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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

State of Confusion


Near as I can figure, the message last night was: America won WWII

So, that's good. Huzzah. I was wondering how that whole thing turned out.

But I’m getting ahead ofmyself.

Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:

And right out of the box, he leads off with an insult.

What’s that?

What insult?

Well, what did you think that was? It’s traditional for the President to congratulate the new Speaker on their election. It’s customary to wait for the new Speaker to introduce the President. Trump did neither.  He just started talking, while Mike Pence smirked. Pelosi was obviously expecting it and remained unperturbed.

But if ever there was a metaphor for this boorish Chud, there it was.

We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans.

I stand ready to work with you. Now that I’ve led off with a slight, I’m ready to work with you.

    Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation.

    The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.

    Neither a Republican or Democrat agenda (because he can never bring himself to say Democratic).

    An agenda of the American people forsooth.

    Which just happens to look exactly like the Republican agenda. Shocking coincidence!

    Many of us campaigned on the same core promises: to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers; to rebuild and revitalize our Nation's infrastructure; to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs; to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America's interests first.

    You know, it’s funny.

    You read the transcript in your own voice. In your own speech patterns. It flows along in your head.

    It’s completely different to hear Trump say it.

    It’s painful. The halting speech patterns. The strange emphasis on random words. The over exaggeration of odd syllables. The periodic pauses while his 8-bit brain catches up with his 16-bit mouth, or he tries to read something off the teleprompter. The stumbling over the unfamiliar words and ideas.

    Many of Us camPAIGNed on the … same core “Promises” to DEfend AMERICAN joBs and demanD … fair … TRaDah for

    He talks like he tweets.

    There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.

    Everybody drink!

    Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.

    And, again, it’s just a coincidence that “winning” is defined as his party and that he calls the opposition a bunch of losers.

    Totally a coincidence.

    This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America's mission, and the power of American pride.

    Ratification of the Constitution?

    Emancipation Proclamation?

    The Nineteenth Amendment?

    The Civil Rights Act?

    What could it be? These anniversaries that show the majesty – the majesty, no less – of America’s mission and the power of American pride.

    Wait. 

    Back up. We have a mission? What’s our mission? What’s America’s mission?

    What is the power of American Pride? What are we proud of?

    Hello?

    Well, I guess we need to see the examples and find out.

    In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the Great Crusade -- the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea, to save our civilization from tyranny. Here with us tonight are three of those heroes: Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik. Gentlemen, we salute you.

    Huh.

    So, seventy-five years ago America did a thing. Huge effort. Lot of people turned out, lot of people sacrificed. A lot died. World War II. D-Day. Sure. That was a big deal. It was, I’m not running it down. I spent all of my life in the military. I’ve walked the beaches at Normandy, walked the American graveyard there. I’m not dismissing the effort and the sacrifices of those people all those years ago.

    But … what does it have to do with the state of our union now?

    Don’t get me wrong here, it’s great that they invited those old veterans to the show, but what does that have to do with the state of our union today?

    Trump didn’t have anything to do with D-Day. His family sat it out, same as every other war America has been involved in. And the only Nazis I’ve seen around here lately are are literally wearing MAGA hats and spray on hair.


    So, I’ll ask again, what does this have to do with the state of our union? That’s what the speech was supposed to be about, right?

    More: What does this have to do with this supposed “mission” our country has been assigned.

    That’s what he was talking about, America’s mission.

    Well?

    In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.

    Fifty years ago.

    Fifty years since America went to the moon and then came home and quit. Crapped out.

    And there’s Buzz Aldrin, American Hero, in some cartoon necktie that’s about six inches short. And again, that’s great. Glad he got invited. But what does that have to do with the state of our union today?

    It’s been half a century since a human being has left low earth orbit and there’s some staggering irony here.

    That landing, that moment when Armstrong and Aldrin set that fragile tinker-toy of a moon lander down in Mare Tranquillitatis, well, folks, that landing, that great moment in American history was due in no small part to … illegal aliens.

    And not just any illegal aliens, but Nazis.

    Operation Paperclip, 1600 German scientists, engineers – including the father of the American manned space program, Werner von Braun – were taken from Germany in the aftermath of World War II and brought secretly to the United States.

    They didn’t come here legally.

    In fact, it was a real problem. And so a number of those illegal immigrants were made legal via some State Department sleight of hand by smuggling them across the US border into Mexico, then granting them US residency via the US consulate in Juarez, and then driving them back across the border into the United States via a Port of Entry with their newly minted green cards.

    That’s who got us to the moon.

    Nazis.

    Illegal Immigrant Nazis.

    And since that day when human beings first set foot upon the moon, Republicans have retreated steadily from the very science that got Armstrong and Aldrin there the first place. Today conservatives are the ideology of religious fanaticism. Trump himself is the very epitome of science denial, of proud ignorance writ large.

    And if that wasn’t enough, there’s this: “This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.”

    If that happens – if that happens – it’ll be through no agency of Donald Trump or Republicans, or Democrats for that matter.

    It’s not American “pride” that powers the new rockets, it’s the drive and vision of Elon Musk, another immigrant.

    And so I must ask yet again, what does this have to do with America’s alleged “mission?”

    In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, and redefined the middle class standard of living for the entire world to see. Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century. An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens is within our reach.

    Was the theme of the speech supposed to be irony?

    All those things, freedom, science, middle class standards of living, those are the very things Trump has been hell bent on dismantling.

    We can make our communities safer,

    Safer for … who?

    our families stronger,

    Define “families.”

    Define “stronger.”

    our culture richer,

    Describe “our” culture.

    Describe what you mean by “richer.”

    our faith deeper,

    There it is again. Our.

    “Our” faith?

    When you say “our,” who do you mean.

    Define our faith. What “faith” are we talking about? Faith in what? Are we talking about God? Which God? Whose God. Which faith? Or are we talking about something else? And why is it the business of government to make “our faith deeper?” Or our culture richer? Or to measure the supposed strength of our families?

    and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.

    But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution -- and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.

    You first.

    This guy has no more awareness of his own actions than a dog licking its own asshole in public.

    We we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution.

    Goddamn. I was right. The theme is irony.

    Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make.

    We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.

    It’s like whoever wrote this had never even heard of Donald Trump.

    Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.

    If by “greatness” he means “whiskey,” well, we’re on the same page at last.

    Over the last 2 years, my Administration has moved with urgency and historic speed to confront problems neglected by leaders of both parties over many decades.

    In just over 2 years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom -- a boom that has rarely been seen before. We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs -- something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.

    Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else. Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history --- 157 million.

    We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit.

    We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.

    We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty -- and to give critically ill patients access to life-saving cures, we passed right to try.

    My Administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure. Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to historic reductions in taxes and regulations.

    We have unleashed a revolution in American energy -- the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.

    After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world, our military is the most powerful on earth, and America is winning each and every day. Members of Congress: the State of our Union is strong. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before.

    On Friday, it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone -- almost double what was expected. An economic miracle is taking place in the United States -- and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.

    He’s essentially recapping his Twitter feed for the last six months.

    And you’ll note that just like his Tweets, just like his campaign rallies, he provides no references, no evidence, no facts to back up his statements.

    If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way!

    I…

    I had to play that back during the speech. Because I could not believe that he said it. I thought I heard it wrong.

    No peace.

    No government.

    Not if you keep investigating me.

    And Republicans applauded him. The people who describe themselves as the Law and Order Party, as “Constitutional Conservatives,” applauded him.

    Irony, indeed.

    We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad.

    And by “united” he means “don’t investigate me.” Don’t question me. Fall in line.

    In the last two weeks, Donald Trump himself has personally attacked Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, the FBI, The US Intelligence Community, Senator Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, declared Democrats the enemies of America who want to murder babies and have more crime, Senator Blumenthal, Howard Schultz, non-Christians, the American News Media, and, of course, Hillary Clinton.

    Tell me again, about unity.

    This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate -- some after years of waiting. The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and to our country.

    I am glad to see him finally going after Mitch McConnell’s obstructionism…

    Now is the time for bipartisan action. Believe it or not, we have already proven that it is possible.

    Funny how he doesn’t mention the bipartisan legislation that would have reopened the government after a month of being shut down, but that both he and Mitch McConnell refused to even consider.

    A new era of cooperation apparently doesn’t actually include any actual cooperation on Trump’s part.

    In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new Farm Bill, historic VA reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.

    And just weeks ago, both parties united for groundbreaking criminal justice reform. Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson. I was deeply moved. In 1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time non-violent drug offender. Over the next two decades, she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path. She had a big impact on that prison population -- and far beyond.

    Alice's story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing -- and the need to remedy this injustice. She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.

    In June, I commuted Alice's sentence -- and she is here with us tonight. Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny.

    When I saw Alice's beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the right thing.

    Inspired by stories like Alice's, my Administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law. This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community. The First Step Act gives non-violent offenders the chance to re-enter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. Now, States across the country are following our lead. America is a Nation that believes in redemption.

    As someone noted during my live blog of the speech last night: Oh look, he brought his own black person.

    We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee. In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses. Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates. Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act. Matthew, on behalf of all Americans: welcome home.

    I’m not saying that I have any problem with this. These people should have been set free. Their sentences should have been commuted.

    So, he freed two black people. That’s great.

    Meanwhile the laws that disproportionally penalize People of Color still stand.

    Meanwhile he attacks those People of Color who protest this inequality by taking a knee.

    Meanwhile he defends the system that perpetuates this inequality without question.

    So, he freed two black people and now he thinks he’s Abraham Lincoln.

    As we have seen, when we are united, we can make astonishing strides for our country. Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis.

    The Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our Government, protect our homeland, and secure our southern border.

    Now is the time for the Congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.

    As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States. We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught.

    This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well‑being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our Nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.

    Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country.

    No issue better illustrates the divide between America's working class and America's political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.

    This guy shits in a golden toilet, in a gilded penthouse on top of a tower with his name on it in 30 foot high letters, reached by a private elevator guarded by a private security force.

    Meanwhile, working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration -- reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.

    And a depleted social safety net and up above he was bragging about how he personally made healthcare even less accessible for 40 million Americans.

    Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate -- it is cruel. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.

    Ah, the old Compassionate Conservatism we’ve heard so much about.

    Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

    I admit I’m a little impressed that he didn’t yet again describe in detail how to tape a woman’s mouth shut. Apparently he can learn.

    Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities -- including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.

    The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they're going to keep streaming back in.

    Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed every years by guns.

    Odds are pretty good that members of this MS-13 gang Trump is so worried about don’t buy their guns legally. He wants to build a wall to reduce the availability of drugs and gang members, but is adamantly opposed to building a wall around illegal guns.

    Why is that?

    Guess the NRA pays better.

    But here’s the part I find most perplexing:  Up above Trump said “This is a moral issue.”

    A moral issue.

    A moral. Issue.

    Moral.

    How then is it moral to round up gang members – who by Trump’s own words are vicious and violent criminals – and send them to some Central American country, free to prey on that society? We don’t want you here, but we don’t care if you rape and murder people in a different country?

    Okay.

    How is that moral?

    Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.

    Again, 30,000 Americans are killed by guns every year.

    Crickets.

    I've gotten to know many wonderful Angel Moms, Dads, and families -- no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache they have endured.

    And yet, Trump and members of his administration and his supporters and his political party daily attack the survivors and families of gun violence, like the Parkland students.

    Here tonight is Debra Bissell. Just three weeks ago, Debra's parents, Gerald and Sharon, were burglarized and shot to death in their Reno, Nevada, home by an illegal alien. They were in their eighties and are survived by four children, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. Also here tonight are Gerald and Sharon's granddaughter, Heather, and great‑granddaughter, Madison.

    To Debra, Heather, Madison, please stand: few can understand your pain. But I will never forget, and I will fight for the memory of Gerald and Sharon, that it should never happen again.

    Not one more American life should be lost because our Nation failed to control its very dangerous border.

    And that is certainly a terrible thing.

    It is.

    And Trump’s right, no one should ever have to suffer the horrible heartache those people have to endure.

    But it seems gun violence only matters to Republicans when it happens at the hands of an illegal immigrant.

    In the last 2 years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 killings.

    We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes: ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez. When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent. Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking. Elvin says: "If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I've done my job." Thanks to his work and that of his colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from horror and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars in the last year.

    Special Agent Hernandez, please stand: We will always support the brave men and women of Law Enforcement -- and I pledge to you tonight that we will never abolish our heroes from ICE.

    No one of any importance is seriously proposing we get rid of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Certainly, some have suggested it in anger, but not as any serious legislation. There is no chance whatsoever than such legislation would make it out of committee, let alone actually come up for a vote and pass both houses of Congress. Is this really such a concern that Trump needed to invite a guy and reassure him personally?

    This is just another empty gesture by Trump.

    Another easy cheer from his base who never have to think very hard about anything.

    My Administration has sent to the Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border.

    It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall -- but the proper wall never got built. I'll get it built.

    This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier -- not just a simple concrete wall. It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.

    San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in the country. In response, and at the request of San Diego residents and political leaders, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings.

    The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime -- one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our Nation's most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.

    Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let's work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.

    I’ve written extensively about this goddamned wall. Most of that is summed up here in my essay, Walls, Damned Lies, and Statistics. So, I’m not going to rehash it here.

    As we work to defend our people's safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace.

    No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before -- and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.

    This was probably the moment that most people remember.

    When Trump tried to take credit for the number of women now serving in congress – much the same way, I guess, as the Titanic disaster took credit for improved maritime safety regulations which required ships to carry enough lifeboats for everybody and slow down when driving blind into an icefield.

    This was an astounding moment, especially when female Democrats leaped to their feat en masse and started shouting USA! USA! and forced Trump to acknowledge their presence as more than just a talking point.

    You weren’t supposed to do that, Trump said.

    Women are doing a lot of things guys like Trump think they aren’t supposed to do.

    Better get used it.

    As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first ever Government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.

    To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount -- reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.

    We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.

    Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods -- and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime. But I don't blame China for taking advantage of us -- I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

    Trump repeatedly demonstrates that he has no idea who pays for his tariffs or where those “billions of dollars a month” come from.

    They come from Americans.

    It’s the importer who pays the tariff, not China.

    But then, what do you expect from a guy who has “great respect” for every foreign despot that comes along but can’t seem to muster any for his own countrymen.

    Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA.

    I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other States whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried -- until now.

    Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement -- or USMCA -- will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA.

    Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.

    United States Reciprocal Trade Act.

    I doubt very many Americans have heard of this legislation before last night.

    Basically it gives Trump free rein to impose whatever protectionist trade policies and tariffs he likes without having to consult congress. It gives the president almost unlimited power over foreign trade, power he does not currently have.

    Even the conservative US Chamber of Commerce really hates this legislation.

    The Chamber of Commerce, which represents American business said this act will “undermine US economic growth and elicit damaging retaliatory tariffs against US exports.”

    Trump’s own supporters say this is a bad idea.

    Fortunately, it’s unlikely to pass.

    Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure.

    Yes, they should.

    I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill -- and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.

    They should. But they won’t.

    The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs -- and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

    This was the moment for me. Right here.

    After watching this fool attack and eliminate every healthcare safety for the last two years, here it is.

    Already, as a result of my Administration's efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.

    But we must do more. It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it.

    I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients. We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down.

    The irony of this moment is Nancy Pelosi, the very Speaker who pushed through the ACA, who did her damnest to give exactly that to every American, the very woman Trump led off this speech with by insulting, sitting right there directly behind Trump as he said this.

    No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom. In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach. My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America.

    What the hell does “American freedom” have to do with curing HIV/AIDS?

    I suppose at this point we should just be grateful he didn’t compare HIV research to Nazi scientists.

    Tonight, I am also asking you to join me in another fight that all Americans can get behind: the fight against childhood cancer.

    Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10-year-old girl, Grace Eline. Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself. Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer. Immediately, she began radiation treatment. At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 for the fight against cancer. When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes as she hung up a poster that read: "Last Day of Chemo." Grace -- you are an inspiration to us all.

    Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades. My budget will ask the Congress for $500 million over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.

    I have no criticism of this.

    We should be funding this research and more. Including finding the cure for HIV/AIDS he mentioned up above.

    $500 million he said. $500 million over ten years.

    But, I wonder how much further $5 billion in one year would go?

    How many little girls could be saved for what he wants to spend on that goddamned wall? Or the trillion plus we spent on the F-35 strike fighter. Or… well, yeah. In the grand scheme of things, little girls with cancer make great moments when you need a cheer and a tear at a political speech.

    Other than that they’re not worth much. A paltry $50 million per year, I guess, not even the cost of one half of an F-35.

    To help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America's children. I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave -- so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

    I’m shocked that his pants didn’t literally catch on fire.

    There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.

    To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb.

    Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image of God.

    The Governor of Virginia “basically stated he would execute a baby after birth?”

    Really?

    This is the Holy Grail itself for evangelicals, for religious fanatics. This, right here, this is what they’ve been waiting for. This is why they’ll excuse any and all of Trump’s vile behavior and name him their God’s anointed one.

    They’ll burn the country down.

    Hell, did I say country? They’ll burn just as many people as it takes to impose their religion on the rest of us. To make abortion illegal. In the name of their God. Ironic, given that in their bible, their horrible God murders more babies, more children, more human beings by a factor of millions than that poor sap Lucifer ever did.

    The final part of my agenda is to protect America's National Security.

    Over the last 2 years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States Military -- with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO -- but now we have secured a $100 billion increase in defense spending from NATO allies.

    As part of our military build-up, the United States is developing a state-of-the-art Missile Defense System.

    Under my Administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests.

    For example, decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities. While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.

    Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't --- in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.

    As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months. If I had not been elected President of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea with potentially millions of people killed. Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

    Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela, and its new interim President, Juan Guaido.

    We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom -- and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

    Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence --- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

    One of the most complex set of challenges we face is in the Middle East.

    Our approach is based on principled realism -- not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my Administration recognized the true capital of Israel -- and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

    Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years. In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East.

    As a candidate for President, I pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.

    When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty killers.

    Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.

    I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor -- and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict.

    In Afghanistan, my Administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement -- but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace.

    Above all, friend and foe alike must never doubt this Nation's power and will to defend our people. Eighteen years ago, terrorists attacked the USS Cole -- and last month American forces killed one of the leaders of the attack.

    We are honored to be joined tonight by Tom Wibberley, whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was one of the 17 sailors we tragically lost. Tom: we vow to always remember the heroes of the USS Cole.

    My Administration has acted decisively to confront the world's leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran.

    To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

    We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.

    Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer. Timothy has just had his 12th surgery -- but he made the trip to be here with us tonight. Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil.

    Tonight, we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall -- more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps. Today is Judah's 81st birthday. Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train, and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. A soldier appeared. Judah's family braced for the worst. Then, his father cried out with joy: "It's the Americans."

    A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. "To me," Joshua recalls, "the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky."

    I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchik. But there is more to Herman's story. A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight -- seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire Nation.

    He speaks of the Holocaust and ignores America’s role in it.

    That decade when we turned back desperate immigrants seeking refuge from the horror.

    Just as we turn away those seeking refuge today.

    And in the same breath he tells America how he intends to walk away from the treaties that made our world safer, that helped to reduce the likelihood of total war and he proudly proclaims the development of new weapons, of a new nuclear arms race, one that pushes the world ever closer to immolation at the hands of madmen.

    When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war.

    They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this Nation, and generations yet unborn.

    Why did they do it? They did it for America -- they did it for us.

    I guess they weren’t lucky enough to have a rich father and a family doctor to keep them out of harm’s way.

    Everything that has come since -- our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress toward equality and justice -- all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

    Think of this Capitol -- think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire.

    Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California. Together, we represent the most extraordinary Nation in all of history.

    What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?

    How indeed?

    I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us! Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream.

    We must choose whether we are defined by our differences -- or whether we dare to transcend them.

    We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance -- or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans. We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

    This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.

    This is our future -- our fate -- and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.

    No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.

    We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America's destiny -- that one Nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world!

    Thank you. God Bless You, God Bless America, and good night!

    The achievements he idolizes are long behind us, fifty years and more, the works of other people, other generations.

    As a nation we are not capable of such greatness today, largely because of men just like Donald Trump. Those who’ve robbed this nation blind and conned her people out of their very lives. He promises freedom and speaks of dreams, but his entire life has been bent to stealing that freedom from others and the only dreams he truly cares about are the ones a hundred stories tall with his name on the front in thirty-foot high golden letters.

    This is indeed the sad state of our nation.

    This bombastic fool and his halting empty words and his transparent promises of unity and cooperation and I’m left to wonder, what was that “mission” he led off with?

    You didn’t forget about that, did you?

    This mission of America, what is it?

    I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

    Thank you. May Mike Pence’s Christian God bless you even if you don’t want it. God bless America.

    And good night.

    46 comments:

    1. "his 8-bit brain catches up with his 16-bit mouth"....Heehee.

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    2. In reference to the childhood cancer request, Vanessa Puopolo fleshed out something that nagged me. "The Republicans gutted the Orphan Drug Tax Credit. You know, the program that helps develop treatments for Rare Disease. ALL CHILDHOOD CANCERS ARE RARE DISEASES.

      “Basically what happened is this: Trump and the Republicans took $2.5 billion, then “gave” back 20% of that and now we’re supposed to act like he did us a favor.”

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    3. I tired quickly of 45 wrapping himself in the flag and trying to eat a hot dog and apple pie while watching a few thousand more Chevrolet jobs float away. Ask my fellow Ohioans from the Mahoning Valley about the "winning" this administration has done.

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    4. Omg Jim, you've outdone even yourself!
      Standing Ovation

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    5. folks believe thier ideology over any facts before them, case in point I'm at a little burger dive and fox new was on and the headline was fact checking the MSM fact checkers. Not the facts but those who checked them bringing up past editor who were fired for plagiarism were plagiarists.God help us if these dorks stay in power.

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    6. I tried to write a sensible and well reasoned comment on this post but reading the address seems to have damaged my speech centres, possibly due to the dissonance between his words and his actions.

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    7. He wants to eliminate HIV/AIDS - but his maladministration is against needle exchanges and everything else that could actually help. Just like they're "pro-life" but against living wages, equal pay for women, contraceptives, abortion, and affordable health care for everyone. Just like they're for jobs and justice - but only for white male conservatives.
      Do they ever get headaches from their massive cognitive dissonance?

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      1. not to mention that this maladministration (I like that) has consistently been cutting funding of research for effective HIV prevention in the form of possible vaccines since they got in office. Oh, and the whittling away of Planned Parenthood funding, where the majority of low income people go for HIV treatment.

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    8. I may not forgive you for making me read that whole fucking stupid speech, but brilliant essay.

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    9. Rallied her community to raise $40,000. Well, shoot, good thing she did t have that socialized medicine where she wouldn't have to worry about it and just go get help. Fuck this guy.

      As always. Thank you for you words, Jim.

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      1. You noticed that too, eh? My first thought was "with Medicare For All", she wouldn't HAVE to raise $40k.

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      2. That's the Republican healthcare plan in a nutshell. Every American has the right to create a GoFundMe page to request donations for their medical care.

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    10. Jim, if you're going to discuss the current infestation of the White House, you really need to add another "Reaction" box to check. "Everyone Drink" might be appropriate.

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    11. It reads like a night- before plagiarized high school report.

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    12. Wasn't sure I could choke down another recap of this dog's breakfast, but you reeled me in with "boorish Chud".

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    13. Massive undertaking. And worth the deconstruction of a disappointing outing by our elected president following some real serious and eloquent former well qualified truth telling presidents. My only burr under the saddle not addressed is the 'Nation under God' bit. Save the nation under god thing for a rally. We are less and less consumed by god talk than ever. Some of us remember the pledge to the flag without religious subservience to any metaphysical thing, just the colors flying on the staff. Pence can and likely does think we are a Christian nation...but we never have been. Put aside childish slogans in the people's chambers. Leave it to the chaplains. Or not!

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      1. But if we leave it to the chaplains, what WILL Pence do about his Resting Smirk face?

        He might have to retrain his facial muscles...

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    14. Stephen Miller wrote that speech. Especially the apocalyptic immigration section. The rest is just feeble attempts at pacifying the House and bullshit mom-and-apple-pie sludge. "Oh, and don't investigate me. That's a nice economy you have there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it."

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      1. Except that he's already trashed the economy with the tax bill. It just takes awhile to hit.

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    15. i'm glad that you listened to the SOTU so i wouldn't have to. You should be earning hazardous duty pay for sitting through it all and listening to such balderdash.
      Thank you for writing what so many many of us were thinking. Well done Sir.

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    16. You pointed out exactly what I thought at the time: what does WWII have to do with today? (I do admit to tearing up a bit, though, seeing the Dachau survivor next to a military Liberator.)

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    17. So glad I didn't watch the Trump love fest. I just skipped past the crap and read your concise postmortem.

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    18. Another irony - the Clinton Foundation is responsible, in large part, for the decrease in price of HIV/AIDS medicine, worldwide. But, no one in this administration will ever admit it.

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    19. Thanks Jim for another well researched post! Something about facts matter.

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    20. "$500 million he said. $500 million over ten years."

      Sheldon Adelson made $650 MILLION this year in tax savings. Gives you an idea of just how much wealth we AREN'T taxing and how much more we could do if we did.

      https://notonepenny.org/sheldon-adelsons-las-vegas-sands-posts-record-q1-earnings-with-windfall-from-gop-tax-bill/

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      1. Even more galling, original FY2019 budget request tried to cut the budget of the National Institutes of Health, the government's primary funder of biomedical research and the locus of research against cancer, by 27%. Meaning, he proposed to cut $8.9 billion from the NIH budget in one year--and now he's offering to add $50 million per year back into that budget for cancer research. Mixed message much?

        See https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ap_18_research-fy2019.pdf for the budget request for R&D agencies--the table with NIH is on page 234.

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    21. The funny thing about this as far as I'm concerned is that up until the economic bullshit, this could have been a speech by Obama in his first few years of the Presidency. The main difference being that he would have been sincere about trying to work together and find compromise.

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    22. Thanks for suffering through watching it for us.

      He's gotten so bad that I have difficulty reading his transcripts without profanity, so I have to admit that I skipped large sections of your transcript quotes to get to your commentary. I'll try to slog through his unending lies tomorrow in daytime when I can't grab a drink in order to do so.

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    23. I'm so grateful that my New Zealand(!) FB buddy sent me this. Wish our government would listen to your logic -- but hopefully voters will. Please keep writing.

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    24. Safer for whom, not who...

      Beyond that, great essay, as per usual.

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    25. This starts out as one of your more brilliant pieces, but then you get bogged down by fully quoting Trump's actual mind-numbingly painful speach.
      In the example of the lengthy droning after your "poor sap, Lucifer," you might have instead boiled it down to "woof woof, blah blah."
      Or you could hit fast-forward and use a word cloud.
      I ran that part of the text through a word cloud generator. Too bad I can't show you a picture of it. But here is a list of the top 10-most words:

      9 United
      9 States
      9 will
      7 American
      6 years
      6 ago
      6 one
      5 Joshua
      5 never
      5 last

      That would give someone the gist without all of the pain.

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      1. The speech was published in its entirety for a reason.

        You may skip over the parts you're not interested in.

        //Jim

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      2. Jim, I can't thank you enough for expending the time and emotional labor necessary to listen to, quote, and shed the light of reason on the vapid but toxic effluence from The Thermonuclear Bowel Evacuation Currently Disgracing the Oval Office.

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    26. I did (skip) and your commentary was great.

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    27. "Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image of God." Wait, even brown and black children? The children ripped apart from their parents at the border? The traumatized children who will never be reunited with their parents? The children who his administration says it's too difficult to reunite with their parents? Those children too? I was hoping and praying someone in the audience would shout out "You lie!" We cannot get rid of this orange menace soon enough.

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    28. Well, all I can really do, to describe the painful experience of reading this post, is to re-post what I wrote in response to this post . Sorry if this seems narcissistic, but it really is just Déjà vu all over again:

      I started watching “There Will be Blood” last night. I’ve seen it before, long time ago, and decided to watch it again. I remembered the main theme, but mainly I remembered that it was extraordinary.
      About half an hour into it, the details of the movie started to return to me. An hour later, I almost had to stop watching. The film is such a miserable index of human cynicism, bad faith and just plain evil (all superbly acted) that I wasn’t sure I could continue. But I said to myself, and I’m not sure why, “No, I’m going to watch this to the bitter end.”
      I got the exact same feeling whilst reading this post. It went on and on, the actual horror of it all, and I read to the bitter end, though I nearly couldn’t. Thank goodness for the humorous bits, it helped it go down more easily. And it went on for 2,000 more words?
      At the end of the “There Will be Blood,” I felt a sort of existential emptiness. Like all good movies, it took me to another place, and that place was very dark. There was no humor in that place, no hope for humanity. But I shook it off. It was just a movie.
      Right?


      You do what I cannot bring myself to do, which is actually watch the train wreck. Instead, you describe it in written word. And I thank you for that. No one should be insulated from this lunacy. It has to be seen (or read) to be believed.

      Leroy

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    29. I don't want mikey's God to bless me. I know all too well what a snake mikey is. Yeah, I live in Indiana.

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    30. OMG!!!! Now if we had a time machine and maybe JFK made this speech in the 50's it would probably would have made the masses all Yanky Doodle Dandy but in Trumps voice and in this day and age it just plays like a bad movie.

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    31. I think you wrote more words and spent more time on Trump's poor reading of a speech with high-sounding phrases and no sense of irony than that damn speech was worth.

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    32. For me the thing that got me most was that this alt-reich favourite, nazi-empowering bigot, this sociopathic racist old man-child who has himself shared anti-Semitic memes in the past had the staggering chutzpah and uber-sized hypocritical gall to use survivors of the Shoah (Nazi Holocaust) as political props. The sheer lack of self-awareness there is just beyond words really.

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    33. Thanks for writing and continuing to illustrate how despicable djt is.

      One typo I found: There is no chance whatsoever than (s/b that) such legislation would make it out of committee,

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    34. This: "hospitals to disclose real prices" - that legislation has already been passed, and went into effect in January. The thing is, it amounts to huge spreadsheets of medical mumbo-jumbo that's nearly impossible for any patient to actually use.

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    35. "Bipartisan:" Do what I want.
      nuf said

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    36. On the subject of a abortion; christian's have serious reading comprehension problems. It says right in the Bible that god breathes life into man. The soul enters with the first breath. Anti-abortion is 100% about controlling women's bodies, if the anti-abortionist has even a passing knowledge of the subject. http://ranthonysteele.com/2015/10/abortion-as-natural-as-life-itself/ every protest does direct harm to women who have little choice in seeking the procedure. It's a travesty. Their god is a demon. He's not the good of the Bible. As loathesol as he is, he's better than their god.

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