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The current and administration is depending on the public to be upset but to take no action. The appointed cabinet members and their boss have nothing good in mind for us. Trump appointed people who he thinks will do a good job based on what he is told and not always on what he knows. Where we stand as a country is hotly debated due to the many and varied opinions of reliable or unreliable sources. So many of us rely on sources that grab our attention with headlines that are not always backed up by facts. This shading of the facts is what has led us to the current administration and the “tweet storm”. We currently have a group of cabinet members whose legacy will undo years of progress and lower the health and education standards we have achieved over the years. What can we do about it? The first thing as voters that we can do is to examine the track record of the people we have voted for regularly and see how they have represented us. Keep in mind that what they say is not always what they actually do. To roll back what has been done previously sounds and looks good in print but in reality can be devastating. If your circumstances are not as good as someone else’s, do not blame that person look at what caused the difference and you will usually find that it’s the existing laws and the people who passed them (the people we voted for on a regular basis). The pushback is simple: Listen to what the candidates say then research their records. Listen and view several news sources. You will find that there are differences and somewhere among those differences lies the truth and that is what you are seeking. Finally politics is no more than theater, entertaining but not serious enough  base an opinion on.

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One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to build a wall and Mexico will pay for it. The article below explains a proposal as to how that will be accomplished.MA

January 24, 2017 2:04PM

By Alex Nowrasteh
President Donald Trump has not yet signed an executive order about his proposed border wall.  An executive order would only do so much as Congress would have to appropriate funds to actually construct the wall.  A wall built to the dimensions and specifications promised by Trump would cost about $25 billion to $31.2 billion and run 1000 miles along the border with Mexico.
Since the Mexican government won’t pay for the wall and holding up all remittances in order to get the Mexican government to pay for it runs into constitutional problems, some like Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies have proposed a nation-wide refundable fee (a tax with another name) on wire remittances to fund the wall.  Taxing remittances of illegal immigrants will not raise enough funds for a huge new border wall.
A remittances tax would have to be very high to raise enough revenue to pay for a wall, even assuming there is no fall off in revenue at higher rates.  The state of Oklahoma has a wire transmitter fee equal to about one percent of the funds transmitted.  In 2016, the tax raised $12,696,879.25 or $133.65 per illegal immigrant in the state.  Back of the envelope, a nationwide version of the wire transmitter fee would only raise about $1.6 billion annually.  If the nationwide wire transmitter fee tax was 5 times as high as in Oklahoma then it would raise enough money to pay for the wall in three to four years assuming there is no fall off in revenue at such a high rate or other disruptions don’t occur.
Oklahoma labels this tax a fee because it’s a fully refunded tax credit.  A full 96 percent of those who pay the fees don’t claim the credit.  David North of the Center for Immigration Studies argues that illegal immigrants pay virtually the entire tax because most of the credits aren’t claimed.  That’s probably right but North overstates his case.  The IRS estimates that about one in five folks eligible for the EITC do not claim it although there are many improper payments made too.  Furthermore, between 55 percent and 75 percent of illegal immigrants file tax returns, have money withheld from their paychecks, or both.  That being said, most of the people paying the tax are likely illegal immigrants but many Americans also pay directly.
Another reason that a nationwide wire transfer tax won’t pay for a wall is that a high rate will simply force remittances onto non-wire systems.  The most obvious alternative is sending remittances through banks or credit unions that are exempt from Oklahoma’s Wire Transmitter Fee.  Congress could try to impose a transfer fee for those funds but that would penalize millions of Americans transferring money abroad – including those of us who paid for college abroad.  The government could set up another tax credit scheme but that would be more bureaucracy and time added on top of an already overly complex tax system.  Using Bitcoin or sending  gift cards are also viable ways to remit large amounts of cash outside of the wire system
Illegal immigrant remitters will also be able to rely on their American citizen or legal immigrant friends and family members to transfer funds through wire services.  About 16.6 million people live in households with the 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.  Many of those legal immigrants or U.S.-natives would be happy to remit money for their illegal immigrants family members.
As a last resort, remitters could use the black market.  Many unlawful immigrants entered the country illegally and some of them use fraudulent documents to work in the United States.  Surely they will find a way to illegally remit funds if the tax is large enough.  Expanding the size of the black market is not the point of a tax on remittances.
Trump’s proposed border wall is expensive and the Mexican government will not pay for it.  Taxing remittances by illegal immigrants is a proposed way of funding such a wall but it is unlikely to raise enough funds and will also directly tax many Americans.  Either the tax will have to raise much more revenue than I anticipate, the border wall will have to be a lot cheaper,  or both for a tax on remittances to raise enough money for this project.  If this wall ever gets built then American taxpayers will foot the bill – as usual.

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The many people who voted for Donald J. Trump scored a minor victory in his election. As in many touted wins there is a downside. The in power Congress has a different agenda than Mr. Trump and it does not bode well for any of us. Mr. Trump is gleefully attempting to be Presidential while the Congress is busily planning an agenda that will reduce healthcare and freedoms many of us currently enjoy. The labelled groups all have different ideas than most of us as to how the country should be run. No matter what side you are on it is wise to remember what affects one eventually affects all. Trump’s cabinet is a collective that will affect everything we do from education to security. As voters all of us want the best leadership but we seem to have relied on sources of information that subvert the truth. We are in essence being lied to on a daily basis by the government. The “government” at this time is current majority party who no matter what you think (or hope) are not working for you. It has been this way for years and these anti voter representatives  strive to convince you that they are on your side. It is the duty of every citizen to forget parties and look at what is actually being done and said in your name! The current White House resident was elected  due to low voter turnout rather than an overwhelming  majority. If you were disappointed in the election results then you need to educate yourself in what is and what isn’t in politics. Remember that under our Constitution the right to voice an opinion  is protected and that includes lies. We current have a minor serving as titular head of the nation and being diapered by  a host of unscrupulous people including many members of Congress.

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Republicans wish all that bad news was fake. But no, it’s real: The administration is destroying itself.
by Megan McArdle

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‎May‎ ‎22‎, ‎2017‎ ‎10‎:‎52‎ ‎AM‎ ‎CDT
The conservative voters who elected Donald Trump seem to feel especially betrayed when those who document his failures and violations are fellow conservatives. Like me.
“Trump Derangement Syndrome,” they say: another libertarian sucked in by DC cocktail circuit, enjoying her cozy establishment perch.
Right-leaning writers are hearing a lot of such accusations these days, even those who never go to cocktail parties, and whose opposition to Trump has cost them readers and opportunities. And yet it’s easy to see where these accusations come from: Washington does tend to blunt the sharper ideological edges of conservatives and libertarians who spend much time here. That doesn’t necessarily happen because their values crumble toward the establishment consensus. It happens because their perspective changes. Certain things about Washington are visible only up close.
I’m not saying that Inside the Beltway is smart and the rest of the country is dumb; distance offers perspective. But that perspective comes at the expense of detail, and often those details change the picture considerably. Outsiders know things that insiders don’t, such as what’s happening in the world beyond 495. But the insiders know some things too, and those things also matter.
Consider the endless debates over last week’s series of leaks. Washington conservatives read the news stories too. But for connected conservatives in DC, the media isn’t the only source of information about this administration. I’d venture to say that most of them have by now heard at least one or two amazing stories attesting to the emerging conventional wisdom: that the president either can’t, or refuses to, follow any kind of policy discussion for more than a few minutes; that the president will not be told no, or corrected about anything, forcing his staff to take their concerns to the media if they want to get his attention; that the infighting within the West Wing is unprecedentedly vicious, and that those sort of failures always stem from the top; and that his own hand-picked staffers “have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpitate with contempt for him.” They hear these things from conservatives, including people who were Trump supporters or at least, Trump-neutral. They know these folks. They know, to their sorrow, that these people are telling the truth.
They can also compare what they’re hearing to what they heard, both on and off the record, during the last Republican administration. Even in Bush’s final days, when the financial crisis was in full swing and his approval ratings hovered around 25 percent, there was nothing like this level of dysfunction inside the White House, this frenzy of backbiting leakage.
So even though they agree with conservative outsiders that the media skews very liberal, and take all its pronouncements about Republicans with a heavy sprinkling of salt, they know that the reports of this administration’s dysfunction aren’t all media hype. They have seen the media report on their own work, and that of their friends; they know what sort of things that bias distorts, and what it doesn’t. Washington conservatives know that reporters are not making up these incredible quotes, or relying only on Democratic holdovers, or getting bits of gossip from the janitor. They know that the Trump administration is in fact leaking like a rusty sieve — from the top on down — and that this is a sign of a president who has, in just four short months, completely lost control over his own hand-picked staff. Which is why the entire city, left to right, is watching the unfolding drama with mouth agape and heads shaking.
From watching the battles of the past, Washington conservatives know that the republic can survive bad domestic policy (at least of the sort that can actually make it through the American political and judicial processes), but that foreign policy missteps are harder to recover from, and easier for a president to make on his own. They know too, of course, that consultation and planning didn’t keep Bush and Obama from making plenty of mistakes, bad ones. It’s just that they know the mistakes are likely to be even more frequent, and more grievous, if the president has not put in the work to familiarize himself with complicated matters, and will not defer to the people who have.
And here’s the final thing that they know: that if you want to do anything big in Washington, there’s a lot of smaller stuff that has to happen first. You don’t write code or build a building without a lot of stuff that probably seems expensive and unnecessary to the customers, and our product requires similarly careful planning and management.
Some of the hoops that a president’s staff must jump through are legally required; some of them are simply necessary to make sure that your bill doesn’t explode on the steps of the Capitol, or die a gruesome public death in the Supreme Court. They include: appointing policy staff; deciding on policy goals, strategy and tactics; keeping the staff from descending into the infighting that inevitably besets any large organization; providing regular oversight of evolving policies to make sure they adhere to the president’s goals; setting up channels and a process to get input from Congress and legal advisers; writing a very detailed plan that provides guidance to staff and legislators, and reassurance to the public; and having your political and communications strategy lined up long before you roll out that plan. Insiders know that this process looks cumbrous and unnecessary to outsiders; they also know that getting majorities in Congress, and legislation that will survive a court challenge, is a Herculean task that cannot be completed without many thousands of people devoting many thousands of hours to these labors.
What conservatives in Washington also know is that the Trump administration hasn’t even completed the first step. And that political capital, vital to pushing a policy forward against the inevitably fierce resistance from special interests, is a rapidly depreciating asset. Which is why they know one more thing: that unless something changes, Trump poses no threat to the establishment, other than the same risk that they’d face from any ordinary Republican president — that the unpopularity of the man in the Oval Office will dribble downticket, and cost them seats in the next election
The hated “establishment” is firmly in charge of such policy process as exists in the Trump era, with Congress basically going ahead to make its own health-care bill because the White House has proven incapable of providing meaningful input. Non-policy accomplishments, such as the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, are no more than his supporters would have gotten from any of the Republican candidates they derided as “RINOs.” On some issues, such as religious liberty, he has probably been worse for key portions of his base than any other Republican contender would have been.
The one area where Trump might actually override the establishment — immigration — has so far delivered only changes that can be easily reversed by the next president.  (Who is likely to be a Democrat, in 2020, unless Trump’s approval ratings turn around.) Any sort of lasting change will require legislation. And right now, the establishment owns the legislative process.
So what conservatives here know is that the freakout in Washington, which looks from afar like a battle between Trump and “the establishment,” is actually one side screaming in amazement as the other side turn their weapons on each other.
Clear thinking from leading voices in business, economics, politics, foreign affairs, culture, and more.
Of course, that’s not the only reason that Washington conservatives are screaming. They fear that Trump’s incompetence may torpedo the policies where they and the outsiders are in agreement: a better tax code, a fix for Obamacare’s many problems. They are desperately worried that his sinking approval ratings will hand Democrats at least one chamber of Congress, and the White House in 2020, where they will resume all the things both camps of conservatism hated about the Obama administration. And they are sincerely and deeply concerned that through bumbling or bad character, he will do considerable damage to things more important than party or ideology.
Are conservatives in Washington missing something through their myopia? Undoubtedly; that’s how they missed the rise of Trump, after all. But the folks outside of Washington are missing things too. The two sides can surely find some better way to share information than shouting past each other.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

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The labels arise again, no matter what your politics, religious or leaning may be to allow yourself to be labelled is close to being called names. The current political climate in America is in a downward spiral. The media (all of them) report what they learn, hear or suspect and not always the total truth. No matter what your beliefs are you tend to read or listen to information that supports your beliefs. This is not the way to be come informed and narrow focus allows the powers that be to create narratives that push their agendas under the guise of supporting yours. Anyone who adheres to the idea that their belief is the only way is open to the machinations of the true manipulators, our Politicians. If you believe that the current cabinet ministers are working for you, you are mistaken, if you still believe your elected Congressional rep is working for you, you are in error and if you believe that your vote doesn’t count, again you are mistaken. Using whatever label you operate under, the powerful manipulators use your beliefs against you. It is your duty to follow as many media offerings as you can to become informed and stop being a victim of the manipulative forces. If you follow one source for convenience then you are already lost.

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Brabble, Trumpspeak and crappenspiel! These are the attributes of the information coming from the Trump White House. In my opinion this administration is in a death spiral caused by the election of a Narcissistic child. There appear to no stops on this path and our less than stellar Congress is complicit. The Congress (Paul Ruyan and Bitch McConnell) have only their own interests in mind whenever they speak and with all actions they take. If the statement about liars pants being a blaze were true then we would have a fire in the Executive and legislative  branches that would be hard to control. With what we now know and have suspected , our government is broken. During the past 8 years when Obama was President, many attempts were made to correct the ship but the evil was so pervasive as to be an insurmountable wall. These evils are capable of creating a long lasting poorly functioning Government. With all of the last 20 years plus of see sawing we have become a segmented nation with the good wishes of our Congress and other influences. The election of Mr. Trump seems to be a stroke of good luck for the baser elements of our government. They are using Mr. trump as  “hat” to cover their own misdeeds and anti citizen schemes. It is unfortunate that too many voters do not realize what the election of Mr. Trump means and it is not good. It is not so much about Mr. Trump but more about the harm that can come from his “allowed” actions. Our neer do well Congress is content to “allow” events to unfold and step in with their own self serving agendas that have  nothing to do with the public good. Our solution to all of this improper and irregular Governance is to become “woke” and informed voters. Do not rely on your elected officials as they will just repeat what you as a voter asked for even thought they know it is not what is needed.

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Sally Yates has had her day in court and she shone like a star! The panel of neer do wells attempted several times to impugn her testimony however it appears that she is smarter than they expected (probably because She’s a woman). Several members of this panel were on the panel when she was vetted as “acting Attorney General” and asked questions which she answered yet these members brought those questions up again and were rewarded with a nice “shut up” as their reward. Then to cover up more FBI director James Comey was fired after his testimony, this firing was at the behest of Jeff Sessions (supposedly) whose sole purpose appears to be returning us to the pre civil rights era. This administration is determined to do it wrong without conscience just because the CIC is an entertainer who believes he is immune to any questions about his actions. The Trump method of operating is to spit out  orders and have them carried out without question. This is not how it works in Government! It is apparent that we have a child in the Oval office who wants to take his ball and go home but can’t so he rants on social media. He has spent valuable time and energy trying to complete his campaign promises in the first 100 days (his stated time line) and has become frustrated when he couldn’t. This lack progress in his eyes is someone else’s fault thus the campaign style meetings outside of the White House. In his haste to undo all things Obama, he has created a fear and an anger among us all that will not be abated until he is out of office. TOTUS’s actions are reminiscent of the “Tammany Hall” era of New York and I wonder what will his downfall leave in its wake. The free press and media have been locked out of press conferences so all news sources are suspect and possibly contrived. Our Allies are looking at all of this and wondering if we as a country will recover from this witch hunt. As voters we have one solution-become informed and vote, show the power of the people to effect change. If we don’t no one else will.

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This is possibly one the few thinking members of Congress while a member of the Republican party (not Dupublican), he does not follow the party line without question which makes him more of a statesman. MA.

 

Gabrielle Levy • May 15, 2017, at 12:01 p.m.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey contributes to an “erosion” of public trust in U.S. government institutions in light of the bureau’s ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials.
“The timing is very troubling,” he said Monday on ” CBS This Morning.” “Once you get to a place where there’s an active investigation, the FBI director is not supposed to be in a political chain of command, and that’s the appearance of this situation and it’s timing.”
“I think we have a crisis of public trust right now, and we need to restore that,” he also said during the interview. “The FBI’s a really special institution and the American people need to be able to know they can believe in it. The FBI director has a 10-year term for a reason, because it’s supposed to be insulated from politics. I want to restore the rule of law but also the institutional conventions around that so there’s more trust.”
The remarks echoed those Sasse made Sunday on CBS’ ” Face The Nation,” when the outspoken Nebraska freshman said Trump’s dismissal of the FBI director should be considered separately from concerns over Comey’s performance.
“Director Comey … is a fundamentally honorable man, but people can think that he executed his job in all sorts of clunky and imperfect ways,” he said.
“That’s a different question than whether or not he should have been fired the way he was last week, and I’ve been critical of that decision,” he continued. “I think it exacerbates the erosion of trust in our institutions. So I’m disappointed in the timing of the firing, but I want to preserve room that there are lots of reasonable reasons that people across the political spectrum can argue about the way the FBI leadership conducted its business in the 2016 cycle.”

Sasse, who two years into his first term in the Senate has earned a reputation for challenging his own party’s orthodoxy, declined to speculate on why Trump decided to fire Comey.
“I’m not sure how this president makes lots of decisions, so I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I do know that we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust, and we need to talk honestly about our institutions that need to be restored and need to have the ability for people in five and eight and 10 years to trust these institutions.”
Sasse said his concerns extend to what he sees as an environment in which political candidates will be forced to contend with leaks of private records that include some faked information but enough real data so as to be believable.
“We need to have a shared civic understanding of America before we get to partisan and policy differences. There are important fights to be had in policy. But we first need a civic sense of what America is,” he said. “And here’s what comes next in things like Russian interference in America and in other countries in the age of cyber war over the next decade. I’m obviously concerned about 2016, but I’m far more concerned about 2018 and 2020, because here is what comes next.”

With the media, Congress and institutions already deeply unpopular, Sasse said, the nation is vulnerable in such an environment.
“We’ve got a bunch of different institutions that have 9 percent and 12 percent and 15 percent public trust and public approval,” he said. “America can’t work that way, because we need a shared narrative about how we are as a people, what government can and can’t do, and what the beating heart of the First Amendment and free press and freedom of assembly and speech and religion means to us.”

“We’re going to need to have some institutions that we can rely on and believe are apolitical, when the public has more and more doubt,” he added. “And, right now, Washington isn’t at all focused on the long-term challenge of rebuilding a shared narrative about America and institutional trust in our [public] servants.”

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This is an addendum to my Post of 5/4/2016-“Hard Not To Speak Up” regarding Healthcare. Additionally the Congressional Healthcare plan has options not available to the rest of American citizens. MA.

Prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA, or Obamacare), members of Congress received the same healthcare insurance benefits as any other federal employee through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, or FEHBP.
During the mark-up of the ACA bill, however, lawmakers inserted a provision (Section 1312(d)(3)(D)) that requires members of Congress and designated congressional staff members to obtain their health insurance through ACA exchanges rather than continue to receive their healthcare coverage through the FEHBP.
As of 1 January 2014, Members of Congress (MOC) and Congressional staff purchase their insurance through the District of Columbia’s small business health options program (SHOP) exchange, also known as DC Health Link. Contrary to popular belief, Congressional members do not receive free health care. As it does for other federal employees who purchase their insurance through the FEHBP, the federal government provides a subsidy equivalent to 72 percent of the weighted average of all FEHBP premiums.
Therefore, MOC and staff pay approximately 28 percent of their annual healthcare premiums through pre-tax payroll deductions.
Although DC’s SHOP offers a total of 57 different ACA insurance plans at the bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels, the Office of Personnel Management has ruled that MOC and staff may only receive the employer contribution if they purchase insurance at the gold tier. If we look solely at the District of Columbia’s SHOP health plans and federal employer contributions, Members of Congress receive benefits very similar to those enjoyed by any employee of a large company.
The bottom line is this: Members of Congress and their staff members are required by law to purchase their health insurance through the exchanges offered by the Affordable Care Act. However, the federal government subsidizes approximately 72 percent of the premium cost.
Like those late-night Ginzu knife commercials on late-night TV, however: “but wait, there’s more!”
MOC and their staff are also eligible to set salary aside in Flex 125 savings plans, which help the employee pay for healthcare and childcare expenses with pre-tax dollars. If they enroll in high-deductible health plans (which is unlikely, since only the gold plans offer an employer contribution), they can also enroll in health savings accounts. If Members of Congress or staff purchase dental and vision or long-term care insurance, they pay 100 percent of their premiums through pre-tax dollars.
Again, these benefits are similar to those offered by many large employers. However, there are two areas where Members of Congress (not staff or family members) can receive free or low-cost health care that the average citizen cannot access. The first is having access to the Office of the Attending Physician. For an annual fee (unspecified), MOC can receive limited care for routine examinations, consultations, and certain diagnostic tests.
The second option is also only available to current Members of Congress. In the Capital region only, they may receive free medical outpatient care at military facilities. If they are outside of the Capital region or if they need inpatient care, then MOC must pay 100 percent of the full cost of that military health care.
Finally, upon separation from political life, Members of Congress may purchase FEHBP insurance if they are otherwise eligible for retirement and if they have had five years of continuous healthcare coverage under their DC SHOP plans.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, members of Congress have a fallback plan. They would be able to return to the FEHBP. Twenty million other Americans won’t.

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The oft cited “American People” have been persuaded to shoot themselves in the foot by an entertainer and his loosely associated group of neer do wells sometimes called Congress. The still ongoing Presidential campaign brought more promises and empty superlative rhetoric than can be brought to fruition like the overblown numbers of  the touted “illegal voters”. To date this administration has begun to roll back safety measures for the environment that we all live in, is attempting to kill the little bit of healthcare that many of us now have, promising the return of jobs that are not possible to be returned and tweeting about things that do not have anything to do with governing. Now due to the high-flying rhetoric on the campaign trail many Americans who have been angry with the government now are having second thoughts but unfortunately we took the needle and damage is done. Our options now are push your representatives to do their jobs, do not take no for an answer , do not believe much of what they tell you and finally vote them out of office. The concept of  representatives being good people is and has been a misconception for years. We just never knew as  much as we know now thanks to electronic and social media. The job of representative is important and we deserve to have the right people in place. At this time we have people whose personal  perks (that we pay for) have been mandated by them! Their health care was never endangered during this “repeal and replace”, with that fact in place what incentive would they have to do anything for us?  It seems that they have one objective and that is to take care of themselves in any way they can and if it coincidentally does something for the voters then that’s a bonus. The solution is the vote and avoiding the politispeak that some many elected officials use when addressing  their constituents. We must have no illusions about our Congress, they are not on our side and it appears that they never will be. We as voters need to create a revolving door if need be to get the right people in place. Once we have that accomplished we need to demand changes in their salary and power. The power needs to be in the hands of the people as we are usually the recipients of their ill-fated laws and actions. It is apparent to me that these neer do wells are not listening to the people and the people are the reason they are in office. We can spend another election season of speeches that mean nothing or we can demand the truth then vote for or against the runner but we must be informed to do that.

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