Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week 70: "Crimes" (April 30, 2017)

Dear Readers,

It has been an eventful week. For all past newsletters (and more), make sure to go to the blog at

100 Days: An Evaluation

Much as it annoys me as an arbitrary milestone, I suppose it’s my duty as a political columnist to evaluate Donald Trump’s first 100 days in the White House. So, what has our President done? Instead of just looking at his accomplishments, let’s compare them to this "plan for the first 100 days" (from October) from his website.
Among other things, Donald promised to:
★ Propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. Nope!
★ A hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health). He did, but has since reversed it.
★ A five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service. No such thing
★ A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government. Not only has this not happened, numerous Trump administration officials have been busted for being paid by foreign governments.
★ I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Yes
★ I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator. Depends on what day you ask him.

★ Begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Gorsuch is on the court.

★ Begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back. Yes.

★ Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.” He wasn’t successful, but he sure as hell tried.

So this doesn’t look so bad, until we realize that there is a second page. On that second page he lists about a dozen “Acts” he would try to get Congress to pass. The Healthcare one is the only one he’s even come close to proposing, and we all saw how well that went. All of Trump’s actions have been through statements and executive orders, even though his party controls all three branches of government.  Trump has been terrible at dealing with Congress, even though he theoretically has an advantage in that department.

Trump Is Scarily Friendly Toward Rodrigo Duterte

Yesterday, President Trump had a “very friendly conversation” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. That should be a good thing, right? Wrong. Duterte, in case you had forgotten, authorizes extrajudicial killing, and has led the Philippines as a near-dictatorship. This quote from Adam Blickstein, a writer for the Huffington Post among other things, sums it up: “The Hague is considering charging Duterte with crimes against humanity. And Trump just invited him to the White House.”

Flynn the Criminal

"I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law. As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law.” No, this attack on Michael Flynn did not come from a Democrat. It came from House Oversight Committee chair Jason Chaffetz. Even hyper-partisan Utahn Republican Chaffetz knows that Flynn unquestionably did wrong, and Flynn has barely tried to defend himself. The second victim among the Trump administration (remember Andy Puzder?) has dug himself in a great hole, and will certainly never return or recover.

Ros-Lehtinen Will Not Try for Re-Election

Moderate Floridian Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has announced that she will not seek re-election in 2018. Ros-Lehtinen, a pro-gay rights, relatively anti-Trump moderate, has been re-elected many times in a district that voted for Clinton by 20 points and Obama by 7. The South Miami seat will now be near the top of the Democrats’ target list for 2018, and this is a move I’m sure Thomas Perez is thrilled about, since every seat will certainly count.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to reply or comment.

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