Thursday, July 27, 2017

The ban that wasn't

Trump impulsively fires off a series of tweets announcing that he is banning the transgendered from the U.S. armed forces. But the joint chiefs of the armed forces release a statement that there will be no change in policy regarding transgendered service members because the change in policy didn't arrive through the normal chain of command.

So right at this moment, transgendered are allowed to serve in the armed forces, but, thanks to the high profile tweets, the general public doesn't think they can. I predict Trump won't actually issue a ban order through the normal chain of command. I mean, why would Trump bother? He got what he wanted out of the announcement already. Everyone in the country was appalled by, cheering, or at least talking about his announcement.

I don't think Trump cares about transgender issues at all either way (although I know people in his administration, like Pence and Sessions do). All he wants is to be the center of attention and to appear to be making some decisive move. That's what most of the country thinks he already did. I don't think he cares enough of about the actual policy to make it really happen.


RoguePOTUSStaff throws a tantrum because impeachment didn't happen like the uplifting movie in their heads

I used to be unsure whether the @RoguePOTUSStaff twitter account was real because their tweets did not seem to be from staffers who were old-school Republicans offended by Trump's divergences from orthodoxy. More recently, I have become increasingly convinced that the account is real. Just watching how they pick fights with critics and their swipes at Nancy Pelosi for the same reasons that my conservative friends do, has convinced me that they do seem to be actual conservatives. This latest tweet, along with the manifesto it links to has clinched it for me.

The idea that Trump would be removed from office just because of the events over the past few weeks is incredibly far-fetched. There are very few precedents for impeaching a president (really three, two presidents that were impeached but acquitted and one that resigned just before he would be impeached). All three took a whole lot longer than six months. While I agree that Donald Trump is a uniquely awful president which should get the powers-that-be to move things along even faster, that doesn't change the basic truth that the process itself is a slow process. I'm not just talking about the time it takes to pass articles of impeachment and then to have a trial in the Senate. I'm talking about the fact that impeachment, as a practical matter when the president's party controls Congress, requires either members of the President's own party to turn against the president or a mid-term election to give the opposing party control of Congress. Both of those things take time. A lot more time than the six months that Trump has been in office, and certainly more time than has passed in the two weeks since the Don Jr. email was released. (Railing that Nancy Pelosi has a secret agenda to keep Trump in power to help with her fund-raising is completely absurd, and really is besides the point.)

The weird irony about those RoguePOTUSStaffers on this issue is that they are completely against the one fast way we have to remove a president: the 25th Amendment. I agree that the 25th Amendment scenario is a lot less likely than impeachment and probably will not happen. But if you want fast, that is the fast way to go.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Never thought the 25th Amendment scenario was that likely, and yet

It occurs to me that maybe the President shouldn't be treating the members of his cabinet so badly. Under the 25th Amendment, they are the ones who decide if the President is competent enough to remain in office.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Has anyone told the President that forcing cabinet members out has a cost?

I realize that the President is not strategically oriented in his thinking, but while people are still talking about whether Trump is trying to get rid of his Attorney General, now we are hearing that his Secretary of State might be on his way out as well.

If the President wants to get anything done, that is crazy. As it is, his legislative agenda has stalled and more than six months in, even though his party controls both houses of Congress. He still hasn't nominated, much less gotten confirmed, dozens of mid-and lower level executive appointments. The last thing he needs is for Senators to get tied down in another big fight over a cabinet position, much less two high profile cabinet positions (we're talking Justice and State, not something like Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture). The Senate is already canceling half of its summer break because it can't handle all the stuff that is currently on its plate.


Holy shit someone famous was photographed with a blank expression while wearing a costume!!!!!

I have various google alerts out for news about Kazakhstan. Usually not much gets reported from Central Asia in English-language media, especially because I filter out most articles about business deals, the oil industry, and sports.

But every once in a while, my alerts blow up. Thanks Nicolas Cage.


Protests can work

Wow.

If so many people hadn't taken to the streets in Poland over the weekend, I doubt this would have happened.


Rudy would be terrible but

Even Giuliani would be better than Sessions for AG. Sure, Rudy is a total buffoon and he has some serious issues about race (in terms of his support for "stop and frisk" and profiling). But his race issues aren't nearly as bad as Sessions all-but-outright racism. At least voter suppression has never been one of Giuliani's pet issues.

I'm not saying I would support Giuliani's confirmation. On the contrary, I would call my Senators to demand he not be confirmed (and I think as someone who was never a colleague of the whole Senate, Rudy might have a harder time getting conferred than Jeff did, and Jeff barely made it through). I would love it if Giuliani got appointed and then was rejected by the Senate. But if I need to pick a world where Sessions is AG or Giuliani is AG, I would go with Rudy every time.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

I thought everyone knew that the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif/Temppelivuori was a sensitive site

Am I misunderstanding this, or could this whole new cycle of tit-for-tat violence been avoided if the Israeli government had just called the Palestinians and/or Jordanians and gotten their agreement to install metal detectors?


As Poland goes...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Comment update

Okay, so I haven't had time to deal with the comment issue.

Basically:

(1) I don't know how to fix it (if it is fixable).

(2) I considered getting rid of Disqus and then using blogger's native comment system, except that you can't import comments into blogger comments. Which means if I do that, all the wit and wisdom of my commentators will be lost.1

(3) Another option is moving to a completely different 3rd party commenting system that is able to import my Disqus comments. I googled up this one, but I have no idea if it is any good. (It is #5 on this list, but Disqus is #1 so what do they know?)

(4) The only other options seem to be finding someone to untangle the problem in my blog's code so I can stick with Disqus, or just put up with having hinky comments for a while. I really don't want to do the latter, and I guess my first choice would be for someone to just figure this out for me so I don't have to deal with it any more.

Any volunteers? Or just suggestions? Let me know in the comments. Err, just email me. You can find the address on the right under the words "Harass me."

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1-A lot of that wit and wisdom already was lost years ago. As you may remember, my first comment system was Haloscan (the only one I really liked even though I complained about it at the time). It was bought out by Echo, so my comments were transferred to Echo. Then Echo sucked so bad it went under so I moved to Disqus. Shortly after that transfer, I realized that a lot of my Haloscan-era comments were gone, but I wasn't sure if I lost them in the transition from Haloscan to Echo, or the transition from Echo to Disqus.

The dude has no idea what "obstruction of justice" means

Jesus Christ, what a moron.

No wonder members of his legal team are resigning.

ADDING: Just to be clear, I am not saying that merely looking at whether Mueller or anyone on his staff has a conflict of interest is obstruction of justice. But I doubt the president's instructions are that limited in scope. If you ask your people to dig up dirt on the investigators, it is pretty much inevitable that the administration will cross the line into trying to blackmail the prosecutor's office.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Don't look under this rock!

If you're under investigation, you don't tell the press "they better not look at my businesses." That is sure to backfire.


Pushing us backwards

About 20 million people gained health coverage because of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Yesterday, the CBO concluded that under President Trump's "repeal only" strategy, 32 million people would lose their health insurance. That's right, Trump's proposal wouldn't just bring us back to the number of people who were uninsured back in 2010. It would make the health care crisis significantly worse. Heckofajob, Mr. Policy-Free President!


Happy Dipshit President Day!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Silver linings

Trump's second, until yesterday undisclosed, meeting with Putin at the G-20 had no witnesses and there are no notes has a silver lining. There is nothing in writing to establish that Trump promised anything and that means there really isn't any promise.

Trump is a pathological liar. Almost everything he says is incorrect and he changes his story often from day to day. I don't think he even realizes how unreliable he is. When he says he will do something, he might mean it at the time. But that won't stop him from doing something totally different later. Simply put, his word is not worth anything.

So whatever he told Putin he would do is no more likely to happen after the meeting than before it. Without written evidence of his commitment, it is like the promise was never made.

I guess it is possible, maybe even likely, that Trump blurted out some classified information that should not have been passed on to the Russian leader (like he did that other time he met with Russian officials). That might be the real damage to the meeting. But we shouldn't worry that Trump made any special promises to help Putin out. I mean, he could have made promises. But that doesn't mean he is any more likely he will follow through.