Friday, November 9, 2018

Opposition to trump cannot stop with voting.. pressure on elected officials needed now


How does one respond to the mid-term vote held on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in the United States, a mere 5 days prior to the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of 1918? And while there have been multiple homages paid to the many years of relative peace following the Second World War, the notion of military danger, enhanced significantly by the $74 billion expansion to the budget of the Pentagon, the U.S. withdrawal from the Medium nuclear weapons treaty, the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran Accord, the huge arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and the threats posed to NATO by that same administration, remains unabated. There are many pieces of evidence that enhance the prospect for military violence, including:

·        the $61 billion expansion, totalling $700 billion, to the budget of the Pentagon,
·        the U.S. withdrawal from the Medium nuclear weapons treaty,
·        the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran Accord,
·        the huge arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and
·        the threats posed to NATO by that same administration,

Add to this list, the underlying and dramatic shift in the culture of the American society favouring and emboldening of “white supremacy”, the explosion of incidents of mass murder 12 killed just last night in a bar in Thousand Oaks, Ventura County, California) and threats to the lives of political enemies of trump, the inflated presidential rhetoric of violence, intimidation, and even threats to the newly elected Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, (“if they investigate me, I will investigate them: two can play this game and we are much better at it than they are”), the confirmation of trump-lackey Kavanaugh, and yesterday the firing of Attorney General Sessions and the appointment of another lackey in Matthew Whittaker as his replacement, the world knows that a constitutional crisis has already broken through the horizon of the American political landscape. None of these developments bodes well either for global or domestic peace and civility, given that each is dependent on the other.

Clearly, with 30% of the population (primarily rural) of the United States represented by 70% of the Senators, while 70% of the population (primarily urban and suburban) is represented by only 30% of the Senators, there is a serious imbalance of political power reducing the influence of urban and suburban voters while inordinately inflating that of rural voters, portraying and foreshadowing continuing deadlock between the House and Senate. Built into the constitution is the stipulation that each state must have the same number of senators (2), and with. trump’s stampeding rallies in those states calculated to sustain a Republican majority in the Senate (another three-dimensional chess move to protect trump from the potential damage of the Mueller report), he has effectively “bought” himself an insurance policy against ultimate impeachment. After all, the only kind of transaction known to and practiced by this president is “buy-sell” because, for him, the only things that matter is his personal/familial growth in power, wealth, influence, and indeed dominance.

“Embracing” those candidates willing to accept his “embrace”, in his mind, leads to their electoral victory, and his self-inflated chest-thumping as the primary reason for their election. Those who “gave me no love” on the other hand, are publicly disdained even scorned, as “public enemies” of the president. The only possible ‘take’ from this performance in yesterday’s press briefing is that the president divides the world into those who have drunk his koolaid, and from whom he now expects and demands unsullied loyalty, and those who have chosen to reject him and his coat-tails. In the end, everyone, whether Republican, Democratic, of Independent, is useful so long as s/he is a public sycophant to the president, and dispensable if and when that dependence is cracked or worse, shattered.

Similarly, in geopolitics, this president has neither authentic allies nor friends, in other chief executive offices, only items on a chess-board, for his personal (certainly not national or international) ambitions, needs, whims and headlines. If the ‘other’ leader buys/accepts American arms, steel, aluminum, coal with tonnes of carbon emissions and trade deals, and complies with the threats and the imposition of tariffs issuing from the Oval Office, he walks under the radar of the president’s wrath. If not, then s/he instantly becomes a public target. And within the nation, those who bear the burden of being black, Latino, are in even more danger. Dubbed as “unable” and “unfit” and “uneducated” (see the references to both Stacey Abrams, and Andrew Gillum, candidates for Governor in Georgia and Florida respectively), they are thrown under the bus for their person, race and identity.

And so, while the public debate so conventionally focuses on the “bread and butter” issues of health, education and social safety net, justifiably, and trump wants the world to measure his success in stock prices, unemployment figures and conservative judges to the Supreme Court, there are, under trump, two other deep, destabilizing and converging political cruise missiles ripping through the United States political culture:white racist supremacy and shredding the legal framework of the constitution!
Charlottesville is the historic metaphor for the rise and triumph of White Supremacy, and even yesterday, another white supremacist was welcomed to the White House.

It is the shredding of the legal framework that underpins the governmental structure, creating what Neal Katyal, former Solicitor General under the Obama administration, and Geoffrey Conway (spouse of Kelly Anne Conway, and himself a constitutional scholar) writing in the New York Times, call a constitutional crisis that is no longer on the horizon, it has become a full-blown sun in the political sky of the United States. The “appointment” of Wittaker to the Attorney General’s post in the Department of Justice, according to Katyal and Conway, is unconstitutional, given the clear legal requirement that all who serve in such a position must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The “line of succession” from the Deputy Attorney General, to the Assistant Deputy Attorney General would be the “legal” path to a replacement for fired Attorney General Sessions.

It could well be, according to Katyal, appearing this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, that Whittaker has already turned over Mueller’s files to trump. It could also be that he has followed through on his public declaration on CNN, recorded and replayed for posterity, to vacuum all funding out of the Mueller investigation thereby foreclosing on the biggest thorn in the president’s side. These public declarations, linked to his denial of any Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, and now his appointment as interim Attorney General that, taken individually and/or collectively, provide empirical evidence for those seeking more proof of the “obstruction of justice” charge into which Mueller is delving.

·        Profiting from the spoils of presidential victory through the tidal wave of slush funds pouring into the trump hotel in Washington from geopolitical and national political sycophants seeking the pleasures of the trump administration (contravening the emoluments clause),
·        appointing his son-in-law to a full national security clearance,
·        padding the investment accounts of the most affluent men and women in the nation,
·        de-stabilizing the EPA,
·        gutting the department of Education,
·        firing James Comey,

·    firing of Sessions and plunking an obviously protective of presidential immunity to subpoena, prosecution and all other legal impinging constraints including impeachment…..**

And all of these items do not encompass the 307 (that is not a typo!) mass shootings in the last year in the United States, the voter suppression of minority voters by elected officials, the flaunting of all historic and traditional norms of governance.
How much more evidence do the people of the United States need to call, write, email, text or confront face-to-face their representatives in Washington, current and newly elected, to shout from the roof-tops, “We have had enough!”

Appearing in Toronto only last week, in a debate framed, safely under Canadian parameters, about the future prospects of populism throughout the world, Steve Bannon trumped his proud declaration that trump is an historic and transformative president who will be in our lives for decades. Already proven true, given the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh (and potentially a third, should Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s recent fall and breaking of three ribs), conservative strict constructionist opinion will dominate Supreme Court decisions for decades, Bannon fears no forceful contradiction. However, it is the demise of the American pursuit and achievement of many of the better cornerstone foundations of democracy, and the atrophy of the American reputation on the world stage, and the removal of the American potential to lead international efforts to spare the environment, all of them included in the costs already accumulated under this administration.

Tom Steyer, whether or not he is running for president in 2020, is not wasting his millions on advertisements calling for public support for the removal of this chief executive.

Will the public demand the termination of this political, social, cultural, legal and historic rampage? The world cannot wait for the Electoral College to be eliminated, nor for the Senate representation imbalance to be levelled, nor for the multiple state laws that repress and impede voting rights to be removed from the law books. The crisis, no matter how we frame it, demands reining in now!

**another heinous and illegal and deplorable culpability of the administration: the separation of families of refugees and asylum-seekers, and the incarceration of separated children from their families

No comments:

Post a Comment