|Last week saw Trump’s floundering Presidency saved by the quick response of his national security team to the Syrian chemical weapons attack on a hospital near Aleppo. Generals McMaster, Mattis, and Dunford, with CIA head Pompeo, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and the U. S. Navy planned and executed the Tomahawk cruise missile attack on a secondary Syrian Air Force base, thereby bringing steel and thunder, and more importantly, resolve into the President’s otherwise weak and confused performance as Commander in Chief to date.
Will Trump’s image benefit from their speedy action? Sure. Will his instant popularity last? Doubtful, once the public comes to understand that little serious damage was done to the Syrian forces of Dictator Assad. But even when people realize the Tomahawk attack was more of a PR event than a military “victory”, the global political benefits of the forceful-seeming response will have some lasting impact:
But, with all its associated benefits, the impact and memory of the US bombing will fade in time. The same cannot be said of two other Trump administration “victories” this week, when, first, the Senate voted to kill the 60-vote requirement to confirm a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and then, triumphant in their march backward toward a repressive America, voted to seat Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.
Your Truthteller predicts that Gorsuch will prove to be the most right-wing Justice in recent history — that is, until the next Trump appointment, should he get one. Thanks to the Senate rules changes, he can now nominate a flagrantly reactionary judge, knowing his choice only needs fifty-one votes to be appointed to the court.
If, as expected, the Republicans add several Senate seats to their current 52-seat total in 2018, then, even should a Democrat win the Presidency in 2020, it’s unlikely she or he will control the Senate. The result? A Democratic/Progressive successor to Trump will be unable to appoint a justice who is deemed “liberal” or left-leaning by the Republicans, who can block any nominee with just 51 votes. More broadly, from last week, a President who faces a Senate controlled by the other party will likely not be allowed to appoint any Supreme Court Justice.
We could well see the Court lose one or even two Justices to age after 2020, to find that those seats cannot be filled, thanks to Republican obstructionism. Merrick Garland will be joined by more Democratic-supported Nominees on the bench of the betrayed.
Worse, the business of SCOTUS will be proceeding apace, as the five or six right-wing Justices overturn one progressive precedent after another. We need to remember: a Court with just seven active Justices can accept cases from the lower courts if as few of four Justices agree. With Gorsuch, the right wingers will control five. The addition of another Conservative should Trump get the chance will give the reactionaries six of nine Justices.
When those of us warned voters in the months leading up to the November election that a victory by Trump would have disastrous consequences for American democracy, this is what we were talking about. Putting SCOTUS in the hands of the conservative faction of the Republican party means that for at least the next twenty to twenty-five years, the great Corporations, the religious right, the rabid America Firsters, and the anti-women, anti-minorities, anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-middle class, anti-gun control, and anti-civil and voting rights forces will have a cooperative Court to ensure that anti-progressive, corporate-friendly, one-percent enriching Republican legislation continues to become the law of the land.
Overturning Citizens United? Not gonna be possible. Climate change regulation and proactive environmental programs? Forget them. Long term economic growth? Forget it. Voting rights? Forget them. Women’s reproductive rights? The appointment of Gorsuch, coupled with the Ryan/Pence agenda, dooms them. The reining in of the Greed Class, who’ve used the law to secure their economic strangle-hold on our country? Not going to happen, not with a Republican-controlled Congress, a malleable, morally spineless President, and a pro-business Court to back them up.
This seemingly small change, the quiet takeover of the Supreme Court, will put approximate 20% of Americans in legal control of the other 80%.for the foreseeable future. Since the dominant 20% will march in lockstep to the drumbeat of the ruling one-tenth of one percent, this control will:
The murder of those poor Syrian children and their relatives was an inexcusable criminal act. But, tragic as it was, it pales in your Truthteller’s eyes to the murder of American democracy. Someday, somehow, Assad and his Generals and Russian enablers will, I hope, be punished. But the murder of the dream that is America will not be prosecuted and judged in any court, for the Supreme Court, the place where ultimate justice has so many times been obtained by the weak, by minorities, by the outsiders, and by women, is now in the hands of the right wing authoritarians.
|The latest surveys all testify to Trump’s growing unpopularity:
|Trump’s second major defeat
As I write, Trump seems headed for his second goose egg. The only question is which of his agenda items will fail next?
Going by the never-ending media frenzy, Defeat Number Two ought to be his latest attempt to bypass the Constitution with a slightly re-written Muslim, I mean “immigration” ban. But the court battle over the revised executive order is likely to still be unresolved well into the summer months, so the highly probable rejection of his Muslim ban will probably be Trumpfail number three, or even four.
The most satisfying next Trump clown car wreck would of course be the collapse of his much ballyhooed Wall. Satisfying, that is, for the majority of American voters, who voted against him last November. But again, time is already against the moment when we can savor his rage as his Wall disappears into the north Mexican desert sands. Congress is already playing it’s classic delaying game, wrestling how to slow if not altogether stop its wasteful, foolish construction. We all, even Trump, know that the Mexicans won’t pay for it, and we’re quickly learning that the US Congress won’t, either. Trump’s only hope to get a win on this most-repeated campaign promise is to borrow twenty-five billion dollars from his Russian gangsta buddies.
Meaning the end of April vote on funding the government, which has to happen, whether Trump is too busy playing golf at Mar-A-Lago or not, is shaping up to be his second major fail. No, it’s technically not the defeat of one of his absurd agenda items; it’s simply a requirement of the law, and every Administration has to cajole the Congressional factions to go along with raising the debt ceiling (again), or see their entire program placed at risk.
Now, I’m sure the Democrats would love to join with the so-called Freedom Caucus and help shut down this sorry excuse for a national government, but they may not be able to: At his present rate of bumbling, unforced errors, laziness, poor communications, and ill-considered policy fails, there’s a good chance that Trump and his corrupt cronies will succeed in closing the Administration doors before the Dems even get the chance to vote in late April.
Adding these three defeats to his TrumpCare fiasco, I predict a score of four for the combined “establishment” to zero for the Trump/Bannon goon squad going into the fall.
|As the Senate plods toward the seemingly inevitable appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the SCOTUS, your Truthteller restrains himself from screaming how I predicted this was going to happen if Trump won the election. No point in that sort of drama, now.
Nor would there be any value in belaboring the truth how President Obama and the American people were robbed of a SCOTUS appointment for a solid year by McConnell and his Republican cronies. Yes, the Republicans should have held hearings on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination. But no, it was not inevitable that he would have been confirmed; the Senate (and country) is now so polarized that it’s highly unlikely any Democratic nominee would be approved, even such a middle-of-the-roader like Garland.
Instead, we face the prospect of seeing the conservative Gorsuch fill the chair occupied by Antonin Scalia. Scalia was a terrible Justice from a Progressive point of view. And by several accounts, Gorsuch can be expected to be even more to the right than Scalia, especially in cases involving large corporate plaintiffs and defendants.
None of this is news to any Progressive familiar with the events following President Obama’s nomination of Judge Garland. Nor are we surprised any more by the near-universal praise of Scalia as a paragon among Justices. Nor have we allowed the often-endearing tales of his out-of-Court behavior to make us forget the hard, historical truth: Scalia’s tenure was disastrous for the future of our democracy. Anyone who needs to read the evidence can Google his record.
What is less understood is the debate about Scalia’s judicial “Originalism”, and the sub-arguments of just how “pure” an Originalist he was.
|The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t Official Trumped-up Republican approach to “fixing” health care would be just another Trump policy disaster in the making if it were not so nefarious.
The primary reasons the Repubs have been trying to repeal Obamacare for 7 years are to:
|…just as he clearly isn’t the solution. But hoping against hope for his impeachment is foolish. Impeachment would see Trump replaced by Pence. People should realize Pence accepted the VP slot in hopes of advancing his rabidly retrogressive agenda of far-right religious measures to turn this country into a White-dominated Christian Nation. The media and Dems are obsessed with Trump/Bannon drama, incompetence, and anti-American Executive Orders, but the real drama and conflict is between the mentally unfit President and his overweight Rasputin whisperer, and the Republican Congress, led by its triumvirate of reactionary co-conspirators: Pence, Ryan, and McConnell.
The Republicans are the real pro-White Nationalist faction, have been for the past forty years and longer; Bannon is just an opportunistic latecomer. With their jumbled, now you see it, now you don’t agenda, Trump/Bannon are standing in the way of the corporate-controlled, rightist Congress. The 2017 Republican legislative juggernaut is assembling, only held up by their healthcare ineptitude. But the crunch is coming, and when it does, Pence, not Trump, will have the backing of Congress.
Will Trump sign the Ryan bills? If he does not, he’ll become billionaire road kill.
As argued in my previous post, Pence and his pro-business, pro-White Nationalist allies will use Trump’s mental instability and inability to govern as grounds for a 25th Amendment-sanctioned coup, and toss him and his reality TV clowns out of power and into the oncoming traffic of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Understand this: the booting of Trump and his odious family and swamp bottom feeding toadies will not be the day America is saved. It will be the day most women, union members, African-Americans, Latinos, working class people of all colors, students, LGBT persons, and especially, climate change activists come to call “the day the U.S. Constitution committed suicide.”
|There is much discussion among the Democratic and Progressive political pros regarding the best strategy for blocking Trump, and making him even more unpopular. Make Trump toxic enough, the idea goes, and then maybe the Dems can retake control of the House in 2018, even while (probably) losing seats in the Senate.
IMO much of this discussion is absurdly irrelevant. I’ve said so, today, in this post to PoliticalWire.com:
The first priority for the Democrats is not to “take Trump down”. The immediate priority is to help the liberals, progressives, independents and Party democrats solidify the organic Resistance into a permanent foundational force. This cannot be a Democratic Party organization; the Party has lost all credibility with most of those it needs to regain Congressional power.
The Party needs to bring youthful energy into its leadership, and put all its resources into the hundreds of attempts to disrupt and delay a Congress whose leadership and right-wing faction is bent on the destruction of civil rights and the national re-establishment of unbridled White and Corporate Power.
As for Trump, the threat to our country is not a mad would-be King, but the Rasputin who’s whispering chaos in his ear. Sooner (I predict) rather than later Bannon and his anti-Constitutional faction will overstep the end of a bridge already too far.
When that happens, Pence will collect a majority of the Cabinet, cite the 25th Amendment, and assume the Presidency. After a lengthy fight, he will prevail, and this present awful excuse of a President will resign.
Leaving us with an awful 46th President, a religious fanatic who will help Ryan enact his entire agenda, probably before the 2018 Congressional election.
The most vexing question therefore, fellow progressives, is not when or how Trump can be toppled, but what happens when the Toppler-in-Chief takes over America’s destiny.
|Time to wake up, all you pundits and media types, all you Liberals, along with the few Republicans who have not yet sold their political soul to the TV President:
Trump is not going to change.
He will not suddenly morph into a reasonable, dignified, conscientious, thoughtful person, not now, not in his first 100 days, not this year, not ever. Reason, dignity, conscientiousness, rational analysis, concern for others, tolerance for the views of all Americans; all these are simply missing from the Trump TV Klown Kit of tricks, pranks, lies and scams, just as they are missing from the Twitterverse, his chosen communications medium.
Commentators who insist that he “must” stop Tweeting, or “must” listen to the National Security professionals, or “must” get real about foreign policy, or “must” act like a responsible adult may as well be asking a pig to blast out perfumed farts. Pompous experts who warn that Trump will lose his supporters unless he starts acting like a President instead of a spoiled rich adolescent are making the error of assuming that Trump cares — not just about his supporters, but about anything or anyone more than roughly two feet away from him at any given moment, anything outside of groping range of his small hands, in short.
Those who chastise him for stupidly alienating foreign leaders and whole countries and entire cultures don’t get that Trump simply doesn’t know how to deal with our allies (or enemies): his ignorance of foreign affairs, international economics, and human history is bigly. And even if he could be convinced the values, experience, opinions and goals of those in other lands were important, he’d be incapable of saying so in any way that didn’t first demean them.
Those who waste breath bewailing his inability to make a cogent sentence, or express a clear policy, even a bad one, miss the key point: he cannot understand any reality that requires explanation in more than a few short sentences at the 6th grade reading level. He doesn’t prefer watching TV to reading heavy reports and serious analyses and, especially, books, because the TV images are bright and shiny, and allow his juvenile attention span to wander: he doesn’t read books because he cannot understand their contents.
But it’s worse than an absence of literacy and mature intelligence. Trump doesn’t like serious books because he has no earthly idea why anyone would bother writing one. He has no respect for authors or scholars or analysts who spend months or years working to understand issues and problems, then more months writing down their suggestions how to deal with them. Why, Trump seems to think, can’t they just go on TV and spit out their ivory tower, fake news crap in three minutes?
If he cannot or will not read, why would he see any reason to learn how to make a meaningful paragraph? Much easier to simply make stuff up and then shout it like a twelve year old schoolyard bully at a hall full of people who are at approximately the same intellectual level. No wonder he cannot make a real speech, and has no respect for those who can.
The problem isn’t his pussy-grasping small hands; it’s his small brain, incapable of grasping large ideas.
|In the previous post, your Truthteller outlined several major indicators of Trump’s lack of a functioning intelligence. By “functioning intelligence”, we mean the intelligence needed to perform as an executive. The executive in charge of our national government, namely the President, requires a “functioning intelligence” capable of managing far more than, say, the global enterprise managed, for example, a CEO like Rex Tillerson.
After less than one month of a Trump-misled administration, we have enough data to conclude that Donald Trump is demonstrably incapable of doing the job less than 25% of American citizens selected him for. A few examples: