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Sunday, 23 February 2020 22:54

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor,

Seems so simple!! I HATE the "climate change" HOAX!!

The same crew did the same thing with acid rain, the Ozone layer scare, Global cooling, droughts and deserts consuming the planet.

Every 10 years this Progressive (anything but progressive) power hungry party scares all the young and vulnerable masses to believe the sky is falling.
We always laugh and say " no one will believe it".

Then comes Al Gore. A scorn, dishonest politician with corrupt science. And yes, he edited all of the initial research just to scare the fools.


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If you do your home work you will be educated like Maggie here.

Lisa Burke

A free society cannot function without vibrant professional newspapers. In light of that truism, the latest dire news for the industry -- that McClatchy newspapers, publisher of The Kansas City Star, the Belleville News-Democrat and almost 30 other newspapers in 14 states across America, is filing for bankruptcy -- should worry every American who cares about our democracy. In this era of politics whereby many see mainstream media as the enemy, real journalism needs all the public support it can get.

The good news is that McClatchy, a 163-year-old family-owned company that also publishes The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee and a host of other legacy newspapers, says the bankruptcy won't immediately affect its newsrooms. The bad news is, recent history indicates that will be a difficult promise to keep.

The chain's bankruptcy plan would give it breathing room from $700 million in debt to strengthen its digital business while operating under the control of its longtime creditor, hedge fund Chatham Asset Management. Hedge fund control of newspapers is a concerning trend, given the funds' penchant for slashing labor-intensive journalism operations to goose short-term profits. Meanwhile, the consolidation of thousands of previously separate, often family-owned newspapers under a relative handful of corporate owners raises dire questions about journalistic independence.

At the root of the problem lies the internet, which has flooded society with so much free information that getting people to pay for it via newspaper subscriptions is an increasingly difficult pitch. There's a huge difference between serious professional journalism offered by newspapers and the unreliable or irrelevant (or worse) noise that fills so much of cyberspace under the "news" label. An information-inundated public doesn't always see the difference.

A president who routinely brings attention to fake news doesn't help the newspapers that are doing a good job , but this crisis long predates Donald Trump. According to a report last year by PEN America, weekday U.S. newspaper circulation since 2008 has fallen by about 36%. Think about that: How many industries could absorb the loss of more than a third of their core business in a little over a decade?

"One problem with losing local coverage is that we never know what we don't know," notes Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan. "Corruption can flourish, taxes can rise, public officials can indulge their worst impulses." We're seeing those worst impulses today from Washington to Naples -- but we're only seeing them because of professional journalism.

We wish the best for our competitor-colleagues and we encourage their readers to keep reading -- and subscribing.

McClatchy's problems, and those of the entire newspaper industry, are unlike other evolutionary market changes because of their unique threat to democracy.

When the horse-drawn buggy gave way to the automobile, craftsmen lost their livelihoods and a way of life disappeared, but it didn't endanger the healthy functioning of our republic. This does.


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The Florida House on Thursday afternoon is poised to adopt a bill that will require girls under the age of 18 to get parental consent before they legally can have an abortion.

The House on Wednesday sent Senate Bill 404 to its third reading after a three-hour, often testy, debate in which the outcome never was in doubt, teeing it up for Thursday’s likely adoption.

SB 404, which was sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and passed the Senate on Jan. 30 in a 23-17 vote, substituted its House companion, House Bill 265, filed by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach.

The bill potentially could be signed into law within days by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has identified the measure as a legislative priority, making Florida the sixth state in the nation to require parental consent for a minor to have an abortion.

When SB 404 was introduced onto the Senate floor Jan. 30, it was contested fiercely by Democrats, who submitted 28 floor amendments – none of which gained any traction in the chamber.

House Democrats, who never took a caucus position on the bill because several of its 47 members supported it – Rep. Kim Daniels of Jacksonville cosponsored Grall’s measure – challenged the measure with 13 proposed amendments, all of which failed.

Among proposed changes were expanding access to the measure’s judicial bypass; allowing other adults and family members, such as grandparents and mental-health counselors, to provide consent; and exemptions for rape, incest and human-trafficking victims.

Rep. Javier Fernandez, D-Coral Gables, pounded the proposal for privacy intrusions, predicting the law will spur expensive lawsuits the state will lose.

Grall said parents’ fundamental right to raise their children – and their responsibilities in ensuring their children's well-being – supersedes a minor child’s “not unfettered” right to privacy.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, said LGBTQ youth and “young women at the margins” often have strained relationships with parents, adding he's skeptical they could get parental consent and could secure judicial waivers, making “challenging decisions” even more complicated for already overwhelmed, reluctant parents.

The Florida Supreme Court struck down the state’s parental-consent law in 1989. Current state law requires parents be notified only if an unemancipated minor daughter plans an abortion.

A last-ditch amendment by Democrats to exempt rape, incest and human-trafficking victims from the waiver requirement was shot down.

Grall said the exemption was unnecessary, stating any girl facing such a circumstance should “go in front of a judge and explain what happened to her,” which would kick-start a range of services she could be eligible for to be protected.

“Very few judicial waivers are not granted,” Grall said, adding the bypass was created to provide “an opportunity to explain what it is she wants to do.”

Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, said he wondered, “Will there be an uptick in the number of young people seeing back-alley abortions if this bill passes.” It was uncertain whether he was asking a question or making a statement.

Under SB 404, a parent or legal guardian must grant consent – not merely be notified – before a minor obtains an abortion.

Both bills include a judicial bypass that allows an unemancipated girl to seek permission from a judge within three days for an abortion if she cannot get consent from her parents. There also are exemptions for medical emergencies.

The bill would make it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, for “aborting infants born alive.”

John Haughey
The Center Square

Sunday, 23 February 2020 22:35

Calusa Palooza 2020




Calusa Palooza 2020, a daylong, family friendly, water-themed festival culminating with a double-header rock show from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 22, (save the date) in Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers.

During the week prior to the Calusa Palooza festival and Concert for Clean Water, Keep Lee County Beautiful, in partnership with Calusa Waterkeeper, will spearhead the largest-ever cleanup of our waterways in our region’s history, from March 14-22. For more information on the cleanup call 239- 784-0880 or go to:

The music headliner is an original national touring Eagles tribute band, 'Hotel California'. They have been playing Eagles hits since 1986, Also performing will be St. Petersburg favorites Elly and Company.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day starts in Centennial Park with a family friendly, educational activities themed around clean water fun, including a nature workshop, kayak and paddleboard races, paleontology exhibit, master naturalist
exhibit, boating safety training, fishing tutorial for kids, Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger testing demo, rowing demonstration (on-land), musical entertainment, even a live mermaid show. There will be vendors, food trucks and more.

Then at 4 p.m., the Concert for Clean Water will begin, a ticketed music festival 'Calusa Palooza' Elly and Company will play a plethora of country, rock, blues, ’60s surf and R&B music on the main stage from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by the headlining Hotel California performing from 7 to 9 p.m. with food trucks, vendors and beer sales.

“Calusa Palooza has something for everyone,” said Calusa Waterkeeper executive director and event producer KC Schulberg. “We’re thrilled to bring the entire community together for fun activities and a rock concert along the waterfront, all to support clean water.”

Early bird tickets for the Concert for Clean Water featuring both rock bands are currently available, starting at $18 for general admission. The early bird $35 VIP tickets include access to front-of-stage seating. Chairs will be provided. The early bird $50 VIP Plus parking tickets include premium parking within 400 feet of the stage, plus front-of-stage seating and chairs. There is free admission for children under 10 years of age. To purchase tickets or for more information on the event: Sponsorship opportunities are still available.


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Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees told a Senate committee Tuesday that the state has established protocols and procedures to contain the coronavirus should there be an outbreak.

“There are no cases of novel coronavirus – COVID-19 – in Florida,” Rivkees said, adding the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) rates the risk of an outbreak “as low.”

Rivkees said 17 Floridians have been tested for the virus. None has proven infected.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is “fully engaged” with the CDC and county health departments, he said. There are incident-management teams in place and ready to respond should a case be diagnosed, he said.

If people of interest are identified, they will be tested, placed in home isolation and monitored, Rivkees said, noting the DOH has a page on its website dedicated to coronavirus information.

The CDC is sending Florida and other states new test kits, he said, after previously provided kits produced inconclusive results or none at all.

“We’ll have lab testing” capacity soon, Rivkees said. “The kits are being remanufactured and reissued.”

Dr. John Sinnott, chairman of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine at Tampa General Hospital and director of the Florida Infectious Disease Institute, said to prevent an outbreak, the “single most important thing is hand-washing” and “surface cleaning; this virus lives up to nine days on inanimate objects.”

Sinnott said doctors’ offices and medical facilities must “ensure ventilator equipment is properly cleaned” and workplaces and schools can take measures to reduce risks.

“If you are sick with fever and cough, for God’s sake, don’t go to work,” he said, suggesting employers consider teleworking and “staggering shifts,” while schools reduce “class mixing” and install “more hand-sanitizer stations.”

“No. 1, everyone should have a flu shot,” Sinnott said. “The flu is an immediate threat to Florida’s population right now.”

More than 31 million Americans have been diagnosed with the flu this winter, which is expected to cause 25,000 deaths nationwide, he said.

“We don’t want to be distracted by Wuhan when we have something serious going on right here,” Sinnott said.

Coronavirus likely will fade with warming weather, Sinnott said, but that is uncertain.

“I have suspicions some (transmissions) may be airborne,” he said, fearing “the virus can hover 12-24 hours” in the air.

Rivkees cautioned the CDC has not confirmed the virus can spread airborne nor has it determined “the notion you can get the virus from a surface.”

Rivkees and Sinnott emphasized the CDC and DOH immediately will report any documented cases of coronavirus.

“It has to be transparent. We cannot cover this up,” Sinnott said, because “self-protection is critical” and people must know “how to protect themselves.”

“If there is a confirmed case, it will absolutely be reported to the public,” Rivkees said.

What won’t be reported, Rivkees said, are specifics about people who are under investigation because “patient confidentiality is very hugely valued by the state.”

Sinnott said much remains uncertain about the virus.

“I may be talking to you about an incredibly serious global pandemic or I may be talking to you about a localized Asian phenomena,” he said. “We just don’t know.”

John Haughey
The Center Square

Sunday, 23 February 2020 22:27

The Right Side: Lying Under Oath To Congress

Fifty one years ago (this week), I took an oath to protect, defend, preserve the Constitution and to enforce the laws of the United States. I assume FBI Agents McCabe, Strzok, Page, Director Comey and the others involved in Obstructing Justice in a Prosecutorial FBI Investigation, Conspiring to Obstruct Justice, Conspiring to commit treason, Committing Treason, Hobbs Act- Political Corruption, Perjury and numerous other Crimes against the US…all took the same oath.

When someone who swore to enforce the laws of the US lies ,under oath, to Congress it’s not quite the same as Martha Steward lying to James Comey, then US Attorney, about insider trading or whatever Papadopoulos is accused of lying about to the FBI. It’s not the same for VERY big reasons…these former FBI people were not lying about non substantive, minor, illegal criminal acts…these heroes lied to control a Presidential election and remove a duly elected President! That is numerous Federal Crimes…possibly even Treason…a death penalty case!

They Interfered in a Presidential election…they attempted to overthrow a legal, Presidential election and overthrow our Rule of Law and to insure that they retained their high paying jobs and power (aiding and abetting all our enemies), and they did it with the assistance of Foreign Agents Christopher Steele and his Russian sources. They attempted to insure that Hillary Clinton, specifically, won the Presidential election, and when their Plans failed, they tried to remove a duly elected president!

In my opinion, they likely Conspired with members of Congress to illegally attempt to remove this President by “Weaponising” Congress, in an all-out, desperate, last attempt at removal by impeachment with anonymous, second hand information, no evidence and denying this President his Constitutional Rights (6th Amendment) to Due Process; specifically, denied the rights to confront witnesses against him, legal representation, and being able to present his own witnesses.

Funny…but that’s precisely how Socialist, Islamic Sharia Law works…ask Omar…she knows!
One of the most respected legal scholars on Constitutional law, Alan Dershowitz, said, “If Congress votes to Impeach on the evidence they put forth, it will be a violation of the Constitution, and illegal”.

They did and it was, no matter what Senator Schumer wants to believe and claim!

So we all must realize that when the press claims or James Comey and Andy McCabe claim they have been “cleared”…it’s not quite true. DOJ decided “not to prosecute” on a very, small part of the bigger picture…they are far from out of the dog house.

Hopefully, AG Barr will smarten up and not present ANYTHING more to the “swamp” District …WDC. The DC District makes the 9th Circuit look Conservative…I guess Mr. Barr doesn’t know that!

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J.Gary DiLaura
Retired FBI


Andy McCabe was the 1st Assistant to the FBI Director, James Comey and he ran the FBI when Comey wasn’t available and would/should have been cognizant of most everything FBI Director Comey knew, so he could step in, if needed. So let’s agree that he knew that the former Secretary of State was the “Subject” of an FBI criminal investigation, by definition. The FBI doesn’t do “matter” investigations, nor noncriminal (except background investigations on applicants, appointments), and by definition…an investigation always has subject(s) who are the individuals being investigated! AND HQ never investigates anything. The FBI Field Office in DC, WFO, covers all HQ leads! Without subjects, there is no case! We don’t investigate empty space, only people… some with empty space between their ears!

There are MANY “things” that McCabe said and did that would make a normal Citizen believe that McCabe violated several Federal Laws. I personally doubt that you will find ANY retired, informed, experienced Criminal FBI Agents who would believe that McCabe should NOT be charged for his crimes! For example, he said under oath that he leaked information to the press about current investigations and then lied about leaking under oath, to Congress…he said he was ordered to do that by Comey…Comey said ,”Oh boy, oh no”. So what to do? How about a Grand Jury investigation and a trial, that’s why we have such things and, oh yes, Laws, that one is against Perjury.
Allow me to go on….McCabe, according to him, was in charge of the Hillary Clinton investigations; then who made Headquarters (HQ) the Office of Origin (OO) and deleted her name from the Title as, “Subject”?

Remember, FBI Headquarters does not have an investigative staff, that’s why only FBI Field Offices are EVER named OO. That’s so very important because whoever did that was attempting to micro-manage the Clinton cases and distance/remove Clinton from criminal responsibility for her actions. In my opinion, that was Comey’s call, to micro-manage the cases…there’s no other plausible reason. That’s Obstruction of Justice in a pending Prosecutorial proceeding. The Field ALWAYS investigates and HQ ALWAYS second guesses. That’s what HQ does best!
Both the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and FBI Rules apply differently to Subjects and NON-Subjects…to treat a Subject as a Non subject demands different Rules and Laws. Non- subjects are not generally given their rights…subjects mostly are. If you screw up and DON’T tell a Subject their Rights, you could easily get the case thrown out for not giving a “Subject”, their rights, Due Process.. Did Strzok tell her, her rights? I’m sure …NOT! It’s okay, because she didn’t say anything incriminating …or did she…did she lie to Strzok? Is that lie admissible? Ask the expert Strzok or his boss McCabe. Shouldn’t we have Grand Jury testimony to see who will lie on that one? Or does the District of Columbia US Attorney not believe a conspiracy with overt acts to swing a Presidential election or over throw the Presidency, is important enough to thoroughly investigate and then INDICT? Also, when Hillary kept saying, “I am not the “subject” of an FBI investigation,” I knew something was amiss! She had to have inside information and I thought, from AG Lynch…wrong…it was ,in my opinion, FBI Comey, the snake.
Both or all 3 or 4 or however many there were trying to overthrow our government, must be, not important enough. We did spend $35 million on Mueller’s Special investigation, which proved the whole investigation was a fabrication to overthrow our Rule of Law.…why not a few million on an investigation, where there is evidence of corruption, to see which one; McCabe, Strzok, Comey lied under oath…they all did…but they DECLINE prosecution…?

McCabe and Strzok directed that investigation to intentionally disrupt/corrupt the prosecution and corrupt the evidence…were they directed by Comey or operating on their own? Mr Barr, you claim you know Comey well, which is it…I know and never met the man. Why isn’t a Grand Jury investigation working to get to the bottom or isn’t it important to find out who committed Conspiracy to commit Treason?

According to all FBI policy, nobody is allowed in the interview room of a subject (let there be no doubt, Hillary was the Subject) especially her Attorney(s), another potential Subject (Cheryl Mills) or a witness (Cheryl Mills). So who allowed that? Before any lawyer gets into an interview with his client there must be a proffer, immunity agreement and GJ testimony to what the client/subject will testify, no exceptions, unless you never did an interview before!
Who allowed her to get away with saying she was never trained on the handling of classified information? Are you suggesting neither Strzok, or McCabe or Comey knew that paragraph #2 in Hillary’s NDA clearly states, she had training!


McCabe ,Strzok and Comey and others worked together to open a fraudulent Russian Intel case against the President, using the Steele Dossier and used it to obtain a FISA wiretap on the President’s campaign, Carter Page and to get Page to flip against and testify against the President. Comey admitted he leaked info to get the Special Counsel, Mueller Appointed, why… to ILLEGALY remove the freaking President of the United States! What is wrong with you? Can’t you recognize a Conspiracy when it hits you in the head?

Or… are they all Obama holdovers? AG Barr, why in the world would you allow this to go to the DC Circuit? Have you not heard your boss talk about the Washington Swamp…what the hell do you think he’s talking about?

Right after Mr Trump won, I wrote several columns strongly recommending that he fire/replace EVERY single Obama appointee, without exception, , starting with DOJ. Eric Holder totally corrupted DOJ ,was a militant and in my opinion a Racist, he hates whites, lawman in particular ! I specifically recommended, that he fire Sally Yates! He didn’t listen and he has paid the price over and over and over… IT’S NOT TOO LATE Mr President. Fire all Obama DOJ appointee holdovers, starting with the Civil Rights Division…period!

So McCabe was in the middle of; an investigation that turned out to be a direct attempt to clear Hillary Clinton and prevent Trump from winning (directing a Presidential election) and if he won…getting an insurance policy to remove him; he was a driving force to illegally, wiretap US citizens and the Republican Party Campaign; He signed ,under oath, to a FISA warrant…he chose the FISA warrant as there is no requirement that there be a crime, no PC required…only prove that a US Citizen is a Foreign Agent…which he lied to do. That’s why the FISA LAW prohibits US Law enforcement from wiretapping Citizens…to prevent corrupt people like McCabe,from wiretapping innocent Americans!

McCabe also, himself, tampered with evidence, violated Chain of Custody Rules of Evidence and hid incriminating evidence found on Anthony Weiner’s computer.
So please tell us Mr Barr, what exactly does it take? They jailed Flynn, Stone, Papadopoulos, Manafort, and others for “passing gas on an elevator and lying about it” . McCabe is a guy who is guilty of Treason by any definition and the WDC USA declines? I thought you supervised DOJ…maybe it is time for you to pay closer attention to his tweets instead of whining about them!
How about, how and why Mrs Wiener, Huma Abedine, took a flash drive with State communications home and downloaded them to her ex-con, husband’s computer, and called the file, “Just In Case”?? Why isn’t Abedine under Indictment?

McCabe signed a FISA wiretap warrant before God and Country and swore , to the best of his ability, that the information contained therein is true and correct…”SO HELP ME GOD”.

If any of you believe McCabe didn’t know, didn’t have intent, you have no business being paid prosecutors…you belong on the other side and you are all a disgrace to this country!


I hate to say it, but I told you so. This was a no-brainer. Anyone with common sense could see it coming from 1,000 miles away. Mike Bloomberg is the Titanic-Hindenburg-"Poseidon Adventure" of the Democratic Party.

For weeks, I've said Bloomberg is the worst public speaker ever. He's boring, whiny, elitist, arrogant, stuck-up and thoroughly unlikeable. Plus, he's really, really short. But "Mini Mike" beat even my low expectations during the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas.

But give Bloomberg credit. He just set an all-time record. He's the first gambler in history to lose $350 million in one night in Vegas!

My observations after watching every minute of the debate:

I have a new nickname for Bloomberg. I think President Donald Trump will love it. From now on, call him "Nondisclosure Mike." That's the end of Bloomberg.

By the way, that was the worst debate performance ever. Can you imagine? Bloomberg didn't know his presidential rivals would ask about all his former female employees' lawsuits and their nondisclosure agreements? That question never came up in debate preparation?

And no one ever bothered to ensure he had a good response? A guy worth $65 billion didn't know it wouldn't be received well by liberal feminists if he answered that the nondisclosures are for "the women's protection." Really?

Wait; it gets better. Nondisclosure Mike also claimed that none of these women was harassed by him. They were just offended by "a joke." Oh, boy. Clueless Bloomberg doesn't understand that radical feminists think a sexist joke by a wealthy white male should be punishable by death.


Well, he does now.


Enough about Bloomberg. I didn't come to bury Bloomberg. He already did that himself. (The lines about Bloomberg just write themselves.)

The other biggest loser of the night was socialism -- not on that debate stage and not among that audience but among the rest of America. Democrats have painted themselves (and isolated themselves) on an island: Communist Island. They look like crazy people. I have the perfect island for them: Cuba. They'll feel right at home.

Then there's the Culinary Union Local 226. It was a big star of "the Night of 1,000 Losers," too. Everyone was focused on union members angry at the thought of losing their hard-fought health care benefits in a "Medicare for All" system. Welcome to my world.

When President Barack Obama wrecked the finances of millions of middle-class Americans and small-business owners, the union couldn't have cared less. When my rates went from $500 per month to $2,000 because of "Obamacare," the union couldn't have cared less. Labor leaders have proven to be the worst greedy, selfish hypocrites of all time.

Oh, and the big winner of the night? That's easy. President Trump.

The Future of Diabetes Care Is Here (And It’s Affordable)

Although we are still many years away from the artificial pancreas, technology does make it easier to live with diabetes. From apps that can help you make healthy food decisions to continuous glucose monitoring devices, science and technology are on your side. And the best part is that new advances are being made every day, pushing costs down. Here are a few of the best and most affordable technological breakthroughs that can help you bring your diabetes management into the digital age.

Smart Devices

Weight alone cannot help you see the big picture of your health, and a standard scale won’t give you anything other than a number. But, smart scales are different. These are devices that measure not only your weight but analyze body fat. Using a smart scale, you’ll know everything from your BMI to how much water you’re carrying around your waist.

Another connected tool that can be beneficial for diabetes patients is a fitness tracker. Your doctor has likely already discussed with you the importance of exercise. A wearable activity monitor can serve as a reminder to get up and go and motivation on the days you really don’t want to.

This type of technology, however, is not covered by insurance. That does not mean that you can’t afford the items you need to improve your health. You can use sites like Rakuten to find the best deals at big-box stores like Target. With a Target coupon code and cashback opportunities, you can save on everything from fitness trackers to heart rate monitors to smart refrigerators.

Continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM)

Gone are the days when it was necessary to stick yourself in the finger every other hour just to survive. Today, systems like the Guardian Connect CGM, which is recommended by Diabetes Self-Management magazine online, take the guesswork – and the work – out of knowing your numbers. This system and many others like it keep a close watch on your glucose readings, which are stored on your mobile device via, in this case, the Sugar.IQ app, which is free.

The combination of a CGM and easy access to your readings, including timely alerts when your sugar levels get too high or too low, can help you manage your condition without interrupting your life. Fortunately, despite the lingering high prices of these devices, Medicare covers CGM for seniors and disabled people with the federally-funded insurance. Make sure to check with your provider if your preferred model is listed as a therapeutic CGM, which means that it is approved by the FDA and design with the express intent of helping individuals make decisions regarding their diabetes treatment.

Your smartphone

Another piece of technology that can help you take control of your diabetes without spending a dime is in your pocket right now. Your smartphone is a tool you cannot ignore. You may use your device to download apps, such as Runtasty. Android Police notes this app offers up healthy recipes for people with many different dietary restrictions. Use these meals as a starting point for your weekly grocery shopping excursion. You may find that you not only spend less money to fill your refrigerator but that you are also eating healthier without sacrificing taste.

As technology becomes integrated more and more into our lives, it only makes sense to use it for things that really matter. That includes taking care of your health. When you have diabetes, technology is a smart and accessible way to help manage your condition without draining your savings.


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President Donald Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal presented to Congress today boosts funds for the military and veterans and implements mandatory reforms for all agencies in an attempt to cut the deficit by $4.6 trillion over the next decade.

“Over the past 3 years, my Administration has worked tirelessly to restore America’s economic strength,” the president says in the 138-paged document’s introduction. “We have ended the war on American workers and stopped the assault on American industry, launching an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before.

“We are growing faster than the experts thought possible. The unemployment rate is at 3.5 percent, the lowest it has been in 50 years. And more Americans are working today than at any point in our history.“

The budget emphasizes the administration’s emphasis on implementing better trade deals, requesting $740.5 billion for national defense, invests $5 billion toward combating the opioid epidemic, including $1.6 billion for State Opioid Response grants, ensures continued regulatory relief, and emphasizes energy independence.

Mandatory reforms agencywide include eliminating allocations to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, improving payment accuracy government-wide, reforming federal disability programs and improving payment integrity, and reforming medical liability.

Mandatory reforms are categorized by federal agency. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, is tasked with eliminating in-kind international food aid, establishing fees for food safety and inspection services and forest service mineral program cost recovery, and reforming SNAP by reducing waste, fraud and abuse, among other directives.

The U.S. Department of Education is tasked with creating a single income-driven student loan repayment plan, eliminating account maintenance fee payments to guaranty agencies, eliminating public service loan forgiveness and subsidized student loans, reducing improper payments made through Pell Grants, and limiting graduate and parent student loans.

The budget addresses “unsustainable federal deficits and debt,” which it says, “are a serious threat to America’s prosperity.” Gross federal debt exceeds more than $23 trillion. In 2019, the deficit was $985 billion – the largest since the Great Recession – and will surpass $1 trillion this year.

“By 2021, the United States will be spending more money on paying for the debt than for the budgets of the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Justice, Homeland Security, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration combined,” the budget states.

The president has proposed decreasing deficits and the national debt by cutting spending in every budget he has submitted to the Congress, the White House claims.

The federal government’s overall financial condition worsened by $4.5 trillion in 2018, according to an analysis from government financial watchdog Truth In Accounting (TIA).

With assets of $3.84 trillion, the federal government’s unfunded liabilities and debt totals $108.94 trillion, leaving a debt burden of $105 trillion.
“Our elected officials have made repeated financial decisions that have left the federal government with a debt burden of $105 trillion, including unfunded Social Security and Medicare promises,” TIA states. “That equates to a $696,000 burden for every federal taxpayer.”

“This Administration’s Budgets have proposed more spending reductions than any other Administration in history,” the White House says. “This year’s Budget includes $4.4 trillion in savings – bringing deficits down each year, and putting the Federal Government on a path to a balanced budget in 15 years. This spending restraint includes targeted reductions and eliminations of low-value programs, and a number of policies to improve payment accuracy and eliminate wasteful spending in mandatory programs.”

“Unfortunately, the Congress continues to reject any efforts to restrain spending. Instead, they have greatly contributed to the continued ballooning of Federal debt and deficits, putting the nation’s fiscal future at risk,” the White House adds.

As a result, the budget implements another approach to “real spending restraint” by seeking to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse by agency spending patterns.

Bethany Blankley
The Center Square


digital version