Outrage Across The Atlantic

Last week lacked a dominant political news story; what it had was several outrages that if you used them as the plotlines of a novel would be rejected because they were too unbelievable. Let’s explore.

There are many who think people like me are engaged in hyperbole when we speak of a rising group of wannabe right wing, fascist autocrats reminiscent of 1930’s Europe. To refute that rebuttal I simply offer the examples of the recent actions of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

In the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is suspending the Parliament in advance of the October 31st deadline for the UK to exit the European Union (EU). Johnson along with Nigel Farage (both Trump allies) was the leader of the Brexit movement. They promised the people of the UK a much better deal outside the economic union. (Sound familiar?) Increasingly it looks like there will be a no deal Brexit which will further depress the global economy with the UK’s economy being its most severely injured victim. Furthermore the repercussions could include a resumption of violence between factions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Taken a bit further it could actually bring about the succession of Northern Ireland and Scotland from the UK. The potential big winner in all this is Vladimir Putin. Might that have been the motivation for Russia to have interfered in the Brexit referendum in 2016?

Donald Trump is still obsessed with his inane wall along the southern border. Reportedly he has ordered aides to proceed full speed ahead regardless of the legality of their actions offering them pardons if prosecuted. This includes seizing privately owned land where necessary. I thought Republicans were against eminent domain. What Trump is suggesting goes one step further in that it omits the legal process and simply seizes what it wants acting more like a king or a dictator than a democratically elected chief executive. Nixon’s preemptive offer of a pardon was consider obstruction of justice. Of course, Trump has never reached the extremely low bar of Nixon’s integrity.

Trump is also transferring (I’m not certain about the legality) money from FEMA to his wall. My ignorance is showing again; I didn’t realize that Mexico funded FEMA and that the United States will be disaster free for the remainder of fiscal 2018-2019. Isn’t it great that the American president is an extremely stable genius complete with a crystal ball?

While we are speaking about the Trump administration’s efforts to keep us safe we can’t neglect to mention the dangerous non-citizens dwelling among us his team is busy deporting. Now that he has all those MS-13 gang members who work in poultry plants making his financiers wealthy on their way out of the country he has turned to those dangerous sick kids in hospitals. There has long been a program allowing non-citizens to reside in America while undergoing lifesaving medical treatment not available to them in their native country. Most of them came to America as children and many are still children. If deported and thereby removed from their medical treatment they face certain death. That’s Donald Trump and his handpicked henchman Ken Cuccinelli at work “protecting” you. I have long written that the Republicans are hazardous to your health. Trump and Cuccinelli have brought that to a new depth.

Trump and Cuccinelli are also hard at work ending automatic American citizenship for some of the children of troops and diplomats deployed overseas. Now there is a real incentive to get people to serve their country in far away and often less than comfortable places. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, Trump views the military as expendable pawns and has no use for or understanding of diplomacy. But hey, he is the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico – just read his tweets.

This week Trump’s EPA announced it was rolling back an Obama-era regulation on the release of methane gas which is linked to climate change. The Trump administration is often accused of not having a plan; in this case my concern is that there is no Planet B regardless of who is in the Oval Office.

In another move illustrating Trump’s ignorance of science – and with his available resources it has to be classified as willful ignorance – he has lifted George W. Bush’s ban on harvesting trees in Alaska’s Tongass Forest. I’m far from a tree hugger but this is another mistake that will take generations to correct. If we don’t want a very different and perhaps uninhabitable planet we don’t have the luxury of generations to take action let alone correct our mistakes.

In a move that received little attention but sets the stage for a lot of illegal activity in the 2020 election the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was effectively neutered last week. With the resignation of a Republican appointee and several long time unfilled spots the FEC no longer has the needed quorum to authorize new investigations or adjudicate concluded ones. It’s like leaving the speed limits posted but removing all the police and courts. It will still be illegal to violate election laws but nobody will be able to investigate or penalize the transgression. Moscow Mitch McConnell and Putin Puppet Trump could solve this problem in a matter of days. My advice is not to hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

The most misnamed department in the Trump era may well be the Justice Department. Justice is supposedly currently investigating whether Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause by operating his DC Hotel. Attorney General Bill Barr is in charge of the Justice Department. Barr just booked a holiday party at that hotel the estimated cost of which is a minimum of $30,000. Needless to say that appears to be a conflict of interest that calls into question Barr’s integrity. Here is another point I have yet to hear anyone cover: as AG Barr’s salary is a bit under $200,000. That makes his holiday party (interesting that the word Christmas isn’t being used) about 15% of his annual income.

If all this doesn’t concern you, you might be interested in knowing that the Amazon is burning and a major hurricane fueled by warmer ocean temperatures is bearing down on the southeastern coast of America. Oh. I forgot; that whole climate change thing is a hoax just like Russiagate.

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