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The Shambling Mound's Seventh Week

It was an fascinating week watching the lurchings of the Shambling Mound, Lord Dampnut, with trajectories towards the ridiculous, the improbable, and the unfair dominating the headlines. Never one for shortage of content, Lord Dampnut continues to shake up the United States in a manner that leaves more level minds nonplussed (nota bene: this may mean the opposite to what you think it means - look it up).

Announced via Twitter (where else?) the President brought some weekend amusement by making the utterly baseless accusation that Obama had been wiretapping. This was actually a follow-on from claims the previous week when Obama was blamed by Lord Dampnut for protests against him, but apparently if you say something ridiculous you have to double-down. Or maybe not. Shortly after the director of the FBI suggested that the Justice Department should reject the claim, everything went very silent on the issue. Obviously, the Deep State is to blame.

The next major announcement of the week was Travel Ban 2.0. The two main differences between the first ban - struck down by the courts - and the new ban is that Iraq is no longer on the list of prohibited countries and people from the naughty countries list who already have valid visas are allowed entry. Naturally enough this new order will be subject to the same legal challenge as the last - thus the effort to push the idea it is "not really" a Muslim ban. Several states have launched legal challenges.

There was also the reverse Robin Hood of the replacement of the Affordable Care Act announced this week. The proposal has three main components; removing the requirement to purchase health insurance in favour of tax credits, phasing out Medicaid expansions, and allowing much aged-based flexibility for rates for insurance companies. If you are young and wealthy, you'll do well out the change; not so much if you're poor and old. The list of opponents, left and right, evidence-based and ideological, is growing.

Finally, as we know, in a reasonable administration the people appointed are public figures who have a degree of competence in the selected field. Illustrating his own deep knowledge of the subject, the new head of EPA, Scott Pruitt, came out with the interesting observation this week that : "Measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact... So no, I would not agree it's [carbon dioxide] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see". Sure, climate scientists might disagree but what do those eggheads know, right? They don't seem to realise that the laws of physics can be changed by ideology.

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