  • The addition of a requirement to describe the process by which the department makes ex gratia payments (in addition to the description of how DoD investigates allegations).
  • A requirement to make public the report submitted at the same time as it is provided to Congress.

This Year’s Report 

In some ways, this year’s report maintains a degree of consistency with last year’s – much of the prefatory language remained the same or similar, while the addition of a table of casualties in each section marks a significant difference and an improvement over last year’s report.

Total Figures and Estimates Broken Down by Location:

As with last year’s report, DoD provides an aggregate figure of the overall estimated casualties worldwide. (Last year’s report provided an aggregate figure of 499 killed and 169 injured.) This year, DoD claims that 120 civilians were killed and approximately 65 civilians injured during 2018 as a result of U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. The report states that the department found no credible reports of civilian casualties from U.S. military operations in Yemen or Libya (although one report in Libya from 2017 remains under investigation.) By contrast, tracking organizations (Airwars, UNAMA, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and New America) assess with confidence that at least 1,224 civilians were killed (including 8 in Yemen and 3 in Libya) – a figure that exceeds the DoD estimate by a factor of 10.*

But unlike last year’s report, it also provides a breakdown of total figures by country (or theater):

  • In Iraq and Syria (Operation Inherent Resolve), DoD assesses that 42 civilians were killed and approximately 7 civilians injured as a result of U.S. military actions while 28 reports had not yet been assessed. The report also includes an assessment that DoD assessed that the US-led coalition killed approximately 793 civilians killed and approximately 206 civilians injured as result of U.S. military actions in 2017, while 69 reports were still under evaluation. (Airwars assesses 805 civilians killed during the same time period.)
  • In Afghanistan (Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO-led Inherent Resolve), DoD assesses that its actions resulted in 76 civilians killed and approximately 58 civilians injured. (UNAMA assesses that 406 civilians were killed during the same time period.)
  • DoD assesses two civilians were killed in Somalia (operations against Al Shabaab) as a result of U.S. military actions. (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism also assesses that at least two were killed in Somalia during this time, but Amnesty International has recently contested the accuracy of figures). 

Figures broken out by location, type of operation, and casualty:

Unlike last year, and true to the reporting requirement, the report includes a breakout of operations in each theater in which they conducted lethal operations, along with whether the operation was a ground or air engagement, and whether the casualty was an injury or death. While it is possible that each theater may have independently reported this information previously, this year’s report is an improvement over last year’s, which provided aggregate figures without a more structured breakdown. 

Greater detail on the credibility assessment process: 

This year’s report contains more details about the process by which a command assesses the credibility of a report of civilian casualties, which is the threshold the Pentagon uses for tallying the number of confirmed or “reasonably suspected” casualties:

A report may be found to be “not credible,” if, for example, (1) there was no U.S. military action within a reasonable distance and/or within a reasonable timeframe as that identified in the report; (2) a review of all available information, including information derived through intelligence sources, video from the weapon platform and/or ISR assets, and any information provided in the report, leads to the determination that it was more likely that civilians were not injured or killed; or (3) the report did not include enough information to assess it. 

As a result, this report, like its predecessor, fails to truly account for all “reasonably suspected” civilian casualties, because the department uses the very high “more likely than not” standard to assess a claim of casualties as “credible.” The effect is to place a number of casualty reports into a larger bucket of “non-credible” claims, when the department has sufficient certainty that DoD was at the scene but “insufficient evidence” of civilian casualties.

This issue of the evidentiary threshold required for an external allegation to achieve an assessment of “credible” thus remains an important area where there is a lot of room for improved policies and practices. 

Details about the contents of a new DoD policy and internal reforms: 

In a few parts of the report, the department provides hints as to what may be contained in a forthcoming DoD policy on civilian casualties, to include guidance for assessing and investigating casualties and a policy on ex gratia.

The report also includes a description of some internal developments that may aid in refining DoD’s approach to civilian casualties, including modifications to the Joint Instruction on Targeting with lessons learned from operations such as Inherent Resolve. The department also has established a civilian casualties working group, which was previewed in a separate report delivered in February in accordance with Section 936, which required DoD to place a senior official in charge of civilian casualties policy. 

Changes to “declared theater of armed conflict”: 

The new report also contains an interesting paragraph explaining that it considers all of the theaters it is reporting on it as falling within “a declared theater of active armed conflict.” As a result, the report’s breakdown of strike data does not include a column for indicating whether each individual strike occurred inside or outside such areas, as required by Section 1057. The department’s explanation says nothing about the fact that Section 1057 uses this parameter, so regardless of changes to other statutory provisions, it is still current law for purposes of this report:

Last year’s report used the term “a declared theater of active armed conflict,” as that term was understood in the context of Title 10 U.S.C. § 130f. Title 10 U.S.C. § 130f has since been amended and no longer includes the term “a declared theater of active armed conflict.” The term “a declared theater of active armed conflict” is also not defined in relevant DoD doctrine. For the purposes of this report, the term “a declared theater of active armed conflict” will be considered to mean, for calendar year 2018, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Thus, all U.S. military operations and particular instances listed below that resulted in civilian casualties occurred in a declared theater of active armed conflict, in the context of the ongoing armed conflict against al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and associated forces, including ISIS.

What’s interesting, and concerning, about the lack of clarity on the correct and current terminology here is that there is currently little to no transparency about U.S. government strikes outside what the Obama administration dubbed “areas of active hostilities.” For instance, we do not know whether the 2013 Presidential Policy Guidance has been amended (aside from what we read in the New York Times), whether it still applies, and, if so, where it applies. Are the countries included in today’s report the only ones where the U.S. is conducting lethal strikes? Nor do we know how many people, however categorized, are being killed in such strikes. The current administration has not complied with, and has now officially revoked, the minimal reporting on strikes outside “areas of active hostilities” that was required by executive order but not by statute. 

Where DoD Should Go from Here 

Importantly, the report, along with the civilian casualties study, lays bare the need for DoD to be more proactive – and to find more innovative ways – in seeking out information that it may not have readily at its disposal. Intelligence, full motion video, and pre-strike information are all useful, but may not tell the whole story.

DoD also should carefully review its high threshold for determining whether a report is “credible,” especially when it has sufficient information to suggest the U.S. was involved in a strike but isn’t sure if anybody died or was injured as a result. Some reasonable modifications to procedure would make for more accurate figures overall and bring the numbers from outside organizations closer to those DoD itself maintains and reports. Increased accuracy is not only important for after-the-fact assessments, but for being able to better predict — and thereby better avoid — civilian casualties on the front end. (And, of course, there are many other issues to address as well, such as the ways DoD assesses who is targetable.)

Where Congress Should Go from Here 

It’s also clear there is more that Congress can do to strengthen use-of-force transparency, building on the very important provisions it has passed in the last two years on a bipartisan basis.

A wide range of organizations, including transparency, civil liberties, and religious organizations, as well as human rights organizations that conduct civilian casualties investigations in the field, sent a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees today recommending several concrete steps that Congress should take to build on its recent legislative efforts.

In the letter, the signers, which include our respective organizations, Human Rights First and  Center for Civilians in Conflict, recommend, among other steps, that Congress:

  • require public transparency regarding any changes that have been made to the 2013 lethal targeting policy known as the Presidential Policy Guidance.
  • require public reporting of the names of all groups and countries the U.S. is using force against or in.
  • restore the reporting requirements in the July 2016 executive order on civilian casualties.

With the House and Senate both scheduled to begin marking up their respective defense authorization bills, now is the perfect time to take such steps.

(*The authors are grateful to Chris Woods of Airwars for assistance in compiling estimates made by tracking organizations.)

Image: Alex Wroblewski/Getty

The post The Pentagon’s 2018 Civilian Casualties Report: What’s In It and What’s Next appeared first on Just Security.

Just Security

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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“Trump – Russia Investigations” – Google News: What Watergate Prosecutors Had That Mueller Didn’t – The New York Times

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What Watergate Prosecutors Had That Mueller Didn’t  The New York Times

In the Trump-Russia investigation, the special counsel did not have the leverage of physical evidence.

“Trump – Russia Investigations” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Just Security: Amid the Nadler-Barr Standoff: Some History of Struggles Over Hearing Processes

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Attorney General William Barr refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee at its hearing today on the Mueller Report, further escalating the battle between the executive and legislative branches.

The Attorney General objected principally to the Majority’s proposed format of allowing an additional hour of inquiry (divided equally between the parties), when Committee staffers would also be allowed to question the Attorney General. Department of Justice Spokesperson Keri Kupec argued that, “Chairman Nadler’s insistence on having staff question the Attorney General, a Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, is inappropriate. Further, in light of the fact that the majority of the House Judiciary Committee — including Chairman Nadler — are themselves attorneys, and the chairman has the ability and authority to fashion the hearing in a way that allows for efficient and thorough questioning by the members themselves, the chairman’s request is also unnecessary.”

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) responded, “I understand why he wants to avoid that kind of scrutiny, but when push comes to shove, the Administration may not dictate the terms of a hearing in our hearing room.” Chairman Nadler ratcheted up the rhetoric, claiming that Barr is “terrified of having to face a skilled attorney.”

To be sure, there is precedent for Congressional staffers questioning Administration officials in high-profile public hearings. From Watergate, to Iran-Contra, to  Whitewater, to the recent outsourcing of the Republicans’ handling of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, we have seen members cede their questioning.   

While Chairman Nadler is correct that the Committee does set its own rules in its own house, the Department of Justice’s posture is also not unprecedented. I previously served as a career attorney in the DOJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs and we regularly negotiated with Committees over hearing format and procedure – not because we wanted to sweat the small stuff, but because we wanted to ensure the preservation of the balance of powers as co-equal branches of government.

For example, when a Committee wished to put a Department witness on a panel along with non-governmental witnesses — including, at times, potential subjects of investigations, potential crime victims, or advocacy organizations — we strenuously objected on a variety of grounds, including citing the potential that placing the prosecutor and a witness at the same table could damage ongoing law enforcement activities, but also because we believed that co-equality of branches merited the government’s own panel (we did not object to appearing with witnesses from other agencies) where Congress could conduct its oversight over the Executive branch.  

With non-governmental witnesses, including those adverse to the Department, Committees were providing a platform for non-Congressional oversight.   We also set forth our own position on how much notice we would require before agreeing to testify– we asked for two weeks notice – in order to draft testimony and undertake the tedious and exhausting clearance process both within the Department and through interagency stakeholders. This practice was critical to ensuring that the Administration could speak with consistently with one voice on policy matters. It also helped ensure that every statement made by an administration official could be checked for accuracy. Practically speaking, it made for better prepared testimony and answers at hearings.   

Staff regularly conduct witness interviews, author congressional reports, and represent their Members in a variety of settings. Yet congressional rules also prohibit staff from casting votes when their member is absent or speaking on the floor on behalf of their bosses.  

So where along this spectrum does staff questioning at a hearing fall?

While the DOJ has argued that it would be “inappropriate” for staff to question the Attorney General, they have not identified a constitutional impediment to doing so. If a subpoena is issued to compel Barr’s testimony, however, and the matter is raised before the judicial branch, a court may ultimately hold that Barr must appear.But the court will be extremely loathe to umpire what it could consider a political and seating dispute between the other branches. Instead, a court may direct the parties to return to the long-established accommodations process and work it out behind the scenes. In that process the Executive recognizes the legitimate interests of the Legislative branch and recognized its own obligation to attempt to meet those needs – the result could be that members conduct the questioning, but the Committee does go into closed session to discuss more sensitive portions of the report – a compromise. That does not mean the role of staff is any more diminished or their presence felt any less.

The American public elected this House on campaign promises to conduct robust oversight over the Administration. And there are Members of Congress on the dais who can skillfully conduct the questioning of the Attorney General. I understand the arguments that members have so much on their plates that only the Committee staff who have delved deeply into the documents and mastered the subject matter are in the best position to ask follow questions. But staff can and do prepare their members, write questions for their side of the aisle via committee memos and meetings, pass notes, whisper in members’ ears, and otherwise assist their members.

We saw some Senators land effective punches at Barr’s hearing on Wednesday. We have seen, in the recent past, Senator Carl Levin conduct a highly technical 10-hour marathon hearing on the financial crisis involving complex mortgage instruments because he was prepared, worked closely with staff, and got up to speed on the topic as any constituents would and should expect. And there are other options available to the Chairman: he can have his members yield their time and questioning to a designated member. There are other options for the Committee as well – they can call Attorney General Barr or outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in for a transcribed interview – conducted by staff after he leaves office.  

At the end of the day, one must also recognize that Congressional oversight is an inherently political process. At the Department, our first instinct was to have the DOJ’s political appointees testify before Congress – in order to protect career officials from having to carry political water in a partisan setting. And while very few congressional staff are apolitical, there is something to be said for elected officials squaring off one-on-one against a Senate-confirmed Cabinet member as co-equals.

Image: Mark Wilson/Getty

The post Amid the Nadler-Barr Standoff: Some History of Struggles Over Hearing Processes appeared first on Just Security.

Just Security

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “Russian Intelligence, organized crime and mass shootings” – Google News: PGA golfers remember shooting victims with green ribbons – Yahoo News

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PGA golfers remember shooting victims with green ribbons  Yahoo News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dozens of golfers at the Wells Fargo Championship paid tribute to the shooting victims at UNC Charlotte by wearing a small ribbon …

“Russian Intelligence, organized crime and mass shootings” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “putin and trump” – Google News: Why Russia is destroying hospitals in Syria (again) – Washington Examiner

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Why Russia is destroying hospitals in Syria (again)  Washington Examiner

Preparing for a ground offensive into the rebel-controlled Idlib governate, Russia is once again launching air strikes on hospitals in eastern Syria.

“putin and trump” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump as danger to National Security” – Google News: Did the CIA Orchestrate an Attack on the North Korean Embassy in Spain? – The Nation

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Did the CIA Orchestrate an Attack on the North Korean Embassy in Spain?  The Nation

A Nation investigation reveals a Rashomon-like tale with conflicting truths.

“trump as danger to National Security” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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“russian facebook ads” – Google News: Judge: Massacre suspect’s attorneys can’t summon counselor – CNYcentral.com

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Judge: Massacre suspect’s attorneys can’t summon counselor  CNYcentral.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for the former student charged with last year’s Florida high school massacre won’t get to secretly subpoena his …

“russian facebook ads” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “Trump anxiety” – Google News: Who Killed Single Payer in New York? – The Nation

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Who Killed Single Payer in New York?  The Nation

How cowardly Democrats, a hostile governor, and self-interested unions torpedoed the New York Health Act—again.

“Trump anxiety” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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