Good News, Bad News

The Good News: Late Sunday Night Budget Deal Reached – No Money To Build “The Wall”

Congressional budget negotiators working late reached agreement on a big spending bill that would fund the government through September and avert a government shutdown. The deal, reached by both Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, along with the White House, still needs to be approved by both chambers and Trump.

The agreement provides no direct funding to build “the wall”, but it gives billions to the Pentagon and border security. [CNN] Well, Mexico is going to pay for it anyway, right?

The Bad News…

The quick budget deal leaves Republicans in a position to go full steam ahead on ripping apart Obamacare. With the entirety of the so-called Freedom Caucus now on board (all of whom were opposed the first try), they are closer than ever to passing a bill. As we’ve reported, the new plan forces states to make most of the tough decisions. Moderate Republicans are voicing concerns about pre-existing conditions not being covered. President Trump tweeted they have nothing to worry about.

But in an interview with CBS News he was not so crystal clear. Trump explained covering those with pre-existing conditions could be accomplished by moving them into high-risk pools, which would lower premiums for others. As we’ve mentioned before, Republicans seem to be betting if most people’s premiums go down, they won’t be so upset if others get priced out.

Trump also explained why passing the buck is actually a good thing: “We ultimately want to get it back down to the states….Because if you hurt your knee, honestly, I’d rather have the federal government focused on North Korea, focused on other things, than your knee, okay?”

Trump Invites Brutal Philippine President To White House

The door will be open for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, despite the fact that police and private hit squads have murdered thousands of suspected drug dealers and users in his country. And it’s something Duterte brags about. The invitation comes after what the White House described as a “friendly” phone conversation, and apparently without the knowledge of the State Department or NSC.

Media outlets in the Philippines are pointing out the White House stresses the meeting will be to discuss North Korea, with the two Presidents “touching only lightly” on Duterte’s bloodthirsty crackdown.

For those of you unfamiliar with Duterte’s work, we urge you to have a look at this Pulitzer-Prize winning photo essay from the New York Times.

Pick Up The Phone, Kim Jong-un!

President Trump just called you a “smart cookie.” And as Trump proved again this week-end (see above) we already know he has a deep affinity for strongmen with barbaric impulses. One phone call, and before you know it you could be dining on a well-done steak and the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen. We are not joking about this: it could be by far the best option right now!

The Split-Screen Steve Bannon Wanted

President Trump skipped the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this weekend. Instead, he attended a 100 Day rally in Pennsylvania. As Axios reported, this created a very purposeful split-screen image, with Trump “connecting viscerally with forgotten Rust Belt Americans” and “Washington reporters in bow ties and ballgowns looking out-of-touch, self-congratulatory and elite” at the WHCA dinner.

That’s not exactly how we would describe the Correspondents Dinner. (We did not attend.) The Daily Show comedian Hasan Minhaj knocked it out of the park. He had so many great lines, you need to watch the speech, which targeted Trump, his cabinet and the media.

Here’s one of our favorite jokes, well maybe not a joke:

 “A lot of people in the media say that Donald Trump goes golfing too much. . . which raises a very important question: Why do you care? Do you want to know what he’s not doing when he’s golfing? Being president. Let the man putt-putt! . . . The longer you keep him distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea.”

The Washington Post reported this morning while Trump averaged 5 major lies a day in his first 100 days in office, he didn’t lie at all on 6 of those days…You guessed it: those were days he was off playing golf.

Trump’s First 100 Days has passed.

Assuming he completes his first term, there are 13 and a half more 100 Day periods to endure. 365 X 4 = 1460, plus 1 leap day = 1461 – 100 = 1361 to go.

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