February 13, 2017

While the Japanese Prime Minister was visiting Trump, North Korea fired a missile. They handled the news in public view at his dining room in Mar-A-Lago. People are concerned about this lack of secrecy during a high stakes issue.

An article today describes how upset Hannity and Drudge are with the Trump administration. (http://thehill.com/opinion/juan-williams/319139-juan-williams-trump-and-gop-collide-with-reality) They want more action on taxes and Obamacare. Both are going too slowly. There are signs that Obamacare may even be a long term punt or dodge. Fascinating.

If I had to guess, I’d say the political math looks like this: they want Obamacare to go away. But they don’t want to be blamed for it. So they’re going to wait and hope it fails so they can be seen to “rescue” it. But in the meantime their base will be upset about it. So we’ll see how that plays.

Looks like 4 GOP Senators won’t back Trump’s labor pick. If that’s true, and you combine that with the fact that he’s basically gone dark, it sounds like he’s out.

And of course the big news is Flynn. The latest reports say “the knives are out” for him. And that Trump is mad at him, mostly for generating negative press. Of course people like Pence will be upset for going out and lying on his behalf. But there’s a chance it’s more sinister than dishonorable Flynn feeding a lie to honorable Pence. I don’t know if Pence knew. I have no idea. But reporting continues to point to a much bigger story. The reporting seems to clearly point to the idea that Russia literally coordinated with Trump’s campaign to be elected.

Maybe we’ll look back in 90 days and say duh. Maybe the administration will have found a way to make us look in another direction. I have no idea. But today, on February 13th, it looks like the noose is tightening. Flynn is in trouble. The NSC is in disarray. (Headline on NYT right now: “Turmoil, From the Top Down, at the National Security Council.”) Trump’s Gallup approval was 15 points underwater yesterday and is 14 points underwater today. It’s hard to see the way out of this. Russian influence, whether it happened or not, is clearly something to investigate further. This isn’t going away.

We have to talk about Miller. He’s been written about for months, but now he’s ascendant thanks to his strident lying (there’s no other word for it) on the Sunday talk shows. Trump tweeted about what a good job Miller did, and I understand why. Trump wants someone who won’t apologize. Who will go guns blazing every time. So Miller did, and shredded his credibility in the meantime. Meaning Trump loves him right now.

It’s funny, I haven’t heard much from Kellyanne lately. Other than an SNL skit this weekend where she dies falling out of a window (and then re-animates) it’s been quiet. So it seems like Spicer continues to be in trouble. Kellyanne isn’t getting the same traction. Bannon is not as powerful as before, but still powerful. Reince, I have no idea. But Miller? Miller’s the new favorite. There’s no doubt.

Something strange is happening this week, where war with Iran and China seem obvious. China less so because of Trump walking back his anti-One China stance. But this administration seems to want a terrorist attack, or to want a war with Iran, believing that in both cases they will consolidate power via emergency actions. It’s been telegraphed so obviously, and so relentlessly, that when Trump does need to go on national TV to explain why we’re ramping military action, I wonder how many people will go for it.

Obviously the left will protest and resist. Obviously his big fans will think he’s showing determined leadership. But what about the middle? What about independents? The country is war wary. The country is fearful. Would we, as a country line up to give him broad authority? Not only do I think the administration is counting on it, I think it’s feverishly planning for it. The sooner they can start military action, the more powerful they will be. And with their power deflating like a balloon, I think that day can’t come soon enough for them.

Does it seem crazy to think my president is hoping for conflict? Maybe it would have been an incredibly allegation in the past. But no longer. Trump and Bannon have said too much on the record not to discount the idea. And their actions so far have been even worse. Of course they want war. Of course they do.

The only question is how we respond.

But first: the new immigration order. It’s coming this week. Not to mention more ICE raids. They started slowly, gauged reaction, and now it’s pretty clear they’ll go even bigger next. “Oh, it’s just criminals.” or “Oh, it’s just people who keep sneaking in.” Ok. I don’t believe them now, but in a year, it won’t matter. Not if they can swing public opinion towards the idea that these raids are a good idea.

And they might do it.

Oh, a congressman in Florida referred to “death panels” at a town hall meeting this weekend. When everyone booed, he called them children. Then liars. It is not a fun time to believe in widely debunked garbage on the internet.

Oh. And now it’s become an open debate whether or not Trump is literally mentally ill. Not in the “ha ha my opponent is crazy” sense, but an actual clinical diagnosis of dementia. If that’s what we end up learning (and we’ll eventually learn everything) it will be nice to pass some laws making it impossible for someone to skate by without robust checks on the president’s health in the future. Remember Trump’s doctor saying he’s the healthiest person ever?

Yeah. No. That was perhaps absurdly funny … once. Before he was president.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.