They come from customers in the bars - sound critique, encouragement, warnings, pleas, evasions even - and from the howls of invective from over the hedge. The News - print and TV- even in Oz, has nothing good to say about The Donald, nor even about his fine looking and seemingly very presentable wife.
It is a source of amusement to see and hear all the nonebrities in America who threatened to leave for distant climes were he to win. I have yet to hear of one who did leave. No apologies either.
The Donald is a far more pleasant chap than I, it seems, as were I in his position I would be hauling their arses into the White House for one final gawp before handing them a ticket on a tramp steamer from Baltimore to Liberia.
But the Donald has a swampful of real nasty blighters to rid himself of, who are struggling to evade his nets, and he is taking his good time watching them scatter and howl. They predicted the end of the world: the sky was going to fall in: the stock market would crash: Trump would be a Dictator !! Cats and dogs would be sleeping together. The last bit was nearly right.
From we poor folk out in the Provinces of the Rest of the World, what we saw over the past near decade under the piebald muslim B.O. was a Great Nation steeing toward the rocks and going at great speed. The Donald has his work cut out turning this great ship before it founders and takes many other nations down with it.
Enough of the small Oz gloat, though. Personally I see him doing pretty well, so far, with a deft touch here and there and a very big tweet record that leaves many cringing. But my opinion matters little. What have other people to say?
The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal sit at their own table (leased, of course) in the US Room bar, whenever they can smeak in past the Bouncer, and were working on a 'statement'. In typical fashion they were as reticent and guarded with any praise as they are with paying their bar tab. One does not have to consult the runes to know which side of the hedge they are meant to be on.
About That Trump ‘Autocracy’Remember all those progressive predictions of looming fascism?As Donald Trump heads into his second year as President, we’re pleased to report that there hasn’t been a fascist coup in Washington. This must be terribly disappointing to the progressive elites who a year ago predicted an authoritarian America because...
Mr. Trump posed a unique threat to democratic norms.
But it looks like the U.S. will have to settle for James Madison’s boring checks and balances.
“How to stop an autocracy,” said a Feb. 7, 2017 headline on Vox, ruminating on a zillion-word essay in The Atlantic on how Donald Trump might impose authoritarian rule.
Academics and pundits mined analogies to Mussolini, Hitler and Vladimir Putin.Four political scientists even formed something called Bright Line Watch—with the help of foundation money— to “monitor the status of democratic practices and highlight potential threats to American democracy.”
Readers won’t be surprised to learn that the only graver threat than Mr. Trump is the Republican Congress that refuses to impeach him.One of the Bright Line Watch founders, University of Rochester professor Gretchen Helmke, wrote in the Washington Post on April 25, “Could Trump set off a constitutional crisis? Here’s what we can learn from Latin America.”A year later, where are we on the road to Venezuela?Far from rolling over Washington institutions like a tank, Mr. Trump seems as frustrated as other Presidents with the limits of his power. He achieved one major legislative goal in tax reform but failed on health care. His border wall isn’t built and he may have to legalize the “Dreamer” immigrants if he wants Congress to approve money for it.Mr. Trump’s political appointees still aren’t close to fully staffing the executive branch. He’s making more headway on judges, but that’s partly due to former Democratic leader Harry Reid’s decision in 2013 to eliminate the Senate filibuster for judicial nominees. The press cheered on that partisan, mid-session change of Senate rules to pack the courts.Mr. Trump’s rhetorical attacks on the media are excessive. But for all of his bluster, we haven’t seen a single case of Trump prosecutors seeking warrants to eavesdrop on journalists to discover their sources.
Barack Obama’s Justice Department surreptitiously did that to the Associated Press and James Rosen of Fox News in violation of Justice guidelines.As for legal checks and balances, progressive judges in the lower courts have overturned three versions of Mr. Trump’s travel ban. Their legal analysis is dubious given the Constitution’s grant of authority to the political branches on immigration and national security, and our guess is that the Supreme Court will eventually overrule the lower courts.
But the point is that judges are hardly deferring to the Trump Administration.
Oh, and since when do tyrants deregulate to take power away from the administrative state?Mr. Trump is also facing a special counsel investigation with essentially unchecked power to investigate him and his family.
Robert Mueller is ostensibly charged with looking into ties between Russians and the 2016 Trump campaign, but Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appears to have given Mr. Mueller carte blanche.Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe and seems unable to exert any discipline over the FBI. The Justice Department ultimately reports to Mr. Trump. Yet he can’t even get his nominees at the FBI and Justice to tell Congress what they used as evidence to get a FISA warrant against Trump campaign officials in 2016.
Who is the unaccountable authority here?The real story of the past year is that, despite the daily Trumpian melodrama, the U.S. political system is working more or less as usual. Mr. Trump has sometimes broken with familiar presidential decorum, especially in his public statements and attacks on individuals. But he is paying a considerable political price for that excess with an approval rating below 40% less than a year into his term.
Hmmmm. I suspect we are watching the typical democrat voters rising from the graves, as they have traditionally done for most left-wing parties everywhere. It is the walking dead, life imitating art.Voters rejected his preferred Senate candidates in Alabama twice. Republicans were routed in Virginia’s elections as Democrats came out in droves, and on present trend the GOP will lose its House majority in November. In other words, we are watching the typical back and forth of American democracy.
Democratic institutional norms are worth defending, which is why we called out the Obama IRS for bias against the tea party. We’ll do the same if Mr. Trump exceeds his constitutional power. But the lesson of the past year is that progressives should have more faith in the American system—whether they’re in power or not.
Friends Romans and countrymen. We come to damn with the faintest praise and a complete lack of any note of achievements.Losing an election isn’t the same as losing a democracy.
The Washington Reporters pull out everything to try to smear the Donald. Even seeking his tax returns (which are confidential twix him and the IRS, of course). They ask questions they never asked from Obama.
At a recent press conference, a reporter with MSNBC hollered from the press corps,“Where is President Trump hiding his tax returns?”Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, astutely responded, “We’ve found a very secure
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist filled in a few gaps for us.place and I’m certain they won’t be found.”“And just where is that?”, said the reporter, sarcastically.Mrs. Sanders grinned sardonically and said, “They are underneath Obama’s college records, his passport application, his immigration status as a student, his funding sources to pay for college, his college records, and his Selective Service registration.“Next question?”
Year One List:
81 major Trump achievements,
11 Obama legacy items repealedWith the passage of the GOP tax bill this week, the Trump administration has scored 81 major achievements in its first year, making good on campaign promises to provide significant tax cuts, boost U.S. energy production, and restore respect to the United States, according to the White House.
And along the way, President Trump even outdid his own expectations and slashed at least 11 major legacy items of former President Barack Obama, including cracking down on the open border, slowing recognition of communist Cuba and effectively killing Obamacare by ending the mandate that everyone have health insurance or face a tax.
According to the White House, the 81 accomplishments are in 12 major categories and include well over 100 other minor achievements.The unofficial list helps to counter the impression in the mainstream media and among congressional Democrats that outside the approval of Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch and passage of the tax reform bill little was done.Administrations typically tout their achievements broadly at the end of each year, but Trump plans to list jobs added, regulations killed, foreign policy victories won, and moves to help veterans and even drug addicts.And in a sign of support for conservatives, the White House also is highlighting achievements for the pro-life community.Below are the 12 categories and 81 wins cited by the White House.Jobs and the economyPassage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate.Increase of the GDP above 3 percent.Creation of 1.7 million new jobs, cutting unemployment to 4.1 percent.Saw the Dow Jones reach record highs.A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high.A new executive order to boost apprenticeships.A move to boost computer sciences in Education Department programs.Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans.Killing job-stifling regulationsSigned an Executive Order demanding that two regulations be killed for every new one creates. He beat that big and cut 16 rules and regulations for every one created, saving $8.1 billion.Signed 15 congressional regulatory cuts.Withdrew from the Obama-era Paris Climate Agreement, ending the threat of environmental regulations.Signed an Executive Order cutting the time for infrastructure permit approvals.Eliminated an Obama rule on streams that Trump felt unfairly targeted the coal industry.
Fair tradeMade good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.Opened up the North American Free Trade Agreement for talks to better the deal for the U.S.Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants.Worked to promote the sale of U.S products abroad.Made enforcement of U.S. trade laws, especially those that involve national security, a priority.Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba.Boosting U.S. energy dominanceThe Department of Interior, which has led the way in cutting regulations, opened plans to lease 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.Trump traveled the world to promote the sale and use of U.S. energy.Expanded energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline snubbed by Obama.Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan.EPA is reconsidering Obama rules on methane emissions.Protecting the U.S. homelandLaid out new principles for reforming immigration and announced plan to end "chain migration," which lets one legal immigrant to bring in dozens of family members.Made progress to build the border wall with Mexico.Ended the Obama-era “catch and release” of illegal immigrants.Boosted the arrests of illegals inside the U.S.Doubled the number of counties participating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement charged with deporting illegals.
Removed 36 percent more criminal gang members than in fiscal 2016.Started the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.Ditto for other amnesty programs like Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.Cracking down on some 300 sanctuary cities that defy ICE but still get federal dollars.Added some 100 new immigration judges.Protecting communitiesJustice announced grants of $98 million to fund 802 new cops.Justice worked with Central American nations to arrest and charge 4,000 MS-13 members.Homeland rounded up nearly 800 MS-13 members, an 83 percent one-year increase.Signed three executive orders aimed at cracking down on international criminal organizations.Attorney General Jeff Sessions created new National Public Safety Partnership, a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crimes.AccountabilityTrump has nominated 73 federal judges and won his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.Ordered ethical standards including a lobbying ban.Called for a comprehensive plan to reorganize the executive branch.Ordered an overhaul to modernize the digital government.Called for a full audit of the Pentagon and its spending.Combatting opioidsFirst, the president declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on opioids.His Council of Economic Advisors played a role in determining that overdoses are underreported by as much as 24 percent.The Department of Health and Human Services laid out a new five-point strategy to fight the crisis.Justice announced it was scheduling fentanyl substances as a drug class under the Controlled Substances Act.Justice started a fraud crackdown, arresting more than 400.The administration added $500 million to fight the crisis.On National Drug Take Back Day, the Drug Enforcement Agency collected 456 tons.Protecting lifeIn his first week, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy that blocks some $9 billion in foreign aid being used for abortions.Worked with Congress on a bill overturning an Obama regulation that blocked states from defunding abortion providers.Published guidance to block Obamacare money from supporting abortion.Helping veteransSigned the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to allow senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire failing employees and establish safeguards to protect whistleblowers.Signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.Signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, to provide support.Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program.Created a VA hotline.
Here in Oz, our Leader the Great Turdball has managed to introduce and legislate Same Sex Marriage. And he has been on the toilet a lot longer than Trump. But that's not all of course. He has totally buggered our power industry and rid us of all facility for manufacturing. Not a great record.Had the VA launch an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with a way to access wait time and quality of care data.With VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, announced three initiatives to expand access to healthcare for veterans using telehealth technology.Promoting peace through strengthDirected the rebuilding of the military and ordered a new national strategy and nuclear posture review.Worked to increase defense spending.Empowered military leaders to “seize the initiative and win,” reducing the need for a White House sign off on every mission.Directed the revival of the National Space Council to develop space war strategies.Elevated U.S. Cyber Command into a major warfighting command.Withdrew from the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, which Trump saw as a threat to borders.Imposed a travel ban on nations that lack border and anti-terrorism security.Saw ISIS lose virtually all of its territory.Pushed for strong action against global outlaw North Korea and its development of nuclear weapons.Announced a new Afghanistan strategy that strengthens support for U.S. forces at war with terrorism.NATO increased support for the war in Afghanistan.Approved a new Iran strategy plan focused on neutralizing the country’s influence in the region.Ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack.Prevented subsequent chemical attacks by announcing a plan to detect them better and warned of future strikes if they were used.Ordered new sanctions on the dictatorship in Venezuela.Restoring confidence in and respect for AmericaTrump won the release of Americans held abroad, often using his personal relationships with world leaders.Made good on a campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.Conducted a historic 12-day trip through Asia, winning new cooperative deals. On the trip, he attended three regional summits to promote American interests.He traveled to the Middle East and Europe to build new relationships with leaders.Traveled to Poland and on to Germany for the G-20 meeting where he pushed again for funding of women entrepreneurs.
I could go on, but there are many a thirsty customer waiting and I have pints to pull. I shall have to seek more views another time.