Budget Swindle

Trump’s epic budget swindle

By Joe Conason at Nation of Change

images.jpgElect a fraudster to the presidency – remember Trump University and the Trump Foundation? – and he will soon deliver a fraudulent budget. What makes this presidential fraudster’s first budget so special is the simultaneous perpetration of multiple levels of fraud.

Aside from defense spending, the Trump budget violates nearly every programmatic promise he made to voters last year. And he pretends to fulfill his promise of balancing the budget with fake numbers.

Not only are the numbers phony but also they represent the most audacious mathematical con game in a federal budget in recent memory. It is phonier than the phony budgets cooked up during the Reagan era, when the president’s own budget director eventually confessed, “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers.” …

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The Easter Parade

how_to_bring_an_author_back_from_the_deadI have’t kept up with the up-and-down reputations of some authors. Several years ago it was suggested to me that I read an excellent but almost forgotten author, Richard Yates. At that time a collection of his stories was all I could find at my local big-box bookstore; I read a few stories and later bought a Yates’ novel off the remainder rack, but I didn’t pay much attention to the author. Two novels—The Easter Parade and Revolutionary Road—were waiting for me to read, hidden in the back row of my bookshelves.

Then they made a movie of Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio and, as is my habit, I dug out my copy of the novel and read it before I eventually watched the movie. Both were good. Yates was on an upswing and even the smaller bookstores (that are left) were stocking newly published editions of his books.

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To the White Sea

images.jpgLet’s go back to the early 1970’s. I came home from work with a fresh, crisp paperbound copy of Deliverance by James Dickey.

I had stumbled upon Dickey in the public library and had read his first three volumes of poetry. Then he showed up for a reading at the university and I got more of a sense of what he was like: something that helped me understand his poems a little better (later I would drive across western Virginia and see the oceans of kudzu which also helped understand certain poems).

In graduate school Dickey visited one of my classes, reading his poems and answering student questions which he had probably responded to over and over through the years. I sat in the far back corner of the room nursing an intense desire to relieve myself in the men’s room but the dilemma was how to make it to the door, walk in front of Dickey or behind him. I walked behind him with a meek “excuse me” and was humiliated when one of my favorite contemporary poets humorously accused me of disliking his poems so much that I had to leave the room.

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