Budget Deal Or Shutdown: Which Will It Be?

Trump Says He’d “Love To See A Shutdown” If Democrats Don’t Give Him Everything He Wants

Watch here:

Trump is specifically talking about his version of border security, including of course “the wall” paid for in- full, up front.

That led to a pretty strong rebuke from a fellow Republican, former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman:

Ah, but he does

On an unrelated topic, but in a similar vein, Politico published a piece about the market’s recent volatility (it swung wildly this past session, closing higher) titled: “Why Presidents Shouldn’t Talk About the Stock Market. Obama learned that lesson the hard way. Trump will, too.

No, he won’t…He’s taken all the credit for the market’s rise, but will quickly find a scapegoat if there’s a sustained downturn.



House Continues Funding The Federal Government Little-By-Little, In Bits And Pieces.

The government is set to shutdown again at the end of the day tomorrow, barring a budget agreement or both the House and Senate passing another Continuing Resolution.

The House already passed a Continuing Resolution to keep the government in business until March 23rd. That would be the 5th extension with no actual real budget. And the House is getting clever about stuffing things in these short-term stopgaps designed to make people who vote against them look really, really bad. For instance, this one restores funding for a community health program, and also fully funds the military for 8 months.

With that piecemeal approach, a vote against ends up looking like you don’t support the military. Trump’s already screaming that from the rooftops (see story above). Even if you mean for it to come across as a strong condemnation of Congress’ refusal to do the basic job it was elected to do: building and passing a budget.



Senate Sets Its Sites A Little Higher

Leadership in the Senate picking up where the House left off, but believe they can get some Democrats on board and pass something more substantial. In order to do that, they’ll probably have to lift spending caps in order to increase spending in non-military areas. Democrats have indicated they’ll support the higher military funding Trump and Republicans want if they get commensurate increases elsewhere. The Senate is also hoping to cobble together a deal that’ll last a lot longer than another couple of weeks: possibly 2 years.

The tricky part? Getting the House to go for what the Senate might agree to. Because even though House Republicans didn’t give a crap about adding $1-trillion to the budget deficit to fund a tax cut, adding $250-billion in non-defense spending is an unimaginable horror! Then again, they don’t want to look like they’re opposing the military either, so could fall in line, or the Senate version could gain enough Democratic votes in the House to pass it without the support of radical Right Republicans.

It’s also very possible immigration won’t be part of that bill and instead will be considered separately. And that could be a hard sell to Trump. Especially if he insists on immigration or a shutdown.



Chief Of Staff John Kelly Leaves No Doubt He’s As Hard-Line On Immigration As Anyone In The White House

Even though 700,000 undocumented immigrants are signed up for DACA, there are an estimated 1.2-million or so more who would be eligible for it, but haven’t signed up. Kelly characterized them as “people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses.” Making it very clear which side he comes down on.

What’s interesting about this is Democrats and other DACA supporters never asked for protection for the additional number of people who never signed up. Only Trump has.

Part of it’s a ploy: so the President can keep saying he’s being “very generous” even as he’s promoting unprecedented–and in some cases cruel–reductions in legal immigration.

We also increasingly believe Trump’s upping the number comes from a realization by someone in the White House that you don’t want to kill a booming economy by creating a labor shortage when you kick millions of people out.

Trump’s plan also creates huge difficulties for Homeland Security in setting up a process for determining who’s legit (whereas with DACA recipients you already know).


White House Chief of Staff John Kelly



Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Trump’s immigration plan will keep America whiter longer. According to projections by the Census Bureau, minorities will outnumber white people in the United States in 2044. But an analysis by the Post pushes that date back as late as 2049, should Trump’s immigration plan go through.

And Trump thrusts the death of Indianapolis Colts Linebacker Edwin Jackson to the center of the immigration battle. Jackson was killed when an Uber he was riding in was hit by a drunk driver who turned out to be in the country illegally (and had previously been deported back to his native El Salvador twice). Trump Tweeted about it twice:

(For the record, this was Trump’s first Tweet. A Tweet offering condolences to the football player’s family came second, 5 minutes later.)

To us, this seems more of a drunk driving problem than an immigration problem. The Miami Herald agrees. And even though it’s undoubtedly a horrible tragedy, with Trump politicizing it, we couldn’t help but wonder if the President would be as adamant had Jackson been one of the players taking a knee during the national anthem. (Jackson was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the 2017 season).



First It Was Work Requirements For People Receiving Medicaid, We Were Told Not That Big A Deal

Now it’s a lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits. According to McClatchy, 5 states: Arizona, Kansas, Utah, Maine and Wisconsin are asking Trump’s Medicare and Medicaid Chief, Seema Verma, to be allowed to impose lifetime Medicaid coverage caps. Which by definition is a big deal. Because what then….?



Trump Set To Spend An Emormous Amount Of Money To Impress Himself

The President’s been hung up on a Kim Jong-un style military parade for some time now. And damn the expense to taxpayers, he’s gonna make it happen!


Missiles on parade in North Korea last year


The Washington Post reports the President expressed his desire for a large-scale military parade to leaders at the Pentagon last month (although he’s been talking about it informally since last year), and the White House confirmed it’s in the works, probably to coincide with Veterans Day in November.

Trump says his inspiration was a Bastille Day celebration he attended in France last July.


France, last July





Poland’s Nationalistic, Authoritarian Government Makes It Illegal To Say Poland Had Anything To Do With The Holocaust

Poland’s President Duda says the bill protects “the historical truth”. Which is, to say, a rewriting of history. The new law provides for a prison term of up to 3 years if you refer to Auschwitz, for instance, as a “Polish death camp”. 94% of Poland’s Jews were murdered in the years before and during World War II. And now we’re being told to believe without any complicity on the part of the local non-Jewish population.

The United States and Israel are protesting. Although just last July, Trump lauded President Duda in his first major speech on his first European trip. That’s the address during which Trump asserted: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”


Trump and Poland’s President Duda in Warsaw last July





Maybe we don’t need government after all… Tesla founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX private rocket project literally took off from a launchpad leased from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center..

Or maybe it’s just we wanted to share the spectacular video of the lift-off, courtesy of the BBC: