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Why There Will NEVER Be A Political Solution To America’s Problems May 1, 2017

Why do things never seem to change no matter who we send to Washington?  It seems like for decades many of us have been trying to change the direction of this country by engaging in the political process.  But no matter how hard we try, the downward spiral of our nation just continues to accelerate.  Just look at this latest spending deal.  Even though the American people gave the Republicans control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, this deal very closely resembles “an Obama administration-era budget”.  It increases spending even though we have already been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt, it specifically forbids the building of a border wall, it fully funds Planned Parenthood, and there are dozens of other concessions to the Democrats in it.  As I previously warned, these “negotiations” were a political rout of epic proportions.

Perhaps many of us were being highly unrealistic when we expected that Donald Trump could change things.  Because fixing America is going to take a lot more than getting the right number of “red” or “blue” politicians to Washington.  Rather, the truth is that the real problem lies in our hearts, and the corrupt politicians that currently represent us are simply a reflection of who we have become as a nation.

The generations of people that founded this nation and established it as the greatest republic that the world had ever seen had far different values than most Americans do today.

So until there is a dramatic shift in how most of us see the world, it is quite likely that not much in Washington will change.

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump spoke boldly about “draining the swamp”, but this spending deal very much reflects the swamp’s priorities.  The Washington Post has published a list of eight ways that “Trump got rolled in his first budget negotiation”, and in this case the Post is quite correct…

1. There are explicit restrictions to block the border wall.

2. Non-defense domestic spending will go up, despite the Trump team’s insistence he wouldn’t let that happen.

3. Barack Obama’s cancer moonshot is generously funded.

4. Trump fought to cut the Environmental Protection Agency by a third. The final deal trims its budget by just 1 percent, with no staff cuts.

5. He didn’t defund Planned Parenthood.

6. The president got less than half as much for the military as he said was necessary.

7. Democrats say they forced Republicans to withdraw more than 160 riders.

8. To keep negotiations moving, the White House already agreed last week to continue paying Obamacare subsidies.

In essence, the Democrats got virtually everything that they wanted, and the Republicans got next to nothing.

Trump and the Republicans are promising that they will fight harder “next time”, but we have already heard that empty promise from Republicans year after year going all the way back to 2011.

Among many other conservative pundits, author Daniel Horowitz is absolutely blasting these “weak-kneed Republicans”

Now, with control of all three branches and a president who sold himself in the primaries as the antithesis of weak-kneed Republicans who don’t know the first thing about tough negotiations, we are in the exact same position. Last night, President Trump signaled that, after not even fighting on refugee resettlement and Planned Parenthood, he would cave on the final budget issue – the funding of the border fence. But fear not, he’ll resume his demand … the next time!

This degree of capitulation, with control of all three branches, is impressing even me … and I had low expectations of this president and this party. They have managed to get run over by a parked car. It’s truly breathtaking to contrast the performance of Democrats in the spring of 2009 with what Republicans have done today with all three branches. At this time in 2009, Democrats passed the bailouts, the stimulus, the first round of financial regulations, an equal pay bill, SCHIP expansion, and laid the groundwork for other, bigger proposals, such as cap and trade and Obamacare. Then they got everything they wanted in the March 2009 omnibus bill, and a number of GOP senators voted for it. We, on the other hand, are left with nothing.

And even the mainstream media is admitting that the Democrats made out like bandits in this deal.

Just check out the following quotes

  • “Overall, the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one,” Bloomberg reports.
  • The Associated Press calls it “a lowest-common-denominator measure that won’t look too much different than the deal that could have been struck on Obama’s watch last year.”
  • Reuters: “While Republicans control the House, Senate and White House, Democrats scored … significant victories in the deal.”
  • The Los Angeles Times describes the agreement as “something of an embarrassment to the White House”: “Trump engineered the fiscal standoff shortly after he was elected, insisting late last year that Congress should fund the government for only a few months so he could put his stamp on federal spending as the new president.”

If Trump can’t get his priorities funded now, do you think that the Democrats will somehow become more agreeable after he has spent a year or two in the White House?

Of course not.

If there ever was going to be a border wall, it was going to happen now.

If Planned Parenthood was ever going to be defunded, it was going to happen now.  From this moment forward, the blood of every child that Planned Parenthood kills will be on the hands of every Republican that voted for this bill or that signed this bill.

The next “big battle” is going to be over a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the truth is that “Trumpcare” is going to end up looking very much like Obamacare.

Instead of repealing it, the Republicans are trying to “fix” Obamacare, and that is kind of like going to the dump and trying to “fix” a big, steaming pile of garbage.

But like I explained earlier, we should not expect things to move in a positive direction in Washington D.C. until the values of those representing us change.

At this point, there are only a few dozen members of the House and a handful of members of the Senate that even give lip service to the values of our founders.

And until our values change, we are not going to send representatives to Washington that share the values of our founders.

Sadly, most Americans know very little about the history of early America.  I would encourage everyone to look into why our founders came to this country in the first place, what they believed was most important in life, and how they viewed the world.

If we ever want to “make America great again”, we need to return to those values.  Otherwise, we are just blowing a lot of hot air.

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The Democrats Won This Round, And It Wasn’t Even Close… April 28, 2017

We have just witnessed one of the greatest routs in modern American political history.  We are still waiting to see if a spending agreement can be reached so that a government shutdown at midnight on Friday can be averted, but whether a shutdown actually happens or not, the Democrats have won this round by a landslide.  Even though the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, during these budget negotiations the Republicans have backed down on major issue after major issue.  The Democrats are acting like they own Washington D.C., and the Republicans are letting them get away with it.  For years Republican politicians have had a reputation for being gutless and spineless, but in 2017 they are taking their lack of courage to a whole new level.

Since a border wall was the number one issue that Donald Trump campaigned on, many had been anticipating that he would battle hard to get funding for it.  But instead he folded like a 20 dollar suit, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has admitted to the press that he was anticipating that this might happen

As for the broader funding standoff, “I thought one of two things. I thought he’d either back down. Or he’d do [a shutdown], and it would be a fight we’d win,” said Schumer. “When the president just puts together his own plan, which is almost always hard-right given who the people around him are, he has problems.”

And since the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House, many social conservatives believed that this would be the time when Planned Parenthood would finally be defunded.

But that is not going to happen either, and the truth is that the Republicans did not even put up a fight.

On Thursday, the Democrats decided to reach even further.  They warned that they would shut the government down if the Republicans brought a bill to replace Obamacare up for a vote by the end of this week, and within hours  the Republicans backed down

Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday.

A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday.

Even though the Democrats have already gotten more than they could have ever dreamed possible, they are continuing to make more demands.

As we roll into Friday morning, the Democrats are warning that the government will shut down if the Republicans don’t agree to a bail out for Puerto Rico and billions of dollars of Obamacare subsidies.  An exasperated Trump fired off a tweet that clearly expressed his frustrations with these greedy Democrats

The Democrats want to shut government if we don’t bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!

The Democrats are like a football team that is already up 70 to nothing and is still running a no-huddle offense because they want to score even more points.

At some point you have to understand that you have completely embarrassed the other side and that it is time to end things.

If anyone out there believes that I am overstating things, can they please explain to me what the Republicans are going to “win” in this budget deal?

There may be a limited bump in defense spending, but other than that I can’t really think of anything.

My hope is that someone in the Republican Party will eventually grow a spine.  Perhaps it will be Trump, and it was a promising sign when he told Reuters that he is not too concerned if a shutdown actually happens

President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of a potential government shutdown on Thursday, just two days shy of a deadline for Congress to reach a spending deal to avert temporary layoffs of federal workers.

“We’ll see what happens. If there’s a shutdown, there’s a shutdown,” Trump told Reuters in an interview, adding that Democrats would be to blame if the federal government was left unfunded.

This is the kind of attitude that the Republicans needed to have weeks ago.

If the Democrats are going to be exceedingly greedy, the Republicans should simply let the government shut down.  The military and all “essential” operations would continue operating, and a lot of the “non-essential” operations that would temporarily close up shop would be stuff that we don’t actually need anyway.

So I don’t know why the Republicans are so fearful of a government shutdown.  Yes, the mainstream media would say that it is all their fault, but we are still well over a year away from the next elections.  If you were ever going to fight, now is the time to do it.  Instead of being so fearful of the mainstream media, our representatives in Washington should be concerned about what is good for the American people.

If the Republicans are always going to give the Democrats virtually whatever they want, why do we even have elections anyway?

We might as well just eliminate the Republican Party and go to a one party system like they have in China if Republicans are never going to actually ever do anything for us.

To me, it seems like the Democrats are almost secretly wishing for a government shutdown so that they can score some political points with the American public.  The Republicans should proudly stand united behind a bill that includes funding for a border wall, that defunds Planned Parenthood, and that completely eliminates all Obamacare subsidies and then let the Democrats force a shutdown by blocking it in the Senate.  At least that way the American people would be able to see that it is the Democrats that are to blame for any shutdown.

Instead, the Republicans have been groveling at the feet of the Democrats as if they are their masters, and it has been a horribly shameful display to watch.

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Democrats: Trump Must Surrender On Funding For A Border Wall To Avoid A Government Shutdown On His 100th Day In Office April 24, 2017

Is Donald Trump going to unconditionally surrender to the Democrats and completely give up his dream of building a border wall in order to avoid a government shutdown on his 100th day in office?  As I have warned before, the Democrats are perfectly willing to force a government shutdown if the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress do not let them win all of the key battles in this funding bill fight.  It is being reported that the Trump administration wants 3 billion dollars for extra border security and for construction of a border wall, and the Democrats are insisting that they will keep any bill that includes money for a border wall from ever getting through Congress.  And of course the Democrats are also taking a very hard line on funding for Planned Parenthood, federal support for key Obamacare provisions, and resistance to increased defense spending.  If the Trump administration and enough establishment Republicans in Congress cave in to the outrageous demands of the Democrats, a government shutdown will be avoided.  If not, a government shutdown will begin on April 29th (Trump’s 100th day in office), and it could easily turn out to be the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States.

If Trump gives up on his border wall now, it is quite likely that he will never get it.

Emboldened by this success, the Democrats will simply threaten to block any new bill that contains funding for a border wall in the future.  At some point Trump is going to have to stand up for himself if he ever wants to see his number one campaign promise become a reality, and the longer he waits the less leverage he is going to have.

At this moment, the Trump administration appears to be taking a tough stance on border wall funding, and they have even offered a deal to the Democrats that would trade continued Obamacare payments to insurers for money for a border wall…

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief, said the wall is the administration’s “top priority” for the talks, adding they would support key ObamaCare payments to insurers if Democrats backed the border wall money.

“We’d offer them $1 of CSR payments for $1 of wall payments. Right now that’s the offer that we’ve given to our Democratic colleagues,” Mulvaney said during a Bloomberg Live interview, referring to the ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR).

In that same interview, Mulvaney added that “you cannot expect a president who just won [an] election to give up very easily on his highest priority.”

And I certainly agree with Mulvaney.  The border wall was the number one issue that Trump campaigned on, and if he unconditionally surrenders to the Democrats on this issue without much of a fight, it will essentially be the neutering of his entire presidency.

The Democrats seem to know what is at stake, and they are digging in for war.  At this point they are completely united in their stance that there will not be a single penny for a border wall.  The following comes from CNS News

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that President Trump should not expect Congress to give him any money to fund his “outlandish” border wall.

Trump has requested $1.4 billion to get the wall started in the current fiscal year, which runs through September, but Durbin on Sunday called it a political stunt and a poison pill:

“I hope the president will back off,” Durbin said.

So will either side back down by Friday?

I don’t think so, and that means that a government shutdown is coming.

Of course there is talk that Congress could pass a one week or two week extension to give negotiations more time, but that would just delay the inevitable.

And it isn’t just the border wall that is a sticking point.  Other issues such as funding for Planned Parenthood and increased spending for national defense could potentially derail any deal.  The following comes from Business Insider

Thomas Block, a Washington policy analyst at Fundstrat, described the problem in a note to clients on Monday:

“In the House, there is a group consisting of Tea Party and Freedom Caucus Republicans who believe that almost any spending bill is too large for them to support. Therefore, Speaker Ryan is likely going to need some Democratic support to get a bill passed. The problem is that no Democrats will support a bill that contains the president’s stated priorities.

“Furthermore, many Republicans want to use the spending bill to stop all funding for Planned Parenthood, a clear poison pill as far as most Democrats are concerned.”

In order for the public to have three days to examine any bill before a vote happens, a spending bill is going to have to be unveiled in the House by Wednesday at the latest in order to meet the deadline.

Is that going to happen?

I doubt it, but it is always possible.

But even if a bill gets through the House, that doesn’t mean that the Senate will be on board with it, and unless that bill contains funding for a border wall Trump may not sign it.

So what specifically would happen during a government shutdown?  The following is a good summary from Zero Hedge

  1. Details of which government functions stop are determined by the Office of Management and Budget.
  2. If it looks like a shutdown will occur, White House budget office works with federal agencies to determine which federal functions and employees are “essential” or “excepted.” The White House has latitude in how broadly it defines “excepted.”
  3. Agencies and services considered non-essential close. Federal workers will be furloughed without pay. The Federal Government employs over 4-million individuals, so this can be hundreds of thousands of workers affected. Congress may decide after the shutdown to pay them for the time off. Financial disruption is one concern.
  4. “Emergency personnel” continue to be employed, including the active duty military, federal law enforcement agents, doctors and nurses working in federal hospitals, and air traffic controllers. For the Department of Defense, at least half of the civilian workforce, and the full-time, dual-status military technicians in the US National Guard and traditional Guardsmen (those on Title 32 status) are furloughed without pay. Members of Congress continue to be paid, because their pay cannot be altered except by direct law.

Congress is only going to be back in session for two weeks before another extended 10 day vacation begins on May 5th.

That means that the clock is ticking, and at this point a deal does not seem close.

Personally, I am fully convinced that the Democrats are more than willing to allow a government shutdown to happen, because they believe that it will damage the Republicans far more than it will damage them.

So they are not going to move from their demands, and that means that either Trump is going to have to give up his dream of a border wall or there will be a government shutdown on his 100th day in office.

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