America Under Attack

America is under attack.

This is hardly a new revelation, but it should be substantially more obvious. Paul Manafort was charged with “conspiracy against the United States,” a charge which is easy to read too much into. Then again, it’s easy to take it far too lightly.

It’s not a conventional war with bombs bursting in air, so it’s very easy to deny that the attack has happened at all. Aren’t we all able to go on with our daily lives? And the answer is a simple “yes”. That’s why it is essential that we understand the nature of the attack and why it is happening, both of which are not very obvious.

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United Nations. Sort of.

President Trump spoke to the UN today. In all fairness, it could have been worse. And, in many ways, it was a re-iteration of what America has been saying for a long time – we have a big military and we intend to use it, but don’t ask us for money to keep the other operations going.

Yet it was bad enough in one singular sense – there is no place for globalism even as we realize larger threats to the entire planet at once. It was a summary of everything that he and his followers stand for in many ways. But what will it mean to the rest of the world?

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E-Z Reform

Republicans need to produce tax reform, but can’t agree on much.  Here is a post from two years ago which outlines an easy way to make something happen and claim victory.  It may even be good policy.

Tax reform is on the minds of many Republican candidates, and that’s a good thing. Donald Trump revealed a plan, suggesting he may be a serious candidate after all. This announcement came as his poll numbers were slipping, so we may have a hint what voters think about actual policies. Jeb Bush released his plan earlier this month with the distinction of being called “weird”.

The point is that we are talking about taxes and serious tax reform, which is good. No one should expect one plan to suddenly spring forward and cut through the elaborate mess we have. Then again, once the knife is out, you could carve a better tax code out of a banana. But what really is needed? What is “simplification” or “reform”? Let’s start at the beginning.

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One Weak Show

In other news, the US Senate failed to pass anything. This hardly seems like news given that they fail to get anything done nearly all the time. But the botched repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, is a special new level of failure.

Normal procedures are completely gone. There is no committee report and there is no estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Stuff is being whipped together in a few hours and thrown onto the floor.

The chaos is much more important than the bills themselves because it seems the Republican leadership, especially Sen McConnell (R-KY) must know better. That can only mean they aren’t even trying. So what, after all, are they doing?

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Frenzy

Tired of the Trump-Russia stories yet? Well, they are only just beginning. Which is strange because much of the information coming out now could have come out a year ago, if anyone had bothered trying to dig. But the “liberal media” didn’t at the time and has only really started to get going.

If you’re tired of today’s press, you’re far from alone. The problem, however, isn’t bias but a severe case of “shiny object syndrome” where nothing is investigated unless it appears popular.

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Progress?

When former FBI Director James Comey testified in the Senate, it was as if the grown-ups had finally arrived. It wasn’t just the air of authority that this straight talking man projects, either. It was the respectful lack of grandstanding demonstrated by actual US Senators which truly enshrined the moment. Whatever comes of this it’s not going to be childish and stupid.

As I write this, there is another sign that the world may be returning to normal. The results of the UK election are still coming in and they are telling. It’s not that the Conservatives have lost their majority which counts here. It’s the fact that polling in these elections is actually predictive once again. It was absolutely reliable before the last election and the Brexit vote, perfectly predicting the results. Polling is back this time and it appears that the world is actually returning to something like normal.

Not that there isn’t chaos in the hung parliament. But it’s bounded, orderly chaos. Small victory.

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The Crazy Peaks

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

Trump is clearly the most dangerous when he is hunkered down and connected to reality only by the thin thread of twitter. The last week has apparently felt even more besieged than usual, either out of exhaustion from his trip or in anticipation of James Comey’s testimony to Congress. Either way, the net result has been a disaster – and the worst may well be yet to come.

If it’s not yet clear to everyone that this man is not fit to lead anything it will be soon.

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