Meet Donald Trump’s biggest policy threat – The Breit Mark Factor
I was speaking with our fearless leader, Chuck Livid, about a week or so ago. We bantered around a bit about bringing a weekly political column to tuffgnarl.com. Punk and politics go hand in hand.
Unless you’re Green Day.
In that case, you probably should have stayed with the whole girls hate me but I love them schtick.
…but I digress.
I think it’s safe to assume that our politics section here has been rather light in recent years. What would we have written about, though, honestly? We had President Badass Obama for 8 years. I didn’t always agree with Obama and he got me angry sometimes. Doesn’t matter, folks, he was Mother Fucking President Barack Obama. He’s allowed to irritate me.
We are in a new era of Presidential politics. I feel like I’ve been riding one too many times on the Gravitron. Alternative facts, neo-Fascist racist bullshit bastards and insane Facebook threads from people whom I thought I knew has had my bipolar skyrocketing towards brand new planets and galaxies.
I’m like an emotionally wrecked Starship Enterprise.
IT’S ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING
I am aware that having a liberal, slightly Socialist, mid-level political policy wonk and admitted news junkie writing a weekly roundup of the political world might scare a few of our Republican members and subscribers.
Apologies in advance to the two or three of you crazy kids because this column isn’t ever going to be a Punk Rock Conservative Newsletter.
I will try, though, to be as respectful as I can to the catastrophe we call Conservatism or better yet, what our Editor in Chief, Jesse Scheckner, has opted to call them, Regressivism (love that, btw).
Please please please do not email me to let me know that Johnny Ramone was a Republican to prove to me that punk rockers can hold right-wing political views.
Sorry, folks… there is nothing punk rock about Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.
(As a side note, yes… Johnny Ramone was very much a Republican. He was also a complete asshole who literally fucked over Joey Ramone so bad that for the rest of Joeys life he lived as a shattered man. Johnny Ramone, however, died alone with no one around him because he was a dick.)
To set a tone of big boy importance, Donald Trump signed 14 Executive Orders this last week. He brought along big chairs, big hair and big crowds to cheer him on. Trump has really taken the bull by the horns, huh?
He’s a real go-getter that guy!
From kitchen tables all across the country, echoes of that’s why we voted for him, honey… he says what he means and he takes no shit.
Let’s dissect Donald Trump’s Executive Orders for easy digestion. Although these decrees might sound threatening at first, a closer look will show that they are not easily implemented. Most of them are meaningless.
1. The ACA Rollback
This Order gives the Department of Health and Human Services the authority and discretion to roll back certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act. It’s meant to weaken the Act before the final kill in Congress
Well, guess what?
Getting rid of or gutting a standing law doesn’t magically happen just because you are the man with the Golden Sharpie. The Department of Health and Human Services can’t just repeal parts of the ACA without revising Congressional resolutions and that needs Congressional approval. Any of the rollbacks being implemented must be consistent withapplicable laws and subject to the availability of appropriations.
This is why Obama kicks ass. He wanted to ensure that if any incoming administrations wanted to pull some shit, he would make it difficult for them. In the ACA, he intertwined and layered and lacquered all kindsa stuff on top of each other for this exact purpose.
The money being used to fund the Affordable Care Act is also connected to a bunch of other things. Some of these things aren’t even in the ACA. For them to waive bits and pieces or actually rollback anything, the Department of Health and Human Services would basically have to drive to the local flea market and sort through every kiosk and stand to find the very thing they wanted to get rid of.
Once found and isolated, this evil socialistic piece of pinko commie healthcare would then need to have its funding tracked down. If they found where the funding came from they would also have to track and find out what else, if any, those funds were appropriated to.
Only then, could they review this funding and decide if that piece of the ACA could be waived or rolled back.
That’s a lot of roads to travel down only to be possibly met with a dead end. If those funds appropriated to that part of the ACA also funds another piece of the pie, they’d have to start again.
2. Regulation Freeze:
Most incoming administrations usually do something to this effect. It puts a hold on any upcoming regulations that were approved by the prior administration.
New administrations often want the chance to review upcoming regulations to ensure they won’t butt heads with their own policies.
Known as a Global Gag Order, this states that federal dollars cannot go to organizations that provide abortion services.
No U.S. taxpayer money can fund any international family-planning organizations that provide abortion-related services as of right now. Even if non-U.S. funds are used to offer advice on where to obtain an abortion, the U.S. can withhold funds for other services.
This is a common order signed by most Republican Presidents since Ronald Reagan developed it in 1984. Both Bush’s implemented it, Clinton and Obama repealed it. It’s totally partisan, totally expected and total bullshit.
This withdraws the United States from all Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and from signing the trade deal.
The crux of the TPP is the belief that by eliminating 18,000 tariffs and expanding market access across the Pacific region it would create major US export and job opportunities. Opposers of the agreement say it would lead to expanded corporate power, lower wages and unsafe food imports.
5. Federal Hiring Freeze:
The freeze puts a hold on federal agencies from filling any vacant positions or opening new ones. The Order does allow two exceptions: military personnel and critical public safety positions.
Republicans have always believed in limited government.
A hiring freeze makes sense if you subscribe to the Grover Norquist philosophy of making government small enough to drown in a bathtub.
It doesn’t seem to matter that federal employment is at record lows. It also seems irrelevant that the last two times a president froze government hiring, it ended up costing more money.
Noticeably missing from the exemptions for the freeze was the hiring of more VA employees. The VA has been skewered over the years for being brutally inefficient. It has listed 4,308 jobs this year that needed to be filled.
Understaffed? You betchya.
Not providing an exemption for the VA didn’t go over well with Veterans groups. Pushback and heavy hand-wringing caused Trump to give the VA its exemption.
The takeaway from this is that it proves the Trump Administration can be taken to task.
6. Fast Track to the Approval of the Dakota Access:
It was a huge victory for Native Americans who are all too often a forgotten minority.
This order essentially shoves the permits for the project to the front of the line for expedited approval.
This is what happens when you elect a businessman to run a free country. Profit before people.
7. Keystone Oil Pipeline:
This action asks TransCanada, the corporation at the forefront of the project, to resubmit its application for a pipeline permit. In conjunction with the resubmition, it directs the State Department to issue a final decision on that application within 60 days.
The Keystone Oil Pipeline was denied by the Obama administration because of the concern for the possibility of a catastrophic environmental disaster.
The Pipeline would have crossed over waterways and ecoplanes causing massive exposure in the event of physical damage to the pipe.
The Obama Administration felt the risk factor outweighed the temporary jobs it would have created. The Conservatives felt the net total of 50 jobs at the end of construction and the minimal financial impact on the cost of oil was way better.
8. Speeding Up Environmental Reviews for All Priority Infrastructure:
To set up faster deadlines and environmental approval for high priority infrastructure projects, Trump ordered agencies and the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to work together more efficiently.
Basically, let’s start building shit super-fast and you two guys need to get along.
9. American Steel in Pipelines:
Trump wants American-made materials to be used to the maximum extent possible when building or rebuilding pipelines within the U.S. borders.
I suppose within the framework of his infrastructure plan, this could put some much-needed money into the hands of American Steel Workers.
The Right Wing has always been claiming America is on the verge of a Liberal Socialist takeover. It does seem odd then, that Trump would consider forcing companies to use a product the government wants you to use.
Mandating the use of American Steel is patriotic but mandating everyone has affordable health care is fucking Communism.
10. Review Manufacturing Regulations:
Yes, this is an Executive Order to let you know that the Commerce Secretary has been directed by Trump to review regulations.
The Secretary can’t do anything to the regulations. He can look at ‘em, though. Maybe put ‘em on a table for display to show his In-laws how cute they are.
11. Deportations and Sanctuary Cities:
This is gonna get wordy so let’s just bust through this.
There is a super rad myth floating around that immigration is somehow worse than it has ever been. Statistically, this is just not true. The Obama Administration had deported more people than any other administration in history.
Bush #2 deported 2 million undocumented immigrants during his eight-year run as opposed to Obama’s 2.5 million deportations. 91 percent of the people deported under the Obama years had been convicted of crimes here in the States.
Whaddya gotta do to be deported you ask?
Well, If you have been convicted of a crime – charged with a crime – commit a chargeable offense – misrepresent yourself to the government – abuse a welfare program or are under an existing deportation order… you can pretty much kiss the Land of Opportunity goodbye.
If you haven’t broken any of those laws, don’t go grabbing a spot on the corner just yet. Wth this Order, immigration officers now have the authority to decide whether or not you pose a risk to public safety or national security regardless of you being all law-abiding.
Trump’s signature also lets local police officials legally act as immigration officers whenever possible. If Mr. or Mrs. Shit Kicking Deputy decides Juan and Maria need to be deported, I reckon they just use some sort of by the powers of Grayskull phrase and *poof*… instant Immigration Officer.
The stinkiest part of this poop fest is the ability given to the Attorney General (the still unconfirmed and douchebag in waiting, Senator Jeff Sessions) to block federal grants from sanctuary cities.
Sanctuary cities are cities in the U.S. that won’t prosecute undocumented immigrants for violating federal immigration laws. These cities leave them alone and kinda turn the other way when walking down the street.
The order also asks for another 10,000 agents for Immigration and Customs.
Notice a running theme here of setting up to swing for the fences regarding funding for all of these Executive Orders? With major tax cuts promised for the top tier Americans, it will be interesting to see how they pay for all this.
12. Border Wall:
Can we just call this Executive Order the Steve Bannon Commemorative Plate 2017 Mexican Wall Edition?
The shit show this signing fueled made the previously hated Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto shoot into double digit approval ratings literally overnight. It also made the ex-President of Mexico, Vincente Fox, a legend when he Tweeted out a big fuck off to Trump.
The U.S. policy, as it stands now, is to immediately construct a wall on the southern border.
It also asks that agencies plan and search for funds for this project because, well, because Mexico ain’t paying for the fucking wall.
The current administration actually floated the idea of a 20% tariff on goods imported from Mexico. That quickly came and went.
The only thing that’s gonna even get close to being built will be more detention facilities at or near the Mexican border and an additional hiring of about 5,0000 border patrol agents.
…and that’s only going to happen if they can get the money from Congress.
13. Reshaping the Military:
I’m not going to waste my time explaining this one.
Dig it… We’re going to make the American military great again. Period.
They actually televised the signing of this.
Every. Fucking. Where.
14. Refugees and Terror:
This seems to be the one order to finally make people take to the streets. I found great joy seeing people shoving their middle fingers in the face of Trump and his dickhead administration. The moment he signed this piece of shit order it instantly blocked entry by any Syrian refugee indefinitely. It also froze entry for most other refugees for 120 days as well.
There’s also a 90-day freeze on entry by people whose countries are currently considered high terrorism risks. It seems that none of the 7 countries in the ban have a history of sending terrorists to this country.
These Countries do not, however, have any business dealings with Trump Inc. yet the remaining Middle East countries that are not on the banned list have huge deals with Trump and his company. Interestingly enough, they are the countries that have the most terrorists being sent out into the world.
As of this past Saturday evening, a Federal Court imposed an injunction that lifted parts of the 90 Day ban until further review.
I mean, kinda screws shit up when cats and critters are stuck in airports and in the air on fucking planes while no one knew what to do with them.
THE DAYS OF SWINE AND ROSES
As you can see, with regards to most of the Executive Order signings, they are nowhere near being absolute. It’s a Trump 3 card monte. He’s asking for things and not dictating laws.
The Immigration and Refugee issue have some teeth and the bite has already stung some folks. As we saw this weekend, though, decent Americans and citizens from around the world dealt with Donnie boys big mouth.
We will dive deeper into many of these issues in the coming weeks. Consider this a pre-game before we really start pissing people off by exposing the awful truth.
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