Short update: 11 August Edition

So, let’s roundup the day: North Korea did not back down from Trumps threats and has detailed a plan for a test near Guam, Trump blustered back and declared the opioid crisis a national emergency. Also Jeffrey Lord was fired from CNN, cause referencing Nazi’s never ends well.

When this is the new normal, you know things have gotten real weird.

So, North Korea made a very specific reference to launch a missile near Guam, an American Territory, which Trump was obliged to respond too. The problem here is neither side seems to grasp where this is going to go. Trump may talk big, but the man has never shown a willingness to actually back up his words. Typically anyway, and given the sheer level of reticence from his generals he may not do much more than bluster. The other side however needs to not only maintain face like Trump, they also feel the need to assert themselves to ensure their Sovereignty or so they believe. And again, Trump despite being something of a coward is also unpredictable. I don’t know how he’ll react to any significant provocation on any given day.

On the other side, Trump said the Opioid crisis is in fact a national emergency, which might sound big but means little unless it is officially declared as one. That has not happened yet, so it’s not quite the change in response some might be hoping for. Nor does it mean anything will change immediately, a national emergency allows new options and funds to respond to the crisis, but it’s also not designed to deal with a long term problem. How it’ll respond to a long lasting crisis that may well take years and maybe decades to get a grasp on is frankly anyone’s guess (which functionally means I haven’t the slightest clue).

And Jeffrey Lord was fired from CNN, after linking an article about Media Matters, and responding to a retaliation tweet with the Nazi Salute. Why did he think this was a good idea? Good question.

Shits just weird I swear.


The Atlantic: Trump informally Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency 
The Atlantic: Trump Blusters at NK 

So about the North Korea thing

Okay, Trump? Trumpy, mate, Shut Up. Kay? Just shush for like, five days or something, let this blow over okay? Cause, uh, threatening to blow up another nation, even one screwing with you like North Korea, with “Fire and Fury and Power like the world has never seen”?

Not Helping. 

Right so, while Trump was on vacation, intelligence agencies confirmed that yes, North Korea now has a payload for those shiny missiles they’ve been throwing around lately. They made some threats, and Trump responded, as above. This is very bloody bad. Not because North Korea is suddenly about to launch a nuke or anything (the things mostly there for defense, if they actually tried anything America and most of the world would immediately retaliate) but because it escalates tensions with a guy who blusters for security, against the guy who blusters for ego. Who also has nukes, and I don’t think he quite grasps how dangerous those things are. Or doesn’t care.

Or thinks that’s what freedom looks like.

So no, I don’t think anythings gonna happen immediately. On the other hand, Comey, Paris Agreement, Priebus. Trump is an unpredictable actor, not just to his enemies but to everybody. So yeah, just a little freaked out.

Spicers gone, Scaramucci is in

Yeah, so this happened on Friday.

Scaramucci was chosen by Trump as the new head of the Communications Office, apparently with the blessing of Ivanka and Kushner, and in response Spicer resigned in protest. I’m not sure whether to be amused or pitying.

Seriously, this is what broke the camels back? He mocks you, discredits you, prevents you from meeting the Pope (the guys an ardent Catholic),  but electing this guy as Communications Director sends you out the door? Apparently he thought he was getting the top job officially, so I suppose that would be a tipping point.

Still not sure how I’m supposed to feel about this. On one hand, did Spicer really deserve all the problems he got, the humiliations and so forth? Nah, not really. Was he an unmitigated asshole, who caused problems for himself and really should have known better to trust Trump, regardless of his party affiliation? Yeah, probably.

Eh, whatever, see what happens next on healthcare I guess.


Politico: Sean Spicer’s Final 24 Hours

Trumps Bastille Day

Presidents Trump and Macron appeared to be in good spirits during the Bastille day parades, appearing to attempt a reset of the French and american relationships that had been troubled in the wake of their previous meeting. Given the aftermath of that was Trumps departure from the Paris Accord, god knows where this will end.

Still if the attempt on Macrons part was to reestablish the relationship between the two nations it appears to have succeeded, and given his preoccupation with military advancement within Europe and NATO, there’s a fair chance there might be some cooperation down the line in Syria and beyond.

Wonder how the dinner went.

Politico: Macron and Trumps Mano-a-Mano becomes Tete-a-Tete

Monday Update: 3 July Edition

Despite Trumps latest twitter storm, and the provocation his administration did with China today, I do find today to be oddly dull. I’m sure CNN will have plenty to complain about later, but eh.

So, to sum up:

  • Trump attacked CNN, labeled them the Fake News Network (FNN) on a video he edited and then posted to his own twitter account (cause subtlety is beyond this one)
  • An American Navy Ship sailed near the disputed islands in the South China Sea, which naturally pissed off China. I wonder why.
  • Senate Healthcare talks continue, though the moderates are still refusing to give their votes to the bill. Apparently Cruz and Lee are pushing for the law in the backrooms, we’ll see what happens there I guess.

This should be more dramatic but honestly, it’s Trump. Hissy Fits, Provocations and Republican Senate secrecy seems to be the norm here.



The Atlantic: Donald Trump is Testing Twitters Harassment Policy 
The Atlantic: American Navy Ships Provokes China

It’s been a slow day

I mean, kinda.

So the BCRA is still on hold, the holdouts have repeated their demands (less medicaid cuts for the moderates, Planned Parenthood protection, More Medicaid cuts and regulation removals for the conservatives) and the Left is still protesting and yelling about the bill.

I mean, it’s news but it’s also yesterdays news so….

Macrons also pushed forward his labor reforms in France. So yeah that’s a thing. It’s also going to be negotiated with the unions and businesses however so there’s no actual bill yet.

It’s been a weird kind of slow day. Sorry.

(not Sorry)


Single Payer Healthcare in America might actually become a thing

So, I’ve just read a delightful little piece from Vox’s Ezra Klein regarding the potential future of a single payer system. Basically it amounts to this: if the Republicans push through the AHCA they may very well pave the way for a medicare for all program.

Why would that happen? Well firstly because the AHCA, based off what we know from the house, will cause millions of people to lose healthcare, healthcare costs to skyrocket, and inevitably massive electoral changes because of that. Secondly, Obamacare, for all it’s successes was also fairly flawed (fixable but flawed), and due to the way it passed and what it attempted to achieve many members of the democratic congress may will prefer to go for the simpler system that people are now openly advocating for.

Let me explain: when Obama and his congress were trying to pass the Affordable Care Act they did two things, and had to deal with a third (you may have noticed, I like lists):

  1. Worked with insurers to create a system they could support in a public private marketplace. The insurers then undercut the Obama administration by screwing up the pricing and participation, and then failing to stand up to republicans as we speak (primarily so they can regain control over costs and types of insurance they provide, and therefore make more money)
  2. The Dems worked with the Republicans to try and create a bipartisan bill, mostly to be polite. They didn’t have too, but instead they brought them in, allowed a number of amendments to be added and removed and did their level best to involve and respect the Republican view of healthcare. In turn the Republicans turned their backs on the arrangement and opposed the bill as best they could then.
  3. Past that, the Republican party then opposed and demonized the ACA for the next seven years, and used it to sweep themselves into office, rather than work to make it an effective bill for their constituents. Because Obama, or something.

So, basically despite their best attempts, the Dems were opposed an obstructed from making an incrementalist healthcare program work because the Republicans were basically being a bunch of dicks. So this time they might not even bother, nor might they need to, consult them in anyway and just pass single payer health care. If they can sweep the house, get the senate, which might well be possible, on a healthcare platform there is every chance they could pass such a bill. And since it would fundamentally be ‘better medicare’ people would be more open and accepting and most importantly understanding of the bill, Insurers wouldn’t be able to get in the way and Republicans would have a much harder time attacking the program.

Best of all the Democrats are openly and actively talking about this, not just the hopefuls but the moderates. They’ve seen incrementalism fail despite their best efforts, and now they have momentum. This could actually work.

So hey, silver lining for American healthcare. Maybe.


Vox: Republicans are About to Make Medicaid for All Much More Likely