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Thursday, March 16, 2017


Yes, Virginia, we need a sanity clause

by Tom Sullivan

Fiorello: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here? This thing here.
Driftwood: Oh, that? Oh, that's the usual clause. That's in every contract. That just says uh, it says uh, "If any of the parties participating in this contract is shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified."
Fiorello: Well, I don't know...
Driftwood: It's all right, that's, that's in every contract. That's, that's what they call a 'sanity clause'.
Fiorello: Ha ha ha ha ha! You can't fool me! There ain't no Sanity Clause!

— from The Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera (1935)
Just about now we could use a sanity clause in the U.S. Constitution.

During his speech yesterday in Nashville, President Donald Trump announced to the crowd that his second travel ban had been overturned by a U.S. District Court (emphasis mine):
But let me give you the bad news. We don’t like bad news, right? I don’t want to hear it. And I’ll turn it into good. Let me give you the bad, the sad news. Moments ago, I learned that a district judge in Hawaii, part of the much-overturned 9th Circuit Court — and I have to be nice, otherwise I’ll get criticized for speaking poorly about our courts. I’ll be criticized by people who are among the most dishonest people in the world. I will be criticized. I’ll be criticized by them for speaking harshly about our courts, I would never want to do that.

A judge has just blocked our executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries. The order he blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge, and should have never been blocked to start with. This new order was tailored to the dictates of the 9th circuit’s, in my opinion flawed, ruling. This is in the opinion of many an unprecedented judicial overreach.
How many of those many opinions you heard since "moments ago" weren't coming from inside your head?

And there was this. Fox News aired an interview Wednesday night in which Tucker Carlson asked Trump about about his tweet alleging that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration:
Carlson: So on March 4th, 6:35 in the morning, you’re down in Florida, and you tweet, the former administration wiretapped me, surveilled me, at Trump Tower during the last election. How did you find out? You said, I just found out. How did you learn that?

Trump: Well, I’ve been reading about things. I read in, I think it was Jan. 20th, a New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article. I think they used that exact term. I read other things. I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening, and wiretapping. I said, wait a minute, there’s a lot of wiretapping being talked about. I’ve been seeing a lot of things. Now, for the most part, I’m not going to discuss it, because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn’t been submitted as of yet. But it’s potentially a very serious situation.


Carlson: Why not wait to tweet about it until you can prove it? Don’t you devalue your words when you can’t provide evidence?

Trump: Well, because the New York Times wrote about it. Not that I respect the New York Times. I call it the failing New York Times. But they did write on Jan. 20th using the word wiretap. Other people have come out with...

Carlson: Right, but you’re the president. You have the ability to gather all the evidence you want.

Trump: I do. I do. But I think that frankly we have a lot right now. And I think if you watch—if you watched the Bret Baier and what he was saying and what he was talking about and how he mentioned the word “wiretap,” you would feel very confident that you could mention the name. He mentioned it. And other people have mentioned it. But if you take a look at some of the things written about wiretapping and eavesdropping… and don’t forget I say wiretapping, those words were in quotes. That really covers—because wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff—but that really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing. But wire tape covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.
As they say down south, "He ain't right."

When Trump is actually doing the job of president and not fluffing his own ego or tweeting about Snoop Dogg, he and his team are drafting a budget like this:

Trump federal budget 2018: Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor

The Washington Post reports:
Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Trump and Bannon are going to drown the government in the bathtub all right, but not before their base takes a bath first. MSNBC's Chris Hayes asked, "They're gonna cut USDA 29%? Good luck! How many times are they going to punch rural America in the mouth?"