A Bizarre Turn Of Events Sullies Montana Special Congressional Election

Reporter Claims He Was Assaulted By Republican Front-Runner, Republican Says “Liberal” Journalist Got Too Nosy

According to the Guardian’s own report, Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte has been charged with assault after slamming their reporter, Ben Jacobs, to the ground. A Fox News reporter’s eyewitness recollection is consistent with the Guardian’s story, saying the candidate grabbed Jacobs “by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him… then began punching the reporter.” There is no video of the incident, but there is audio, here.

Here is the Gallatin County Sheriff’s office web page confirming the assault charge.

Here is Gianforte’s statement (courtesy of Politico reporter Kyle Cheney) Pay special attention to the last sentence:

Gianforte is running against Democrat Rob Quist over the seat vacated by now-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Voting starts in just a few hours. Final voter polls had Gianforte with a commanding lead.

The Billings Gazette revoked its endorsement of the Republican candidate, saying “we will not stand by that kind of violence, period.” As our readers know, we like to quote Judge Judy from time-to-time who always says: “You are never allowed to lay your hands on anybody.” Whether that’s disqualifying for a Congressman will be up to Montana voters today.

UK Stops Sharing Bombing Intel With U.S. After Leaks

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May says she will discuss a decision by British police to stop sharing with U.S. intelligence when she meets President Trump later today. That’s after several key pieces of information turned up prematurely in the U.S. media, including the first reports of the Manchester bomber’s identity.  She may find a sympathetic ear: Trump has railed against media leaks related to his administration, and has indicated he might even favor punitive action against reporters who share material obtained by unauthorized leaks.

At the center of the issue, this New York Times article with photos which purports to show remnants of the bomb, and debris from the bomb.

So far, 8 people have been arrested in connection with the attack following an Ariana Grande concert in the northern city of Manchester.

Trump Visits The Now NOT Obsolete NATO

President Trump is in Brussels today for meetings at NATO, that are expected to center around terrorism. Trump criticized the treaty group for not being focused enough on terrorism; that’ll certainly be a focus today in the wake of the Manchester bombing. Trump more recently said NATO is now more appropriately prioritizing terrorism, and thus “no longer obsolete.” He also suggested he deserves some of the credit for that. The President is expected to return to another familiar theme: pressing members to pay a higher percentage of NATO’s operating costs, but it’s unclear whether he will advocate not providing military support for countries that don’t comply.

OPEC Today Extends Oil Production Cuts To Boost Prices, Only Problem: It’s Not Working

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister expressed confidence the 9-month extension will “do the trick.” However, oil prices on the open market went down after the announcement, an indication that move is not viewed as strong enough. A lot of the problem for OPEC has to do with an increase in U.S. domestic production, which is keeping inventories relatively high. That should be good news for U.S. drivers through the summer.

NY Times Takes A Hint From Former CIA Chief’s Senate Testimony And Comes Up With Something

The Times reporting that Russian spies and politicians were having conversations among themselves last summer about how to exert influence over then-candidate Trump, via his advisers. According to the Times’ sources, the conversations zeroed in on former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn. That information is apparently what sparked the investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, after it was turned over by the CIA to the FBI (as former CIA Chief John Brennan revealed in his Senate testimony.)

Long Awaited CBO Trumpcare Report: House Bill Great If You’re Rich, Young And Healthy

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 23 million Americans would lose their insurance if the healthcare bill recently passed by the House is signed into law. The CBO says the bill would save $119 billion over 10 years. And that 1/6 of the population would be deeply wounded by provisions in the bill.

The CBO also says a last minute amendment which brought ultra-right Republicans back on board would have a significant impact. That amendment allows states to apply for waivers that would clear the way for insurers to charge sick people more. The CBO says many states would likely use the waivers, affecting as much as 1/6th of the entire U.S. population. [The Hill]

While the House didn’t wait for the CBO report to pass their bill, the Senate did, so now it’s their turn. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling Reuters he doesn’t see a clear path right now for passing a healthcare bill in the Senate, and he refused to speculate about what he might include (or drop.) McConnell may be just attempting to buy himself some breathing room, as his healthcare working group continues to work in secret, and recently banned most staffers from the meetings, for fear of leaks.

Mini-Editorial: $1.25 A Day

If you take the CBO’s cost-savings number, and divide it by the number of people who would lose their insurance under the House plan, it comes out to $1.25 a day per person. (By Grabthar’s hammer, what a savings!) So we ask wealthy people in America: couldn’t you spare $1.25 a day to make sure your fellow citizens keep their healthcare? That’s a coffee. Heck, you’d probably pay $1.25 a day to ensure quick and great treatment if you needed to go to the emergency room, wouldn’t you? Instead of having it flooded with people who are only there because they lost their insurance and have no place else to go? And you’re going to be paying for it anyway: if not through a national healthcare program, through rising costs and premiums to subsidize uninsured patients.

Philippines Under Threat Of Martial Law From President Who Counts Trump As A Big Fan

“If I think you should die, you will die.” With those words, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across all of that country’s second largest island, Mindanao. The stated reason: to combat terrorists who claim links to ISIS and have been very active in the region.

Duterte’s critics say it’s a ploy to implement nationwide martial law, and the President does not deny he’s considering it. Nor does he back away from comparisons with dictator Ferdinand Marcos who brutally imposed martial law in the ’80s. Duterte promises he’ll be just as “harsh.”

In a recent phone call, President Trump praised Duterte for his hard-line approach to governing and crackdown on drugs. Trump told Duterte he’s been doing “an amazing job.” The Philippine President has used private hit squads and police to murder thousands of people labeled as drug dealers and users.

Whenever we do this story we will point you to this Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times photo essay about Duterte’s drug killings.

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