Colombia Drug Trade

I overlooked this memorandum earlier when checking for updates of presidential actions. It dates back a few days.

It is a memo to the secretaries of State and Defense that announces a routine continuation of earlier action of 1995. The Subject: “Continuation of U.S. Drug Interdiction Assistance to the Government of Colombia.”

Official Title and Link: Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense

Memorandum dated July 21, 2017

Manufacturing Base

While this order appears to be routine, it may turn out to be much more than that. Essentially it orders the study of manufacturing and the defense industrial base. Within 270 days a report is to be produced that identifies problems and recommends actions to remedy the problems, including possible legislation.

I suspect the intent is to eventually create more ways for this administration’s cronies to benefits from defense spending.

Official Title and Link: Presidential Executive Order on Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States

Executive order dated July 21, 2017

Oops?

Today I found revised versions of the memorandum and letter to Congress that were posted July 19. Both are dated July 20.

This is an oddity I have not encountered before. Someone must not have liked the first versions and forced changes just a day later. Careless? Simple error of publishing the wrong draft? No way of knowing right now.

After doing a little research, it appears the revised version has more similar language to the original Obama 2011 version than the version published July 19, 2017. So far, I have not been able to find anything from 2016 to see if there is much change.

At this point, I don’t think it is worth spending more time on this issue.

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda dated July 20, 2017

Infrastructure Council

The most recent executive order is unique enough that some review and comment are appropriate. Establishing a special council to focus on infrastructure is not a particular surprise, given the call by many for more infrastructure spending. But, some of the particulars of the order are worthy of note.

  1. It will be housed in the Department of Commerce and is to be made up of no more than 15 members all appointed by the president as representatives of various identified infrastructure sectors.
  2. Quoting from the executive order: “Sec. 4. Mission of Council. The Council shall study the scope and effectiveness of, and make findings and recommendations to the President regarding, Federal Government funding, support, and delivery of infrastructure projects in several sectors, including surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resources, renewable energy generation, electricity transmission, broadband, pipelines, and other such sectors as determined by the Council.In pursuing its mission, the Council shall make findings and recommendations concerning the following:(a) prioritizing the Nation’s infrastructure needs;

    (b) accelerating pre-construction approval processes;

    (c) developing funding and financing options capable of generating new infrastructure investment over the next 10 years;

    (d) identifying methods to increase public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects, including appropriate statutory or regulatory changes;

    (e) identifying best practices in and opportunities to improve procurement methods, grant procedures, and infrastructure delivery systems; and

    (f) promoting advanced manufacturing and infrastructure-related technological innovation.”

  3. The ultimate result is to be a report by the council to the president.
  4. The end date of the council is December 31, 2018.

Following are some of my thoughts:

I find item “b” above to be interesting in that it is consistent with so many of the actions of this administration to reduce or eliminate standard review processes.

For some time now, various reports in the media have focused on the high probability that infrastructure funding, if it is forth-coming at all, would benefit his business cronies by requiring public-private partnerships. Item “d” above confirms this as a strategy.

With all the difficulties Congress is having to pass bills this session, it remains to be seen if any kind of infrastructure funding is passed and appropriated, but establishment of this council implies the administration is unlikely to propose anything specific until sometime after the 2018 elections.

Official Title and Link:

Presidential Executive Order Establishing a Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure

Executive Order dated July 19, 2017

Transnational Criminal Organizations

Yesterday two memoranda related to the national emergency declared in 2011 to focus on transnational criminal organizations and their activities as threats to the United States were signed. One simply extends the original executive order and the other is a message to the Congress notifying them of the extension as required by law.

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda dated July 19, 2017

Made in America

The hypocrisy is palpable. The incompetence is rampant. For this administration to date (and post) the announcement of “Made in America Week” the day after the week begins says more about it being a poorly presented PR gimmick than the proclamation itself says about honoring “American workers and job creators”. Is it really just an afterthought that didn’t deserve better planning and a full blown PR roll-out? Or more likely, it is just another weak attempt at distraction.

If POTUS 45 made good on this through his companies, I might take it more seriously, but “profit first” is a more genuine mantra than “America First” will ever be for this man and his family.

Official Title and Link: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims July 17, 2017, as Made in America Day and this Week, July 16 through July 22, as Made in America Week

Proclamation dated July 17,2017