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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Presidential Oaf of Office

     Article II, Section 1:
...Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
     Article II, Section 3:
...he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed...
 My thoughts on Facebook earlier today:
When you become U.S. President, you swear/affirm the Oath set forth in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution to "faithfully execute the Office of the President" and to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution." What you are bound to "execute" is also set forth in Section 3: "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." 

Today I read two articles detailing Trump's explicit statements and his administration's overt actions aimed at deliberately sabotaging the LAW that is still "Obamacare" (whatever your opinion of it) to help make sure it "fails," irrespective of how many citizens get hurt in the process.
"Team Trump Used Obamacare Money to Run PR Effort Against It"
"Trump’s Clueless Abdication of Presidential Responsibility"

To me, that should be impreachable right there -- willful contravention of his Oath of Office, with regard to a law directly and substantively impacting nearly 20% of the U.S. economy and nearly every life in the nation. This is not about dissing or subverting some tiny Capitol Park Police Dog Leash law.
Yeah, I know..."wish in one hand..." "tu quoque" (they all do it).


President Trump just gave the New York Times a bizarre, on-the-record, audio-recorded interview (the one during which he threw his Attorney General under the bus, insulted the FBI, and threatened Special Prosecutor Mueller). From the health care segment of the 7,500 word transcript:
TRUMP: Hi fellas, how you doing?
BAKER: Good. Good. How was your lunch [with Republican senators]?
TRUMP: It was good. We are very close. It’s a tough — you know, health care. Look, Hillary Clinton worked eight years in the White House with her husband as president and having majorities and couldn’t get it done. Smart people, tough people — couldn’t get it done. Obama worked so hard. They had 60 in the Senate. They had big majorities and had the White House. I mean, ended up giving away the state of Nebraska. They owned the state of Nebraska. Right. Gave it away. Their best senator did one of the greatest deals in the history of politics. What happened to him?
But I think we are going to do O.K. I think we are going to see. I mean, one of my ideas was repeal. But I certainly rather would get repeal and replace, because the next last thing I want to do is start working tomorrow morning on replace. And it is time. It is tough. It’s a very narrow path, winding this way. You think you have it, and then you lose four on the other side because you gave. It is a brutal process. And it was for Democrats, in all fairness. I mean, you think of Hillary Clinton, and you look, she went eight years — very capable — went eight years as the first lady, and could not get health care. So this is not an easy crack. The one thing I’ll say about myself, so, Obama was in there for eight years and got Obamacare. Hillary Clinton was in there eight years and they never got Hillarycare, whatever they called it at the time. I am not in here six months, and they’ll say, “Trump hasn’t fulfilled his agenda.” I say to myself, wait a minute, I’m only here a very short period of time compared to Obama. How long did it take to get Obamacare?

BAKER: March, March 2010.
TRUMP: So he was there for more than a year.
HABERMAN: Fourteen months.
TRUMP: And I’m here less than six months, so, ah, you know. Something to think about.
BAKER: We wrote the same stories, though, in August of 2009. “Obama can’t get it.”
SCHMIDT: It died several times.
HABERMAN: Several times.
TRUMP: Well, it was a tough one. That was a very tough one.
BAKER: He lost that election [the 2010 midterms].
TRUMP: Nothing changes. Nothing changes. Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.
HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back.
TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.
HABERMAN: Am I wrong in thinking — I’ve talked to you a bunch of times about this over the last couple years, but you are generally of the view that people should have health care, right? I mean, I think that you come at it from the view of …
TRUMP: Yes, yes. [garbled]
TRUMP: So I told them today, I don’t want to do that. I want to either get it done or not get it done. If we don’t get it done, we are going to watch Obamacare go down the tubes, and we’ll blame the Democrats. And at some point, they are going to come and say, “You’ve got to help us.”

BAKER: Did the senators want to try again?
TRUMP: I think so. We had a great meeting. Was I late?
TRUMP: It was a great meeting. We had 51 show up, other than John.
BAKER: Senator McCain.
TRUMP: That’s a lot. Normally when they call for a meeting, you have like 20.
HABERMAN: How about the last one in June? Do you guys remember how many came?
TRUMP: Ah, 49. It was actually 48, but John McCain was there. But I guess we had 51 today, so that counts. That shows the spirit.
BAKER: Who is the key guy?
TRUMP: Well, they are all key. The problem is we have 52 votes. Don’t forget, you look at Obama, he had 60. That’s a big difference. So, we have 52 votes. Now, I guess we lose Susan Collins. I guess we lose Rand Paul. Then we can’t lose any votes. That is a very tough standard. Statistically, you want to bet on that all day long. With that being said, I think we had a great meeting. I think we had a great meeting.
HABERMAN: Where does it go from here, do you think?
TRUMP: Well, I say, let’s not vote on repeal. Let’s just vote on this. So first, they vote on the vote. And that happens sometime Friday?
HABERMAN: Next week.
TRUMP: Or Monday? Monday. And then they’ll vote on this, and we’ll see. We have some meetings scheduled today. I think we have six people who are really sort of O.K. They are all good people. We don’t have bad people. I know the bad people. Believe me, do I know bad people.
And we have a very good group of people, and I think they want to get there. So we’ll see what happens. But it’s tough.

SCHMIDT: How’s [Mitch] McConnell to work with?
TRUMP: I like him. I mean, he’s good. He’s good. It’s been a tough process for him.
HABERMAN: He’s taken on some water.
TRUMP: Yeah. It’s been a tough process for him. This health care is a tough deal. I said it from the beginning. No. 1, you know, a lot of the papers were saying — actually, these guys couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care. [garbled] This is a very tough time for him, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe we get there.
This is a very tough time for them, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe that it’s [garbled], that makes it a lot easier. It’s a mess. One of the things you get out of this, you get major tax cuts, and reform. And if you add what the people are going to save in the middle income brackets, if you add that to what they’re saving with health care, this is like a windfall for the country, for the people. So, I don’t know, I thought it was a great meeting. I bet the number’s — I bet the real number’s four. But let’s say six or eight. And everyone’s [garbled], so statistically, that’s a little dangerous, right?

BAKER: Pretty tight.
TRUMP: I hope we don’t have any grandstanders. I don’t think we do.
TRUMP: I think it will be pretty bad for them if they did. I don’t think we have any — I think it would be very bad for — I think this is something the people want. They’ve been promised it...
Okeee-dokeee, then. Mr. Dunning-Kruger.
A new interview reveals Trump’s ignorance to be surprisingly wide-ranging
He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Nobody knows everything, and certainly nobody who’s ever sat in the Oval Office has entered with a complete mastery of all the varied issues that land on the desk of the president of the United States.

But reading the transcript of Donald Trump’s recent interview with three New York Times reporters, two things stand out. One is the sheer range of subjects that Trump does not understand correctly — from French urban planning to health insurance to Russian military history to where Baltimore is to domestic policy in the 1990s to his own regulatory initiatives. The other is that Trump is determined, across the board, to simply bluff and bluster through rather than admitting to any uncertainty or gaps in his knowledge.

It’s an approach that’s certainly commonplace among Trump’s cohort of rich Manhattanites. People who’ve spent years surrounded by flatterers and lackeys eager to get their hands on their money tend to come away with an inflated sense of their own domains of competence. But precisely because the demands of the presidency are so unimaginably vast, it’s a frightening attribute in a chief executive.

The complete interview is a little bit hard to parse, since Trump keeps ducking off the record and the transcript interrupts. But it really is worth taking in the whole thing — the scope is breathtaking.

Trump doesn’t seem to know what health insurance is
Health care policy is very complicated, but most Americans have at least some passing familiarity with how health insurance works because most of us have health insurance.
Trump himself, meanwhile, has spent years as a top executive at a business that provides health insurance to its employees. So you would think that even if he were completely ignorant of every single topic of public policy, he would at least be aware that to provide a person with health insurance is expensive. It is, after all, an expense that his businesses incur…
Noted in my prior post,
"You're going to have such great health care, at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it's going to be so easy." - Donald Trump, Oct 2016 Florida campaign rally.

The most powerful man on earth.

From my November 9th, 2016 post, What will the 45th President do about health care?

"We have to come up, and we can come up with many different plans. In fact, plans you don't even know about will be devised because we're going to come up with plans, -- health care plans -- that will be so good. And so much less expensive both for the country and for the people. And so much better.” 

- Donald Trump, September 14th, 2016 on the Dr. Oz show


From The New Yorker:

John Cassidy
Donald Trump’s Addled and Ominous Interview with the Times 

It is often said, and with ample reason, that much of what Donald Trump says isn’t worth a jot. As Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter, noted last year, “lying is second nature to him.” When he isn’t telling outright whoppers, he exaggerates things outrageously, and his utterances often bear little resemblance from one day to the next. On Tuesday, he said that Republicans should let Obamacare crash and burn. On Wednesday, he said that he wanted to see it replaced.

But, whereas Trump’s statements often fail to withstand inspection when examined individually, analyzing a group of them together can sometimes provide valuable insights into his mind-set, which, at this time, appears to be even more addled than usual. The interview that Trump gave on Wednesday to three reporters from the Times offers us that opportunity...
I don't find any of this the slightest bit amusing, given the significant major policy issues our nation needs to be forthrightly addressing. Like, duh, health care?


Again, from The New Yorker, excellent, this from Amy Davidson Sorkin, spot-on:
...The Republican leadership’s argument of last resort, when whipping votes, has been that the Party has to do something dramatic about Obamacare simply because, for the past seven years, it has said that it would. That is an explanation of a quagmire, not a call to arms...

...McConnell has said that he will delay the Senate’s August recess, if necessary, to try for another vote on something: repeal, replace, or a thrown-together bill to be named later; his zigzagging mirrors that of the President. If this attempt fails, the backup plan seems to be to turn the matter over to the executive branch and let it commit whatever acts of regulatory, budgetary, and administrative vandalism it can, to break the system bit by bit. For example, it could withhold crucial cost-sharing subsidies, or decline to defend Obamacare against various lawsuits that its opponents, including the House Republicans, have brought against it...
Yep. Jus' sayin'. Taking care "that the laws be faithfully executed" -- what a quaint notion.


Yesterday President Trump inflicted himself on the 2017 Boy Scouts Jamboree in West Virginia.

More to come...OafTrumpcare

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