by Countable | 3.20.17
It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:
"President Donald Trump is seeking what he called a "historic" 9 percent increase in military spending, even as the United States has wound down major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and remains the world's strongest military power."
"Trump will ask Congress to boost Pentagon spending in the next fiscal year by $54 billion in his first budget proposal and slash the same amount from non-defense spending, including a large reduction in foreign aid, a White House budget official said on Monday."
Read more at Reuters.
"The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday rejected reports that members of President Trump’s campaign team had regular contact with Russian officials. “There is no evidence that I’ve been presented [by the intelligence community] of regular contact with anybody in the Trump campaign," Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters.”
"Nunes's committee is investigating Russian efforts to influence U.S. presidential election, including any links between campaign officials and Moscow. The scope of the review has been under fierce scrutiny following Trump's dismissal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who misled Vice President Pence about the subject of a pre-inauguration call with the Russian ambassador, which included talk of sanctions against the country."
Read more at The Hill.
"The die seems cast for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as it becomes increasingly likely that the next Ecuadorean president will be Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker now holding the lead for the April 2 runoff election. Lasso has vowed repeatedly that as president he would evict the alleged whistle-blower from their embassy in London, where Assange has lived for the last four and a half years."
"The Ecuadorean people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear," Lasso told The Guardian a few weeks ago. “We will cordially ask Mr. Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate.” Assange, who is Australian, is wanted by U.S. authorities for publishing scores of classified documents back in 2010.”
Read more at Fox News.
"A Supreme Court argument on Monday about whether North Carolina may bar registered sex offenders from using Facebook, Twitter and similar services turned into a discussion of how thoroughly social media have transformed American civic discourse."
"The justices’ remarks, which indicated easy familiarity with the major social media services, suggested that they would strike down the North Carolina law under the First Amendment. The North Carolina law makes it a crime for registered sex offenders to use many commercial websites that allow the exchange of information and do not limit their membership to adults."
Read more at the New York Times.
"Mexico’s top trade negotiator doubled down on threats to break off talks to rework Nafta, saying his country will walk away if the U.S. insists on slapping duties or quotas on any products from south of the border. “The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars,’ I
get up from the table," Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview. "Bye-bye.””
"This doesn’t mean, Guajardo emphasized, that Mexico would be looking to scrap Nafta. But by saying it refuses to even discuss the kind of tariffs President Donald Trump has long trumpeted, the country is ratcheting up the pressure on U.S. negotiators and effectively daring them to pull out of the 23-year-old pact."
*Read more at Bloomberg. *
"After arguing for nearly six years that Texas’ voter ID law intentionally discriminated against minorities, the U.S. Department of Justice has informed the other plaintiffs in the case it has abandoned that position. The decision comes one day before the DOJ and the other plaintiffs were scheduled to make their latest arguments against the ID law."
"“I think it is clearly a retreat from voting rights," said Danielle Lang, deputy director of voting rights for The Campaign Legal Center, which represents plaintiffs in the case. She said her organization has been “raising alarm bells” about new Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ willingness to protect voting rights since he was nominated.””
Read more at ProPublica.
— Erin Wright
(Photo Credit: U.S. Missile Defense Agency via Flickr / Creative Commons)
Written by Countable
We already spend more on defense than the next several countries combined. Boosting defense spending on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens is not the answer. We should focus on peace through strength and diplomacy. If 1/5 of the DOD budget was reallocated we could eliminate global hunger and curable disease on the planet and this would go a long way for us to all be safer.
Our military does not need more money. Our social and domestic services DO. The military needs cleaning out to ensure that the money pouring into it is being used where it is actually needed.
Why exactly does military spending need to be increased when it already accounts for half the national budget? Why do social services need to be slashed when they make up only a few percent of the budget? How can we afford tax cuts for the rich if we can't feed the poor, provide for vets, and support the elderly? It's clear that Trump wants a war, and has only to choose a target. Ramping up military spending while griping that America "doesn't win wars anymore" says it all. Trump is all about winning regardless of cost. If he can profit from war, and be taxed less, so much the better. Let the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the vets die. Profits for the rich is his agenda.
If there is legitimate need to increase military spending--to modernize, to replace obsolete technology--then explain it to us with evidence. Absent this, the increase appears wholly unnecessary. Our military and its budget are huge. Further, to remove environmental protections at a time when climate change is beginning to impact American security and endanger us at an economic level is fundamentally foolish and dangerous. Aircraft carriers won't stop floods and droughts and a rise in CO2 emissions. Unchecked climate change will make life on this planet impossible for our grandchildren.
Our country doesn't need a bigger war machine. It needs to focus on education and infrastructure, two areas where we have fallen far behind.
We already spend more than any other country on defense. Do not cut EPA, State Department or any other budget to spend more on defense.
Please vote against increasing the military budget. The last thing our economy needs is to up the Military industrial complex. Will it create jobs......nope. Will it help the VA........nope. Will it help all the baby boomers into retirement ......nope.
There is no reason to increase the military budget, we already spend FAR too much on the military while ignoring schools and veterans. Is he preparing for war? Please resist these terrible policies.
We do not need to spend MORE money on defense! We need to focus on providing a high quality education for every child, reversing climate change, and equal rights for all.
There is no way I will support an increase in military spending when we already have the largest military budget in the world, the DOD is not audited and has lost trillions of dollars, Mr. Trump is alienating most of our allies and poking a stick at most of the rest of the countries, wants to spend billions on a useless wall but nothing on Science, Healthcare, the Environment, Social Security, Education, Poverty, civil Rights, or the Arts. So just what exactly is worth fighting for and just who are you going to get to fight since you insult the veterans at every turn, dishonor their families and don't bother to treat them when they come home. No I won't support this increase in budget and you should be ashamed of yourself if you do.
Please make the spending priority be for public health and education and infrastructure rather than more military spending.
I do not want funding for a larger military. I want universal healthcare, expanded funding for education and social programs to protect the poor and underprivileged.
Do not support another increase in military spending. It is time to pass an infrastructure bill.
If you can't afford to care for the vets we have, stop spending money sending more off to wars that didn't need to happen in the first place. Why not spend the money on education.
Please reject the Trump budget. We already spend too much on the military. We are better than a MILITARY DICTATORSHIP. America is a shining light to the world. Don't reject those values that make it so.
We do not need this.
There is no need to increase the spending for military. You should cut expensive programs such as outsourced services that could be done in house. The money for the increase needs to go to healthcare for the poor.
Do not approve big spending for weapons. Do bolster veterans health care.
We DO NOT need to expand our military spending when it will come from citing education and other much more important departments and programs. Americans are tired of our endless wars.
Take care of our Veterans! We don't need more nuclear weapons! Impeach this President!