August 2, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v97)

I had such high hopes for this Wednesday - because (at least until this past Monday) we had the Mooch, and that almost ensured there would be wondering galore, on all kinds of fun NSFW communications things. And then? Yeah, that chief-of-staff thing happened.

Reince Priebus is out (blissfully, I can go back to 'i' before 'e' except after 'c'), said Trump, and now we've got one of His Generals, John Kelly, #JoeBidenliterally taking control over the West Wing. I heard the door to the Oval is now closed, to all those folks who had walk-in privileges to Trump: Jared, Ivanka, Steve, Steve, Steve, Kelly Anne, Mike, Donny, Eric, Sean, Sarah, Steve... I wonder how long that will all last?

In addition to curtailing the walk-in privileges, it appears The General was unafraid of going to battle early with The Family, as we were told Scaramucci was brought in at their behest. I can kind of understand why they might have wanted him: who else to take the heat off the brash New York president than a brash New York communications director? I mean, someone who professes to be able to grab someone else's genitals with reckless abandon could only be represented by someone bold enough to discuss another person's proclivity to, well, "Bannon" himself, right?  Wrong, said The General, and The Mooch was gone.

Meanwhile, outside all of the palace intrigue there's a lot going on. We learned that at least some people think the President was personally responsible for spreading misinformation about son Donny's meeting with a bunch of Russians. It seems Trump dictated the language used in one of the early explanations for the meeting at Trump Tower that really only occurred because dirt was offered on Hillary. I wonder, does anyone really think that a Trump would take a meeting during the campaign to talk about adoption issues with Russian children?  Of course not. Donny took the meeting, and Jared went along, because they thought they were getting the goods.

If true (and I have no trouble believing it is), would it count as obstruction? And if not an actual crime, would it count as a high crime and misdemeanor?

Along similar lines, we learned that there's little interest on the part of the Secretary of Health and Human Services in enforcing the Affordable Care Act, particularly now that repeal and replace was quashed in the Senate by the thumbs down vote of  John McCain. HHS has already severely curtailed advertising, and has shortened the open enrollment window; both of these are considered attempts to make the ACA a failure.

And the president himself is doing his darnedest to make it a failure, too: threatening to end 'insurance company bailouts' which is what he calls the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments made to insurers to offset the costs of providing essential health benefits for subscribers meeting certain income thresholds. This, of course, causes 'uncertainty' in the marketplace, making it more volatile and driving up premiums, which fulfill Trump's prophecy about the implosion of the ACA.

Again, I wonder: not an actual crime, but maybe a high crime or misdemeanor?

Lastly, today the president turned his lonely eye to America's legal immigration woes. He's supporting a proposal to cut in half the volume of legal immigrants allowed in our country, and requiring a point system which will prioritize English-speakers who are job-ready and can support themselves, but who won't steal jobs from Americans.

I'm not sure what impact this will have on the president's propensity for hiring foreigners to clean his resorts, park the cars of rich people, and serve them drinks. Or, for that matter, how we justifies cutting legal immigration in half at the same time he bumped up the limit on visas for folks like he hires at his resorts, and like those who pick the food we eat.

I wonder - when will the weight of the rampant conflicts between "do as he says" and  "'do as he does" start to impact his supporters and their opinion of him?