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Times That Try Men’s Souls

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I recently wrote a piece on the exhaustion I feel trying to keep up with the Trump administration.  As I wrote, there seems to be a new development, or crisis, by the hour.  All of this in the first seven months before this President has really faced any unforeseen challenges.  Events which all President’s ultimately deal with, will arise.  We may be on the cusp of finding out how President Trump will react.  Granted, much of this is his own doing, but if the first half of the year is any indication, the second half could be a wild ride.  Here are my hot takes.

Obamacare

“Obamacare will be repealed.”  “Repeal and Replace.”  “Maybe just trim it up around the edges?”  “Congress can’t get it done, so we’ll just let it implode.”  “Yeah, we didn’t really mean we could get rid of it, for the last 7 years.”

I’m not sure there’s really any more to add here.  Nothing is getting done.  Premiums will continue to rise and the economy will suffer.

Tax Reform

This talking point lasted about two days.  I highly doubt this republican congress has the stomach to make any meaningful reforms.  Something will pass, but it will more than likely just be a shell game.  Like it or not, it’s getting to be election season all over again.  Get ready for a lot more talk and no action.

Infrastructure

Likewise, this theme week lasted about fifteen minutes.  Mostly due to the President’s own actions.  I’m no fan of any huge spending package.  I’m pretty sure Obama did this one and it only led to close to a trillion dollars in new debt.

DACA

He campaigned on the wall, enforcement and ending DACA.  Enforcement has been pretty good.  I’ve got more bricks in my yard than the new “wall”.  And, Trump will end DACA, or give Congress six months to do something about it.  For all the outrage, for the time being, nothing has actually been done.

Foreign Affairs

This is the area I consider the most concerning and most likely to throw the administration into a tail spin.  The two big topics here are North Korea and the Middle East.  I’ll take them in turn.

First the Middle East.  After campaigning to get out of unnecessary wars, Trump is sending more troops to Afghanistan and is doing “stuff” in Syria.  His cabinet officials tend to contradict him on foreign policy, almost daily.  He calls Qatar a terrorist state, then we sell them military equipment.  We will negotiate with “moderate” Taliban, while also killing them.  These are just a few examples.  Your guess is as good as mine.

Then there’s North Korea.  There was a lot of talk of “fire and fury”.  He took a new approach and I can appreciate that.  Then North Korea threatens Guam, fires a ICBM over Japan, and over the weekend detonated a nuke.  So, yeah, that just happened.

The 2nd Half

The first half, of the first year, of the first term of team Trump has been interesting to say the least.  The President has governed just as he campaigned.  There is no indication he is in any mood to change.  Most of the domestic problems this administration has faced, thus far, are self-inflicted wounds.  That will most certainly change when the next economic crisis emerges.  We seem poised for a correction in the market.

I believe our adversaries are still taking a wait-and-see approach on Trump.  After all, it’s only been seven months.  How the President deals with North Korea will most likely set the tone for what threats we face for the remainder of this administration.  That could be good, or that could be bad.

So, how will it all turn out?  I don’t know.  Your guess is as good as mine.

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Conspiracy Theory

Many Democrats support Mueller investigation without knowing what it’s about

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“Trump stole the election!”

Two years and two elections ago, something happened that has Democrats scratching their heads even today. Hillary Clinton lost. She wasn’t supposed to lose. She was cheated some way, somehow.

This is what they hope to be proven by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 elections. The problem is a majority of Democrats think the Russians did something that Mueller’s team isn’t even investigating because there’s absolutely no hint of a possibility that it could be true.

67% of Democrats believe “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”

Let that sink in.

Robert Mueller Poll

If you believe Russia attempted to influence the elections by using social media and other venues to spread anti-Hillary rhetoric, you’re almost certainly correct. In fact, the Mueller investigation has assumed that to be true from the beginning. The question isn’t whether or not Russia tried to influence the elections in this way. It’s whether or not Americans helped them, in particular members of the Trump campaign.

What’s not being considered is whether or not Russia tampered with vote tallies. They did not. It’s not even a consideration in Mueller’s investigation, yet two-thirds of Democrats believe it to be true.

67% of Democrats can’t wait for Mueller to prove their theories correct even though he isn’t even investigating vote tally tampering at all. It’s reminiscent of the days after Obamacare was launched when Democrats asked, “Wait, it’s not free?”

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President Trump expresses extreme discontent with Russian investigation

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President Trump expresses extreme discontent with Russian investigation

Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 election has struck nerves in President Trump off and on for a year. The last couple of days, those nerves have been tweaked to the point that the President is lashing out harder than he ever has before.

Has anything changed? Is this a release of pent up agitation he didn’t want to voice before the midterm elections? Is Mueller getting closer to finding something? At this point, we really have no idea. All we know for sure is the President isn’t happy and even Fox News panelists are starting to scratch their heads.

Is this investigation a farce? Probably. Is it helping the President to lash out on Twitter? Probably not. The only resolution will come when the Mueller investigation wraps up and the President can Tweet his vindication all the way to reelection in 2020.

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Entertainment and Sports

Hat is back: Miles signs 5-year contract to coach Kansas

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Hat is back Miles signs 5-year contract to coach Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Les Miles is headed back to the Big 12 and another massive rebuilding job, this time taking on the downtrodden program at Kansas in a splashy hire aimed at energizing a weary fan base.

The deal was finalized shortly before Miles arrived at the airport in nearby Topeka on Sunday. Miles signed a five-year contract that will pay him $2,775,000 annually with retention bonuses of $775,000 due in November 2020 and $500,000 in November 2022.

“Since the beginning of our search, we focused on identifying and recruiting an experienced head coach with a track record of success on and off the field,” Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. “Les Miles is exactly what we need right now.”

Miles was considered the front-runner for the Jayhawks’ job from the moment David Beaty was told he would not be retained two weeks ago. The 65-year-old Miles has a close relationship with Long dating to their days together at Michigan, and Miles had told those around him he wanted back in coaching.

Miles and Long had been in frequent contact over the past two weeks, and it became clear a deal was close when LSU announced Thursday it had agreed to a buyout with its former coach. Miles agreed to a lump sum of $1.5 million of the remaining $6.5 million he was owed under terms of his buyout.

The school has planned an introductory news conference for later Sunday.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the KU football program and I am grateful for Chancellor (Doug) Girod and Jeff Long for the opportunity,” Miles said. “We will bring Jayhawk Football back and we will do it with outstanding coaches, tremendous student-athletes of character and ability and un unrelenting drive for excellence. My family and I cannot wait to be part of the KU family.”

The quirky Miles has been out of coaching since 2016, when he was fired by LSU after a 2-2 start. His support among Tiger fans had waned considerably in a span of just a few years, even though Miles won at least 10 games in seven of his 11 full seasons, twice reached the national title game and beat Ohio State for the 2007 championship. He went 114-34 at LSU.

The most vocal critics argued that Miles had been unable to keep up with the times, sticking to an unexciting and often-stagnant attack during college football’s offensive explosion.

Miles had inherited a winner when he was chosen by LSU to succeed Nick Saban in 2005, but he had proven with Oklahoma State that he could also build a program from scratch.

The Cowboys had just one winning season in 12 years before Miles, their program in similar shape to the Jayhawks. But the longtime college and pro assistant thrived in his first head job, finding some overlooked prospects, developing them and eventually reaching three straight bowl games. He was 28-21 at Oklahoma State.

“I have no doubt that Coach Miles will have an immediate impact on our football program and our university,” Girod said. “Together as Jayhawks, we will rebuild our football program the right way, winning championships and continuing to graduate young men of character.”

The Jayhawks haven’t had a winning season or reached a bowl game since 2008, the year before Mark Mangino was forced to resign under pressure. Turner Gill won five games over two seasons before getting fired, and Charlie Weis managed six wins in two-plus seasons before he was let go.

By that point, the program had become the laughingstock of the Big 12.

The Jayhawks were woefully short on scholarship players, their facilities were decrepit, their fanbase had grown apathetic and the even the administration seemed to have little interest in supporting football. Beaty’s contract lagged far behind his peers financially, and there was little money at his disposal for hiring assistant coaches and other administrators.

Long has promised to rectify those issues, even announcing that a $300 million renovation to aging Memorial Stadium had been put on the backburner while money was invested in the program itself.

The first and most important investment came in the head coach.

Miles would earn $15.125 million by fulfilling his five-year contract. He also can earn a series of incentives: $1 million for reaching the national title game; $350,000 for a playoff semifinal; $100,000 for a New Year’s Six game; $100,000 for making the Big 12 title game; and $75,000 for any other bowl game. Miles also can earn $50,000 each for being the Big 12 and national coach of the year, $15,000 for having a Broyles Award-winning assistant, and up to $50,000 for the team’s GPA.

His contract also includes a one-year, one-time rollover extension that is triggered by winning six games in a season, and benefits such as a country club membership and moving expenses.

The Jayhawks, who lost to sixth-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday to leave Beaty with a 6-31 record in three-plus seasons, will finish out their year under their former coach Friday against Texas.

___

More AP college football.

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