July 11, 2018

Wondering on Wednesday (v139)

So, what are wondering about tonight? Well, let's see.

The president is in Brussels for the NATO summit, and then he's off to the English countryside and to Scotland to avoid protesters and a balloon likeness that will be lurking over London, and finally he'll go to Helsinki to hang out with his buddy Vladimir Putin.

Trump was a bull in the breakfast shop this morning, barking about countries paying more money for defense and apparently causing shenanigans with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Germany's Angela Merkel, about a Russian pipeline.
I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia. We're supposed to protect you against Russia but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that's very inappropriate.
Other reports noted he went further than that. And yes, there's a video if you're interested.
If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply. They got rid of their coal plants.They got rid of their nuclear. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia, I think that's something NATO has to look at. I think it's very inappropriate.
All of this has me wondering, has Sean Hannity been saying "inappropriate" a lot lately?

While Trump's belligerent behavior was not unexpected, apparently the look on his General John Kelly's face was. Kelly and US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson seemed very uncomfortable, but at least for Kelly, it had NOTHING to do with Trump's three-minute harangue. Nope - he was hungry. Honest, he was hungry. Because Sarah Sanders said so.
Kelly was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there was only pastries and cheese.
Hungry?  The pool guy was HANGRY! I wonder if anyone gave him a Snickers?

Speaking of snickers, the president used his power of the pen again.

He fully pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond, father and son Oregon ranchers who were convicted of setting fire to federal lands.  When initially sentenced, they were given less than the required minimum sentence, then re-sentenced to the minimum. All of that resulted in the 2016 standoff at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  The communication about the pardon noted that the Hammonds.
...are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West. Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.
I wonder whether the president considered this information from the Obama Justice Department about the case, as he reviewed 'all' of the information, what do you think?
Witnesses at trial, including a relative of the Hammonds, testified the arson occurred shortly after Steven Hammond and his hunting party illegally slaughtered several deer on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) property. Jurors were told that Steven Hammond handed out "Strike Anywhere' matches with instructions that they be lit up and dropped on the ground because they were going to 'light up the whole country on fire.' One witness testified that he barely escaped the eight to ten foot high flames caused by the arson.
And speaking of arson and setting things on fire, Trump is continuing his attacks on the Affordable Care Act, making additional cuts to funding for health insurance navigators, and also requiring them to advise people of the availability of benefit plans that are not ACA compliant, including limited duration coverage and association plans (assuming any of those are up and running by the time open enrollment comes along) which makes me wonder, how long will the open enrollment season last this year?  A couple of weeks?

What are you wondering about?