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The Trump Administration and the G20

Donald Trump Victory

More stepping back from free trade and the established global economic order.

A Photo for Friday: Approaching Twilight

“Approaching Twilight” March 11, 2017 Pike Road, AL

The Most Transparent Presidency Ever

us-politics

A couple of weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine claimed that the Trump administration was “the most transparent in [her] lifetime.”  This bounces around in my head with some frequency, especially when I see stories like the following (via NBC):  After Pledging to Donate Salary, Trump Declines to Release Proof. President Donald Trump pledged to […]

The Silent Secretary

Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson, “the phantom of Foggy Bottom.”

This Health Care Proposal is a Train-Wreck

us-politics

Via the NYT,  The G.O.P.’s High-Risk Strategy for Health Law Repeal: Under the proposed House legislation, individuals would no longer be subject to a penalty if they go without health insurance, a politically popular change that would be retroactive to 2016. But they would still enjoy the protections of the Affordable Care Act: Insurers would have to […]

Today in Incredible Claims: HHS Sec Price

us-politics

Via MTP: No one will be adversely affected by the Republicans’ new health care bill once it’s enacted and more people would be covered, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through,” Price insisted when pressed by NBC’s […]

One More on the Problems at State

us-politics

Via Vox: The astonishing dysfunction of Trump’s State Department, in one quote Mexico’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, was in Washington. The Los Angeles Times’s Tracy Wilkinson asked State spokesperson Mark Toner what the plans were for his visit. Toner, a highly regarded career foreign service officer, apparently had no idea that a key foreign dignitary was […]

Thoughts about the Trump National Security Team

State Department

Trump appears to undervaluing existing bureaucracies listening more to hacks and ideologues.

The Weakness of Secretary Tillerson

us-politics

Robert Jervis writes at Foreign Policy that  Rex Tillerson Might Be the Weakest Secretary of State Ever: Tillerson’s position here is very weak. President Donald Trump has shown his lack of faith in him by vetoing his choice for the No. 2 position in his department, Elliott Abrams. Tillerson has also been absent for most of Trump’s […]

That’s the Main Point, isn’t it?

us-politics

Via the NYT:  Wealthy Would Get Billions in Tax Cuts Under Obamacare Repeal Plan It is not unusual for tax cuts to benefit mostly the wealthiest, but still save some money for a majority of Americans. But the benefits of these reductions would be aimed squarely at the top. […] People making $200,000 to $999,999 a […]

A Photo for Friday

“Untitled” Pike Road, AL January 9, 2017

Initial Reviews of ACA Replacement not Exactly Stellar

us-politics

Megan McArdle: Heritage Action, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity — three of the biggest groups that Republicans will need to help them whip their right flank into voting for this thing — have all come out hard against it. Avik Roy and Michael Cannon, two of the leading opponents of Obamacare in the policy community, […]

Trump Believes Talk Radio Host over FBI Director

us-politics

Via the NYT,  Trump Is Said to Reject Comey Assertion That Wiretapping Claim Is False” President Trump does not accept the contention of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, that Mr. Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama had him wiretapped was false, a White House spokeswoman said on Monday. The New York Times reported on Sunday […]

Is the GOP Serious about Governing?

republicans-elephant-flag-shadow

Can the GOP govern? Do they want to or know how to? (Does it matter?).

Today in Depressing Quotes (State Department Edition)

us-politics

From a piece in The Atlantic (The State of Trump’s State Department) that is worth a read: “I don’t think this administration thinks the State Department needs to exist. They think Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] can do everything. It’s reminiscent of the developing countries where I’ve served. The family rules everything, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs […]

That Moment when you Realize the Best Picture is Selected more Democratically than is POTUS…

Actually, I already new that (indeed, even the older FPTP system is more democratic than the electoral college) but I was listening to a podcast yesterday that mentioned the Oscar’s voting procedure and it hit me that that was a good way to bring, in at least small measure, some attention to how voting rules […]

GWB on SNL

us-politics

Via NPR: Bush said imitations of him by Will Ferrell and others didn’t bother him “at all.” He said he loves humor and that “the best humor is when you make fun of yourself.”

Tapp, Tapp, Tapp: The Truly Bizarre Tweets of the Day

Trump Twitter

@POTUS claims his phones were tapped by the Obama administration. At this point the evidence appears to be talk radio.

POTUS Tweets Like a Blog Commenter

Twitter Facebook

The tu quoque presidency rocks on.

45 Seems Unclear on how Government Works

us-politics

@POTUS Tweets: Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017 a) This is not unusual. I expect most ambassadors, especially from major powers, have been to the White House a similar number […]

ça change, plus c’est la même chose

us-politics

Warning:  some level of liberal arts education may be needed to understand this post. The following struck me this morning as something I should have thought of when writing my DeVos post: I turn to the second class, who are headed by Meletus, that good and patriotic man, as he calls himself. And now I […]

McMasters on “Radical Islam”

us-politics

Via the NYT: H.R. McMaster Breaks With Administration on Views of Islam President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world. The adviser, Lt. […]

Who Said it? “[W]e”have a respect for the press when it comes to the government”

newsman

That would be Sean Spicer in December 2016 on the difference between being selective with media outlets in the campaign versus in government. The full quote (video at the link): “I think, look, there’s a big difference, I think, between a campaign where it is a private venue using private funds and a government entity. […]

DeVos Criticizes Professors

College Degree

DeVos plays to the CPAC crowd, but insults higher education.

A Photo for Friday

“The Internet is a Strange and Wonderful Place” February 4, 2017 Pike Road, AL (Because the world could use, I fear, more kittens and goofy internet tunes).

Explaining Sweden: Trump’s TV Habits (Updated)

newsman

This (via TPM) may explaing Trump’s Sweden rant: turns out “what happened last night in Sweden” actually just means “last night I was watching Tucker Carlson talk about Sweden” pic.twitter.com/6z5pfOJ7Yv — Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) February 19, 2017 This does not, in my opinion, change the basic thesis of my post on this topic. Worst case […]

Trump: Fear-mongering in Florida

trump-rally

The President gathered supporters around him, and blatantly lied to them, so as to increase support for his policies.

We are, I Would Note Again, at the Start of Week 4

us-politics

Via Politico:  Trump reviews top White House staff after tumultuous start President Donald Trump, frustrated over his administration’s rocky start, is complaining to friends and allies about some of his most senior aides — leading to questions about whether he is mulling an early staff shakeup. Trump has told several people that he is particularly displeased […]

Secret Plans are the Best Kind of Plans

us-politics

Via TPM Livewire:  Top White House Advisor Claims Trump’s Wall ‘Will Pay For Itself’ “How are you going to guarantee that Mexico is going to pay for this wall?” Stephanopoulos asked. “They have said absolutely not, they will not pay for it.” “There’s all kinds of things we can do. I’m not going to make […]

Priebus in the Cross-hairs (Already?)

us-politics

Via WaPo:  Trump friend says Priebus is ‘in way over his head’ One of President Trump’s longtime friends made a striking move on Sunday: After talking privately with the president over drinks late Friday, Christopher Ruddy publicly argued that Trump should replace his White House chief of staff. “A lot of people have been saying, ‘Look, Donald has some problems,’ and I […]

Walls are not Unidirectional

us-mex-border

All the effects of a wall, given its cost, needs to be taken into consideration.

Trump and the Permanent Campaign

us-politics

If anything, Trump’s Twitter feed has been a good illustration of the fact that the President has not made a transition from campaign to government.  This is hardly a surprise, as it would seem that he understands the former, but not the latter.  Such antics, of course, have been evident in public pronouncements and, it […]

Rhetoric Matters: Trump and Iran

Iranian And American Flags

Trump’s combination amateur hour/tough guy approach is not going to make the world a safer place, nor will it advance US national interest.

Trump’s Defense of Putin

Vladimir Putin durante il discorso annuale all'Assemblea Federale

The President throws the US under the bus to defend Putin.

Today in Delusional Columns: Impeachment Fantasies

Trump And GOP Elephant

It is Trump’s party now. Impeachment is not coming.

“It’s working out very nicely”

us-politics

“You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”-President Donald J. Trump. Here’s the thing:  either he doesn’t understand the […]

Elections have Consequences, Part 2

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  MP Zahawi says Trump order banning him from US is ‘demeaning and sad’ Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi has said the executive order from President Trump bans him from the US and makes him feel discriminated against for the first time since he was a child. A British citizen born in Iraq, and […]

Elections have Consequences

us-politics

Via AFP: An Iraqi family was barred from flying from Cairo to New York on Saturday after US President Donald Trump signed an order restricting arrivals from seven Muslim-majority countries. […] Fuad Sharef, 51, and his wife and three children were instead forced to board a flight back to Erbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, […]

One Week in…

us-politics

Via USAT:  Fact check: President Trump’s first week on the job During his first week in office, President Donald Trump made several false and misleading claims about the inauguration crowd size, voter fraud, the Affordable Care Act and other issues.

The Deep Significance and Importance of NAFTA

Flag_of_Mexico.svg

As with so many things, the President is demonstrating that he really doesn’t know what he is doing.

Putting Health Care Policy in Comparative and Philosophical Perspective

health-costs-money-stethoscope

The problem with all the replacement talk is that there is no evidence that the GOP pathways will work.

No Hispanics in Trump Cabinet (Not Much Diversity in General)

us-politics

Via the DMN:  Trump Cabinet will be the first in decades without a Hispanic member Donald Trump’s Cabinet is poised to become the first since 1988 without any Hispanic officials — sparking rebukes from members of the nation’s second-largest ethnic group — as Trump tapped former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for agriculture secretary. This is not especially surprising. […]

Trump’s Approval Numbers not Very Approving

us-politics

Via CNN:  CNN/ORC Poll: Confidence drops in Trump transition Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president. Following a tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s […]

Ethics Concern Raised over HHS Nominee

us-politics

Via CNN:  Trump’s cabinet pick invested in company, then introduced a bill to help it Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising new ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary. Price bought […]

Will Donald Trump be a “Legitimate” President?

Trump And GOP Elephant

The answer is pretty straight-forward.

Crowley’s Dissertation….

academic-book-glasses

Via Politico:  Trump Pick Monica Crowley Plagiarized Parts of Her Ph.D. Dissertation. An examination of the dissertation and the sources it cites identified around more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did […]

A Real Life “The Terminal” (of Sorts)

travel-suitcase

Via WaPo:  Colombia deports U.S. tourist who was stranded at a Bogota airport for three months.

Monica Crowley: Plagiarist

us-politics

Via CNN:  Trump national security pick Monica Crowley plagiarized multiple sources in 2012 book The review of Crowley’s June 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened,” found upwards of 50 examples of plagiarism from numerous sources, including the copying with minor changes of news articles, other columnists, think tanks, and Wikipedia. The New York Times […]

A Photo for Friday: The Four Horsemen

“The Four Horsemen” January 4, 2017 Pike Road, AL

Trump Tweets about the new Apprentice…

us-politics

I saw these on FB and they were so bizarrely petty that I thought they were fake.  But, in fact, I found them on his Twitter feed: Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for…. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January […]

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