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Dear Lawmaker:

  • “As a constituent, I am writing to urge you not to raise the state income tax.I’m already paying substantially more of my hard earned income in taxes because of the last two income tax hikes over the past few years, not to mention hundreds of dollars more annually as a result of the additional tax and fee increases passed by the Legislature in recent years.  And that doesn’t include the perennial increases in my property taxes, which are nearly the highest in the nation! I know that I am not alone in my frustration as an Illinois taxpayer in the lack of progress on any meaningful reforms to state spending and an unwillingness to address our disastrous pension problem. I am asking that you publicly oppose and vote against any proposal to increase the state income tax. Thank you for your consideration.”

The above letter presented in an ad by Americans For Prosperity appears on many web pages. Illinois has fiscal problems that are well documented but so many Illinoisans failed to take the step of voting for a tax amendment which could have assisted the State in moving towards a partial resolution (raising the taxes on the wealthier citizens and corporations who often pay less than the average citizen). This failure was due to the millions spent by Billionaires who pay those low to no taxes. This ad attempts to restrain the State from raising taxes because we the people refused to read the few pages explaining the Tax reform initiative. While the initiative would not have solved all of the State’s fiscal issues but it would have captured the lost tax revenues garnered by the supporters against Tax reform. It is important that voters get correct information on fiscal issues rather than follow rhetorical and often untrue statements on Tax reform. Remember the State has fiscal issues but they will not be solved by those benefitting from the current fiscal status quo. Do not be drawn in by letters like the one above, they are no more than scams that benefit the wealthy, none of their reforms will “trickle down”! It is apparent that modern politics is more about personal gain for the political “ins” , their backers and cohorts. The real power is in the hands of the voters who seem to be easily influenced by “real” sounding “demi facts” and largely ignore real facts. With apologies: Many voters have become what I call ” Jerry Springer People”, the type of folks who believe the events on stage are spontaneous. It is unfortunately the norm for some news outlets to lie, present “alternative facts” an otherwise proffer misinformation as fact with the aplomb of the POPE! Facts are facts and always will be facts while lies lie fallow even though they are still recycled on a daily basis.

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It has long been the idea, presumption or assumption, if you will that all Politicians Lie. This may be a general view with some elements of truth but in reality, the truth is more on the general public than the individual elected official. We as voters have long given those we elect more power to work unfettered for us than they deserve. If we as voters spent at minimum 1 half hour investigating other sources of information, we may be pleasantly surprised at what we discover. Each political party collectively and individually offer “their” take on proposed laws, enacted laws and other government initiatives from Municipal to Federal levels. These “takes” are often “spins” on the facts which push us (the voters) to follow their lead into areas that are against our own best interests. The “melting pot” of America is barely warm and getting cooler with the help of the miscreant representatives we currently have in place. In Illinois there was the “Tax Reform” proposal which is still being debated even after failure to launch with other views on its viability or lack of. Where were all of these optional “ideas” when the State mailed out flyers documenting the proposed amendment so that all of us could have a full picture? There’s much shouting and ranting but no straight out well-reasoned objections. Voters, please start spreading your net to gather various sources of information to make yourself informed voters. No elected official unfortunately will ever give the full picture unless it is in their best interest. 

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Ben Klayman and Stephen Nellis January 14, 2021, 11:12 PM

(Reuters) – Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines because of a global shortage of semiconductors that in some cases has been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s actions against key Chinese chip factories, industry officials said.

The shortage, which caught much of the industry off-guard and could continue for many months, is now causing Ford Motor Co, Subaru Corp and Toyota Motor Corp to curtail production in the United States.

Automakers affected in other markets include Volkswagen, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The problems stem from a confluence of factors as auto manufacturers compete against the sprawling consumer electronics industry for chip supplies. Consumers have stocked up on laptops, gaming consoles and other electronic products during the pandemic, creating tight chip supplies throughout 2020.

They have also bought more cars than industry officials expected last spring, further straining supplies.

In at least one case, the shortage ties back to President Donald Trump’s policies aimed at curtailing technology transfers to China.

One automaker moved chip production from China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International, or SMIC, which was hit with U.S. government restrictions in December, to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co in Taiwan, which in turn was overbooked, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

An auto supplier confirmed TSMC has been unable to keep up with demand.

“The systemic aspect of the crisis is giving us a headache,” said a supplier executive, who asked not to be identified. “In some cases, we find substitution parts that could make us independent from TSMC, only to discover that the alternative wafer manufacturer has no capacity available.”

TSMC and SMIC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On an earnings call with investors Thursday, TSMC Chief Executive C.C. Wei said there was a shortage of automotive chips made with “mature technology” and that it is working with customers “to mitigate the shortage impact.”

It only takes the tiniest of chips to throw off production: a Ford plant in Kentucky that makes the Escape sport utility vehicle idled because of a shortage of a chip in the vehicle’s brake system, a union official in the plant said.

Ford also will idle its Focus plant in Saarlouis, Germany, for a month starting next week because of chip shortages.

The situation is unlikely to improve quickly, since all chips, whether bound for a laptop or a Lexus, start life as a silicon wafer that takes about 90 days to process into a chip.

The chipmaking industry has always strained to keep up with sudden demand spikes. The factories that produce wafers cost tens of billions of dollars to build, and expanding their capacity can take up to a year for testing and qualifying complex tools.

“The long and short of it is, demand is up about 50%. And there’s no asset-intensive industry like ours that has 50% capacity lying around,” said Mike Hogan, senior vice president at chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries and head of its automotive unit.

HUAWEI EFFECT

Tight capacity and soaring demand has made it difficult for chip producers to absorb two shocks from the Trump administration.

First, the White House in September banned Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the Chinese telecommunications giant and a major smartphone maker, from buying chips made with American technology. Huawei stockpiled chips ahead of the ban in order to keep building what products it could after it took effect. And Huawei’s rivals, eyeing a chance to grab market share, started snapping up chips, analysts said.

Second, the U.S. government enacted rules that bar SMIC from using some U.S. tools to make chips, a move that has prompted at least some of SMIC’s customers to look for a different chip factory because of concerns that production could be disrupted.

“There’s a fear of using a Chinese chip factory if the United States is going to put them on an entity list,” said Daniel Goehl, chief business officer of UltraSense Systems, referring to possible further restrictions.

A Commerce Department spokesman declined to comment on the implications of the SMIC and Huawei blacklistings for the auto sector but said that the top priority was “to ensure the Export Administration Regulation protects U.S. national security, economic security, and foreign policy interests.”

Analysts said the automotive chip shortage is likely to persist for as long as six months. An AutoForecast Solutions report estimated the global auto industry had already experienced lost volume of 202,000 vehicles as of Jan. 13.

Executives at automakers and suppliers said they are adapting production schedules to protect chips used in higher-profit vehicles. And companies are weighing sourcing chips from more suppliers and increasing inventory levels in the future.

“It’s four-dimensional chess all day long,” said one auto official, who asked not to be identified.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Alexandra Alper in Washington. Editing by Jonathan Weber & Simon Cameron-

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By Andrew Higgins

Jan. 10, 2021

Lying as a political tool is hardly new. But a readiness, even enthusiasm, to be deceived has become a driving force in politics around the world, most recently in the United States.

For President Trump’s supporters, rallying near the Washington Monument on Wednesday, it is enough that he says he won.

MOSCOW — In a cable to Washington in 1944, George F. Kennan, counselor at the United States Embassy in Stalin’s Moscow, warned of the occult power held by lies, noting that Soviet rule “has proved some strange and disturbing things about human nature.”

Foremost among these, he wrote, is that in the case of many people, “it is possible to make them feel and believe practically anything.” No matter how untrue something might be, he wrote, “for the people who believe it, it becomes true. It attains validity and all the powers of truth.”

Mr. Kennan’s insight, generated by his experience of the Soviet Union, now has a haunting resonance for America, where tens of millions believe a “truth” invented by President Trump: that Joseph R. Biden Jr. lost the November election and became president-elect only through fraud.

Lying as a political tool is hardly new. Niccolo Machiavelli, writing in the 16th century, recommended that a leader try to be honest but lie when telling the truth “would place him at a disadvantage.” People don’t like being lied to, Machiavelli observed, but “one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.”

A readiness, even enthusiasm, to be deceived has in recent years become a driving force in politics around the world, notably in countries like Hungary, Poland, Turkey and the Philippines, all governed by populist leaders adept at shaving the truth or inventing it outright.

Janez Jansa, a right-wing populist who in March became prime minister of Slovenia — the home country of Melania Trump — was quick to embrace Mr. Trump’s lie that he won. Mr. Jansa congratulated him after the November vote, saying “it’s pretty clear that the American people have elected” Mr. Trump and lamenting “facts denying” by the mainstream media.

Even Britain, which regards itself as a bastion of democracy,  has fallen prey to transparent but widely believed falsehoods, voting in 2016 to leave the European Union after claims by the pro-Brexit camp that exiting the bloc would mean an extra 350 million pounds, or $440 million, every week for the country’s state health service.

Many of the claims of Brexit backers are demonstrably false, but as Britain officially left the European Union, on Jan. 31, some people in London celebrated.Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Those who advanced this lie, including the Conservative Party politician who has since become Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, later admitted that it was a “mistake” — though only after they had won the vote.

Bigger and more corrosive lies, ones that don’t just fiddle with figures but reshape reality, have found extraordinary traction in Hungary. There, the populist leader Viktor Orban has cast the financier and philanthropist George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, as the shadowy mastermind of a sinister plot to undermine the country’s sovereignty, replace native Hungarians with immigrants and destroy traditional values.

The strength of this conspiracy theory, sometimes tinged with anti-Semitism, said Peter Kreko, executive director of Political Capital, a research group in Budapest long critical of Mr. Orban, lies in its appeal to a “tribal mind-set” that sees all issues as a struggle between “good and evil, black and white,” rooted in the interests of a particular tribe.

“The art of tribal politics is that it shapes reality,” Mr. Kreko said. “Lies become truth and explain everything in simple terms.” And political struggles, he added, “become a war between good and evil that demands unconditional support for the leader of the tribe. If you talk against your own camp you betray it and get expelled from the tribe.”

What makes this so dangerous, Mr. Kreko said, is not just that “tribalism is incompatible with pluralism and democratic politics” but that “tribalism is a natural form of politics: Democracy is a deviation.”

In Poland, the deeply conservative Law and Justice Party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, in power since 2015, has promoted its own multipurpose, reality-shifting conspiracy theory. It revolves around the party’s repeatedly debunked claim that the 2010 death of scores of senior Polish officials, including Mr. Kaczynski’s brother — Poland’s president at the time — in a plane crash in western Russia was the result of a plot orchestrated by Moscow and aided, or at least covered-up by the party’s rivals in Warsaw.

Russian rescue workers inspecting the site of a plane crash that killed Poland’s president, Lech Kaczynski, in 2010.

While Polish, Russian and independent experts have all blamed bad weather and pilot error for the crash, the belief that it was foul play has resonated among die-hard Law and Justice supporters. It has both fed on and reinforced their view that leaders of the previous centrist government are not just political rivals but traitors in cahoots with Poland’s centuries-old foe, Russia, and Poland’s own former communist elite.

The utility of lying on a grand scale was first demonstrated nearly a century ago by leaders like Stalin and Hitler, who coined the term “big lie” in 1925 and rose to power on the lie that Jews were responsible for Germany’s defeat in World War I. For the German and Soviet dictators, lying was not merely a habit or a convenient way of sanding down unwanted facts but an essential tool of government.

It tested and strengthened loyalty by forcing underlings to cheer statements they knew to be false and rallied the support of ordinary people who, Hitler realized, “more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie” because, while they might fib in their daily lives about small things, “it would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths.”

By promoting a colossal untruth of his own — that he won a “sacred landslide election victory” — and sticking to it despite scores of court rulings establishing otherwise, Mr. Trump has outraged his political opponents and left even some of his longtime supporters shaking their heads at his mendacity.

In embracing this big lie, however, the president has taken a path that often works — at least in countries without robustly independent legal systems and news media along with other reality checks.

After 20 years in power in Russia, President Vladimir V. Putin, for example, has shown that Mr. Kennan was right when, writing from the Russian capital in 1944, he said, “Here men determine what is true and what is false.”

Many of Mr. Putin’s falsehoods are relatively small, like the claim that journalists who exposed the role of Russia’s security service in poisoning opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny were working for the C.I.A. Others are not, like his insistence in 2014 that Russian soldiers played no role in the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, or in fighting in eastern Ukraine. (He later acknowledged that “of course” they were involved in grabbing Crimea.)

But there are differences between the Russian leader and the defeated American one, said Nina Khrushcheva, a professor and expert on Soviet and other forms of propaganda at the New School in New York. “Putin’s lies are not like Trump’s: They are tactical and opportunistic,” she said. “They don’t try to redefine the whole universe. He continues to exist in the real world.”

Despite his open admiration for Russia’s president and the system he presides over, she said, Mr. Trump, in insisting that he won in November, is not so much mimicking Mr. Putin as borrowing more from the age of Stalin, who, after engineering a catastrophic famine that killed millions in the early 1930s, declared that “living has become better, comrades, living has become happier.”

“That is what the big lie is,” Ms. Khrushcheva said. “It covers everything and redefines reality. There are no holes in it. You so either accept the whole thing or everything collapses. And that is what happened to the Soviet Union. It collapsed.”

Whether Mr. Trump’s universe will collapse now that some allies have taken flight and Twitter has snatched his most potent bullhorn for broadcasting falsehoods is an open question. Even after the Capitol siege by pro-Trump rioters, more than 100 members of Congress voted to oppose the election outcome. Many millions still believe him, their faith fortified by social media bubbles that are often as hermetically sealed as Soviet-era propaganda.

“Unlimited control of people’s minds,” Mr. Kennan wrote, depends on “not only the ability to feed them your own propaganda but also to see that no other fellow feeds them any of his.”

In Russia, Hungary and Turkey, the realization that the “other fellow” must not be allowed to offer a rival version of reality has led to a steady squeeze on newspapers, television stations and other outlets out of step with the official line.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has shut down more than 100 media outlets and, through bullying by the tax police and other state agencies, forced leading newspapers and television channels to transfer ownership to government loyalists.

This assault began in 2008 with claims by Mr. Erdogan and his allies that they had discovered a sprawling underground group of coup plotters and subversives comprising senior military officers, writers, professors, editors and many others.

Protesters outside a courthouse in Turkey in 2013 where 275 people were accused of trying to overthrow the government. Turkey’s leader later acknowledged the case was a sham.

“The group was completely invented, a total fabrication,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of“The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey.”

This big lie, built around a few shards of fact, convinced not only pious Muslims hostile to the country’s secular elite but also liberals, many of whom then viewed the military as the biggest threat to democracy. Trials dragged on for years before Mr. Erdogan acknowledged that the case against the alleged underground group was a sham.

Long before Mr. Trump, Mr. Cagaptay said, the Turkish leader, who has ruled since 2003, “saw the power of nativist and populist politics” rooted in falsehoods and “brought to prominence the idea of the deep state to justify crackdowns on his political opponents.”

Mr. Trump’s ascent also helped empower a cousin of the big lie — a boom in social-media disinformation and far-right conspiracy-theory fiction.

It has most notably been embodied by the global expansion of Qanon, a once-obscure fringe phenomenon that claims the world is run by a cabal of powerful liberal politicians who are sadistic pedophiles. Mr. Trump has not disavowed Qanon disciples, many of whom participated in the Capitol mayhem last Wednesday. In August he praised them as people who “love our country.”

To some extent, each new generation is shocked to learn that leaders lie and that people believe them. “Lying never was more widespread than today. Or more shameless, systematic, and constant,” the Russian-born French philosopher Alexandre Koyré wrote in his 1943 treatise, “Reflections on Lying.”

What most distressed Mr. Koyré, however, was that lies don’t even need to be plausible to work. “On the contrary,” he wrote, “the grosser, the bigger, the cruder the lie, the more readily is it believed and followed.”

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Ken Catalino Comic Strip for January 05, 2021
Phil Hands Comic Strip for January 05, 2021
Chris Britt Comic Strip for January 05, 2021
Mike Luckovich Comic Strip for January 06, 2021
Bob Gorrell Comic Strip for January 05, 2021

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Botch McConnell lies about giving stimulus to the rich, see chart below

$600 SECOND STIMULUS CHECK INCOME LIMITS

AGI to receive full amountAGI to phase out of paymentIncome limit for first check
Single tax filerUnder $75,000$87,000$99,000
Head of a householdUnder $112,500$124,500$146,000
Married, filing jointlyUnder $150,00$174,000$198,000
The same limits would apply to the $2000.00 stimulus if it happens, Botch McConnell is again lying to show his power

By Burgess Everett and Quint Forgey  2 days ago


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dubbed the effort to increase direct payments to $2,000 “socialism for rich people,” eliciting an incredulous reaction from Bernie Sanders as the GOP Senate continued to decline to take up the matter on Thursday.a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020.

In his second consecutive day of attacks on the bill, McConnell accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of engineering a bill that sends “thousands of dollars to people who don’t need the help.” He also blocked requests from Schumer and Sanders (I-Vt.) to hold votes on the bill this week.

“Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it,” McConnell said of an effort to boost the checks from $600 to $2,000, which is supported by President Donald Trump. “Washington Democrats took President Trump’s suggestion and skewed it so the checks would benefit even more high-earning households.”

McConnell said “socialism for rich people” four times in his speech. Sanders responded in a fiery fashion: “The majority leader helped lead this body to pass Trump’s tax bill. You want to talk about socialism for the rich Mr. Majority Leader?!”

Led by McConnell, many Republicans say the measure the House approved earlier this week delivers too much aid to six-figure earners. The House’s bill would send checks to higher earners more than the two previous rounds of direct payments, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“Imagine a family of five where the parents earn $250,000 per year and have not seen any income loss this past year. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders want to send them $5,000 from Uncle Sam,” McConnell said.

Sanders retorted that in the bill “virtually nothing goes to the very, very rich. The overwhelming majority of those funds go to the middle class, the working class, low-income people who in the midst of the pandemic are in desperate economic condition.”

Plus, Trump has tweeted supportively of what the House did and some Senate Republicans say they support it. The House is gone until the new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3.

Schumer joined an effort from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to press McConnell to allow a stand-alone vote on $2,000 stimulus checks in addition to Trump’s demands for an election fraud commission and repealing tech protections for big tech companies. McConnell has rolled the three issues together in one bill, which stands little chance of passing.

“Democrats are willing to vote on all the other issues the Republicans say the president supposedly cares about. Just let us vote on a clean bill for the $2,000 checks,” Schumer said.

In a Thursday morning interview on “Fox & Friends,” Graham assessed that “if you had a stand-alone vote on the $2,000 check, it might pass” the Senate. And although “70 percent of Republicans don’t want to go to 2,000 [dollars],” he said, “I’m with the president on this.”

Trump threw near-finalized coronavirus relief negotiations into a state of confusion last week when he ordered Congress to increase the amount of direct payments to individual Americans to $2,000.

The president also called on lawmakers to establish an election fraud commission and repeal legal protections for social media companies — known as Section 230 — but he ultimately signed the stimulus package over the weekend without securing any of his demands.

The House voted overwhelmingly on Monday to approve $2,000 stimulus checks. McConnell, however, refused a stand-alone vote on the direct payments, instead tying them to Trump’s other two requests — which were viewed as poison pills by Democrats.

On Wednesday, after Trump again insisted upon “$2000 ASAP!” in a tweet, McConnell said the proposal had “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate” and refused to split the White House’s legislative wish list into separate measures. But that was exactly what Graham pressed the Republican leader to do on Thursday.

“Here’s what I’d like: I’d like a stand-alone vote in the new Congress on the $2,000 check,” Graham said. “We have seven Republicans who’ve already said they would vote for it. We need five more. I think if we had the vote, we would get there.”

The president, Graham added, “wants three things: a commission to investigate fraud, $2,000 checks, and to repeal Section 230. I’m urging Senator McConnell to give a stand-alone vote in the new Congress after January 3rd on all three measures.”

Graham is likely to get little support for the proposal even after the new Congress convenes on Monday. Later Thursday morning, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — another top Republican ally of the president — renounced the prospect of $2,000 payments, citing concerns about the national debt and the need for more targeted relief. He also blocked $1,200 payments last week.

“I know it sounds good, it feels good to give away money. Everybody loves benefits,” Johnson told CNBC. “[But] somebody has got to be thinking about … the effect of this on our future generations.

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The current ongoing budget talks marathon is a repeat of many others through the years. It appears that the GOP’s position is conservative spending no matter the effect on the neediest Americans. The Dems seem to working in the opposite direction. Sometimes there is middle ground and a deal is struck. In all of this there is never a delay or stoppage of the Congressional paychecks. There is never an interruption of health care or the threat of eviction. This may never be changed except by the insistence of voters. We can send messages that we are not happy with their work. but as long as we vote by rote, uninformed or underinformed , there will always be poor to awful representation in Congress. This is where our (the voters) will is done. Current members talk one way when running for the office and quickly fall into the
“insiders” trap once seated. It is odd that we never investigate the activities of those we elect until some news article appears which could or could not be factual, offers some detail about an action or behavior. Where we need to be active is asking questions of the people we voted in and keep asking until we receive satisfactory answers. There is and always will be folks who decide to run for office whose beliefs and morality do not allow them to carry out the legal and correct duties of their office for the benefit of ALL voters no matter the party or subset thereof. When we the people do not do our due diligence in vetting aspirants for political office then we get the types of representation we currently have and allow the rise of “depot wannabe’s” such as Donald J. Trump aka “TOTUS”.

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Two Party Opera Comic Strip for December 31, 2020
Kevin Kallaugher Comic Strip for December 31, 2020
Bad Reporter Comic Strip for December 30, 2020
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It seems that loyalty is a one way street in Trump world. When it appears that Congress is actually following the law (The Constitution), TOTUS has set fire to the building and locked the doors. Now with no signed fiscal budget and other critical bills the Congress is flailing in the wind yet still have not acknowledged the fact that misplaced fealty to party over voters is akin to unleashing wild dogs in a playground. Their champion (and cover) has turned his ire on them for not backing him against the Constitution as they have in other cases which barely passed the smell test. This should be the defining message to voters that they get no loyalty for their loyalty to the party. It must be remembered that the party is still no more than a group of people with similar beliefs but different personalities and traits. Essentially the parties are an olio of people with similar interests that are hit or miss and sometimes do sensible things. Now that TOTUS is at the exit door, “Botch” McConnell is still doing what he does-obstruct in the name of fiscal responsibility. This flies in the face of the fact that no one in Congress has lost a paycheck, housing or medical treatment during this pandemic. The question remains “Loyalty To Whom”

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