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Monday, February 27, 2017

Political Potpourri

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez defeated Rep. Keith Ellison for DNC chair.  At the Washington Post, David Weigel writes:
Perez saw an opening to run in December because, after a month as a declared candidate, Ellison was seen to have just one-sixth of the DNC behind him. But as state parties elected new members this year, Ellison's numbers ticked up. It happened most dramatically in Kansas, where, on the day of the DNC vote, two new pro-Ellison members were winning office and trying to get proxy votes for him back in Atlanta.
In 2016, Sanders won the support of just 39 of the DNC's 447 voting members — all of whom, infamously, were superdelegates to the party's convention. Nine months after Sanders's defeat, Ellison won the votes of 200 DNC members. Some, like the AFT's Randi Weingarten, had been Clinton supporters, but plenty had been brought into the party by Sanders. Ellison's defeat, ironically, meant that tens or hundreds of thousands of activists who might have joined the party were now wringing their hands instead. But in states where Sanders performed strongly in 2016, just as many activists were already in the middle of a takeover. It just didn't happen in time for Ellison.

Brian Bennett reports at The Los Angeles Times:
President Trump is proposing a massive increase in defense spending of $54 billion while cutting domestic spending and foreign aid by the same amount, the White House said Monday.
Trump's spending blueprint previewed a major address that he will give Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress, laying out his vision for what he called a "public safety and national security budget" with a nearly 10% increase in defense spending.
Though Americans think that foreign aid accounts for   Foreign aid consists of budget subfunctions 151 (international development and humanitarian assistance) and 152 (international security assistance).  In fiscal 2017, these two items accounted for $40.7 billion in outlays.  In absolute dollars, that is a lot of money  -- but only about 1 percent of total federal spending ($4.1 trillion). Most people vastly overestimate foreign aid spending.

The White House ramped up its war against the press Friday, barring multiple outlets including the Daily News from asking questions of press secretary Sean Spicer.

The move came just hours after President Trump promised to "do something" about the "fake news" during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference — and after Spicer angrily scolded reporters Friday morning for recent coverage of the FBI's reported investigation of ties between Russia and Trump's team.

It seemed to be a calculated decision, possibly aimed at getting reporters to focus on inside-the-Beltway stories about the White House blocking access and playing games rather than bigger stories on what major actions the Trump administration is doing.