Current Events Write-Up: Surveillance of Trump’s Campaign, Welfare, Health Care, and Robert Osborne

Time for my weekly Current Events Write-Up!

Surveillance of Trump’s Campaign?

Transcript: ABC This Week for March 4, 2017.

ABC This Week last Sunday, of course, was focusing on Donald Trump’s claim that Barack Obama in 2016 wiretapped Trump’s campaign.  After enduring the propagandists for and against Trump, I was pleased to listen to Michael Mukasey, who served as President George W. Bush’s Attorney General.  Martha Raddatz, who interviewed him, said that Mukasay brought some clarity to the issue.  Mukasey stated:

“I think the president was not correct certainly in saying that President Obama ordered a tap on a server in Trump Tower. However, I think he’s right in that there was surveillance and that it was conducted at the behest of the attorney — of the Justice Department through the FISA court…I base that on news reports that you mentioned in the last spot. I also base it on kind of inadvertent blurting out by Adam Schiff that his committee wants to talk to the counterintelligence agents at the FBI who were involved in this. Now, what that means is this is part not of a criminal investigation, but of an intelligence gathering investigation…They tried to get — apparently tried to get a wiretap based on their criminal investigation function in June. That was turned down. They then tried to get, and got, an order permitting them to conduct electronic surveillance in October. This is October of 2016…It means there were some basis to believe that somebody in Trump Tower may have been acting as an agent of the Russians, for whatever purpose, not necessarily the election, but for some purpose.  And the FBI keeps track of people who act as agents of foreign governments. They keep track of people who act as agents of the Chinese, the Russians, the Israelis, everybody.”

Mukasey also disputed that the Russians wanted to get Trump elected, arguing that they had an another agenda in orchestrating the leaks against Hillary:

“The only crime I that have heard about or seen of that was committed was committed by the Russians when they hacked the DNC. They hacked John Podesta, and they tried to hack the Republican National Committee. That’s the only crime that I’m aware of.  Now, the question is of course is why was it committed? Some people say it was committed to promote the election of Donald Trump. I happen to think that is ridiculous. Because at the time that it had happened, Donald Trump looked like a sure loser. And you’d have to believe that Vladimir Putin was an idiot trying to back a sure loser. I think much more likely he was trying to intimidate a sure winner, Secretary Clinton.”

Welfare

Can Politicians Save the Welfare State by Urging or Even Subsidizing More Baby Making?, by Daniel Mitchell.

Libertarian economist Daniel Mitchell talks about how the welfare state in Europe may become unsustainable, since not enough babies are being born to support it when they become adults.  He doubts that government efforts there to encourage women to have babies will solve this.

Jacobin: The Myth of the Fiscal Conservative: Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place, by Amir Fleischmann.

Fleischmann makes the case that “Supporting social programs reduces government spending in the long run.”

Health Care

CNN Money: Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill: The winners and losers, by Tami Luhby.

This article breaks things down pretty clearly.

Reason: The one number that shows why any health care effort will fail.

I didn’t read the entire article, but the status explains why Obamacare has problems, and why the Ryan plan, if implemented, will have problems.  And people in the comments section tell their own horror stories about the American health care system.

Townhall: The Bizarre Regulatory Idolatry of the Patent Lobby, by Mytheos Holt.

I am pleased that conservative voices are challenging the high prices of big pharma, and the government policies that perpetuate them.

Deaths

MeTV: R.I.P. Film Historian Robert Osborne.

I only watched Turner Classic Movies occasionally, but I always liked Robert Osborne’s humble, low-key, and yet interesting introductions and conclusions to movies.

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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