Trump, Pelosi, the Wall, and the Government Shutdown

shutdown-chester energy and policy

Arguments about the standoff between Nancy Pelosi and the Dems and Trump have gotten complex and passionate, something that would not be true if we were not in the first government shutdown ever called by a President.

Thoughts on the government shutdown-

Our president never lets compassion for his pawns (oops, people) get in the way of trying to make a deal.

Dems do not want to make a deal as long as the government is shutdown. They define the federal workers who are not being paid as ‘hostages’. I guess this makes Trump a terrorist. We don’t make deals with hostage-takers.

Thoughts about the wall-

The President wants $5.7 for the wall and has already spent over $7 b to get his way, because experts say that is the cost of the shutdown so far. People are upset with the Democrats and they are saying the Dems are being unreasonable and should take the newest deal on the table that offers the left a few tantalizing tidbits,

One, like a 3 year extension for some DACA young people.

What will happen after 3 more years in America, when these young folks, who have never lived in the country of their parents, or were too young when they left to remember it now, if they are deported to a land that is no longer their country?

Two, the President has offered to build wall (barriers) in noncontiguous arrangements.

The Democrats do not want to pay for a wall at all. It is a symbol of our President’s racism and white supremacy(which he expresses all the time, although he says he doesn’t). MSNBC is showing a piece of film in which MLK is standing before the Berlin Wall and expressing his sorrow about any efforts towards separating humans from each other. MLK knew what walls were for.

So two reasons not to give inon the wall: because the President wants it for immoral reasons and, because the President has taken ‘hostages’.

Here’s another reason, the President is only concerned about getting reelected. This was his election promise and right wing media people like the scary-mean Ann Coulter are holding Trump’s feet to the fire, reminding him he will never get reelected if he doesn’t build the wall.

Trump’s New Deal

These are the things that Trump offered in his speech to America on 1.19.19. There are some things that Trump offered that people think will help at the Border

  1. 800 m. for immediate humanitarian aid (used how?)
  2. 805 m for improved drug technology at legal ports of entry
  3. Hiring 2,750 new border agents
  4. Hiring 75 more immigration judges to help with asylum backlog
  5. Installing a new system that allows minors to apply for asylum before they leave their home country (A pretty transparent way to end caravans but good for young people and children if they are granted asylum. However, will everyone just be turned down? Is this just a way to get this out of view of Americans)
  6. Steel barriers along 230 more miles of the border

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-major-announcement-today-humanitarian-crisis-southern-border-mexico-daca-deal/

Media begins to blame Nancy Pelosi for being stubborn when workers are suffering

The media is beginning to turn on Nancy Pelosi. They are upset that she turned down the deal before the American people even heard it.

They do not seem to give credence to the importance of ending the shutdown first. Are we now in a fight over ‘order of operations’?

The American people are also beginning to turn on Nancy Pelosi. They think she is being heartless to the federal workers who aren’t being paid and that she should be more flexible now that Trump has offered those tantalizing tidbits.

The Democrats in the House can pass all the legislation they want but they know that any of their passed bills are unlikely to be taken up in the Senate. Their power is limited by strong opposition. Winning the House was not winner-takes-all.

Democrats have planning they can do and investigations they can do put beyond run-of-the-mill House Resolutions the only other thing they control is the purse strings.

Democrats would not be in any hurry if it were not for the ‘hostages’. Trump may have no compassion, but Democrats do. Trump is pretty sure he can break the Democrats if things get bad enough for workers affected by the shutdown.

How much of this is just about power? Should Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who just won control of the Congress allow themselves to be humbled? What negative effects could that have on the country? We already have spent two years without any checks and balances. Can Trump have a long-view strategy for sidelining the Dems in the House so he still has no checks and balances?

Is this just an arm wrestling match with a side show of unpaid workers looking on woefully from behind the President, directly appealing to their only hope, the Democrats’ to throw the match?

Is this really about the Southern Border at all? When did the Southern Border become a crisis that had to be solved right this very minute, the Republican way, with no input from the Democrats? The only reason this issue is front and center right now is because our President made it so and the right wing nuts will not let him back down. (Most people must agree that Ann Coulter and Steven Miller are wing nuts.) Ann Coulter is not even in our government. No one elected her or appointed her to any office in our government.

However, I believe that the Democrats will have to caveso people can go back to work. Otherwise we may never again be able to see Democrats as being the party with a heart, the party of ‘we the people’. If the Democrats let Trump win he may use this tactic over and over again and that is a risk we will have to take if public opinion gets any more negative.

Can Nancy Pelosi sell a cave-in to the newest Democrats and still keep the speakership? How?

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Chester Energy and Policy

 

 

Merrick Garland, Merrick Garland, Merrick Garland, Checks and Balances

mcconnellmerrickobama -CNN.com

Merrick Garland and checks and balances are great reasons to resist the appointment of Bret Kavanaugh to our Supreme Court through the 115thCongress. The GOP, in today’s hearings, kept repeating “regular order”, as if they have not long ago forgotten the meaning of the phrase except to rein in the opposition. They repeated “regular order” although they have spent the past ten years trashing regular order with their obstruction, with their voter suppression, with their blocking of Obama court appointments, and by blocking the appointment of the well-qualified and nonpartisan Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. There were 60 attempts to overturn the ACA and there were government shutdowns.

The nerve of the GOP acting all proper, empowered, and fake-judgmental towards Democrats who have very few ways to get their point (and the point of most of we the people) across.

Senators, do not do this. Do not put this man on the Supreme Court of our nation at this time.

I listened to the speeches swing back and forth, left to right, all day. The Democrats were calm and kind and well-reasoned. They needed access to the documents they had already requested (denied by the executive branch), they needed time to read the documents dumped on them (with malice) last night just before today’s hearing. They pleaded with the Republicans to not place an ideologue on the Court when our democracy is under attack by one or more foreign powers and our President might soon be under indictment, when a midterm election is so near.

The Republicans sneered. They said that they made it through all the 42,000 documents. It only required losing a night’s sleep. (No one, Democrat or Republican looked like they had lost a night’s sleep.) They have no intention of supplying documents from when Kavanaugh was in the White House.

The speakers from the GOP accuse the Democrats of flaunting the laws of the land. They posture, they verbally strut, they bubble over with righteous indignation.

We the people can see that the GOP refuses to check the President who is, in our estimation, out of control. We know that if Kavanaugh joins the court our President will not only lack checks, he will have a strong supporter on the court – approved by the very right wing Federalist Society. Trump will have a fringe right-winger who believes you cannot indict a sitting President.

checks and balances - Imgur

This could be the way our democracy dies. Checks and balances were the gifts our forefathers gave to we the people and we have undervalued these gifts. We should all protest the appointment of Bret Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. We should do it because of Merrick Garland (who was not even allowed a hearing) and because without checks and balances there is nothing to stop our democracy from becoming a dictatorship.

Thank you Kamala Harris. Thank you Amy Klobuchar. Thank you Cory Booker. Thank you protestors who let your bodies be dragged out of the hall. Thank you to all the Dems and shame on you Lindsay Graham for your ridiculously emotional harangue. John McCain would not be with you on this.

https://qz.com/1378639/kavanaugh-confirmation-hearings-our-democracy-is-on-trial/

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/sen-lindsey-graham-judge-kavanaugh-were-going-get-good-man-confirmed

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/09/04/watch_live_judge_brett_kavanaugh_supreme_court_confirmation_hearing_day_one.html

Photo Credits: From a Google Image Search – CNN.com, Imgur

Know Your Dictators

jaroslaw-kaczynski_big Super Express

This is the first in a series of articles I call, “Know Your Dictator”.

Poland

Jaroslaw Kaczynski (PiS – Law and Justice Party is the man making the moves in Poland.

A commenter on quora.com– Piotr Szafranski – calls him a “dictator-in-waiting”.

“Much of the difference between authoritarian and liberal democratic in the political system is based on tradition and custom, not hard law,” says Piotr.

He tells us that the PiS has been throwing out tradition and common decency whenever possible.

Civil Service

  1. They abolished the law prohibiting party membership of career civil servants and fired all the current ones (are loyalty tests next?)
  2. Thousands out of jobs
  3. Jobs will be arbitrarily (without exams) given to PiS’s own party members by way of another new law.

Media

Michal who lives in Poland tells us, “On December 14 the chancellery of the Sejm presented a proposal to change the organization of the media in the Parliament (e.g. creating a modern Media Center, a TV studio in the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish Parliament…”

Michal supports these changes, others see it as an attempt by government to control the message in the media.

https://www.quora.com/Has-Poland-become-a-dictatorship-in-2016

After Trump’s visit in July, 2017 authoritarian moves seem to have accelerated says Oskar Gorzynski in the Daily Beast.

Courts

The government decided the country’s supreme court is corrupt and needed to be purged completely.

(Funny how often this happens as countries’ leaders move towards dictatorship.)

“A bill is introduced that will force all the court’s judges to retire and be replaced – and it is pushed through with lightning speed and without regard for procedures.”

(Is Trump leading up to this?)

Back in Poland,

“the amendment, widely considered unconstitutional and yet to be signed by the president Andrzej Duda (PiS) would give the government virtually unrestrained control over the body – and therefore much of the judicial system.

On the same day “a bill was introduced that amounts to a total purge of all 83 judges in the country’s supreme court, giving Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, a virtually free rein in appointing their successors.”

[Kaczynski] had a meltdown and accused the parliament of killing his brother. Talking to the other party, the PO party, Zaczynski revealed that all those reforms are not really about reforming society or the state,” says a political scientist to the Daily Beast, “every one of PO’s (liberal Modern party) MP’s will end up in jail.” (Lock her up. – different circumstances, same refrain)

Political Prison

PiS MP Krystyna Pawlowicz says she dreams of re-instituting the old pre-war prison for political prisoners called Bereza Kartuska.

She also says that when they finish with the courts they will go after the journalists.

(It often sounds as if wanna-be dictators have a play book.)

Eliminate Constitutional Safeguards and the System of Checks and Balances

This has already been done in Poland, the Daily Beasttells us, when the PiS Party paralyzed the Constitutional Tribunal and then took it over.

“Two words describe what is happening in Poland right now: It’s a “hybrid dictatorship,” says Migalski to the Daily Beast, “We no longer deal with a liberal democracy, but it is not yet a full-fledged dictatorship like that of Putin’s Russia or Erdogan’s Turkey.”

Plans to Make Next Election Impossible to Lose

“Democracy differs from authoritarianism in that the rules of elections are certain, while the outcome is uncertain. In a dictatorship it is the other way around,” says a former PiS politician.

The thorn in Zaczynski’s side may end up being his colleague, President Andrzej Duda.

(Who is the thorn in Trump’s side?)

Citizen protests have been larger than expected.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-trump-set-poland-on-the-path-to-dictatorship

Karolina Wigura, writing in The Guardianin May, 2018 tells us that, “Despite fears over Law and Justice, Poland is not sliding into dictatorship.”

“Poland is not stuck in its current predicament, it is an evolving scene. It’s obvious that Law and Justice has trampled on the constitution, assaulted the independence of the judiciary, and put pressure on women in ways no other government has dared since 1989. But to draw the conclusion that Poland is inexorably sliding into a new brand of authoritarianism is wrong. It misses the nuances and the behind-the-scenes efforts to seek solutions.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/04/law-and-justice-poland-dictatorship

Even as I write this the activities in Poland concerning their possible decisions to leave the EU (or get kicked out) are sending stocks tumbling.

Delving into another country’s politics without historical context has its limitations. However, relying on the analysis of citizens and writers offers good insight.