‘Professor’ Rand Paul?

Senator Rand Paul, R-KY., former presidential candidate, ophthalmologist, and conservatarian firebrand is fulfilling a dream – teaching English to college students.

Jackson Richman of Red Alert Politics reports “Professor Rand Paul” will teach a course titled “Dystopian Visions” during the fall 2017 semester at George Washington University. The course will focus on dystopian literature and what it can teach about the nature of too-powerful government.

Sen. Paul has previously discussed his desire to teach, saying “I think dystopian novels are a discussion of politics, and sort of what happens if you let a government accumulate too much power.”

The class will be an elective held bi-weekly at 8 AM.

“When Senator Paul’s office approached us about coming to campus to teach this course, we agreed that his unique voice as a sitting senator would provide an engaging backdrop for our students,” Ben Vinson, the dean of GWU’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, said. “Because of our connections and location in the heart of the nation’s capital, we will continue to welcome prominent contributors to the global dialogue to come to campus to engage our students.”

Eager students have maxed out the available seats in the class. It’s safe to say this will be one college campus where a conservative speaker is welcome. (For more from the author of “‘Professor’ Rand Paul?” please click HERE)

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FINALLY! Sen. Rand Paul Offers Worthy Obamacare Alternative GOP Can Get Behind

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (A, 92%) has been nothing if not vocal about his belief that a new set of health care reforms should be voted on at the same time as a repeal of Obamacare. This week, Sen. Paul has revealed his proposal to replace Obamacare, by introducing S. 222, the Obamacare Replacement Act.

His bill is obviously designed to work in tandem with the partial repeal that was passed by Congress last year, in that it sweeps away the parts of Obamacare that the other bill leaves behind, particularly the regulations. While the bill being passed via the budget reconciliation process repeals only the taxation and spending portions of Obamacare, if Paul’s plan were advanced at the same time, the two bills would add to up to a fairly complete repeal of Obama’s health care takeover.

More so than other GOP proposals for life after Obamacare, Paul’s plan focuses much of its effort on removing barriers to competition in the health insurance market that existed well before 2010. First and foremost, it puts individuals on an equal footing with employers with respect to tax treatment for health insurance costs. He does this by allowing the full tax deductibility of health insurance premiums. He allows the deductions to apply not only to income taxes, but also to payroll taxes, meaning that even lower-income individuals benefit.

In addition, a tax credit of up to $5,000 per individual is allowed for contributions to a health savings account. This allows employers to make the choice whether to continue directly purchasing insurance to offer to employees or simply to contribute an equivalent sum to an employee’s health savings account.

HSAs are then greatly expanded to allow individuals to use their funds for many products and services that are currently not allowed, including health insurance itself as well as over-the-counter medications, physical fitness programs, and nutritional supplements.

Another major drawback of the individual insurance market has been that larger companies are able purchase health insurance in bulk and thus reduce the cost per plan. Paul’s plan creates the framework for individuals and small businesses to be able to easily band together into a larger purchasing pool. While Obamacare attempted to do this for small businesses with its SHOP program, the law increased premiums and regulated the market so much across the board that it hasn’t worked well. This new framework leaves wide open space for innovation in health insurance pools.

One consistent talking point for health care reformers on the Right has been allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines. Specifics of how to accomplish in a way that doesn’t violate federalism have generally been in short supply, but Paul’s plan appears to do a pretty good job of squaring that circle. It allows insurers from one state to offer their products in other states while acknowledging certain constraints imposed by secondary states.

Allowing cross-state sales further boosts insurance pools by increasing the ability to pool together by trade or organizational ties, rather than just by geography. Unions and other professional associations have had some ability to do this through association health plans for years, but Paul’s plan greatly loosens the restrictions on these plans.

Of all the new problems created by Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion is the most difficult to deal with politically. Although Medicaid generally provides poor quality coverage and Medicaid enrollees are rejected by a huge (and increasing) percentage of physicians, millions of Americans have now been brought into the program via Obamacare. Paul’s plan addresses the Medicaid issue in a way that would benefit both states and the covered individuals regardless of whether or not the expansion is fully repealed in the accompanying reconciliation bill.

He does this by granting states the ability to change how they deliver coverage under Medicaid. Previously, states have had to request a waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services to get permission to experiment with better ways to administer their Medicaid programs. Paul’s bill eliminates the need to request the waivers, allowing states to follow in the steps of states like Florida, where reforms carried out under waivers have been very successful in improving the quality of care that Medicaid provides.

Overall, Sen. Paul’s plan focuses reform where it ought to be — breaking down barriers in the marketplace and allowing innovation and competition to increase access to affordable health care. From a free market perspective, it stands head and shoulders above any other plan yet offered to reform health care in the wake of Obamacare’s repeal. (For more from the author of “FINALLY! Sen. Rand Paul Offers Worthy Obamacare Alternative GOP Can Get Behind” please click HERE)

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Rand Paul’s Smack down of Bernie Sanders’ Anti-American Rhetoric Is Frickin’ Fantastic

In his questioning of Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. (D, 62%) Wednesday at the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee confirmation hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (F, 17%) asked the HHS nominee if he thought health care is a “right of all Americans whether they’re rich or they’re poor?”

“We’re a compassionate society,” Price began his reply before Sanders cut him off, stating, “No, we’re not a compassionate society in terms of our relationship to poor and working people. Our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty than any other major country on earth and half of our senior, older workers have nothing set aside for retirement. So I don’t think compared to other countries we are particularly compassionate.”

When it was Sen. Rand Paul’s, R-Ky. (A, 92%) turn to question Rep. Price, a former practicing physician, he centered his comments on rebutting Sen. Sanders:

“It’s also been insinuated that America is this horrible, rotten place, and that we don’t have compassion. And by extension, the physicians don’t. As you worked as an emergency room physician or as you worked, did you always agree that as part of your engagement with a hospital to treat all, regardless of whether they had the ability to pay?” questioned Sen. Paul, a trained ophthalmologist who has completed medical missions since taking office.

Price answered that, “It’s one of the things we pride ourselves on, and that is anybody that showed up in need of care was provided that care. And that was true not only in our residency but in our private orthopedic practice as well.”

Paul continued: “It’s interesting that those who say we have no compassion, you know, extol the virtues of socialism. And you look at a country like Venezuela, with great resources and an utter disaster where people can’t eat, devolving into violence. I think it’s important that we do have a debate ultimately in our country between socialism and communism and America and capitalism.

“One of things that’s extraordinary about our country is that just two years ago, in 2014, we gave away $400 billion privately. Not the government — individually, through churches and charities. We’re an incredibly compassionate society and I think often this was misplaced in sort of the wonky numbers … within healthcare. How much we do help each other — not only do we help each other in our country, I bet you half of the physicians in my community in Bowling Green have gone on international trips and done international charity work.

“And all that is lost in saying that we’re this heartless, terrible country. I would just argue the opposite. I think the greatness of our country and the greatness of the compassion of our country, we give away most of the gross domestic product of most of these socialized countries around the world.”

Sen. Rand Paul’s smackdown of Sanders’ empty, predictable rhetoric on capitalism and America was an immediate hit on social media.

No word yet on how Bernie Sanders is nursing his wounds. (For more from the author of “Rand Paul’s Smack down of Bernie Sanders’ Anti-American Rhetoric Is Frickin’ Fantastic” please click HERE)

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Rand Paul Proves That Repealing Obamacare and Balancing the Budget Work Together Just Fine

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (A, 92%) has been stealing the Senate’s thunder of late, coming out in opposition to the budget proposal that is supposed to lay the groundwork for a quick repeal of Obamacare.

So what’s up with Rand? Is he just showboating, placing perfection before finally achieving a long-sought conservative goal?
Or is Sen. Paul crazy like a fox by pointing out that the rush to repeal Obamacare need not require an abandonment of basic fiscal restraint?

The line coming from the GOP leadership in Congress is that the budget resolution that sets the framework for repealing Obamacare has to move quickly. There’s no time for monkeying around with current spending levels in this budget, they say, because it would cause unneeded distractions and controversies over what spending to cut and where. The battle to address the federal government’s massive spending and unsustainable deficit trajectory will happen later this spring, in the budget for fiscal year 2018.

(n.b., Remember that the budget Congress is working with is actually from last year, since they never completed the appropriations process for fiscal year 2017. This gives them the chance to pass a budget resolution for the rest of the fiscal year, through October 2017, and then start over on schedule with a second budget for FY 2018 this spring.)

But what Sen. Paul points out is that maintaining the current spending trajectory, even in a budget plan that sets up repealing Obamacare, means Republicans voted for a framework that increases the national debt by more than $9 trillion over the next 10 years. All while simultaneously advancing an Obamacare repeal plan that neither fully repeals the law right away nor proposes its replacement.

Agree or disagree with Paul’s approach, he’s got some real points here. And then he delivers the coup de grace to the leadership’s arguments by wrangling a vote on a substitute budget that actually balances.

Sen. Paul’s alternative proposal would have balanced the budget by 2024 while still setting the stage for Obamacare’s repeal. Most importantly, it didn’t lay out a specific blueprint for how the budget cuts would be realized to achieve that goal, instead setting target numbers for the individual committees in Congress to decide what to cut and how.

In other words, he did what leadership insisted it couldn’t do because there was no time. And yet only 13 Republicans joined Sen. Paul in his amendment to accomplish both Obamacare repeal and budget sanity.

The Republican deal-with-the-debt-later tactic would be more understandable if there were any reasonable standard of trust that conservatives could deal with. But after years under Obama — of Republicans promising that they would fight for balanced budgets “later” — the trust that later will ever come has been eroded.

And with Sen. Paul proving how easy a basic balanced budget proposal is procedurally, there’s simply no excuse to let there be any separation between balanced budgets and Obamacare repeal. (For more from the author of “Rand Paul Proves That Repealing Obamacare and Balancing the Budget Work Together Just Fine” please click HERE)

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Rand Paul Has a Novel Idea: Let’s Kill Obamacare and Try Freedom

Congress is going to vote on Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (40%) has promised that an Obamacare repeal resolution will be the first item on the Senate’s agenda, but there is some disagreement among Republicans as to what the replacement for President Obama’s failed health care reform law should be.

Sen. McConnell’s fellow Kentuckian, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (A, 92%) suggests “freedom.”

In an op-ed written for Rare, Sen. Paul suggested it would be “wise” for the GOP to immediately vote on a replacement health insurance reform law, guided by four principles.

1. The freedom to choose inexpensive insurance free of government dictates.

2. The freedom to save unlimited amounts in a health savings account.

3. The freedom to buy insurance across state lines.

4. The freedom for all individuals to join together in voluntary associations to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.

Rand Paul’s guidelines come as other Republicans in Congress have begun to back away from full ACA repeal, to some form of partial repeal and a replacement plan that keeps parts of Obamacare.

“It’s a partial repeal first of all, it’s not a total repeal,” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. (C, 75%) told reporters in late November. “Let’s get that out of the way. It’s a partial repeal, and I think there are pieces of it in there that have to stay in place for awhile and that is what we are going to be working on.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas (F, 42%) floated a “three-year transition” period to delay the effective repeal of Obamacare while lawmakers develop a replacement plan. One of those plans in development, authored by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (F, 47%) and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas (F, 57%), “does not purport to repeal the [Affordable Care Act],” in the words of Health Affairs contributing editor Timothy Jost.

Sen. Paul warns that anything less than a full repeal will end in disaster:

My fear is that if you leave part of Obamacare in place (the dictate that insurance companies must sell insurance to individuals with pre-existing conditions) then you will see an acceleration of adverse selection and ultimately mass bankruptcy of the healthcare insurance industry.

Don’t misunderstand me. We should repeal Obamacare, but partial repeal will only accelerate the current chaos and may eventually lead to calls for a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies.

And he is joined by other conservatives in Congress.

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah (A, 100%) and Rep. Mark Walker R-N.C. (C, 75%) wrote, in a joint op-ed, that President-elect Trump’s administration and the new Congress must not “fumble” full repeal. “We can’t afford to just squeak by with the bare minimum, while preserving many of Obamacare’s most burdensome and intrusive provisions,” they wrote.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (A, 94%) has unequivocally stated Obamacare “should be repealed and replaced, and all of that should be done in the 115th Congress,” and “not left to a future Congress to deal with.”

And, of course, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%) has made his position on Obamacare abundantly clear:

“Principled opponents of Obamacare rejected it because we reject the use of state force to mandate that we buy a commercial good from a private seller. Pragmatic opponents want to keep the feel good aspects of Obamacare while cleaving the individual mandate that forces people to buy insurance,” Paul writes.

Will the principled conservatives in Congress be enough to dissuade GOP leadership’s partial-repeal agenda? Sen. Paul’s conclusion is pessimistic.

“Partial repeal of Obamacare will likely win the day,” he predicts. “But when the insurance companies come to Washington crying for a bailout don’t say that no one warned of this preventable disaster.” (For more from the author of “Rand Paul Has a Novel Idea: Let’s Kill Obamacare and Try Freedom” please click HERE)

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Rand Paul’s Festivus Tweets Are the Best Thing You’ll See Today

Happy Festivus! On this holiday for the “rest of us” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky (A, 92%) provides some of the best entertainment on Twitter you’ll see all year. It has become an annual tradition for Paul to participate in the “airing of grievances.” Nobody is spared.

Here’s Paul on the new administration.

Poor Rick Perry …

Paul won’t be getting a tee time invite anytime soon.

(For more from the author of “Rand Paul’s Festivus Tweets Are the Best Thing You’ll See Today” please click HERE)

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The Real Story Behind Rand Paul’s Challenge to Obama’s Insane Treaties

Last week President Obama got into a spat with Senator Rand Paul over tax treaties, but you likely paid little attention to the details surrounding the bickering.

Obama has taken issue with Senator Paul “blocking” eight tax treaties from receiving ratification in their current form. Now, you might expect this to be a story about the tax treaties’ role in easing excessive taxation (or double taxation), while promoting cooperation in tax compliance among nations. But the tax treaties are actually being used as a tool for nations to share the private financial data on individuals with bank accounts overseas. This is all done without regard for privacy protections, a warrant or any allegations of wrong-doing.

Sharing data without privacy protections is also a notable departure from past practice. For example, former treaties between the U.S. and Switzerland allowed these countries to share sensitive data on bank customers – but only if a crime, like tax fraud, was being committed. The key here is that data could only be shared if there was probable cause – essentially, a Fourth Amendment style protection for private data. However, the tax treaties now in question lack that same protection, and allow any and all information to be shared between governments, no questions asked.

Therefore, Senator Paul has requested an amendment to the treaties to provide additional privacy protections – among them, that there at least be probable cause of wrongdoing before individual financial data is shared between governments.

Yet, this request is unacceptable to the Obama administration, and the reason is far more nefarious than meets the eye. The tax treaties are merely part of a deeper web of data gathering to enforce a law I dubbed “the most dangerous law you’ve never heard of”- or, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

To understand the treaties, you must realize how they fuel an even worse law: FATCA.

What is FATCA?

FATCA is a law that requires every foreign bank in the world to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the financial data on every bank account or asset owned by an American citizen living abroad.

Any foreign bank that fails to comply with this request is penalized. The penalty subjects the bank to a 30 percent withholding tax, or in other words, the U.S. government seizes 30 percent of any transaction that belongs to that foreign bank. Since the U.S. economy is the largest and most interconnected in the world, foreign banks have little choice but to go along with this U.S. law.

FATCA is a law that effectively treats Americans living overseas with the presumption of guilt, since an individual’s private financial data is turned over to the government without any privacy protections.

The law was passed under the guise of catching tax cheats. Unfortunately, it has done little to catch rich Americans trying to hide their loot. Instead, it has punished over seven million Americans working abroad, many of whom have been outright banned from banking with foreign banks, who no longer want to work with U.S. citizens due to the high compliance costs and oversight complications that stem from FATCA. As a result, thousands of Americans have forfeited their U.S. citizenship to avoid the obstacles they now face trying to do simple banking overseas.

Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs)

The key to FATCA is an intergovernmental agreement (IGA). First, it must be understood that foreign banks don’t have to comply with FATCA. After all, FATCA is a U.S. law that is not recognized by foreign banks. The Obama administration’s solution is to implement IGAs, which are similar to a treaty. These IGAs allow for an agreement between the U.S. and foreign nation in which the foreign nation will, essentially, comply with FATCA as if it were its own law – and will agree to coordinate and exchange financial information on private individuals in accordance with FATCA.

Since these agreements imitate treaties, IGAs allow foreign nations to override their domestic laws to comply with U.S. requests. Or in more ominous instances, countries are lured into complying with FATCA by U.S. offers to exchange data from U.S. banks. That’s right: the U.S. government has agreed to spy on YOU (the U.S. customer) in exchange for the foreign banks willingness to spy on American citizens abroad – the old, “you show me yours, I’ll show you mine,” operation.

Generally, any agreement that resembles a treaty is constitutionally required to receive the advice and consent of the United States Senate. The definition of a treaty is “a formal agreement between two or more states in reference to peace, alliance, commerce, or other international relations.” But somehow, President Obama calls it by another name and these IGAs bypass the law of the land as “agreements,” rather than as formally ratified treaties.

This entire scheme is like a game of Jenga – remove the wrong block and the entire structure comes falling down. FATCA, the IGAs, and the tax treaties currently pending in the Senate are all an intricate part of this structure.

Former Senate aide and FATCA expert Jim Jatras explains how those tax treaties impact the IGA. In Accounting Today, he writes:

Because the IGAs designate tax treaty mechanisms for FATCA information “exchange,” Paul’s holdup of the bilateral treaties also impedes indiscriminate FATCA reporting. Conversely, if the treaties were amended to allow information transfer only under the probable cause standard, the higher constitutional standard would govern. That, not double tax relief, is why Treasury is so desperate to approve these treaties without amendment.

In other words, FATCA requires an IGA. The IGA is what allows other nations to cooperate with FATCA’s requirements. Still, it is the tax treaties that act as the final authority in permitting the IGAs to collect information; the IGAs lean on the tax treaties as their implicit right to do so.

Furthermore, Jatras concludes that the tax treaties would provide a “backdoor legal authority to issue regulations in the U.S.” to force domestic banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and mutual funds to provide financial information on resident customers to send to foreign governments in order to fulfill the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,” reciprocity agreements.

Get that? FATCA needs IGAs, IGAs need tax treaties. Phew.

Therefore, in this confusing, twisted scheme of enforcing the big data gathering machine that is FATCA, these tax treaties play an important role. That is why there is far more to this sleepy issue than just taxes.

There are two senators currently challenging this crazy law and these insane treaties: Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT). The narrative from the White House and Senate leadership is that these two senators are “blocking” these treaties from moving. But, in reality, Paul and Lee aren’t blocking these treaties at all. Instead, they are just objecting to the Senate ratifying them by “unanimous consent.” The Senate leadership has the authority to bring these tax treaties to the floor for full consideration – debate, amendments, and votes. That is what Senators Paul and Lee are asking for.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic counterparts simply want to give unanimous consent to these tax treaties. Unanimous consent means that the process takes all of about 10 seconds; there is no time to review the treaties, there is no time for debate, and not a second of time to offer amendments. They simply want them to be expedited through the Senate without transparency.

At the end of the day, this is a discussion about bad treaties used to implement a terrible law. I applaud Senators Paul and Lee for standing on principle, and trying to insert language into the treaties that provide constitutional protections to all Americans. But perhaps more important is Paul and Lee’s challenge to the establishment. As sitting U.S. Senators, they have the right to ask for debate and amendments to these treaties. They should not be pilloried and smeared for asking for it.

These treaties are dangerous to our personal liberties. Senator Paul and Senator Lee deserve the transparency and debate they’ve requested. We should all stand with Rand and Mike in fighting these terrible treaties. (For more from the author of “The Real Story Behind Rand Paul’s Challenge to Obama’s Insane Treaties” please click HERE)

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Rand Paul Just Revealed He’s Making ‘Major Endorsement’, 1 Thing People Instantly Notice…

Sen. Rand Paul tweeted on Thursday that he is going to make a “Yuge” endorsement on Friday, April 1.

The former presidential candidate teased out the announcement in series of tweets: . . .

The Kentuckian may be engaging in misdirection in one of two ways. Either he may be backing a candidate other than Trump, or the whole tease is just part of an April Fool’s joke, as one libertarian tweeted.

Lending credence to the notion that Paul is engaging in some sort of April 1 prank, was a report by The Hill that his spokesman had just confirmed on Wednesday that the senator would not be endorsing during the primary.

(Read more from “Rand Paul Just Revealed He’s Making ‘Major Endorsement’, 1 Thing People Instantly Notice…” HERE)

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Trump Just Hit Paul Ryan With a Threat That Will Have the Establishment Worried

After Donald Trump’s strong showing in the Super Tuesday primaries, he issued a threat to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Speaker Ryan previously denounced Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Without naming him directly, Ryan also took aim at Trump’s refusal to denounce the Ku Klux Klan after former KKK leader David Duke encouraged his followers to vote for Trump.

Speaker Ryan is usually known for remaining mum about ongoing political issues during the primary season. Ryan’s usual silence stems from the active role he will play in the Republican Convention in July.

“I try to stay out of the ups and downs of the primary, but I’ve also said when I see something that runs counter to who we are as a party and a country, I will speak up,” Ryan said. “If a person wants to be the nominee of the party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry” . . .

Following Speaker Ryan’s remarks Trump issued his threat.

“I’m going to get along great with Congress,” Trump said. “Paul Ryan, I don’t know him well, but I’m sure I’m going to get along great with him, and if I don’t, he’s going to have to pay a big price.” (Read more from “Trump Just Hit Paul Ryan With a Threat That Will Have the Establishment Worried” HERE)

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Rand Paul Just Revealed the 2 Things That Will Make Him ‘Un-Suspend’ His Presidential Campaign

Earlier last month, senator and former presidential hopeful Rand Paul announced that he was suspending his campaign after making little headway in the GOP field. Now, however, he has announced that he would “un-suspend” his campaign if he received the endorsement of a particular New Hampshire newspaper.

Prompted by a tweet from the newspaper the New Hampshire Union Leader, which expressed regret for having endorsed Chris Christie as the GOP nominee in November, Rand Paul offered them a chance at redemption, “endorse me and declare a do over in New Hampshire.”

The tweet, which is more than likely a facetious jab at both the New Hampshire Union Leader and his own prospects for president, came in response to an editorial which attempted to walk back its endorsement of Christie, who they seem to no longer support.

The editorial was penned by the newspapers publisher, Joseph McQuaid, prior to Super Tuesday. In particular, the newspaper is disappointed in Christie’s support for Donald Trump, which demonstrated “how wrong we [the New Hampshire Union Leader] were.” (Read more from “Rand Paul Just Revealed the 2 Things That Will Make Him ‘Un-Suspend’ His Presidential Campaign” HERE)

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