$46.5 million Pinellas Taxpayer $ to Blue Jays! The Secret to Honesty. Michelle O’s Lunch rules Dumped by Trump. And More on Helena’s News Roundup.

The Blue Jays Have a $1.3 Billion Valuation but need OUR taxpayer money to upgrade a training complex in Pinellas? HUH?

The Blue Jays Have a $1.3 Billion Valuation but need OUR taxpayer money to upgrade a training complex in Pinellas? The Jays pay only $15.7 million for an $81 million project with rest coming from City, County and State taxes? HUH?

The secret to honesty revealed: it feels better
Not surprised! “It is a mystery that has perplexed psychologists and philosophers since the dawn of humanity: why are most people honest?Now, using a complex array of MRI machines and electrocution devices, scientists claim to have found the answer.Researchers at Univ College London discovered that at a physical level the brain finds decency far more satisfying than deception. The trial revealed that, despite accumulating a large amount of money, most participants derived no deep-seated satisfaction if the success was gained at the expense of others. Published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the study indicates that, at least at a psychological level, the old adage that “crime doesn’t pay” is right.“When we make decisions, a network of brain regions calculates how valuable our options are,” said Dr Crockett.”

Trump must show Palestinian president that US has Israel’s back

“Because Trump is a man in a hurry, here’s how he can save time today when he welcomes Palestinian President Abbas to the White House. After the briefest of pleasantries, Trump can say, “Mr. Abbas, your people should be preparing to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the creation of their own state. But Yasser Arafat foolishly refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist in 2000, so there was no deal, and history marched on without a Palestinian state. “That was a mistake you can rectify right here, right now,” Trump continues. “I ask you, President Abbas, are you ready to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, renounce violence against it and negotiate peaceful, secure borders for two states?” If Abbas won’t say yes, the answer is no- and there is nothing more to discuss. Trump can spend his windfall of free time on issues more likely to bring results.”

DOJ: One in Four Federal Inmates Is Foreign-Born

Wow!!” The cost of incarcerating non-citizens in federal prisons exceeds $1.2 billion Nearly a quarter of the inmates in federal prisons were born outside the U.S., and more than half of those have final deportation orders, the DOJ said Tues.The DOJ published statistics on the prison population to comply with directives in Trump’s executive order overhauling the immigration system.“Illegal aliens who commit crimes in the US are a threat to public safety and a burden on our criminal justice system.”The foreign-born prison population totals 45,493, or 24% of all federal inmates. Of that group, 3,939 now are American citizens. That leaves 41,554 inmates who remain citizens of foreign countries. Some 22,541 of them, or 54.4% , have final orders to be deported once they’ve completed their sentences.”

‘The public won’ — Florida House rejects letting local officials meet secretly

Good News! “In a surprise result that’s unprecedented in the past 15 years, lawmakers Tuesday rejected an attempt to significantly scale back part of the state’s famed Sunshine Law that secures Floridians’ right to watch how local officials make decisions on their behalf. HB 843 would have let two local government leaders meet about public business in secret. It earned a majority of votes in the state House on Tuesday but still lacked several more needed for it to pass – thanks to a constitutional provision that requires approval by two-thirds of lawmakers to okay any new Sunshine exemptions.The vote was the first time since voters approved that two-thirds requirement in 2002 that lawmakers have killed a proposed exemption..Most exemptions pass both chambers easily, frequently with unanimous support or with heavily lopsided votes in favor.”It’s a huge relief,” Petersen said. “It really would have reversed 50 years of public policy.”

Budget Communications: OMB Director Mick Mulvaney Takes Point…

The truth will out! You must listen to the video! Mulvaney says government shutdown possible in Sept. He also discusses what now can be done to work on the wall etc. “OMB Dir. Mulvaney did an excellent job today pushing back against the UniParty and their slobbering media water-carriers today. Mulvaney was unexpected by the White House Press Corps who were apoplectic at the conclusion of the briefing:”

Trump Dumps Michelle Obama’s School Lunch RulesYeah!! “Michelle Obama’s dictates on school lunches were thrown out Mon. Agricultural Sec Perdue signed a proclamation to begin to undo federal standards that the Obama administration placed on lunches in public schools and return those decisions to local schools.“This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” Perdue said. “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition—thus undermining the intent of the program…”Perdue “took an important step to making school meals edible again,” “The federal school meal standards implemented by the Obama administration have been a disaster, creating massive plate waste and imposing high costs on schools.”

Editor’s 2 Cents: Trump hands monumental task to Zinke

Good! “Wed Trump signed another executive order, and it was based on the concept of reining in gov overreach- and as usual, his critics were howling mad.The “President Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act” ordered Sec of the Interior Zinke to “conduct a review of all Presidential designations or expansions of designations under the Antiquities Act made since Jan 1,1996, where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres, where the designation after expansion covers more than 100,000 acres, or where the Sec determines that the designation was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.”The order basically puts about two dozen so-called “national monuments” up for review..Zinke has 120 days to complete the review and report back to the pres on whether the monuments meet the test of the orig Antiquities Act of 1906…

Baltimore Mayor Snaps Out Of It, Finally Takes President Trump Up On His Offer – Conservative Daily Post

Great Turnabout! “Baltimore Mayor Pugh admitted this week that the constant and horrific violence endured in the city had prompted her to beg the FBI for help. Pugh is desperate for the Trump administration to clean the streets.“There are too many guns…We’re looking for all the help we can get,” she said. Baltimore has been plagued by trouble for decades. The first 4 months of 2017 have been particularly bloody. The murder rate is swelling rapidly. Unemployment and poverty, combined with a strong gang presence, makes Pugh’s job exceedingly difficult. In fact, the mayor believes that without federal support law enforcement officers won’t be able to do their jobs. They’re too swamped. There’s too much crime and not enough officers. Pugh hopes that the FBI will commit to sending agents to help her officers police the city.”

Congress reaches deal to keep government open through September

“Congressional negotiators reached an agreement Sun on a broad spending package to fund the government through the end of Sep, alleviating fears of a government shutdown later this week..Congress is expected to vote on the roughly $1 trillion package early this week. The bipartisan agreement includes policy victories for Democrats, whose votes will be necessary to pass the measure in the Senate, as well as $12.5 billion in new military spending and $1.5 billion more for border security requested by Republicans..The agreement follows weeks of tense negotiations between Democrats and GOP leaders after Trump insisted that the deal include funding to begin building a wall along the border… The new border-security money comes with strict limitations that the Trump administration use it only for technological investments and repairs to existing fencing and infrastructure, the aides said.”

EXCLUSIVE: HUD Watchdog Kept 14 Fraud Reports Hidden From Public

Unbelievable! “A government watchdog withheld 14 reports that revealed dept-wide problems that allow fraud and waste at a cabinet-level agency..The reports concern issues plaguing the HUD, including felons illegally living in federally-funded homes, tax fraud and millions of dollars sitting in unused bank accounts for years…The HUD Inspector General (IG) posted its systemic implication reports – documents that reveal opportunities for fraud in agency programs – to its website. A comparison between that listing and another previously obtained through a FOIA request showed 14 reports from 2011 through 2014 were excluded from the IG’s website…One unreleased 2011 report revealed that 1,300 fugitives – including rapists and murderers- were illegally living in HUD-funded homes, and local authorities managing the properties refused to evict them.”

Democrats’ Senate math problem

Interesting! “Schumer is not only the leader of Democrats in the Senate. He’s also the smartest political mind of that group. Which makes what the NY Senator told MSNBC on Fri sort of perplexing.”If the President continues this way, there is a chance we could take back the Senate,” Schumer said.I’m assuming that Schumer was referring to the 2018 midterms. And if he was, then man oh man was he being optimistic. Wildly so, even.Start here: Republicans control 52 seats to 48 for Democrats and independents King (Maine) and Sanders. To retake the majority, they need a net gain of 3 seats.Sounds doable right? That’s until you look at a map of the Senate seats up in 2018. And I happen to have just that map:A quick count produces this: Democrats are defending a whopping 25 seats as compared to just 8 for Republicans. But it gets worse much worse — for Democrats.”

Report: Secretary T-Rex Begins Reducing State Dept. Bureaucrats…

Good!”A report highlights the anxiety within the professional state department apparatus as Tillerson begins substantive cuts in the number of pontificating elitist bureaucrats. It’s amazing how the ankle-biters never seem to recognize these consequential shifts in policy and approach toward dismantling the bureaucracy.The State Dept is the cornerstone of Deep State operations. It is a massively bloated institution filled with some of the most entrenched political globalists and ideologues.The State Dept plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants – about 9% of the Americans in its workforce worldwide- as Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter.The majority of the job cuts, about 1,700, will come through attrition, while the remaining 600 will be done via buyouts.”

Pinellas Commission gives preliminary nod to tax money for Blue Jays

“After a confusing debate, the Pinellas Co Committee Tues voted to help Dunedin move forward with an $81 million upgrade of the Toronto Blue Jays spring training complex… Commissioners received a report from Visit St. Pete/Clearwater outlining requests to spend the money from 7 projects, including the pitch to fund $46.5 million of the stadium upgrade. Co administrator Woodard said the Tourist Development Council recommended the projects move forward and asked the commission for direction so staffers could start negotiations for the projects. Among them: $26 million for the Clearwater Aquarium; $6 million for the American Craftsmen Museum in St. Pete; nearly $5 million for Ruth Eckerd Hall; and another $2.5 million for two sports complexes in Clearwater. Blue Jays team president Shapiro.. said “We hope for the next 25 years that Dunedin and Pinellas Co is our home.”

Articles: A Tax Expert’s Take on Trump’s Proposal: ‘A Truly Great Tax Plan’

Good overview! “It certainly appears that Trump has more common sense and intelligence on taxes and the economy than many of those advising him.. This is the most intelligent tax policy I have seen since Reagan’s.. It is a simple and logical plan that would give everyone the incentive to earn more instead of spending so much time and money trying to beat the tax man. I believe the impetus it would give to economic growth is immeasurable…If the US makes the corporate tax rates more competitive, businesses in the US would have a great incentive to keep businesses here and/or to move business back from overseas. Foreign businesses would also have a greater incentive to move and build businesses here. Regulatory relief also helps a lot. The lower the regulatory burden, the greater the likelihood that businesses will thrive and keep their prices competitive.”

Editorial: TBARTA bill back on track

Tampa Bay voters bypassed? ‘Latvala rewrote portions of the bill to clarify that approvals by the county planning boards and the Legislature are needed only for state funding of rail projects, leaving TBARTA free to work on its own for any federal or local matching dollars. He also removed the requirement that the Legislature give its blessing for rail “by an act of general law,” which removes another avenue for rail opponents to undermine the effort. And Latvala loosened the gag order on TBARTA so it would be free under existing state law to offer “factual information” on any rail proposal. Elected officials on TBARTA’s board still would be free to advocate for what they thought best for the committee… But Latvala has mitigated the mischief created by Lee and Brandes….”

Veterans Affairs has 346 workers who do only union work

Unbelievable!! “An estimated 346 employees in the VA do no actual work for taxpayers. Instead, they spend all of their time doing work on behalf of their union while drawing a federal salary, a practice known as “official time.”That’s according to a report by the GAO. But exactly what those VA workers are doing and why so many are doing it is not clear. The VA doesn’t track that, and the GAO report offers no clue. Rep. Arrington thinks the number on 100% official time may be much higher. He also notes that the 346 workers don’t include those who spend most, not all, of their time doing union work.”The lack of accountability at the VA when it comes to monitoring official time suggests it might be worse,” said Arrington, who has introduced legislation that would require the deptartment to track the use of official time, among other reforms.”