Trump Scolds NATO Allies Claiming They Owe Massive Sums -- Donald Trump continued to do Vladimir Putin's work at the NATO summit yesterday, scolding America's allies claiming they owe massive sums. Thus, he weakened the alliance in two different ways. First, he attacked the governments of financially strapped allies like Greece, Portugal and Spain for not spending money they don't have on defense. Second, his ignorance of NATO's machinery diminished the European members' belief that America's leadership knew what it was doing. The only winner here was Moscow. [26 May]
CBO Says Trumpcare Will Save Less, Insurer Fewer -- The Republicans in the House voted on their repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act before the Congressional Budget Office could run its analysis of just what it would mean. The Senate has announced it will likely draft its own version. That is probably wise because the CBO scoring came out yesterday. The American Health Care Act, as the House Republican plan was called, would save $119 billion over 10 years, down from $150 billion in a previous version. It would also insure 14 million fewer Americans next year, 23 million fewer Americans by 2026. As the CBO stated, "In 2026, an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law." It's a public health disaster. [25 May]
Trump's Budget Demands Cruel Cuts, Gets Math Wrong -- The Trump administration has put out its budget proposal, and Republicans in Congress have already said it is dead on arrival. That may be, but budgets reveal the true intent of a government. When money gets put where mouths are, values and priorities become clear. The Trump administration is intent on increasing the defense capacities of a sicker, poorer, more ignorant America. Not only that, it does so with poor arithmetic. [24 May]
Suicide Bombers Kills 22 at Manchester Concert -- The latest act of barbarism occurred late last night in Manchester, England. As a concert by pop star Ariana Grande had concluded and the kids were leaving, a suicide bomber took the lives of 22 people and injuring another 59 who had done nothing worse than attend a cultural event. Of the dead, 12 were kids under 16 years of age. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS] is claiming responsibility. One doubts ISIS actually planned and executed the murders; it's probably just taking credit for the actions of a few whom it may have inspired. That is what makes the current strategies against terror so ineffective. [23 May]
Iran Re-Elects Rouhani -- Iranians voted in their presidential elections on Friday, and they re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate on the Iranian political spectrum. His first-round victory with 57% of the vote gives him a mandate to move ahead with his opening of Iran to the outside. At the same time, however, President Trump spent the week-end in Saudi Arabia at a meeting of anti-Iranian world leaders. It may be that any olive branches offered by Mr. Rouhani will be rejected, and if so, he may be the last moderate elected for a long time. [22 May]
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