Monday, July 31, 2017

Now playing in Washington: ‘The Unconscionables’

           Where does one begin?

Maybe with a sneeringly political speech – that part of it which was remotely coherent -- to captive Boy Scouts.

(Donald Trump gauged crowd size as a personal tribute. No, Sir. Big numbers can be anticipated at a national jamboree.)

Maybe with a cross-eyed game of darts in the Senate hoping something – anything -- would stick that would give Mitch McConnell, Trump, and Mr. Wallpaper, Mike Pence, a "win" on health care.

(Satirist Andy Borowitz pictured Ted Cruz, in tears, pledging, "The dream of keeping poor people from seeing a doctor must never die.")

Maybe with a tweet banning able-bodied, patriotic, dedicated, transgendered volunteers from our military.

(Trump: ". . .after consultation with my generals." Pentagon: sound of crickets.)

Maybe an admonition to a captive audience of police to "rough up" suspects.

(Trump got applause from some cops in attendance. Then police organizations called the suggestion absurd. In no way will they do their business the Trump way.)

At any other time, any of these would have been the most unconscionable, most venal thing someone had done in years in Washington.

(Sure, it was only a week – Hell Week for The Donald, capped by what some commentators dubbed "Failure Friday.")

But, no, it wasn't the most unconscionable thing. Indeed, you most likely have not heard yet.

The most indefensible action of the week comes with two tea party bills to cripple the Congressional Budget Office by eliminating the CBO's Budget Analysis Division.

Hmmm. What might have motivated this? Might it have been the truth-telling by CBO analysts about how many people would lose health coverage under Republican maneuvers intended to do just that?

Yes, that is what motivates the matter: facts. Or at least educated projections that might give some policymakers pause.

Republicans have assailed the CBO for not saying what they want it to hear. They say, for instance, that CBO projections about coverage under the Affordable Care Act were overly rosy, and projections about the Republican plans would be overly glum.

This is fascinating. What did congressional Republicans want but to "get gummint out of health care" and thereby yank peoples' health coverage? Right, Ted? Right, Mitch?

Even if the result of the "mean, mean, mean" House bill (thanks for the kind depiction, President Trump) were, say, 18 million fewer with health care instead of the CBO's 24 million, so what?

So you'd have a disaster in terms of human needs being abandoned.

The effort to drop the CBO off a pier in concrete ankle weights is just the latest effort to "neutralize the messenger" to justify insanity and institutionalize ignorance.

It's happening with the gag imposed on scientists who tell us what the evidence says about climate change.

The same is happening with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Some conservatives (including Trump) want to defund it because it doesn't deliver to them what "Fox and Friends" might in NPR's "Morning Edition."

And, of course, the same is happening with the news media -- you know, the "enemy."

The fact is that the Washington media have done an astounding job of bringing to the public astounding evidence of goings-on involving Team Collusion and the Russians.

Death by a thousand leaks? The way Trump has besmirched his office, undermined the institutions and treated the people under his watch, the precipitation has just begun.

Yes, blame the media. Blame the messengers. Blame them for what you can see with your own eyes.

In broad terms, not at all limited to the Bamboozler in Chief, we are witnessing the most incompetent, vicious – and -- this is important -- ineffective brand of governing ever foisted upon this nation.

At the soonest opportunity, America must pull the plug on "The Unconscionables."

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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