A Continuing Conversation

Too many articles of late consist of a list of negative observations and complaints about the Trump administration in a futile effort to catch up. It’s like having a continuous conversation with my readers. Today is no different. Let’s explore.

The Trump administration and their Republican enablers are using what I call the Broad Street Bullies theory (named after the mid-seventies Philadelphia Flyers) of committing so many simultaneous transgressions that many fly under the radar. Today I’d like to comment on a few from last week in no particular order.

Word leaked (and I’m certain it is not just a trial balloon) that the Trump administration will soon announce the rollback of some fuel efficiency standards. That’s great news for the handful of Americans who are heavily invested in fossil fuel and bad news for the vast majority of Americans who pay for the fuel they put in their vehicles and breathe air.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has proposed rent increases and work requirements for Americans who receive low income federal housing subsides. The neediest currently have to contribute $50 per month to their rent. Carson’s plan would raise that to $150. Subsidized housing is far from the type EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt gets in his sweetheart deals. I guess Carson has to come up with the $31,000 for the dining room set from somewhere.

Speaking of the scandal plagued Pruitt; he unveiled a “Transparency Rule” which will severely limit the research the EPA can utilize. If it includes confidential patient health information it is not allowed. In other words Pruitt will protect Americans from environmental hazards that are not harmful to their health. Does he really need a $43,000 super-secret phone booth for that? The only safety he seems to take seriously is his own as evidenced by his taking EPA agents out of the field to enlarge his personal security detail.

Of course if you want the Trump administration to do something for you last week OMB Director and part time CFPB head Mick Mulvaney told us how to make it happen. Give a nice fat contribution to as many members of Congress you can. If Trump has drained the swamp it is only because his new predators can’t breathe in water. The only good that came out of Mulvaney’s speech before the American Bankers Association was that it will save on production cost for 2018 Democratic Congressional candidates. We now know for certain that under Mulvaney the CFPB is dedicated to protecting the bankers from those pesky consumers.

President Trump’s personal lawyer in charge of mistress silencing, Michael Cohen, informed the court that he will take the Fifth if deposed or compelled to testify. Perhaps if he does it more than Rick “The Fifth” Scott’s record setting 75 times in a single deposition Trump will move him to Florida and the GOP can run him for the Senate instead of Scott. Every case is unique and I believe in the American jurisprudence principle of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law but I find it hard to see why an innocent man with nothing to hide pleads the Fifth Amendment.

In what was Trump’s Harriet Miers moment, Admiral Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination to be the VA Secretary last week. I think some of the allegations will prove to be untrue or exaggeration but two things are abundantly clear: Jackson was unqualified for the job and the Trump administration still doesn’t vet nominees. That and the fact that they are slow in nominating candidates account for the openings not alleged Democratic obstruction. You can’t obstruct a non-existent nomination and lousy candidates are going to have problems.

Speaking of Trump administration nomination woes, it was announced that Admiral Harry Harris who was slated to be the Ambassador to Australia is instead being sent to South Korea. With the Korean peninsula being a hot spot and a pending Trump-Kim Jung-un summit the idea of having an ambassador in place in Seoul is great and long overdue; however taking one from Australia is just another instance of disrespecting a long term ally.

Right wing extremist Mike Pompeo was confirmed as Secretary of State. That is better than a vacancy going into the summit with Kim Jung-un – theoretically anyway.

In what on the surface looks like some rare good news, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill designed to protect Robert Mueller by a vote of 14-7. My first question is why it wasn’t by a vote of 21-0. My second question is do you think Mitch McConnell will allow it to come to the floor for a vote? I don’t.

In perhaps the most disgusting action by the Trump administration last week Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is strongly considering arresting parents who bring their children into the United States without documentation. This is the right wing’s latest attempt to make American white again by breaking up families at the border in an attempt to stop refugees from fleeing violence in Central America in an effort to save their lives and those of their children. There have been many reports of parents being separated from their children in an effort to pressure them to go back and spread the news that you risk losing your children if you seek refuge from certain death by entering the United States. This ruling would make it official policy and much more widespread. I thought America learned its lesson about refugees in 1939 when it refused the MS St. Louis. Most of those refugees turned away ended up dying in Hitler’s concentration camps.

President Trump would you please do something good for a change or at least employ someone capable of so. If I have to write about you and your administration I’d really like to say something nice at least once in a while.

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