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Trump, Democrats dug in as government heads for shutdown

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Trump Democrats dug in as government heads for shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Racing toward a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump appeared dug in Friday in a standoff with Democrats over his demand for billions of dollars in U.S.-Mexico border wall money.

The shutdown, scheduled for midnight, would disrupt government operations and leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay just days before Christmas.

Trump convened Republican senators for a lengthy meeting at the White House, but it produced no clear path toward passage of a government-funding bill containing billions for wall construction. The Senate began a procedural vote on the legislation but was stuck in a long holding pattern waiting for the return of senators who had already left town.

“This is our only chance that we’ll ever have, in our opinion, because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security,” Trump said Friday at the White House. Democrats will take control of the House in January, and they oppose major funding for wall construction.

Trump tried to pin the blame on Democrats for the possible shutdown, even though just last week he said he would be “proud” to shut part of the government in a fight for the wall, which was a major promise of his presidential campaign.

Congress had been on track to fund the government but lurched when Trump, after a rare lashing from conservative supporters, declared Thursday he would not sign a bill without the wall billions. His supporters on the right warned that his “caving” on repeated wall promises could hurt his 2020 re-election chances, and those of other Republicans as well.

“We’re totally prepared for a very long shutdown,” Trump said Friday. Embracing his changed terminology, he claimed there is tremendous enthusiasm for border security — “the barrier, wall or steel slats — it’s all the same.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell returned to Capitol Hill saying lawmakers “had a good conversation about the way forward. We are going to continue to be talking this afternoon.”

McConnell quickly set in motion a Senate procedural vote on a House Republican package that would give Trump $5.7 billion for the wall, but it was not expected to pass. At least one Republican, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, was opposed, saying he would resist wall money without broader immigration reforms, leaving even the procedural vote in doubt.

Senators were being recalled to Washington after having already approved a bipartisan package earlier this week that would continue existing border security funding, at $1.3 billion, but without new money for Trump’s wall.

Friday’s voting dragged on as senators rushed back to town. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said he returned to the Lone Star state on Thursday only to get back on an early Friday morning flight to Washington.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz flew all the way home to Hawaii, tweeting that he spent 17 minutes with his family, before returning on the 11-hour flight.

“Wheels down IAD ready to vote no on this stupid wall,” Schatz tweeted Friday, referring to Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

At the White House, senators engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth with the president, but it did not appear to set a strategy for moving forward.

“I was in an hour meeting on that and there was no conclusion,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

The Senate was expected to reject the House measure because Democratic votes are needed and McConnell showed little interest in changing the rules — as Trump proposed — to allow a simple majority for passage.

One possibility was that the Senate might strip the border wall funds out of the package, pass it and send it back to the House. House lawmakers said they were being told to stay in town for more possible votes.

Only a week ago, Trump insisted during a televised meeting at the White House he would take ownership of a shutdown over his border wall. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” he asserted.

But with the hours dwindling before the midnight deadline, Trump sought to reframe the debate and blame Democrats for the impasse that threatens hundreds of thousands of federal workers on the eve of the end-of-the-year holidays.

“Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything. Later in the morning, not even waiting for a Senate vote, Trump tweeted that “the Democrats now own the shutdown!”

The White House said Trump would not go to Florida on Friday as planned for the Christmas holiday if the government were shutting down.

At issue is funding for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are funded for the year and would continue to operate as usual. The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, would not be affected because it’s an independent agency.

Thursday night, the GOP-led House voted largely along party lines, 217-185, to attach the border wall money to the Senate’s bill. House Republicans also tacked on nearly $8 billion in disaster aid for coastal hurricanes and California wildfires.

Both the House and Senate packages would extend government funding through Feb. 8, all but guaranteeing another standoff once Democrats take control of the House in the New Year.

“There are a lot of us who want to avoid a shutdown,” said Kansas GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. “I’ve been through about five of them in my career. None of them have worked in terms of their intent.”

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Kevin Freking and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

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Democrats

Can Lacy Johnson beat Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis?

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Can Lacy Johnson beat Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is one of the bluest major cities in America. The race for the Democratic nomination for the MN-5 district is essentially the general election because Democrats have held the seat belonging to Minneapolis since 1963. The closest a Republican has come to winning the district in this century was Alan Fine in 2006 who “only” lost to Keith Ellison by 34.3%. Oftentimes, the Democrat wins by over 50 points.

But Republican Lacy Johnson seeks to make history. He’s not making the attempt by being a moderate RINO trying to coax the people of Minneapolis into believing he’s basically a Democrat. His platform is boldly conservative and includes a balanced budget amendment, school choice, and a bear-hug embrace of President Trump’s economic policies.

Growing up with nine siblings in modest circumstances didn’t make him feel poor. It did make him realize it’s his responsibility to support his family as an adult and not rely on government. This is exactly the type of mentality we need more of in Washington DC. It’s the kind of mentality that will serve Minneapolis well.

Under normal circumstances, even being a strong candidate isn’t enough in Minneapolis when you have the letter (R) next to your name on the ballot. But in 2020, Johnson has one major advantage that should give the GOP hope. He’s going up against Ilhan Omar, the “Squad” member who has been nothing but an embarrassment to herself, Minneapolis, and the United States of America. Despite accomplishing essentially nothing outside of Twitter in her brief tenure, she still walks the halls of Capitol Hill as if she’s a diva rockstar. That’s part of the charade her “Squad” members portray; they’re a shame even to Democrats but because they’ve gained nationwide popularity among radical progressives, they’ve been allowed to keep playing their games. For now.

But even as Omar struts around Capitol Hill, she’s ignoring the people who put her in office in the first place. To Omar, Minneapolis is merely a place where she’s forced to campaign. We can see this based on her actions; literally nothing she has done in DC has even come close to affecting Minneapolis residence. That’s uncanny, even for a Democrat.

The people of Minneapolis may finally vote red for two reasons: (1) Lacy Johnson is a winner with great ideas, and (2) Ilhan Omar has been nothing but an embarrassment, absent from Minneapolis since her election. President Trump should endorse him.

Image source: Facebook.

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Democrats

Why Bernie Sanders failed so hard this time

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Why Bernie Sanders failed so hard this time

Elizabeth Warren is the new Bernie Sanders. Mark it down. Sanders will be out of the race before the Iowa caucus even though he won it in 2016. Why? Because he was replaced by a younger, sleeker model.

But there’s much more to the story of the Sanders 2020 failure than just another radical progressive using the same basic talking points. Warren is something that Sanders is not. In fact, Warren has the one piece to the puzzle that Sanders has always lacked. He’s an old white straight male.

Elizabeth Warren female and will therefore beat Sanders for the radical progressive votes. It’s as simple as that.

In fact, it’s already happening.

Bernie Sanders South Carolina crowd size one-third of Elizabeth Warren’s

Campaign events by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, competing for voters on the Left flank of the 2020 Democratic primary field, proved a study in contrasts this weekend as far as crowd sizes are concerned.

Nearly 300 people attended a Sanders town hall in Columbia on Saturday, while over 900 showed up to see Warren in Aiken the day before.

It was conspicuous that Eric Swalwell, Cory Booker, and other male candidates declared they would have a female running-mate long before they ever were a blip on the polling radar. They’re reading the tea leaves, seeing the writing on the wall, and realizing this version of the Democratic Party values intersectionality more than anything else. If a lesbian minority non-Christian ran this election cycle and had an ounce of personality, she would have run away with the nomination. But today, one must pick their favored intersectional characteristic since nobody possess all of them.

Do they go with minority female Kamala Harris? Gay male Pete Buttigieg? Minority political outsider Andrew Yang? It seems like most are picking the same card that beat Bernie in 2016. The Democrats want a female, and even though Warren is Caucasian (plus 1/1024 Cherokee!), she has the advantage of advancing the Sanders agenda and at times doubling down on it. Harris is trying to do the same, but she’s a mess. She can recover, but her bouncing policies are not as endearing as Warren’s strict adherence to radicalism-at-all-costs. And by “all costs,” I mean ALL costs… to everyone.

Despite being 1-2 in the polls from the beginning, neither Joe Biden nor Bernie Sanders have a chance of getting the nomination. The new Democratic Party will not nominate an old white male because they’re neither racist nor sexist. Ironic.

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Culture and Religion

Do Omar, Tlaib oppose LGBTQ rights like the Palestinian Authority?

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Do Omar Tlaib oppose LGBTQ rights like the Palestinian Authority

Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib want Israel to be boycotted, divested, and sanctioned. They want the Democrats in the House of Representatives to take Congressional action against Israel. They want to drive a wedge between the United States and Israel. Most importantly, they want Israel to no longer exist, replaced by the Palestinian Authority and a “New Palestine.”

Do they also support the Palestinian Authority’s ban on LGBTQ activities? Do they agree with the anti-LGBTQ tenets of the Muslims organizations the Congresswomen support?

In a society in which the media handled things in an unbiased manner, these are questions the press would be asking Omar and Tlaib following the Palestinian Authority’s ban on LGBTQ activities in the West Bank, an area where Tlaib’s grandmother lives and where she petitioned to visit before declining to do so after Israel allowed it.

The press should ask them if they support the Palestinian Authority’s move against LBGTQ individuals:

Palestinian Authority bans LGBTQ activities in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority banned members of the Palestinian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community from carrying out any activities in the West Bank.

The ban came after the grassroots group Al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society (Arabic for “the bow”), which engages and supports Palestinians who identify as LGBTQ, was planning to hold a gathering for its members in Nablus at the end of the month. The group operates both in the West Bank and among Arab-Israelis.

Both Tlaib and Omar claim to be supportive of LGBTQ rights. But they also have a not-so-subtle attachment to the Palestinian Authority and are actively working to put them in control of all of Israel. Does that mean they would approve of their ban of LGBTQ individuals “from the river to the sea”?

While many in America’s LGBTQ community continue to support and often partner with Islamic groups to help their friends in the Democratic Party, others in the community have spoken out against the anti-LGBTQ policies Muslim majority nations impose on their people. This needs to be addressed by LGBTQ leaders; they can’t (or at least shouldn’t) ignore the plight of the international LGBTQ community for the sake of political expediency.

The Palestinian Authority’s ban on all LGBTQ activities in the West Bank should be a point of contention that Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib need to reconcile. But they won’t. Mainstream media will bury the story and nobody will ask them how they feel.

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