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This Week In Garbageville

Only hundreds more to go

How long did it take Donald Trump to realize that being president is harder than traveling the country giving stream-of-consciousness monologues inspired by his television viewing habits? According to Politico, which recently talked to a White House official who just noticed "this shit is hard,” about 100 days.

The first 100 days of a presidency is the unofficial unit of measurement used to remind everyone that the American form of government is doomed to inefficiency. We've now reached this artificial deadline and Trump hasn't accomplished much besides continuing to scare and target everyone he scared and targeted for decades before becoming president.

Let’s see which of the random things Trump proposed this week at the last minute to make his 100 days look impressive are worth keeping an eye on.


If you ever needed proof that Ivanka Trump leads an unusually charmed life, note that this week the lecherous remarks of a Fox News personality saved her from a potentially disastrous round of bad press. She started the week being grilled about her assertion that her father is "a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive" by the moderator of the G20 Women’s Summit in Germany. The crowd booed, but the moderator was relatively restrained: "Some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave one questioning whether he's such an empowerer for women." Indeed!

Later, Ivanka told news company Axios that she was planning to start "a massive fund that will benefit female entrepreneurs around the globe," to be supported by contributions from "both countries and companies." Huh, running a huge slush fund of money for an ostensibly good cause that foreign powers can donate to, perhaps in exchange for access? This seems familiar, although not even the Clintons were so brazen as to start theirs while in office. Ivanka has not yet elaborated much on how this fund will actually work; the White House says it will be managed by the World Bank, not Ivanka personally, so perhaps it's not quite the payola scheme it sounds like. Still: "Ethics Experts Are Baffled."

This would seem like a big story! It certainly seems … suspicious? But then professional IRL troll and former Bill O'Reilly henchman Jesse Watters, speaking on Fox about the panel and the crowd's reaction, made a lewd reference to the way Ivanka handled the microphone and … I guess that's a, um, sexier story? Watters is suddenly on an O'Reilly-esque emergency vacation and conservative media critics are getting to pretend they're feminists. There's no word on whether Ivanka herself plans to defend Watters as a champion of working families.

Should I bother paying attention to this?

With regard to the "global empowerment fund," yes, please. The only thing that keeps it from seeming like a blatant pay-to-play grift is that there's no need for the Trump family to bother: Why should they start a fund when they just take payments via the businesses they already own?

Health Care

If there were death panels for legislation, the Trump health care plan would be in the ground by now. It was massively unpopular with constituencies across the ideological spectrum, and not even Trump could really muster personal enthusiasm for it. The plan was, in his (incorrect) formulation, just the first step to tax reform, anyway.

But with the 100-day deadline now arriving, the White House is looking for "wins," and some game of Capitol Hill telephone prompted them to reanimate the once-lifeless corpse.

Armed with an amendment that would give states the freedom to opt out of the ACA's most important regulations (the ones that bar insurers from banning the elderly and the already sick), the White House wooed the ultra-right Freedom Caucus. It worked! The Freedom Caucus endorsed the bill with the amendment and, at the moment, it looks like there may in fact be a vote on the thing by this weekend. (Or, as the drama-fixated administration seems to hope, over the weekend. It's sweeps week, after all!)

Should I bother paying attention to this?

Sure. Health care accounts for one-sixth of the economy and everything. But having pushed the bill even further to the right, the White House has probably lost many, most, or all moderate Republicans in the House and Senate. It seems unlikely to pass, just another victim of the Trump White House's manifest incompetence and insularity.


The Trump administration tried to bar federal funds to sanctuary cities, and a federal court told them that it was an incredibly asinine and unconstitutional move, just like most of their other attempts to alter immigration policy.

Meanwhile, a Justice Department lawyer coaxed an "oh, come on" from the chief justice of the Supreme Court by arguing that a naturalized American could have their citizenship revoked for failing to reveal that they once drove five miles over the speed limit, and ICE officially put out the welcome mat for the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline, which doesn't really do anything new, just wraps up old policies with extra demonization. A public database created by the Trump administration to supposedly track immigrant crimes includes … the names of many babies.

Should I bother paying attention to this?

Yes. The fact that the current presidential administration thinks that we should be able to take away citizenship is bad. Despite the fact that fewer immigrants are coming to the U.S. illegally and immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens, targeting immigrants and minorities defined Trump's campaign — undoubtedly an American tradition, albeit one that it would be nice to not see repeated over and over again until the end of time (see: end of time, below). Most of Trump’s attempts to change immigration policy have been challenged, but his administration is clearly going to keep trying until something sticks. The White House isn't alone in proposing policies that worry all undocumented immigrants, not just those who have committed violent crimes. The Texas House just passed a bill that would ban sanctuary cities in the state. Also, speaking of garbage, Representative Steve King is still tweeting.

The internet is trying to fight back however it can, including calling up the new VOICE hotline to report that undocumented aliens like Superman have been caught terrorizing cities.


The Trump administration released a tax plan, and also announced that our president will not be releasing his taxes.

Should I bother paying attention to this?

It's hard to tally what the tax plan, which expects to pay for itself with an economy so magical that it has not been glimpsed outside of an animated Monopoly moneybags' daydreams, would exactly mean if implemented, as Trump has only released one page of bullet points to explain it. (The Washington Post notes that it is the "most pointed blueprint Trump has presented Congress on any matter.")

But you should care about this if you are Donald Trump or another high-earning American, as this tax plan would save you oodles of cash. In other words … Democrats are unlikely to support it, as are conservatives worried about the deficit.

If you only want to care about policies that stand a decent chance of passing, you might want to wait on thinking about this one. As few of Trump's priorities seem to have much chance of passing, maybe you should just go read a novel or two and get back to us next week.

For those worried about Trump's tax return, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that "the president has released plenty of information and I think has given more financial disclosure than anybody else." In this sentence, "anybody else," when translated out of Trump Administrationish, means something close to "anybody's belts," which is more accurate, but perhaps not reassuring.

The Fact That the World Seems to Be Falling Apart While We Type

Should I bother paying attention to this?

Only if it reminds you to treasure life because the end is near.

We kid.

The National Enquirer, which endorsed a president for the first time ever last year, may only be forecasting IMPENDING DOOM because its coverage is guided by the fact that its employees haven't figured out how to turn caps lock off.

But the world is not ending yet, if only because Trump, like the tabloid that loves him, excels at saying outrageous things that often fail to become reality. Shortly after the White House said it was thinking about leaving NAFTA, it said it had no plans to do so. The airship carrier heading toward North Korea was in fact going in the opposite direction. The U.S. may drown itself in milk, but it would probably take a really long time.

But really, who knows what's going on?

Foreign policy–wise, Trump is mainly just exporting the same freak-outs he has been giving away domestically for months. His administration is talking about dramatically reducing foreign aid. The New York Times talked to South Koreans, many of whom seem resigned to whatever happens next. “Even if there was a war now," one person said, "it would not give us enough time to flee. We would all just die in an instant.” Also, the State Department appears to be mostly empty right now.

Everyone's feeling good!