May 24, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v90)

Where do we start, this Wednesday?

The president is on a big foreign trip: he went to "Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East" and then headed off to the Vatican and Brussels, to meet with the Pope and NATO, respectively.

From all accounts, he was warmly welcomed, at least on the first part of the trip. There were Harleys, and horses, and limos and bigly red carpets everywhere. I wonder if even Trump thought his face would ever be splashed in lights on buildings in a foreign countries?

Social media had fun with the sword dance and the glowing orb, positing that the latter could have been the key to the sinkhole that mysteriously appeared outside Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida; many argued that it wasn't a sinkhole, but rather the gates of hell. I'm not religious, but I'm sure not going to stick my toes into that water.

What else is going on?

Well, the CBO released their assessment of the WeDon'tCare Act, also known the American Health Care Act. The Republicans retooled their plan, you recall, after it failed to garner support pass back in March, and April. When it was revisited earlier this month, it passed with no Democratic support, and 20 Republicans voting no. The new plan, according to the CBO, will cut the deficit by $119 billion, and leave 51 million people without insurance, over the next decade - including as many as 14 million who would lose coverage by next year.  That 51 million uninsured number? That's 23 million more than would be uninsured if the Affordable Care Act were left in place but better than the first version by 1 million people. Yay Republicans!

You know how politicians always claim to "know someone" or "are friends with someone" who is gay, or is looking for work because their job was sent to China or was taken by an illegal immigrant, or who is afraid of being attacked by a Muslim terrorist, or who was killed by the Clintons? Yeah, I wonder how many Republicans are going to be standing in front of  the TV cameras telling us they're "friends with someone" who's going to lose their insurance this year, or who will see an 800% increase in premiums, which is possible, per the CBO, for an older person in a waiver state? Any ideas?

And speaking of standing in front of the cameras, you'll remember the outcry when the president met with those Russian dudes? And allegedly shared military intelligence with them in what seems to have been an off-the-cuff, look-at-me way, according to sources?
I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.
After initially saying there was nothing to see here, the Administration changed their tune and said that Trump could share intel if he wanted because he's the president, and so on. Detractors called him loose with classified info; supporters point to Obama and Clinton disclosures, as if two lefts make a right.

The point of all this? At that meeting, no members of the American media - not even Fox News or InfoWars - were in the room. Only someone, a photographer, I believe -  from the Russian media. I mean, Putin even offered to give us details on the call, since he had them and no one else did. But that's not what has me wondering.

Nope -- it's the press conference in Saudi Arabia that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held. Without any members of the American media present.  Now I know the Trump administration thinks that only they tell the truth, and that the main stream media is fake news, and they they prefer alternative facts, and they like to tape plastic over the windows at Mar-a-Lago so the press can't look out at the golfer in chief, but do they really think it's appropriate when traveling overseas to hold a press conference with foreign media only?

And finally, there are multiple reports, including one in my local paper, that Carrier will be laying off people at the plant Trump 'saved' in Indianapolis, including close to 300 just before Christmas. I wonder, can this air conditioning plant be saved? And how will the administration spin the job losses? Do they still get credit for the temporary save, if none of the positions move to Mexico?

And in which foreign paper will I find the story?