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I know that the ones who love us will miss us. Keanu Reeves (thrown in for effect) MA.

This current administration has allowed us a luxury rarely available. That luxury is to go back and investigate the failings of our Congress. The so-called members who fought for the people are gone and when we look back at some of the laws they enacted we would notice that they ( the laws) were for their own benefit. We now have the politicians deciding the health care of us all with no medical input or at best Psuedo medical input. The rise of the far right and far left has occurred globally and seems to be increasing in the same vein as the 1930’s rise of Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese and Russian strongmen. Just a note: Steve Bannon has been a participant or egger on of these factions with his input and sometimes just his presence. Aside from his outside influence in the 2016 election, Bannon was an advisor who left under a cloud but did manage to set TOTUS on the narrowly focussed track that his mind has followed since. We must remember that “We the people” have a bigger say in Government than we think and we need to exercise that option by contact and protests that will stop the wholesale gutting of  laws that support our Constitution thereby providing the freedom the Founders fought for ( and our sons, daughters, parents  are still fighting for). The “Make America Great Again” slogan is no more than a dog whistle”  for a miscreant administration overseen by a Chaos master aided and abetted by a neer do well Congress. Our sole purpose as voters needs to be as careful an examination as we can muster of the candidates for office and the current office holders regardless of their words and slogans. WE need to passionately ignore the News that belies the truth and use our own common sense to right the “ship of state”.

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Drew Sheneman Comic Strip for May 17, 2019 Ken Catalino Comic Strip for May 18, 2019 Jeff Danziger Comic Strip for May 18, 2019 Clay Bennett Comic Strip for May 17, 2019

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Tom Toles Comic Strip for May 17, 2019


Is it real or a political ploy.MA.

Tal Axelrod 4 hrs ago

Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced two sweeping legislative proposals Tuesday to implement a slew of reforms in Washington, including implementing congressional term limits.

The “Make Washington Work” plan intends to reform “the dysfunctional and tired ways of thinking in Washington” with three constitutional amendments and one bill. Among other things, the proposals would institute congressional term limits, an idea that has grown in prominence and support in recent years.
“I’ve been a member of the United States Senate for four months, and it’s as dysfunctional as you think it is – government needs to be completely reinvented. If you were going to create a federal government system today, it sure wouldn’t be what we have now,” Scott said in a statement.

“That career politicians’ gravy train needs to come to an end. It’s clear that now more than ever it will be an uphill climb, but I’m committed to fighting for the people of Florida. I won’t back down.”
“I knew Washington was dysfunctional, gummed up and not moving, but it’s worse than I ever thought. The Make Washington Work plan is a solution that will help unclog the dysfunction in Washington by creating term limits and eliminating automatic pay raises for Members of Congress,” Braun added.
The plan proposes constitutional amendments that would require a supermajority, or two-thirds, of each chamber of Congress to approve a raise on any tax or fee, provide a modified version of line-item veto authority for the president and establish 12-year term limits for the House and Senate.
Current members of Congress would be grandfathered in or would have the limits commence at the beginning of their next elected term.
The proposal also includes a bill to reform the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 to eliminate automatic pay raises for Members of Congress.
Scott and Braun, two Senate freshmen who were elected in November’s midterm elections, both campaigned against what they saw as a state of dysfunction on Capitol Hill and vowed to fight to change it once they were inaugurated.

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Examining the daily news around the web and in print, it is clear that our government is filled with entrenched Taradiddles and fabulists. There is little truth to be gained without a broad examination of ALL of the “news” of the day, yesterday and even speculation about tomorrows events along with that coverage. The current administration has elevated the art of  Politispeak, subterfuge and outright lying to an art form. TOTUS is leading the nation by lying and compounding those lies 140 characters at a time. His “chosen” aides have picked up the slack by continuing and adding to those lies ad finitum at every opportunity. This administration is following a leader who has been dishonest for most of his life and depends on chaos to rule. The economy’s continued growth was started years ago and has moved forward in spite of the mishandling of the economy, foreign and national affairs. What will happen eventually is a collapse of the economy or at least a slow down due to ill-placed tariffs with no basis in fact for their application! This slow down which is starting appear will affect all of us including his avid supporters (who seem to be happy to ignore the connection for the sake of entertainment). With the upcoming election, there is the opportunity to begin a clean-up of the messes made by this administration and we already have assistance in place for that cleanup in the form of our long-time allies who will willingly help to correct the course we are are now. For the entrenched “Trumpofiles” the next president will be assailed but they may never recognize the gains made immediately with the ouster of this administration.

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It is clear that TOTUS is an inveterate and consummate liar, the two articles below show that (those) traits plainly. It’s worth noting that his crew of miscreants follow suit unapologetically. It is worth noting that our Neer do well Congress has not weighed in on this except for two members who are large farm owners.MA

Trump Seeks New $15 Billion Subsidy To Protect Farmers From His Own Trade War
The president falsely claims that tariffs are paid “directly” to the U.S. Treasury by China and indicates these nonexistent Chinese funds will cover the subsidy cost.

By Mary Papenfuss
President Donald Trump is seeking an additional $15 billion in U.S. subsidies in an effort to protect farmers from the devastating impact of his trade war with China. That’s on top of $12 billion already earmarked for the farmers to help them weather the fallout.
That would be an additional bill for U.S. taxpayers already shouldering the cost of increased tariffs in the form of higher costs for products and parts from China.
Trump revealed the subsidy figure in a tweet Friday. He suggested the government use the funds to buy agricultural products to ship to other nations for humanitarian aid, though setting up such a system would be extremely complicated. In his most recent budget proposal, Trump proposed eliminating three food aid programs, Politico noted.
The president appeared to dismiss the impact of the cost as he falsely claimed — again — that “massive” tariff payments are being paid by China “directly” to the U.S. Treasury, which would presumably be used to cover the cost of the subsidy. There is “absolutely no need to rush” to negotiate a deal with China, he tweeted.
In fact, the tariffs are paid by U.S. importers, who pass on the extra costs to the American consumer in the form of higher prices for products, a fact White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow admitted Sunday. Economists have estimated that the trade war is costing the U.S. more than $3 billion a month.
The administration last year earmarked $12 billion in aid to farmers, almost all of it in direct payments. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) applied for funds for their farms.The rural vote helped put Trump over the top in the 2016 election, yet his trade war has hit farmers particularly hard. It has contributed to a record number of farm bankruptcies as U.S. farm exports plunge.
Other industries affected by the tariffs are not receiving subsidies.
Trump has called farmers “great patriots” who are willing to sacrifice because they “know they’re doing it for the country.”

05/13/2019 09:36 pm ET Updated 56 minutes ago
Trump Finally Switches Up His Lie That China Pays Tariffs To The U.S. Treasury
Instead, he falsely claimed that tariffs boost America’s GDP.

By Mary Papenfuss
President Donald Trump has finally dropped his ruse that China pays tariffs to the U.S. Instead, he emphasized another trade lie on Monday.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that China pays tariffs directly to the U.S. government. But it’s actually U.S. importers who pay tariffs for Chinese goods, and they pass those costs to U.S. consumers in the form of higher product prices.
Trump finally appeared to concede in a tweet that Americans are the ones who really shoulder tariff costs. But he said “there is no reason” they have to pay them — as long as they buy from a “non-Tariffed Country.”
Many American goods, however, contain parts from different countries, so it’s difficult to dodge products that aren’t affected by tariffs.
Trump also said tariff costs can be avoided if products are purchased “inside the USA,” but that’s clearly not the case with products hit by tariffs — even if people buy them in the U.S.
Trump also tweeted — again — that tariffs have helped the U.S. economy, which is not true according to his own economic adviser. “Some people just don’t get it!” Trump wrote.
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow conceded to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that Trump’s tariffs have hurt jobs as well as GDP. He estimates that loss to be about two-tenths of 1 percent of GDP — lower than many economists’ estimates — and called it a “very modest number” and “so small.” But The Washington Post noted that Kudlow’s estimate amounts to about $40 billion.
In addition, trade fears sent global stock markets plunging Monday, wiping out $1 trillion in value around the world, Bloomberg reported.
Kudlow also admitted to Wallace — despite Trump’s earlier claims — that Americans pay the costs of the tariffs.
China announced Monday it will hike tariffs June 1 on $60 billion of U.S. imports in retaliation for the Trump administration’s increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods last week.

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Kadia TubmanReporter, Yahoo News•May 12, 2019

George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, lashed out at President Trump Sunday for his view of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as “purely in terms of your own ego,” adding that the president “should pay with your office.”
“Think of it,” Conway, an outspoken critic of President Trump, started in a lengthy Twitter thread. “The Russia investigation was a legitimate investigation, with a legitimate basis, into how a hostile foreign power tried to interfere with and undermine our democracy. It was in the best interests of the nation — in the interests of all Americans, no matter who they voted for — that this investigation be allowed to proceed to its rightful conclusion, without improper attempts to obstruct it, if only so that we could all know what really happened and take steps to see that it never happens again.”
Conway blamed Trump’s take on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on his being “a malignant narcissist — a person with both narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders,” a diagnosis he has repeatedly applied to his wife’s boss.
“Instead of complying with your oath of office, and instead of taking stock of what was in the best interests of the nation whose Constitution and laws you swore to uphold, you viewed the matter purely in terms of your own ego,” said Conway. “You viewed the investigation as casting doubt on what you perceive as your great election victory (in which your opponent garnered nearly three million more votes than you did), and so you took multiple steps to obstruct, and repeatedly lied about, the investigation from the outset.”
Conway was responding to Trump, who tweeted Sunday morning: “Think of it. I became President of the United States in one of the most hard fought and consequential elections in the history of our great nation. From long before I ever took office, I was under a sick & unlawful investigation concerning what has become known as the Russian Hoax.”
He added: “My campaign was being seriously spied upon by intel agencies and the Democrats. This never happened before in American history, and it all turned out to be a total scam, a Witch Hunt, that yielded No Collusion, No Obstruction. This must never be allowed to happen again!”
Although Mueller’s two-year probe found no conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, the redacted report detailed “multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations.” It also stated that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on the obstruction of justice issue.
Still, despite laying out the evidence of possible obstruction like attempting to get Mueller fired, no conclusions were drawn on the matter, and Attorney General William Barr decided not to bring charges against the president, which Trump declared as “complete and total exoneration.”
“Even today, despite the well-founded assessments of the intelligence community, and despite the damning evidence laid out in the Mueller report, you refuse to take what the Russians did seriously,” said Conway. “Instead, you continue to lie, calling the investigation a ‘hoax’ and an ‘attempted coup,’ and you didn’t even mention Russia’s conduct in your recent 90-minute conversation with Putin, the man who seeks to undermine our institutions.”
Last week, before the Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress, Trump asserted executive privilege over the unredacted Mueller report to keep it away from the House Judiciary Committee and instructed his former aides not to comply with a congressional subpoena to testify about the report’s findings.
Conway ended his condemnation by accusing Trump of putting his own interests before the nation’s, an offense for which, he said, the president should leave office, without specifying resignation or impeachment.
“Put simply, you put your own perceptions of your self-interest above the national interest, which you seem unable to comprehend or respect,” he wrote. “That is your greatest offense against the country, an offense that incorporates but vastly exceeds the statutory crimes you’ve committed. It is the ultimate high crime or misdemeanor under the Constitution, and under the Framers’ wise design, it is an offense for which you should pay with your office, regardless of whether you are ultimately brought to justice in the courts of law.”

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POLITICS 05/06/2019 05:03 pm ET Updated 5 days ago

By Igor Bobic and Matt Fuller
WASHINGTON — As House Democrats dither over moving forward with impeachment in a divided government and Senate Republicans are satisfied confirming judges rather than passing legislation, a pressing question is emerging: What the hell is Congress good for, anyway?
The House and Senate have been divided many times. Congress and the presidency are rarely controlled by one party. But the extent to which this Congress is already proving itself worthless as a legislative body and as a check against the president is historic.
“This is the worst I’ve seen it,” congressional historian and American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein told HuffPost this week. “With Nixon, we had people like Howard Baker, Hugh Scott, Barry Goldwater, Bill Cohen and John Rhodes. There is no equivalent today. And we have far worse corruption and lying.”
Ornstein added that Trump and his Cabinet are taking “defiance of Congress to a level we have not seen before.”
For the past century, the legislative branch has steadily handed its authority to the executive on various issues like trade, regulations and war-making powers. Lawmakers continued that tradition earlier this year, allowing Trump to circumvent the appropriations process with his emergency declaration and let him build portions of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The unprecedented move ― which a majority of Republicans supported ― opened the door for future presidents to similarly fund their priorities without the explicit approval of Congress.
“Part of what Congress does is take the easy way out; there’s a laziness factor to just let the executive do something,” said Kevin Kosar, vice president for policy at the R Street Institute, a libertarian think tank. “Part of it is also a quasi-parliamentary mentality that our legislature has fallen into. If there’s a Republican president, you wave the Republican flag. If the president is a Democrat, and you’re a Republican, you’re supposed to be reflexively against that person.”
Trump and his Cabinet are taking ‘defiance of Congress to a level we have not seen before.’
American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein
While Democrats in the House certainly aren’t lining up behind Trump, they also aren’t lining up against him. Impeachment efforts in the House have been relegated to a few Democrats on a quixotic mission, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has effectively pumped the brakes on all the talk.
Special counsel Robert Mueller declined to make a prosecutorial judgment on Trump and multiple examples of his potential obstruction of justice. But the Mueller report includes a whole section on Congress protecting “the integrity of its own proceedings, grand jury investigations, and federal criminal trials.”
Mueller seemed to be prodding Congress toward impeachment: “We concluded that Congress can validly regulate the president’s exercise of official duties to prohibit actions motivated by a corrupt intent to obstruct justice,” the report said.
Instead of impeachment, however, congressional Democrats mostly met the report with yet another round of carefully worded press releases calling for more investigation.
The problem with that position is that the Trump administration is barely cooperating with those investigations.
Trump himself said he would ignore every subpoena related to oversight of his administration. In defiance of the law, the Treasury Department refuses to turn over his tax returns. Members of his administration routinely don’t show up to testify before the House ― Attorney General William Barr turned down his scheduled appearance last week, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross passed on his invitation to speak before the Appropriations Committee. Trump is even suing his own banks to block them from turning over his financial statements.
Pelosi said last week that she viewed the president’s “blanket” position refusing to answer to any document or testimony requests as “obstruction of justice.” But the rebukes ring hollow when Pelosi simultaneously cautions Democrats against opening impeachment proceedings, worrying it could cost her party at the ballot box in 2020.
She even told The New York Times last week that Democrats need to remain in the center to “inoculate” against the possibility that Trump refuses to vacate the presidency in a close election.
So scared are Democrats of a standoff with Trump that they’ve convinced themselves they need to play nice ― because the truth is, they have hardly any remedy for Trump playing hardball.
After Barr failed to show up to a House Judiciary hearing or provide an unredacted copy of Mueller’s report as mandated in a congressional subpoena, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said the nation’s top law enforcement officer was “trying to render Congress inert as a separate and coequal branch of government.”
The committee is expected to hold Barr in contempt, but Democrats have few viable moves remaining. There is some talk of holding administration officials in “inherent contempt,” potentially subjecting them to jail time or hefty fines. But the dispute is unlikely to be resolved without years of litigation in federal court.
“We are at a very critical moment in this nation’s history,” House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) told reporters last week. “And I’m praying that the American people will wake up and understand that the president is blocking us from interviewing White House personnel.”
Cummings said everyone needed to understand that, when the administration denies Congress access to key documents or witnesses, “what they’re doing is saying, ‘Congress, you don’t count. You have no ability to do your job under the Constitution.’”
He added that Congress cannot have “a presidency that is run as if it were a king or dictator.”
But short of impeachment ― which won’t result in Trump’s removal without Republican support ― and some ineffectual lawsuits, Congress really doesn’t have many good ways to bend the executive to its will.
So scared are Democrats of a standoff with Trump that they’ve convinced themselves they need to play nice ― because the truth is, they have hardly any remedy for Trump playing hardball.
Traditionally, one check on the executive branch would be Congress’ power of the purse. Lawmakers can block money from going to any agency or action simply by writing it into an appropriations bill. But Democrats seem unwilling to risk a shutdown over, say, blocking money from going to Trump’s national emergency border wall.

It’s risky to threaten shutdowns with a president who’s willing to close the government. And Trump could always defy Congress, expecting lawmakers or the courts to either do nothing or at least be slow to respond.
Part of the problem is that Democrats are still hoping for some legislative achievements, like an infrastructure bill or drug-pricing legislation. It’s difficult for Democratic leaders to make the case that Trump is a corrupt president when they’re simultaneously heading to the White House to meet with him.
But hopes for a big infrastructure package making it to Trump’s desk are fading fast. So, too, are the chances for action on other issues like immigration, gun control or climate change. Not only are Democrats incapable of meeting the oversight challenges of the Trump administration, but they’re also unable to pass their legislative priorities. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) bragged last week that the GOP majority was turning the Senate into a “legislative graveyard.”
But a lack of oversight or legislative activity is hardly the only reason Congress is failing at its job. Lawmakers have voted for years to kneecap their ability to check the president.
The executive branch is composed of 180 agencies and more than 4 million civilian and military employees. In contrast, the legislative branch has about a dozen supporting agencies and only about 30,000 employees, according to a report by The Constitution Project. While Congress passes about 50 laws every year ― many of which rename post offices or transfer federal land to states or other groups ― executive agencies issue roughly 4,000 substantive rules every year. The Constitution Project report estimates that 80 to 100 of those rules have an economic effect of more than $100 million.
The diminishing power of Congress got much worse once Newt Gingrich became speaker in 1995 and cut committee staff by one-third. But the problem has gotten even worse in recent years, as congressional pay has remained stagnant in a city with rising costs and experienced staffers are lured to higher-paying jobs on the other side of the revolving door.
A Sunlight Foundation Report found that most congressional wages have not risen in two decades and that companies spend more on lobbying in Washington than the U.S. government spends on all staff pay for the House of Representatives.
What they’re doing is saying, ‘Congress, you don’t count. You have no ability to do your job under the Constitution.’
House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)
But the problem of a feeble Congress is also inflicted for partisan reasons. GOP congressional leaders like McConnell and former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were far more interested in enacting a Republican legislative agenda that Trump could sign than in checking the president in any way. And while Democrats took back the House earlier this year and have started numerous investigations, the administration has stymied many of their inquiries.
“This is not Congress against the president,” Ornstein told HuffPost. “If it were, I would be confident it would be resolved appropriately. But every Republican in the House and Senate are siding with the corrupt, lying autocrats in the administration. It is Democrats against the president and the Republican Senate, with a stacked judiciary adding to the problem.”
Take, for example, the Senate shedding its longstanding rules to favor Trump. The chamber’s advice and consent role under the Constitution ― as well as the filibuster ― was a way for the chamber to hoard power as an institution. If a president wanted someone confirmed, they’d have to make sure that person was exceptionally qualified and amenable to at least some members of both parties.
But the elimination of supermajority requirements for executive and judicial nominations in recent years, including for the Supreme Court, has greatly reduced the power of individual senators and the minority. Nominees no longer require anyone from the minority party to support their nomination, meaning less qualified and more partisan people are entering government and the judiciary.
Republicans, meanwhile, reject the notion that rule changes concerning executive and judicial nominations have weakened the upper chamber as an institution. They argue that reducing floor debate time for certain nominees, one such change they pushed through earlier this year, has made the upper chamber function more efficiently, as intended by the founders.
“It’s actually making the Senate operational and responsive again, where before this was a place where nothing was getting done,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said last week. “I see it more as the restoration of how Congress used to function.”
Of course, Democrats see it much differently. They argue that the GOP move will allow Trump and future presidents to run roughshod over the Senate.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) ― one of the lonely and loudest voices in Congress calling on members to reassert their institutional authority on declarations of war and military force ― said the Trump administration is flouting congressional prerogatives at levels not seen before.
Kaine cited recent reports that Trump’s Department of Energy kept secret numerous authorizations allowing U.S. nuclear energy companies to share sensitive technological information with Saudi Arabia from both the public and congressional committees that have jurisdiction over nuclear proliferation and safety.
“They want to completely ignore the Article I branch,” Kaine said, expressing frustration at Democrats’ inability to find any means of recourse in a GOP-controlled Senate. “What do you do?”
He added to his colleagues: “Hey guys, let’s stand for the institution here.”
Arthur Delaney contributed to this report.

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Slide 15 of 81: The News In CartoonsSlide 77 of 81: Gary Varvel/Creators.comSlide 44 of 81: Phil Hands/Wisconsin State Journal/Tribune Content AgencySlide 10 of 81: The News In CartoonsSlide 29 of 81: Gary Varvel/Creators.comSlide 24 of 81: The News In CartoonsSlide 29 of 81: Gary Varvel/Creators.comSlide 20 of 81: The News In Cartoons

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Slide 13 of 81: The News In Cartoons


The Lyrics below are from a happy and exhilarating song from the ’30s. However, the current parade of miscreants we have in this administration is the opposite of that .MA
I LOVE A PARADE
From the Cotton Club show “Rhythmania” (1931)
(Music: Harold Arlen / Lyrics: Ted Koehler)
Arden-Ohman Orch. (vocal: Frank Luther) – 1932
Harry Richman (feat. in the short film “I Love A Parade”) – 1932

Also recorded by:
Bessie Smith; Boston Pops Orch.; Maxine Sullivan.

I walk every step o’ the mile,
And think it was really worthwhile
To see a parade come marching down the line.
I don’t know a son of a gun
Who wouldn’t be willing to run
To see a parade come marching down the line.
Perhaps I’m what you’d call a patriot,
But one thing’s certain, whether I am or not!

I love a parade;
The tramping of feet,
I love ever beat
I hear of a drum.
I love a parade;
When I hear a band
I just wanna stand
And cheer as they come!

That rat-a-tat-tat!
The flair of a horn!
That rat-a-tat-tat!
A bright uniform!
The sight of a drill
Will give me a thrill!
I thrill at the skill
Of anything military!

I love a parade;
A handful of vets,
A line of cadets,
Or any brigade,
For I love a parade!

Look, here they come!
Oh what a sight!
Listen to the crowd!
They’re cheering, hip hip hooray!
Oh, everybody loves a parade!
And look at those teams,
Tramp tramp tramp, never missing a beat!
And here comes the band, they’ll be here soon!
Listen to what they’re playing,
Sousa’s “Stars And Stripes For Ever!”.
Oh boy, that’s what I call a tune!
And look at that drum major,
Watch him with that stick,
I’ll wager he doesn’t miss a trick!
The captain is yelling,
It’s the command,
They’re going to drill,
Here’s where I get a thrill!
Oh by jove, that’s it!
Excuse me, lady!
Oh, quit shoving!
Say, who do you think you are?
Oh yeah?
Thanks!
Get out of the way, you mug!
Hallo Charlie!
Hallo Lou!

I love a parade;
The tramping of feet,
I love ever beat
I hear of a drum.
I love a parade;
When I hear a band
I just wanna stand
And cheer as they come!

That rat-a-tat-tat!
The flair of a horn!
That rat-a-tat-tat!
A bright uniform!
The sight of a drill
Will give me a thrill!
I thrill at the skill
Of anything military!

I love a parade;
A handful of vets,
A line of cadets,
Or any brigade,
For I love a parade!

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It seems that the GOP (Dupublicans) are afraid of their own members but they have supported them against their own constituents and possibly the Constitution, Thanks Mitch.MA
Alexander Bolton, The Hill, 2Hrs ago

GOP senators see the former House lawmaker as an obstacle to striking deals on spending, including a stalled disaster relief package. The intraparty battle could spill over into high-profile debates on fiscal matters, such as raising the debt ceiling and avoiding another government shutdown.
Before joining the administration, Mulvaney was a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which rose to prominence after the Tea Party wave of 2010 by opposing spending increases and the implementation of ObamaCare. Some GOP lawmakers worry that Mulvaney has ingrained the Freedom Caucus’s staunch conservative worldview to the White House, making it tougher to cut deals with Democrats.

“There is a feeling that the Freedom Caucus may be on the wane in the House, but it’s on the ascendency in the West Wing,” said one Republican senator, who requested anonymity to discuss colleagues’ frustration with Mulvaney.
A second GOP senator said, “He’s a former member of the Freedom Caucus, and he’s used to saying no.”
A third Senate Republican said there’s “frustration” that Mulvaney and his ally Russ Vought, the acting White House budget director, are willing to settle for a yearlong continuing resolution to fund the government instead of negotiating a new spending deal with Democrats.
Republicans warn a yearlong continuing resolution would likely result in a substantial defense spending cut.
Senate Republicans voiced their frustrations over the lack of progress on disaster relief and the annual spending caps to Vice President Pence during a meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, according to lawmakers who attended.
The lawmakers told Pence that boosting aid for Puerto Rico, a Democratic demand, will have to be met in order to reach a deal on a package that would provide storm and flood relief to Republican states in the Midwest and Southeast.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told reporters Tuesday that he had a “candid” conversation with Mulvaney earlier in the day about the lack of progress on disaster relief.
Asked if “candid” was a euphemism for a heated conversation, Shelby just chuckled.
John Czwartacki, a White House spokesman, expressed optimism that Congress will pass a disaster relief package soon but declined to comment on the complaints of Senate Republicans: “We are looking forward to the House and Senate passing a disaster relief bill to bring aid to those impacted as soon as possible. Other than that, we are not in the habit of commenting on private and deliberative conversations with members of Congress.”
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said that many Senate Republicans are eager to pass disaster relief and view Mulvaney as someone who could break the gridlock.
“Shelby wants to get this done and he’s got a lot of members in his ear about getting it done so I think he’s trying to convince the White House to get movement while Mulvaney is in a position, I think, to shake things loose if he wants to,” Thune said.
Shelby said the talks remained stalled as of Wednesday afternoon.
“We haven’t reached any resolution on disaster, caps or anything. Still talking,” he said.
Mulvaney also has his fans on Capitol Hill, such as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who on Wednesday praised Mulvaney’s service to Trump.
“I think he’s doing a good job. I’m glad he’s there,” Graham said. “I think he serves the president well, which is to balance out not only the Republican Party but how to deal with Congress.”
But Mulvaney’s tough stands on disaster relief and a possible spending caps deal are grating on the nerves of senators who want to pass bills.
“I wish we could get to agreement on both of those, disaster [relief] and spending cuts. I’ll say this about Mick Mulvaney: He’s been very accessible and willing to talk and cultivate relationships, but he does come from that belief set” of the Freedom Caucus, said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who served with Mulvaney in the House.
Capito said she has heard “rumblings” from colleagues about Mulvaney’s influence on spending discussions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters last month that moving a disaster relief package and reaching an agreement with Democrats on spending caps are two of his top legislative priorities.
“We need to get this done. We need to pass it out of the Senate before the Memorial Day recess,” McConnell said Tuesday, arguing that the current relief package has taken longer to pass than similar measures after any previous disaster.
A Senate Democratic official familiar with the negotiations on disaster relief said Mulvaney has derailed emerging deals with last-minute objections.
“Even when they meet with Trump and the president says I’ll go along with this, that or the other thing, Mulvaney will say no,” said the Democratic official. “He’s always like, ‘No, we’re not for that.’ ”
“We could have passed something with 90 votes in the Senate in March and the House would have accepted it by a voice vote,” the source added.
Mulvaney has reined in Trump on other issues, such as a massive infrastructure deal the president discussed with Democrats last week.
Shortly after Democratic leaders touted a tentative agreement to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure, Mulvaney labeled the proposal unrealistic, predicting the talks would likely break down over differences on environmental regulation.
He poured more cold water on the idea Friday.
“Is it difficult to pass any infrastructure bill in this environment, let alone a $2 trillion one, in this environment? Absolutely,” Mulvaney told The Washington Post.
A Republican senator from the Midwest said he recalled Mulvaney pushing Trump to cut spending on crop insurance shortly after he took office in 2017 by advocating for reduced premium subsidies and limiting eligibility for subsidies to farms with incomes less than $500,000.
Mulvaney fell short in his effort to cut insurance subsidies, which are popular in farm states, but it left GOP lawmakers wary about his influence on the president.
“He’s tough,” said the GOP farm-state senator.

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