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  • GOP demands answers on DACA approvals, rejections
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (3)

    The top Republicans on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Friday demanded that the Obama administration hand over key information about its deferred deportation program for illegal immigrants, including how many have been approved under the program, and why officials don’t do more to verify the information received by these immigrants.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Senate Judiciary ranking member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that asked him dozens of these questions ranging from basic data to deeper policy-related issues.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), along with his Senate counterpart Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), are seeking answers about the Obama administration’s deferred action program for younger illegal immigrants. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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  • Government publishes detailed instructions on how to safely roast marshmallows
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The U.S. Forest Service on Friday published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, all in preparation for Saturday, which is National Roasted Marshmallow Day.

    As one might expect, the article is riddled with safety tips that might make you think twice about even carrying matches into the forest at all, let alone actually igniting a marshmallow and putting your family’s life at risk.

    campfire

    Authorities said it’s unclear how many survived the incident.
    Photo credit: Shutterstock

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  • White House spokesman says border crisis over ‘for now’
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that the crisis at the southern U.S. border is over given the reduced number of unaccompanied children coming across.

    Earnest was asked by a reporter whether those reduced numbers mean the crisis is over. Earnest replied, “for now.”

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that the border crisis is over ‘for now,’ but that it may return. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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  • Senate GOP to push for vote to block Obama’s amnesty plans
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Thursday that Senate Republicans will look to force a vote in the coming weeks on legislation that would block President Barack Obama from expanding an amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.

    “We’re going to demand a vote on the House-passed bill, which bars the president from expending any money to execute another five- to six-million-person amnesty,” Sessions said on Mark Levin’s radio show Thursday. “That is perfectly legal and proper for Congress to do.”

    President Barack Obama is reportedly pushing a new amnesty plan, one that Senate Republicans are hoping to block. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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  • Lawmaker: Nerds, geeks needed to find Lois Lerner’s emails
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 10:41 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    After months of unsuccessful attempts to badger the IRS into handing over Lois Lerner’s supposedly lost emails, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is proposing a last, desperate measure: calling in the nerds and geeks.

    “These things are backed up,” he said on Fox News. “I believe we need to bring in the nerds, bring in the tech geeks, and I think they will show and demonstrate that we can recover these emails. At least I’d like to try.”

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  • 10 essential quotes from a classic 1689 title made for (but forgotten in) the age of Obama
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 10:04 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (41)

    Today is the birthday of a man who left an indelible imprint on American history and the history of the free world more broadly. The Englishman John Locke was born on August 29, 1632. Locke was one of the most heralded Enlightenment thinkers — preeminent among classical liberals — developing theories on natural rights, property, government, not to mention law and philosophy more broadly that would influence the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Western civilization itself. His intellectual achievements were so great that Thomas Jefferson identified Locke as one of “the three greatest men who ever lived, without any exception.”

    In honor of Locke’s birthday, below are 10 of the best and most relevant quotes from his essential “Second Treatise of Government,” first published in December 1689.

    John Locke. (Image Source: Wikipedia)

    John Locke. (Image Source: Wikipedia)

    1. Though I have said above…That all men by nature are equal, I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of equality: age or virtue may give men a just precedency: excellency of parts and merit may place others above the common level: birth may subject some, and alliance or benefits others, to pay an observance to those to whom nature, gratitude, or other respects, may have made it due: and yet all this consists with the equality, which all men are in, in respect of jurisdiction or dominion one over another; which was the equality I there spoke of, as proper to the business in hand, being that equal right, that every man hath, to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man.

    2. The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.

    3. [W]hoever has the legislative or supreme power of any common-wealth, is bound to govern by established standing laws, promulgated and known to the people, and not by extemporary decrees; by indifferent and upright judges, who are to decide controversies by those laws; and to employ the force of the community at home, only in the execution of such laws, or abroad to prevent or redress foreign injuries, and secure the community from inroads and invasion. And all this to be directed to no other end, but the peace, safety, and public good of the people.

    4. Their power [that of the legislature], in the utmost bounds of it, is limited to the public good of the society. It is a power, that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects.

    “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins”
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    5. [W]hatever form the common-wealth is under, the ruling power ought to govern by declared and received laws, and not by extemporary dictates and undetermined resolutions: for then mankind will be in a far worse condition (more…)

  • Another problem for veterans: VA can’t get medical records from DOD
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 9:24 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General has released a new report saying the VA is having major problems getting medical records from the Department of Defense.

    The VA itself has been shown to be a broken agency filled with systemic problems related to delays in getting veterans health care, and attempts to cover up those delays. But the VA’s OIG report indicated at the Defense Department may be contributing to the VA’s inability to deliver care promptly.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs, led by Robert McDonald, has more than its share of problems delivering health care to veterans. But a new report says the Defense Department has also been slow in delivering service treatment records of new veterans to the VA. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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  • Four years ago today, ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Glenn Beck fans met in Washington, D.C., for ‘Restoring Honor’
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 8:01 pm by Mike Opelka

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    It was a monumental undertaking.

    Nobody knew if it was going to be a huge success or a massive failure.

    The event was Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally on the mall in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 2010.

    As you can tell by the photograph below, the entire area surrounding the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial was packed with people.

    Image: George Lange/Lange Studio

    Image: George Lange/Lange Studio

    The mainstream media could not agree on just how many people were there. One of the very first posts on TheBlaze.com highlighted the mass media’s inability to agree on how big of a crowd had assembled.

    Newspapers across the country were also confused about how to report the size of the crowd.

    Image: TheBlaze.com

    Image: TheBlaze.com

    In the end, CBS News “low-balled” the number, stating that they estimated the crowd to be under 80,000. ABC News frequently referred to the size of the crowd using the term “hundreds of thousands.”

    How big was the rally? It was large enough for NBC’s Brian Williams to ask President Obama about it (Spoiler alert – he did not watch it):

    The Huffington Post covered “Restoring Honor” by mocking the attendees and calling those wearing flag motifs, “ridiculous.”

    Typically, gigantic events in Washington, D.C., require more than a year to plan and execute. This one was put together in just under eight months time. In other words, it was conceived, developed, scheduled and executed at a pace that had everyone’s nerves frazzled.

    Image: George Lange/Lange Studio

    Image: George Lange/Lange StudioGlenn Beck with the Black Robe Regiment standing arm-in-arm

    In addition to the planning, the park permitting process, securing the needed technology — from video screens to port-a-potties — and getting virtually every Beck employee to Washington to help run the operation, there was still one element that was out of everyone’s control — the weather.

    Fortunately, August 28, 2010, was a glorious, sun-filled day. ”Restoring Honor” was a success in terms of attendance and the execution of the program. There were also associated fundraising events that helped wounded vets.

    And when the rally was finished and the last person left the mall, it was said by park rangers that the space was left cleaner than when we arrived.

    This writer attended the “Restoring Honor” rally on 8-28-2010. At the time, I was unemployed and still six months away from working for TheBlaze. 

    Hosting today’s “Pat and Stu Show” on TheBlaze TV gave me the opportunity to relive some of the many powerful moments from 8-28, as well as speak with a few of the friends who called into the show to share their memories.

    Watch the segment from today’s episode of “The Pat and Stu Show,” courtesy of TheBlaze TV:

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    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • How much is the Department of Interior spending on conferences? Don’t ask the Department of Interior
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A new report released Thursday says the Department of Interior is not tracking the money it spends on conferences, and is failing to report conference costs publicly, a violation of the Obama administration’s own policy.

    The department’s Office of Inspector General’s report noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget has set out rules for conference spending, but said the Department of Interior isn’t following them at all.

    Sally Jewell runs the Department of Interior, which has no idea how much it’s spending on conferences. (AP Photo/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Star-Telegram)

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  • Obama administration offers free ‘back to school’ tips, including what to pack for lunch
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Parents who might be growing nervous about sending their kids back to school this fall have nothing to fear, as the Obama administration has reams of free advice for both parents and students — right down to what you should pack in your kid’s school lunch.

    This week, the Food and Drug Administration posted four different tips for a “healthy and stress-free lunchbox,” although much of the advice seems like a lot of hard work.

    School is coming back and the government is here to get you through it. (AP Photo/The Topeka Capital Journal, Chris Neal)

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  • Lawmaker rips DHS for ignoring questions on illegal immigrant transfers to Arizona
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Thursday accused the Department of Homeland Security for ignoring his questions about what authority the department has to transfer illegal immigrants to Arizona and other states, often without giving any notice to those states.

    Gosar’s staff asked this question of DHS staff more than three months ago, and even followed up with a letter to DHS after being told Gosar himself needed to ask them himself. But even after that second attempt, DHS has not replied, which Gosar said is an “insult.”

    Demonstrators in Washington this month called on President Barack Obama to modify his deportations policies. But Republicans say that move would flout the law, and that the Obama administration is already going too far by transferring illegal immigrant detainees around the country. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

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  • Republicans propose Syria travel restrictions to stop Americans from helping Islamic State
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Republicans in the House are pushing for passage of a bill that would put new restrictions on U.S. travel to Syria, which they hope will make it harder for the Islamic State to recruit U.S. fighters.

    The bill from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) was introduced back in March, but it could start to enjoy widespread support in light of the news that two Americans may have died fighting for the Islamic State in Syria this week. (more…)

  • Key lawmaker says Islamic State poses ‘as dangerous a threat matrix’ as he’s ever seen
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 11:06 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said late Wednesday that the ability of the Islamic State to draw fighters from Europe, Canada and America poses a major security threat to the United States that must be dealt with immediately.

    “This is as dangerous a threat matrix as I have ever seen in my time on the Intel Committee, which is about 10 years,” Rogers said on Fox News Wednesday night. “It is serious. We need to address it.”

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  • The Federal Reserve does not want you to read this one passage about money
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 10:19 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    “Politicians and pundits worldwide have all sorts of explanations for the crises and malaise: greed, reckless speculation in dangerous currency markets, excess debt, inequality, and American capitalism itself. But the true cause is the ignorance of policy makers, who ideas about money have been handed down from the mercantilists of the Middle Ages. These officials have been unable or unwilling to grasp a simple truth: money is not wealth. It is like a scaler or a ruler–a measure of value.”

    So writes Steve Forbes in his recently released “Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy — and What We Can Do About It.” Juxtapose these words with the following five-year chart of the money supply, and one would be hard-pressed to argue that the political class has internalized Forbes’ lesson.

    fredgraphIn the wake of the various rounds of quantitative easing, and associated persistent argument that if we can just generate inflation, the economy will take off, the following simple but perpetually ignored message from Forbes’ new book on the purpose of money in and of itself is worthy of a read:

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  • FDA sides with your parents, says tattoos hurt, could cause infection
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Food and Drug Administration is warning people that getting a tattoo comes with several risks, including the possibility of being infected with HIV or hepatitis, allergic reactions, and other skin problems.

    And if you ever decide to remove your tattoo later, the FDA is warning about “pain and high costs.”

    Not approved by the FDA… (AP Photo/Winston-Salem Journal, David Rolfe)

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  • Justice Department watchdog investigating $854K in payments to Amtrak secretary
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General says it is investigating wasteful payments of $854,000 over 19 years to an Amtrak secretary for providing ridership information to the Drug Enforcement Agency that the DEA should have been able to get for free.

    Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) highlighted the excessive payments earlier this month, and said this apparent case of wasteful spending was highlighted in an OIG assessment of Amtrak. That report listed the payments as an issue that could be the subject of a criminal action. (more…)

  • Does it matter that Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was ‘wiped clean’? Maybe…
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    An IRS official told a federal court last week that the Blackberry used by former IRS official Lois Lerner was “wiped clean” in 2012, soon after Congress starting probing what would later become known as the IRS targeting scandal.

    But according to the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, an IRS lawyer also said last week that the government has a backup system that should retain the emails of Lerner and other IRS workers.

    Congress is still looking for emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner, but it’s still not clear whether the IRS properly backed up those communications. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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  • CBO slashes GDP expectations in half for 2014
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 11:14 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday said it expects the U.S. economy to grow by just 1.5 percent in 2014, a 50 percent cut from the prediction it made six months ago.

    Back in February, CBO predicted that U.S. gross domestic product would see a 3.1 percent increase. But it’s latest report on the budgetary and economic outlook said surprising weakness in the first half of the year will significantly reduce that more optimistic estimate.

    President Barack Obama will preside over another disappointing year for GDP growth in 2014, if the Congressional Budget Office’s latest prediction is right. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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  • USDA announces breakthrough for people with peanut allergies
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 10:21 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that researchers at North Carolina’s A&T University have discovered a way to treat peanuts to reduce their allergic effects on people.

    The breakthrough has the potential to end the suffering of millions of people with peanut allergies, and could allow them to eat peanuts in any form. USDA said the breakthrough is also showing promise in reducing the effects of wheat allergies.

    peanut

    USDA says a new breakthrough may let people with peanut allergies eat peanuts safely. Photo credit: Shutterstock

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  • FCC takes steps to lower the volume of TV advertisements
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 9:21 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday published a final rule that is expected to lower the volume of television ads beginning in 2015.

    The FCC rule is its latest action under the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or the CALM Act. That 2010 law bans broadcasters from running ads at volumes that are higher than the TV shows they support, and is a reaction to complaints from viewers about the spike in volume that seemed to accompany many TV ads.

    The Federal Communications Commission, run by Chairman Tom Wheeler, has released a new rule aimed at quieting down some of the TV ads being broadcast. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON

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  • Just in time for the midterms, John Boehner releases a very bizarre video
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm by Mike Opelka

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    “The Monkey In The Room,” a video featuring House Speaker John Boehner and a toy monkey, was posted online Tuesday.

    It won’t take long for anyone to realize why the video has already become the most-watched clip on the speaker’s YouTube page.

    Image: YouTube

    Image: YouTube

    According to Boehner’s office, the toy has been sitting on his desk since 2011, when he received it as a gift for this 62nd birthday.

    Image: Speaker.gov

    Image source: speaker.gov

    The monkey has become a prolific photobomber, complete with an online photo album that has chronicled these appearances.

    Presented without comment:

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    Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter

  • Senate Dem demands plan for dealing with Islamic State, plus congressional authorization
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) warned this week that the Obama administration must seek out congressional authority for any military action against the Islamic State, and also called on officials to develop a full strategy for engagement against the terrorist group before acting.

    “I agree that ISIL poses a significant terrorist threat to U.S. interests and partners in the region, which is why the administration has initiated military action against the group,” Kaine said. “But I do not believe that our expanded military operations against ISIL are covered under existing authorizations from Congress.”

    President Barack Obama is being urged by a Senate Democrat to seek congressional authorization to fight the Islamic State, and to come up with a clear plan for dealing with the terrorist group. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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  • Lawmaker slams Obama’s American Legion speech: ‘No one has been fired as a result of the VA scandal’
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) blasted President Barack Obama Tuesday for claiming that the broken Department of Veterans Affairs is being repaired, and said the absence of decisions to fire officials involved in the VA health care scandal show this is not the case.

    Miller also said Congress’s requests for information and updates continue to be stonewalled.

    President Barack Obama said the Department of Veterans Affairs is improving, but a key House lawmaker said there is still no accountability at the VA. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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  • GOP probes $600,000 for posters, $100,000 book club, other wasteful spending at Department of Labor
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is asking the Department of Labor for all information about a series of wasteful spending, including spending $600,000 on posters for the department’s elevators, and $100,000 to promote a book club.

    “[D]ocuments obtained by the committee appear to show a pattern of wasteful spending and mismanagement at DOL,” Issa wrote to Labor Secretary Tom Perez on Monday.

    House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is asking the Department of Labor for more information about wasteful department spending that has been reported in the press. (AP Photo)

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  • One Democrat’s solution for stopping Burger King-style corporate inversions: Cut the corporate tax rate
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 9:30 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A Senate Democrat this week put forward a surprisingly simple idea for stopping U.S.-based companies from moving their headquarters overseas in order to escape high U.S. corporate taxes — lower those taxes.

    Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Monday mocked Burger King for considering the purchase of Canada-based Tim Hortons, which would allow Burger King to move its headquarters to Canada. He said he would support other U.S.-based burger chains who “haven’t abandoned their country or customers,” and said companies shouldn’t pursue these corporate inversions just for the sake of a lower tax burden.

    Burger King is the latest company to seek lower taxes overseas. One Democrat says the way to stop corporate inversions is to lower U.S. corporate taxes. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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