Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week 65: A National Embarrassment

Dear Readers,

The election may have been four months ago, but there’s still a ton of political news. Reminder that newsletters and more are always available at

Trump Meets Merkel

Angela Merkel offered Trump a handshake, and Trump awkwardly stared off into the distance. Though, since we all remember what happened last time Trump gave a handshake to a world leader, it might have been for the better. Regardless, it was far from the worst thing about this meeting. When Merkel mentioned refugees, Trump mentioned the old adage “immigration is a privilege, not a right,” something I’m sure Trump’s mother Màiri Anna NicLeòid, who arrived to America with only $50, would’ve loved to hear. Then he “congratulated” Germany on “ripping off” America in trade deals, a bizarre diplomatic strategy that proves Trump doesn’t know squat about diplomacy.

Trump Embraces St. Patrick’s Day with a Nigerian Poem

Speaking of knowing squat about diplomacy, Trump’s response to Saint Patrick’s Day was far from ideal, and his colleagues didn’t do much better. Vice President Mike Pence started his address to Irish PM Enda Kenny by saying “top of the morning,” a stereotype of Irish people created by Americans. Then Kenny met with Trump, who shared a proverb: “Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.” Not only is it not a well-known Irish proverb, it may come from a poem by Nigerian poet Albashir Adam Alhassan, who Trump’s border agents probably wouldn’t let into the country.
Then, Irish-American Paul Ryan said “We went from a president who plays a lot of golf to a president who owns a lot of golf courses. That is about the closest thing you can get to royalty in Ireland.” Keep in mind that golf was invented in Scotland, and the Irish are generally not fans of “royalty”.

The New Health Care Bill: One Train Wreck After Another

Speaking of Paul Ryan screwing up, the prospects for Ryan’s healthcare bill aren’t looking any better. The bill has made enemies from every side of the aisle, and won’t be able to pass the Senate. The bill is a thinly-veiled ploy to give huge tax breaks to the rich, and I, for one, am thrilled that it’s being taken to the trash. Ryan can’t get either the far right or the moderate right on his side, and the disastrous bill may not even pass the house. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Trump’s Shiny New Budget

Speaking of tax breaks to the rich, Trump introduced a despicable budget this week. Among other things, it will cut funding from community development block grants, which fund, among other things, Meals on Wheels, and it’ll turn $54 billion from domestic to military budget. There are very few good things to say about this budget, so here are some bad things:

-It will cut 16% across the board from Health and Human Services
-It will defund the Appalachian Regional Commission
-It will kill the Legal Service Corporation, which helps defend low-income Americans

Kellyanne Conway’s Husband to Receive DOJ Appointment

Speaking of injustice, George Conway, husband of a certain Kellyanne, is about to be appointed to head the Civil Department of the Department of Justice. While Conway is an accomplished lawyer who has argued in front of the Supreme Court, this appointment reeks of nepotism and looks very bad for the President.

Rex Tillerson’s Adventures

Speaking of making the president look bad, Rex Tillerson had a good visit to South Korea. He claimed he was too tired to attend a state meeting, then vehemently denied it and claimed he wasn’t invited. That would be confirmable if Tillerson let any journalists travel with him. Actually, he let one conservative journalist from a tiny paper along, and that journalist is working on a longer piece, and so it’s unlikely we’ll learn what the real deal here is.

Dutch Election Recap

Last week, I talked about the Dutch election. The results were about as expected, with the centrist VVD losing seats. The PvdA, the other members of the current coalition, lost an astounding 29 seats, and Geert Wilders’ Eurosceptic PVV gained 5 seats to become the second biggest party. In the end, thirteen parties won seats, and at least four will be needed to form a coalition. Rutte (the leader of VVD) should be able to easily form a coalition, and the impact is certainly greater for the PvdA than the VVD, but Rutte should take this election as a warning of what may happen in the future.

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