The diversions of the Trump administration are becoming more concerning every day. The title of Matt Taibbi’s book, Insane Clown President, is more profound with each turn of the calendar’s page. What is truly dangerous is the evil being perpetrated while we watch the circus or bask in the “glory” of the lack of a major legislative achievement. Let’s explore.
The New York Times has reported that at least six White House aides including daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have used private e-mail to conduct government business. During the campaign one of the big charges against Hillary Clinton involved the use of private e-mail for State Department business. Sounds to me like a case of pot calling kettle? Where are the chants of “Lock Ivanka and Jared up”? Why isn’t an outraged President firing them?
Trump is working diligently to transform the federal bench so that his impact will long outlive his tenure. Just this week news of two outlandish judicial nominations came to my attention. In Texas he has nominated Jeff Mateer. Mateer has fought a local ordinance extending equal protection to the LGBT community. Mateer is an advocate of the long disproven gay conversion therapy. He claims homosexuality is a harbinger of bestiality. The topper is that in a 2015 speech he claimed that transgender children are proof that “Satan’s plan is working.” I have several suggestions of what we should do with Mateer none of which include a seat on the federal bench.
In North Carolina Trump has nominated Thomas A. Farr for a federal judgeship. Farr made his bones in far right Republican politics as part of Jesse Helms’ 1992 campaign where he was one of the defenders of mailers aimed at intimidating black voters. His racist voter suppression has continued with his most recent defense act being of the since declared unconstitutional efforts of the North Carolina GOP to racially gerrymander the state. There are places for racist voter suppressors; but not on the federal bench.
Reuters recently broke the news that the Trump administration is about to shift the responsibility for approval of the export of small arms (that includes assault rifles) from the State Department to the Commerce Department. While I have little confidence in either Rex Tillerson or Wilbur Ross, the professional staffs of the two departments, by design, have a different mindset. State considers the geo-political implication of a move; Commerce is in the business of helping American companies make more sales. The net result is that more small arms will find their ways into the hands of terrorists, international arms merchants and oppressive regimes. Some will eventually be used against American service personnel. Trump may well be facilitating the sale of the gun that kills your young relative in some far off land.
It appears that Russian operatives purchased over 3,000 Facebook ads during the 2016 election. All the ads were designed to hurt Hillary Clinton and aid Donald Trump. The way for the ads to have optimal effectiveness was for an American political entity (say, the Trump campaign or an aligned individual or group) aid the Russians with “local knowledge”. Trump dismisses the reports as “More fake news”. When you consider that Facebook is the primary news source for about 50% of Americans and that less than 100,000 votes combined in three states swayed the Electoral College to Trump, this is concerning!
Trump has announced a new version of his travel ban that is as of now indefinite. The Supreme Court postponed a schedule October 5th hearing on the old ban asking all sides to quickly prepare new briefs. Before you put too much hope in the Supreme Court let me remind you it includes Neil Gorsuch in the purloined seat.
Even the good news is somewhat tainted. Sunday German Chancellor Angela Merkel won reelection. However the far right Alternative for Deutschland Party (AfD) won 13% of the vote which will make forming a governing coalition in the Bundestag (Germany’s Parliament) more difficult. Because of their parliamentary system the UK and Germany are in a better position to marginalize their right wing extremists Parties (UKIP and AfD) than the United States is with the Tea Party but nonetheless they will make governing more difficult.
By the way, millions of American citizens on Puerto Rico and in the U.S. Virgin islands are without power, food, shelter and water. Directly provoked by Trump’s outlandish statements and tweets, nuclear power North Korea is threatening to shoot our aircraft out of the sky. All this time Trump is obsessed with tweeting about NFL players and John McCain; neither of which is a threat to our country or is endangering its citizens.
Every one of the examples depicted above came across my desk since the weekend. If you want some really scary news, this article was written Tuesday morning for Thursday’s publishing. I do not have a stable of investigative reporters or a newsroom to support my efforts, therefore many transgressions flew under my radar screen. Who knows what evil will transpire in the interim or undetected?
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