Promises, Promises

If you believe the President’s promises, this will be a historic week

The ambitious agenda includes what he says could be the biggest tax cut ever on Wednesday.

The White House pressuring Congress to vote on a new health care plan around then too.

And of course there’s the pesky task of passing a spending bill in order to avoid a government shutdown on the 28th. The White House insists any stopgap bill must include funding for “the wall.” And the President came up with a nifty new idea: make sick people cough up for “the wall” by threatening to withhold Obamacare funds if Democrats don’t give it to him. Budget Chief Mick Mulvaney told Bloomberg he’ll give Democrats $1 toward healthcare for every $1 in wall funding. In one of his most baffling Tweets ever, Trump insists Mexico will still pay, sort of, in some way, at some point:

The Least Popular Modern President Has Huge Support Among His Voters

As Trump nears his first 100 days in office, a Washington Post/ABC News poll has some very sharply contrasting results. Trump’s 42 percent approval rating is the lowest “recorded at this stage of a presidency dating to Dwight Eisenhower.” 53 percent disapprove. For reference, Obama’s numbers at this point 8 years ago were 69 approval, 26 disapproval.

But, among Trump voters, 94% approve and just 2% of them regret their vote. So much for the theory that Trump supporters will finally wake up. It’s just more proof that Trump, ever since the inauguration, is running his Presidency to please, not expand, his base.

How To Succeed Without Really Succeeding

Politico had a great article this weekend if you are seeking to understand Trump. The article summarizes all the chaos and failures since Trump took office. Then, it highlights several of Trump’s statements where he said things like “we’ve had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency.”

Instead of laughing out loud to the completely dishonest and historically incorrect comments, these comments show the key to understanding Trump as both businessman and President. He always follows “this well-established pattern of behavior – stumble, proclaim victory, move on.” Add to that mix lying about just about everything.

Trump followers are split on whether this approach can last during his entire presidency. But, it’s a great guide to knowing what Trump will do next.

Takeaways From The French Election, Round 1

The two parties dominating French politics since World War II lost big: neither the Socialist or conservative Republican party candidate made it to the runoff election, scheduled for May 7th. Although the overall vote-leader, Emmanuel Macron is a former socialist cabinet minister, he ran outside the party. Coming in a close second, the far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen. Macron appealed to “patriots against the nationalist threat” while Le Pen said a vote for her opponent is “in favor of a total lack of rules, without borders, with unlawful competition, (and) the free circulation of terrorists.” Le Pen’s people were quick to attack her opponent’s post-vote celebration at a swanky Paris restaurant, calling it too “bling-bling.”

Polls turned out to be largely correct, although pollsters were circumspect given inaccuracies in Britain’s Brexit vote and the U.S. Presidential election. Some are now warning about “shy voters” who may go for the ultra-right without admitting it, while others are warning against making too much of Le Pen’s chances.

Le Pen is definitely the more charismatic of the two “finalists”. While France has strict equal-time rules, she is definitely getting the lion’s share of attention globally. For instance, in this generally very well-written Washington Post story, you wouldn’t know Le Pen didn’t win the most votes until the 11th paragraph.

Here are bios of the two. Emmanuel Macron. Marine Le Pen. (Not to make light of an election that is sure to have serious consequences, but the funnest fact we found reading through both bios: Macron married his high school teacher, who is 24 years older.)

Still Wondering Why FBI Director Comey Felt Compelled To Mention Hillary Stuff To Congress Right Before Election, But Not Trump/Russia Ties?

Here’s a link to some really good reporting about this from the New York Times.

Editorial: Proof the Trump Administration Knows Climate Change is Real

The March for Science left us wondering: If the President is so sure climate change is a hoax, well-documented increases in the earth’s temperature are just anomalies, and catastrophic weather events in recent years are mere coincidence, wouldn’t he want proof he’s right? And wouldn’t that proof be easy-as-pie to come by, since he has a very good brain and he’s so sure he’s correct? So why then propose killing virtually all funding for climate research by NASA and others (and threaten to punish scientists who do it on their own)? The answer, unfortunately, is maddeningly simple: because when you know you’re wrong, the only way to make it “fact” is by saying it is because you say so. Scientists ask questions; Trump needs people to fall into line behind him. And the hushing up of people who question things has been the hallmark of virtually every totalitarian regime from Stalin to Pol Pot to North Korea right now. We’re not saying we’re quite there yet, just that this behavior hints at a dangerous precedent. The Climate Change March is scheduled for this coming Saturday in DC with satellite events in many other places. Info here.

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