Jan. 27th, 2017

l33tminion: (AMERICA!)
So it's been a week since inauguration, which seems to be how I'm counting the time these days, watching Gish Gallop: The President do his thing. The only silver lining to the scenario is that Trump's ego does seem to be a genuine Achilles heel. I mean, having his press secretary go out and tell easily-verifiable lies about the inauguration crowd size, instead of just shrugging it off (he didn't run on being popular in DC, he's not the first black President, and "the forgotten American" might not easily be able to buy a plane ticket and take off work on a Friday). Or claiming that there were 3-5M illegitimate votes in an election where fewer than 130M votes were cast, which he won based on margins of under 100k votes total, just a weird thing to do regarding a victory you feel secure about. (Also, hilariously, suggesting that part of this voter fraud was people registered to vote in two states, only to find that describes half of his administration and family.) To say nothing of Trump's nutty ABC interview.

Since the inauguration, Trump's been trying to crack down on federal agencies publishing the samizdat (he wants their social media presence to only publish stuff that's politically correct). The state department has been purged, the border patrol chief has resigned, the trend of Republicans cutting costs by first firing anyone who knows anything (which seems maybe not the most effective way to achieve cost-cutting goals in the long run) seemingly has been turned up to 11. Trump does seem to be running the government like a badly-managed business.

A (supposed) preliminary list of Trump administration infrastructure projects was released, which actually seemed pretty good from both a prioritization and PR standpoint. It's mostly straightforward stuff, much of it is already underway (opportunity to do a bit of facilitation and take all the credit), and much of it has a mix of government and private funding. But it's not sure how it jibes with other proclamations of the administration, like the attempt to cut all federal funding of sanctuary cites (e.g. the list includes Boston's Green Line Extension, which extends a light-rail line serving a sanctuary city from another sanctuary city through a third sanctuary city to another city that doesn't call itself a "sanctuary city" but by policy might as well be). The Trump White House subsequently disavowed the document saying that it's "not a White House policy document". My conjecture: It's just an internal report and who knows how it will relate to actual policy proposals. The infrastructure-project focus for now remains on a border wall that will cost a kajillion dollars while providing very little in the way of increased border security for the money (it's a boondoggle, but at least it's something in terms of job creation).

Speaking of that wall, Trump did manage to set off at least one diplomatic crisis during his first week in office. I'd expect that this will cause Trump to double-down on his goal of getting Mexico to pay (though he may have to take a flexible definition of what counts as paying to do it, and he may frame "they'll pay" less in terms of finance and more in terms of revenge). In any case, that might run at cross-purposes with the goal of creating manufacturing jobs, since Mexico is America's second-largest market for exports.

Finally, the administration announced plans to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants and blanket restriction on immigration from the countries in the Middle East Trump isn't personally doing business with. Plus there are rumblings of work on that Muslim registry.

(Even putting politics aside, it's been a tiring week. Ended with me getting super-sick with a bad cold or flu. Julie and the kid are also sick, and so are many of my friends and colleagues.)
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