This Thursday, President Trump released his budget proposal. The 62 page document titled, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, only deals with discretionary spending (read it doesn’t touch on entitlement programs) which makes up just 1/3 of the overall budget. As he promised on the campaign trail, he’s asking for serious cuts, save for defense spending which he is asking to be increased by $25B this fiscal year, and $54B next.
Massive cuts to the discretionary budget?!
Yes, this is real life.
The leftwing media and democrats are unsurprisingly freaking out, Big Bird is going to be homeless! But Big Bird’s been working for HBO since 2015 so he’s (I’m assuming gender here, apologies) going to be fine just fine. The same cannot be said for employees at the EPA, HUD, HHS, DoT, Commerce, Labor, and Interior Departments.
Here’s a look at some of the major cuts in the President’s budget blueprint:
• Health and Human Services, the department responsible for implementing Obamacare and its proposed repeal, would face a $12.6 billion cut — a 16.2% decrease
• Environmental Protection Agency: $2.6 billion, or 31.4%
• State Department: $11 billion, or 28.7%
• Labor Department: $2.5 billion, or 20.7%
• Agriculture Department: $5 billion, or 20.7%
• US Army Corps of Engineers: $1 billion, a 16.3% cut
• Cuts National Institutes of Health spending by $5.8 billion, a nearly 20% cut. Also overhauls NIH to focus on “highest priority” efforts and eliminates the Fogarty International Center.
• Other double-digit cuts include Commerce at 15.7%; Education at 13.5%; Housing and Urban Development at 13.2%; Transportation at 12.7%, and Interior at 11.7%.
From what we’ve been able to gather, these “slashes” to the budget spell the end of art, science, and research in the United States. Also, poor people, children and the elderly will no doubt starve to death if Trump’s proposed budget is accepted by Congress. The theatrics have only just begun, isn’t hyperbole fun?!
Leftist aren’t the only ones throwing around hyperbolic statements this week. Senator Rand Paul is still fuming over Paul Ryan’s “ObamaCare” Lite bill. From Breitbart:
It doesn’t have to be this way. We just had an election about change, about draining the swamp. President Trump promised to be different, and I believe he sincerely wants to be. But he is being taken for a ride through the swamp right now on “Obamacare Lite.”
For four STRAIGHT elections, REPUBLICANS ran on repealing Obamacare, and now “Republican orthodoxy” — I’m told — is keeping insurance subsidies, mandates, taxes, and insurance company bailouts.
That’s not acceptable to me. And it isn’t keeping our promise.
Though I want to believe the glass is half full, I am tempted, very tempted, to smash a glass half full of Obamacare Lite — smash that glass to smithereens!
Hear! Hear! Let’s smash that glass of ObamaCare Lite, which as far as we know is non-alcoholic so it’s just begging to be smashed to smithereens, and bring an end this idiocy.
The President traveled with DoT Secretary Elaine Chao and EPA Chief Scott Pruitt to Michigan this week to meet with auto manufactures and see what can be done to revive the American auto industry. The a review of the EPA’s ludacris CAFE standards was discussed at length, via Reason:
On its way out the door in January, the Obama administration rushed to lock in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards at 54.5 miles per gallon for light duty vehicles by 2025. The final determination also calculated that the higher CAFE standards would save American drivers nearly $100 billion in fuel costs by 2025.
Today, President Donald Trump told a cheering audience of auto industry workers in Michigan: “We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again. We’re going to help companies so they are going to help you. We’re going to be the car capital of the world again.”
New EPA administrator Scott Pruitt also announced today that the agency in coordination with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will reconsider the final determination and decide by April 1, 2018 whether the Obama-era CAFE standards will stand. The reconsideration of the stringent CAFE standards is taking place at the request of American automakers who argue in a February letter to Pruitt that they are unachievable using currently foreseen automotive technologies. In its letter the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers asserts that the Obama Administration’s EPA final determination is “riddled with indefensible assumptions” regarding available technologies, consumer acceptance, technology affordability, and industry employment effects.
The inane EPA standards have forced companies to manufacture costly “compliance cars” that no one wants to drive. Eric Peters explains:
[T]he compliance car – is a car designed to fail. A car they know ahead of time won’t sell, that they’ll have to give away at a loss.
And they build it anyway.
And continue to build it.
Why would auto manufactures build vehicles they know won’t sell? Peters continues;
[Compliance cars are] Purposely built as economic throw-aways, designed solely to comply with the “zero emissions” fatwas coming out of Washington and state capitals (California, particularly) that insist a certain number of these things will be built each year.
Bottomline, automakers are wasting time and money building cars that no one wants. Sound familiar *cough* ObamaCare mandated minimum coverage *cough*. In order for American auto industry to make a serious comeback, these idiotic rules must go.
And finally, we leave you with your dream nightmare wedding?
This bill misses the mark primarily because it fails to correct the features of Obamacare that drove up health care costs. Congress should continue to focus on first repealing the failed policy of Obamacare and then act to offer patient-centered, market-based replacement reforms.
The House leadership bill isn’t even a repeal bill. Not by a long shot. It would repeal far less of ObamaCare than the bill Republicans sent to President Obama one year ago. The ObamaCare regulations it retains are already causing insurance markets to collapse. It would allow that collapse to continue, and even accelerate the collapse. Republicans would then own whatever damage ObamaCare causes, such as when the law leaves seriously ill patients with no coverage at all. Congress would have to revisit ObamaCare again and again to address problems they failed to fix the first time around. ObamaCare would consume the rest of Congress’ and President Trump’s agenda. Delaying or dooming other priorities like tax reform, infrastructure spending, and Gorsuch. The fallout could dog Republicans all the way into 2018 and 2020, when it could lead to a Democratic wave election like the one we saw in 2008. Only then, Democrats won’t have ObamaCare on their mind but single-payer.
According to Breitbart, Rand Paul wants to hold public burnings (note: this is a hyperbolic interpretation of Rand’s reaction) of the bill:
Paul told Breitbart News:
I think the reason why the House leadership bill is Obamacare Lite is because it retains subsidies. Obamacare had subsidies for people to buy insurance. In the Paul Ryan bill, they keep the subsidies—they just call them refundable tax credits. Some people are predicting that it’s actually going to be more expensive than the subsidies we have under Obamacare. This isn’t you getting your own money back, this is you getting somebody else’s money. So, a family that makes $30,000 a year could actually get $14,000 that they didn’t pay. Let’s say they paid zero in income tax, they could get $14,000 back. One, we don’t have the money—it’s a new entitlement program and two, if you get $14,000 back do you think the insurance company is ever going to sell insurance for less than $14,000? That becomes the floor. So, it actually pushes insurance rates up—it doesn’t allow insurance rates to fall. So, that doesn’t allow insurance rates to fall and it sets up a new entitlement. The second thing that Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Lite bill does is they keep the Obamacare taxes—all of them—for a year. And then after a year, they keep the Cadillac Tax forever. That’s the tax on if you have really good insurance, Obamacare taxes that. So will Paul Ryan’s plan. The third thing they do that is Obamacare-like is they keep the individual mandate. It seems like every Republican says they were against the individual mandate. That’s if you didn’t buy insurance you had to pay a penalty to the government, a tax. Obamacare Lite, Paul Ryan’s plan, just changes it so you have to pay a penalty to the insurance companies. I consider that to still be a mandate that isn’t consistent with those of us who want less government involvement. So they keep the subsidies, they keep the taxes, and then they keep the mandate. Then the fourth thing they do is they actually subsidize the insurance companies. Right now, insurance companies are losing money and Obamacare has this rescue thing called ‘risk corridors’ to bail out the insurance companies. Paul Ryan has got the same thing, he just calls it reinsurance and it’s $100 million worth. I predict that might not even be enough. So I don’t like any of it. Now, I do think we agree as Republicans on repeal. But I don’t think we agree on the replacement. That’s why I say we should separate them, vote on repeal and then vote the same day on a separate bill that’s called replace.
This fight has only just begun #popcorn.
The other big story this week was Wikileaks’ release of Vault 7 “Year Zero”.
ZeroHedge describes the content of the document dump thusly:
Yesterday Wikileaks released 8,761 CIA documents detailing the agency’s hacking of smart phones, routers, computers, and even televisions.
These files reveal that the CIA can and has hacked devices that were supposedly secure– iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.
The documents further reveal that the CIA is deliberately infecting personal computers with spyware, including Windows, Mac OS/X, Solaris, Linux, and other operating systems.
They’re also hacking WiFi routers to deploy software that monitors Internet activity, and have even figured out how to bypass anti-virus software so that their spyware cannot be detected.
They’ve also managed to make the rest of the world believe that Russian hackers, not the CIA, are behind all this malware and spyware.
It’s like a restatement of that old Mission: Impossible line– “Should any of your IM force be caught or killed… we’ll blame Russia.”
The CIA is pretty shameless about its activities, nicknaming its various hacking programs “Assassin”, “Medusa”, and “Brutal Kangaroo”.
One of the deepest revelations is that the agency is able to hack Internet-connected televisions, including Samsung smart TVs, through a program called “Weeping Angel”.
Basically the CIA can turn your TV into a listening device, recording conversations in the room and transmitting the audio to a CIA server.
Even if you think the TV is off, it’s not.
CIA hackers have been able to spoof the on/off display and set the television to a “false off” mode.
Bottom line, no device that’s connected to the outside world is truly safe.
Combine these new revelations, with this fun flashback about the time the CIA “improperly intruded” (read: hacked into) a database that was being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee and their staffers to compile research for their “Torture Report”, and it becomes much easier to believe that Donald Trump and his campaign were being spied on during the 2016 election.
From a 2014 McClatchy piece regarding the CIA/Senate Intelligence Committee spying scandal.
An internal CIA investigation confirmed allegations that agency personnel improperly intruded into a protected database used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff to compile a scathing report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, prompting bipartisan outrage and at least two calls for spy chief John Brennan to resign.
Brennan did not resign. The Justice Department did not investigate. Shocking I know. But did the CIA offer any explanation? Why yes, yes they did, from the same McClatchy piece (emphasis added):
A person with knowledge of the issue insisted that the CIA personnel who improperly accessed the database “acted in good faith,” believing that they were empowered to do so because they believed there had been a security violation.
“There was no malicious intent. They acted in good faith believing they had the legal standing to do so,” said the knowledgeable person, who asked not to be further identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly. “But it did not conform with the legal agreement reached with the Senate committee.”
Oooooh, so they were acting in good faith, no malice was involved and they believed they had legal standing! Well then by all means we should just let them slide, call it a mulligan and carry on with our business. Disgraceful!
That no one was even reprimanded let alone fired for hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee’s database undoubtedly sent a signal to others inside the agency; intrude away! And that they most certainly did.
Onto something almost as ridiculous, although way less frightening. An attempt to prove that the evil, omnipresent surge of sexism cost Hillary Clinton the White House which was made by two academics, failed in spectacular fashion.
Via the wonderful Ashe Schow writing for the Observer:
The idea: Recreate pivotal scenes from the presidential debates to prove a woman wouldn’t be able to get away with saying the things that then-candidate Donald Trump said. Also, prove that people would like Hillary Clinton more she had been a man, thus showing sexism alive and well in the political arena—and giving the Left another reason to whine over the election.
The result: Oops! It turns out people would like Trump more if he were a woman and would like Clinton even less if she were a man.
And if you were wondering, no, no one who participated in this theatrical experiment seems to given up on the idea that sexism lurks round every corner.
Finally, we just had to talk about the #ADayWithoutAWoman protests, marches, strikes, whine-ins, whatever, that took place on March 8th. What these women are complaining about is an unsolvable mystery that even the great Robert Stack (PBUM) wouldn’t even attempt to unravel. Lucky for you all, we decided to give it the old community college try!
As best we can tell, the women striking (read: women who put in for and were granted a paid vacation day) really dislike President Trump and by extension all white males, whose businesses are to be boycotted.
Did you catch that guys? You’re supposed to “lean into” care giving, whatever the hell that means. Oh and guys, these ladies who fancy themselves to be so integral to your workplace that their absence will be felt, yeah they’re gonna need to you pick up the slack for them. Thanks!
Oh, and about that #GrabYourWallet, don’t be misled into believing this means grab your wallet because you’re going to be spending big league! as it actually means the exact opposite. Could it be that they wanted to avoid using the word boycott because it contains “boy” and ew boys are gross and grow up to be terrible oppressive men? The list leads us to believe that these ladies have hate for Ivanka Trump. The majority of businesses that appear on the list were placed there because they carry one of Ivanka’s lines. Help women by hurting a woman, this is groundbreaking stuff.
Confused, irritated and angry? Feel like putting on a silly pink hat and taking to the streets to yell about it? Well now you know what it feels like to be a woman! Er, no, that’s not it.
Maybe this exchange between Tucker Carlson and Julie Alvin, Executive Editor for Bustle.com (no they don’t sell those old-timey butt enhancer things) will clear things up once and for all.
Nope. Guess this is one mystery that will remain unsolved.
‘Member that memo, uh excuse me, that dossier, published back in January by BuzzFeed and not published, but merely alluded to by CNN in severalarticles? The dossier contained, among other things, a wild tale of Trump procuring a Moscow hotel room in order to have it defiled by Russian prozzies because the Obamas had once slept there. Sounds plausible right?
The dossier led to this confrontation between then President Elect Donald Trump and CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
The patently absurd fanfic was compiled by an MI6 agent called Christopher Steele. At one point the FBI seemed to find this fabulist’s fairytales to be credible and considered paying him to continue his investigation into Trump and the Golden Shower Girls of Gorky Park.
Well Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) thinks the FBI Director James Comey has some ‘splaining to do.
“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote.
“It is additionally troubling that the FBI reportedly agreed to such an arrangement given that, in January of 2017, then-Director Clapper issued a statement stating that ‘the [intelligence community] has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.’”
In his letter, Grassley asks for all records regarding Steele’s investigation, details of the agreement between the FBI and Steele, the FBI’s policies for using outside investigators, and whether the bureau has relied on any of the information Steele has provided in seeking warrants.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the latest to fall prey to the Democrat’s seemingly never ending search for the Red they imagine lives under every Republican bed. According to CNN:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice last year with the top Russian diplomat in Washington whose interactions with President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn led to Flynn’s firing, according to the Justice Department.
Sessions did not mention either meeting during his confirmation hearings when he said he knew of no contacts between Trump surrogates and Russians. A Justice official said Sessions didn’t mislead senators during his confirmation.
Who is this “top Russian diplomat”? again, per CNN:
Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington, according to current and former senior US government officials.
The Russian Ambassador to the United States is a spy?! That’s a fairly incendiary claim for CNN to make based upon the word of unnamed intelligence sources. What do the Russians think about their Ambassador being characterized thusly?
Russian officials dispute this characterization.
It should come as no surprise that the Russian government is more than a little ticked that their Ambassador is being accused of spying. After recording the episode, CNN dropped this piece which catalogs the Russian reaction to their initial reporting.
But for now, back to the original CNN piece. Let’s grant for a moment that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is indeed a spy, where pray tell did Sessions meet with this master of subterfuge and deception? (bold added for emphasis, duh)
Sessions met with Kislyak twice, in July on the sidelines of the Republican convention, and in September in his office when Sessions was a member of the Senate Armed Services committee.
Seems about right, top spy meeting secretly in public with Sessions at the GOP Convention, a small, quiet, private affair, no media, no cameras, no way anyone would notice. Then again in Session’s Senate Building offices where no one would possibly see them together. James Bond’s got nothing on old Serg!
And here’s the answer to the question raised on the show, why was the Russian Ambassador at the GOP Convention?
Buried lede: Why was the Russian Ambassador at the GOP Convention in the first place? An Obama administration initiative, reportedly. pic.twitter.com/zRPqyRsecq
Despite the relatively innocent optics of the two meetings between Sessions and Kislyak, Democrats are pretending to be shocked and appalled! A Senator meeting with an Ambassador, why that’s simply scandalous! “I’ve never met with a Russian Ambassador!” or something to that effect, squealed Senator Claire McCaskill. Guess that makes the person that runs Senator McCaskill’s twitter a liar, and potentially a Russian operative. One never can tell about these things you know.
Claire McCaskill says she’s had “no call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever.” But she tweeted about two. It’s easy to forget. pic.twitter.com/kavd29WOg5
Other Senators, most prominently, because he’s most likely to be in front of a camera at any given moment, is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. From Townhall:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s integrity after reports suggested he misled the Senate about his contact with Russian officials last year. He called for Sessions to resign.
“There cannot even be a shred of connection” between our attorney general and the Russian government in terms of our elections, Schumer said at a press conference on Thursday. The matter, he insisted, requires a special prosecutor. If that condition is not met, the senator said the Republican leadership must insist on an independent counsel to look into the situation.
That wasn’t the only ridiculous thing that Chuck blurted out in front of a camera this week. Shortly before President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress Chuck gave an interview to the Huffington Post in which he said the following about why he has changed his mind and no longer believes that he can work with President Trump:
“Trump, instead of doing where [sic] his campaign was, which was against both establishments, Democratic and Republican, so there might be some areas of common ground, has moved so far to the right that I don’t see any place we can work with him,” Schumer said. “He’s not even talking about infrastructure, he’s not talking about trade.”
Too bad for Chuck, President Trump devoted a fair amount of time to discussing both trade and infrastructure in his speech Tuesday night. Not only did Trump talk about them, but his position on infrastructure, let’s spend a ton of money on it!, seems like something Chucky would be on board with. Time will tell.
With the announcement of their joint book deal, the Obamas are well on their way to being billionaires. Neat huh? According to Fox News the former first couple will be banking $65M for working with a ghost writer, one assumes, to pen their memoirs.
Former President Barack Obama has inked a $65 million deal for his memoir, a joint agreement that also will include a book written by former first lady Michelle Obama.
It is the highest amount ever paid for a presidential memoir.
The deal, announced Tuesday by publisher Penguin Random House, will pay for the global rights to two books to be written separately by the former president and his wife, according to the Financial Times.
Good for them. Now can we have a national conversation about Presidential pensions?
What has the Republican Congress been working on while seemingly avoiding repealing ObamaCare? Seems they’ve been busy using The Congressional Review Act to undo last minute regulations the Obama administration implemented on their way out the door. From Roll Call:
Republicans in Congress are expected to send a stream of bills — most of which require a single sentence — to President Donald Trump’s desk, using a process known as the Congressional Review Act to repeal agency rules. The act was tucked into 1996 legislation tied to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s famous “Contract with America.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, at a press conference last week, joined a group of Republican leaders who have trumpeted using the CRA to roll back regulations put in place under President Barack Obama. The law allows Congress to repeal certain rules of the previous administration under a fast-track process that requires only a simple majority in the Senate. Congress generally has 60 days to begin repeal of those rules.
“We’re directly attacking the over-regulation issue, thanks to the Congressional Review Act, and plan to take as many of these job-killing regulations off the books as possible,” McConnell said. Earlier this month, the Kentucky Republican pointed to “nearly 40” major rules put out by the Obama administration “on its way out the door” that he said Congress could work with Trump to undo.
“This is probably the most underreported story in Washington today,” Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Glenn Thompson said at a press conference on Feb. 16, referring to the Republicans’ use of the CRA.
It’s nice to know they’re getting something accomplished.
Finally, there is some good news for people on Social Security who own or may in the future decide to purchase a firearm. Via Reason:
President Donald Trump signed a measure yesterday striking down a gun control regulation that compromised the rights of a small group of people on the basis of being classified by the Social Security Administration as having a mental illness.
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