Donald Trump decided to boycott the White House Correspondents Dinner last evening 4/29, in favor of holding a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania instead. The dinner was fully sold out to capacity, despite Trump’s absence. As for his rally that was a different story according to reporters on the scene at the Harrisburg event – who caught Trump lying about the supposed overflow crowd.

JONATHAN TAMARI

Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer was one of the journalists on-site at Donald Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania last night. He tweeted that “Trump says ‘we have a lot of people standing outside’ and he ‘broke the all time record’ in this arena. There are rows of empty seats here”. He then posted the following photo which clearly demonstrated the opposite:

tamari-1.jpeg

Marc Levy of the Associated Press than added that there was “nobody waiting outside to get in” . Tamari then struck at the heart of Donald Trump’s compulsive lying: “Thing is, there IS a big crowd here. A loud and excited one. POTUS could easily – and truthfully- talk about that. But has to claim more”. Trump’s disappointing sub-capacity crowd and torrent of bizarre lies about the crowd size in Harrisburg took place even as White House Correspondents Dinner host Hasan Minhaj simultaneously roasted Trump down in Washington DC.

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Posted by: maboulette | April 30, 2017

Grand Juries Underway in Trump’s Russia Scandal


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Last night it was report to the public of an inside source affirming that multiple grand juries are underway in Trump’s Russia scandal, with one of them nearing conclusion. Now another source stemming from the other side of the political aisle is relying on different inside sourcing to confirm the same thing.

STORYLINE

The storyline states twenty hours ago when Washington insider Claude Taylor from the Bill Clinton White House tweeted that his inside source had told him that two grand juries have convened” and that “one is almost complete” . Then this evening, longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson responded to Taylor with a single definitive word: “same” Taylor then went on to explain that he and Wilson had not communicated on this matter and were not relying on each other’s sourcing.

OPPOSITES SIDES

Considering that Wilson and Taylor are from opposite sides of the political aisle, it’s nearly a given that they’re not accidentally and unknowingly relying on the same source. That means this story is now confirmed from multiple sources and can be treated accordingly. So what does it mean for Donald Trump and his Russia scandal?

Grand juries nearly always return indictments. The standard for an indictment is merely that there are reasonable grounds for a case, and prosecutors don’t waste their time convening a grand jury unless they already have the evidence to demonstrate those grounds. So this means that multiple indictments are on their way in the Trump-Russia scandal, and one of them is coming very soon.

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Posted by: maboulette | April 30, 2017

Report Card for Trump’s First Hundred Days


new trump 2

Trump and his alter ego!

 U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu never hesitates to call out Trump during the course of the past hundred days. Lieu has introduced legislation aimed at taking away Trump’s nuclear launch codes, and he’s also slammed Trump for having a “fake Press Secretary.” Now that we’re reaching the hundred day mark, Lieu has issued a report card on Trump – and let’s just say it’s not exactly full of passing grades.

REPORT CARD

 

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 He gives Trump several grades in various subjects, ranging from A-plus to F. For instance Trump gets a C-minus in English for overuse of all caps, inventing the word “bigly,” and not knowing how to spell anything in his tweets (we recommend Twitter for Dummies). Trump also gets a D in Math for not understanding that a tax cut for the wealthy can’t magically “pay for itself” (we recommend Math for Dummies).

 PE GETS HIGH MARKS

 Lieu is more generous in the Physical Education category, where he gives Trump an A-plus for getting so much exercise by constantly playing golf instead of doing his job. However, Trump receives an F in both Science and the Works Well With Others category, with the latter grade being explained that he “appears to only work well with Russians” (we recommend The Plot to Hack America).

 This is not the first time in which Congressman Ted Lieu has issued confrontational words or actions in Trump’s direction. For instance Lieu introduced legislation to try to get a psychologist installed in the White House and has also asserted that the Trump administration just “makes shit up” as it goes along.

 

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Trump in Oval Office

Trump’s threat to “break up” the 9th Circuit because “everybody immediately runs” to it doesn’t make much more sense. It is true that the Constitution gives Congress the power to reorganize the federal judicial system, and some conservative legislators have floated proposals to create a new court that would cover some jurisdictions currently covered by the large and rapidly growing 9th Circuit. (Since this would mean a lot of new Republican judges — which is the real point — this would have no chance of passing the Senate as long as the filibuster remains in place.) But needless to say, even if the 9th Circuit was broken up this wouldn’t stop forum (or what Trump calls “judge”) shopping because suits could still be filed in the jurisdictions the 9th Circuit does cover.

TRUMP’S TWEETS AND INTERVIEWS

It’s not exactly news that Trump’s tweets and interviews tend not to withstand rigorous, or even cursory, scrutiny. The bigger problem for Trump is that you can say the same thing about his sanctuary city order.

1987 CASE

In a 1987 case which upheld the use of federal highway funds to establish a de facto national drinking age, the Supreme Court gave Congress a broad (although not unlimited) ability to use its spending power to persuade states to advance federal objectives. One of the limits that the Court placed, however, was that if Congress wants to put conditions on federal funding it “must do so unambiguously” so that states “exercise their choice knowingly, cognizant of the consequences of their participation.” In addition, any conditions placed on spending must be “relevant to federal interest in the project and to the over-all objectives thereof.” Congress could withhold highway spending to compel states to raise their drinking ages because it was related to the federal interest in highway safety, but it could not accomplish the same goal by threatening to withhold Social Security spending.

INEVITABLE

These restrictions made it nearly inevitable that the courts would find Trump’s order unconstitutional. Judge Orrick’s holding that Trump’s order is not sufficiently related to the federal grants in question is debatable, although the case is strong. But it’s obvious that Congress did not “unambiguously” make clear that the grants in question were conditioned on local officials enforcing federal immigration law. The Supreme Court can revise its own precedents, but lower courts cannot — hence, Orrick had no real choice but to find that the order was unconstitutional.

 

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Trump and Flynn

Famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein says that the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn could end up revealing a “cover-up” of alleged connections between President Donald Trump‘s team and Russia.

CENTER OF COVER-UP

“There, he is central to what the FBI believes is a cover-up going on among people close to the president of the United States about what happened with the Trump campaign and Russia,” Mr Bernstein, who is now a CNN commentator, said. “The FBI, the congressional investigators are trying to learn what happened. And Flynn is almost like the ball of yarn that begins to unspool and is key to understanding it.”

Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein on Trump-Russia investigation: ‘Oh my god, there’s a cover-up going on’

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROD ROSENSTEIN

Mr Bernstein said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, now that he is leading the Justice Department’s probe into Russia’s role alleged in the election, will eventually see that there is a cover-up as well.

“He is going to see, ‘Oh my god, there’s a cover-up going on,’” Bernstein said.

MR FLYNN LIKELY VIOLATED THE LAW 

The comments came just a day after a bipartisan press conference in which the top members of the House Oversight Committee said that Mr Flynn likely violated the law by failing to disclose foreign connections and payments when applying for a security clearance.

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ, 

Representative Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the committee, said that he had seen no indicator that the disgraced national security adviser disclosed a $45,000 payment he had received from Russian state-owned television network RT for giving a speech. Mr Flynn also appeared to have received more than $500,000 for representing the Turkish government.

“I think it’s obvious that Gen. Flynn is in up to his neck in terms, not just of possible crimes involving his speeches and whether or not he registered as a foreign agent, which he should have and didn’t,” Mr Bernstein said.

 

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Posted by: maboulette | April 28, 2017

The Pope’s Perilous Mission to Egypt


new pope francis

When Pope Francis travels to Egypt today, he will retrace a journey his namesake made nearly 800 years ago, with a somewhat similar mission in mind.

FRANCIS

In 1219, St. Francis crossed battlefields scattered with slain soldiers to reach the Muslim sultan’s camp in Egypt. His aim was to end the Crusades an act of idealism that fellow Christians feared would end in Francis’ death.

The friar survived, but his plan didn’t. Malik al-Kamil refused to convert to Christianity.

CONVERSATION

But the conversation was courteous, according to tradition, and ended with the sultan offering a peace treaty that included Christian control of Jerusalem. The Crusaders rejected the proposal, and fighting continued for another 72 years.

TRIP TO EGYPT

Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt is filled with dangers of its own, from fears of a terrorist attack to questions about allying with an Egyptian president who, according to watchdog groups, has run roughshod over human rights.

U.S. COMMISSION REPORT

In a report released on Wednesday, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom called human rights conditions in Egypt “deplorable” but said the situation had somewhat improved for Christians, who compose about 10% of the Muslim-majority country. Most of those Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

ISIS

But ISIS and other radical extremists have targeted the Copts, launching repeated attacks on their communities and churches, increasing tensions between Christians and Muslims.

TWO COPTI CHURCHES

ISIS-aligned fighters bombed two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday, killing 45 and injuring dozens more. On April 18, more Islamic State militants attacked a monastery in Sinai, killing a police officer and wounding four others.

VATICAN NOT WORRIED

As if often does, the Vatican downplayed security concerns about the Pope’s trip.

“The security measures are the same as for other trips,” said Vatican spokesman Greg Burke. The Pope will travel in a regular car, not a bulletproof vehicle, and the Vatican is not sending additional bodyguards.

“We are not worried. The Egyptians want everything to go smoothly.”

But Francis will not linger long in Egypt. He will arrive in Cairo on Friday morning and leave Saturday afternoon. In the hours between, he plans to:

  • Meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi;
  • Attend a peace conference with Muslim and Orthodox Christian leaders;
  • Meet with the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church;
  • Celebrate Mass in Cairo;
  • Visit Egypt’s small Catholic community.

VIDEO RELEASED

In a video released this week, the Pope said he hopes Egyptians will view him as a “messenger of peace” and a pilgrim traveling to the land that, according to the Bible, gave refuge to the infant Jesus and his parents.

OPEN BORDERS

That history will provide the Pope an opportunity to plead, again, for nations to open their borders to migrants fleeing violence in the Middle East, a stance that puts him at odds with populists in the United States and Europe.

MEETINGS

The meetings with prominent Muslim leaders including the Grand Imam of the venerated al-Azhar University, offers a chance for the Pope to continue an oft-overlooked aspect of his papacy: his outreach to Muslims. The Egyptian trip will be Francis’ sixth to a Muslim-majority territory, a significant chunk of his overseas travels.

“The Holy Father recognizes that, from the church’s perspective, there is no relationship more important than the one between Muslims and Christians,” said Gabriel Said Reynolds, a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame who was chosen by the Vatican to participate in talks with al-Azhar scholars in preparation for the Pope’s visit.

“It’s important both for the sake of religious minorities living in Muslim countries, but also for the larger social mission of promoting peace and tolerance and co-existence.”

A DELICATE TASK

On Friday, Francis will be the first pontiff since Pope John Paul II in 2000 to visit al-Azhar, the premier seat of higher learning among Sunni Muslims.

PRIVATE MEETING

The Pope is expected to meet privately with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar and the university’s former president. It will be the second meeting between the two religious leaders, after el-Tayeb visited the Vatican last May. Afterward, Pope Francis said of that encounter, “The meeting is the message.”

Al-Azhar, which runs a network of schools, has lost some luster in recent years, said Reynolds, because its leaders are seen as closely aligned with the Egyptian government. Still, the university holds enormous sway over Sunni theology, issuing religious edicts and convening conferences like the peace gathering Pope Francis is scheduled to address on Friday.

 DELICATE

 The Pope will have a delicate task in that address: Christians will expect him to clearly condemn Islamic extremism; Muslims will expect him to avoid indicting Islam itself.

 CHRISTIANS AREN’T ONLY VICTIMS

 El-Tayeb and other Muslim leaders have been keen to point out that Christians aren’t the only victims of terrorism. Many Muslims suffer as well. Al-Azhar broke off dialogue with the Vatican in 2011 after taking offense at former Pope Benedict XVI’s condemnation of a church bombing in which 21 Coptic Christians died.

 “It was taken by al-Azhar as an unwarranted intrusion into Egyptian affairs and a misapprehending of the rights of Christians in Egypt,” Reynolds said.

 Still, many Christians may expect Francis to raise the issue of their rights in Muslim-majority countries, where they are often treated as second-class citizens.

 The Egyptian government, for example, imposes legal penalties on Muslim-born citizens who convert, and does not recognize their new religious identities, according to the US State Department.

 His Grace Anba Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in England, said he hopes al-Azhar will be urged to reexamine religious texts used in its university and network of schools.

 “Some of these texts are used, or misused, by radical groups, and there needs to be credible Islamic institution that can explain them in a different way. That’s something that really only al-Azhar can do.”

 POPE MEETS POPE

The Roman Catholic Church isn’t the only religious group that calls its supreme spiritual leader a pope. The Alexandria-based Coptic Orthodox Church does as well.

Like the Catholic church, which traces its papal lineage back to St. Peter, Copts link their patronage to an apostle, St. Mark, who was believed to have evangelized in Egypt.

Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros have more in common than their religious title. They were chosen to lead their churches within several months of each other, Tawadros in November 2012, Francis in March 2013. And like Francis, Tawadros studied chemistry — he was a pharmacist for several years — before entering religious life.

Though the churches disagree on some aspects of theology — the Coptic Orthodox Church splintered from the Catholic church in the 5th century — Bishop Angaelos said the two popes have a good relationship. They have bonded in recent years over the persecution of Christians in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, a bittersweet circumstance that Pope Francis calls an “ecumenism of blood.”

Ecumencial Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, also will attend the peace conference at al-Azhar on Friday. The rare convening of the Catholic, Coptic and Orthodox patriarchs will send a message to Christians worldwide, said Bishop Angaelos.

 “There is a myth around the world that Christianity is becoming weaker, and that we are all merely infighting and competitive with each other,” he said.

“The reality is that what we have in common is far greater than what divides us.”

 


Trump today

A recently revealed poll show that 98% of voters for Trump said they regret the choice.  This is a number that’s too hard to believe and it infuriates me.  Especially when we could have had a president who was smarter than almost anyone who ever ran for the office.   No matter who you talk to Trump’s first 100 days have been a test for the republic we live in.  He is ignorant, and in-compliant on what the president can and can’t do. 

KNOWS NOTHING

At the center of this administration is a chief executive who knows absolutely nothing.  You can tell when he knows no details because he starts using his mental superlatives such as “very, very” or “tremendous” or “terrific” – I can’t stand listening to this arrogant man talk.  And he comes across as not very smart.  When he is struggling to answer issue-oriented details; he walks away leaving me thinking that he is scatter brained, and barely coherent. And what man, smart man runs his company by Twitter – Trump gets mad at someone and the entire world knows about it because he has a twitter storm like a teenager who is mad at his girlfriend. We have a president who talks to the world by Twitter; doesn’t this bother you?

MISTAKES

He can’t talk without making big mistakes – for example the last time he talked about Syria, he told Fox Business that he had bombed Iraq, and he didn’t know how many missiles he used 59 or 79.

GOVERNMENT IS A BUSINESS

And he apparently thinks that the United States government, along with Social Security and the Pentagon are “companies”- 2 of the 3 largest companies in the world.  In our country government and government agencies are not companies; nor do they operate anything like a company.

DIFFERENT TIMES

If we lived in times that were normal and if our president was halfway normal, this following quote would have erupted into a major scandal – especially if the president was a Democrat.  Trump can apparently get away with madness like this:

Interviewer: And that’s one of the difficulties I think presidents have had is that you can have these personal relationships with people from the other party, but then it’s hard to actually change how people vote or change how people —

 Trump: No I have; it’s interesting; I have, seem to get very high ratings. I definitely. You know Chris Wallace had 9.2 million people; it’s the highest in the history of the show. I have all the ratings for all those morning shows. When I go, they go double, triple. Chris Wallace, look back during the Army-Navy football game; I did his show that morning. It had 9.2 million people. It’s the highest they’ve ever had. On any, on air, [CBS News’ “Face the Nation” host John] Dickerson had 5.2 million people. It’s the highest for “Face the Nation” or, as I call it, “Deface the Nation.” It’s the highest for “Deface the Nation” since the World Trade Center, since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage. 

NOTHING ON SUBJECT 

Nothing, nothing in that answer is on the subject – what is wrong with him?

 

 


Tax cuts

President Trump has outlined the major tax cuts for Americans Wednesday that could cost $6 trillion dollar to $9.5 trillion from the federal government over the next 10 years and lump it into the national debt.

BOILS DOWN TO

What it boils down to is this: major hikes in the amount that people are able to deduct from their taxes as well as large cuts for small businesses and corporations – cuts amounting to almost 25% of what they pay now.

CURRENTLY

At the present time, individuals are able to claim a $6,300 deduction on their income that is taxable.  That will rises to $12,600 for married couples who file taxes together.  Under the Trump’s plan, those numbers will be much higher, according to people briefed on the plan and who spoke anonymously to the Washington Post.

LOWER CORPORATE TAX RATE

On top of these tax cuts, Trump is expected to outline his proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. And he will seek out reclassification for small, individually-owned businesses that currently file their taxes under the individual code will be able to file their taxes under the corporate tax code instead.

REAGAN

The plan Trump campaigned on laid out the most significant tax cuts for Americans since Reagan introduced his measures in the 1980s.  The problem is after Reagan made these cuts, he had to go back and raise taxes during his second term.  The reason is that “trickle-down economics” looks good on a single piece of paper but doesn’t work and we have two Republican administrations to show as examples.

GROW BUSINESS

The theory is that when business taxes go down by 20%, these businesses will use this money to grow their businesses and hire more employees but that has never worked.  It didn’t work under Reagan or GWBush.  Trickle-down economics does not work because it does not pay for itself and all it would do is raise the national debt.

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Posted by: maboulette | April 28, 2017

Feel Good Story for the Day


An unlikely guest never misses a visit to this 81-year-old’s home on the mountainside.

STAG VISITS OLD LADY

The wild stag is named Flippen, and he has been dropping by to check on his old friend twice a day for the last four years.

HEAD RUBS AND BREAD

In return for the animal’s companionship, Mette Kvam of Aurland, Norway, returns his affection by giving him head rubs and feeding him bread and other snacks.

LUCKY TO HAVE EACH OTHER

“She says that they are so lucky for having each other,” Britt Haugsevje Vangn, who caught the display on camera, told Caters News. “Mette has no kids and since her husband passed away she has no one — she only has Flippen in her life now.”

OFTEN SLEEPS OUTSIDE HER HOME

But, it seems like Flippen has no problem keeping the widow company. He’s even sometimes spotted sleeping outside her home.

BFF

“It seems like they are best friends,” Haugsevje Vangen said. “The hunters in the area have decided not to shoot him because of their friendship.”

 

Posted by: maboulette | April 27, 2017

Twitterstorm Trump Aims At Democrats on Spending Bill


Trump tweets

President Donald Trump on Thursday unleashed a tweetstorm of reproach of Democrats tangled in negotiations extremely tense on a spending bill to keep the government open, accusing them of wanting to close national parks and endanger the safety of U.S. troops over demands to provide Americans with health care.

TALKS REPUBLICANS & DEMOCRATS

The talks involving congressional Republicans and Democrats had proceeded relatively effortlessly after the White House had backed off a threat to withhold payments that help lower-income Americans pay their medical bills and Trump dropped a demand for money for the border wall.

FUNDING BILL EXPIRES FRIDAY

A temporary funding bill expires Friday at midnight, and GOP leaders late Wednesday came out with a short-term spending bill through May 5 to prevent a government shutdown this weekend.

HOUSE AND SENATE

The House and Senate were widely expected to pass this measure on strong bipartisan votes to give mediators more time to work out their differences and avoid a humiliating shutdown on Trump’s 100th day in office Saturday.  In a series of tweets Thursday morning, the president lashed out at Democrats.

TRUMP TWEETED

“As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks – Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!”

FOLLOWED WITH THIS TWEET

“Democrats jeopardizing the safety of our troops to bail out their donors from insurance companies. It is time to put #AmericaFirst,” he wrote.

GOP IN CONTROL OF BOTH CHAMBERS

Even with Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, the Trump administration is learning that Democrats retain momentous leverage when their votes are needed on must-pass legislation.

“I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “It is time that this essential work is completed so that critical programs and activities, including national defense, are properly and adequately funded for the year.”

HOUSE GOP

House Republicans also had a breakthrough on their waning health care legislation when a key group of conservatives, the House Freedom Caucus, announced it would back a revised version of the bill. Their disagreement was a main ingredient in the legislation’s failure a month ago, an embarrassing episode for Republicans that called into question their ability to govern given that they’ve been promising for 7 years to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

NEW WRINKLE

A new wrinkle arose as Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the 2nd-ranking Democrat in the House, threatened to withhold votes for the spending bill if Republicans tried to push for a vote this week on a revived health care repeal.

HOYER STATEMENT

“If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well,” Hoyer said in a statement.

RYAN

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., offered no timing for a vote, telling reporters on Thursday, “we want to go when we’re ready to go.”

GOP DENT OF PENNSYLVANIA

One important moderate, GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, discharged the Freedom Caucus’ about-face as “a matter of blame-shifting and face-saving” for a bill going nowhere. Even if the legislation passes the House, it will face major hurdles in the Senate and is certain to be extensively reviewed if it survives at all.

CHANGES IN BILL

The changes in the bill would let states escape requirements under Obama’s health law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill people the same rates, and cover a list of specified services like maternity care.

REP PELOSI

Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that Republicans who back the health bill will regret it, calling it a “lose-lose-lose” situation. Polls show majority disapproval of the GOP alternative to the 2010 law.

PELOSI BLAME TRUMP

“Say they pass it, even worse … it’s largely unpassable in the Senate. Walk the plank for nothing. Thank you Mr. President,” Pelosi told reporters.

WHITE HOUSE PRESSURE

The White House has been exerting intense pressure on House GOP leaders to deliver any perceptible legislative accomplishments ahead of Trump’s 100-day mark Saturday, something that has yet to occur aside from Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

THIS SPENDING BILL

The spending measure, which would wrap together 11 unfinished spending bills into a single bill, represents the first real bipartisan legislation of Trump’s presidency.

DEMO VOTES ARE NEEDED

Democratic votes are needed to pass the measure over tea party opposition in the House and to provide enough support to clear a filibuster hurdle in the Senate, which has led negotiators to strip away controversial policy add-ons and ignore $18 billion in unpopular spending cuts submitted by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.

AGREEMENT FUZZY

The outlines of a potential agreement remained fuzzy, but aides familiar with the talks said Trump would emerge with border security money that’s unrelated to the wall and a $15 billion down payment for military readiness accounts on top of $578 billion in already-negotiated Pentagon funding. Democrats won funding for medical research, Pell Grants and foreign aid.

QUESTION

I have one question – who do these people work for?  You and I and they are not worried about how we feel.  I say that it is time for the Democrats to get phone calls and start standing up to Trump’s twitter storms.  We need a grownup for President.

 

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