January 31, 2018

Trump in Transition (v27)

Last night, president Trump gave his first State of the Union address.

He let us know that, in his opinion, the state of the union is strong, even as he left unsaid anything about the American carnage he spoke of so ominously just a year ago.

He touched on a lot of stuff in the relatively sniff-free hour and twenty minutes or so, after moving very quickly to the podium, almost as if he couldn't wait to get started so he could get back to the residence to watch the playback on his personal news network.

What did he tell us? The usual suspects: stock market, economy, jobs, unemployment of all kinds - those numbers that he repeatedly declared to be face while on the campaign trail are now truer than true, because he claims them as his own. He spoke of the tax cuts, and tax reform, and the increase in take-home pay we'll be seeing, and of course the corporate tax cuts, sold as a 14% reduction but in reality, barely half that in terms of what most companies actually paid. And of course the bonuses, but not the layoffs and the closings. The American Dream is a dream of dollars, plain and simple, he would have us believe.
In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is "In God we trust."
Some of us are old-school and remember the motto that came from our founding fathers: E Pluribus Unum, the one that includes all of us and binds us to each other in a way that IGWT does not. Like I said - old school.

He told us about the "bonds of trust" between the people and their government, including deregulation, new judges and support for the Second Amendment and "historic actions" to protect religious freedom, even if it steps on the rights of other Americans to participate freely in society, within the confines of our laws and regulations.
All Americans deserve accountability and respect -- and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers - and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.
Yep - that's what he said. Cabinet Secretaries, prepare to mobilize to remove those who fail the people president...

He talked about energy and trade of course - and about lower drug prices and coverage for clinical trials for the terminally ill, but did not talk about how these would be paid for or by whom.
Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment - to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. 
There is no question we need to do a ton of work on infrastructure - and there's no question that this will require foreign private sector investment - lots of it; how the administration will handle that remains to be seen. Just as a for instance, are we going to be in the position of having a foreign country control one of our airports?

He called for a massive military buildup - "unmatched power" is how he described it, and we can see

He called for moving from "welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity." We should all agree on that, for everyone - just not sure how Congress is going to make it work. Drug testing, probably. That's the answer to everything, right?

Gangs, gangs, gangs - gangs were all over the speech. Well, MS-13. Not the rest of them. Immigrants committing crimes, or acts of terrorism committed by 'chain' immigrants. He spoke of his four pillars for immigration which include a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegals, border security, ending the visa lottery and chain migration and moving to a merit based system, which will bring in skilled workers only. And fighting opioids, although the administration has been slow to provide any significant funding for this effort.

Guantanamo will remain open, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and we're moving our embassy there, there rest of the world be damned. Trump claimed that the move was "unanimously endorsed by the Senate" just months before, ignoring the other part that was, in the same bill, unanimously endorsed: that the Senate
reaffirms that it is the longstanding, bipartisan policy of the United States Government that the permanent status of Jerusalem remains a matter to be decided between the parties through final status negotiations towards a two-state solution.
And then, this, after talking about the UN resolution which condemned us for our interference in the two-state solution:
That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure America foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends.
Like many people - most, probably - I have no idea exactly what that means - but we are already withholding $65M of aid passed through the UN Relief and Welfare Agency to Palestinians. Who might be next? And how is 'friendship' defined, and by whom?

After a long discussion about the horrors of North Korea, he closed by talking about monuments to our heroes, and to freedom, including the Capital building as a monument to us.
Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: the people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again. 
As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens and trust in our God, we will not fail.  
Our families will thrive. Our people will prosper. And our nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.
The blended poll of Trump's approval today?  39.5% approve, 54.9% disapprove.

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