Inquiry into abuse in state care

For a long time abuses of children in state care has been a serious and unresolved problem.

As promised by Labour (Taking action in our first 100 days), the Government has launched an overdue inquiry into these abuses.


Inquiry into abuse in state care

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state care has been announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin today.

“We have a huge responsibility to look after everyone, particularly our children in state care. Any abuse of children is a tragedy, and for those most vulnerable children in state care, it is unconscionable.

“Today we are sending the strongest possible signal about how seriously we see this issue by setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“This is a chance to confront our history and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again. It is a significant step towards acknowledging and learning from the experiences of those who have been abused in state care”.

A Royal Commission is a form of public inquiry. It has the same legal powers as other public inquiries, but is generally reserved for the most serious issues of public importance.

Former Governor-General, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, will chair the Royal Commission.

“The independence and integrity of the inquiry and the process it follows are critical and Sir Anand has the mana, skills and experience necessary to lead this work. The process will be responsive to the needs of victims and survivors and support them to tell their stories,” says Jacinda Ardern.

Minister Martin said that the draft terms of reference approved by Cabinet task the Royal Commission with looking into what abuse happened in state care, why it happened and what the impacts were, particularly for Māori. They also ask the Commission to identify lessons that can be learned from this abuse today.

“We have set a wide scope. The time period covered is the 50 years from 1950 to the end of 1999 and, unlike some similar overseas inquiries, the Royal Commission will take a broad view of abuse and consider physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect,” says Minister Martin.

The ‘state care’ definition covers circumstances where the state directly ran institutions such as child welfare institutions, borstals or psychiatric hospitals, and where the government contracted services out to other institutions.

“We know this is an issue that has affected not only people who were abused in state care, but their families, whānau and wider communities too. It is therefore crucial that members of the public, including victims and survivors, have a chance to have their say,” Minister Martin says.

The Minister said that Sir Anand’s first task was to consult on the draft terms of reference for the Royal Commission. “We want people to have their say before we even start.”

The draft terms of reference provide for the Inquiry to provide its final report within the current Parliamentary term and a process for agreeing to any extensions to reporting deadlines if needed. They also authorise the Inquiry to make interim findings or recommendations and consider ways of working that will ensure public understanding of its work.

Following the consultation period, Cabinet will make a final decision on the terms of reference, the additional Inquiry members and the final budget for the Inquiry.

The Inquiry, which is formally established today, will start considering evidence once the terms of reference are finalised and published.

For the Inquiry: royalcommission.statecare@dia.govt.nz

More information can be found athttp://www.dia.govt.nz/Royal-Commission-into-Historical-Abuse-in-State-Care

 

What’s in Labour’s Medical Cannabis bill?

Labour promised to something about medical cannabis in Taking action in our first 100 days:

  • Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain

And there is also the promises to Labour stalwart Helen Kelly to honour as well, after she openly admitted using cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of the cancer as she died.

Medical Cannabis New Zealand worries about ” “a sense of dread in the patient community that Labour’s bill will be more tinkering around the edges”:


What’s in Labour’s Medical Cannabis bill?

With the looming introduction of a bill by Labour for Medical Cannabis, the patient community is sceptical, and bordering on pre-emptively hostile due to the lack of consultation, and the comments from Jacinda Ardern about pharmaceutical grade Cannabis Based Products. Considering the lack of information coming out, we wish to publish our bottom line positions. These positions were promulgated to David Clark and other MPs with Health portfolios pre election, and represent what we feel is the minimum that needs to be done to drastically improve health and legal outcomes for patients.

“There is a sense of dread in the patient community that Labour’s bill will be more tinkering around the edges”.

“While I am pessimistic, we hope that a majority of our redlines are met, and that there is an engagement and commitment toundertake further reform, particularly around licensed production, which doesn’t lend itself easily to the hundred day fix”.

“It is concerning also that there has been zero consultation with the patient community on the bill being put forward, and that any briefings or BIMs David Clark has had on this topic are being refused release”.

“To enable something rapid for patients, the only affordable option is home growing, despite this being undesirable from a medical perspective, any imported products are still going to be unobtainable by the patients who need them most, sickness beneficiaries and ACC Claimants.” Says MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun.

MCANZ Redlines

  • Medical necessity must be a legal defence. Due to the postcode lottery of medical specialists, a legal defence needs to be in place for those stuck in the backwaters or with backwards-thinking doctors. This would force police to more carefully consider the public interest. The police have demonstrated a fixation on cultivation and are prosecuting patients with severe medical needs, an amendment to the crimes act to include this defence is needed.
  • A non-smoking provision. In the age of the portable vaporizer, there is absolutely no need to smoke cannabis, and no one should. Any Politician citing excuses around smoking being bad for health should be soundly ignored, as no one is credibly arguing to smoke a medicine, This is already in line with the theoretical acceptability of Bedrocan, a standardized, granulated raw cannabis product, which MOH officials have said would be covered under the smoke free laws anyway.
  • GPs to prescribe. Schedule 22 of the current Misuse of Drugs Act needs changing so that all cannabis-based products can be prescribedby GPs. THC has a far better safety profile than other GP prescribed options such as Fentanyl, Diazepam, Methadone etc. This would also greatly reduces the barrier to access for patients, and would allow Cannabis to be prescribed as freely as Medicinal Cocaine. (theoretical, it’s on the books but no one prescribes it).
  • Notifiable prescribing. Instead of seeking Ministry approval to use Medical Cannabis, GPs should have a simple form to notify MOH of the prescribing, so MOH can gather data and look for unusual prescribing patterns. There is potential for this to become a survey of sorts and become part of the clinical data going forward – if there are several N=1 trials for a condition such as fibromyalgia for instance, the collective data may be used to measure benefit and even go as far as findings published in a medical journal article.
  • Made in NZ. It is important that the law is changed to allow Medical Cannabis to be grown for commercialized product. Our current law requires trials and facilities that could end up costing well over $20 million, for no ability to sell a finished, trialled product. Cultivation for trials has been legal since 1977 – yet it would be commercial suicide to undertake it in New Zealand.
  • A concerted medical education campaign. Many doctors are poorly informed when they talk to their patients about the benefits versus risks, and some try to avoid even prescribing Sativex to the point of misinforming the public. Even former NZMA chair Stephen Childs has made inaccurate statements on TV about the purity of the Botanically Derived Solution (BDS) that goes into Sativex. We note that the UICbranded symposiums held in Australia every year are hugely successful in bringing world-leading experts on Medical Cannabis to speak and generate conversation, piggy-backing off those efforts and mirroring that in New Zealand would go some way to addressing the barriers posed by senior Medical Staff.

– Shane le Brun, MZANZ Coordinator

The 100 day reckless mistake

Any new Government will need time to find their feet, get their offices organised, and get adequately staffed. Likewise incoming Ministers, who will need time to get properly informed about their portfolios. The Government and especially the Minister of Finance needs to take proper stock of the books and properly evaluate the costs of any proposed policy changes.

This is especially the case when the Prime Minister was recently and suddenly elevated to leadership of their party, has never been an MP in Government before, most of her Cabinet has never been in Government before and one of the Government parties has never been in Government before.

It may have seemed like a good campaign trick, but promising a very ambitious policy programme to be implemented within the first 100 days in office, with many of those days being a holiday shut down period in Parliament, has put a lot of pressure on an already hard pressed administration.

Labour’s commitment: Taking action in our first 100 days

Labour will hit the ground running in government, with a programme of work across housing, health, education, families, the environment and other priority areas.

  • Make the first year of tertiary education or training fees free from January 1, 2018.
  • Increase student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week from January 1, 2018.
  • Pass the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, requiring all rentals to be warm and dry
  • Ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses
  • Issue an instruction to Housing New Zealand to stop the state house sell-off
  • Begin work to establish the Affordable Housing Authority and begin the KiwiBuild programme
  • Legislate to pass the Families Package, including the Winter Fuel Payment, Best Start and increases to Paid Parental Leave, to take effect from 1 July 2018
  • Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis
  • Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain
  • Resume contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65
  • Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target and to change the Public Finance Act so the Budget reports progress on reducing child poverty
  • Increase the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour, to take effect from 1 April 2018, and introduce legislation to improve fairness in the workplace.
  • Establish the Tax Working Group
  • Establish the Pike River Recovery Agency and assign a responsible Minister
  • Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care
  • Hold a Clean Waters Summit on cleaning up our rivers and lakes
  • Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission

This 100 day plan was released as part of Labour’s policy during the 2017 election campaign.

On top of that a number of enthusiastic Ministers have been trying to push their own pet projects.

It isn’t surprising that the Government is showing increasing signs of struggling to cope.

And there’s a real risk of stuffing things up in the rush. Gezza posted this yesterday:

I don’t conveniently forget anything. I’ve worked in departments thru complete Administration between National & Labour numerous times. Every seismic shift between right & left brings in a bunch of newbie Ministers & those who don’t know how the normal, legitimate processes of government work quickly learn from the BIM onwards with their departments that policies signalled by Opposition parties during campaigning which require significant resource use or change to systems & legislative can rarely be rushed into effect without being first worked through thoroughly – for practical reasons – to identify & minimise risks of adverse consequences (fuck ups that will hit the media & embarrass) the Minister & government) not apparent in Opposition because they don’t know the operational details, exactly what work is required, how long it takes to develop and operationalise the policy (contractors did all our IT system changes – that requires design, testing, debugging, sorting out inevitable conflicts within complex IT structures etc).

I’ll just ignore the rest. It’s irrelevant to my point. I don’t give a toss which administration is in power. They all run the risk of screw ups if they pressure departments to rush things. These matters are drawn to their attention. They have to be. The convention of Ministers taking responsibility when their departments gets something wrong (especially when they disregarded advice) disappeared with the Douglas administration & so it is necessary for these matters to be raised & recorded more than ever as Ministers nowadays default to blaming their departments.

Labour is bound to have no hopers in their Cabinet lineup. Every government does. For me it’s a test of how good the PM is at the job how quickly they move them out & replace them with a good Minister.

That’s a big enough challenge with any new administration, but it has been made more difficult with the self imposed 100 day rush.

On a number of policies not in the 100 day list Ministers have been fobbing off, saying details would be sorted out and advised ‘in due course’. That’s ok for some things, but keeping a handle on the policy costs and their implications for overall finances is a real concern.

What may have sounded decisive during the election campaign looks like a mistake, and is at real risk of being reckless.

Inquiry into abuse of children in state care

The Labour Party has made a commitment to set up an inquiry into the historic abuse of children in state care, something National had refused to do when in government.

Labour Party:  Taking action in our first 100 days

Labour will hit the ground running in government, with a programme of work across housing, health, education, families, the environment and other priority areas.

  • Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care

In February this year an open letter called for an inquiry:  Prominent Kiwis call for independent inquiry into claims of abuse of children in state care

Prominent Kiwis have banded together to demand an independent inquiry into the claims of sexual and physical abuse of children in state care.

The Human Rights Commission has spearheaded an open letter to the Government, published in today’s Herald, calling for a comprehensive inquiry and a public apology to those who were abused, and their families, in what is described as a dark chapter of our history.

Among the 29 signatories of what now underpins the “Never Again” petition to the Government are Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner and former National MP Jackie Blue, former Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements, and the Otago University dean of law, Professor Mark Henaghan.

The background to their call is:

• In 2001 the Government issued an apology and compensation to a group of former patients of the former Lake Alice psychiatric hospital, after a report by a retired judge who had interviewed them and found their claims credible.

• The issue spread to former patients of other asylums and the Government set up a confidential listening service for them to speak of the abuse they had suffered.

• Former state wards made claims for abuse in state care and a listening service was created for them.

• The head of that service, Judge Carolyn Henwood, recommended creating an independent body to resolve historic and current complaints.

• The Government last year rejected that recommendation.

Greens supported this letter and an inquiry: Greens support call for inquiry into state care

The Green Party backs today’s open letter from the Human Rights Commission and others calling for a government inquiry into the abuse of children in state care, and for a formal apology to be made to the victims.

“There is a growing list of organisations and people who are calling for a government inquiry into the abuse of children in the state’s care. It seems everyone but the Government realises that an inquiry and a formal apology are essential to helping the victims find some sense of closure, and to ensure that children in state care now and in the future are protected from abuse,” said Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie.

“The prominent New Zealanders signing this letter today have seen the effects and heard the evidence about the abuse of children in state care, and because of that they are calling for an inquiry and apology.

“Not every child in state care suffered abuse, but the fact that so many did means that it is crucial that there is accountability from the system that perpetrated this abuse.

NZ First MP Tracey Martin is now Minister for Children and was interviewed about an inquiry in the weekend – The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Tracey Martin


Lisa Owen: Now, the new government’s committed to an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. The move’s been welcomed, but there are few details that have been released so far. So how will it all work? We’re joined now by the new Minister for Children, New Zealand First’s Tracey Martin. Good morning, Minister.

So, the inquiry — what are you thinking? Will it have the power to compel witnesses?

Tracey Martin: And all of these details, unfortunately, are still to be worked through. So I’ve had two meetings with officials to clarify what are our options, what sort of inquiry will it be, will it have those sort of powers, who will we consult before we even scope out the cabinet paper, for example, to take it to cabinet. So at this stage, I can’t answer that question 100%.

Lisa Owen: It’s on your 100 day plan.

Tracey Martin: It’s on the Labour Party’s 100 day plan that this government will deliver, yes.

Lisa Owen: Yeah, and so you’re part of that.

Tracey Martin: Yes, we are.

Lisa Owen: So in terms of that, you’re running out of time to come up with these answers, so what are you thinking, though? If not having a solid idea, do you think it would be the best-case scenario to be able to compel witnesses?

Tracey Martin: It’s not something that I’ve traversed at the moment with the officials. The major priority that we had was actually around making sure that within the 100 days, so the 4th of February is the close-off date — 3rd, 4th of February is the close-off date that we’re talking about — that we will have in place a basis for an inquiry that will provide an opportunity for those who have been victims to come forward with comfort to be able to express their truth, to be able to be validated in that truth and to feel that they have received the justice and the validation that they need. So those are the things that have been the driving part of the conversations at this stage.

Lisa Owen: Okay, because the brief is to get it set up in the 100 days.

Tracey Martin: Yes, that’s right.

Lisa Owen: So will the inquiry have the scope to attribute blame?

Tracey Martin: Well, it’s one of those things. If you look at the Never Again campaign, that was never a driver. It wasn’t about finding somebody or something to hang some guilt on. It was about making sure that the truth was told, that we bravely face actions that took place in this country that harmed individuals and that those individuals received an apology.

Lisa Owen: But the victims want truth and accountability, so will there be accountability through this inquiry?

Tracey Martin: I guess what I’m driving at is basically saying that if you put out the truth, there are going to have to be recognition by the state that this is what happened to these people and they were under the care of the state at that time. If you’re asking me are there going to be people that are then going to be charged or held accountable through the justice system, I can’t make that statement, because I’m not in charge of the justice system.

Lisa Owen: What period will the inquiry investigate?

Tracey Martin: Well, at this stage, that’s part of the scoping that’s being done, and I don’t want to actually pre-empt that. There are at least 20 organisations that the officials are now talking to before we take a proposed scope to cabinet.

Lisa Owen: So you mentioned an apology. There will definitely be a formal apology from the government?

Tracey Martin: Again, I can’t make that commitment on behalf of the government. I can tell you where I’m coming from.

Lisa Owen: Yeah, tell me where you’re coming from.

Tracey Martin: So, where I’m coming from is if we stand in our truth and we bravely say, ‘This is the reality that happened to these New Zealanders under the care of the state,’ then the state has a responsibility to acknowledge that, to own it and therefore there should be an apology. But I don’t speak on behalf of the whole government. That has to go to cabinet.

Lisa Owen: Who do you think would be the appropriate person to make that apology, then?

Tracey Martin: I don’t know. I had this question asked of me on Te Karere as well. I don’t know. Because I’ve been in the job two weeks, let’s be clear. I don’t know whether it would be appropriate for a minister at my level, whether it should come from the Prime Minister, whether it should even be bigger than that.

Lisa Owen: What’s your gut feeling? Should it be the Prime Minister?

Tracey Martin: I think if we’re going to take responsibility for what is actually going to come out in this inquiry, and we have a very clear idea of the sort of the incidents that are going to be exposed, then it’s a very, very serious— it’s very serious acts that have taken place here, and I think it needs to be dealt with at the highest level.

Lisa Owen: So Prime Minister, then, in your view. So do you think that you will set up some kind of independent authority, a permanent independent authority, like the IPCA, to monitor treatment of kids in care and the actions of the ministry? Is that something you would like to see?

Tracey Martin: Yes, I think there is a need for that. I think it’s that transparency that we’re hoping to actually— Part of what Oranga Tamariki, the reason why it was set up by the previous government and part of the direction of travel it’s in now is to make sure that we are more transparent, that we are working more closely with our communities, that the voice of children is heard more often. And so an independent body whereby complaints can be taken, I think, would be a really good and transparent thing. It would help both the ministry and our children.

Lisa Owen: How much will is there to do that?

Tracey Martin: I think there’s quite strong will to do that.

Lisa Owen: So you’re quite confident you can get that over the line?

Tracey Martin: I think— Well, I’m fairly confident about my argumentative skills, so I believe that it would be in the best interest of children.

Lisa Owen: So Labour supports it, basically, is what I’m asking.

Tracey Martin: At this stage, again, I haven’t taken it to cabinet, but I believe the will is there to actually say there needs to be this level of transparency.

 

Labour’s 100 day challenge

During the election campaign Jacinda Ardern committed to these 10 priorities in the first 100 days of a Labour government:

  • Make the first year of tertiary education or training fees free and increase student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week from January 1, 2018
  • Pass the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill so renters could live in warm, dry homes
  • Ban overseas speculators from buying existing residential properties
  • Stop the sale of state houses
  • Legislate to pass the Families Package, including the Winter Fuel Payment, Best Start and increases to Paid Parental Leave, to take effect from 1 July 2018.
  • Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target and change the Public Finance Act so the Budget reports progress on reducing child poverty
  • Resume contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund
  • Set up ministerial inquiries into mental health and abuse in state care
  • Hold a Clean Waterways Summit
  • Increase the minimum wage from the current $15.75/hour by 4.8 percent to $16.50/hour from 1 April 2018.

Labour also said it would begin work to set up an Affordable Housing Authority and begin the Kiwibuild programme, establish the Tax Working Group, establish a Pike River Recovery Agency, set a zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission.

This will all depend on whether Labour leads the next Government, and will be subject to what policies are ruled out in any coalition or governing agreements.

One of these at least is in tune with a Green 100 day pledge:

The Green Party announced today it will seek to pass binding climate change legislation in the first 100 days in Government.

If a Labour-NZ First-Green government takes over this will be a challenging target.

They will need to set up a legislative programme.

It will take time for a new Government to settle in and for new Ministers to take over their portfolios.

Anything requiring legalisation will first need to be agreed on by all three parties, legislation will need to be written, and then will need to go through the normal stages of Parliament…

…unless it is passed under urgency, so it can obviously take some time. Six months is often allowed for the select committee/consultation stage.

It looks like a new government will take over mid to late October at the earliest.

A lot of new legislation for an incoming government in 100 days will be a challenge – especially when for half of that time Parliament will be in recess for the summer break.

A Labour policy notably absent from their 100 day list is legislation that would be needed to increase income tax, as there is already legislation in place to reduce income tax for everyone.

This is likely to be essential to pay for the policies negotiated between them and NZ First and the Greens. This week Jacinda Ardern re-committed to Labour’s fiscal plan:

Our policies will see major investments in housing, health, education, police, and infrastructure, while creating more jobs and lifting the incomes of families. These investments will be made while running surpluses and paying down debt.

Of course the ‘running surpluses’ pledge may be discarded in coalition negotiations with NZ First and the Greens.

Trump praises his first 100 days

In typical fashion Donald Trump praised his first 100 days as president.

President Trump: In my first 100 days, I kept my promise to Americans

One hundred days ago, I took the oath of office and made a pledge: We are not merely going to transfer political power from one party to another, but instead are going to transfer that power from Washington, D.C., and give it back to the people.

In the past 100 days, I have kept that promise — and more.

Issue by issue, department by department, we are giving the people their country back. After decades of a shrinking middle class, open borders and the mass offshoring of American jobs and wealth, this government is working for the citizens of our country and no one else.

The same establishment media that concealed these problems — and profited from them — is obviously not going to tell this story. That is why we are taking our message directly to America.

He details all the things he has achieved and concludes:

The White House is once again the People’s House. And I will do everything in my power to be the People’s President — to faithfully, loyally and proudly champion the incredible citizens who love this nation and who call this God-blessed land their home.

But he has also complained about how hard it is to get things done

And not everyone sees his successes ahead of his difficulties.

 

One thing Trump seems to desperately succeed at is popularity, and he has a way to go there, and this sort of thing will grate:

He continues to blame the media:

At PA Rally, Trump Says Media Deserves “Big, Fat Failing Grade”

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from the Washington swamp spending my evening with all of you and with a much larger crowd and much better people,” he added.

Trump touted his record while slamming reporters as “incompetent, dishonest people.” He said the press should also be judged for its performance in the past 100 days.

“If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth, then I think we would all agree the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade,” he said.

But a majority of Americans still seem to be unimpressed.

RCP Average President Trump Job Approval:

RCPApproval2017-04-30

That is likely to be the pollsters fault of course.

The missile/bomb bounce has largely levelled off at a significant deficit. Trump has a lot to prove yet, to a lot of people.

100 days of President Trump

There’s a lot being said about the first 100 days of President Trump. Trump himself says what he has achieved is not important, except for the things he has achieved and the publicity he can get about marking the a00 day inchstone.

It’s early days for the most inexperienced president with the most inexperienced administration for a long time.

His base seems to be still happy and forgiving, but he has lost some support and he has the lowest approval levels for a president at this stage of his tenure.

AOL: ‘Get off of Twitter’: As Trump nears day 100, some stirrings of discontent

Some of his supporters fret that President Donald Trump is backing himself into a corner with promises that can’t be kept. Others lament he is not pulling America from international conflicts as he vowed – or say he should “get off of Twitter.”

What reporters found this time in more than two dozen interviews is that Trump voters are largely standing with their man but with signs of restlessness, mainly over foreign policy, concerns over getting legislation through Congress and some skepticism that he won’t be able to follow through with promises – from building a wall along the Mexican border to repealing Obama’s signature healthcare law.

But rather than bash Trump, many largely blamed Democrats and Republicans alike, a fractured Congress, the federal judiciary, and what they see as a hostile news media.

Taking Trump’s lead perhaps they blame everyone else.

They showed a willingness to trust the president almost implicitly, saw him as a tireless worker, and appreciated his efforts to secure the border and curb immigration.

I don’t know where they see him as a tireless worker.

An analysis of Reuters/Ipsos polling data shows slippage in Trump’s approval ratings, with lower enthusiasm among white men without a college degree, the core of his political base.

In comparing Trump’s approval rating in the first 20 days of his tenure to a 20-day period in April, Reuters also found a rise in disapproval among independents, college-educated adults, people with below-average incomes, white women and white Millennials.

The RCP job approval average: 43.1% approve, 51.9% disapprove.

In a statement touting Trump’s record in the first 100 days, the White House highlighted, among other things, his attempts to streamline government by proposing a lean budget, and his aggressiveness in foreign affairs, particularly with regard to challenging Russia and Iran.

Trump: “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days”.

Politifact: Seven whoppers from Trump’s first 100 days

  1. “Terrorism and terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have “gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” Feb. 6
  2. “I didn’t know Steve (Bannon),” April 11
  3. “109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers” were affected by the immigration executive order, Feb. 5
  4. Says “the New York Times wrote about” Barack Obama wiretapping Donald Trump during the election,  March 15
  5. “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.” March 20
  6. “The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!”, April 18
  7. “The National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion,” Feb. 25

Supporters seem to believe him regardless, or don’t care when he states ‘alternative facts’.

The Weekend Australian: Donald Trump is growing into his power role

For US President Donald Trump, arriving at the first milestone of his young presidency, old habits have died hard.

Determined to bend the institution of the presidency to fit his own improvisational style, Mr Trump’s Oval Office routine isn’t materially different from how he operated for years on the 26th floor of Trump Tower: He continues to work the phones and watch hours of television every day. He has also refused to give up tweeting for himself from his own ­mobile phone.

But Mr Trump’s increasing focus on his first 100 days as an important measuring stick has compelled him to accept some of the intractable realities in Washington and the world. Officials close to the President say in recent weeks he has corrected course after acknowledging a slow transition from campaign mode.

At the same time, Mr Trump has spent the days leading up to his 100th day in office racing to fulfil campaign promises, signalling he may withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, trying to coax congress into a new healthcare deal, and rolling out the broad outlines of what would be a massive tax-cut undertaking.

On Monday, press secretary Sean Spicer called Mr Trump’s first 100 days a success because he has set a course for future action. “Think about what he started — he’ll move forward on tax reform, healthcare, on immigration, on trade. It’s been a hugely successful 100 days,” Mr Spicer said.

Mr Trump does have one unquestionable, lasting accomplishment: the nomination of new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a 49-year-old conservative likely to maintain his place on the bench for several decades.

Fox News: Sen. David Perdue: Donald Trump, 100 days and the art of the turnaround

Turnarounds are messy. Turnarounds take time. Turnarounds often break some eggs in the early stages, but a successful turnaround starts with a serious change in direction.

President Trump immediately signified that change when he nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.

That was one of the few things Trump didn’t turn around on.

President Trump signaled his willingness to significantly restructure and cut down the size of the federal government. He directed all federal agencies to identify and root out waste. He’s taken action to review overreaching federal rules – like the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. and Clean Power Plan – that are holding back our economy.

Additionally, Congress has embarked on the boldest rollback of federal regulations since Ronald Reagan by passing thirteen pieces of legislation dismantling the current regulatory regime.

In a successful turnaround, you have to be willing to adapt to any unforeseen challenges. President Trump has done so when it comes to making major policy changes to our health care system and changing our archaic tax code to provide middle-class relief and boost our competitiveness with the rest of the world.

The challenges of dumping Obamacare shouldn’t have been unforeseen, but Trump has said that that, like the presidency, was much harder than he anticipated.

Largely as a result of these efforts, we’re seeing the early signs of a potential economic turnaround. Job one is to grow the economy and create jobs, and there are clear signs that we are moving in the right direction.

Equally important, America is re-engaging with our allies and others globally.

International engagement has been very uneven.

The reality is President Trump’s early success is a direct result of his refusal to conform to Washington as we know it.

From what I’ve witnessed personally, President Trump is a thoughtful leader. He brings diverse stakeholders to the table and drives consensus. He outlines a clear mission and moves at a business pace, not a bureaucratic pace.

That’s highly debatable.

Real Clear Politics: After 100 Days, These Things Will Stick

President Trump, who produced a contract for the voter last October that outlined all that he would accomplish in his first 100 days, now feels the marker isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, since governing isn’t either.

Yet it’s clear from the first three months that Trump has learned on the job, and enjoyed some achievements with a Supreme Court confirmation, decreased border crossings and hefty rollbacks of regulations. Despite the failure to pass a health care fix and court challenges to some of his executive orders, Trump has handled foreign policy better than most expected by relying upon several respected Cabinet secretaries who have earned the trust  of members of both parties.

Trump will continue to change as the learning curve dictates, but here are a dozen things Americans have learned about him since Election Day, or that have been reaffirmed since then, that will never change:

  1. The sell is supreme. No matter what issue, no matter what political context or consequence, Trump the Over-Promiser will push out superlatives for any event or  policy, at potential cost to the process. Everything will always be the best in history, the largest, and simplest, and it’s all coming quickly.
  2. Trump likes to work. The man likes to stay busy, and he doesn’t care for sleep. He  doesn’t read lengthy memos or briefing papers, and he takes plenty of time out for golf and cable news, but it’s clear that, at age 70, Trump is an active man who craves the stimulation of the job.
  3. Trump is a brazen hypocrite, as documented by his Twitter archive.
  4. Trade will be Trump’s reliable weapon of choice.
  5. Trump can’t let go of his obsession with the media.
  6. The wall is fantasy. It’s hard to find anyone beyond the president who will say out loud that yes, we need to build a wall.
  7. Trump rather likes the swamp after all.
  8. Trump backs down easily.
  9. Family wins.
  10. Trump loves Goldman Sachs.
  11. Donald Trump isn’t too concerned about our democracy.
  12. Steve Bannon is NOT Trump’s brain. Depending on the particular Republican or conservative arriving at this realization, it is either good news or bad.

And finally:

 

 

 

 

Trump on chemistry and his progress

Donald Trump has just had an interview with Associated Press. There are gems in it for both fans and critics.

Chemistry with leaders:

TRUMP: Yeah, it’s funny: One of the best chemistries I had was with (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel.

(Crosstalk) AP: Really?

TRUMP: Chancellor Merkel.

TRUMP: And I guess somebody shouted out, “Shake her hand, shake her hand,” you know. But I never heard it. But I had already shaken her hand four times. You know, because we were together for a long time.

AP: Did you expect you would have good chemistry with her?

TRUMP: No. Because, um, I’m at odds on, you know, the NATO payments and I’m at odds on immigration. We had unbelievable chemistry. And people have given me credit for having great chemistry with all of the leaders, including el-Sissi. …

TRUMP: So it was a great thing to see that happen.

On the first 100 days and chemistry with leaders:

AP: Do you feel like you have changed the office of the presidency, how the presidency can be used to effect change?

TRUMP: I think the 100 days is, you know, it’s an artificial barrier. It’s not very meaningful. I think I’ve established amazing relationships that will be used the four or eight years, whatever period of time I’m here. I think for that I would be getting very high marks because I’ve established great relationships with countries, as President el-Sissi has shown and others have shown.

Well, if you look at the president of China, people said they’ve never seen anything like what’s going on right now. I really liked him a lot. I think he liked me. We have a great chemistry together. …

On troops in Syria and chemistry:

AP: Should Americans who are serving in the military expect that you are going to increase troop numbers in the Middle East to fight ISIS?

TRUMP: No, not much.

AP: In terms of the strategy, though, that you have accepted, it sounds like, from the generals —

TRUMP: Well, they’ve also accepted my strategy.

AP: Does that involve more troops on the ground, it sounds like?

TRUMP: Not many.

AP: So a small increase?

TRUMP: It could be an increase, then an increase. But not many more. I want to do the job, but not many more. … This is an important story. I’ve done a lot. I’ve done more than any other president in the first 100 days and I think the first 100 days is an artificial barrier. And I’m scheduled … the foundations have been set to do some great things. With foreign countries. Look at, look at President Xi. I mean …

AP: What do you think it was about your chemistry?

TRUMP: We had good chemistry. Now I don’t know that I think that’s going to produce results but you’ve got a good chance.

AP: Uh-huh.

TRUMP: Look, he turned down many coal ships. These massive coal ships are coming where they get a lot of their income. They’re coming into China and they’re being turned away. That’s never happened before. The fuel, the oil, so many different things. You saw the editorial they had in their paper saying they cannot be allowed to have nuclear, you know, et cetera. People have said they’ve never seen this ever before in China. We have the same relationship with others. There’s a great foundation that’s built. Great foundation. And I think it’s going to produce tremendous results for our country.

Claims by Trump of great chemistry should be taken with a grain of sodium chloride.

On his biggest success so far.

AP: So in terms of the 100-day plan that you did put out during the campaign, do you feel, though, that people should hold you accountable to this in terms of judging success?

TRUMP: No, because much of the foundation’s been laid. Things came up. I’ll give you an example. I didn’t put Supreme Court judge on the 100 (day) plan, and I got a Supreme Court judge.

AP: I think it’s on there.

TRUMP: I don’t know. …

AP: “Begin the process of selecting.” You actually exceeded on this one. This says, “Begin the process of selecting a replacement.”

TRUMP: That’s the biggest thing I’ve done.

AP: Do you consider that your biggest success?

TRUMP: Well, I — first of all I think he’s a great man. I think he will be a great, great justice of the Supreme Court. I have always heard that the selection and the affirmation of a Supreme Court judge is the biggest thing a president can do. Don’t forget, he could be there for 40 years. … He’s a young man. I’ve always heard that that’s the biggest thing. Now, I would say that defense is the biggest thing. You know, to be honest, there are a number of things. But I’ve always heard that the highest calling is the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. I’ve done one in my first 70 days.

TRUMP: Our military is so proud. They were not proud at all. They had their heads down. Now they have their heads up. …

On the first 100 days and the size of government:

AP: Can I ask you, over your first 100 days — you’re not quite there yet — how do you feel like the office has changed you?

TRUMP: Well the one thing I would say — and I say this to people — I never realized how big it was. Everything’s so (unintelligible) like, you know the orders are so massive. I was talking to —

AP: You mean the responsibility of it, or do you mean —

TRUMP: Number One, there’s great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet …. every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. (unintelligible) … This is involving death and life and so many things. … So it’s far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ….The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list.

AP: Right.

TRUMP. It’s massive. And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that’s involved in some of the decisions.

On loving people and big responsibilities.

AP: What’s that switch been like for you?

TRUMP: In fact, in business you’re actually better off without it.

AP: What’s making that switch been like for you?

TRUMP: You have to love people. And if you love people, such a big responsibility. (unintelligible) You can take any single thing, including even taxes. I mean we’re going to be doing major tax reform. Here’s part of your story, it’s going to be a big (unintelligible). Everybody’s saying, “Oh, he’s delaying.” I’m not delaying anything. I’ll tell you the other thing is (unintelligible). I used to get great press. I get the worst press. I get such dishonest reporting with the media. That’s another thing that really has — I’ve never had anything like it before. It happened during the primaries, and I said, you know, when I won, I said, “Well the one thing good is now I’ll get good press.” And it got worse. (unintelligible) So that was one thing that a little bit of a surprise to me. I thought the press would become better, and it actually, in my opinion, got more nasty.

He’s still not big on the media.

AP: Obviously, that’s going to come in a week where you’re going to be running up against the deadline for keeping the government open. If you get a bill on your desk that does not include funding for the wall, will you sign it?

TRUMP: I don’t know yet. People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall. My base, which is a big base; I think my base is 45 percent. You know, it’s funny. The Democrats, they have a big advantage in the electoral college. Big, big, big advantage. I’ve always said the popular vote would be a lot easier than the electoral college. The electoral college — but it’s a whole different campaign (unintelligible). The electoral college is very difficult for a Republican to win, and I will tell you, the people want to see it. They want to see the wall, they want to see security. Now, it just came out that they’re 73 percent down. … That’s a tremendous achievement. … Look at this, in 100 days, that down to the lowest in 17 years and it’s going lower. Now, people aren’t coming because they know they’re not going to get through, and there isn’t crime. You know the migration up to the border is horrible for women, you know that? (Unintelligible.) Now, much of that’s stopped because they can’t get through.

AP: It sounds like maybe you’re beginning to send a message that if you do get a spending bill that doesn’t have border funding in there, you would sign it.

TRUMP: Well, first of all, the wall will cost much less than the numbers I’m seeing. I’m seeing numbers, I mean, this wall is not going to be that expensive.

AP: What do you think the estimate on it would be?

TRUMP: Oh I’m seeing numbers — $24 billion, I think I’ll do it for $10 billion or less. That’s not a lot of money relative to what we’re talking about. If we stop 1 percent of the drugs from coming in — and we’ll stop all of it. But if we stop 1 percent of the drugs because we have the wall — they’re coming around in certain areas, but if you have a wall, they can’t do it because it’s a real wall. That’s a tremendously good investment, 1 percent. The drugs pouring through on the southern border are unbelievable. We’re becoming a drug culture, there’s so much. And most of it’s coming from the southern border. The wall will stop the drugs.

The wall will not stop the drugs. Nothing has stopped the drugs, especially warring against them. The wall will be no different.

AP: This morning you tweeted that after the possible terrorist attack in Paris, that it will have a big effect on the upcoming French election. What did you mean by that?

TRUMP: Well, I think it will have a big effect on who people are going to vote for in the election.

AP: Do you think it’s going to help Marine Le Pen?

TRUMP: I think so.

AP: Do you believe that she should be the president?

TRUMP: No, I have no comment on that, but I think that it’ll probably help her because she is the strongest on borders and she is the strongest on what’s been going on in France.

AP: Do you worry at all that by saying that, that a terrorist attack would have an impact on a democratic election, that it would actually embolden terrorists to try to —.

TRUMP: No. Look, everybody is making predictions who is going to win. I am no different than you, you could say the same thing. …

AP: I just wonder if you are encouraging, you are the president of the United States, so to say that you worry that it encourages terrorists …

TRUMP: No, I am no different than — no, I think it discourages terrorists, I think it discourages. I think what we’ve done on the border discourages it. I think that my stance on having people come in to this country that we have no idea who they are and in certain cases you will have radical Islamic terrorism. I’m not going to have it in this country. I’m not going to let what happened to France and other places happen here. And it’s already largely, you know — we have tens — we have hundreds of thousands of people that have been allowed into our country that should not be here. They shouldn’t be here. We have people allowed into our country with no documentation whatsoever. They have no documentation and they were allowed under the previous administrations, they were allowed into our country. It’s a big mistake.

AP: Just so that I am clear. You are not endorsing her for the office, but you are —

TRUMP: I am not endorsing her and I didn’t mention her name.

AP: Right, I just wanted to make sure I have that clear.

TRUMP: I believe whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism and whoever is the toughest at the borders will do well at the election. I am not saying that person is going to win, she is not even favored to win, you know. Right now, she is in second place.

Without saying it outright he clearly seems to favour Le Pen and her policies.

100 day excuses in advance

Donald Trump is about 90 days into his presidency. He had campaigned on how much he was going to achieve quickly and simply, including in his first 100 days. He is blaming the media in advance for not getting enough credit for his achievements.

Fox News: Trump says media won’t give him credit for his accomplishments

President Trump, who this week boasted at a Wisconsin tool factory that “no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days,” said in a Friday morning tweet that he’s not getting enough credit from the national media for all his successes.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/855373184861962240

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/855373184861962240

Whether the president was looking to pre-empt media criticism or lower expectations as the benchmark nears was not clear, but the White House is clearly bracing for a report card from the press.

Trump seems to also have a habit of trying to shame the media into giving him positive coverage.

But he would get better coverage if he didn’t keep making ridiculous claims, like “no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days” (I guess it depends on what “has accomplished” actually means though).

The fascination with the first 100 days goes back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who came into office in 1933 and signed a staggering 76 pieces of legislation, including 15 major overhauls and new programs during the depths of the Great Depression.

Trump came into office with nothing like the level of urgent problems faced by Roosevelt, but he has achieved nothing anywhere near that.

Trump had promised huge changes during his first 100 days including cracking down on illegal immigration, a complete tax overhaul and the repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“You’re going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost and it’s going to be so easy,” Trump said during an October 2016 rally.

When it came to building his “big beautiful wall” with Mexico, he told Fox News in 2015, “So simple. So simple.”

Expectations were high, given Trump’s promises and the fact he had a Republican-led Congress, but so far, the two branches have not always been on the same page.

And Trump raised expectations with his bragging. Now he seems to be making excuses in advance for his lack of progress. Given that he and his administration was very inexperienced and they were slow to fill positions – a month after taking over the White House nearly 2,000 government positions remained vacant.

It’s a huge job just staffing an administration, especially one with no background in transitioning to power and with many people being reluctant to hitch their futures to the Trump wagon.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the Trump administration’s accomplishments.

“Look at the record that he’s achieved over these first 90 days,” Spicer told Fox News’ “The First 100 Days.” “It’s very clear that he’s committed to the conservative principles and agenda that he outlined in the campaign.”

This is Fox News picking that as an achievement to highlight.

That level of lameness has become one of Spicer’s trademarks. At least it is not as bad as making some of his outlandish alternative truths and gaffs.

I don’t see the big deal about what a President and his administration achieves in their first 100 days in office, what happens over four years is what’s important, and especially if they start inexperienced taking time to achieve things would be better than rushing into it.

But if they choose to make a big deal about it and don’t measure up then they are hoist by their own petard.

A cardinal rule of successful politics is to under promise and over deliver, because the opposite can be very damaging to credibility and support.

Trump said he would do things differently. Given the belief and devotion of some of his supporters he will get away with big talk and little effective action for a while yet.

A report card on progress after 100 weeks will be far more pertinent to Trump’s success or otherwise as president.