We’re #1

In military spending.  By A LOT.  I’m sure we desperately need another $54 billion, though.  Nice chart (and some good context at the link).

MB2017-Top-15-defence-budgets

And how will we pay for this $54 billion?  That’s among Trump’s rationales for cutting Environmental Protection.  Total EPA budget, $8 billion.  We don’t need clean air and water anyway.  That’s just for liberal commie pinkos.

The secret about Trump’s policy agenda

It’s unpopular with all but the Republican base.  Greg Sargent:

As always, only the elite media opposes Trump’s agenda, while Real America is quietly rooting for Trumpism to succeed. But polls have shown that majorities reject Trump’s travel ban and Mexican border wall. That majorities still favor legalization of undocumented immigrants and that only a tiny minority thinks they should be required to leave. That majorities or pluralities now approve of the Affordable Care Act and that opinion is tilting against repeal (and the GOP hasn’t even rolled out its “replacement” yet). That slightly more Americans approve of NAFTA than disapprove of it, raising doubts as to any great public clamor for Trump to renegotiate our trade deals. While polls have shown approval of Trump on the economy in general, his forthcoming plans for deep tax cuts for the rich combined with deep safety net cuts will also likely be unpopular.

Then there are the massive public protests that have greeted GOP lawmakers over the health law and the outpouring of public opposition to Trump’s executive order banning refugees and migrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. In the Bloomberg piecesomeone close to Bannon explains the latter this way:

It was no accident that the order was sprung without warning on a Friday afternoon. … Bannon arranged the timing in the expectation that opponents, freed from work on the weekend, would stage huge protests — drawing maximum attention and galvanizing Trump supporters as the president followed through on a controversial campaign promise, says a senior administration official.

Let’s call this the Bannon Disruption Feedback Loop, in which any and all chaos and disruption unleashed by whatever Trump does at Bannon’s orchestration only confirms Bannon’s fiendish brilliance. Despite all the chatter about Bannon being an ingenious maestro of disruption, in reality, the rollout of the ban, which was blocked in court, was a major fiasco, and Bannon’s handling of the whole process was a key reason why.

The Pivot!!

 

 

OMG, Trump read a speech off a teleprompter, didn’t dwell on doom and gloom, and did not gratuiously insult anybody!  So presidential.  The pivot has happened!  Or, so you might think from many media takes.  Please!  We’ve been hearing about the infamous “pivot” for months and months.  And, yet, it is so clear that Trump is Trump is Trump.  Sure, he can act like a normal human being from time to time.  He’s always had that ability.  But there’s no reason whatsoever to expect that it will be the new normal anytime he does this.  So many good responses on twitter, a sampling:

 

The best is this Jonathan Bernstein thread in response to the desire to judge this all as theater criticism.  A speech is so much more.  Read the whole thread.

And, finally, Yglesias with a really good take, “Trump is performing the role of president, not doing the job”

The premise of taking a close look at these speeches to read the tea leaves, in short, is that the president actually understands the policy issues facing him and cares about the words he’s speaking. With Trump, that’s far from true. He doesn’t like to read briefing books or make hard choices. His words about clean air or infrastructure or anything else are completely meaningless until we see real plans. And there’s no real indication that we ever will. The show is an increasingly meaningless spectacle… [emphasis mine]

The Trump show doesn’t matter. What matters is that thousands of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents in cities across America now feel they have been “unchained” to start enforcing immigration law in a more random, more terrifying manner. Beyond the details of Trump’s executive orders, reports of Customs and Border Patrol agents at airports stepping up their level of aggression in detaining and questioning harmless foreigners have been ubiquitous. Jewish community centers around the country are experiencing an unprecedented surge of bomb threats. The new attorney general is openly dismissive of Justice Department inquiries into racism and abuses at police departments nationwide — meaning that misconduct issues are likely to become more severe.

 

 

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