Update November 24 Edition

Because it’s a slow day in America (I still don’t understand Thanksgiving but whatever), Zimbabwe’s still reeling and rejoicing from Mugabe leaving and Europe’s mostly focused on the Germans inability to form a government. So yeah, not a lot has happened today, the Tax Bill is still a maybe up in the Senate, both theirs and the House’s, Frankel has now got two more women accusing him of sexual misconduct. On one hand that means this is four times he’s been accused of this and that means we’re looking at a pattern of behavior, not one fuck up. On the other hand, they haven’t yet gone public with their identities and that means these claims can be refuted. The problem with anonymity at this present moment and with this sort of claim is that unless your pretty public with who you are and what they did, too many people will brush it aside as a political attack.

They can’t do that with Tweeden as she not only went public with her allegations but gave evidence. Menz in turn also went public and I’ve yet to hear anyone deny her allegations. But these two haven’t done that, and unfortunately it would be far too easy to simply say it’s an attack from the Right rather than consider what this means of Frankens character. But that’s just my take on it.

We’ll see how things look next week.

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Regarding the US Budget

At this stage of the year, the US congress has still not passed a budget, with Rand Paul and the Democratic party being the votes that are currently preventing it from passing. That is not exactly stopping it from passing the senate, but putting it into contention enough that thus far they have not put it to vote. I’ll repeat this, it is now over halfway through October and the US still has not passed a budget. This literally cannot continue, as otherwise the government will shutdown and no one wants that. not even Ted Cruz.

The problem with this budget is that not only is it extremely conservative, which naturally means the Democrats aren’t inclined to vote for it, it cuts large amounts from Medicaid and medicare and provides large dividends of that cut to the defense department. Now I won’t deny that their military does need to rebuild its equipment, arm its soldiers properly and so on, however given the lack of discretion and consideration with the military spending they already have, it’s still somewhat of a contentious position to take.

Additionally of course the republicans need a budget passed to actually make a move on tax reform, another poorly planned bit of (can I even call it this?) legislation that will likely balloon the deficit and the debt. I thought that was bad, but hey, what do I know right?

Anyway this is going to be annoying for a while, and if the republicans and the democrats can’t compromise for a bit it’s likely this will either pass due to Vice President Pence, or the government will shutdown again. Hopefully if that happens it won’t hit the global economy to badly, otherwise I’m gonna get the popcorn ready.

Corruption in the White House

Yes, a corruption article. Except not, because I really don’t have anything to say about this.

Okay, so, today I’ve read articles outlining Vice President Pences’ wasting of taxpayer dollars by going to an NFL game, leaving because god forbid he let other people express their freedom of speech in a way he doesn’t explicitly agree with, and return to Washington, which cost, for the flight to Indiana alone, somewhere around $100,000, including transportation and security*. So yeah, bad but come on we’ve seen this before right (Price comes to mind)? Additionally, The Atlantic’s Norm Ornstein had a whole piece on flagrant corruption, willful tax dollar spending, hypocrisy and the like from Price, Pruitt, Mnunchin, Kushner and so forth. And it was a good read don’t get me wrong, but it just didn’t resonate.

It’s not that this isn’t bad, it’s just that this was completely expected, and the idea that some rich prick would come into the White House and waste money, time and international standing on nonsense and that his administration would follow suit was kinda one of the reasons a lot of people didn’t want Trump as president. From there the question really became, why are you shocked and why didn’t anyone put in some form of restraint on these guys before the came into office? This isn’t the first time this has happened (graft is hardly unique in the White House) so why weren’t their protections and limitations in place?

Well there are. They’re just not very effective when congress doesn’t really care. Which was also completely predictable. Just three more years of this folks.

 

*I wrote before that the flight cost around 100,000 total, this was just for the Indiana leg of the trip. Sorry

Stalled Day

This might just be me, but today felt…stalled for lack of a better word. Things have happened certainly, but it all seems to me that we’re waiting on something. The three cases I’m looking at are the responses to Trumps UN speech, the latest Obamacare repeal bill, and Trumps opinion on the Iran Deal.

So, first, Trumps speech was met with severe criticism from just about everyone (barring the sycophants). Iran predictably was unimpressed, Frances Macron rebuked Trump in his own speech, not directly but clearly, and so on. Yet it also doesn’t mean much, especially since Trump then used his speech to justify his decision on the Iran deal.

Which is the second point, apparently Trump has made a decision! And he won’t tell us what it is. Which I guess is suspenseful? Or not, because most everyone I’ve read is just confused. As am I – Why is he doing this?

And finally the repeal is moving, kinda. McConnell has endorsed and Paul in the House has denounced bipartisan bills, because god forbid they actually govern or anything. At this stage, I would guess that Collins and Murkowski are unlikely to vote for this bill, be it concerns over the impact or a lack of CBO score, there’s plenty of reasons not to support this process. It’s just not doing much right this second.

So today was a day of talking about things that might happen, but might not, and we just have to wait for something to happen, I guess. See what I mean by stalled?

Slow day

In the days after the Phoenix rally, things have been kinda quiet actually. Huh. Weird.

I mean, The German election is still ongoing, though yes Merkel is still the likely winner in the end (even going for that youth vote at Gamescom), Trump was a pain at the rally, but it also didn’t explode into violence. So at least for one day America wasn’t trying to kill itself because politics.

Also, Trump was boring at the rally. That’s gotta sting.

But yeah, with the Senate recess almost over, the Debt crisis coming to a head and the potential clusterfuck coming from all those immigration bills being circulated in congress, right now things are pretty slow.

Quiet before the storm I guess.

 

Citations:
Bloomberg: Merkel Hits Game COnvention in Bid for Vanishing Youth Vote
Vox: Trump was Boring in Phoenix
Vox: Congress was preparing for some Immigration Skirmishes. Trump wants a Battle Royale

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.

 

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

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.

 

Citation:
Politico: Sean Spicer’s Final 24 Hours