Johnson and Varadkar clash over Irish backstop in phone call

Taoiseach tells new PM in first chat that EU will not scrap it as part of reopening Brexit talks Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar have clashed over the Irish backstop in their first phone call, with the Irish taoiseach saying the EU is united in the view that it cannot be scrapped and the withdrawal agreement will not be reopened. Johnson finally spoke to Varadkar almost a week after becoming prime minister, telling him the UK would never put physical checks or infrastructure at the border with Northern Ireland after Brexit but demanding the backstop be scrapped. The British prime minister had been accused of snubbing Varadkar by leaving it so long to speak to him, even though the Irish …

Of course Boris Johnson wants a royal yacht. Hes the king of fake-it-till-you-make-it | Suzanne Moore

Johnsons latest vanity project is part of a plan to make the country more like him, says Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore Boris Johnson has no policies, it appears, beyond tax cuts for the rich and oh optimism. Act happy. Act big. He wants the Queen to have a great big yacht. At a a quarter of a million pounds a year. The Telegraph It was regretful, he said in 2016, that this was not a priority for Theresa Mays government. Some of us find the necessity of food banks and conditions of rough sleepers regretful, but heigh ho! What floats Johnsons and many other Tory MPs boats is literally a big boat. A peculiar vision of a yacht as a …

Lindsey Graham Fast Facts

(CNN)Here’s a look at the life of Lindsey Graham, US senator from South Carolina and 2016 GOP presidential candidate. Father: Florence James Graham, restaurant, pool hall and liquor store owner Mother: Millie Graham, restaurant, pool hall and liquor store owner Education: University of South Carolina, Columbia, B.A., 1977; University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1981 Military service: US Air Force, 1982-1988; South Carolina Air National Guard, 1989-1995; US Air Force Reserve, 1995-2015; retired from the Air Force Reserve in 2015 as a colonel. Religion: Southern Baptist Other Facts:Growing up, he worked in the pool hall his family owned, the Sanitary Cafe. His mother and father died within 15 months of each other when Graham was an undergraduate. He …

Donald Trump is staging a 4th of July takeover

(CNN)The reality TV president wasn’t made for PBS and the Fourth of July will prove it yet again. And the biggest fireworks display anyone can remember. The regular fireworks launch point had to be moved to accommodate President Donald Trump’s new “Salute to America” event at the Lincoln Memorial. That, coupled with military flyovers, means DC airspace will be closed for more than two hours, when in normal years it isn’t closed at all.

Kim Jong Un’s ‘beautiful’ letter to Trump contained no details on way forward, source says

Washington (CNN)A “beautiful” letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un touted by President Donald Trump on Tuesday lacked substance and did not contain any details on a way forward for the stalled denuclearization talks between the two countries, according to a source familiar with its contents. “We have a very good relationship together,” Trump said of Kim as he stood outside the White House on Tuesday. “Now I can confirm it because of the letter I got yesterday, and I think something will happen that’s going to be very positive. But in the meantime, we have our hostages back, the remains keep coming back, we have a relationship.” Trump’s reaction was not out of the ordinary and the President …

Blue states push back on Trump admin with lawsuits charging health care discrimination

Washington (CNN)New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Trump administration, arguing that a new regulation would let health care providers discriminate and refuse care to patients based on religious or moral beliefs. The lawsuit alleges the federal government could terminate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal health care funding if states or cities fail to comply with this rule. Public health programs that could be impacted, according to the release, include Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, HIV/AIDS and STD prevention and education, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, told CNN in a statement Wednesday, “The rule gives life and enforcement …

Tillerson told lawmakers Putin was more prepared than Trump in Germany meeting

(CNN)Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin was more prepared than President Donald Trump for their meeting in Hamburg, Germany, putting US officials at a disadvantage, a Democratic House Foreign Affairs committee aide told CNN Wednesday. Tillerson met Tuesday with the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Democratic Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel and ranking Republican Rep. Michael McCaul for a seven-hour interview centered on his experiences in Trump’s Cabinet, a congressional aide with direct knowledge of the discussion told CNN. Discussion topics centered on the White House’s relationship with Russia and uncertainty surrounding the role of Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, in dictating foreign policy. But a battle about releasing the meeting’s …

Republicans get good news in Pennsylvania’s special election

(CNN)It’s just one election, but the first congressional special of 2019 suggests a better national environment for Republicans than the one they faced in 2017 and 2018. The question is whether the Pennsylvania 12 result is a fluke. It could be, but about 30 special legislative elections since the 2018 midterms suggest that something may very well have changed since last year. According to data collected by Daily Kos Elections, Democrats have only been outperforming Clinton’s margin by about 3 points heading into Tuesday night in these state legislative specials. Even if we allocate third party votes proportionally to account for a number of races with strong third-party showings, Democrats have only been outperforming the 2016 baseline by about 6 …

Trump says he refuses to work with Democrats until investigations halt

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump said in impromptu remarks Wednesday that he told Democrats at the White House he couldn’t work with them while they were pursuing investigations into him and his administration. “I walked into the room, and I told Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure,” he said. “But you can’t do it under these circumstances.” He said he message to the lawmakers was “get these phony investigations over with.” Earlier Wednesday, Pelosi had told reporters Trump was engaged in a “cover-up.” Trump said: “Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk into, look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up. I don’t do cover-ups.” Original Article : HERE ; …

He shot radioactive wolves, dropped acid and now he backs Nigel Farage

Ex-Loaded editor Martin Daubney on why hes become a European election candidate for the Brexit party The Brexit party announced Martin Daubney, a former editor of the lads magazine Loaded and more recently a campaigner on mens issues. Daubney, who came to prominence by promoting the idea of an endless male adolescence, marked his candidature by declaring that the Brexit party was a fresh start with a new wave of people who understand the real world. The term real world is obviously a subjective concept, but I suggest that few people would rush to place those two words next to the names Loaded involved such tasks as shooting radioactive wolves from a helicopter in Chernobyl, taking acid to celebrate LSDs …

Bernie Sanders in 1970s Senate race called millionaire senators ‘immoral’

(CNN)Bernie Sanders harshly criticized the wealth of US senators during his first campaign for office in 1971, calling it “immoral” that half the members of the Senate were millionaires. Sanders defended his newfound wealth in an interview with the New York Times. “I wrote a bestselling book,” Sanders said. “If you write a bestselling book, you can be a millionaire too.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, taking inflation into account, $1 million in 1971 is nearly $6.2 million in 2019. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks money in politics, more than 70% of senators were millionaires as recently as 2015. Sanders made the comments when he was running for US Senate …

Joe Biden will confront a new political era as he launches his campaign

(CNN)Joe Biden’s mission in the presidential bid he will launch on Thursday is to prove he’s not a man out of step with the times. But Biden has one huge card to sell to Democrats desperate to oust Trump: He might be their best hope of beating the President, especially in the Midwestern, blue-collar heartland. And his experience and dignity could be the antidote to Trump’s rage. Biden enters the crowded primary after months of soul searching as a clear but not prohibitive front-runner. Invoking America’s better angels, Biden is offering experience and a character forged by tragedy to purge the scandals, lies and constitutional chicanery of the current President and to close the societal schisms he has widened. “We …