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French Constitutional Court stands up for free speech in striking down “anti-terrorist” law

French judges have made it clear that watching disagreeable content does not constitute a conspiracy to commit a violent act.

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The French Constitutional Court has struck down a piece of legislation that would criminalise the viewing of what the French government deems to be “terrorist” websites.

The court ruled that the legislation was an extreme and disproportionate infringement on the freedom of expression and that the provisions of the legislation were neither necessary nor adequate, given provisions of existing laws used to fight genuine terrorism.

The now annulled law, proposed to imprison those found guilty for two years, in addition to forcing them to pay a fine of €30,000.

The Court’s ruling could have implications throughout Europe and the wider world, as governments salivate at the prospect of punishing people for viewing online content.

There are several fatal flaws in the French legislation, beyond the very valid legal opinion derived by the Constitution Court of France.

First of all, there has never been any legitimate scientific study that has been able to prove a link between viewing violent content and committing violent acts.

During the 1980s, the wives of prominent US Senators attempted to pass legislation restricting the sale of heavy-metal and contemporary R & B music records and tapes, under the guise that violent or erotic lyrics have a negative effect on listeners. At the time, no scientific study was able to confirm any such linkage.

This theory was put to the test in US courts in two separate lawsuits. In 1986, the singer Ozzy Osbourne was sued by the parents of a teenager who killed himself. The complaint alleged that Osbourne’s 1980 song “Suicide Solution” was responsible for their son’s act of self-inflicted violence.

The court found that there was no link between listening to the song and the boy’s suicide.

A similar case was filed in a California court in 1990 against the heavy-metal band Judas Priest. Here it was once again alleged that the band’s recording of a song originally recorded by the band Spooky Tooth, “Better by You, Better than Me”, was reponsible for the attempted suicide of two teenage boys.

The court in this case found that there was no link between listening to certain kinds of music and committing acts of self-harm.

While few today would argue that heavy-metal music is actually harmful, just a few short decades ago they did. Today, individuals of the same kidney are arguing that watching videos and reading the literature of terrorist groups is harmful, but there is still on scientific evidence suggesting that their fears are true.

If everyone who has ever watched a terrorist beheading video was literally insane enough to act it out, the view counter on such videos would indicate that there would be far more international terrorism than there presently is, or ever has been.

Furthermore, there are two other problems with the kind of legislation struck down in France.

First of all, it allows exceptions for journalists and researchers who view terrorist content online. What though constitutes a journalist in 2017?

Today, there are many people who are not specifically employed or accredited as journalists who de-facto produce journalism whether on their own websites, websites operated by others or on social media.

Do you really trust various deep states to determine who is and who is not a “journalist”, in an age where those same governments are trying to censor an unambiguously legitimate journalistic outlet like RT? I for one certainly do not trust such people in this capacity.

Then one gets into the even murkier issue of what constitutes terrorist content. In Ukraine, the Donbass freedom fighters are considered terrorists, but in most of the rest of the world they are not. In the United States, Saudi Arabia and some of Europe, the Lebanese political party Hezbollah, which has ministers in the governing coalition, is considered a terrorist organisation, but in the vast majority of the world including in Russia and China, they are not.

The Turkish President recently called Israel a “terrorist state”.  Does this mean that a Zionist from the Netherlands should be arrested in Turkey for logging on to his favourite websites while at a professional conference in Istanbul?

While groups like ISIS/Daesh and al-Qaeda are almost universally condemned, beyond this, there is an incredibly dangerous slippery slope.

Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley recently called Iran a sponsor of terrorism, even though there is no evidence to prove Iran does anything but fight terrorism. Should Iranian media viewers in the US all be imprisoned for disagreeing with Nikki Haley’s baseless assumption? The answer, for any fair minded individual is an unambiguous: NO!

With other European countries including Germany and the UK considering similar legislation as the one struck down in France, people ought to think twice before rushing to criminalise viewing any online content, no matter how disagreeable.

For those who actually are conspiring to commit an atrocity, there are age old statutes on the books in almost all nations, that simply ought to be enforced adequately in order to combat the genuine threat of terrorism.

Perhaps the inadequacy of certain countries to enforce such legislation, is the real reason for taking the cowards way out and seeking to imprison people for the crime of having eyes and viewing something they disagree with. After all such a method is easier than actually going after legitimately violent people.

For those who actually want to see terrorism destroyed, there is actually a strong case to be made in favour of watching terrorist videos in order to understand what anti-terrorist forces like the Syrian Arab Army are up against.

Marine Le Pen is correct – everybody should watch videos of ISIS atrocities

Below is an English translation of the full opinion of the French Constitutional Court:

“The Constitutional Council was seized on October 9, 2017 by the Council of State of a priority question of constitutionality concerning article 421-2-5-2 of the penal code, in its drafting resulting from the law n ° 2017- 258 of February 28, 2017 relating to public security.

These provisions reinstated, under a new wording, the offense of habitual consultation of terrorist websites whose Constitutional Council had censored an initial drafting by its decision n ° 2016-611 QPC of February 10, 2017. Article 421-2-5 -2 of the Penal Code, in this new wording, sanctions a penalty of two years imprisonment and 30 000 euros fine the fact of consulting in a usual way, without legitimate reason, a service of communication to the public on line advocating or provoking the commission of acts of terrorism and involving images or representations of willful attacks on life. The purpose of this offense is to prevent the indoctrination of

It was argued, in particular, that the freedom of communication was disregarded by those provisions since the infringement of the contested provision was neither necessary, given the legal provisions already in force, nor adequate and proportionate.

By its decision of today, the Constitutional Council recalls its consistent jurisprudence inferring from Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789 that in the present state of the means of communication and with regard to the development of public services and the importance of these services for participation in democratic life and the expression of ideas and opinions, the freedom of communication implies the freedom to access such services. services. On the basis of Article 34 of the Constitution, it is open to the legislator to enact rules of a kind to reconcile with the exercise of the right of free communication and freedom to speak, write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which contributes to the objective of constitutional value of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation of terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing offenses. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. write and print the pursuit of the objective of combating incitement and provocation of terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing offenses. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. incitement and provocation to terrorism on online public communication services, which is part of the constitutional value objective of safeguarding public order and preventing crime. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. public order and the prevention of infringements. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued. public order and the prevention of infringements. However, freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable as its exercise is a condition of democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms. Infringements of the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective pursued.

The Constitutional Council adds that, since the enactment of the impugned provisions, the legislature has supplemented the enactment of the legislative provisions previously in force in its decision of February and reproduced in paragraphs 7 to 11 of today’s decision. by adopting, by Law No. 2017-1510 of 30 October 2017 strengthening internal security and the fight against terrorism, new individual measures of administrative control and surveillance to prevent the commission of acts of terrorism. He infers from this that in view of the necessity requirement of the infringement of the freedom of communication,

As regards the adaptation and proportionality requirements for the infringement of the freedom of communication, the Constitutional Council notes that, if the impugned provisions provide that, in order to fall within the scope of the offense which they establish, consultation must be accompanied by the manifestation of adherence to the ideology expressed on the sites consulted, this consultation and this event are not likely to establish by themselves the existence of a will to commit terrorist acts. These provisions thus punish with a sentence of two years imprisonment the mere fact of consulting several times an online public communication service, without the constituting element of the offense constituting the terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. terrorist intent of the author of the consultation. In addition, if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed such sites may appear to be one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to be one of the legitimate examples of reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. if the legislator has excluded the penalization of the consultation when it answers a “legitimate motive”, the scope of this exemption can not be determined in this case, notably because a person adhering to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to be one of the legitimate examples of reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. in particular because a person who adheres to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to come across one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information. in particular because a person who adheres to the ideology conveyed by these sites seems likely to come across one of the legitimate reasons given by the legislator. This results in uncertainty about the legality of the consultation of certain online public communication services and, consequently, the use of the Internet to search for information.

The Constitutional Council deduces from all the foregoing that the impugned provisions undermine the exercise of the freedom of communication which is not necessary, adapted and proportionate. He declares them therefore unconstitutional by giving immediate effect to this declaration”.

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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