FROM Dee Davis
Independence Day in a divided country The Pledge of Allegiance calls the US "indivisible," but that’s beginning to sound like wishful thinking. A century and a half since the Civil War, divisions remain between North and South, between cities and countryside. Democrats and Republicans are enemies. The fracturing of the media allows for different entertainment and news coverage-- reflecting different cultural values. And Donald Trump is the first American President to openly divide, rather than unify. What are the prospects for a Happy Fourth of July?
President Trump's opening offer America's deal-maker-in-chief has proposed a budget so draconian it's already called "dead on arrival" in Congress. Massive cuts in domestic programs would fund the biggest jump in military spending since Ronald Reagan faced down the Soviet Union. But many Republicans are disturbed that the biggest losers would be in rural areas where Trump himself won the most votes. Democrats are predictably outraged over threats to environmental protection and help for the working poor. The give-and-take is just beginning.
Does the Government Shutdown Matter Outside the Beltway? The government shutdown is having ripple effects beyond the furloughing of hundreds of thousands of federal workers. The CDC has delayed this year’s flu program; food-safety operations have been curtailed; so have some Head Start programs . Direct benefits to veterans and the disabled could be disrupted. If the debt ceiling’s not lifted, the world’s most powerful nation won’t pay its bills. But, despite the endless debate in Washington, that’s not what most people are talking about in New York City. In New York City and rural Kentucky, it’s hard to find people directly feeling the loss of government services. Elsewhere, it’s a different story.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?