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Archive for January, 2017

The most growing issue in the United States is racial persecution. As a young child, you were taught in History class that racism is bad and that it after slavery it died out. They lied. We may not have slaves, white and black water fountains, or the KKK anymore but persecution is still a very real thing. The only difference is that we justify it. Persecution in America has increased greatly since 9/11. This event greatly impacted the American public and destroyed how Americans look at the Muslim community today. Most of Per suction stems from peoples fear from people different beliefs or the stereotype we give one group of people. For instance, walking on a road alone you would be more afraid of a large black man than a large white man. As a young female, I would be terrified of both to be honest because of my lack in muscle mass, but because we stereotype people on their appearance and their beliefs I would not knowingly walk father away from the African American than the white man. What does this tell you about our society? This is not just with the African American population but also with other groups as well. Many women get objectified by men on the daily. If I wear to tight of pants I get whistled at and I understand that some women like this but why do all people, see is the boobs and the legs? It’s because that is what our society tell us to look at. People stereotype the way people dress if you wear dark clothes and have dark hair you ultimacy must be a goth. Does this mean that you can only be a gothic? Can you be a gothic and a nerd or a jock? Our society makes groups and characterized people. Instead of trying to place someone in a box we should accept people for who they are no matter where they come from.  Going back to being afraid of different groups of people I think one of the largest reasons that trump made this new Executive order for keeping immigrants out is because of terrorism. Honestly terrorism will happen whether or not we have a wall. We are The United States of America many countries will always be intimidation by us this does not give us the right to say that all middle eastern people are terrorist or could be. How can we tell our children do not stereotyping and persecuting others when the American people are threatening to build walls because we are stereotyping. Also what does this saying to the other countries around us? America does not have the best taste is many countries mouths but this is icing on the cake. We need to be making more allies than  enemies. Even though America has the strongest military forces we still rely on our allies to help us. Although I truly believe that Trump believes that this order will in the long run help America this country was built  on immigrates. This policy does have some good intentions behind it ultimately more problems will arise not only with other counties but with the people of the United States.

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“American Society has created a monster” when they speak about the new President, Mr.  Donald Trump. Over the course of the past 8 years trump has been a fly on the wall waiting for society to dislike President Barak Obama so much that it would allow him to be nominated and now sworn into office. The people of America are now regretting their choice for commander and chief, he has single handedly created a division of states against the Federal government. Since, January 20th, 2017 in the afternoon Trump was inaugurated into office, after the inauguration was complete he set off to sign all the many executive orders which he was preparing in the days before his inauguration. The American residence didn’t think he would go through with his many threats of building a wall and banning Muslims/immigrants from American Borders, even slashing pertinent federal programs or placing a hold on hiring for the federal government. There are many issues which plagued the United States none of them include banning individuals from entering the United States of American. The issues Mr. Trump should be focused on are Education, the Water system in Flint, MI and now Louisiana, or how about the violence that is still taking place against the person of color, How about the epidemic of Opium that’s been killing and hindering citizens everywhere. No, Trump is not taking that route to accomplish the “Goals of the People” , the Commander and Chief is taking the route of slashing the “little people” to create a better world for the upper echelon, this includes major multimillion dollar companies that would or could benefit from Trump antics. The actions Trump is now trying to push through congress are cutting or eliminating the following Federal programs Corporation for Public Broadcasting  ( PBS, Sesame Street, ect), National Endowment of the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Minority Business Development Agency, Economic Development Administration, International Trade Administration, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Office of Violence Against Women, Legal Services Corporation and Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department along with several other programs that assist the tax payer with various resources. The few, far and in-between believe cutting the programs will create an increase to the budget and a decrease in the tax dollar needed to support those programs.What most don’t know is the actual cost to the tax payer. Most if not all of the many programs listed cost the tax payer less then $1.50; biggest budget being PBS at a $445 million dollar budget costing 1.37. Did Trump stumble on to something major, maybe this is what he was speaking of eliminating these programs and recreating programs that perform with a better outcome. The average household income is between $40,000 to $50,000 dollars a year, out of that income a person will pay federal government 11%; between $4,400 to $5,500 in tax funds. The point of expressing these figures in such s manner in out of at least $4,000 only $1.37 is being put toward a program who’s main purpose is to educate and create intelligence.

Is this really about creating a better economic foundation for the United States of America or is it about creating funding by cutting the programs which would be “not missed” to free up funds for allocation like a wall, or pouring even more into the military, which currently 59% of the federal budget is applied to the United states military.Could, Trump decision to “trim the fat” create more of a long term effect, is that how the people should perceive the changes to create acceptance and justification. Its not like the people haven’t sacrificed their morals, values or ethics before to create a better world.I don’t think the people are or will accept that the programs who have helped millions of people start business, save lives, get justice, etc. to become eliminated, the people have already spoken by taking to the streets, marching side by side all colors, complexions, gender orientations, nationality, trying to stand up against tyranny and abusive behavior. Trump’s inability to be a leader for the people can never be reversed, there is nothing we the people can actually do to convince this person they shouldn’t be apart of destruction against his ” Americans” which he expressed will make America Great Again. Even though the people are unable to convince the newly elected president about is irresponsible behavior the people still have power collectively and should take a few pages out of the Europeans’ guide to Revolution, and create a new government for the people and by the people.

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Abortion.. Ban It

As soon as I realized that I was getting the opportunity to write about an issue of my choice, my mind went immediately to one thing. One of the top, if not the top, issue that our government and country is facing today is abortion. To some, this topic seems very personal. To others, this topic is one that isn’t even thought about. This blog post is going to be filled with both facts and opinions. I hold a strong belief on this issue and I want to explain my thoughts.
I do not think that abortion is right, nor should it be legal. I have used a few websites to open my eyes about some legal rights as well as facts about unborn babies. http://abortion.procon.org/ states that “Upon fertilization, a human individual is created with a unique genetic identity that remains unchanged throughout his or her life. This individual has a fundamental right to life, which must be protected. Jerome Lejeune, the French geneticist who discovered the chromosome abnormality that causes Down syndrome, stated that “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion… The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.”” An unborn baby is a perfect human being that deserves the right to live his or her own life. If one believes that the baby is alive in the womb, how is this not considered murder? If one doesn’t believe that the baby is alive in the womb, when does it become alive? A baby inside the womb is indeed a human. It may need the mother for survival, but likewise a newborn baby needs the proper nutrients to survive as well. When a baby has all of the organs that it needs to function, it is alive. No matter if it is in the womb or in the air that we breathe, it is still a human being. I have a real problem with abortion just for the fact of the baby. When I first think of abortion I think about the poor innocent baby that is having his/her life taken away.
Although the baby is my first thought, the woman that is actually having the abortion is my second thought. It is very easy for one to say that it is important for a woman who has been raped to be able to abort the baby or someone that wasn’t able to properly protect herself. However, the affect that an abortion can have on a woman is stronger than one may think! According to http://lifechoicesinc.org/education-on-abortion/, it states “It’s not that simple. Abortion is not just a simple medical procedure. For many women, it is a life changing event with significant physical and emotional consequences. Most women who struggle with past abortions say that they wish they had been told all of the facts about abortion and its risks.” I don’t think many people realize the dramatic affect it can have on the woman as well as others in the family.
I think this is a controversial topic due to the fact that in some scenarios it could put the newborn baby in a bad situation. However, so often the people that want abortion to be legal are only worried about the mother. I think that is a problem with the way people even look at the situation of abortion. I have purposely left out the moral side of this issue. There are many opinions that could be said that go with the moral side of this topic. I do not really want to get into this because as soon as someone brings in religion to a discussion people stop listening. I think there is plenty of points to be made just by looking at the facts of an unborn baby and the affects that abortion has on the mother. Personally, I think that abortion should be considered murdered and that it should not be able to happen. I think that the argument for woman’s rights is a joke when it comes to this issue because it is the baby’s right to get to live.

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Minimum wage has been a topic of much debate for a number of years at all levels of government and politics.   We have seen multiple marches, demonstrations, debates, and news articles advocating for one side of the other and there has yet to be any real decision made either way.  With any controversy, I find it always best to determine the roots of the controversy itself and explore the major arguments for both sides of the issue and leave the choice up to each individual who can then talk to their representatives and voice their opinion.

Background on Minimum Wage

“The federal minimum wage was introduced in 1938 during the Great Depression under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was initially set at $0.25 per hour and has been increased by Congress 22 times, most recently in 2009 when it went from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour” (ProCon.org, 2016).  In 2015, nearly two and a half million workers earned at or below the national minimum wage.  Since the latest minimum wage increase in 2009, there have been additional attempts to raise the minimum wage to what some refer to as a more feasible living wage.  Of the numerous attempts made, “the two main efforts are the Harkin-Miller proposal to raise the wage to $10.10 and the Living Wage Movement to raise the wage to $15” (ProCon.org, 2016).   Public opinion also varies, naturally, between workers and business owners.  Of the many statistics floating around the web, “a May 2015 poll conducted by CBS and the New York Times found that 71% of Americans favored raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, with 26% opposed” (ProCon.org, 2016).  Likewise, “a 2013 Gallup poll found that 50% of small business owners were opposed to raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and 60% believed such an increase would hurt most small business owners” (ProCon.org, 2016).  Upon looking at this concise collection of background information, it is no wonder that there is so much debate on the topic.

min-wage-cartoon

Minimum Wage Cartoon

Source: AF Branco, “Minimum Wage Rage,” teapartytribune.com, Dec. 18, 2013

 

The Arguments

As mentioned earlier, there are always two sides to a controversy and one cannot consider one side without considering the other.  The major argument for raising the minimum wage is that it will stimulate economic growth and add jobs.  These proponents maintain “that a minimum wage increase from the current rate of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 would inject $22.1 billion net into the economy and create about 85,000 new jobs over a three-year phase-in period” (ProCon.org, 2017).  In contrast, the most prevalent argument against a minimum wage increase is that it will actually force businesses to lay off their employees and increase the overall unemployment level.   “The Congressional Budget Office projected that a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $10.10 would result in a loss of 500,000 jobs. [5] In a survey of 1,213 businesses and human resources professionals, 38% of employers who currently pay minimum wage said they would lay off some employees if the minimum wage was raised to $10.10. 54% said they would decrease hiring levels” (ProCon.org, 2017).

These are by far the most widely heard arguments surrounding the controversy.  Other arguments for raising the minimum wage include that it will reduce poverty, reduce the overall dependence on welfare, reduce inequality in gender, race, and income, and even increase the overall physical health of the nation.  Likewise, the opponents of the increase maintain that the higher wage would increase poverty, cause businesses to go out of business, raise the prices of consumer goods, shut teenagers and younger workers out of the workforce, cause industry to seek more automation and reduce labor force, and increase the amount of outsourcing (ProCon.org, 2017).

As it can be seen, there is a plethora of arguments both for and against the subject, and I highly recommend visiting the site and reading the explanations.  I feel they really take a non-partisan approach and plainly lay out all the arguments so that an individual can freely make their own decision on the subject.

My Opinion

Having read all these arguments and looking at the sources mentioned, I feel that a minimum wage increase is not the best idea.  Personally, I do not think that the minimum wage was even intended to be a living wage nor should it be.  I worked minimum wage jobs and all it did was motivate me to work hard and reach for the next level within the company that pays higher than the minimum wage.  I foresee that an increase will hurt businesses and cause a decline in the workforce due to industry and businesses adopting more automation and removing the non-skilled labor positions.    

 

Works Cited

ProCon.org. (2016, March 31). Background of the Issue: Should the Federal Minimum Wage be Increased? Retrieved January 29, 2017, from ProCon.org: http://minimum-wage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006456

ProCon.org. (2017, January 28). Should the Federal Minimum Wage Be Increased. Retrieved January 29, 2017, from ProCon.org: http://minimum-wage.procon.org/

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President Donald Trump’s decision to ban more than 218 million people from the United States and to deny entry to all refugees this past Saturday, January 29, chaos, confusion and anger surged through US airports, law enforcement agencies and foreign countries trying to implement the new policy. 218 million is roughly the combined population of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This order bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for the next 90 days and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days. Protests erupted in many airports across the US the following Sunday in Orlando, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago and Atlanta. Trump is quoted to have said “You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban.” Most Americans don’t see it that way right now.

Many Tennessee lawmakers have voiced their responses to the ban over the past few days. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said, “It doesn’t matter how you got here, it doesn’t matter when you got here. It matters that you are here and that you are part of our great country. And the fact of the matter is, America has so many tools at our disposal. We use the tools of war all the time. We need to use the tools of peace. The tools of peace that bring our refugees and immigrants to us and make them welcome and bring them home.”

Senator Bob Corker said, “We all share a desire to protect the American people, but this executive order has been poorly implemented, especially with respect to green card holders,” said Corker. “The administration should immediately make appropriate revisions, and it is my hope that following a thorough review and implementation of security enhancements that many of these programs will be improved and reinstated.”

Only being out of office for less than two weeks, former POTUS has released statements about his feelings about the ban. “President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, in a statement issued after a weekend of protests against Mr. Trump’s executive order. “Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.” Mr. Obama, the statement added, “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

“In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United State cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law,” said President Trump. Many Americans are questioning why its being assumed that all foreigners bear hostile attitudes towards this country and its principles. Many are wondering why it seems that this ban was very ill organized, and very ill advised. Many have so many questions that are being left unanswered.

Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took to Twitter on Saturday, January 28, 2017, saying “I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values and our Constitution. This is not who we are.”

The actions of this ban also affect green card holders and lawful permanent US residents. Trump’s administration officials are defending the ban and responding to criticism by insisting that the United States had to take these actions so it can reform its vetting procedures and that it was built out carefully over the past few weeks during the transition.

News broke on January 31, 2017 that Washington state has filed a lawsuit seeking to block President Trump’s order on immigration from Muslim-majority countries. The ban prompted protests over the weekend in Seattle and other cities. Washington state is the first to file a lawsuit, seeking a restraining order to stop enforcement of the ban. “If successful, it would have the effect of invalidating the president’s unlawful action nationwide,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

“We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colors and all cultures are distinct and individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don’t share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive.”

Resources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/us/politics/obama-trump-immigration-ban.html?_r=0

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/01/29/read-trump-full-executive-order-refugees-immigration/jgOM3UIAYmxkAxGwLKXrAO/story.html

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/01/30/what-tennessee-lawmakers-leaders-say-travel-ban-donald-trump/97231276/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/28/politics/donald-trump-executive-order-immigration-reaction/

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One of President Obama’s last acts in office was the commutation of the sentences of 209 prisoners, one of whom was Oscar Lopez Rivera. Lopez Rivera was sentenced to 70 years in prison for seditious conspiracy, among other charges, for his activities with the Armed Forces of National Liberation for Puerto Rico (commonly abbreviated to FALN), a terrorist group that fought for Puerto Rican independence. The commutation of Lopez Rivera’s sentence was a mistake and should not have happened.

 
The FALN was founded in the 1960s to resist American occupation of Puerto Rico, and to turn Puerto Rico into an independent communist state, though it did not become a force for violent resistance until the 1970s. Its platform called for armed resistance against the United States, including a “’rearguard’ struggle throughout the breadth of the United States.” The group began a campaign of terrorism against both government and civilian targets throughout the US, using bombings and utilizing hit-and-run tactics.

 
The most famous bombing was of Fraunces Tavern in 1975. 4 were killed and dozens injured at the historic restaurant, when 10 pounds of dynamite exploded in the tavern’s entrance. The FALN left a note claiming responsibility.

fraunces

The aftermath of the Fraunces Tavern bombing

Two years later, one was killed and eight injured when the FALN bombed the Mobil Building in New York City. All told, the group claimed responsibility for 100 bombings that killed six people and wounded, often permanently maiming, 130 more.

fire

A firefighter surveying damage after the Mobil Building bombing

 

Oscar Lopez Rivera, a leader of the FALN, came to the attention of the authorities when Chicago Police found a bomb factory in an apartment tied to him. He was arrested, tried, and found guilty of five crimes, including seditious conspiracy, armed robbery, and gun crimes. He was sentenced to 55 years. In 1988, he received an additional 15 years for attempting to escape prison and plotting to transport explosives.

 
In 1999, President Bill Clinton offered to commute the sentences of those FALN members who did not personally harm anyone, on the condition that they would renounce violence. This move by Clinton was extremely controversial, being condemned by the Senate 95-2. Some claimed Clinton did this to gain Puerto Rican support for his wife’s Senate campaign. Most of the prisoners accepted the offer, but Lopez Rivera refused, both because the offer did not extend to some FALN prisoners he wanted free and on the grounds that he would not renounce violence. He needed only wait 18 years, as President Obama would unconditionally commute his sentence anyway.

 
Lopez Rivera’s freedom had long been a cause célèbre in some parts of the American left and advocates of Puerto Rican independence. Upon his release, many celebrated, including New York mayor Bill de Blasio and Broadway writer and composer Lin Manuel Miranda. But why were so many calling for, and now celebrating, the release of a domestic terrorist? Was President Obama right in commuting his sentence?

 
The short answer is, no. Often, political crimes are seen in a different, more generous, light than other crimes. The cliché “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is sometimes used as morally relativistic cudgel, a demand that one ought not judge political crimes harshly. This is a dangerous tactic of evasion. It dispels responsibility and creates a vacuum of ever-justified violence, without a consistent moral framework by which we can judge the rightness of one’s actions. Whether one agrees with Lopez Rivera on the issue of Puerto Rican independence or not, one is not obligated to believe he ought to be free. Intellectual consistency does not demand one must support terrorists if one agrees with their political narratives. Unless we believe the ends always justify the means, there is no reason to accept Lopez Rivera’s crimes as acceptable.

 
Some have used his treatment in prison to argue for his release. Lopez Rivera has spent 12 years in solitary confinement, a practice extraordinarily harmful. He is also denied visitation rights, something not only wrong but also counterproductive. These things must be remedied, but there’s no reason for them to merit a commutation of his sentence.

 
Lopez Rivera was in prison not just for a violent past, but also because he has refused to show remorse for that past. The offer made by President Clinton, which Lopez Rivera refused to accept due to his allegiance to violent tactics, shows this. Though he may not be a physical threat anymore, due to his age, imprisonment is not just preventive, intended to keep the public safe and away from criminals. Punishments exist to provide the public with retribution, as well as deterrence and rehabilitation. This is evidenced by the FBI’s inclusion of William Morales, a bomb-maker for the FALN, on the current Most Wanted: Domestic Terrorism list. Morales is in his late 60s, and is likely not much of a threat to the country. He has lived in Cuba since 1988, so he is far from the American public. So why include him on the Most Wanted list, when Americans are by and large safe from him? The same reason Lopez Rivera should not be free: the matter of retributive justice.

 

Now in his 70s, Lopez Rivera will likely not carry out future violent acts, but his refusal to renounce violence has shown that he is most likely not rehabilitated. As far as retribution, Lopez Rivera assisted in terrorist acts and was a leader of a group that called for guerilla warfare throughout the United States. Is 37 years sufficient retribution? His victims and members of their families say no. The sentencing judge called him an “un-rehabilitated revolutionary” and he remains such, unapologetic for the lives he helped ruin and the violence he engaged in. To support his release is to let one’s opinions of his political aspirations blind one’s support for justice and impartiality.

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It would be an understatement to say that health insurance is a big issue in government decisions and policies today. I think most people would accept that health insurance is the largest issue that is going on presently. The Affordable Care Act was signed by President Obama in 2010 and it began slowly making changes in the way that health insurance and the health care system of the United States works. The Affordable Care Act is also known as Obamacare because it was proposed and backed by former President Obama. According to an article posted by Supreme Court Debates (2014)  on the cons of Obamacare the Affordable Care Act is the law that set new “minimum acceptable level of care provided by health insurance companies.” The Affordable Care Act has made some major changes in health insurance such as allowing adults to stay on their parents health insurance regardless of student status or marital status until the age of 26, forbidding health insurance companies to deny the proposed insured coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and requiring all citizens to have Obamacare compliant health insurance policies on themselves and all of their dependents. If a person does not have health insurance then he or she is subject to pay a penalty at the end of the year when income taxes are filed. On the surface, it seems that Obamacare provides great benefits for the American people, but when you look deeper into this law you see that these “great benefits” are being paid for with the American tax payer’s dollar and seems to be rewarding those deliberately lacking motivation while emptying the wallets of those that are working hard for their dollars. All of these benefits sound great until you are reminded that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that someone is paying for the “free and low cost” benefits that others are receiving. Obamacare not only sets requirements for private health insurance companies, but also created the Insurance Market Place. The insurance market place is a website where people who are not provided with insurance through their employer or another source can go through the enrollment system and qualify for subsidized health insurance plans so that they are in compliance with the Affordable Care Act and will not be penalized at the end of the year. One of the biggest issues with the Affordable Care Act is that in order for these health insurance plans on the Market Place to be cheaper, the cost of insurance and deductibles for people who are not eligible for lower rates are charged sky high rates for insurance plans. President Donald J. Trump is very quickly working to repeal and replace Obamacare. President Trump has not released all of the details about what his replacement plan will consist of, but according to an article posted by NPR (2017) the replacement plan will provide insurance for everyone as does Obamacare, will result in lower premiums, and lower deductibles. According to President Trump’s website he is planning to “work with Congress to make sure that we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this Country.” President Trump is working to repeal the Affordable Care Act not only to appease the Republican party but because he believes that it will better all of society and all of the American people. Though President Trump has not released his replacement plan for when Obamacare is repealed, he has released his plan of action for beginning the repeal process and it is proving to be working thus far. According to an article posted by CNN (2017), Congress voted to begin a debate on budgets that will hopefully work towards repealing Obamacare in the near future. Though Obamacare has major flaws, the benefits and the idea behind it that everyone should have access to affordable healthcare is a very good and fair idea. I believe President Trump is working hard and is going to continue working hard to repeal Obamacare and implement new laws and policies that will still provide all citizens with affordable health care without raising the premiums and deductibles for the working class of America.

Works Cited

CONS. (2014). Supreme Court Debates, 17(5), 30-40.

Healthcare Reform. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/healthcare-reform

Republicans take first step to repeal Obamacare. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/03/politics/senate-obamacare-resolution/

Trump Pressures Congress To Replace Obamacare Quickly. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/16/510083587/trump-pressures-congress-to-replace-obamacare-quickly

 

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