So...did I miss anything in the past couple of weeks while I took a short break?
A lot of stuff is going on, so let's get to it.
As of this morning, President Trump made a major policy announcement - again - via Twitter. He announced that the military can't be burdened with having transgender people serving, essentially reversing action taken by President Obama that allowed openly transgender folk to serve in our military.
The Pentagon isn't even going to try to defend this reverse in policy, and has deferred all questions to the White House. This makes me wonder if there really was a consensus among the top military officials on this decision, or if Trump has been so emboldened by his recent rallies that he felt he needed to appeal to his base, because this definitely has the stench of a purely political move.
Normally, a policy shift such as this one, results in hours of debate and hearings among committees in our Congress, based on years of studies and observations from people serving out in the field. This is how the Obama administration moved forward to reach the decision to allow transgender people to serve, because we once upon a time had a president who actually cared about doing the right thing for the military and for the transgender community. But of course, normal doesn't exist anymore. So, what we're left with is a political decision made by a man who didn't even serve in the military because he received deferments for bone spurs. This so-called Commander in Chief who once said that he would be the best ally for the LGBT community, doesn't actually care about the 11,000 plus service members who have no idea what is going to happen to their lives and careers right now.
One of the first defenses of this horrible policy is that it just costs the military too much. Well...that's bullshit. The Rand Corporation estimated in 2016 that the cost of medical services for transgender service members would be $8.4 million dollars. In 2014, the military spent $84 million on erectile dysfunction medication. Medical services for transgender soldiers makes up less than 1% of the military's budget. So again...BULLSHIT!
And all of this is because Trump's feet are being held to the fire and he's scared. This political move is a result of Trump being afraid that he's not going to get his promised border wall. On the one hand, he doesn't care about his campaign promise to be the best ally to the LGBT community that ever existed, if it means he won't get to build the wall he so desperately wants. He will literally do anything to rally that base of his beloved Deplorables whenever he feels threatened...saving his own skin is actually the most important policy to him, no matter the cost. He spends so much time obsessing about President Obama and Hillary Clinton that he doesn't care at all about how this will effect the lives of the people who have the courage to volunteer to serve in our military...something he never had the guts to do.
In other news, last night the Senate tried to jam through a major health care bill and failed horrendously, just hours after voting to move forward with procedure and debate. The vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act was 43-57, with nine Republicans breaking from their party to vote no on the bill. Even though Mitch McConnell enjoyed a small moment of victory - if you can even call it that, since VP Mike Pence had to be brought in to break the tie - it is unlikely that McConnell will get the big win he is looking for before the next recess.
So, we have the Republicans who have spent the past several years symbolically voting to repeal the ACA, who have campaigned heavily on this action ever since the ACA became law, and now, even though they have majority rule, are unable to actually get anything done. The Republicans are showing that they are unable to govern, even when they are given every single advantage possible. And what this means is what we have known for a long time - that the Republicans do not actually represent the views of their constituents and serve the people. They serve their donors and lobbyists.
And finally, to introduce a new segment I'm going to tentatively call "Oh, that's soooo rich," -
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is going to take some time off, because he's just absolutely exhausted from doing his job. This month, he's spent time in Germany, Ukraine, Kuwait, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia . He's apparently been incredibly surprised at how hard this job can be and frustrated that he doesn't get to be the ultimate decision maker on foreign policy that effects the whole world. Rumors are also circulating that Tillerson didn't have the warm and fuzzy feelings towards Trump after the President's make-shift political rally at the Boy Scout Jamboree, as Tillerson was an Eagle Scout and was once the national president of the organization.
So, what was all that talk about Hillary Clinton having no stamina? I'd love to hear how Tillerson really feels towards Trump, his boss, who contradicts Tillerson all the time, and then sends him in to clean up the diplomatic messes Trump makes on a daily basis. The common theme here is that Trump is the absolute worst boss, ever.