Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Excerpts of Jim Newell and Francis Wilkinson Pieces on Trump Palace Intrigue, GOP Political Vacuum Plus Assortment of My Weekend Pics

Lady entering a house in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 7:12PM April 9, 2017.

Honestly, I can't remember the house number or street where I took this picture.

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So this is the flippin' entry I tried to post last night but never got around to completing. I'm going to abbreviate it and just post it as is -- and then try to post a second entry. It features pictures I took over the weekend. However, I can't be up late tonight because I have to be up and all shaved, shorn, and showered before 9AM tomorrow as there is a planned water outage in the building.

From yesterday ...

This entry features an extended excerpt of a Slate article Jim Newell: Steve Bannon vs. "the Democrats".

Sub-headline: Who will win the battle for the soul that Trump doesn't have?

Intersection of H and 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 5:38PM April 7, 2017.

This is the heart of the Chinatown area -- which is really the Chinatown block / intersection. It was cold on this Friday -- likely the last cold day until next fall or winter.

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Excerpt:

In the long run, the Trump administration will be judged by its ability to make meaningful progress outside the purview of a few teed-up, set-piece executive orders. This means passing legislation in Congress.

Palmer Alley, CityCenterDC, Washington, D.C., 5:44PM April 7, 2017.

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Excerpt continued:

But what are the real stakes of this personality clash? A White House that employs Jared Kushner and not Steve Bannon still wouldn’t be able to get 216 votes on a health care bill, and vice versa. The only adviser that will ever truly have Trump’s ear is the host of whatever cable news show he happens to be watching. The stakes here aren’t the future of the country. The stakes are whether Bannon's tell-all book will come out in 2018 or 2020.

Palmer Alley NW, CityCenterDC, Washington, D.C., 5:46PM April 7, 2017.

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Excerpt continued:

I am trying to think of how Republicans might have reached 216 votes for the American Health Care Act if Kushner had been in Washington the week of the failure and not gone skiing. What alchemical methods would Trump's son-in-law have used to gin up 20 or 30 extra votes for a piece of bad legislation? It would seem that no human could fail more spectacularly than Bannon did at whipping Freedom Caucus votes on the health care bill. That's probably because Kushner never tried.

Franklin Square, Washington, D.C., 5:55PM April 7, 2017.

The WaHoPo's new digs is visible through the trees.

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Excerpt continued:

What is happening on Capitol Hill is independent of the palace intrigue at the White House. If a breakthrough is ever made on health care policy, it will not be because Gary Cohn has better access to Trump's ear than Stephen Miller. It will be because conservative Rep. Mark Meadows and moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur came up with a policy that allowed health care markets to be simultaneously regulated and unregulated. If Trump now decides to abandon Republican-driven health policy, instead choosing to make "tweaks" to the Affordable Care Act with the help of Democratic votes, it will not be because Kushner successfully caught Bannon in a bear trap and hid the wounded beast in the White House bunker. It will be because Trump wanted to cobble together a health care bill that could get 216 votes, and this was the only option.

Another view of Franklin Square, Washington, D.C., 5:55PM April 7, 2017.

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Excerpt continued:

The same goes for tax reform. Trump is open to working with Democrats on overhauling the tax code, allowing him to circumvent the Freedom Caucus. If he chooses this path, it won't be a "win" for more moderate members of the administration. It will indicate that the only roads to 216 and 51 run through Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and Trump just wants to sign bills.

Yours truly, Annie's Paramount Steak House, Washington, D.C., 8:14PM April 7, 2017.

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Excerpt continued:

The richest part of the speculation about which direction Trump may be heading in is the idea that the man is capable of choosing a direction and sticking to it. Trump has no attention span, doesn't know anything, and bases his "directions" on whatever channel the TV landed on the last time he sat on the remote.

Ha ha

Blurry picture of a waxing Moon in a variably cloudy sky seen through the trees, 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 9:21PM April 7, 2017.

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Here is a good comment by ChuckRoast-ev associated with that article:

Well put. The NY Times et al love to paint an administration grappling with Very Important Issues because then they can publish lots of stories featuring experts expounding on Complicated Things. Everyone in this circle jerk feels smart and happy that they have Access to Power.

But, as Newell point out, Trump is a moron. He isn't weighing up ideologies here, he's watching TV.

That's what we're dealing with.

Row houses 1400 block W Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:21PM April 8, 2017.

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I'm trying to post an entry tonight but having trouble. I'm home after a non-gym night and watching TV -- the late night reruns of Wings, Becker, and Newhart on Antenna TV.

The Northumberland at dusk, Washington, D.C., 7:09PM April 8, 2017.

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Here is another piece I came across ...

Trump Knocks the Air Out of Republicans
By Francis Wilkinson

Source here

Excerpts:

The vacuum created by an uninformed president with a policy agenda that maxed out at 140 characters "was supposed to be a feature, not a bug," said Republican consultant Liam Donovan, via email. Donald Trump would get to tweet, and House Speaker Paul Ryan would get to determine the contours of the American future.

After 11 weeks, vacuums are breeding vacuums...

Some vacuums won't fill. A 70-year-old man is unlikely to develop a moral sensibility, and his beleaguered and compromised staff appears unable to supply him with a facsimile.

Plush hippos (and monkey!) on my pile of bedding, Washington, D.C., 7:26PM April 8, 2017.

I was about to do the laundry -- washing all of the bedding (well, except the stuffed animals themselves*a).

*I do wish I could "launder" them but there really isn't any way that I know how to do that. In any event, Flippo is a trans-dimensional angelic being (generating Universes in the Multiverse at will) with no need of mere washing in Washington.

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People along the Potomac River, Washington Harbour, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:40PM April 9, 2017.

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Likewise, Trump's almost supernatural ignorance of American history leaves him unable to connect present to past, leaving a continent-size hole at the core of the White House narrative. Trump's awkward efforts to commune with the spirit of Andrew Jackson only underscored how parochial and disconnected he is. For Trump, the founding fathers will always be Roy Cohn and Fred Trump.

The political vacuum is one of the more curious features of the Trump administration. Republicans built powerful majorities in Congress and the states in recent years. Their aggressive violation of Washington political norms just yielded a conservative on the Supreme Court. Yet with their policies now adrift, and White House leadership absent, Republicans possess a dominant hand with strangely little within its grasp.

"Politically," said Donovan, "I'd argue it's less of a vacuum and more of an eclipse. Trump blocks out the political sun for any and all Republicans, much to the delight of the opposition."

Yachts docked at Washington Harbour, Washington, D.C., 6:46PM April 9, 2017.

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And here is a comment associated with that article by commenter Martin Hamilton:

Not even 100 days into his presidency Trump has now played golf 16 times while spending almost double Obama's annual travel budget. He is on track to spend 60 million this year just on Mar-a-Lago visits alone. And guess what? Most of that money actually gets paid to Trump! What a gig - every weekend is a luxury vacation, paid for by tax payers, and payed directly to Trump! And this doesn't even account for the tens of millions more we are spending to protect Melania in her NY ivory tower.

So lucky us, the worst performing president in US history is also the most costly. Now that's making America great!

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OK, that ends this entry.

--Regulus

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