LIMBAUGH – Donald @ NATO; FOX – Gianforte wins; TESTFAYE –VA appeals court; McCARTHY – Obama spied on you; ORDONEZ – NATO’s climate; UK EXPRESS – Jihadis strike Phillipines; BREITBART – Copts murdered.
PA: KNEPPER – School dollars; SNYDER – Politics PA
RECOMMENDED: Zero Hedge; Hannity on Health Care.
Rush Limbaugh, Trump at NATO
“. . . THE PRESIDENT: NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations. But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.
“RUSH: And they’re standing there, they’re all there. The big NATO conference, Trump’s up there, he’s headlining it, they’re all standing there snickering. They’re looking at each other, hee-hee-hee-hee, pointing at him. Not literally, but you can just see their faces, what a doofus, what an absolute bubkes, this guy doesn’t have the slightest idea how the world works. What a joke. You can see it on their faces. Trump was not finished.
“THE PRESIDENT: If all NATO members had spent just 2% of their GDP on defense last year, we would have another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves. We should recognize that with these chronic underpayments and growing threats, even 2% of GDP is insufficient to close the gaps in modernizing readiness and the size of forces. And I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost. I refused to do that. But it is beautiful. . .”
Peter Morici, Market Watch: “Opinion: Trump’s mad-genius budget cuts the bloat that’s strangling us”
HT – Jim Bohannon, WEEU!
“Bold plan would invigorate the economy and banish pessimism and debt
“President Donald Trump’s budget is at once madness and genius.
“It reaches far beyond what Congress will approve and defies what economics textbooks say should happen. However, if its essential provisions are preserved, the plan would avert fiscal calamity, and restore prosperity and hope for the nation’s most struggling citizens.
At its core, it proposes to cut the bloat in discretionary government programs and entitlements — things voter-pandering moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats are wont to protect — and balance the budget.
“Keynesian economics says the latter should tank the economy. However, government profligacy has its stimulative limits. Spending and taxing can go beyond boosting demand to strangling supply by killing the very will to work and invest.
Trump’s budget strikes the steel stake at midnight to the heart of this vampire.
Interest on the national debt and entitlements — Social Security and Medicare for the elderly and support programs for the poor and the disabled — account for about two-thirds of the federal budget.
“Many of these are so abused—the number of working-age adults on Social Security disability has jumped to a startling 1 in 20—that we have gone from assisting the unemployed to paying people not to work. Labor-force participation and hence labor-force growth remain painfully depressed.
“The taxes that support all this are so burdensome on entrepreneurs (the top 20% of earners pay 87% of taxes) and on corporations (America sports one of the highest effective tax rates among major industrialized nations) that businesses are not investing in the next wave.
“Robots and artificial intelligence are not killing too many jobs but rather businesses are not investing in enough of them, productivity growth is sinking, and American industry continues to lose its competitive edge.
“Based on continued low labor-force and productivity growth, the Congressional Budget Office projects 1.9% growth over the next decade—that is roughly in line with the average progress of the economy in this century through both expansions and recessions.
Consequently entitlements and interest payments are projected to consume virtually all federal tax revenue by 2027. Then foreign creditors would not be so eager to lend to Uncle Sam as they are today, and a Greek-style meltdown cannot be ruled out.
“The Trump budget leaves intact essential benefits to seniors—old age pensions and Medicare—but goes after programs like food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security disability programs. These were originally intended to aid poor children, mothers and the genuinely infirm but thanks to changes in laws and enforcement in the wake of the financial crisis, those have been opened to able-bodied adults—even those who refuse to work.
“Be clear—Trumps cuts are not aimed at denying poor infants their formula or sustenance to their mothers!
“The history of introducing work requirements into food stamps and welfare indicates that those move people off the rolls or at least make them less dependent on handouts. Workforce participation and incomes go up and poverty goes down.
Sometimes less does equal more! . . .”
Fox: “Greg Gianforte wins: Republican apologizes to reporter who accused him of assault”
“Republican Greg Gianforte, who won Montana’s special election Thursday just one day after being charged with assault, used part of his victory speech to apologize to the reporter he confronted.
“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it. That’s the Montana way,” Gianforte told a crowd who came out to celebrate his victory over Democratic rival Rob Quist.
“Last night I made a mistake, and I took an action that I can’t take back, and I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I’m sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I am sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs.”
“It had been unclear if Gianforte’s assault charge would impact the race. About a third of eligible voters in Montana had already cast their ballots in early voting, and others said it didn’t influence their vote. . .”
Sophia Tesfaye, Salon: “Virginia federal appeals court bans Trump’s second Muslim travel ban”
“. . .In a 10-3 ruling, the federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, noted that President “Trump’s power to deny entry to immigrants, while ‘broad,’ isn’t ‘absolute.’
“[A]n Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another. Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked
“Trump’s revised ban ‘cannot be divorced from the cohesive narrative linking it to the animus that inspired it,’ Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote.
“Thursday’s decision clears the way for Trump to appeal to the Supreme Court.”
Also: David French, NRO: “The Fourth Circuit Distorts the Law to Defeat Trump’s Travel Ban”
“A strange madness is gripping the federal judiciary. It is in the process of crafting a new standard of judicial review, one that does violence to existing precedent, good sense, and even national security for the sake of defeating Donald Trump. We’ll call this new jurisprudence “Trumplaw,” and its latest victim is once again the so-called Trump travel ban. The perpetrator is the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. . .”
Andrew McCarthy, NRO: “Explosive Revelation of Obama Administration Illegal Surveillance of Americans”
“During the Obama years, the National Security Agency intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines implemented pursuant to federal law.
“The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States. While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“The administration’s stonewalling about the scope of the violation induced an exasperated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to accuse the NSA of ‘an institutional lack of candor’ in connection with what the court described as “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.” (The court is the federal tribunal created in 1978 by FISA; it is often referred to as a “secret court” because proceedings before it are classified and ex parte — meaning only the Justice Department appears before the court.)
“The FISA-court opinion is now public, available here. The unlawful surveillance was first exposed in a report at Circa by John Solomon and Sara Carter, who have also gotten access to internal, classified reports. The story was also covered extensively Wednesday evening by James Rosen and Bret Baier on Fox News’s Special Report.
“According to the internal reports reviewed by Solomon and Carter, the illegal surveillance may involve more than 5 percent of NSA searches of databases derived from what is called ‘upstream’ collection of Internet communications.
“As the FISA court explains, upstream collection refers to the interception of communications “as they transit the facilities of an Internet backbone carrier.” These are the data routes between computer networks. The routes are hosted by government, academic, commercial, and similar high-capacity network centers, and they facilitate the global, international exchange of Internet traffic. Upstream collection from the Internet’s “backbone,” which accounts for about 9 percent of the NSA’s collection haul (a massive amount of communications), is distinguished from interception of communications from more familiar Internet service providers.
“Upstream collection is a vital tool for gathering intelligence against foreign threats to the United States. It is, of course, on foreign intelligence targets — non-U.S. persons situated outside the U.S. — that the NSA and CIA are supposed to focus. Foreign agents operating inside the U.S. are mainly the purview of the FBI, which conducts surveillance of their communications through warrants from the FISA court — individualized warrants based on probable cause that a specific person is acting as an agent of a foreign power.
“The NSA conducts vacuum intelligence-collection under a different section of FISA — section 702. It is inevitable that these section 702 surveillance authorities will incidentally intercept the communications of Americans inside the United States if those Americans are communicating with the foreign target. This does not raise serious Fourth Amendment concerns; after all, non-targeted Americans are intercepted all the time in traditional criminal wiretaps because they call, or are called by, the target. But FISA surveillance is more controversial than criminal surveillance because the government does not have to show probable cause of a crime — and when the targets are foreigners outside the U.S., the government does not have to make any showing; it may target if it has a legitimate foreign-intelligence purpose, which is really not much of a hurdle at all. . .
“Thus, the minimization procedures were ratcheted up. The most significant change, as the FISA court opinion relates, was that the revised “procedures categorically prohibited NSA analysts from using U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collection” (emphasis added).
“This meant the NSA was not supposed to use an American’s phone number, e-mail address, or other ‘identifier’ in running searches through its upstream database.
“It is this prohibition that the NSA routinely and extensively violated. Evidently, there was widespread use of American identifiers throughout the years after the 2011 revision of the minimization procedures. The violation was so broad that, at the time the Obama administration ended, its scope had still not been determined. . . (emph added, jb)”
Franco Ordonez, McClatchy: “Trump talks terrorism while Europe shouts ‘Climate!’”
“Trump arrived to this seaside community late Thursday for the Group of Seven conference where allies will talk about a series of issues from trade to Russia. But Trump’s position on the Paris accord—particularly his pledge to leave the accord—is one of the most urgent matters for European leaders, who are committed to keep the Americans involved.
“Ever since he left the Middle East, Trump has been reminded how important the issue is to U.S. friends in Europe.
“At the Vatican, Pope Francis handed Trump his 181-page encyclical, “Laudato Si” (“Praise Be”), that largely blames man for climate change.
“The Paris agreement challenges countries of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. The accord, which went into force in November 2016, is considered the world’s most comprehensive plan to date for fighting climate change. . .”
UK Express: “’Facing an ‘ISIS invasion’ Jihadis from Indonesia and Malaysia wreak havoc in Philippines”
“INDONESIANS and Malaysians were among foreign Jihadists battling the military after laying siege to a southern Philippine city, the government said today, in a rare admission of what it said was an Islamic State ‘invasion’.
“The army has deployed attack helicopters and special forces to drive rebels of the Islamic State-linked Maute group out of Marawi City and Malaysians and Indonesians and other foreigners were among six guerrillas killed on Thursday.
“The announcement elevates the threat of what experts and the military say are moves by Islamic State to exploit the poverty and lawlessness of predominantly Muslim Mindanao island to establish a base for extremists from Southeast Asia and beyond.
“‘What’s happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens,’ Solicitor General Jose Calida told a news conference. . .”
Breitbart: “Report: Gunmen Massacre Coptic Christians in Egypt, Killing at Least 26”
“CAIRO (AP) — Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including many children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 26 and wounding 25, the Interior Ministry said.
“No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group.
“Islamic militants have for years been waging an insurgency mostly centered in the restive northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, although a growing number of attacks have recently also taken place on the mainland.
“The assault happened while the bus was traveling on a side road in the desert leading to the remote monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Maghagha, in Minya governorate, about 220 kilometers (140 miles) south of Cairo.
“Security officials quoted witnesses as saying they saw between eight and 10 attackers, dressed in military uniforms and wearing masks. The victims were en route from the nearby province of Beni Suef to visit the monastery. . .”
CAP – Leo Knepper, “School District Reserves Top $4.4 Billion Statewide”
“The amount of money held by school districts in “reserve” has more than doubled over the last ten years according to a new report by the Commonwealth Foundation. At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, district reserves were over $4.4 billion. According to that same report, there were 13 school districts who held more than 20 percent of their budget in reserves and requested property tax increases well above the limit established by the Department of Education. Not only did they request higher taxes, they did it between eight and ten times in a ten year period. In other words, the school districts could operate on their savings accounts for more than 20 percent of the year, but still wanted taxpayers to pad the accounts even more.
“One of the names on the list, Lower Merion School District, has been sued by local taxpayers for their budget practices. A Commonwealth Judge found their budget practices so egregious that the district was ordered to roll back their 2016 tax increase. despite a $56 million reserve fund, Lower Merion is seeking a tax increase again this year that exceeds the state cap.
“The worst offenders among schools seeking unnecessary tax increases are not confined geographically. Rather, it seems that there is a systemic problem among school boards. It is hard to argue against keeping a rainy day fund in reserve. At some point, the reserve fund becomes an insult to taxpayers. Although school district finances do not garner the same attention as national, or even state-level scandals, understanding how they are spending your money is vital.
“To see how your local school district stacks up, take a few minutes and review the financial data collected by the Department of Education. You will probably be surprised by what you find.”
Sy Snyder, Politics PA, 5-26-17
Teresa Miller. It was announced this week that current Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller will take the lead of the merged Department of Health and Human Services. Miller would jump ahead of the current heads of the four agencies that would be merged, Departments of Aging; Drug and Alcohol Programs; Health; and Human Services.
Kevin Haggerty. State Representative Kevin Haggerty had a protection from abuse taken out against him by his wife late last week after he allegedly threw a water bottle at her head.
Karen Murphy. Health Secretary Karen Murphy announced this week that she is resigning from her position to join the private sector. Murphy has overseen the first steps of medical marijuana implementation in Pennsylvania, and helped battle the opioid epidemic.
Ed Rendell. Former Governor Ed Rendell is still coming under fire for the decision of the DNC Host Committee to use part of their surplus to pay for bonuses for volunteers and staff. Rendell was sent a letter this week asking him to testify before the Appropriations committee about where the state should support events like the DNC in the future.
Pennsylvania IDs. Pennsylvanians looking to get on a plane or into federal buildings will no longer need a separate form of ID with the passage of Senate Bill 133 that repeals the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act and creates the Pennsylvania REAL ID Compliance Act which will put Pennsylvania in line with federal law. While Pennsylvanians will have a choice between an ID that fall in line with federal regulations and a regular ID, for those who do not want to get a passport the choice helps.
Internet Gambling. The state Senate passed a bill that would legalize internet gambling, including purchasing lottery tickets online and fantasy sports
Ted Christian. It was learned this week that Donald Trump’s State Director Ted Christian went through the entire campaign battling prostate cancer. He had surgery over Thanksgiving and has been given a clean bill of health.
Strongly Recommended: Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge. Email available!
Health Care – Hannity: Josh Umber Sites
The map below contains a listing of public addresses and website links to 607 DPC practice locations in 47 states + DC (we still have not located any DPC practices in North Dakota, South Dakota, or Iowa,). Website readers should note that these practices met our three part definition of DPC, although they may not always self-describe as DPC. Both “Pure” DPC practices and DPC hybrids are included in the mapper, and they are now color coded! I’m happy to report that over 70% of the practices in the mapper are known to be pure.
Pure = Green Icon
Unknown = Yellow Icon
Hybrid = Red Icon