Wiretap Didn’t Happen, The Meat Axe Budget

The Boy Cried Wolf: On any other day, the lead story might have been President Trump’s budget plan for dramatic changes in government priorities, but yesterday the Senate Intelligence Committee said that Trump’s claim that his phones were tapped on the orders of President Obama is false.

“Based on the information available to us, we saw no indications that Trump tower was the subject of surveillance by an element of the United States government …” the committee said in a statement.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “No such wiretap existed.”

But Trump is not backing off. For the first time citing a source for his information, He told Fox News host Tucker Carlson, “I’ve been reading about things. I read in, I think it was January 20th, a New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping.” That was two weeks before Trump tweeted that he “Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped.”

The Times did not report that Trump Tower had been under surveillance. Press Secretary Sean Spicer yesterday cited a list of articles he said supports the president’s claim, but some are from specious sources. No proof has come from the president.

CNN white House Correspondent Jim Acosta said, “It is, sort of, a stupefying thing to watch, the fact the president will not come out and withdraw this accusation, he clearly made a false accusation.”

Meat Axe: President Trump’s proposed budget includes dramatic increases in spending on defense while taking the axe to the State Department, foreign aid, environment, agriculture, labor, and the arts. He would eliminate budgets for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Legal Services Corporation, which helps provide public defense lawyers.

Also, Trump would cut aid to the poor and scientific research.

White House budget director Mick Mulvany said, “Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward. We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.”

The budget asks for $2.6 billion to start building Trump’s southern border wall. It does nothing to attack the $20 trillion debt.

Here’s a capsule:

-Defense +10%

-Education  –13.5 %

-Homeland Security +6.8%

-State Dept. and USAID -28.7%

-EPA -31%

-Agriculture -21%

-Labor -21%

-Veterans +6%

A note of caution: The White House budget is really a policy statement. It’s not going to be rubber-stamped by Congress, and many members have already said it’s dead on arrival.

The Russia House: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who lasted only weeks on the job, was paid about $50,000 by Russian companies before he signed on with the Trump campaign. The former Lt. General was paid $33,000 by the Kremlin-backed RT Television to sit next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner event. He was also paid $11,000 by a Russian cyber-security firm with ties to the Kremlin.

Bracket News: The Northwestern University Wildcats won a March Madness playoff game for the first tie in the school’s history, 68-66 over Vanderbilt. The Wildcats went wild.

Fluorescent Frog: Argentinian researchers have discovered a fluorescent frog. The South American polka dot tree frog doesn’t appear to be unusual. But the researchers found that when they shined an ultraviolet light on it, the frog lights up a  bright blue-green.

The fluorescence is “unprecedented” in amphibians, the researchers said. It means that “short-wavelength electromagnetic radiation is absorbed and then reemitted at longer wavelength.”

Charity at Home: A pastor in Sierra Leone found what is believed to be the world’s 13th largest diamond, worth many millions of dollars, and turned it over to the government to help pay bills for the impoverished country. The 706-carat triangular rock looks to be about an inch thick and is roughly the size of a hockey puck, a comparison that may not mean much in Sierra Leone.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

“Social-media wags delighted in reviving the Trump-as-Corleone family meme and compared Donald, Jr., to Fredo, the most hapless of the Corleone progeny. This was unfair to Fredo.”

-David Remnick writing in the New Yorker

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