We All Know By Now The President Wants Congress To Let Him Kill Drug Dealers Like They Do In The Philippines And China And SIngapore
The White House has spun this into a neat little archetype: “high volume traffickers”. And mainstream media has been going along with that characterization when they discuss the President’s demand that the death penalty be included in any legislation to address the opioid crisis.
But if you listen to the President’s actual words, that doesn’t seem to describe exactly who he’s talking about. Here’s a direct quote about the kind of drug dealer Trump wants to kill, from a speech he just gave in New Hampshire, which has one of the highest rates of OD deaths in the country:
That’s not a description of only the biggest of the big-time kingpins.
Also curiously, Trump seems to view the antithesis of rounding up and killing drug dealers as forming “blue ribbon panels where everybody gets a medal”. What?
Trump’s a complete supply-sider on this too. Even though the White House’s own plan is heavy on treatment and prevention, Trump keeps circling back to building walls, blaming foreigners (China and Mexico specifically), and putting people to death. Another big pillar to his plan is cutting opioid prescriptions by 1/3, a supply-side solution which could limit access to people with chronic pain who really need them.
There are some ideas in the White House’s plan too aimed at reducing demand; some good ones: it’s just Trump doesn’t talk about them very much. For instance, making it easier for addicts to get inpatient care. Or creating a task force within the Justice Department to crack down on internet sales of opioids.
One thing missing from the White House proposal right now is how to pay for most of it. 64,000 Americans died from drug ODs in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control, making it the leading cause of death for people under 50.
Trump Shakes-Up Legal Team To Pursue More “In Your Face” Approach Vs. Mueller
Most notably, the President bringing in yet another Fox News regular (and conspiracy theorist), former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova. You can watch a little bit of him in action here:
At the same time, Trump said he is not considering firing Ty Cobb, who’s advocated a more conciliatory approach toward the Mueller team.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports the White House has provided the Special Counsel with narratives of events under investigation with the intent of limiting the scope of a possible one-on-one interview with the President.
The Tariffs Just Keep On Coming…
China’s next. According to the Washington Post, by the end of this week, Trump will slap $60-billion in tariffs on China, in a move he claims will both punish China for theft of intellectual property theft and bring jobs back to the U.S.
Why $60-billion? The Post suggests Trump’s advisers proposed $30-billion, and Trump may have just taken that number and doubled it.
Congress Again Has To Pass A Budget By The End Of The Week
And in order to get the Republican and Democratic votes needed, the $1.3-trillion bill will probably be better characterized by what’s not in it, than what is.
According to Politico, here are some of the things that may have been in the bill at one time, but aren’t likely to be anymore (although lots of stuff can happen at the last minute especially once everything else gets hammered out):
- Support for Obamacare markets
- A DACA agreement
- Funding for Trump’s “wall”
- Nearly $1-billion for a sorely needed infrastructure project in New York and New Jersey which Trump suddenly hates
- Defunding Planned Parenthood
- Cutting off federal funds to so-called “sanctuary cities”
We’ll let you know how it all comes out…
Facebook Slammed; Starts Audit
The company, which lost nearly $30-billion in market value in just one day, says it’s hired an outside auditor to examine claims a company backed by Trump campaign allies pilfered the personal data of tens of millions of users. The New York Times has a really good description of how the whole thing worked.
Meanwhile, British TV’s Channel 4 released a segment in which Cambridge Analytica executives outlined some not-so-kosher operating procedures to an undercover reporter. We’re linking to it here so you can watch it if you want. (We did, and found it doesn’t quite deliver as promised). Click on the photo to judge for yourself:
Huge Win For Democrats In Pennsylvania As The Supreme Court Refuses To Block Newly Drawn Election Districts
The Supreme Court waited several weeks to make its ruling, sending legal scholars into a frenzy of speculation. But in the end, the Court seemed to have just been waiting for a special House election in that state to be over, as well as a ruling by a lower court on the same matter. Still, they cut it pretty close, just one day before the deadline for candidates to file to run this fall.
This does not mean the Supreme Court is taking a stand on non-racial gerrymandering, even though it is hearing a couple of cases on the subject soon. It is merely acknowledging that this is a state matter, and so the State Supreme court has the ultimate authority. At the same time, it’ll be a disappointment to President Trump, who railed against the redraw, despite the fact that Pennsylvania has 800,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, yet Republicans control 13 of 18 Congressional seats.
Interestingly, the redistricting will mean Democrat Connor Lamb, who narrowly won election last week, will run in November in a different district than the one he just won, meaning Republican Rick Saccone could make a comeback.
The new districts, drawn up by Stanford University Professor Nate Persily by the order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, fit much more along county lines than the old ones, and just generally look much less weird, as you can see in the comparison below.