I’ve written entirely too much about the Jones Act this year, but like a bad penny, it just keeps turning up in the public discourse. Last time I addressed this subject, it was over an effort by the U.S. shipping industry actually expand this pernicious and archaic protectionist law, an effort that thankfully failed thanks to some last minute interventions by a few members of the Texas congressional delegation.
That was back in May. Now, here we are four months later and the Jones Act has once again become the subject of national media coverage, this time mainly because President Trump keeps having to suspend it in order to help save lives after major hurricane events have devastated the U.S. and its territories. That sentence alone should make any observer wonder: After all,
Before we get into that, let’s review what the Jones Act actually does. Fellow Forbes contributor Ted Loch-Temziledes, in an excellent piece on the Act, sums it up thusly:
The act regulates all maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. It requires that shipping of all goods transported between U.S. ports be carried out by ships under the U.S flag. The ships must be constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. Furthermore, the steel used in any foreign repair work on a Jones Act vessel must be less than ten percent of the ship’s total weight. Waivers are only possible on a temporary basis, in cases involving national defense, or other emergencies, such as hurricanes.
Read the Rest Here
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- So, President Trump did a snap-decision deal with San Fran Nan and Cryin’ Chuckie Schumer on the debt ceiling, the budget and a supplemental appropriation for FEMA on Wednesday, and Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are reportedly mad as hell about it. There is only one word for this, and that is…
- Think about it: You are the duly-elected President of the United States, a President who was elected to accomplish a very clear, specific set of goals on which you campaigned more tirelessly than any recent presidential candidate for 18 long months. Included in those goals are several major legislative items on which you know that pretty much every member of your own party’s congressional membership campaigned in favor of during the 2016 campaign, and it was on those issues that they all won their own elections.
- Given that reality, and given that your own political party won majorities in both houses of congress, your expectation coming into your presidency was that you would be able to get a lot of good things done working hand in glove with your own party’s congressional leaders. Cool, right?
- But you have now had eight months in office, and during that time, you have watched as your agenda – and what you had reasonably thought was also your party’s own agenda in congress – has been undermined time after time after time, not by the minority Democrats, but by the leaders in your own party.
- At first you thought the speaker and the majority leader were just incompetent boobs. How else to explain their consistent failures to coalesce their own memberships together to vote in favor of key legislation on which so many of them had themselves campaigned? How else to explain the speaker’s and majority leader’s refusal to arm-twist recalcitrant members by threatening to take away their committee chairmanships, a tactic that the leaders of the minority party had never been shy about using? How else to explain the inexcusable decision by the speaker and the majority leader to take the full month of August off after having achieved pretty much nothing of significance from January through July?
- But then, probably sometime during August, it hits you: They’re not incompetent, they’re completely disloyal. They aren’t failing to get anything done because they’re idiots, they’re failing to get anything done because they don’t want to get anything done.
- They, and most of their “establishment” caucus members, have no intention of keeping their campaign promises to repeal Obamacare, to enact major tax reform, to do a major infrastructure bill, to beef up funding for border security, or anything else. Those were empty promises made to voters they don’t respect, in the anticipation that your opponent would win the presidential contest. They actually looked forward to that outcome, because they consider it the best of all worlds: A win by your opponent would have enabled them to continue taking empty votes on major issues they really aren’t in favor of, and send their empty bills to an opposition POTUS, knowing they would be vetoed.
- This is the Kabuki Dance that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell love. It is their true core competency.
- And this is why Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are so angry today: Because the President’s deal with the Democrats denies them the opportunity to engage in their favored Kabuki Dance rituals over the debt ceiling and the budget. You know what I’m talking about – the Dance in which Ryan and McConnell get tons of TV face time, pretending to give a damn about the nation’s mounting debt problems, inevitably taking the nation to the precipice of a government shutdown, only to give in at the last minute when they extract a few billion dollars of meaningless spending cuts from the Democrats, cuts that will quietly be restored at a later date.
- They had their Kabuki steps all set, their choreography carefully coordinated, and they assumed they’d easily be able to sucker this President to just accede to their wishes and let them have their precious stage time when they went into Wednesday’s meeting in the Oval Office. After all, they consider this President to be a dope, just as he spent seven months assuming they were just incompetent boobs.
- Mitch McConnells’ ashen-faced press conference following Wednesday’s deal tells us everything we need to know: He realizes now that he has mis-judged Donald Trump, and that his bluff has been called. The days of the Kabuki Dance going un-remarked upon by a willing fellow dancer in the White House are gone.
- Donald Trump is not a dancer, he’s a doer. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan discovered on Wednesday that they can either decide to become doers as well, or become leaders of a minority party in congress after the 2018 elections. They can either start working honestly with the President or be relegated to the sidelines in crucial negotiations, because this President is not going to allow himself to be held hostage to partisan Kabuki Dances. The choice is entirely up to them.
Just another day in the political equation in Washington just shifted America.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- If you’ve been wondering how the fake news media would treat the Trump Administration’s response to the disaster that Hurricane Harvey is about to produce along the Texas coast, wonder no more, because the shameless sleaze balls who run Salon.com have already let the cat out of the bag. There will be no honest reporting, there will be no honest analysis, there will be no real information conveyed by the fake news media to Texas residents for whom information will be crucial in the coming days. The fake news media/Democrat Axis of Sedition narrative is set, and it will be one of ceaseless criticism of every action the President takes, every word out of his mouth, and yes, every tweet from his Twitter feed.
- At 3:08 Thursday afternoon, well before the most outer band of Hurricane Harvey had thought about making landfall, a fake journalist named Sophia Tesfaye posted a piece at Salon.com with a headline that would have never even been conceived during the Obama years, and would have waited until after Harvey had come and gone in any other presidential administration. But this is the Trump Administration, after all, and the media/Democrats/establishment Republicans are smack in the middle of executing a slow-moving coup d’etat, so why wait?
- “Trump Just Flunked His First Natural Disaster Test”, reads the blaring headline to Ms. Tesfaye’s piece. Yes, the test hadn’t even arrived, FEMA hadn’t even had a chance to spring into action, but already Donald Trump had “flunked”. Thank goodness I didn’t have to live up to Salon’s dictated fake timeline when I sat for the SAT back in 1974.
- So why, a reasonable person – none of which exist in the fake news media anymore – might ask, has President Trump already flunked a test that was yet to make landfall? Well, because, as Ms. Tesfay “reasons”, he issued a tweet that contained public service information on Thursday morning.
- The offending tweet reads as follows: “As #HurricaneHarvey intensifies – remember to #PlanAhead. #hurricanes.gov #ready.gov #fema.gov”. Doesn’t seem too offensive, does it? Given that tweets are limited to 140 characters, it also conveyed a good deal of useful information for people to follow up on. It was also accompanied by a short film that provided further information, but which Ms. Tesfaye falsely calls a “campaign commercial.”
- So how in the world do Ms. Tesfaye and her fellow seditionists at Salon reason that this single tweet means the Trump Administration has already utterly failed in its response to a hurricane that hadn’t yet made landfall? Let’s let Ms. Tesfaye’s own idiotic words speak for themselves: “According to the White House, Trump was briefed on the government’s hurricane preparation efforts earlier this month, but his campaign-style commercial — fitted with a dramatic soundtrack — failed to convey any of that information to worried residents in the storm’s path. His tweet did not include basic information, like who is in danger, how to be prepared or what the government is doing to prepare.”
- For crying out loud, you insufferable moron, it’s a freaking TWEET. You can’t convey everything everybody needs to know about how to prepare for a freaking hurricane in 140 freaking characters. Ok, deep breathing…deeeeep breathing….
- Ok, I’m back. Look, I’m not going to go on about this particular steaming pile of horse manure from Salon any further – it doesn’t really deserve the 550 words I’ve already written about it here. Just be aware that this piece is the canary in this particular coal mine. This piece contains the tone and sort of specious reasoning we can all expect to emanate over the next several days from similar fake reporters at CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, the WaPo, the NYTimes and probably most of the Texas news media as well. The narrative is already set, actual performance by Texas government officials – all of whom are hated Republicans – and the Trump Administration won’t matter.
- There will be no real, actual journalism going on here. There will only be the narrative. American journalism is a sick profession, and Ms. Tesfaye is merely a symptom.
Just another day in tiresome narratives America.
That is all.