December 19, 2018

Wondering on Wednesday (v158)

So, what's on our collective minds this week, the last Wonderful Wednesday before Christmas?

Some might be wondering why the president decided to declare victory in Syria and announce - via  a tweet - that he was going to bring the troops home. Among the people wondering about this are folks at the Pentagon, who (again) were uninformed about one of the president's policy statements until it social media, catching them off guard. The very first thing I wondered when I heard this is whether anyone had checked the tapes to see what they've been talking about on any of the Fox shows, since that's where those "many people" the president often references work.  (I honestly don't have the energy to check this myself.)

Don't get me wrong - wiping out ISIS, or 99% of ISIS as some suggest, is a good thing. But is tweeting that we're going to be walking away, without a whole lot of detail for our friends and allies (or our own people) really a smart way to do it? I've wondered about this whole 'announcing our military intentions' thing for a long time, well before the current administration took office - I mean, that would be like Apple announcing their new technology via tweet well before the Chinese even had a chance to try and steal it, or something.

I saw on the news tonight that the stock market is down some 5.8% on the year, and that got me wondering if it wouldn't be more honest and transparent if we reported the market results not relative to the immediate past prior trading day, but to where we started at the beginning of the year. So, for example, instead of saying the Dow was down 351.98 (today's close compared to yesterday's close), we would report it as being down 1,500.35 (today's close compared to the close on January 2, 2018).
I think this would go a long way toward helping people understand that winning thing we're supposed to be getting so tired of by now.  And it would might help people make better judgments of the truthfulness of  presidential pronouncements on the market (which, of course, he only makes when things are going well).

We may be avoiding a government shutdown, a proud moment for a president shutdown, a border security shutdown, after all.  There's activity on a number of fronts here, apparently, which changed the president's mind on the shutdown (he loves that word, shutdown):
  • his own people immediately started walking back the pride aspect of his comments the other day with Chuck and Nancy;
  • the Republicans in the Senate let him know it was an asinine thing to be proud of;
  • he ordered his cabinet of only the best people to find money in their budgets to help come up with the $5B he said was needed to prevent the shutdown;
  • he said he didn't need $5B after all, $1.5B was all he really needed
  • he recalculated his "and Mexico is going to build the wall pay for the wall" statement, again,  instead saying that they will indirectly pay for it because of all the new pesos flooding into the country because of the renegotiated NAFTA deal
We can wonder about which of those things might have been the one to break the camel's back, as it were, but the real wondering about all of this shutdown stuff has to be reserved for Mitch McConnell, who today let us know that
... Republicans will continue to fulfill our duty to govern. That's why we will soon take up a simple measure that will continue government funding into February. So we can continue this vital debate after the new Congress has convened. Because, make no mistake - there will be important unfinished business left in front of us. And we'll owe it to the American people to tackle it.
Yes, the Senate Majority Leader has now officially understood that the Senate has a responsibility to the American people. And I wonder, did he get struck by lightning or something, to come to this revelation? "We'll owe it to the American people?"  You already owe it to us, Senator Obstructionist. You ALREADY owe it to us.

And finally, in the spirit of Christmas, let's talk about music. For it seems lots of people are still wondering why people ever wondered about 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' (a Christmas song having nothing at all to do with Christmas), and those same people are also wondering why people who wondered about 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' aren't instead wondering how cold it must be for a homeless, drug addicted, PTSD-suffering veteran, single mother, domestic violence victim who doesn't have two pennies to rub together and they need to start doing something about it.

Now, this is not about wondering about people who are wondering about a song, it's wondering about people who have so much time on their hands that they can not only tell other people to stop wondering about one thing, but also tell them to start wondering about other specific things.

I have to wonder about all of that...

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