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 on: August 19, 2017, 07:06:42 pm 
Started by Donald - Last post by Donald
...Wellington ratepayers are being "troughed" 😉

Wellington rate payers are paying for Cr Andy Foster’s tilt at becoming an MP

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that Wellington City Councillor, Andy Foster has made extensive use of ratepayer funded IT and communications recourses as part of his efforts to stand for Parliament with New Zealand First.

“We’ve received several complaints, including from a concerned insider at the Council, for what appears to be a total disregard of the rules around using Council recourses for election campaigning,” says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union. “Earlier this week we wrote to the Council’s CEO, asking him to explain what is going on and how why the Council are effectively subsidising Cr Foster and his NZ First campaign.”

“It appears Cr Foster’s is totally disregarding the rules. Our members have even seen him use his ratepayer funded laptop at election meetings for NZ First business. That is simply not allowed.”

No.  But then it’s done all the time.   And it continues to be done all the time because the repercussions are essentially Nil.

You have to get really creative to even be charged for violating the Electoral Act.  Getting a conviction really needs you to be stuffing around with ballot papers.
C slater

 on: August 19, 2017, 06:59:08 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Donald
Yes I agree, very astute move by Trump and Kelly.bringing the party more "mainstream"..it'll keep the lefties happy😜

...very smart move....again...when will it end🙄

 on: August 19, 2017, 06:51:38 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Trump gets rid of Stephen Bannon, a top
proponent of his nationalist agenda

The president decided to dismiss his embattled adviser, an architect of his 2016
general-election victory, in a major administration shake-up that follows a week
of racial tensions. Administration officials said Trump's empowered new chief of
staff, John F. Kelly, moved to fire Bannon in an effort to tame warring factions and
bring stability to a White House at risk of caving under self-destructive tendencies.


SACKED: Former chief political strategist Stephen K. Bannon. — Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
SACKED: Former chief political strategist Stephen K. Bannon. — Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

PRESIDENT TRUMP on Friday dismissed his embattled chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, an architect of his 2016 general-election victory and the champion of his nationalist impulses, in a major White House shake-up that follows a week of racial unrest.

With Trump's presidency floundering and his legislative agenda in shambles, administration officials said his empowered new chief of staff, John F. Kelly, moved to fire Bannon in an effort to tame warring factions and bring stability to a White House at risk of caving under its self-destructive tendencies.

A combative populist on trade and immigration, Bannon was arguably Trump's ideological id on the issues that propelled his candidacy. He served as a key liaison to the president's conservative base and the custodian of his campaign promises.

Bannon had been a lightning rod for controversy since joining Trump's campaign last summer, but he attracted particular scorn in recent days for encouraging and amplifying  the president's divisive remarks  in the wake of last weekend's deadly white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a Friday afternoon statement to reporters: “White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

The departure is the latest jolt to a White House riven by extraordinary turnover. In Trump's first seven months in office, he has lost, to high-profile firings or resignations, a chief of staff, a chief strategist, a national security adviser, a press secretary, two communications directors and a deputy chief of staff.

The tumult could continue, as some White House officials said on Friday that they expect some of Bannon's internal allies to exit with him. Two such people are national security aide Sebastian Gorka and presidential assistant Julia Hahn, although both have portrayed themselves in recent talks with colleagues as Trump allies first and Bannon allies second.

Despite his ideological similarities with Bannon, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller is seen as safe. He joined the campaign long before Bannon and has his own relationships with the president and other senior advisers. He has also distanced himself from Bannon in recent weeks.

Bannon returned on Friday to Breitbart News — a fiery, hard-right site that has gone to war with the Republican establishment — and resumed his previous role as executive chairman, presiding over an evening editorial meeting. An announcement on the site said Bannon informed the White House on August 7th of his intention to leave, contradicting the accounts of White House officials, who said he was fired this week, as well as Bannon's own statements to friends this week.

In an interview with the Weekly Standard, Bannon cast his departure as the end of an era. “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” he said. And he described himself as liberated.

“I feel jacked up,” Bannon said. “Now I'm free. I've got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘it's Bannon the Barbarian’. … I built a f---ing machine at Breitbart. And now I'm about to go back, knowing what I know, and we're about to rev that machine up.”

For months, Bannon was locked in a long and tortuous battle with senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and a coterie of like-minded senior aides, many with Wall Street ties.

Bannon had a mythical reputation inside the White House, but he routinely skipped important policy meetings, and his nationalist views were often absent from key White House proposals. He became fixated in recent months on trade and immigration issues, and he had a large dry-erase board in his office that served as a checklist for promises in those areas. But some of his ideas — such as a proposal to raise the top tax rate on the wealthiest Americans — were easily batted away by other senior advisers in the White House.

Bannon had been advocating internally against sending additional troops to Afghanistan, putting him at odds with national security adviser H.R. McMaster and others. Yet he was excluded from a South Asia strategy session Trump convened at Camp David on Friday with nearly two dozen senior officials.

Bannon has told associates in recent days that if he were to leave the White House, the conservative populist movement that lifted Trump in last year's campaign would be at risk. One person close to him said that the coalition would amount to “Democrats, bankers and hawks”. Bannon also predicted that Trump would eventually turn back to him and others who share the president's nationalist instincts, especially on trade.

Bannon allies said they expect him to remain largely loyal to the president, while training his harshest fire on those in Trump's orbit he believes bring a Democratic, “globalist” worldview to the administration. But with Bannon out of the West Wing, Breitbart is more likely to begin mobilizing its audience against the White House on issues such as immigration, where it thinks Trump is not keeping his campaign promises, said someone familiar with the organization's approach.

Representative Steve King (Republican-Iowa), who is close to Bannon, said Trump's base could revolt. “With Steve Bannon gone, what's left of the conservative core in the West Wing? Who's going to carry out the Trump agenda?” he asked in an interview.

King suggested that Trump fill Bannon's political-strategist seat with former deputy campaign manager David Bossie, who has his own connections to Trump's base.

“This looks like a purging of conservatives,” King said. “The odds of him completing his campaign promises, even to the limit of his executive authority, have been diminished by this.”

Though Bannon's firing is being interpreted as a victory for the cadre of more moderate White House advisers, several operatives with ties to the conservative movement remain in Trump's circle, including counselor Kellyanne Conway, deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn and legislative affairs director Marc Short.

Still, the consequences on Capitol Hill could be wide-ranging. House and Senate Republican leaders have long been wary of Bannon, and their allies were cheering pm Friday at the news of his departure. But among the hard right in Congress — including Representative Mark Meadows (Republican-North Carolina), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus — there was anger and doubt that anyone left in the White House shares their appetite for political confrontation.

The decision to fire Bannon was made by Kelly, the retired four-star Marine Corps general brought in late last month as White House chief of staff, officials said. It came after exactly three weeks in a position where he has been given unilateral power to overhaul the West Wing staff in an effort to stanch warring among factions, aides and advisers going rogue, and repeated leaks to the news media.

“This was without question one man's decision: Kelly. One hundred percent,” one senior White House official said. “It's been building for a while.”

This past week, as mainstream Republicans lambasted Trump for his handling of the Charlottesville violence, many on the White House staff led a drumbeat for the president to dismiss Bannon and any other aides who have connections of any kind to the white nationalist movement, this official said.

“The fevered pitch was basically outrage from dozens on the staff that anybody who's ever had a part of that has to be purged immediately,” this official said.

Kelly has no personal animus toward Bannon, said people familiar with his thinking. But he was especially frustrated with Bannon's tendency to try to influence policy and other matters not in his portfolio, as well as a negative media campaign he and his allies waged against McMaster.

A person close to Kelly said he was intent on making the White House not only less chaotic but also less driven by a particular ideology. He made clear to his deputies that he did not want to align with any faction but rather to shake up a culture on the staff where power seemed to drift from group to group. Kelly said he wanted power to drift from Trump to him, period. The president would be given ideas to choose from, rather than hearing a parade of whispers on the phone and in the Oval Office from competing blocs.

Trump, meanwhile, had been upset about Bannon's participation in a book by Bloomberg News reporter Joshua Green, Devil’s Bargain — particularly a cover photo giving equal billing to Trump and his chief strategist. Every time Green was on CNN, where he is now a contributor, Trump grew unhappy with his references to Bannon as a thinker and strategist — and upset that the conversation was not instead about Trump.

Bannon's critics noticed that Trump hated this narrative, and they would casually mention the book whenever they could in private conversations, slowly building a case against Bannon as a self-promoter.

This week, at a moment when even his allies and confidants agreed that his job security was as precarious as ever, Bannon further imperiled his standing by giving an interview to the liberal American Prospect magazine, in which he sniped by name at his enemies within the White House — including Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council — and publicly contradicted the administration's stance on North Korea.

Bannon confidants said he thought his conversation with the magazine was off the record, but the damage was done. Kelly, said two people familiar with his thinking, was most frustrated by Bannon's comments on North Korea.

Associates said Bannon may partner on a new venture with the Mercer family, billionaire conservative mega-donors who served as his patrons in an array of enterprises before he joined the Trump campaign. One strong possibility is a new media entity.

“They have a very strong working relationship together, and I would be shocked if we don't hear of a major initiative involving Steve and the Mercers in the next 30 and 60 days,” said a person familiar with the family's views, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the thinking of the Mercers. “They don't walk in lockstep in terms of their views, but they like the fact that Steve gets results, and they think money put into ventures he's involved in is money well spent.”

Much of Bannon's time in recent days was spent in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds — as the West Wing is under renovation — where he has a spacious corner office on the first floor that is piled with books he is reading and files on trade policy and immigration policy.

Bannon closely monitored media coverage of both himself and Trump, thumbing his phone whenever associates would text or email him new articles. Whenever he read articles about rivals such as Cohn reportedly being critical of the president's conduct, he fumed that they were undermining him as he was trying to enact what Trump promised his base voters.

Inside Trump's circle, there were two camps: those who argued that Bannon should fight to stay and be a political warrior for Trump's nationalist instincts, and those who thought his battles with the more moderate wing of the White House had reached their nadir.

The potential for Bannon to wreak havoc and mischief from outside the White House is among the reasons Trump had been skittish about firing his chief strategist. Bannon himself has used wartime metaphors to signal to friends and confidants that he will continue to pursue his nationalist, populist agenda.

At Breitbart, for instance, staffers celebrated Bannon as a pirate captain returning to his ship.

“The president and his agenda have many enemies throughout Washington — on Capitol Hill, in the media, in the White House and throughout government,” one Bannon friend said. “There is no better person to fight back against the swamp than Stephen K. Bannon. Everybody is on notice: Anyone working against the will of the American people will be exposed and held accountable.”

Matea Gold contributed to this report.

• Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2017, after 11 years at The New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress, among other things.

• Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post. He previously has covered Congress, the Obama White House, and the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. He joined The Post in 2005 as a local news reporter.

• Robert Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post.

• Damian Paletta reports on White House economic policy for The Washington Post. He also covers intelligence and national security for The Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Stephen Bannon is out as White House chief strategist

 • VIDEO: Journalist reflects on interview with Stephen Bannon

 • ‘I've got my hands back on my weapons’: Bannon returns to Breitbart, with more reach than ever

 • Bannon may be out, but the ‘alt-right’ says the movement will continue

 • The Fix: Pushing Bannon out could cause trouble for Trump

 • E.J. Dionne Jr.: Trump's populism was a ruse. Bannon's ouster proves it.

 • The Washington Post's view: Bannon's departure doesn't fix everything — but it could help

 • National security adviser attempts to reconcile Trump's competing impulses on Afghanistan

 • Megachurch pastor resigns from Trump's evangelical council

 • GRAPHIC: The Mercers and Bannon: How a populist power base was funded and built

 • PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: Members of President Trump's administration: Moments that made headlines


 on: August 19, 2017, 06:51:21 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Pence is the last man standing in this photo (besides Trump himself)

Trump's “inner circle”: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, national security adviser Michael Flynn,
chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer are all gone.

By CALLUM BORCHERS and KAT DOWNS | 3:13PM EDT - Friday, August 18, 2017

President Trump speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office on January 28th. — Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
President Trump speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office on January 28th. — Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

BARELY a week into his presidency, Donald Trump spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office, surrounded by top-ranking members of his team at the time: Vice President Pence, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, national security adviser Michael Flynn, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer.

Drew Angerer, a Getty photographer, captured the moment and in a caption described the men present as members of Trump's “inner circle”.

The circle now includes only Pence. Everyone else is gone.

An annotated version of the January 18th photograph. — Graphics: Kat Downs.
An annotated version of the January 18th photograph. — Graphics: Kat Downs.

The original image was a memorable one, not only because the first diplomatic conversation between Trump and Putin was historically significant but also because the photo underscored the lack of diversity in the highest ranks of the president's team.

The photo appeared at the top of a February 5th Washington Post story under the following headline: “Trump's administration isn't very diverse. Photo ops make it glaringly obvious.”

Flynn and Priebus have been replaced by white men, but Spicer's successor is a white woman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. We don't yet know who will assume the chief strategist's title from Bannon but, if nothing else, the White House shake-ups have resulted in some diversification of this previously all-male cast.

• Callum Borchers covers the intersection of politics and media for The Washington Post.

• Kat Downs is the Graphics Director at The Washington Post. Before joining The Post in 2008, she worked at The Baltimore Sun and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has taught design at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and Georgetown University.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Portrait of a White House: And then there were two.

 • And the award for most provocative Bannon headline goes to … HuffPost


 on: August 19, 2017, 06:51:15 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Donald
Ahhh...very good....need to spend money on people ...not art...well done Donald Trump... a man of the people😜

 on: August 19, 2017, 06:50:00 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Donald
Maybe it could be as simple as.....the would be "illegal immigrants" have taken note of Trumps tougher laws and had second thoughts...well done Donald Trump...and saved the country from having to pay thousands more troughers....otherwise known as public servants..or here in NZ we call them kiwirail employees😉

 on: August 19, 2017, 06:49:58 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from the Los Angeles Times....

All 17 on White House arts and humanities panel quit,
following business CEOs out the door

By SAMEEA KAMAL and NOAH BIERMAN | 1:40PM PDT - Friday, August 18, 2017

ALL 17 MEMBERS of the White House advisory commission on the arts and humanities, including several from Hollywood, resigned en masse on Friday to protest President Trump's divisive comments on the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The move follows the disbanding of two CEO councils created by the White House after a slew of major business leaders quit this week to protest what they said was the president's failure to sufficiently condemn the neo-Nazi and other racist groups in Saturday's clashes.

The collapse of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities marks the latest break between the Trump White House and the arts community, which had widely embraced President Obama, and marks his further isolation since a combative news conference on Tuesday when he appeared to equate the far-right extremists with those who opposed them.

“Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville,” the arts group wrote in a letter to Trump. “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand.”

“Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values,” they wrote. “Your values are not American values.”

In a statement later on Friday, the White House said that President Trump had decided “earlier this month” that he would not renew the commission when it expires this year.

“While the committee has done good work in the past, in its current form it simply is not a responsible way to spend American tax dollars,” the statement said.

The committee was created in 1982 under President Reagan and acts as an advisory panel on cultural issues. It is among dozens of mostly ceremonial White House panels that advise the president on business, education and other issues.

It draws from Hollywood, Broadway and the broader arts and entertainment community. First Lady Melania Trump is the honorary chairwoman.

The committee works with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, along with other federal partners and the private sector.

Among those who resigned were actor Kal Penn; painter and photographer Chuck Close; Jill Udall, the former head of cultural affairs for New Mexico; and entertainment executive Fred Goldring, who helped produce the “Yes We Can” video with musician Will.i.am in support of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

The letter was released on Friday morning with signatures from 16 of the 17 members. By afternoon, the 17th member, playwright George C. Wolfe, had also submitted his resignation.

Andrew J. Weinstein, a Democratic activist and donor, said he resigned before Trump's inauguration in January but does not believe the administration recorded that he had left the committee, so he signed the latest letter to send an additional message.

“Standing by while our president engages in the kind of hateful rhetoric and divisive language that he continues to unleash is unacceptable,” he said.

Weinstein said he and other members of the committee were also furious that Trump sought in his proposed budget to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and other cultural programs.


 on: August 19, 2017, 06:45:04 pm 
Started by Donald - Last post by Donald
Yes...I agree....used to like Kim Hill....( many years ago)..but listened to her a couple of times lately and came to the concusion that she may have joined the "lefty do-gooder brigade"🙄

....why is it  that when some people become financially independent...or wealthy.....they develop a desire to give everybody else's money away😳

 on: August 19, 2017, 06:17:23 pm 
Started by Donald - Last post by aDjUsToR
Not necessarily scum. Where there is an opportunity, people will take it. Unfortunately there is plenty of opportunity to be a trougher in a govt funded sheltered workshop producing vacuous drivel. That's not to say that all govt funded things produce vacuous drivel. I was listening to Kim Hill today and decided she has succumbed to fawning over loony left vacuous drivel of the fembot variety.

 on: August 19, 2017, 06:13:57 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by aDjUsToR
Obsessed with hatin' on Trump much? 😁

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