Sunday, January 21, 2018

Senators shut down most American government functions: Trump on sidelines

A refusal to compromise on both sides.  The Donks think they can use it to force through legalization of DACA. A few Republicans sympathize

The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday - halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunction.

Senate republicans fell far short of passing a procedural motion that would have kept the federal government funded, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century. 

Five Democrats who represent Trump-country red states crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans, but the GOP lost four of its own, erasing any doubts about the state of partisan bickering in the US Capitol.

The recalcitrant Democrats included four who are up for re-election this year – Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri – along with Alabamian Doug Jones, who took his Senate seat just days ago in a bright red state. 

Despite hours of attempted negotiations, talks failed and the shutdown was finalized, and quickly the blame game began.

Just after midnight on Saturday morning the White House released a statement, calling Democrats 'obstructionist losers' who 'put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country's ability to serve all Americans'.

'We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators,' the statement reads, before promising that during the shutdown Trump will continue to work for the American people. 

McConnell and Schumer each took the floor after the shutdown was finalized Friday night - with each lawmaker attempting to paint the opposition party as guilty.

'The decision by Senate Democrats to shove aside millions of Americans for the sake of irresponsible political gain was 100 percent avoidable,' McConnell said. He claimed that the Democrats held the opposition party 'hostage' 'over the completely unrelated issue of illegal immigration.' 

But despite Trump's attempts to paint democrats as the guilty party - recent polls show Republicans and President Trump will bear most of the blame.

A national ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday found 48 percent of people surveyed say they will blame Trump and the GOP for a shutdown, while only 28 percent will blame Democrats.

Even before the vote, President Donald Trump was pessimistic - seeming resigned to presiding over the first shutdown since 2013. 'Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the dangerous Southern Border,' Trump tweeted, referring to the hit the Homeland Security Department would take in the event the government's wheels grind to a halt.   

'Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy,' the president claimed.

With the Friday's late-night voting failure, Congress will have failed to keep the lights on in Washington for just the fourth time in a quarter-century. 

But ultimately a broad range of federal operations would be curtailed, although food inspections, law enforcement, airport security and other vital services would continue, along with Social Security and military operations. 

Republicans are calling the current standoff the 'Schumer Shutdown,' arguing that there's nothing in the bill that Democrats oppose, while a short-term extension would give lawmakers time to work out differences on issues like protecting young immigrants and disaster assistance.

The U.S. military will continue to fight wars and conduct missions around the world, including in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. And members of the military will report to work, though they won't get paid until Congress approves funding.



Trump’s exam shows serious heart concerns, doctors outside the White House say
In order to find something wrong with him they have had to resort to a discredited theory.  It is now clear that cholesterol is NOT a problem.  We need it, in fact. Trump should be taking NO statins.  The whole issue is covered in detail below:

Cardiologists not associated with the White House said Wednesday that President Trump’s physical exam revealed serious heart concerns, including very high levels of so-called bad cholesterol, which raises the risk he could suffer a heart attack while in office.

Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral and the White House physician, said Tuesday in his report on the president’s medical condition that Trump was in “excellent” cardiac health, despite having an LDL cholesterol level of 143, well above the desired level of 100 or less.

Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Institute, disputed that rosy assessment. On Wednesday, he said the most alarming fact is that the president’s LDL levels remain above 140 even though he is taking 10 milligrams of Crestor, a powerful drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels to well below 100.

“That’s a really high LDL,” Topol said, echoing the concerns of other heart experts who reviewed Jackson’s report. “We’re talking about a 70-plus-year-old man who is obese and doesn’t exercise. Just looking at the lab value, you would raise a big red flag.” He added: “I would never use the word excellent health. How you could take these indices and say excellent health? That is completely contradicted.”

On Tuesday, Jackson said he would be prescribing a higher dose of Crestor, the brand name for rosuvastatin, to help lower the LDL levels. He said he is pressing Trump — who at 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds is just below the official label of obese — to eat better and abandon his largely sedentary life for one that includes exercise.

But on the positive side, Jackson said Trump has no history of smoking or drinking and does not have diabetes. An exercise stress test using a treadmill showed “above average” capacity for his age. An ultrasound of the heart was normal, he said.

“His cardiac health is excellent,” Jackson said. “He doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t have diabetes — a lot of the traditional risk factors he doesn’t have. And so I think those things, in combination with the excellent cardiac results that we got from the exercise stress test, I think, are very reassuring.”

Asked if Trump has heart disease, Jackson said he did not. “Technically, he has nonclinical coronary atherosclerosis,” Jackson told reporters.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, stood by Jackson’s assessment, noting on Wednesday that he has been a White House physician 12 years, treating George W. Bush and Barack Obama in addition to Trump.

“He is the only doctor that has weighed in on this matter that has actually examined the president,” Sanders said. She called Jackson “the only credible source when it comes to diagnosing any health concerns. We support what he said yesterday 100 percent — that he is in excellent health.”

David Axelrod, one of Obama’s top advisers, said on Twitter Tuesday: “I knew Dr. Ronny Jackson in the White House. In my experience, he was very good guy and straight shooter.”



Jobless claims drop to lowest level in nearly 45 years

New applications for unemployment insurance benefits plunged by 41,000 to 220,000 in the second week of 2018, the Labor Department reported Thursday, the lowest level in nearly 45 years.

The report easily beat forecasters expectations for new jobless claims to drift down to around 250,000.

Low jobless claims are a good sign because they suggest that layoffs are relatively scarce. Federal Reserve officials and investors watch the numbers because they come out weekly, providing an early warning sign of any trouble.

New claims, which are adjusted for seasonal variations, are well below the mark that would suggest that unemployment is going to rise.

Thursday's number was likely artificially low because of the difficulties involved in adjusting for the seasonal affects of holiday hiring and winter weather. The extreme low level of claims "is probably an outlier," noted Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics.

Nevertheless, new claims have scraped multi-decade lows several times in recent years as the jobs recovery steadily reduced the number of unemployed workers throughout the end of President Obama's term and the beginning of President Trump's.

The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits, which are available for up to 26 weeks in most states, stayed below 2 million, also near the lowest levels since the 1970s.

And at 4.1 percent in December, unemployment is as low as it has been since the dot-com bubble.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have stated that they want to maintain a high level of job creation not only decrease unemployment, but also boost the labor force participation rate by encouraging people who have retired or quit the workforce to seek out jobs.



Trump: Working Is Good for Your Health

States will now be allowed to implement work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.

Working is a good thing and good for your health too. President Donald Trump is now making this argument as his administration announced that it would allow states to enact work requirements for Medicaid. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated that it would “support state efforts to test incentives that make participation in work or other community engagement a requirement for continued Medicaid eligibility or coverage for certain adult Medicaid beneficiaries. … CMS supports state efforts to enable individuals to gain and maintain employment.”

Citing research on the overall health benefits of working, the CMS said, “A growing body of evidence suggests that targeting certain health determinants, including productive work and community engagement, may improve health outcomes.” The Foundation for Government Accountability noted that since 2000 the number of individuals receiving Medicaid benefits has more than doubled to 75 million enrolled — including 28 million able-bodied adults. Over 50% of Medicaid beneficiaries who are able-bodied adults do not work.

Since the passage of ObamaCare the number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid has increased significantly, greatly adding cost to the program. Unfortunately, there are those who reject the notion that able-bodied adults benefiting from the Medicaid program should be required to perform at least 80 hours of work a month via a job, community engagement activity, education, job skills training or volunteering. Fundamentally, working is a good and rewarding aspect of life. It produces less dependency, greater personal accountability, and purpose in life. It is the primary means by which an individual positively contributes to their community and society at large. Work is empowering, and should never be vilified for political gain.



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