New Sips 3/13: The Swamp Draining Budget, Brexit Triggering, US Attorney Drama, and Blizzard 2017
Here are the four things you need to know before your coffee gets cold, the Winter Weather Warning March 13, 2017 edition:
Trump’s Swamp Draining Budget
The President is set to release details of his budget plan later this week. It’s going to make waves. Remember, before the pearl-clutching and the “end of the world” crowd gets too active, the President’s budget is a proposal. It will need to go through Congress before anything actually becomes law. Given that, despite having majorities in both the House and Senate, Congressional Republicans seems unwilling to move quickly on proposals from the White House, there will likely be significant changes to the Trump plan if a budget (ever) gets passed.
Preliminary reports about the Trump budget show that the President does, indeed, plan to “drain the swamp.” Initial estimates show that the budget will result in the largest drawdown of Federal workers since the end of World War Two. These reports are based off of off-record interviews between White House aides and news sources, but they do appear to be within the realm of possibility given White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and the President’s spending objectives.
The Trump budget would, as promised, increase military and homeland security spending while slashing bureaucratic spending in foreign aid, education, NPR, and the EPA. The goal, one that conservatives have had for decades but, for whatever reason, have not had the political capital or will to act on, would be to reduce the size of the Federal government dramatically and encourage business and private investment to fill the gaps left behind. In its purest form, the Trump Budget will shrink the size of government. Another promise kept.
Of course, this plan will, undoubtedly, cause heads to explode on the left and cause untold screeching behind closed doors by Republicans who fear that getting rid of Federal government programs could cause riots and electoral losses in 2018. Practically, the budget plan will also cause consternation for Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan because of the projected layoffs of Federal workers, many of whom live outside of the District in suburban Maryland.
Democrats have vowed to fight the President on any cuts, but the Trump team has undertaken its budgeting process with full knowledge that spending in Washington has been out of control for decades. It remains to be seen what compromises will be made and how much of a political spine Congressional Republicans will grow in order to do what’s right and what conservatives have been asking for.
Empowered by Parliament and by a referendum held last year, British Prime Minister Theresa May will, later this week, officially notify the European Union that Britain intends to leave the common market. Britain will be the first nation to leave the bloc since its formation and will send the country on a trajectory to choose its own path forward.
Despite the hand-wringing of globalists, the British people decided, in what is seen as a precursor to the outcome of the United States’ election of Donald Trump, that the outflow of jobs and the influx of poverty and immigrants had undermined the cultural identity of the British people and that Britain’s leaders were too focused on advancing a globalist narrative than on the well-being of the nation. In a repudiation of David Cameron and politicians across the British political spectrum, as well as the pollsters, the British people voted Leave.
After the vote, the Cameron Government collapsed and May was tasked by the Queen with forming a government. Clearly, the will of the people was Leave, and Leave was the chief responsibility of the new, Britain-first government. Brexit was given less-rocky future after the US Presidential Election in November when Americans, like their British counterparts, threw off the globalist message and elected Donald Trump as President. From a British standpoint, despite the hissy fits of Labour (and even some Torries), the election of Donald Trump looks to be a major boon to the newly-financially-independent Britain. The reason for this is that Mr. Trump, who was pro-Brexit, has noted that he is looking forward to negotiating mutually-beneficial bilateral trade deals with other nations (eschewing the multi-party pacts of the past). Britain, Mr. Trump has stated, will be at the front of the line. This could do a lot to smooth over the exit from the European common market for the British.
US Attorney Drama
Another story for the “everything Donald Trump does is an outrage regardless of whether or not it’s outrageous” file. On Friday, the Attorney General asked for the resignations of 46 Obama-era United States Attorneys across the country. These men and women are political appointees who serve four-year terms at the pleasure of the President (but, more the pleasure of the Attorney General) and head up the equivalent of major law firms across the country. The Trump Team is looking to shake up the Department of Justice and wants to have friendly faces in positions of prosecution and bringing charges. This is both wholly within the President’s authority and something Presidents routinely do when they come into office. President Obama asked for the resignations of all Bush nominees and replaced the majority of them. President Clinton fired 93 of 94 US Attorneys appointed by George H.W. Bush.
The primus inter pares of the US Attorneys is the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. This is the office that goes after Wall Street and tries terrorists, etc (sure, people will dispute this, but, it’s almost undeniable that SDNY carries the most clout). Enter Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for SDNY who refused to submit his letter of resignation and was, promptly, fired. Bharara, an Obama appointee, was thought to be in a safe position (at least for the time being) after he met with Trump after the election and was reassured that Trump wasn’t going to immediately come into office and begin cleaning house.
Bharara broke the news of the firing himself and took to Twitter to defend himself. This move, from a cynical standpoint, was actually fairly smart. If Bharara knew he was being forced out, why not create waves (a la Sally Yates) to raise his name identity and “street cred” with the Left? It makes a lot of sense if he wants to run for Mayor or, given that it looks like Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is going to run for President in 2020, Bharara may be lining up a bid for a run at Governor.
Don’t buy into the sensationalism that prosecutions are necessarily going to be curtailed in headless US Attorney’s Offices across the country. In the vast majority of cases, the US Attorney isn’t the one personally handling prosecutions. Likewise, the First Deputy in those offices assume the leadership role until the Senate confirms replacements. Also, let’s remember that the vast majority (vast, vast) of Federal prosecutors are competent, non-partisan lawyers who are putting away bad people on a daily basis. Sure, they probably have political views (who doesn’t these days?) but, they’re laser-focused on effectively doing their jobs. Reducing the firing story to being some kind of impediment to prosecution undermines the great work Assistant US Attorneys are doing across the country.
Sure, there are weather events taking place across the country any day of the week, but, when a severe weather event is set to impact major media markets in the Acela Corridor, you better believe it’s going to take precedence over most other news stories. Enter the March Blizzard of 2017. It looks like a Nor’Easter is taking aim at the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia to Maine with another low pressure system headed into the mix as well. This is shaping up for a major winter weather event at the tail end of the season.
The 2016-2017 winter has been almost completely devoid of snow events, at least around Maryland and the nation’s capital. There have been a few little clippers that have left a dusting of snow, but, for the most part, the winter has been a mild one. The amazing 70 degree days in February were particularly glorious.
Forecasting a chaotic system is fraught with uncertainty (and your humble writer is not a meteorologist). It looks like Baltimore is in for somewhere around 6-12 inches of snow before the system leaves the area to hit New York, Boston and New England far harder. However, knowing Baltimore weather, this could merely amount to some cold rain or two feet of snow (depending on where the snow-rain line is). Let’s just hope that this is the last gasp of winter, because most everyone around these parts is ready for spring.
Of course, there are more things going on in the world, but these should be enough to get your day started.