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Lisa Madigan seeks record-breaking 5th term

Lisa Madigan seeks record-breaking 5th term

Austin Berg

Austin Berg is the Senior Writer for the Illinois Policy Institute.

MAY 17, 2017
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will look to extend her record as the longest-serving attorney general in Illinois history. Her father, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, has remained the state’s most powerful state legislative leader throughout her tenure.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan plans to seek re-election in 2018. First sworn in as the state’s chief legal officer in 2003, she is already the longest-serving attorney general in Illinois history.

Lisa Madigan is the stepdaughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. The elder Madigan stands as the longest-serving state House speaker in modern U.S. history.

When the attorney general was exploring a gubernatorial run in 2013, these two realities collided. Speaker Madigan made it clear he would not step down from the post he has now held for 32 of the last 34 years.

Longtime political commentator Rich Miller wasn’t surprised by the move.

“Maybe she expected her father would step aside, but nobody who knew him thought he would,” Miller said in an interview for a documentary on the speaker, produced by Illinois Policy, previously known as Illinois Policy Action.

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Indeed, the attorney general decided not to run because of her father’s role in state government.

“I feel strongly that the state would not be well-served by having a governor and speaker of the House from the same family and have never planned to run for governor if that would be the case,” Lisa Madigan said in a statement. “With Speaker Madigan planning to continue in office, I will not run for governor.”

One wonders why Attorney General Madigan feels the governorship crosses an ethical line, but her current position does not. A 2016 review of legislative rules in all 50 states revealed House Speaker Madigan stands as the most powerful state legislative leader in the nation.

Source: Will County News

Illinois had the nation’s highest black unemployment rate in 2016

 Illinois Policy May 2017
Illinois had the nation’s highest black unemployment rate in 2016, according to annual unemployment data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Only 51 percent of black adults reported having some form of work in Illinois, highlighting an economic crisis that far too few political leaders are talking about. The BLS data support the conclusions in recent quarterly reports from the Economic Policy Institute, which have pointed to Illinois as having the nation’s highest black unemployment.

Illinois’ weak job creation has a significant effect on the black community, especially due to manufacturing job losses in the Chicago area and a lack of construction job opportunities. Illinois’ black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent in 2016, compared with 6.7 percent for Latinos and 5 percent for whites.

Illinois’ 12.7 percent black jobless rate is the highest in the U.S., tied with Nevada. However, Illinois’ black population is seven times as large as Nevada’s, meaning Illinois’ crisis is playing out on a much larger scale. Illinois’ neighboring states achieved much lower black jobless rates than Illinois in 2016. (BLS does not calculate a black unemployment rate for Iowa, however, because the state’s black population does not constitute a sample large enough to be included in the BLS survey.)

The weighted average black jobless rate for all other states is 8.1 percent, and the weighted average among Illinois’ border states is 8.9 percent.

Perhaps equally telling is Illinois’ black employment rate – the percentage of black adults who are engaged in some form of work. Illinois’ black employment rate is only 51.2 percent, meaning that just over half of Illinois’ adult black residents have some form of work. Michigan is the only state with a lower black employment rate than Illinois.

The weighted average black employment rate for other states is 56.8 percent, and the weighted average among Illinois’ border states is 59.2 percent.

Black employment in Illinois fell by 18,000 people from 2015 to 2016, and the number of black workers in Illinois’ labor force shrank by 16,000. Despite the shrinking workforce, the black unemployment rate increased to 12.7 percent from 12.2 percent year over year.

The number of black people working in Illinois has been in decline since the turn of the century. There were 77,000 fewer blacks working in Illinois in 2016 compared with 2000, a shocking 10 percent decline in total employment. By comparison, Illinois’ combined white and Latino employment is actually up by 272,000 since 2000, according to the BLS’ annual average data.

Similarly, the recovery in black employment over the Great Recession era lags that of the rest of the state. Black employment is still down 5.1 percent compared with its pre-recession high.

Illinois’ black community deserves solutions

The Illinois General Assembly has largely ignored the fact that Illinois has the nation’s highest black unemployment rate. The problem should be discussed, studied and solved. And the ineffective solutions of the past aren’t going to fix it.

Black families deserve robust school choice so they can opt out of failing schools. And minimum wage hikes should be reconsidered – research finds overwhelming evidence that minimum wage hikes keep low-skilled and minority workers out of starter jobs. Minimum wage hikes will continue to create a barrier to entry to valuable first job opportunities so long as failing schools continue to do a poor job preparing young adults for the workforce.

Anti-growth industrial policies that hurt black families should also be reconsidered, especially the prevailing wage law and the taxes and regulations that drive away manufacturing jobs. These policy failures overwhelmingly affect black job opportunities. Research shows that prevailing wage laws result in lower wages for black construction workers and less construction work for black laborers. And Illinois’ manufacturing job losses, much the result of state and local policy failures, drive black families to seek industrial work in northwest Indiana and in Southern states.

Finally, commonsense reforms to Illinois’ criminal justice system and occupational licensing regulations will help reduce Illinois’ incarceration rate and eliminate hurdles that prevent black Illinoisans from landing a job after having been convicted of a crime. Nearly 60 percent of Illinois’ prison population is black, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections, and therefore black Illinoisans are more likely to face barriers to job opportunities that affect people with felony records.

Addressing the nation’s highest black unemployment rate should be a top priority for Illinois lawmakers, who should tackle the problem with policy solutions that will have a positive impact on black families. Otherwise, black neighborhoods will continue to depopulate as families move east to Indiana and migrate back to the South in search of better opportunities.


Michael Lucci

Vice President of Policy

Source: Will County News

Trump News may 24, 2017

Since Obamacare was implemented, premiums for individual health care policies have increased on average by 105 percent since 2013, according to an HHS report released last night. The average American on the individual market is paying nearly $3,000 more in premiums this year than in 2013.This report, which shows the dramatic increase in costs for many Americans under Obamacare, is the study that the Obama Administration never wanted you to see. President Trump is committed to repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare and delivering results for the American people.

TODAY’S EVENTS

8:25 AM LOCAL / 2:25 AM EDT: President and First Lady Trump participate in an arrival ceremony at the Vatican

8:40 AM LOCAL / 2:40 AM EDT: President Trump participates in an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis

9:05 AM LOCAL / 3:05 AM EDT: President and First Lady Trump participate in an expanded audience with His Holiness Pope Francis

9:25 AM LOCAL / 3:25 AM EDT: President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin

10:00 AM LOCAL / 4:00 AM EDT: President and First Lady Trump tour the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica

11:30 AM LOCAL / 5:30 AM EDT: President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy

12:35 AM LOCAL / 6:35 AM EDT: President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy

1:55 PM LOCAL / 7:55 AM EDT: President and First Lady Trump depart Rome, Italy en route to Brussels, Belgium

3:55 PM LOCAL / 9:55 AM EDT: President and First Lady Trump arrive in Brussels, Belgium and participate in an airport welcome ceremony

4:40 PM LOCAL / 10:40 AM EDT: President and First Lady Trump take an official photo with Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium

5:15 PM LOCAL / 11:15 AM EDT: President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium

12:15 PM EDT: Vice President Pence Participates in a Listening Session with Small Business Owners

12:45 PM EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a walking tour of Cajun Industries’

POTUS ABROAD

President Trump visited Yad Vashem and delivered remarks saying, “This place, and this entire nation, are a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people” … “The State of Israel is a strong and soaring monument to the solemn pledge we repeat and affirm: Never again.”

President Trump met President Rivlin of Israel where they discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the region, and President Trump shared conclusions from the extremely successful Arab Islamic American Summit held in Riyadh on Monday.

President Trump met with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem and delivered remarks saying, “I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal.”

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, joined by members of the U.S. delegation, participate in a wreath laying at Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

See more photos of the President’s trip abroad on Facebook and Flickr.

Follow the President’s trip abroad at WH.gov/potus-abroad and on Twitter at #POTUSAbroad @WhiteHouse.

WHITE HOUSE UPDATES

Yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget announced President Trump’s Budget proposal to put Taxpayers first.

The Office of Management and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, gave a press briefing yesterday to detail the Administration’s budget and answer questions from reporters.

The President’s Budget, submitted to the U.S. Congress today, supports $27.8 billion in drug control efforts including prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.

WHAT WE ARE READING

“The cost of an individual ObamaCare policy has increased by an average 105 percent from 2013 to 2017 in all 39 states that have used the federal exchange”Fox News

“Trump was correct, and has been consistent, in describing the battle against contemporary terrorism in fundamental terms.”New York Post

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C Students interact with humanoid robot at interactive STEAM Museum

News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove Luther J. Schilling William E. Young William J. Butler
Hadley Middle Homer Jr. High
Contact:
Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager
cbrautigam@homerschools.org
| 708-226-7628
For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2017
STEAM Museum 003.JPG
Students interact with humanoid robot at interactive STEAM
Museum
See how science, technology, engineering, art and math used every
day
STEAM Museum 011.JPG
Goodings Grove students took turns programming a rover robot; building
towers and bridges; and generating electricity with a stationary bicycle
during an educational assembly on May 23.
Mobile Ed Productions, Inc. brought its STEAM Museum to the school,
enabling students to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math
in one immersive experience.
STEAM Museum 037.JPG
“We’re going to have a lot of fun while learning,” students were told as
they watched plastic shapes materialize with a 3D printer and met NAO, an
interactive humanoid robot.
Students watched in amazement as NAO came to life, stretching, talking
and demonstrating a few dance moves.
Afterward, they were given an opportunity to explore 12 learning stations
where they used numerical sequencing to make a rover robot move;
creativity to program an Ozobot to glide across an iPad; and pedal power to
transfer energy and generate power.
The interactive STEAM Museum was brought to the school with PTO
funding, reinforcing the district’s efforts to
Prepare Future Ready Students
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Source: Will County News

Homer 33 C Butler 4th graders say “goodbye” with ice cream social

News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove Luther J. Schilling William E. Young William J. Butler
Hadley Middle Homer Jr. High
Contact:
Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager
cbrautigam@homerschools.org
| 708-226-7628
For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2017
4th Grade Social 005.JPG
Butler 4th graders say “goodbye” with ice cream social
Ready to start middle school in the fall
4th Grade Social 073.JPG
Butler School fourth-graders graders are just about ready to say “goodbye”
to their elementary years and “hello” to their middle school years.
4th Grade Social 123.JPG
On Monday (May 22), they gathered one last time for a fourth-grade social.
The PTO helped make their goodbyes a little sweeter with ice cream.
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Source: Will County News

Nearly half of unemployed people in Illinois have given up on finding work

MAY 12, 2017
A new survey from Harris Poll for Express Employment Professionals shows that nearly half of unemployed people in Illinois have given up looking for work.

Forty-four percent of unemployed Illinoisans have given up on finding a job, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll for Express Employment Professionals in March and April.

Though the Harris Poll survey indicated that fewer Americans have given up on searching for work in 2017 compared with 2016, Illinois is not following the same trend. The percentage of unemployed Illinoisans who have given up job searches is higher than it is among other states’ unemployed populations, according to the Chicago Tribune. The number of those who’ve given up looking for employment has steadily increased in Illinois since 2016, when it was 41 percent, and 2015, when the number was 33 percent, the Tribune reports.

The national numbers from Harris Poll show the country overall has improved, with only 33 percent of unemployed Americans giving up their job searches, down from 40 percent in 2016.

So why is Illinois worse off than the rest of the United States?

“Economic and political factors unique to Illinois may be at play here,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, in a news release.

Patrick Dolan, who manages 16 Chicago-area Express Employment staffing franchises, pointed to the state’s litany of fiscal woes and uncompetitive laws. “Business owners know that we have massive unpaid bills in the state, so they start thinking tax hikes,” Dolan said, according to the Tribune.

Dolan isn’t wrong.

Illinois currently owes more than $12 billion on backlogged bills from various vendors for services already rendered, and has $130 billion in unfunded state pension debt. Illinois has a spending problem, yet rather than passing needed reforms, many in Springfield are looking to pass the costs onto residents and businesses. The Illinois Senate’s proposed “grand bargain” budget deal contains a bevy of new taxes and tax hike proposals, including increases to both state individual and corporate income taxes, which would provide further incentives to residents and businesses to leave the state.

And Illinoisans have several good reasons to seek opportunities elsewhere. Illinois’ personal income growth has lagged behind income growth in other states, including neighboring Indiana. From 2006 to 2016, personal income in Indiana grew by nearly 39 percent, while Illinois saw personal income growth of only 31.4 percent over the same period. Manufacturing jobs ̶ which often pay better than jobs in the service sector ̶ have also decreased in Illinois. From 2012 to 2016, Illinois lost 18,000 manufacturing jobs on net, while Indiana gained nearly 32,000.

Illinois residents are also getting slammed with some of the highest property taxes in the country, the seventh-highest combined state and average local sales taxnationwide, and one of the most expensive overall tax burdens in the United States. Illinois’ property taxes are 2.5 times higher than Indiana’s, and Illinois’ average combined sales tax is about 23 percent higher than that in Indiana, which does not have local sales taxes.

The Prairie State’s poor income growth and its massive tax burden make out-migration a no-brainer for many residents. From 2006 to 2015, Illinois lost more than 119,000residents on net to Indiana. It’s not hard to see why: Indiana residents have better opportunities in the well-paying manufacturing sector, higher income growth, and a much lower tax burden.

Springfield should learn from Indiana and put in place policies that reduce the number of people who have given up on finding work – and on Illinois.

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C Hadley students come to the rescue Collect much-needed food, supplies for neglected animals

News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove Luther J. Schilling William E. Young William J. Butler
Hadley Middle Homer Jr. High
Contact:
Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager
cbrautigam@homerschools.org
708-226-7628
For Immediate Release:
May 22, 2017
Hadley students come to the rescue
Collect much-needed food, supplies for neglected animals
hopeful tails.jpg
A year-long project has paid off for two Hadley Middle School sixth-graders.
The students, who educated classmates about Hopeful Tails Animal Rescue
in Joliet, organized a collection effort that yielded boxes of much-needed
supplies, including dog food, treats and blankets.
“It was definitely a successful project,” said Hadley teacher Joe Cernak who
introduced students to “Genius Hour” — a movement sweeping the nation
that challenges students to work creatively on a project that interests them.
IMG_2637.JPG
The students put together a presentation about Hopeful Tails Animal
Rescue, shared it with classmates and encouraged them to help out by
donating supplies
They collected more than a dozen boxes of supplies and proudly delivered
them to the animal rescue in mid-May.
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Source: Will County News

Trump News May 23, 2017

President Trump’s first proposed budget shows respect for the people who pay the bills. The administration’s proposal reverses the damaging trends from previous administrations by putting our nation’s budget back into balance and reducing our debt through fiscally conservative principles, all the while delivering on President Trump’s campaign promise not to cut Social Security retirement or Medicare. The budget’s combination of regulatory, tax, and welfare reforms will provide opportunities for economic growth and creation. Get the facts about President Trump’s budget.

BALANCE & CUTTING SPENDING

Unlike any budget proposed by the previous administration, the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget achieves balance within the 10-year budget window and begins to reduce the national debt within that same window.

The policies in this Budget will drive down spending and grow the economy. By 2027, when the budget reaches balance, publicly held debt will be reduced to less than 60 percent of GDP, the lowest level since 2010.

NO CUTS TO MEDICARE & SOCIAL SECURITY

The President’s Budget does not cut core Social Security benefits. And the President is fulfilling his presidential campaign promise not to cut Medicare benefits.

SAVING TAXPAYERS MONEY

President Trump’s budget saves the American people billions of dollars through welfare, tax, and regulatory reform.

SUPPORTING OUR MILITARY

The President is requesting $54 billion, or 10 percent, more than the defense level President Obama signed into law for both the 2017 CR and the 2018 budget cap. This increase balances the need to rebuild the military with the need for disciplined, strategy-driven, executable growth.

KEEPING AMERICANS SAFE

The Budget includes over $2.6 billion in new infrastructure and technology investments in 2018 to give CBP frontline law enforcement officers the tools and technologies they need to deter, deny, identify, track, and resolve illegal activity along the border.

PUTTING AMERICAN FAMILIES FIRST

President Trump’s budget provides national paid family leave for the first time in the history of this country.

Find out more information about President Trump’s Taxpayer First Budget at WhiteHouse.gov/taxpayers-first.

Source: Will County News

Illinois state lawmakers are taking paychecks despite not passing a budget

Illinois state lawmakers are taking paychecks despite not passing a budget for nearly 700 days. One might assume they’d be working around the clock to earn them.

But Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has called the House into session for less than six hours in the entire month of May.

Meanwhile, the House has spent hours playing softball and basketball against the Senate. The House vs. Senate basketball game took place May 15. State lawmakers then took to the diamond for the House vs. Senate softball game May 17.

House members erupted in applause last week when Chicago Democratic state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie announced May 10 that session on Friday, May 12, had been canceled.

The regular legislative session only runs from January through May, so members of the House and Senate will likely begin their summer breaks after May 31.

Illinois state lawmakers, taking home a base salary of nearly $68,000 a year, are paid far more than lawmakers in neighboring states. The average lawmaker salary including bonuses is $82,000.

When adding the cost of health insurance, dental insurance, mileage reimbursements, per diem payments and normal pension costs, taxpayers are on the hook for more than $100,000 per lawmaker in total annual operating costs.

And that’s not all.

Taxpayers pay once for politicians’ salaries and another 1.5 times for their bankrupt pension system. Taxpayers will contribute the equivalent of nearly $123,000 for each lawmaker in 2017 just to keep the General Assembly Retirement System afloat. State lawmakers have refused to reform their retirement plans.

While the full House has been in session for less than a single workday in May, members have been holding committee meetings throughout the month. But House appropriations committees – where lawmakers should be forging a new budget – have seen relatively little action in 2017.

The Appropriations Committee for General Services has held two meetings in the last 20 days.

And with all the talk Illinoisans have heard from lawmakers about how our state funds public education, the Appropriations Committee for Elementary and Secondary Education has met only twice in nearly 50 days.

Most Illinoisans would love to have the work schedule of their elected officials. Many would love to be working at all – the Land of Lincoln still has 146,000 fewer people working compared with before the Great Recession, an economic sickness that demands legislative action.

But state lawmakers have better things to do.


Austin Berg

Senior Writer Illinois Policy

Source: Will County News

Washington wants the president to be a lame duck by way of manufactured controversy

Washington is on fire

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Get ready for another major dust-up over the Trump administration’s attempts to replace Obamacare this week as the Congressional Budget Office releases numbers that are likely to make some eyes bulge. Meanwhile, this big, dumb controversy involving Trump, Russia and the FBI certainly isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Unfortunately for Trump supporters, it’s looking like Washington wants the president to be a lame duck by way of manufactured controversy.

The fate of President Donald Trump’s Obamacare repeal plan will be a little clearer by Wednesday after the Congressional Budget Office reveals the replacement plan’s “score” before it heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill was rushed through the House so quickly earlier this month with several changes that the legislation passed the House without receiving a final CBO analysis, which is key to informing lawmakers and U.S. voters of the expected final cost of the law change.

Already facing a steep uphill battle in the Senate, the CBO’s analysis will give lawmakers in the Senate a clearer view of what sort of changes they may want to make to the legislation.

In the Senate, lawmakers will face a challenge of pleasing conservatives worried that the Trump repeal plan isn’t actually the full repeal that was promised by the administration and Democrats concerned that the new plan, while still a lite version of Obamacare, would cut healthcare benefits for a large number of Americans.

As reported by CNN Money:

[T]he House is waiting until it receives the new score to send the bill to the Senate to make sure it conforms to Congressional rules — in particular, that the legislation meets its savings target of $2 billion over 10 years.

The most recent agency review of the House bill found that it would reduce federal deficits by $150 billion between 2017 and 2026. (An earlier CBO score found that the legislation would reduce deficits by $337 billion, but lawmakers then changed several tax and Medicaid provisions that eliminated some of the savings.)

The most damning finding of the initial CBO report was that 24 million more people would be uninsured in 2026 under the GOP bill than under Obamacare. An estimated 52 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million if Obamacare remained in place.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is set to continue having to play defense this week over continuing controversy concern alleged ties between the president and his team and Russia.

The New York Times on Friday published a story claiming that Trump suggested to top Russian officials that his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey would improve the relationship between the two nations during a meeting in the Oval Office earlier this month.

More on that: Trump to Russians: Comey was a nut job

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is set to speak with Comey about the issue for the first time during a meeting Monday.

During a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanoupolis, Chaffetz said he isn’t convinced the NY Times story is true. But the lawmaker added that if any investigation turns up evidence of Russian misconduct during the election, Trump must respond.

“I hope it’s not true. I don’t know if that was said or not said. I would like the president to beat them over the head with the fact that if they did, the Russians, did interfere in any way, shape, or form, how wrong that is and how outraged America is on both sides of the aisle,” he said. 

The lawmaker added that Americans won’t know for sure what to believe until the Justice Department concludes its investigation into the matter.

“We have to step back and let the investigators and the FBI and others do their job,” Chaffetz said. “We’re not in a position to go individual by individual and do these type of interviews. We have to let those professionals in the Department of Justice do that.”

Political conversations Sunday also weighed heavily on whether the Trump administration is changing its tune with regard to Saudi Arabia as Trump conducted his first international trip since taking office in the country this weekend. 

Trump, who criticized the Saudi human rights record heavily during the campaign, was criticized by some observers for focusing on arms and investment deals during the trip.

Fox  News Sunday political analyst Juan Williams said of the trip: “I’m taken aback because you can see we are emphasizing deals and not diplomacy, not only president Obama but president George W. Bush made deals with the Saudis and it was just part of the deals, that’s what you’re doing and so when you talk about president trump emphasizing jobs and deals, it comes at some cost to us because the lack of human rights attention, the lack of understanding that the Saudis are implicated in anything from 9/11 to support for the Wahabis, radical Islam to the Madrasus that preach hate of Israel, Jews, hatred of the Shiite…”

Joining the same program, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) praised the president… which is probably not a great sign for anyone who voted for Trump over concerns about Hillary Clinton’s close ties to the House of Saud.

I think the trip so far has been excellent. I think the Sunni world, particularly or traditional friends there are encouraged. Because of the restrained if not estranged relations between the previous administration and so, I think it is successful. I think it is important. There is no doubt that if we are going to impede the Iranian continued efforts to exert a significant strength in the region that this is an important step forward.”

The Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, meanwhile, excoriated the Trump visit to Saudi Arabia as “bizarre and un-American.” And she asks a few pretty good questions…

Source: Will County News