Trump Administration Will Make Changes To National Monuments, Won’t Say Exactly What

Pledges Land Won’t Be Privatized Or Sold

None of the 27 National Monuments designated by 4 Presidents over the past 20 years will be eliminated altogether. But some will be cut in size, based on the conclusion that the current configurations were “politically motivated”. (And so now too will be the reduced size). Most of those selected for review were designated by President Obama, so this is a rebuke to him as much as anything else.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (most famous until now for a threatening phone call made on behalf of Trump to Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski on the eve of the Senate’s failed health care vote), called rumors public land might be sold or transferred “patently false and shameful”. But that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t grant leases on federal land for things like mining, oil drilling, and logging, all things President Trump really likes.

Bears Ears National Monument Utah

When The President Says “Rest Easy” It Apparently Means “Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.”

We talked a little yesterday about Obama’s Dreamers’ Initiative, or DACA which allows illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to stay. Back in April, President Trump told Dreamers to “rest easy”, that his immigration crackdown was not meant for them.

But now, the Washington Post reports the Department of Homeland Security has the program under review.

Fallout could be tremendous if it’s scuttled, with as many as 800,000 people affected.

Trump is really stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one.  An unsavory trial balloon sent out earlier this week which proposed keeping DACA in exchange for building “the wall” and curbing legal immigration went nowhere fast. (Appropriately.)

Meanwhile 10 State Attorneys General, led by Texas’, seem intent on filing a suit to kill DACA, which they say they’ll do if Trump doesn’t move on his own by September 5th.

All this back-and-forth, led to a rare Opinion essay by former Washington Post Publisher Donald Graham. He calls out Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for using “his state’s resources to persecute…young people.” Graham also accuses Paxton of using the lawsuit threat to distract from his own problems with the law.

Trump Tweets This AM In Support Of Kelly, Uh-Oh

Trump’s early AM Tweets today very run-of-the-mill: “I’ve done more than anyone“, “congress has to change voting rules because nothing’s getting done“, etc. No mention of the giant hurricane hurtling toward Texas.

But one Tweet did get our attention (and raised some concern):

We are not sure what the President is referring to here: just than in the past, when he’s singled people out for praise, it’s often led to not-so-good things.

There were lots of reports yesterday that Kelly, (who you missed the other night because when Trump beckoned him on stage he declined to appear…so here he is now)…

White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly

is working to rein in the President’s inflow of information. This isn’t that unusual: many Presidents have received briefings on the big issues of the day in neatly-packaged memos with arguments from all sides. Except… Some reports say Kelly’s steering Trump away from the conspiracy-theory based sources he seems to fancy the most.

Trump, On Twitter, Continues To Belittle The People He Needs The Most

When we called the highly choreographed “warming of relations” between Trump and Mitch McConnell a “one-day detente“, turned out we were exactly right, since Trump ripped right back into the Senate Majority Leader one day later. (And this time, Paul Ryan, too! Paul Ryan? Who DID pass health care)?! This time about some brilliant ploy Trump apparently had to sneak the Debt Ceiling into a Veterans’ Bill. How swamp-ish is that?!

Implying if there is rough going from here on out, as always, he doesn’t “own” it.

(At least Hillary’s getting a break, because Trump’s (at least temporarily) traded in his all-time #1 favorite topic of discussion: his endless recounting of how he beat “Crooked” Hillary on Election Day, for his endless equivocation about Charlottesville).

The Washington Post suggests Trump’s reckless actions are building into a political nightmare for his own party. It also suggests that because the public views congress so unfavorably right now, it’s one of the few places he can always “plausibly” place blame when he fails to fill campaign promises.

We have a slightly different concern: we know there are some managers in the corporate world who believe by chastising and belittling their employees they can get better performances from them: acting either out of fear or anger or just wanting their boss to shut up! But congress does not work for Trump, it’s supposed to work with him, and vice-versa. And it’s not really a great strategy to harangue and belittle people who at some point you’re almost certainly going to have to ask for a big favor…

An Interesting, And Possibly Dangerous Special Senate Election In Alabama

This is one Trump and McConnell agree on. But at least according to the latest polls, many voters don’t. And as the Washington Post posits, this race has many echoes of last year’s Presidential election, except Trump’s siding against the “populist”.

Luther Strange, who currently holds the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became Attorney General, because he was appointed to it, is lagging vs. his fellow Republican and unabashed homophobe Roy Moore. Moore once said: “homosexual behavior is…an act so heinous it defies one’s ability to describe it.” The former Alabama Chief Justice was booted off the bench for insisting on blocking same sex marriage even after the Supreme Court had declared it legal.

Alabama Senate hopeful, Roy Moore

Obamacare Still Isn’t Imploding

Vox reports as of today, people in all counties in the U.S. have access to at least one health plan for next year. It says the reason is simple: Obamacare includes a lot of government money to pick up excess costs for low and middle income people. And as long as insurance companies are certain that money will be there, they’ll write policies. The White House has agreed to pay cost-sharing subsidies to insurers in August, and and several powerful Senators indicating they’re committed to stabilizing Obamacare markets with new legislation as soon as they get back to work after Labor Day. One of the first people the Senate Health Committee will speak to is Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, whose previous job was  CEO of a major healthcare provider, and whose state was one of the first to adopt mandatory health insurance.

Now the only problem is in many markets, a single health insurer currently holds a  monopoly, which is obviously not conducive to competitive pricing. Nearly 3-million people live in place that will only offer one plan.

Hurricane Harvey Moves Powerfully Toward Texas Coast

It is expected to make landfall tonight around Corpus Christi. Here is a summary from the Washington Post of meteorological and emergency planning efforts thus far. Stay safe Texas!