Political News In Brief: Mar 16-20

Where’s the truth? Where’s the compassion? Today, reflecting on the two-month anniversary of Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the U.S., I find these primary human values missing – and it’s deeply disturbing. Here are just a few examples, gathered from recent Washington Post stories.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: THERE’S NO BASIS IN FACT TO TRUMP’S NOW INFAMOUS TWEET THAT OBAMA WIRETAPPED TRUMP TOWER

This morning (Mar 20) in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey clearly stated that the FBI has found no evidence to support Trump’s repeated assertion that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the presidential campaign. Comey, also speaking on behalf of the Justice Department, said, “I have no information that supports those tweets.” (“FBI Director,” WP)

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For the past two weeks, Trump and his allies have doubled-down on the Obama-wiretapped-Trump claim, recently citing their source as a Fox News host who, without any evidence, said that when Obama couldn’t get the U.S. intelligence agencies to wiretap Trump Tower, he had the British secret service do it. “Ridiculous,” the British responded – and during the hearing today, National Security Agency head Michael Rogers agreed.

Moreover, Comey made it clear that no president could request such surveillance from the NSA or any other intelligence agency – that’s not how it’s done.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies will continue their investigation into Russian interference – through hacking and dissemination of fake news – in our recent presidential campaign.

TRUMP GOES TWO FULL DAYS WITHOUT LYING (at least not publicly)

As Jake Tapper said to Bill Maher last Friday (Mar 17), Trump has a penchant for “peddling evidence-free conspiracy theories.” In fact, The Washington Post Fact-Checker tracked 247 false or misleading claims made by Trump during his first 56 days in office, on March 1st and 12th. (“Jake Tapper,” WP).

DON’T CUT MEALS ON WHEELS!

On Thursday (Mar 16), Trump released his proposed 2018 budget. Eliminating federal funding for Meals on Wheels is one of the of many uncompassionate cuts in the proposal. That afternoon during a news conference, his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, defended the proposal. Regarding the Meals program, which provides food aid to over 2.4 million needy seniors, Mulvaney claimed that it is “just not showing any results.”

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But this simply isn’t true. A 2013 review of research “found that home-delivered meal programs for seniors ‘significantly improve diet quality, increase nutrient intakes, and reduce food insecurity and nutritional risk among participants. Other beneficial outcomes include increased socialization opportunities, improvement in dietary adherence, and higher quality of life.’”

Meals on Wheels is highly cost effective. For example, it helps “seniors stay at home and out of costly nursing facilities. If you’re interested in keeping a lid on health-care costs, the importance of this finding can’t be overstated.” And it’s been found that “those receiving daily meals also experienced fewer falls and hospitalizations.” (“Meals on Wheels,” WP).

The 2018 federal budget process is just getting started. Surely members of congress will listen to their constituents and to their hearts and keep Meals on Wheels.

Photo credit: Image for The Washington Post “Can He Do That?,” a podcast series; Meals on Wheels photo by Leah Nash for The New York Times.

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