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The Failed Republican Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Is A Major Defeat For Trump

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The Failed Republican Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Is A Major Defeat For Trump

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Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have stunningly failed their first major legislative test, as a bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Medicaid was pulled from House debate just before voting was to begin. A chorus of “No” erupted before its live video link went dead.

Ryan’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid was a risky gamble. It showed that the right-wing ideology of ending government programs under the guise of cutting spending and spreading personal freedom was more fantasy than reality, especially when the GOP faced undermining millions of lives.

Even though Republicans have been pledging to dismantle Obamacare for years, Ryan’s bill arrogantly went beyond Trump’s oft-repeated campaign pledge to repeal and replace the ACA by tying it to the first major defunding of Medicaid, an anti-poverty program that has served tens of millions for half a century. Across the country, tens of thousands of people attended rallies protesting the proposed healthcare cuts and unexpectedly deluged town meetings convened by Republicans in their home districts.

At a press conference after the bill was pulled, Ryan darkly predicted Obamacare would collapse under its own weight yet the government’s role in providing health coverage is here to stay. “Obamacare is the law of the land. It’s gonna remain the law of the land until it’s replaced,” he said. “We did not have quite the votes to replace this law.”

What Really Happened?

It will become clear in coming days what prevented Ryan from gaining the votes needed for passage. Many news reports blamed the so-called House Freedom Caucus, whose several dozen members are notoriously inflexible and refused to budge despite numerous concessions from Ryan. While Trump threatened that anyone voting against the bill wouldn’t be re-elected in 2018, the libertarian Koch brothers countered they would set aside millions to defend members voting no, claiming Ryan’s bill didn’t go far enough.

A more intriguing narrative emerged a few hours later. More moderate Republicans had deserted Ryan and Trump, facing—as Democrats reminded them during the floor debate—tens of thousands of their constituents who would lose coverage, with polling finding that only 17 percent of Americans supported Ryan’s plan.

“Some of the highest-profile opposition to the bill came from the 30 or so right-wing members of the House who make up the Freedom Caucus,” wrote the New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells. “But by midday Friday—when the chair of the House Appropriations Committee announced his opposition to the bill—it seemed that the larger pool of opponents might come from the Party’s moderate wing. At lunchtime, the conservative Congressman Louie Gohmert, who was firmly against the bill, tweeted, a little gleefully, ‘Leadership hiding likely more NON-Freedom Caucus No votes than Freedom Caucus No votes.’”

While a Republican blame game has ensued in the capital, with conservatives decrying Ryan and Trump, millions of Americans who want to see health safety nets expanded and legislative reforms that cut their healthcare costs without losing coverage are undoubtedly breathing easier.

What Republicans will learn from this episode is worth watching. Ryan said the House GOP still has to learn how to govern after years as an opposition party. Other Republicans who have criticized the rise of right-wing extremism in the party, from rabid talk radio to websites trafficking in conspiracies, said the ardent right-wingers need to get over “self-inflicted blind spots” and realize that most of America isn’t like them.

“In March in 2010, America committed itself for the first time to the principle of universal (or near universal) health-care coverage,” David Frum, a speechwriter for George W. Bush, wrote in the Atlantic. “That principle has had seven years to work its way into American life and into the public sense of right and wrong. It’s not yet unanimously accepted. But it’s accepted by enough voters—and especially by enough Republican voters—to render impossible the seven-year Republican vision of removing that coverage from those who have gained it under the Affordable Care Act. Paul Ryan still upholds the right of Americans to ‘choose’ to go uninsured if they cannot afford to pay the cost of their insurance on their own. His country no longer agrees.”

Frum’s comment is a remarkable indictment of how out of touch Ryan, Trump and the Freedom Caucus are. But he ends his essay with a plea that may fall on deaf ears: “I would urge that those conservatives and Republicans who were wrong about the evolution of this debate please consider why they were wrong: Consider the destructive effect of ideological conformity, of ignorance of the experience of comparable countries, and of a conservative political culture that incentivizes intransigence, radicalism, and anger over prudence, moderation, and compassion.”

The Negotiator-in-Chief Fails

The House action is also a major defeat for Trump, underscoring the fact that he lacks the experience and clout to lead his party to enact major legislation. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump had personally lobbied 120 members of Congress and “left everything on the field” in negotiations.

Outsourcing the details to Ryan, who could not bring the GOP factions together, on top of Trump’s disinterest in policy details, is undoubtedly another reason why the repeal failed. Spicer said there were no plans to revive the repeal, although Trump later said he would be willing to try again once Democrats realize how problem-plagued Obamacare is.

It’s breathtaking to consider what Trump left “on the field” that the House nearly adopted. Although it did not completely erase Obamacare, Ryan’s bill was a trillion-dollar hollowing out of federal health programs. The bill did not revoke the ACA’s ban on lifetime insurance coverage caps or allow insurers to decline coverage for pre-existing conditions, but it posed devastating blows to medical safety nets for the poor, working class, middle class and elderly.

The bill brought to the floor Friday would cause an estimated 24 million Americans to lose coverage in a decade with half of those losses next year alone, all while cutting Obamacare’s income taxes on the rich and medical industries, and ending minimum coverage requirements for insurers.

The decision to pull the bill came after nearly four hours of debate, in which most Republicans and Democrats stuck to party line positions heard in recent days. Few specified what could be done to bring down costs while ensuring the public gets the care they need. Both sides talked past each other, with few Democrats addressing Republican criticisms that had merit, and vice-versa.

That kind of legislative process, in which a new major program like Obamacare is fine-tuned by successive Congresses to respond to changing economic or societal trends, was not in evidence. What Trump and Ryan do next remains to be seen.

But as of midday Friday, the Republicans have failed to deliver in their first major legislative test and that has left millions across America breathing easier.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.



  1. Jim Samaras March 25, 2017

    This bill changed very little about Obamacare. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you didn’t make. Perhaps he can start going after Tort reform which will resolve a large cost issue but attorneys on both sides of the aisle will cry like liberals after the election

    1. do you get giddy from spinning so much?

    2. also, holy cow, I am screen-capping “sometimes the best deals are the ones you didn’t make” because that is the most amazing contortion I’ve yet seen from you anti-American lunatics and I gotta share it with the world.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 26, 2017

        Yes, that phrase by Jim is lame, even though he thinks he was being thoughtful. I’ve captured another of Jim’s phrases where Jim wrote about Trump going to make China perform oral sex on Jim and Trump.

    3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 25, 2017

      Jim, you’re still locked up in a fruitless love-affair with Trump and the GOP. That’s not an indictment, just an observation.

      It’s hard to divorce one’s self from an individual, or a party affiliation, when we develop strong emotional ties to such. No obvious flaws can deter such a person from keeping that favored opinion, because of emotional/subjective attachment—even when the Cause one supports has been overwhelmingly confirmed to be immoral.

      That’s why Southerners who are in their 50’s or older still pine for the good old days of blacks deferring to whites, or dreaming of themes along the lines of “The South Shall Rise Again”—many Southern Whites continued (and continue) to admit that slavery as practiced in the South was not so bad.

      Interesting that you started your post with a somewhat objective opinion, but your parting remark “cry like liberals after the election” show you’re still emotionally attached to dichotimies, like black/white, liberal/conservative, or Democrat/Republican.

      Old habits, and prejudices, are hard to break and dispel.

      1. idamag March 26, 2017

        You are arguing with the dregs of humanity, racists. They are as dumb as trump and see themselves as smarter than they are.

    4. Thoughtopsy March 25, 2017

      It changes very little only if you’re blind to death and human suffering…. and, you know, logic and sanity and stuff like that…

      From a Human Outcome perspective:
      Obamacare: Allowed ~24 million to gain health insurance and required a tax on the wealthy, and the pressure for young healthy people to sign up, in order to pay for it.

      Trumpcare: Would have kicked ~27 million off health insurance eventually, and repealed the tax to give high income earners a large tax break.

      From a raw content perspective:
      Obamacare: 4000 pages and a result of 9 months of meetings and compromises with both side, doctors, insurance companies, and other industry groups.

      Trumpcare: ~300? pages. 7 of them about lottery winners. Clearly pulled out of Ryan’s a$$ by a bunch of legislators with little idea of the realities of the Healthcare market.

      From a premium perspective:
      Obamacare: Subsidies to match a percentage of your costs based on your level of poverty… A cap on charging the elderly more than 4 times the young.

      Trumpcare: Subsidies that are fixed based on age and therefore do not make allowances for higher costs due to location, medical conditions, local availability of care, or your poverty level… and stupidly just assumes that because you’re young you don’t need much help. Worse case scenario: A 55 year old on $20,000 in a rural area will see their costs go up 750% from ~$1400 to ~$13,000. This forces older and sicker people off coverage… incidentally making it cheaper for everyone else…. THAT ISN’T DEAD OR DYING DUE TO BEING UNABLE TO AFFORD INSURANCE. Yay?

      From a guaranteed coverage perspective:
      Obamacare mandated certain minimum levels of coverage designed to stop people ending up destitute when a medical emergency occurs… This was to avoid the trap of lies and policy complexity leaving people with cheaper but worthless insurance… where they still pay money but get nothing useful for it.

      Trumpcare (final iteration) basically removed all or nearly all of those minimums. So insurance companies could go back to selling bullsh1t policies under the guise of “insurance”, that made them money, but didn’t cover anything much.

      So yeah…. They were basically the same thing… if you’re a Trumptard ideologue with no critical thinking abilities.

      1. Thoughtopsy March 27, 2017

        Yep… crickets… again.

        Poor Jim. No Stamina.
        Sad… even for an astroturfer.

    5. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 26, 2017

      Jim, Trump was elected thanks in large measure to Putin. So, in effect, you’re applauding Putin, and like Trump, such sentiments may bring you up for questioning your true affiliation and loyalty.

      “RUSSHA!”, as Donald likes to chant.

      1. Jim Samaras March 26, 2017

        I see nothing has changed here in my absence Aaron. You guys are still crying about the election being stolen by Russia….whatever. Low income people have the best healthcare in the world. Walk into any hospital or emergency room and get the care they NEED and ignore the bill, no repercussions, no insurance needed. There was still too much federal government involved which is why it would never have floated. They MUST be eliminated and subsidies given to the states to distribute as needed for their population. They’ll get it right, let’s move on to tax reform shall we?

        1. Jinmichigan March 26, 2017

          Completely clueless comment. Healthcare is not emergency care. Only a fool would make such a ridiculous comment.

          1. Mama Bear March 26, 2017

            he is a paid troll and every time someone responds to him he is paid for it.

        2. Sterling Harris March 26, 2017


          1. Mama Bear March 26, 2017

            he is a paid troll. Stop responding to him and he will take his stupidity elsewhere.

          2. idamag March 26, 2017

            That works. I hate overt and active racists and refuse to acknowledge them.

          3. idamag March 26, 2017

            You know there were people who adored hitler, too. They ended up with a famine and bombed out cites and hated by civilized people.

          4. CPANY March 27, 2017

            Care to revise that, to make it grammatical?

        3. CPANY March 27, 2017

          Jim, you’re a piece of garbage.

        4. Thoughtopsy March 27, 2017

          If you think the point where you walk into an Emergency room is “the best healthcare in the world” for free then you’re a f**king moron.
          Let’s add ‘Medicine, Hospital Care and Medical Treatment’ to the long list of things you appear to be willfully ignorant about.

          Only knowledge that supports your arrogant, inhumane view of the world, right Jim?

      2. Mama Bear March 26, 2017

        he’s a paid troll, Aaron, every time to respond to him you are adding to his paycheck.

    6. johninPCFL March 26, 2017

      In a survey by the AMA, the average costs of malpractice (insurance and settlements) for the average medical practice was 3% of revenues. Seems like “Tort Reform” is just another GOP red herring, more smoke and mirrors, just like “Selling across state lines”, which no Federal law forbids or regulates. It’s the STATES that control who sells insurance inside their borders. Unless, of course, the bill dictated another huge Federal bureaucracy to manage health insurance sales across state lines.

      I just had a broken back repaired. My uncle had a similar injury in the 1970s. His cost? $9000. My costs? $500,000 to date and still rising. It’s a good thing I had insurance at an affordable cost, or I’d be filing for bankruptcy. BTW, over 40% of bankruptcies in 2010 were for medical bills.

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 25, 2017

    Yes, this is a major defeat for Trump—but only from the frame of reference for the rest of America. In Trump’s frame of reference, he didn’t fail because his ego can no longer allow him to make such an admission, and the bubble he’s in is so distorted that he may never be able to fully comprehend the enormity of his arrogance and childish way of handling the build-up and the immediate aftermath.
    As we’ve noted, the first sentences to issue from his lips was to blame the Democrats, and to chastise those Republicans who refused to go along with Paul Ryan’s deformed brainchild.
    Trump’s even trying to find a way to get Jared Kushner to take some heat for not being in town—as though Jared is supposed to be his safety blanket.

    Rather than try to be a decent man and admit his failures as a human being thus far, he talks only of “let’s move on”, and threatened the GOP by saying if they don’t vote as Donald wants them, then the blame will not be on Donald but will be directed, by Donald’s insinuation, at Congress by their constituents.

    Why this latter threat? Because, as Donald sees it, the hapless voters who got him over the top(with outside help) would never attribute blame to him, because in his petty mind, such fans just adore him.

    Here’s an example of the deplorable way Trump thinks:
    “…We learned a lot about loyalty,” Trump said. “We learned a lot about some very arcane rules in obviously both the Senate and in the House. So, it’s been certainly, for me, it’s been a very interesting experience.”

    Here, he’s looking to blame his defeat on “arcane” rules—really?

    And again, and this assessment is a center-piece of his “Blame Game” arsenal, in the words of one Congressman:
    “Trump repeatedly focused instead on the politics of the broader situation, the people said. In the Oval Office, he quizzed the Republicans about the margin of victory in their districts last fall. His victory, not theirs.
    “He did very little to say why we should vote ‘yes,’ ” one Republican member of Congress said, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the White House. “He kept talking about his damn election.” ”


    And then, there is Paul Ryan, which needs to be considered in another post on this thread.


    1. Mama Bear March 26, 2017

      he will always look for someone else to blame for anything that goes wrong. I for one am so tired of this….and it’s only month 3.

      1. idamag March 26, 2017

        I hope he keeps right on doing what he is doing and worse. The rubes that voted for him might see the light. I said, “might.”

      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 27, 2017

        Don’t despair. Trump is tedious and depressing on the one hand, and dangerous and deadly as well. But on the other hand, be thankful, because it is a mysterious phenomenon and a necessary one, in order to appreciate more fully the necessity to cultivate angelic qualities and forge bonds that extend beyond close-knit groupings.
        Trump provides macabre amusement as well as a case of the jitters.


    2. idamag March 26, 2017

      Sociopaths have a different view of themselves that they really are. He probably thinks he is as handsome as Matt Damon (sorry Matt.). He is superficial. He equates gilded furniture and faucets with being somebody. His taste is a crass and vulgar as he is. A good wife is a 10. Beauty is important. Character is only a word he knows for movies and plays. The picture of him teeing off at mar a lago shows a huge, fat rear end and a belly to balance it. When Rodney Dangerfield played a vulgar, ostentatious golfer he was funny and a lot easier to look at. The movie, in trump’s head, where he plays the hero is not anything like the reality.

    3. CPANY March 27, 2017

      He doesn’t have to admit failure. People like me, who can’t stand him, will do that for him.

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 25, 2017

    Now, let’s consider Paul Ryan. Paul has a malady, like most other politicians, of being so wedded and emotionally attached to the material and ideological benefits of the business of governance, that he can’t help but approach governing except in terms of a materialistic manner. Materialism has become so deeply ingrained in Western culture, that every gesture, every decision, every solution, must have some material benefit and better still, yield some profit, attached to it, either monetarily or by enhancing one’s power base.

    Ryan seem particularly vulnerable, by virtue of a zealotry about Conservatism that borders on something akin to religious fanaticism.

    With such a blind attachment to political ideology, and the power and money associated with such, his reasoning is always fatally flawed because of this weakness.

    He has become mechanical in his methodology, has loss a sense of compassion and an ability to empathize with the concerns of ordinary people, that he has become a zombie; some sort of fancy manikin, nattily attired, but with no imagination and feeling, except for money and for big business concerns.

    He isn’t alone, but his position makes it stand out.

    1. Jinmichigan March 26, 2017

      Huge assumption that ryan ever had a sense of compassion or empathy towards anyone, especially “ordinary people”. I see nothing in his past to suggest he ever did.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 27, 2017

        Oh, I think as a young boy he certainly had it—all children have the potential for being compassionate. I believe things went south for Paul after leaving college.

    2. idamag March 26, 2017

      trump pulled the mask off. He is who they are.

    3. InformedVoter March 26, 2017

      Sorry but obozocare will collapse in 2018. Insurance premiums will go up 25-30% and the 1000 counties that have only one insurer will double. The voters will look at obozocare and request that the GOP try to fix the problem. As President Trump stated “obozocare is now owned by the Dems”.

      1. CPANY March 27, 2017

        The arch conservatives said the same thing about Social Security. Social Security will not collapse. it will evolve and so will universal health care.

        1. InformedVoter March 27, 2017

          Not so fast, cpany. If he Dems had not started to “rob” SS (initiated under LBJ), then SS would still be solvent. The government will have to redo SS sooner or later, as it’s falling further and further behind in its funding.
          As to the healthcare, the main reason the GOP didn’t gather enough votes is that it didn’t go far enough in repealing obozocare. When folks see their 2018 premiums increase 25-30% and another 1000 counties only have one carrier, the voters will yelp and it’ll be the Dems that take the heat. The GOP and President Trump will say “we tried, but the Dems didn’t want to change obozocare”.
          I don’t think it will evolve into universal health care … ever.

      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 27, 2017

        Your ability to parrot exactly what Trump said is uncanny, but must come easy to you by now. For so long you’ve practiced the art of mimicry that you can’t express a sane, insightful, and creative response. Alan, your buddy, has a similar impediment.

        Cheerio, pal!

        1. InformedVoter March 27, 2017

          “Your ability to parrot exactly what Trump said is uncanny, “. Well the truth is the truth, so no matter how many times you try to pass off your alt-truth as being “true”, it fails to pass muster.

          And, YES, my moniker is pretty much spot on! I told you the polls were FAKE, but you didn’t believe me. I told you that Nunes’ HARD proof that obozo was involved in wire tapping President Trump et al, you followed another of your dummies, Schiff, who is now ready to fall on his sword. How dumb did he (and you for that matter) look going on national TV and saying they had examined ALL records and found no evidence. Then, oh my, what have we here? Duh.
          Here’s more PROOF that you guys spew out lies and claim anyone who doubts the words is doomed to eternal misery.


          1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 27, 2017

            That you think your moniker is spot on is why the rest of us should be careful not to follow your example of feeling full of one’s self, You’ll note(maybe not) that Donald has exactly the same symptoms.
            “Informed Voter”— Is that how you introduce yourself at social gatherings?

          2. InformedVoter March 27, 2017

            Why do you insist on displaying your false religion? OK, I’ll explain my moniker so that even someone with a clouded, religious belief should be able to comprehend my logic (that’s assuming a lot in your case).
            I look at issues, and examine multiple sources of information and THEN MAKE AN INFORMED decision. Unlike you, who adheres to his FAKE religion and claims that “god” steered my decision process.
            OK, so how do you make your voting decisions or any decision for that matter?
            You apply for a mortgage; so you select the one with the slickest salesman. Why not examine all the facts, including financial, and then make an “informed” decision? Duh, that never occurred to you did it?
            If someone does their “homework” and consistently comes up with the best decision, why would they not “inform” others that they have made an “informed” decision. That is the basis for my moniker.
            Unlike you, I have been acknowledged as being informed about daily affairs. You seem to be acknowledged as just being involved in affairs, something you obviously learned by Billy Boy.
            To answer your question, YES, I am usually greeted with something like “how many more low information lefties did you destroy today?” My colleagues recognize my talents. That is something that you’ll never be recognized for!
            Think about that! All you’ve got is your fake religion. I have recognition for destroying low information followers like you.
            And, in cases like yours, it’s been so easy.
            Please explain how I provided links that had President Trump leading and all you could respond with was that my information was wrong.
            Even now, many of your fellow low information lefty posters are saying the polls were wrong, not FAKE. Oh my. If your profession was to produce accurate polls as you were that wrong, you’d be in the soup line.

  4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 25, 2017

    Trump’s bumbling aside for now, the FBI investigation into Trump’s Russia ties may result in treason charges being brought against Trump, Manafort, and others.

    1. Latonyamkaufman March 26, 2017

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  6. ORAXX March 26, 2017

    The Trump/Ryan/Republican health care plan would have reduced government spending, while leaving all the costs to the economy in place and transferring the burden to those least able to bear it. The AHCA was a declaration of moral bankruptcy on the part of the GOP. A civilized nation does view being poor and sick as a death penalty offense.

  7. stsintl March 26, 2017

    Though never included in Time magazine’s most influential persons list, Rupert Murdoch has been it with his power of WMDs [Words of Mass Deceptions] to poison the minds of American electorate against “Social Responsibility” and for the Wall Street Mafia.

    1. idamag March 26, 2017

      I like that. WMDs words of mass deception. May I use it?

      1. stsintl March 26, 2017

        Sure, please go ahead with the term WMD. These WMDs have been more lethal than nukes and chemical weapons. Have destroyed more governments and people’s lives. The whole Trump campaign used them repeatedly.

        1. idamag March 26, 2017

          You are right about them being more lethal. The diptins are inviting an attack from a country they have insulted. In fact, some of those countries are probably so scared of the U.S. that they are secretly amassing weapons to defend themselves.

  8. ivory69690@yahoo.com March 26, 2017

    just more BULL from DONNY DUMP he says this trash about jobs and people making more money and all . but when it came time to make a MIN.WAGE of $15 an hours he was one of the first ones to say that’s no good . or the DUMPSTER saying that’s too good for the people of the country . and what’s he do and say about healthcare for the people ? give his and the Dracula look-a-like Ryan healthcare plan that cost more . he talks about the ACA going up a lot in years times (then fix it make the ACA better . HIM THE KING CLOWN and side kick in the head Ryan . plan beats the rising price of the ACA by about 10 folds in just the time if thy could get it in . what 6 months to a year if that long . its so sad that DONNY DUMP would rather undermined the ACA with his BULL plan and let 24 million people lose their healthcare with his and Dracula look-a-like plan and then try to blame it on the DEMS and he is still saying let the ACA blow up and then the DEMS will come to him for a new plan . IS THIS HOW A PRESIDENT should be doing and looking at things ? wanting for the worse to happen to the people just to try to say I told you so . its his job to work for the people not to think he is the best or better by giving a bull plan and saying you should of taken it . (like its better then nothing )

  9. ivory69690@yahoo.com March 26, 2017

    and what is the DUMPSTER clown doing with the allies of the country the USA friends ? bad mouths them knocks them puts them down . you have France Pres. dealing with Russia and PUTTHEAD’S rich pals . giving her $10 million for her to get elected in France now she sits with PUTTHEAD himself and says the sanctions against Russia should be lifted . DONNY DUMP just dosent stop . insults England , Mexico Germany and never stops with his child clown show . as it is now other country’s are scared of the DUMPSTER and not knowing what he will do next (he dosent even know what he will do next ) other country around the world will start siding with Russia . the middle east hate the clown Muslim faith hate him he insults them all . the friends if any in the middle east don’t want to go with him . he is will bring the country and the world down . he very well could start WW 3

  10. CPANY March 27, 2017

    So, Trump, having gotten his political rear end spanked very hard, is now asserting that he plans to “revamp” the government. Of course, he’s a bit light on specifics, but that’s nothing new for Trump.

    He’s light on specifics and even lighter on ethics. Let’s face it folks, the guys a bum.

    By the way, I see that Trump’s bosom KGB buddy Putin is experiencing some dissatisfaction from the Russian people.

  11. Thoughtopsy March 28, 2017

    Looks like Paul Ryan is going to need a Safe Space and a Participation Award.
    Poor Darling.


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