It is Wednesday morning as I write this article. The government runs out of money on Friday and as of this moment there is no plan to stop the government shutdown. In the past, despite having a large majority, House Republicans have needed Democratic votes to pass a continuing resolution. Last week Donald Trump (the self-proclaimed great deal maker) insulted the Democratic leadership to the point that they understandably declined an invitation to attend a White House meeting where the impending shutdown was to be a major topic of discussion. That is bad enough, but it gets worse. Let’s explore.
I am still hopeful that some eleventh hour agreement can be reached and the lights will stay on. Republicans love to talk about running government like a business. For the second time in relatively recent American history the GOP successfully ran a businessman candidate for President (the other was Herbert Hoover of Great Depression fame). What successful business doesn’t know if it will be open on Saturday on the preceding Wednesday?
It is widely reported that Trump will announce that the United States is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sometime later today. Reportedly he spent a considerable portion of Tuesday giving world leaders a heads-up. Almost all of them begged him not to do it. The United States was the first country to recognize Israel almost at its creation during the Truman administration. Since then we have had Presidents of both political parties and across the spectrum of political philosophies. All of them were confronted with this decision and none of them decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital for two main reasons. That act was likely to spark violence and most likely war in the Middle East plus it removed American from a position where it could play honest broker in any peace effort. The status of Jerusalem is perhaps the most sensitive issue in any comprehensive Middle East peace plan.
This move by the Trump administration begs the question: Why? I have little respect for the “abilities” of Trump or his Middle East boy wonder Jared Kushner; however I find it difficult to believe that even they are just that stupid. I think there may be one or two ulterior motives in play here. Trump badly needs a war to distract from Russiagate and possibly rally the country behind him. Trump and even more so Kushner are looking for foreign financing for their projects. A move like this will satisfy far right Israelis with organized crime connections and could be a “condition of financing”. Both Trump and Kushner are much more concerned with their private wealth than they are with America or the world. If innocent people die in the process they could care less as long as they get their money.
One of Trump’s personal lawyers, John Dowd, has all but admitted guilt to the obstruction of justice charges that are anticipated against his client. His “defense” is that the President by definition cannot obstruct justice. This is eerily similar to Richard Nixon’s claim that if the President does it, it can’t be illegal. That didn’t work out well for Nixon and I predict the same fate for Trump if he ultimately uses this defense. With all its flaws, American continues to survive as a land of laws where no person is above the law. We are a representative democracy where the people elect their representatives. We have neither a dictator nor a monarch.
If there was any doubt that the current Republican Party is morally bankrupt it was removed this week. Donald Trump came out and explicitly endorsed Roy Moore in next week’s special Senate election in Alabama. In very short order the RNC reinstated its financial support of Moore. Moore is trying to make the “immorality of abortion” his closing issue. Being the cynic that I am I’d say his argument is that if we abort ‘em they won’t be around to molest as children.
With good reason, I’ve been an open critic of Mitt Romney over the years. However I have to agree with his recent statement that no vote, issue or seat is worth supporting a child molester and selling your soul over. Trump’s boy Steve Bannon, (Why am I paying attention to him?), went down to Alabama supposedly to campaign for Moore where he attacked Romney largely over his and his sons’ lack of military service. I must have missed Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump’s military service.
In Bannon’s tirade against Mitt he insulted his religion; that is the same religion that Trump praised (disingenuously in my opinion) earlier this week during an appearance in Utah. Trump released about 2 million acres of land from federal oversight. That was supposedly to yield to the state’s rights of Utah and let the people of Utah enjoy the land. The real reason is that Trump’s move opened the land up to oil and mineral exploration. If recent history is any indication, when those industries are done with the land it will be unfit for cows to graze on.
I feel that Donald Trump must be forced or removed from the office in order to preserve the integrity of the presidency. (Think Richard Nixon). That being said I am not looking forward to a President Mike Pence. I can’t think of a more talented straight face liar than Pence. Even as an agnostic, what really galls me is how he hides behind Christianity when he lies.
As if Pence wouldn’t be bad enough there is no guarantee that he would be the successor. If he were to be leave office before Trump did there would likely be a new Vice President of Trump’s choosing. Under the 25th Amendment if the office of Vice President is vacated the President nominates a replacement which is subject to confirmation by the majority in each chamber of Congress. To date the Congressional Republicans have almost in lockstep been enablers of Trump. I’d be getting way too far ahead of the game to speculate who Trump would choose but I’m willing to bet it wouldn’t be anyone I’d vote for is I were sitting in either chamber.
Things look bad because they are. They are also likely to get worse before they get better. What do you expect when you have idiots and amateurs running the show?
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