Yesterday, Trump issued a new executive order meant to improve the efficiency of the federal government. But it won’t work. What’s going on? As Politico indicates, Trump has identified the right problem (for once), but is incapable of implementing the necessary solutions. The federal government–and the executive branch in particular–have experienced literally centuries of scope creep, with growing missions and ballooning budgets. As someone who believes the government can be a force for good in the lives of the people it ostensibly represents and serves, I don’t favor a whole scale dismantlement or anything like that.
I’m here to bring you up to speed on the escalating Trump wiretapping fiasco. First, the administration has until the end of the day today to submit evidence to the House Intelligence Committee that President Obama tapped Trump’s phones in the runup to the 2016 election. Suffice it to say, this evidence is unlikely to be forthcoming, on account of the fact that it doesn’t exist. Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway suggested that Obama didn’t tap Trump’s phones, exactly,but used other methods employed by US intelligence agencies instead.
From today’s headlines, you’d think Congressional Republicans were pushing back against Trump’s outrageous claim that President Obama had him wiretapped. It’s not so. What’s going on? Republicans like Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham have spoken out about Trump’s charge that Obama wiretapped him during last year’s Presidential election. McCain is leading the headlines, trading on his “maverick” myth to look as if he’s bucking the President’s wishes, but nothing of the sort is happening.
Wiretaps, Russians, travels bans, Twitter rants, and the greatest healthcare bill of all time! It was another strange week. To recap: * Trump accused Obama of having wiretapped him. (This didn't happen.) * Trump claimed Democrats were holding up his Cabinet picks. (Not true: everyone appointed has been approved. Other officials are being held up by his own party, not Dems.) * Trump demanded an investigation in Democrats' associations with the Russian ambassador because yet another of his cronies (Attorney General Jeff Sessions) got busted for lying under oath about meeting with the Russians.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the economy’s performance since Trump took office. The New York Times and CNBC both have articles talking about Trump’s impact on the economy. First, the Times: The first monthly jobs report to reflect the state of the economy during the Trump presidency [is ](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/business/economy/february-unemployment-jobs-report.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news)[quite good](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/business/economy/february-unemployment-jobs-report.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news). There’s not much to dislike about the 235,000 jobs added in February, nor an unemployment rate that ticked down to 4.
Trump wants his giant wall built along the US-Mexico border, even though there is no rational reason for it. The question remains: if it happens, who is going to pay for it? What’s going on? Trump has claimed in the past that the wall will be paid for by Mexico through the assessment of import tariffs and by seizing remittances from Mexican nationals working in the US to their families in Mexico.
It’s International Women’s Day. Many women are on strike today. The rights and bodies of women everywhere remain under assault. It’s hard to have the impression that things have improved for women in recent memory when a self-proclaimed sexual assaulter is President of the United States. Donald Trump has been forced to profess his respect for women many times, almost always in response to doing or saying something that proves the exact opposite.
I’ll be taking a few breaks soon. No need for alarm, but here are the deets if you care. I’ll be gone: * March 18-19 * March 25-26 * April 1-9 For the March weekends, I’ll be on the road. I’ll be on vacation the first week of April, and traveling for a good part of it, possibly with limited Internet access. Can’t post if I can’t Internet! I might manage to get some updates in during those days anyway, but no promises.
Republicans finally unveiled their “repeal and replace” of Obamacare. It’s a lousy package that won’t please anyone–not even Republicans. What’s going on? Yesterday afternoon and evening, it came out that the new GOP healthcare plan had arrived. Called the American Health Care Act, it keeps some of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), while eliminating others. The highlights, such as they are: * Phasing out of the Medicaid expansion by 2020.
After a number of court battles and countless disrupted lives, Trump has finally come out with a revised travel and immigration ban. What’s going on? A new executive order has been signed which changes and replaces the existing travel and immigration ban which Trump signed shortly after taking office. The new version leaves existing visas intact and removes Iraqi nationals from its purview, meaning Iraqis are subject to same travel and immigration rules as people from any other country outside of the six still affected.