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Partial Government Shutdown: Trump, Lawmakers Fail to Break Impasse

The government has been partially shut down since December 22 after negotiations between Republican and Democratic lawmakers reached a deadlock over the President's demand that the budget bill include more than $5 billion for construction of the wall

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Video: Frustrations Run High in Third Week of Shutdown. VOA

The US President and Republican as well as Democratic congressional leaders have failed to make tangible progress on how to end the partial government shutdown due to Donald Trump demands for billions of dollars for a border wall.

During the contentious meeting in the Situation Room on Wednesday, the 12 day of the shutdown, Trump made his case for a wall on the southwestern border and rejected Democrats’ proposals for reopening the government while the two sides ironed out their differences, the New York Times reported.

Trump warned before the meeting that he will keep the government partially shut down for as long as necessary, that is, apparently, till Democrats give in to his previous demands for financing his much-touted border wall with Mexico.

At the White House meeting, Democratic leaders asked Trump to immediately reopen the portions of the government that were currently shut down, leaving the discussion about border security — the reason why Trump ostensibly called the meeting in the first place — for later.

“I don’t think any particular progress was made today,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after the meeting. “But we talked about all aspects of it and it was a civil discussion and we’re hopeful that somehow in the coming days and weeks we’ll be able to reach an agreement.”

The likely incoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said upon leaving the meeting that the Democratic lawmakers’ aim was “to end the partial government shutdown tomorrow”.

“Tomorrow we will bring to the floor legislation that will open up government. It will be based on actions taken by the Republican Senate — led by Senator Mitch McConnell,” Pelosi said on Wednesday, making reference to a Senate bill that passed but did not include wall funding.

Pelosi said that approving the Democrats’ bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 8 would give lawmakers and Trump 30 additional days to negotiate regarding allocating funds for US border security without the need to keep the government partially shut down and some 800,000 of the 2.1 million federal workers idled.

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“We asked the president to support the bills that we support to open up government,” added Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, noting that he had asked Trump to give “one good reason” for continuing the shutdown if lawmakers were discussing border security with the expectation of finding a mutually agreeable solution.

“He could not give a good answer,” Schumer said.

The government has been partially shut down since December 22 after negotiations between Republican and Democratic lawmakers reached a deadlock over the President’s demand that the budget bill include more than $5 billion for construction of the wall. (IANS)

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We Got Trump Elected, Shouldn’t Stop Him in 2020; Says Facebook Executive

Instead, the Russians worked to exploit existing divisions in the American public for example by hosting Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter protest events in the same city on the same day

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FILE - President Donald Trump departs after speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House July 17, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Facebook Vice President Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth has claimed that it was the social networking giant that got Donald Trump elected as the US President in 2016 because “he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser”.

In a memo obtained by The New York Times, the key Facebook executive in the same vein suggested that the platform with over 2.45 billion monthly active users should not use its enormous reach to block Trump’s reelection in 2020.

Was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected?

“I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period”, said Bosworth who runs Facebook’s hardware group.

“Trump just did unbelievable work,” Bosworth wrote.

“They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes. They weren’t micro-targeting or saying different things to different people. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each persona.

He continued: “I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result. So what stays my hand? I find myself thinking of the Lord of the Rings at this moment”.

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Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump. Wikimedia Commons

“Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to Galadrial (Galadriel) and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her,” he wrote.

“As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.”

“To be clear, I’m no fan of Trump. I donated the max to Hillary,” he tried to clarify his stand.

Bosworth said that it is worth reminding everyone that Russian interference was real but it was mostly not done through advertising.

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“$100,000 in ads on Facebook can be a powerful tool but it can’t buy you an American election, especially when the candidates themselves are putting up several orders of magnitude more money on the same platform (not to mention other platforms),” he wrote.

Instead, the Russians worked to exploit existing divisions in the American public for example by hosting Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter protest events in the same city on the same day.

“Misinformation was also real and related but not the same as Russian interference,” Bosworth mentioned, admitting that Cambridge Analytica was one of the more acute cases where the details were almost all wrong. (IANS)