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This morning, Russia retaliated to the US-Coalition airstrikes in Syria. The good news for the Coalition forces is that Russia ‘retaliated’ with propaganda, not hard weapons. First, “Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement saying the Western coalition’s ‘act of aggression’ would only exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. Putin called the strike a ‘destructive influence on the entire system of international relations’ and said Moscow would call for an emergency of the U.N. Security Council.”

I hope that meeting is televised. I enjoy watching Nikki Haley devastate Russian and Iranian butt.

Later, “the Russian military claimed Saturday” that “Syrian air defense units shot down 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the U.S., Britain and France.” That isn’t credible. If someone said that Israeli air defense units had taken out three-fourths of the cruise missiles targeting Israel, I’d be highly skeptical. Believing that poorly-trained Syrian fighters were that proficient is foolish.

Why should we think that Syria shot that many cruise missiles down after “Russia’s Defense Ministry had earlier asserted that none of the missiles launched by the U.S. and its allies entered areas protected by Russia’s missile defense”?

Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military’s General Staff said Saturday that the Syrian military used a Soviet-made missile defense system to shoot down all the missiles targeting four key Syrian air bases. He added that there were no casualties from the strike and its targets suffered only minor damage.

Rudskoi said Russian air defense assets in Syria monitored the strike, but didn’t engage. He also noted that while Russia had refrained from supplying Syria with its state-of-the-art S-300 air defense missile systems, that could be reconsidered now.

The thought that Russian technology is superior to US technology is laughable. I remember a briefing by Gen. Schwarzkopf during the 100-hour ground war during Operation Desert Storm. During that briefing, Schwarzkopf said that lots of oil wells were set on fire in Kuwait. He said that there were likely lots of Iraqi tank drivers that wished they’d had the night vision that the M1A1 Abrams tanks had. He hinted that it made for an unfair fight.

Russia’s technology is a joke compared with the US military technology. Let’s remember that Syrians were hit by 58 US cruise missiles about this time last year. Does anyone seriously think Russian technology improved that much in a year? I certainly don’t.

Theresa May held a media availability last night:

Based on May’s statements, there isn’t much doubt that Syria was responsible. At minimum, Russia abetted its Syrian allies. The good news for the United States is that Russia doesn’t dare fight us military. Instead, the Russians’ weapon of choice in US-Russian confrontations is propaganda.

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Whatever you think of Jerry Brown, aka Gov. Moonbeam, it’s indisputable that he’s a typical career politician. The latest proof of that is Gov. Brown’s announcement that he’s sending National Guard troops to reinforce the border but that “they won’t be used for ‘enforcing federal immigration laws.'”

In his official communication with the administration, Brown states “Your funding for new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state. Combating these criminal threats are priorities for all Americans, Republicans and Democrats. That’s why the state and the Guard have long supported this important work and agreed to similar targeted assistance in 2006 under President Bush and in 2010 under President Obama.”

Next comes the important part for Gov. Brown, especially politically. Gov. Brown states “But let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission. This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.”

That’s what’s known as CYA. There never was an expectation that the National Guard would build the wall. Further, it’s been established practice that the Guard supports the Border Patrol by manning surveillance posts, keeping vehicles in good repair and other non-law enforcement activities.

Finally, this is what’s called caving to political pressure. Suffice it to say that Gov. Brown and California Attorney Gen. Becerra didn’t expect this much push-back on illegal immigration. What’s interesting is that Gov. Brown admitted that illegal aliens are part of “transnational criminal gangs”, are human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers.”

With those types of crimes on their rap sheets, and with California protecting criminal aliens, it’s more accurate to call California a fugitive state than to call it a sanctuary state. It’s difficult to say that today’s Democratic Party cares about enforcing laws or protecting people. Finally, it’s difficult to take Democrats seriously about #MeToo when they turn a blind eye towards human trafficking.

The military’s fat-cats’ fear-mongering was thick as thieves in this Military Times article. Fearing a break-up of their monopoly, they resorted to fear-mongering. Will Fischer, director of government relations for, said “Each time you’re taking resources out and putting them into the private sector, you’re leaving VA dying on the vine. It’s bit by bit draining of VA.”

Shifting money away from the people who paid themselves bonuses while ignoring vets’ needs isn’t complaint. It’s a feature. In 2014, Gen. Shinseki admitted that “an interim inspector general’s report … found ‘systemic’ problems with clinics misrepresenting patient wait times… Shinseki also announced he would oust senior leaders at the Phoenix VA, where allegations of improper scheduling practices first surfaced. Shinseki, speaking to advocates for homeless veterans, said he initially believed the problems were ‘limited and isolated.’ ‘I no longer believe that. It is systemic,’ Shinseki said. ‘I will not defend it, because it is indefensible.'”

“Our view is that Congress and the administration must fix what is wrong with the VA health care system, improve hiring authorities, expand and fix its aging infrastructure, improve access, customer service, and not just simply turn to the private sector when VA facilities are having problems,” said Carlos Fuentes, director of the National Legislative Service at Veterans of Foreign Wars. “Community care is part of the solution, but not the only answer.”

This video is infuriating:

According to this article, the VA used some tricky language:

Inspector General Richard Griffin, who oversees the VA’s internal watchdog agency, stressed in his Aug. 26 report that investigators were ­”unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the deaths” of Arizona veterans who died while on secret wait lists for appointments. Media outlets widely ­reported that whistle-blower allegations were exaggerated and that veterans were not ­severely affected by wrongdoing at the Phoenix VA medical center.

But health-care experts say Griffin’s report used a measure that is not consistent with pathology practices because no matter how long a patient waits for care, the underlying “cause” of death will be a medical condition, rather than the delay. Put simply, people die of pneumonia, heart conditions and bullet wounds, not waiting to see the doctor.

It’s time to introduce competition into the VA system. That won’t happen with the VA system because it’s a monopoly. With multiple VAs being corrupt and patients dying as a result of that corruption, government-run single-payer system can’t be tolerated.

Finally, Mr. Fischer’s argument about the VA sounds exactly like the arguments that teachers’ unions make against school choice. They argue that choice and competition might hurt the educational product. Meanwhile, there’s mounting proof that the government’s monopoly is hurting educational outcomes. Ditto with the VA system.

It’s still far too early to know whether North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un is willing to give up his nuclear weapons program in exchange for the US promising not to militarily attacking his nation. Further, it’s entirely proper to be skeptical that Un is finally making a good faith proposal. It isn’t like he hasn’t tried conning past US presidents.

Still, the fact that President Trump has announced that he’ll meet face-to-face with Un before the start of May is stunning news.

When South Korea’s national security director Chung Eui-yong walked out to a set of microphones at the White House at 6:00 pm CT Thursday night, “he said the two world leaders agreed to meet by May. Trump tweeted: ‘Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!’ U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., praised the president’s efforts to denuclearize North Korea, saying that it ‘gives us the best hope’ to ‘peacefully’ resolve escalating tensions.”

Among those expressing skepticism is “Evan S. Medeiros, a former adviser in the Obama administration.” Medeiros “warned that Kim ‘played’ South Korean President Moon Jae-in and ‘is now playing Trump.’ Medeiros added, ‘Kim will never give up his nukes.'”

It’s entirely possible that Un won’t give up his nuclear weapons program. Still, reports that North Korea is essentially bankrupt point to the fact that President Trump’s policies are working. Eui-yong told reporters after meeting with Trump at the White House that “North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.” Further, “there was no insistence that the United States and South Korea suspend joint military exercises.”

Harry Kazianis is an expert on North Korea. In an interview with Tucker Carlson, he said something fascinating:

But there’s something that we’re missing. There’s a little bit of context. South Korea press about 2 weeks ago came out with some reports that were fascinating. They actually speculated that North Korea was actually on the verge of financial bankruptcy. By October, their foreign exchange reserves are probably going to be exhausted and their dollar reserves will be exhausted. That means that North Korea will essentially be bankrupt.

While there’s lots of justification for skepticism, there’s also ample information that justifies optimism. As Mr. Kazianis states in his interview, sometimes Hail Mary passes work. What do we have to lose?

The #RandPaulShutdown is officially over. This wasn’t a Republican shutdown. It wasn’t a Democrat shutdown. It was just another example of Rand Paul proving yet again that he cares more about spending than he cares about the military. He’s a disgrace. He isn’t a patriot. He’s a principled idiot with bad judgment. First, it passed in the Senate:

Later, it passed the House:

Apparently, Rand Paul is intent on shutting down the government because he didn’t get to offer his amendments to a 700-page bill he says nobody has read. Sen. Paul is intent on hurting the military because his spokesperson, Sergio Gor, said “Senator Rand Paul is asking for is a 15-minute vote on his amendment to restore the budget caps.” Those caps will devastate the military.

This stunt by Sen. Paul will earn him the distinction of being more dovish than Amy Klobuchar. Check this out:

The massive budget deal, which includes a stopgap temporary measure to prevent a government shutdown, includes $300 billion for the military. The agreement also adds $89 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a politically charged increase in the government’s borrowing cap and a grab bag of health and tax provisions.

Sen. Paul will earn the distinction of having a hashtag named after him: #RandPaulShutdown

Rand Paul insists that he’s a constitutionalist. That’s odd considering he won’t vote to fund the military. How can you stop funding the military and still call yourself a constitutionalist?

Friday night, I wrote this post to highlight how Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar voted against extending CHIP, voted against funding the military and the border patrol and didn’t give the military the pay raise it needs to defend us. At the time, I said that “Sen. Smith (and other Democrats) voted against funding CHIP, funding our military and funding other national security considerations. Tina Smith said that protecting 700,000 illegal immigrants was more important than providing health insurance to 9,000,000 vulnerable children or paying 2,000,000 troops serving worldwide.” I’ll stand by that statement.

What a difference a weekend makes. According to this NY Times article, Klobuchar and Smith voted this time to reopen the government. These weren’t principled votes. Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith did what they were told.

The other thing that’s been exposed during this shutdown is that Democrats, Klobuchar and Smith included, didn’t put a high priority on properly funding the military. The chief function of the Senate is to fund the government. The highest responsibility in the list of funding responsibilities is funding the military. Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith failed miserably on both counts.

Minnesota deserves better than this. Minnesota deserves senators that take their constitutional responsibilities seriously. Minnesotans don’t deserve a pair of senators that campaign, saying ‘vote for me, I’m a moderate’, then vote like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren one time, then vote like Joe Manchin another time. It wouldn’t be so bad if the legislation they voted with Elizabeth Warren on Friday was different than the legislation that they voted with Joe Manchin on Monday. The truth is that both pieces of legislation were virtually identical.

Stuart Varney got this exactly right:

Since Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith voted with Sen. Schumer both times, they’re just as wrong as he is.

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It isn’t an overstatement to that that the government reopened when Sen. Schumer blinked. The final vote for cloture was 81 yeas, 18 nays. That’s the vote that ended debate and allows a final vote on the CR to fund the government. UPDATE: That bill has now passed the Senate. The House will soon vote on the bill. President Trump will likely be able to sign it late this afternoon.

Appearing on Outnumbered as today’s #OneLuckyGuy, Pete Hegseth put it best when he told the ladies of Outnumbered that “Schumer blinked.” That’s exactly what happened. Sen. Schumer essentially told his far-left immigration advocates that maintaining this fight was a loser for Democrats. He essentially talked the Democrats’ special interest groups off the ledge.

In exchange for caving, Sen. Schumer got promised that the Senate would vote on DACA and immigration-related issues within the next month. He didn’t get a promise that President Trump wouldn’t still push for ending chain migration and the visa lottery. President Trump will insist on those things being part of DACA-related legislation.

This is how the shutdown ended:

The Senate on Monday voted 81-18 to break a Democratic filibuster on a government spending bill, clearing the way for Congress to approve the stopgap measure and end the three-day government shutdown. Democrats effectively backed off their opposition, after being given assurances from majority Republicans.

Before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer made clear that Senate Democrats would supply the GOP-controlled Senate with the votes needed, but only in exchange for “fair” and immediate efforts to consider legislation that would protect illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

Republicans, especially President Trump, now has the upper hand in these negotiations. What’s settled is that the vast majority of people want DACA recipients protected. What will get settled is that they want the wall built and chain migration ended ASAP.

Now that Democrats have separated DACA from the budget, they can’t ‘re-link’ those things again.

Another thing that’s got to get resolved is military spending. If Democrats are stubborn about that, they’ll lose that fight just like they lost the shutdown fight.

Americans should view the negotiations between the Trump administration and the Democrats like a hostage negotiation. After all, Sen. Schumer is holding the U.S. military, the border patrol and the CHIP program hostage. By filibustering the CR Friday night, Sen. Schumer and his shills have held hostage the paychecks for our military, border patrol and first responders. With their actions, Democrats have earned the wrath of patriots from across the political spectrum. In addition to holding these paychecks hostage, the Democrats’ filibuster has left 9,000,000 vulnerable children more vulnerable by not voting to reauthorize CHIP for the next 6 years.

If you add the 2,000,000+ people serving in the military to the 9,000,000 vulnerable children, that’s quite the hostage taking.

If Democrats think this isn’t firing up the GOP base, they’re kidding themselves. If Democrats think that their filibuster isn’t turning off independents, they’re kidding themselves. Ronna Romney-McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, said essentially the same thing in this op-ed:

Last night, Senate Democrats shut down the United States government. They recklessly chose to jeopardize paychecks for our troops and border patrolmen to appease their far-left base. In triggering a totally unnecessary, easily avoidable shutdown, they put at stake the health insurance of nine million vulnerable children and a number of other critical programs, including veteran services and opioid treatment programs.

Part of the Democrats’ talking points is to say that Republicans control the White House, the House and the Senate. it’s true that they control the White House and the House of Representatives. They don’t control the Senate.

Republicans did their job and offered a solution to keep the government running, but they couldn’t stop the shutdown from happening on their own. Appropriations bills require 60 Senate votes to pass. With only 51 Republican senators, this means Democratic votes are necessary to secure funding.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his Democratic colleagues own this shutdown. The American people are very well aware that the Schumer shutdown rests squarely on his party’s shoulders. Their hypocrisy is on full display, as the same Democrats who once warned of the consequences of a shutdown eagerly embraced it this go around.

It’s worth noting that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, which is useful in determining which bills get committee hearings. That simple majority is meaningless, though, when attempting to pass simple funding bills.

Democrats have used the filibuster to insist that President Trump sign a bill that includes amnesty for 700,000 illegal immigrants and millions of their relatives through chain migration. Fighting to protect illegal immigrants while not protecting vulnerable children is what despots do. The Democrats’ actions don’t rise to the level of what third-world dictators do but the Democrats’ actions are disgusting.

Many constituents of the Democrats rely on the government-funded programs that are being handicapped by the shutdown. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) put nearly 83,000 children’s health care at risk with her vote. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) did the same for more than 342,000 children, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for nearly 45,000 children, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) for 66,000 children. Their constituents are going to demand answers.

Good luck explaining that away.

Sen. Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor last night:

This paragraph especially jumped out at me:

None of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can point to a single thing in it that they oppose. That is why a bipartisan majority voted for it last night. It would have passed smoothly and been sent on for the president’s signature. Except that the Democratic Leader took the extraordinary step of filibustering this bipartisan bill and initiating his very own government shutdown.

If Democrats want to continue filibustering this funding bill, they have that right. Senate rules permit it. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s smart, though. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t turning off independents. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t firing up the GOP base.

The Democrats’ foolish decision is doing both those things. Hell hath no fury like a bunch of voters who’ve gotten ignored by elitist Democrats who protect lawbreakers but don’t protect our troops and our most vulnerable.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Tina Smith disgraced Minnesota by not voting to extend the CHIP health care program for children. What’s disgraceful is that you wouldn’t know that happened if you read this article. All it talks about is Sen. Smith saying “We have so much that we can work together on and I think in a lot of ways this is a Trump shutdown because of the way that he has — when you are trying to come to an agreement with somebody, you need to feel that you can talk with them and you know where they are coming from and you can try to find common ground. And he’s just been kind of all over the place it makes it really, really hard to resolve, but we’re going to keep on trying.”

Negotiating means flexibility, which means not getting stuck in a single place and not moving. Sen. Smith staked out a position that’s indefensible. Sen. Smith voted against a CR that would’ve funded the CHIP health insurance program for the next 6 years. CHIP “provides health coverage to eligible children, through both Medicaid and separate CHIP programs. CHIP is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government.”

By voting against the CR, Sen. Smith (and other Democrats) voted against funding CHIP, funding our military and funding other national security considerations. Tina Smith said that protecting 700,000 illegal immigrants was more important than providing health insurance to 9,000,000 vulnerable children or paying 2,000,000 troops serving worldwide.

According to the article, “Smith says she is optimistic they will get this resolved and come to terms on a budget.” I’m confident that, eventually, a budget will get passed. The question is why Democrats like Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar voted against funding the military, first responders and the CHIP health insurance program.

Minnesota’s DFL senators aren’t moderates. They’ve done whatever Sen. Schumer told them to do. They didn’t vote to do the right thing. They didn’t even vote for a bill that didn’t contain a single thing that they objected to. They voted against a bill that they agreed with 100%. These DFL senators are partisans who voted against vulnerable Minnesota children’s interests.

How despicable is that? About as despicable as saying that the White House and Senate Democrats were close to an agreement last night:

Sen. Schumer wasn’t close to a deal with President Trump last night. That’s because Sen. Schumer isn’t allowed to agree with President Trump on ending chain migration or the visa lottery. If Sen. Schumer agreed to either of those things, the immigration special interest activists would cut him off at the knees in a New York minute. Further, Tina Smith could’ve done the right thing and voted for funding the military and funding the CHIP program without getting Sen. Schumer’s permission. So could Sen. Klobuchar.

Instead, Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith decided that they were Democrats first, Minnesotans second. They put their political affiliation ahead of their responsibilities to Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens. They voted to protect illegal immigrants rather than pay our military or protect vulnerable children.

Minnesota, take a close look at Sen. Klobuchar’s and Sen. Smith’s disgusting actions. That’s what Democrats do. The DFL puts party loyalty ahead of doing the right thing.

UPDATE: According to this article, “the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) … provides health coverage for 125,000 children in Minnesota. Further, the bill that Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith voted against would’ve kept “the doors open to community health centers that serve more than 180,000 Minnesotans and resources to combat the opioid epidemic that has taken the lives of hundreds of people in Minnesota and countless others across the country.”

Minnesota’s Democrat senators don’t represent what’s best for Minnesota. These DFL senators are actually Schumer’s shills.

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