Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mar-a-Lago Members Can Buy Fortune Cookies with Classified Information Inside


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- For Donald Trump, sharing state secrets with any interested foreign actor has become a sort of proving ground in a rite of passage to be accepted as a legitimate global leader -- a way to validate that he holds genuine power and knowledge. But as his approval rating plummets into an abyss of historic lows, even among right-wing pollsters, Trump has found himself perched atop a fulcrum on which his authority and ability to command teeter. He has become desperate to reassert his image of brash confidence and superior insight. So beginning on June 1, restaurants at Trump’s Palm Beach resort will treat curious diners to confidential secrets that promise to be juicier than their overcooked, cloth-textured steaks. For $500, visitors to Mar-a-Lago may purchase fortune cookies that contain one piece of classified U.S. intelligence (limit one cookie per guest).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Wishes Israel a 'Rad Summer' in Guestbook Note at Holocaust Memorial

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Touring the site of Yad Vesham, a national Holocaust memorial in Israel, is a customary stop for U.S. presidential visits. The mood is generally somber and contemplative, as reflected in the heartfelt messages left by previous heads-of-state in the guestbook. Following tradition, President Donald Trump also made an entry on the pages of this historic ledger, but in a style the Washington Post described as “strangely upbeat, self-referential and written in his signature all-caps.” Unlike his predecessor, who penned an emotional and elegant tribute, Trump seemed to have confused the record for a yearbook and wished Israel a “rad summer with bitchin waves.”

Monday, May 22, 2017

Horrified Spectators Watch Mime Suffocate While Trapped in Invisible Box


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- On weekday afternoons along Man-of-War Boulevard, commuters in the Bennington Vale and Santa Calcetines are treated to a variety of street performances put on by aspiring artists from San Narciso College. But Monday, curiosity and amusement turned to terror as a young mime suffocated to death before a gathering of horrified onlookers who were helpless to extricate him from an invisible box.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump Meets Turkish President Erdogan, Hands Over Nuclear Codes While Boasting


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Following last week’s controversial meeting with Russian officials, in which President Trump divulged classified intelligence to foreign nationals who have been deemed hostile to U.S. interests, the White House welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday. Trump extended a warm greeting to Erdogan, an authoritarian ruler whose relationship with the United States has been strained and at times combative. The president praised his counterpart’s tough leadership style and boasted of a renewed alliance, remarking that he was eager to begin sharing sensitive state secrets with Turkey.

Monday, May 15, 2017

TASS Grants U.S. Press Access to Monitoring Devices Planted in Oval Office


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The day after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in a startling and virtually unprecedented decision, he raised further suspicion by hosting a closed-door meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak -- during an active investigation into his possible collusion with Moscow. More troubling, the White House blocked U.S. reporters from attending the conference but allowed members of TASS, Russia’s state-controlled news agency, to be present. Intelligence officials condemned the action as a major security breach, explaining that Russian crews could have brought in concealed electronic monitoring apparatus. But in a largess to the beleaguered U.S. press, TASS has agreed to give American journalists access to the live-streaming audio and video devices it planted in the Oval Office last week.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Acting FBI Director McCabe Excited About First and Probably Only Week in Office


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Acting, and most likely interim, FBI Director Andrew McCabe rejected a series of assertions by the White House that his predecessor, James Comey, had compromised the bureau’s integrity, lost the faith of the public and frustrated peers with his insistence on squandering Justice Department resources for a costly crusade to validate Russia’s meddling in the election, which Trump described as a “minor concern” to employees. McCabe boldly contradicted Trump’s allegations and praised Comey. He then vowed that nothing could prevent the FBI from “doing the right thing” and pushing the probe forward. After his testimony on Capitol Hill, McCabe said, “I’m terribly excited to step into this role, and I’m looking forward to the one or maybe two weeks I’ll get to serve America as the director of the FBI.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trump Met Russian Officials for Expert Advice on Replacing Comey as FBI Director


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- President Trump’s abrupt decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday evening, as the probe into Russia’s interference with the election deepens, has raised the hackles of virtually every person outside the president’s circle of trust. Comey’s dramatic ouster as the nation’s chief law enforcement authority, who was deep in the middle of a sensitive investigation that could extend to Trump, casts further doubts on the president’s denials that no ties exist between his White House and the Kremlin. With Department of Justice and intelligence officials convinced that Russia meddled in U.S. affairs, Mr. Trump’s ill-timed, closed-door meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday only intensified the scrutiny. But following the private conversation in the Oval Office, White House press representatives allayed public fears and explained that Trump was consulting with Moscow to help select the next director of the FBI -- someone intimately familiar with Russia to better lead the investigation.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

AHCA Lets Insurers Hike Rates for New High-Risk Conditions: Being Brown, Female, Gay or Muslim


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Last Thursday’s narrow passage of Trump’s revised health legislation, intended to repeal and replace Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act, marked the first measurable victory for a struggling administration. Despite controversial provisions for low-income tax credits and phasing out the expansion of Medicaid, alarms have been raised over allowing insurers to hike premiums for covering pre-existing conditions. Trump sweetened the pot Tuesday with sweeping additions to what insurance companies can consider pre-existing conditions: being brown, female, gay or Muslim.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

GOP Promises Health Care Bill Won’t Eliminate Pre-existing Conditions


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Republicans on Thursday rammed their revised health care bill through the House of Representatives, packed with amendments and additional spending, to seize a narrow victory with a thin majority of votes. Gaining the same hard-fought adoption of the Senate, however, will prove to be a much heftier feat. Despite the skepticism of Senate Republicans, the opposition of uncharacteristically united Democrats, and concerns that the Congressional Budget Office has not reviewed the financial impact of the legislation, the biggest debate involves a concession called the MacArthur Amendment, which honors the president’s promise to guarantee pre-existing conditions. “If you have a pre-existing condition, this bill won’t touch it,” Trump said. “You get to keep your pre-existing condition forever. Our health care act won’t eliminate any pre-existing conditions you have.”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Trump Now Says Andrew Jackson Could Have Prevented the Civil War, Pearl Harbor and 9/11


Additional reporting by Michael Livingston

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- President Trump waxed philosophical about Andrew Jackson and the Civil War during a critically panned interview broadcast Monday on satellite radio. Among his rambling and often non-sequitur musings, Trump clung to his accusations of being wiretapped by the Obama administration, questioned why Americans sat idly while the Civil War erupted, and sympathized with Andrew Jackson’s outrage over the divisive conflict, even though the seventh president died 16 year prior. On Tuesday, Trump tried to defend his odd remarks in a fresh tweet, but double-downed on his claims that Jackson had some mysterious insight to the battle yet-to-come. This afternoon, Mr. Trump again sought to clarify his stance on Old Hickory, revealing that Jackson could have stopped the Civil War, the assassination of James Garfield, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, September 11 and Canada’s hostile annexation of Burger King.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Trump Pushes Repeal and Replace for Obama’s Socialist School Lunch Regulations


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue pushed forward on Monday with aggressive plans to reverse the draconian dietary standards the Obama administration had imposed on school cafeterias as part of its eight-year socialist agenda. The Trump White House campaigned on a platform of restoring free market capitalism, vowing to stave off the creeping threat of communism that caused the country, its economy and its business communities to flounder for nearly a decade-- practically to the point of national insolvency. With many executive orders penned, Trump has fought to alleviate burdensome regulations on industry, such as crippling standards for health, safety, fair compensation and labor protections. In his first official act, Purdue has proposed a “repeal and replace” nutrition program that “accurately reflects the true diets and values of American families, and the businesses they depend on.”
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