Morning Bits: Trump’s incoherence, on steroids

Morning Bits: Trump’s incoherence, on steroids

Opinion Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events

Every day, a new position! “President Trump ordered top administration officials Thursday to look at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major shift on the sprawling multination trade pact he rejected just days after taking office.”

Forget the new prices. “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke formally backed off from a plan for big increases to entrance fees for some national parks. The National Park Service said Thursday it will increase most entrance fees at parks that currently charge them by $5, much less than the increase of as much as $45 that Zinke proposed in October. That would have raised a vehicle pass for the most-visited parks during their peak periods to $70.”

If confirmed, the new secretary of state may be tougher than the old one. “CIA Director Mike Pompeo talked tough about countering Russia Thursday, telling lawmakers that, contrary to President Donald Trump’s recent statements, he believes tensions between Washington and Moscow are due to ‘Russia’s bad behavior.’” Trump says the Russia investigation is at fault (!).

The new Congressional Budget Office figures on the debt have given Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) buyer’s remorse. “You’ve talked about the cost of this tax bill, and if it ends up costing what has been laid out here, it could well be one of the worst I’ve made. I hope that is not the case.” Good grief. He knew the debt calculations before the vote.

The new worry is that Trump will fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. “Rosenstein’s forcible removal at this stage would be another step in the president’s open attempts to dismantle the apparatus of independent law enforcement. It would be a bold statement of presidential control over the substance of law-enforcement investigations — a statement that the purpose of the FBI and the Justice Department is nothing more elevated than an expression of raw political power. The notion of independent law enforcement is an attempt to prevent the coercive powers of the state from being deployed as the playthings of those in power — to advantage and protect friends (and themselves) and to punish enemies. ” Read the whole thing. (120) add

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A new reason for Trump to distrust White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. “James Comey: John Kelly Called Trump ‘Dishonorable’ for Firing Me.” Hey, the firings got even more dishonorable after Comey.

It’s a new world. “While America may be the best place for an entrepreneur to build something amazing, it is not the only place. And ignoring that fact is unhelpful. [Mark] Zuckerberg was surely thinking about Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba, Baidu, Didi, Huawei, JD.com, Tencent, and Xiaomi when he replied to [Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska)] question. (And the big three of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have a combined market value of over $1 trillion.) Ignoring the entrepreneurial and technological capabilities of China — an economic, military, and ideological rival — can only lead to complacency among U.S. policymakers when action is needed in areas such as immigration, science investment, and education.” (111) add

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