Guest Post: An Open Letter to The Republican Party, After Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement

Hello all,

Today we have something of a different type of content: an open letter to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party about the consequences of the President’s choice to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Everything written below this paragraph belongs to today’s guest writer–my father, Rick Weidner, and is published here with his permission and my full endorsement.


I wanted to thank the President for aligning us with Syria and Nicaragua rather than all the other nations of the world as regards climate change.

It is hard to imagine that any modern person with an IQ above 70 would see this as a good idea. There are any number of intelligent, informed scientists who would be happy to explain it to him. (Bill Nye would be thrilled I’m sure.)

Perhaps Mr. Trump prefers that his grandchildren grow up cursing his name because they will spend their whole lives wearing gas-masks and living underground since the earth (or the majority of it anyway) will be uninhabitable in 50 years at the rate we’re going.

No matter: He and his oil buddies will make their money; the rest of us, the world and the future be dammed.

This is taking care of the little guy? This is making America great again? It is much better characterized as driving the whole human project into the ditch! (Credit to Harris, 2016 for the phrase).

I know, I know; he won the electoral college and it was a campaign promise. The three million voter advantage that his opponent enjoyed says something quite different. It would be nice if the President would act like there were other people in the country and world besides the top .01% of the income bracket. Seems odd too, since so many other campaign promises were ignored or reversed. I guess we’ll know what it was about when Russia withdraws.

In the meantime, thanks again for putting the very future at peril.

Sincerely,

Rick Weidner


End note: as of today’s writing (June 2nd), Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.

 

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Special Counsel Appointed to Investigate #TrumpRussia Amidst Questions of Obstruction of Justice

I have to say, when I published last night I did not anticipate being back so quickly, but I cannot imagine a better reason. This afternoon (May 17th, for those of you reading this later) the news broke that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller III as special counsel, in charge of investigating all matters pertaining to collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump, his campaign, and his administration. Mueller is a veteran of the Vietnam war, Deputy Attorney General under President George Bush Jr, and a former FBI director who served with great praise under Presidents Bush and Obama. He has the full confidence of the FBI, is known to have a strong working relationship with former FBI director James Comey, and is respected by both parties. He has also been selected, on multiple occasions, to investigate ethical and legal violations in high-profile cases, including the NFL’s Ray Rice scandal, and the VW’s cheating on emissions tests. It is truly difficult to imagine a better choice.

So what is a special council? First, it is important to note that since the Congressional decision to allow the Independent Council Statute of 1999 to expire, there is no provision in the government to allow for a truly independent prosecutor. Thus, in this position, Mueller will still serve at the pleasure of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, given Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from any matters pertaining to Trump/Russia, and by extension, the President. (That said, the uproar that would result from his ouster for anything less than a highly unlikely criminal act would be beyond description– look no further than Nixon.) What this really means is that if Mueller requires further resources to continue his investigation, he will have to request them from Rosenstein–who will likely be inclined to grant such requests, again, unless they are beyond reason– and at the conclusion of his inquiry, Mueller will have to present a confidential report to Rosenstein, who will then have the ultimate authority as to whether or not to declassify the report for public viewing (Maddow, 17 May 2017). However, outside of these requirements, Mueller will have all of the authority of a United States Attorney General, including the authority to appoint his own staff, to subpoena, and to file and prosecute federal criminal charges.

If you have not been tracing the news moment to moment over the past nine days, you might well be wondering what brought this on when, not a week ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) opined unequivocally that such an appointment was unnecessary. Thus, the trigger was not Comey’s firing. Instead, it appears to be some combination of Trump’s decision to share ultra-classified intelligence with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador, and the statement recently made by James Comey that Trump had asked him to end the investigation into the former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, leading to questions of obstruction of justice. (As of this writing, it has also come to light that the White House was conclusively aware that Flynn was operating as a foreign agent at the time of his hiring, and elected to share State secrets with him nonetheless.) As we all know, there are precious few coincidences in the political arena, and while Rosenstein did not give an explicit explanation for the timing of his choice to appoint a special counsel, these events seem too timely not to be involved. The other notable piece of timing is this: Rosenstein made the announcement while Jeff Sessions was at the White House, purportedly assisting the President in interviewing candidates to fill the vacancy at the FBI. This does not say anything in itself, but it certainly is interesting.  It is also noteworthy that the President was not informed of this ahead of time, and was only made aware following Mueller’s official appointment–effectively ensuring he could not pre-empt or otherwise interfere with the decision.

Meanwhile, for his part, Trump has issued a statement reiterating his denial of any collusion and expressing his hope that a special counsel will allow the investigation to conclude quickly. I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you, Mr. Trump. Quite frankly, if this investigation does end quickly it will be with criminal charges because of an abundance of evidence already collected by the intelligence community.

This is it folks. This is the day that Donald Trump loses control of this process in its entirety, and we all get a glimpse at the possibility of regaining our Republic while it is still somewhat intact. Now, we continue to resist Trump’s agenda items–expect a fair amount of distractive legislation and for the President to adopt a temperament that even more closely resembles a rabid dog than before– and we hope that he can manage to pull off his first foreign trip without inciting an international incident.

In the meantime, as always: stay alert, stay informed, and stay safe.

— This is the ALF, signing off.

 

The Implications of Trump’s Choice to Share Classified Information with Russia

It’s been an interesting couple of news days indeed.

Now, we already knew last week that President Trump inexplicably chose to meet as scheduled with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak– yes, the same Kislyak that Flynn and Sessions met with during the campaign– the day after he fired James Comey, the man in charge of investigating his connections to Russia. We also already knew that while American press were barred from the meeting, Russian press were allowed to attend.

Now, per the Washington Post, we know that during this already questionable meeting, President Trump revealed highly classified–code-word–intelligence to Lavrov and Kislyak. This intelligence came from a Middle-Eastern ally (presumably Israel) on the condition that it not be shared with anyone, including our closest allies. It goes without saying that Russia is not on that list. First and foremost then, one has to wonder what the likelihood of this ally continuing to share sensitive information with the United States following this decision. Chances are, those odds are fairly low. Moving on to broader implications, the intelligence discussed involved sensitive plans of the Islamic State, which operates heavily in Syria. Russia’s strong support of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is well documented, so it seems fair to assume that he has been made aware of this intelligence as well. Only a few weeks ago, Trump decried Assad’s human rights violations to the point of justifying the use of fifty tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base– and now Trump shares intelligence that will presumably help Assad with people who have publicly supported his regime. It is hard not to aggressively question the sanity of this choice. (It is also difficult not to point out the hypocrisy of Trump mishandling classified information after his…enthusiastic… rhetoric on the subject throughout his campaign but that extends beyond the breadth of news.)

Now, I would be remiss not to say that the President has the right to share secrets. That is a right and a duty of the executive branch, and therefore there is no illegality here. However, we as a people need to begin to recognize that something being legal does not make it right. Whatever this intelligence is– and I give immense credit to the Washington Post for choosing not to share it in spite of having access to it– it was sensitive enough to be restricted even from many members of United States intelligence agencies. It has not been offered to the United Kingdom, Germany, or other key allies. It may well be above the classification level of the legislature. Why, then, would Trump share it with the country he is being investigated for colluding with to steal an election, and simultaneously a country with which he recently stated diplomatic relations were at an all-time low? This choice is not impeachable by any means, but the motivations behind it may well be. It is certainly difficult to think of justification that does not involve the words “collusion,” “coercion,” or “Russian puppet.” (Okay, the last one is a joke…sort of.)

It certainly is an interesting time folks. Stay tuned.

— This is the ALF, signing off.

 

James Comey: You’re Fired… Now What?

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” — United States Declaration of Independence

Folks, the time might be near at hand. Today, following a second day of testimony by former Attorney General Sally Yates, Donald Trump saw fit to fire now-former FBI Director James Comey. Why? Purportedly, because James Comey acted inappropriately in revealing the details of the investigation into Huma Abedin’s email server weeks before the election, and because of his mendacious testimony about that server, saying yesterday that Abedin had forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband–the infamous Anthony Weiner– in her roll as Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff. The number, in fact, is not more than a “handful.” There are two major points here: first, Trump had praised Comey’s decision to release this information about the Abedin investigation from the point of his election, through the inauguration and beyond. It is not as though Trump recently became aware of this choice, or had denounced it all along. Along similar lines, the ongoing investigation into whether Comey’s actions violated the law is not nearly complete– it is, in fact, not expected to be complete until the end of the year (MSNBC). Thus, this is neither the beginning of this investigation, nor the end. It certainly seems strange that Trump would fire an FBI Director for taking actions that he praised, before an investigation into his actions had concluded. Second, James Comey, for all of his well-known faults, is a man who has been known throughout his career for his precision in testimony. “A handful” of emails is nowhere near thousands, and there is absolutely no way that James Comey did not know the real number as the Director of the FBI entering Congress to testify– not for the first time– on his decision to release that information and the Trump/ Russia connection. And, let’s all be honest– there is very little chance that he mistook “a handful” for thousands– a man known for evasiveness in testimony would simply have answered with “no comment” if the number had escaped him. While perjury is a crime in itself, this thought process leads to a more disturbing conclusion: James Comey lied, on purpose. And today, he was fired—and certainly not for the reasons stated, because any thinking human is capable of seeing that Trump did not fire Comey because Comey handed him an advantage in the election. So then, why? The logical progression of these events is that Comey, who had helped Trump in the election and engaged in a partisan witch hunt against Hillary Clinton against the mandate of his office, has been working with the President for some time. So today, when Trump asked him to fall on the sword so that he could nominate a new Director who would be more willing to stretch the boundaries of the law, he did. This is, of course, speculation, but as the expression goes, “if the shoe fits…”

Let’s not forget, James Comey was due back in session to testify further on Thursday—a testimony that has now been cancelled. And now, Trump will be able to appoint a new director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, who will take over the investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia. If precedent holds, the appointee will be grossly underqualified, and probably have Russian ties of his own. Then—assuming the nominee is approved by the Senate, the new FBI Director will have access to absolutely everything pertaining to the Trump/Russia investigation, and the authority to make decisions about how, or if, that investigation proceeds. It is not an exaggeration to say that if Trump is successful in appointing an inside man to this position, he will have effectively placed himself beyond the reach of the law. This cannot be allowed to occur.

Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) called these circumstances “a constitutional crisis worse than [Watergate].” He is not wrong. This is the time to demand an independent special prosecutor to continue this investigation, prior to the appointment of a new director—at which point there is a very reasonable fear that evidence, and the investigation itself will be destroyed. If Congress allows such a nominee to take control of the FBI, we have lost control of our country.

With this, it is time, I think, to organize a March for Impeachment. Do not get me wrong, I support and appreciate the efforts of the Women’s March, the March for Science, and all the various protests that have occurred since the election, however, the time for single-issue protest in this venue has come and passed. The very fiber of this nation is at risk and we the people, regardless of party and interest group affiliation, must stand up to defend it, and demand that those who allege to represent us defend it as well. If not, we may soon be faced with the very real choice of living under the control of a government that operates outside of the laws on which it was founded, or attempting to follow the suggestion of our Founding Fathers.

I am sure that there will be plenty more to talk about in the coming days, but until then: stay informed, stay alert, and stay safe.

ACA Repeal Passes the House: What Does This Really Mean?

In a 217-213 vote, Republican members of the House of Representatives managed to pass a bill yesterday (May 4th, 2017) that will supposedly begin the process of repealing and “replacing” the Affordable Care Act. While the President and members of Congress are celebrating their symbolic victory, it is important to pay attention to the big picture. The first noteworthy subject is the Senate, which has promised a deliberation process that will last upwards of six weeks and include a proper evaluation by the Congressional Budget Office. There have also been hints from more than one Republican Senator that the bill that the Senate will vote on will look little, if at all, like the bill that exited the House today. Now, given whose hands this is in, that’s not necessarily encouraging in itself– a new bill doesn’t necessarily mean a better bill. That said, the new bill would then have to return to the House for approval, and given what happened the last time the House had a more moderate healthcare bill in front of them, one can imagine that negotiation process will be…difficult, at best. Assuming the Senate passes a bill, it will then most likely go to committee for debate and compromise before coming to a vote in both houses once again. In short, this is far from over.

That should not, however, serve as an excuse to be anything less than acquainted with the nature of the bill as it presently stands. Most notably, the classification and management of individuals with pre-existing conditions has been at the forefront of conversations, and rightfully so. While we do not fully know what is and is not funded by the bill yet–neither do many Republicans who voted for it– we have had several glimpses into its contents. First, an amendment to the bill proposed by Representative Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) will allow states to petition the federal government for the right to charge individuals with pre-existing conditions more. States who take advantage of this will be required to maintain a so-called “risk-sharing” plan, which will be partially subsidized by the eight billion dollar amendment that was added yesterday, May 3rd, to help cover the cost. The AARP, among others, have described this funding as inadequate. The bill also does not define pre-existing conditions that would qualify for the waiver– meaning any condition identified by insurance companies would likely be at risk. Here are some examples:

  • Mental Health: Anorexia Nervosa, Bipolar Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Schizophrenia, etc.
  • Behavioral/ Developmental Health: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome,   Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, etc.
  • Chronic Physical Health Conditions: Arthritis, Asthma, Blindness, Cancer, Deafness, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Heartburn, Hepatitis, Heart Disease, HIV/ AIDS, Migraines, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Paralysis, Tooth Disease, Ulcers, etc.
  • Women’s Health: Cesarian section, Endrometriosis, Menstruation, Ovarian Cyst,  Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Postpartum Depression, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), as well as surviving domestic violence or sexual assault, etc.

For a full list of conditions, see below, courtesy of Igor Volsky:

Now, first and foremost, health insurance absolutely is a game of odds: many of these disorders do carry a higher risk of needing health care, and some would argue that that means it is reasonable to ask those people to pay more. This might seem fair in the absence of context, but looking closer reveals the myriad problems with such a mentality. First, many chronic and deadly diseases disproportionally affect minorities in this country, particularly people of color as systemic inequalities in socioeconomic status make access to adequate nutrition, as well as preventative and responsive care more difficult. This reality is further complicated by the decreased likelihood of adequate government intervention in minority-prevalent and low-income areas facing public health crises. Flint, Michigan, a city in which more than half of residents are African-American and the average resident is living below the poverty line, tells this story as well as anywhere: residents remain without clean drinking water three years later. So, minorities are more susceptible to disease and less likely to receive federal aid to manage public health crises. Now add the likelihood of facing discrimination when seeking care, and subsequent inequities in the care provided to people of color, individuals of low socioeconomic status, non-heterosexual individuals, transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, women, individuals with low levels of education, and people with disabilities– a likelihood high enough to compel the CDC to begin issuing annual reports on the subject. Finally, consider that the people most disproportionally affected by these diseases, and the most likely to receive discriminatory and unequal care, are also individuals most heavily impacted by financial inequities– namely, the wage gap, and discriminatory hiring practices, assuming they have the necessary documentation and ability to work in the first place. It is also important to note that, regardless of minority status, many of these diseases would make it difficult for a person to work full time, or at all. So, is it reasonable to demand higher payment from these individuals, or from people who are healthy and making more money than average? Maybe it’s the liberal in me, but it seems two things should be clear: 1) if the United States is going to continue to tout the myth of American Exceptionalism, we need to get on board with other leading nations in recognizing healthcare as a fundamental human right– not a right of the wealthy, or even a right of citizenship; 2) if changes to the Affordable Care Act need to be made, it is because the ACA does not do enough to progress healthcare in the United States towards a single payer system, not because it does too much.

One would imagine it is for this reason that Democrats in the House of Representatives sang “Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye” at House Republicans yesterday following the passage of the bill, with the obvious implication being that those who voted to take healthcare away from their constituents will have a difficult time getting re-elected. So, while Republicans gleefully celebrate the first step in reversing human rights progress, it is our job to ensure our Democratic representatives were correct, and to fight against this bill–or whatever version of it emerges from the Senate–with all of our efforts. It is no understatement to say that there are millions of lives on the line.

Finally, for your daily dose of irony, I give you this:

Chaffetz

Yes folks, that is Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)–who just had surgery for a pre-existing condition in his foot–gleefully rolling into Congress to take away your ability to afford to do the same. Chaffetz also recently announced his decision not to run for re-election in 2018. From the looks of things, that seems like a sensible decision to me.

— This is the ALF, signing off.

Republicans Change Course, Prepare for Healthcare Vote Thursday

Not more than a few weeks after declaring “Obamacare is the law of the land,” House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican party are moving forward with a modified American Health Care Act, and have declared their intention to bring the bill to a vote in front of the entire House of Representatives tomorrow, Thursday May 4th.

Discussions to revive the AHCA (Trumpcare, Trump(doesn’t)Care, RyanCare, GOPCare, Zombie Care, take your pick) began shortly before President Trump’s 100th day, in what appeared to be a frenetic search for a campaign promise that would be possible to fulfill prior to the ultimately superfluous deadline. For the majority of that time, however, there has been little indication that these conversations would end any differently than they did the first time around– the common belief has been that the votes simply are not there. The original amendment to the bill was enough to bring the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus’ votes back on board, but simultaneously  alienated moderates by further stripping protections for pre-existing conditions.

So what changed between late last week and today? The absolute answer is unclear, as the Congressional Budget Office will not be able to compose a cost and effect estimate before the amended bill comes to a vote Thursday. If nothing else, that should make clear exactly how concerned Republicans are about the effects of this bill: they want to ensure it is passed before anyone can figure out what the cost will be– whether in dollars, or human life. That said, what we do know is that the compromise reached today, which brought several “no” votes back into the fold, added eight billion dollars in spending, purposively for offsetting the cost of treating those with pre-exiting conditions. Some Republican moderates say this is enough. The American Medical Association (AMA), American Association of Retired People (AARP), American Cancer Society, and Democratic party leaders do not agree, calling the number woefully inadequate and reiterating the statistic that, if passed, the AHCA will leave 24 million people uninsured in the next nine years. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also likened the bill to administering cough syrup to a person with stage four cancer, saying the AHCA leaves people as badly off as they were before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The question remains, does the Republican party actually have enough votes to pass this bill? Ultimately, this remains undetermined. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has claimed that “the bill was passed,” but also, in the same breath, suggested we all “be optimistic about life,” so take that with as large a grain of salt as you feel it deserves. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) did not offer an explicit opinion about whether the AHCA had the necessary support, but did emphasize that the Republican party would be hitching its moral and fiscal platform to the bill were they to garner the votes to ensure its passage. This is a fair, if less-than-optimistic point by Pelosi, but it seems there is one more important waiting to be made: even if the bill does squeeze through the House of Representatives, it will–far more likely than not–die on the Senate floor. Senate Republicans do not have the full majority to pass the bill in a partisan vote. Given that House Republicans made no effort to seek Democratic input on the bill, it seems unlikely that they would able to get any votes from them. The only remaining option would be to go nuclear, again, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed not to change Senate procedure regarding the passage of bills. Thus, even if Republicans do gain the symbolic victory in the House, it is highly unlikely to amount to anything meaningful. That is not, however, an excuse to become complicit: it is absolutely imperative that anyone and everyone who could be affected by this bill make their opinions about it known to their Representatives tomorrow, and, if necessary, their Senators in the coming weeks. The victories the Resistance has gained thus far have come directly at the hands of millions of people on the front lines, standing up and demanding their elected representatives do their job and represent the interests of their electorate. We cannot grow complacent now, or we risk losing the energy and renewed efficacy within the Democratic party that will drive us forward towards victories not just in resistance, but also in 2018 and beyond.

Finally, it is worth noting that this decision came in the midst of FBI Director James Comey’s second public testimony on the investigation into the Trump administration’s possible collusion with Russian efforts to undermine the election, and a day before Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee for the second time, in a closed session to allow for the presentation of classified information. It also comes the same day that the House approved a budget that would fund the Federal government through September, but included none of the provisions Trump insisted on. As Rachel Maddow reported last night, the budget is, line for line, effectively a list of Democratic policy goals. (This also led to quite an amusing conference call in which the White House attempted to spin the budget as a Conservative victory, though that is outside of the point of this post). With all this in mind, one has to wonder if this rush to pass the AHCA is nothing more than a desperate attempt to get a victory before anyone notices what else is going on.

It certainly is an interesting time folks. Expect more in the very near future as all of this unfolds.

— This is the ALF, signing off.

100 Days, 100 Lies, 20 Million Dollars, and 1,000 lives: #Trump, by the Numbers

So this is it folks, Day #100.

Is it a vital deadline to set the tone of a President’s administration, or an overblown, useless metric? It depends which Trump you ask: Trump the Candidate referred to the benchmark regularly, promising definitive action to set the stage for an administration that would come through bigly for his voters. Trump the President (no, I have not magically stopped shuddering at that, so maybe 100 days is garbage) has taken a more measured approach– at least with his words, saying that it is unimportant in the grand scheme. His actions this week, however, speak much louder: early in the week, Trump postured about a government shut down if his border wall was not included in the Congressional budget, then quietly desisted when it became clear Congress had no intention of funding his ill-begotten pet project. Shortly after, he began touting what he described as a “tax reform plan,” though it only consisted of a single page that also receded rapidly, after Nancy Pelosi compared the so-called plan with the now-public pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return and calculated that Trump’s proposition would have saved him approximately $30 million dollars in that year alone. Following the same pattern, Trump and the Congressional Republicans briefly resurrected the zombie that is Trump(Doesn’t)Care which, as of now, has gained the support of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, but has lost the support of moderate republicans and has next to no chance of passing in the Senate, even if it does limp through the House. Speaking of Congress, they just managed to fund their continued operation so as not to shut down at midnight of the President’s 100th day, but this is nothing but a stop-gap: they only have through Friday to pass a budget or another extension. That is an incredible amount of political scrambling for a president and a party that claim not to care about frivolous deadlines.

In the vein of “things Trump failed to accomplish,” there is also this:

Contract

This rather fascinating little document promised an ambitious eighteen policy initiatives in 100 days. Let’s analyze, shall we?

Goal 1: Drain the Swamp

The irony is strong with this one. 

  1. Term Limits– STATUS: Nope.
  2. Federal Hiring Freeze– STATUS: Fulfilled; rescinded (There was a brief freeze, which has since been lifted)
  3. One regulation in, two regulations out– STATUS: Fulfilled (of all the stupidity…)
  4. Five year lobbying ban on White House and Congressional officials– STATUS: Fulfilled the former by executive order, no progress on the latter
  5. Lifetime ban on White House Officials Lobbying for Foreign Governments– STATUS: Fulfilled, but apparently not enforced (see: Michael Flynn)
  6. Ban on Foreign Lobbyists Raising Election Funds– STATUS: Nope.

Goal 2: Protect American Workers

Yep, I can smell what the Rock is cooking, and it’s some more fresh, hot irony. 

  1. Renegotiate NAFTA– STATUS: Nope.
  2. Withdraw from TPP– STATUS: Fulfilled.
  3. Label China a Currency Manipulator– STATUS: Nope. (see: this tweet)
  4. Identify and End Supposed Trade Abuses– STATUS: Fulfilled.
  5. Lift Energy Production Regulations– STATUS: Nope. Presently, regulations are under review per executive order, but that is all.
  6. Enable Production of Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines–STATUS: Fulfilled (ugh).
  7. Cancel UN Climate Change Payments, Redirect the Funds to American Infrastructure– STATUS: Nope. (The President doesn’t set the budget, that’s Congress, you dolt)

Goal 3: Restore Security and Constitutional Rule of Law

Oh hello again irony, my good friend. 

  1. Cancel “Unconstitutional” Obama Executive Orders– STATUS: absurd, and unfulfilled by reason of impossibility.
  2. Fill the SCOTUS Seat– STATUS: Fulfilled (by way of a workaround)
  3. Cancel Funding to Sanctuary Cities– STATUS: Nope, unconstitutional.
  4. Remove Criminal Undocumented Immigrants, Cancel Visas– STATUS: to be determined
  5. Muslim Ban– STATUS: Nope, unconstitutional, twice.

In summary, that’s six promises out of eighteen that were fully realized and remain intact, and nine if you count partial and rescinded progress. Regardless, President Trump earns a solid F for his first hundred days, completing, at best, half of his promised tasks.

So, moving on from things the President has not been able to do, let’s also briefly discuss what he has done:

  • Completed 19 games of golf, the highest (nine times over) of any modern President in the same period
  • Attained the lowest approval rating for the first hundred days of any President since the beginning of popularity polling at around 43%
  • Cost taxpayers $20 million dollars in trips to Mar-A-Lago, as well as an indeterminate number of millions spent protecting Melania and Barron Trump at Trump Tower in New York City
  • Oversaw the death of over 1,000 civilians in the course of military action
  • Lied, publicly, over one hundred times
  • Presided over one of, if not the most corrupt and scandal-ridden administrations in American history
  • Earned the accolade of “fastest President to become the subject of a federal investigation”

Now, some of these are difficult accomplishments, so let’s give credit where it’s due: that is a lot of golf for a man who had such painful heel spurs as to prevent his service in the United States’ military during the Vietnam War. Also, given the Presidential “honeymoon period” that usually accompanies the first hundred days, it takes hard work to achieve an approval rating that low.

There is plenty left to discuss– Michael Flynn deserves a post all to himself in light of recent events– but that is a subject for another day.

We survived 100 days. We pushed back against Trump at every turn, and won nearly every time. Now the fight continues. Settle in, Resistance. This is going to be a long, bumpy ride.

— This is the ALF, signing off.