Speech, speech, speech

THE STORY

Last night, President Trump held his first solo performance in front of Congress. It was basically a State of the Union, but you can’t ‘officially’ call it that for a brand new prez.

SO HOW WAS IT?

Presidential. Trump said he knows the country hasn’t exactly been doing trust falls lately, and called for “unity and strength.” VP Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) even wore matching outfits. Some Dem lady lawmakers did too in a nod to women’s rights.

WHAT DID HE SAY?

Trump called out the rise in racial and anti-Semitic hate crimes, saying the US should condemn “hate and evil” in all its forms. Then he pulled out his notes on how he thinks he’s doing so far. Bringing jobs back to the US? Check. Nominated a Supreme Court Justice? Check. Cracked down on border security? Check. But he still has a pretty long to-do list…

Health care…as in Trump still wants Congress to repeal Obamacare – and replace it with a law that lets people ‘buy their own plans instead of ones the US gov wants them to have.’ Oh, and Americans with pre-existing conditions (think: asthma, diabetes) should still have access to insurance.

Immigration…as in Trump says he wants to achieve immigration reform by working with both sides of the aisle. He also thinks the US has been letting in too many “lower-skilled” immigrants. Instead, he’d like to roll out the welcome mat for people who can support themselves financially.

Economy…as in Trump’s focused on creating jobs, jobs, and more jobs. He plans on making it harder for companies to take their business overseas, and promises ‘Murica won’t be taken for a ride by trade deals. Trump also won’t be taken for a ride on a Harley Davidson, thx.

Education…as in Trump says it’s the “civil rights issue of our time.” He wants Congress to pass a bill that’ll make it easier for kids – especially minorities – to have more choices (think: public, private, religious, charter) when it comes to where they go to school.

Military spending…as in Trump wants to go on one of the largest defense spending sprees in US history. He supports NATO, but would like the US’s foreign friends to pick up more financial slack. Everyone reached for the Kleenex when Trump intro’d the widow of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who was killed earlier this year in a raid in Yemen. Cue the standing ovation.

WHO WAS AT HOME WITH THE CODES?

Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin had a cozy night in with Secret Service and the nuclear codes. This is meant to comfort you.

WHAT DID THE OTHER SIDE SAY?

Former Gov Steve Beshear (D-KY) gave the Dems’ response from a wax museum. He called out Trump for pledging to protect the American people – but instead cutting financial regulations and repealing Obamacare. Beshear also thinks Trump needs to remember that just because people disagree with him sometimes, it doesn’t make them the enemy.

theSKIMM

The first weeks of the Trump administration were a little rocky. Last night, Trump tried to change the tone and smooth things over. But a lot of this vision requires Congress to write some checks. Get ready for budget battles.

Trump called out the rise in racial and anti-Semitic hate crimes, saying the US should condemn “hate and evil” in all its forms.

IN ALL ITS FORMS.

IN ALL ITS FORMS.

Immigration…as in Trump says he wants to achieve immigration reform by working with both sides of the aisle. He also thinks the US has been letting in too many “lower-skilled” immigrants. Instead, he’d like to roll out the welcome mat for people who can support themselves financially.

If we don’t have any “lower-skilled” people working in America, who are going to do all the jobs you don’t want to. Maid service? Bus boy? Waitress? Errand person? Cashier? Front desk? You do know that they are coming here BECAUSE THEY CANNOT SUPPORT THEMSELVES FINANCIALLY. To them America is the land of dreams still. Poor souls.

I think Trump would have been better saying the speech that was running all over Facebook yesterday:

President Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress later today has been leaked. Here it is: “REMARKS BY PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you for that applause, which was the longest, loudest and most enthusiastic applause any president has ever received from Congress — period. It is probably the most applause that anybody has ever received anywhere.
As you know, I won the largest electoral college victory in history, even though 11 million illegal immigrants in this country voted illegally for my opponent — some of them twice. Even some of the dead people who voted for Hillary now regret their vote and say they should have voted for me. One of them is seated in the gallery tonight with Melania, and more and more people are recognizing him lately. Ladies and gentlemen, please recognize Frederick Douglass.
My fellow Americans, I inherited a mess. I heard this statistic: Ninety percent of Americans were starving. School bathrooms were jammed with transgender students. Ceiling tiles were falling from tunnels and killing people. Almost everybody in Chicago had been murdered. We had been attacked by terrorists 78 times and the media didn’t report it. Each month, millions of jobs were shipped overseas, where American workers were murdered and tortured by ISIS.
But now that we have eliminated all sources of information other than me, we are making America great again. I agreed to pay Boeing only one dollar for the new Air Force One. Lockheed-Martin is paying me $600 million to let them build the F-35. Carrier is now employing millions of people at its plant in Indiana. My cabinet nominees were all confirmed unanimously, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was just offered membership in Mensa.
The FBI, under new director Steve Bannon, has completed its review and determined that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by Russia but by some guy in his bedroom who weighs 400 pounds. The FBI also said that the disruptions that occurred in American cities the day after my inauguration, followed by actions at airports after my travel ban, were because of frustration with Delta’s reservation system.
Internationally, ISIS has been defeated, Mexico has paid for the wall in advance, China has abolished its currency, and Australia has apologized for treating us so badly. Our military action in Yemen was a huge success. The incident in Sweden is finally under control.
Here at home, crime has stopped, and there are no more drugs. Calm has returned to Bowling Green. Thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered when I issued my travel ban. We have replaced Obamacare with something much better that costs nothing. Vanity Fair has given the Trump Grill in Trump Tower 5 stars, and a major retailer has been rebranded “Nordstrom by Ivanka Trump.” My support is 98 percent in a Rasmussen poll.
My budget has a huge tax cut and the largest military expansion and infrastructure spending program in history. It also protects Medicare and Social Security, eliminates the federal debt and buys every American a pony. I have eliminated dangerous leaks by abolishing the CIA and saved costs by having Russia maintain our nuclear arsenal. I deregulated the environment and left it to the states to set spelling rules.
The State of the Union is great. If anybody says otherwise, consider the source.

At least the American people would have believed this one. And it skips the part where he uses the widow he created to take credit for a standing ovation. Veterans all across the country are livid. And I really cannot blame them. why-not-invite

Now I can’t tell you for sure Bernie said that. But it still needs to be said! I cannot for the life of me understand why the widow would go to this. Unless it was to see the man responsible for her husband’s death. Maybe slap him around a bit. Or hex him.

Which reminds me…how did that ‘all witches hexing trump’ thing go?? Anyone know?? Can anyone tell if he’s been properly hexed? Isn’t doing that sort of against wicca code? Do what you will but harm none? Isn’t it got to do with karma? How many questions can a person put in a paragraph before it’s annoying?

Probably as bad as reading a book of questions but no answers. Not even a teacher’s edition.

And because the WTF isn’t even going to stop any time soon (I suppose everyone ought to get used to the WTF feeling as I have a sad feeling that this is going to be a permanent state we’ll be in), I bring you day 40 and 41 of What The Fuck Just Happened Today:

Day 41: Tumultuous. 03/01/2017 Updated: 03/01/2017 03:06:13 PM PST

1/ Trump defended his tumultuous presidency and asked Congress to put aside its “trivial fights” to help ordinary Americans in his first speech. Trump reiterated a host of familiar themes from his campaign and called for unity to address a litany of issues that he says are plaguing the country. “The time for small thinking is over,” Trump said. “The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts. The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls. And the confidence to turn those hopes and those dreams into action.” (New York Times)

UPDATE:

Sanders tells supporters after Trump’s speech to “continue the fight” and publicly push back against the administration. “Keep showing up. Keep calling Congress and continue the fight. The Republicans are now on the defensive and we’ve got to continue to push them back,” Sanders said. (The Hill)

Trump seeks to parlay post-speech boost into action on contentious agenda. Pence said the reception Trump received gave him “great confidence that the agenda that the president articulated last night is the right agenda for America, it’s resonating with the American people.” (Washington Post)

Trump’s softer tone masks hard road ahead with few details on how he’d turn them into reality. (Bloomberg)

Speech marks a shift in tone. Trump’s pitched his agenda to voters and Congress with language that was much more presidential and traditional in tone, even as he made no major policy changes. (Wall Street Journal)

The 5 main takeaways from Trump’s speech. (New York Times)

6 things we learned from Trump’s address to Congress. (CNN)

Key moments from Trump’s speech: Condeming the recent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries; celebrating his own accomplishments; announcing a “historic tax reform”; repeating the line “radical Islamic terrorism”; outlining what he said would be a “better healthcare system”; and referring to illegal immigration as “American carnage.” (Politico)

Fact checking Trump’s first address to Congress. (New York Times)

The full text of Trump’s speech to Congress. (CNN)

The Democratic response to Trump’s address by Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, annotated by NPR journalists. (NPR)

2/ DeVos backpedals on remarks about historically black colleges due to a fierce backlash after she called historically black colleges and universities “real pioneers” of school choice backlash. In a series of tweets, DeVos acknowledged that the schools were not created simply to give African-American students more choices, but because black students across the country were not allowed into segregated white schools. (New York Times)

betsy-devos

3/ New Trump order drops Iraq from travel ban list. The decision follows pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq’s inclusion given its key role in fighting the Islamic State group. (Associated Press)

UPDATE:

Trump called on the Department of Homeland Security to “create an office to serve American victims” of crimes committed by immigrant. The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) would provide “a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.” He made no explanation as to why the targets of crime perpetrated by immigrants should receive the support of a new federal government agency that apparently excludes the victims of crime committed by U.S. citizens. (CNBC)

  • Trump delays signing new travel ban order. The delay was due to a busy news cycle, and Trump wanted the new execeutive order to get it’s own “moment.” Signing the executive order today, as originally planned, would have undercut the favorable coverage of Trump’s speech. (CNN)
  • Trump seesaws on legal status for undocumented immigrants. (New York Times)

4/ Republican governors divided on Obamacare replacement. States that expanded Medicaid coverage fear they’‘ll be left holding the bag if the federal government doesn’t provide enough money to pay for the entitlement they expanded under the Affordable Care Act. (Washington Post)

  • House Republicans announce only Republicans are allowed to see the new health care plan. Paul Ryan had previous boasted that they were “not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people’s front door.” Oh well… (New York Magazine)

5/ Police chiefs object to Trump’s efforts to involve them in immigrant deportations. A letter from more than 60 law enforcement heads asks to soften push to include police in round-ups, saying it makes their communities less safe. (The Guardian)

6/ Generals may launch new ISIS raids without Trump’s approval. The White House is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon to greenlight anti-terrorist operations after Trump took heat for a raid in Yemen that killed a SEAL. (The Daily Beast)

7/ Pelosi to Democrats: Treat Trump voters like a friend whose boyfriend is a jerk Pelosi is confident a good portion of Trump’s voters will eventually turn on him – and Democrats just have to wait it out. (CNN)

8/ The State of Trump’s State Department. Anxiety and listless days as a foreign-policy bureaucracy confronts the possibility of radical change. (The Atlantic)

9/ “You People” are doing an amazing job, Trump told HBCU presidents during meeting. Trump repeated the complimentary refrain three times. A White House adviser called the characterization of the meeting false, and said it was “ridiculous spin.” (BuzzFeed News)

10/ White House: Conway acted “without nefarious motive” in Ivanka Trump plug. A letter from the White House to the Office of Government Ethics says a White House lawyer met with Conway to review federal rules prohibiting endorsements by government employees. The letter makes no mention of plans for disciplinary action. (CNN Money)

11/ Rubio asked to leave Tampa office over disruption from weekly protests. The owner of the build notified Rubio on February 1st that they will not be renewing the lease because the rallies have become too disruptive to the other tenants. (Tampa Bay Times)

12/ Sen. Lindsey Graham he wants all presidential candidates to be required by law to release their tax returns, starting in 2020. The proposal would include Donald Trump if the president seeks reelection. (Politico)

13/ Senate approves Trump’s nominee, Ryan Zinke, for the Department of the Interior. The Republican congressman promised to review Obama-era actions limiting oil and gas drilling in Alaska and said he rejected President Donald Trump’s past comment that climate change is a “hoax.” (CNN)

poll/ Trump’s speech was a hit with viewers in two early polls. A CBS News/YouGov poll found 76% of viewers approved of the speech and 82% found it “presidential.” A CNN/ORC poll found 70% felt more optimistic. (Politico)

Day 40: Split. Choice.

02/28/2017 Updated: 02/28/2017 08:20:26 PM PST 1/ Betsy DeVos press release celebrates Jim Crow education system as a pioneer of “school choice”, saying the legal segregation of historically black colleges and universities gave black students “more options.” Trump met with the leaders of a number of HBCUs yesterday. DeVos commemorated the meeting in a press release today. (Slate)

  • DeVos slammed for calling black colleges “pioneers” of school choice. DeVos’ statement painting African Americans’ efforts to create higher education options for themselves in a segregated society as a “choice” earned her criticism from Democratic members of Congress and others. (Talking Points Memo)

2/ House leaders are split on whether a Russian inquiry is needed. The top Republican and Democrat on the Intelligence Committee gave sharply conflicting views of their investigation into Russian efforts to influence the election, raising questions about whether they will be able to work together. Republican Devin Nunes said that there was no evidence anyone from the Trump campaign had communicated with the government in Moscow. Democrat Adam Schiff said that it was too early to rule out the ties, because the panel had not yet been provided with any evidence collected by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. (New York Times)

UPDATE:

FBI once planned to pay former British spy who authored controversial Trump dossier to continue his work. While Trump has derided the dossier as “fake news” compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with the spy shows that bureau investigators considered him credible and found his line of inquiry to be worthy of pursuit. (Washington Post)

  • GOP intelligence chairman David Nunes: “There’s no evidence of anything” regarding Russia-Trump campaign contacts. Nunes said the House Intelligence Committee won’t subpoena Trump’s tax returns and decries “McCarthyism” and “witch hunts” based on reports that Americans may have connections to the Russian regime. (Salon)
  • George W. Bush said ‘‘we all need answers’’ on the extent of contact between Trump’s team and the Russian government. He didn’t rule out the idea that a special prosecutor could be necessary to lead an investigation. (Boston Globe)

3/ Trump goes to Congress to make a sale. Trump is under pressure to show that his White House can be effective in delivering on the sweeping changes he has promised by working with allies on Capitol Hill. Trump’s aides are promising an “optimistic” speech designed to rally Americans toward a hopeful future. Trump will address Congress shortly after 9 p.m EST tonight. (CNN)

  • A guide for Trump’s first speech to Congress. Instead of reflecting on the state of the U.S., like a State of the Union address, the first joint session speech is typically used to outline a new president’s goals for his administration. Trump will do exactly that — and try to downplay the chaos that has plagued his first 40 days in office. (Politico)
  • Trump prepares to address a divided audience: The Republican Congress. On health care, tax reform and federal spending, GOP lawmakers hold differences of opinion within their own party that are obstructing passage of ambitious Republican policies, and so far Trump has shown little desire to openly referee those disputes. (Washington Post)

4/ Sessions vows to get tough on crime, saying a recent spike in violence in some cities is “driving this sense that we’re in danger.” He’s pledged to commit more federal energy to fighting crime even though crime rates remain far below their 1970s and 1980s levels. Trump is expected to emphasize that the rise in violence in some cities was not “a one-time blip” but rather “the beginning of a trend” during his address to a joint session of Congress tonight. (New York Times)

  • Sessions tells the Justice Department to ease up on police probes into alleged civil rights abuses by local police departments. The attorney general says it’s undermined police and led to an increase in violent crime in some cities. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Sessions pushes tougher line on marijuana even though a growing number of states are moving to legalize or decriminalize pot. “Most of you probably know I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot,” Sessions said. (Politico)

5/ Trump envisions a compromise bill allowing many immigrants to stay in US where those who aren’t serious or violent criminals could stay in the US legally, hold a job and pay taxes, without having to worry about being deported. A path to citizenship for those in the country illegally would not be part of Trump’s vision for this deal, with the possible exception of “Dreamers” – those brought into the US illegally as children. (CNN)

6/ Trump gave himself an A grade for his presidency, but only a C for communicating. how. great. he. has. been. in a “Fox and Friends” interview today. He also blamed Obama for organizing opposition against him, called the House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi “incompetent,” and criticized his own press secretary for how he has handled leaks. He has called “Fox and Friends” one of his favorite shows. (New York Times)

  • Trump gave himself a “C or C+” grade for communicating with the public: Needs improvement. He offered high marks for his accomplishments, but he gave himself a “C” for messaging, conceding that he has not been able to properly explain what he’s done. (Washington Post)

7/ Trump says Obama is helping organize protests against his presidency. Trump has been dismissing the protests against his presidency and demonstrations at congressional town hall meetings across the country as concocted by his political enemies. “I think that President Obama is behind it because his people certainly are behind it,” Trump said. “In terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. It will probably continue.” (Washington Post)

8/ Trump begins E.P.A. rollback with executive order on clean water rules. The order, which will have almost no immediate legal effect and could take longer than a single presidential term to dismantle, directs E.P.A. chief Scott Pruitt to rewrite the 2015 rule known as the Waters of the United States. The rule gives the federal government broad authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water as well as in streams and wetlands that drain into them.

Trump is also expected to sign a similar order instructing Pruitt to begin the process of withdrawing and revising Obama’s 2015 climate-change regulation, aimed at curbing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants. In his former job as attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt led or took part in 14 lawsuits intended to block the E.P.A.’s major regulations, including the clean water and climate rules that he is now charged with dismantling. (New York Times)

  • Trump to direct rollback of Obama-era water rule. Trump will instruct the E.P.A. and Army Corps of Engineers to “review and reconsider” a 2015 rule known as the Waters of the United States rule. The move that could ultimately make it easier for agricultural and development interests to drain wetlands and small streams. (Washington Post)

9/ Sen. Lindsey Graham: Trump budget is “dead on arrival.” Trump’s proposing $54 billion in cuts to fund an equivalent boost in defense spending, but lacks key details stoking bipartisan concern. (The Hill)

  • E.P.A. braces for a possibly “devastating” 25% budget cut. There is widespread concern within the E.P.A. that the changes will dramatically alter the function of an agency that was created under Republican President Richard Nixon in 1970, and will weaken the agency to the point where it can only do its most basic functions. (CNN)
  • Trump proposes cutting the State Department budget by 37%. The plan would cut aid given by U.S. Agency for International Development. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Pentagon budget next year sounds huge at first, but… it comes with a significant cut in foreign aid, including programs that military officials say contribute to global stability and are seen as important in helping avoid future conflicts. (New York Times)
  • Trump says “revved up economy” will pay for budget proposals. The extra $54 billion dollars he has proposed spending on the U.S. military will be offset by a stronger economy as well as cuts in other areas, he said. (Reuters)

10/ Trump urges insurers to work together to “save Americans from Obamacare.” Trump met with major health insurers in the midst of political divisions over how to dismantle and replace Obama’s signature health-care law and intensifying public pressure to preserve the policy. He criticized the Affordable Care Act for creating minimal health coverage requirements that restricted the types of plans insurers could sell. (Washington Post)

  • Schumer predicts health-care law “will not be repealed.” Schumer pointed to widespread disagreement among Republicans about how to go about undoing key parts of the law, as well as intense pressure from constituents urging them not to rush ahead with their effort. (Washington Post)

11/ Trump’s silence on deadly Olathe shooting is disquieting. Nearly a week has passed since two India-born engineers were singled out and shot at an Olathe bar, presumably because they were immigrants, darker in skin tone and possibly viewed by the shooter as unwanted foreigners. (Kansas City Star)

UPDATE:

White House condemns Kansas attack, calling it “racially motivated.” The comments are the most direct the White House has made on the incident. (CNN)

12/ New NSC chief pushed Trump to moderate his language on terrorism, urging him to stop using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” The phrase, however, will be in Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress tonight — even though McMaster reviewed drafts and his staff pressed the president’s speechwriter not to use it. (Politico)

13/ Trump signed off on checking White House staffers’ phones to make certain they weren’t communicating with reporters by text message or through encrypted apps. The decision sent a signal across the administration that Trump is furious at leaks from inside the White House. (CNN)

14/ Trump appears to blame generals for SEAL’s death in Yemen raid. Trump highlighted that the controversial raid in Yemen that left one Navy SEAL dead had been a success, and in the works before he took office. He said “they lost” the SEAL — apparently in reference to the generals who planned the mission. (The Hill)

poll/ Trump is delivering on his campaign promises. 56% of registered voters say that Trump is staying true to his 2016 campaign message. 65% say Trump has accomplished what was expected of him — or more. Overall, half of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 45% disapprove. (Politico)

Has your brain turned to jelly like the IOA’s must be in order to allow such a deplorable person in the White House? Have you figured out what IOA means? I’m sure I mentioned it before in a past post. Did you expect another question? Ha. I’ve got to stop that.

Until next time, it’s quite healthy to have a hobby you enjoy. So if you haven’t found one yet, you might want to take some time to find one. Even if it’s small and online or you can only give a few minutes a day to it. We are all going to need something to get us through these next few moments.

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