To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

New Observercast

A Flailing, Failing Presidency

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Events keep outrunning the media’s, or my attempts to keep up with the soap opera-cum-governmental disaster that is the Trump presidency.

Even the great journalists and pundits are nonplussed by the speed with which the Sargasso Sea of corruption, lies, indictments, departures and childish tantrums keep turning each news cycle into a trip to the White House Fantasyland.

In days past, the “E” ticket at Disneyland allowed you to enjoy everything the park had to offer. The flailing, failing presidency of Donald Trump is a political voyeur’s “E” ticket to a tragedy, the tragedy of a Romanov-like family swamped by its own arrogance, naivete and outright stupidity – to say nothing of the corrupt grifting, extortion and bribery. The head of the family, of course, is leading by tantrum and “instinct,” more so as the COVID-19 crisis noose grows tighter around his chubby neck.

Trump’s secret love affair with Russia and Vladimir Putin is remarkable and frightening in its obviousness and naked disregard for the security of the United States’ institutions.

When Congress passes economic sanctions on Russia, this president does nothing to implement them. The national security agencies still wait for direction from the president’s office to thwart Russian interference into election hacking. The White House is silent. Not a word has emanated from Trump about election interference that the intelligence community has confirmed will happen again in 2020.

Instead, all the critics and whistleblowers are being fired or forced out by the paranoid personality in the Oval Office. To me, this is gross dereliction of duty.

Then again, we see all the Trump family entanglements of hotel deals with the Russians, influence peddling by the son-in-law, money laundering by his former campaign chairman, the “symbiotic” relationship with Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee ranking member. And who can dismiss the obvious corrupt power play my Moscow Mitch McConnell in directing the Senate to acquit Trump without a real trial; no witnesses and no evidence allowed, thank you.

In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, Nunes has wrapped himself and his Republican colleagues in the mantle of obfuscation, denials, non-denial denials and outright lies in attempts to derail the FBI’s investigation into the criminal conspiracy with Russia by the Trump campaign, as well as that by the special prosecutor.

Now, why would a member of Congress be so protective of a president who basically admits to obstruction of justice and extortion for his own political benefit? One must ask if Republicans are so beholden to their party lines that the moral codes and laws of our nation don’t matter. The other conclusion is that the Republican Party has become a full-blown cult with Donald Trump emulating the late Jim Jones. Is that Ivanka stirring the punchbowl?

History shows us that every time, every time, a massive tax cut is given to the wealthy and the corporations, our economy tanks and we have another economic trough of recession or depression. This history is, of course, perpetuated by Republicans, who keep saying they believe in small government.

The facts are that every time there is Republican control of Congress and/or the White House, government gets larger and more expensive: See the newest Pentagon budget. Not only is it larger than last year’s, the Defense Department whines because it wasn’t big enough. Fifty-seven percent of the entire national output isn’t enough. Think about that.

Oh, and now [April, 2020] oil prices are crashing, the NYSE has lost trillions of dollars in a matter of weeks due to the COVID-19 scare and the little feud between Russia and Saudi Arabia over production numbers. So how, one wonders, is our government going to bail out the collapsing companies as well as extending unemployment insurance to millions who’ve lost their jobs?

Since Republicans are so hot on cutting revenue to the treasury, how many more trillions in deficit spending will the party of small government and fiscal responsibility endure before collectively throwing up on themselves? How many actual conservative voters will buy their lies come November 2020?

Thanks to both Republican and Democratic initiatives, at the behest of big business, we have shipped jobs to places where labor unions don’t exist and where labor is just a couple clicks above outright slavery. That’s our brand of capitalism. That’s what Reaganomics pushed for and got. Add to that the other tax rules that allow corporations and the super rich to plop their cash in overseas banks so they don’t have to pay taxes on that income. Research shows that that number exceeds $300 trillion. How’s that for outright patriotism and fiscal responsibility?

Intelligent pundits have cautioned us to watch what they do and not what they say. The flailing president has done his two-step on just about everything, from easily breaking campaign promises about health care, tax reform and job creation to trying to keep promises on gun control, and trade tariffs. He told us how easy it was going to be to enact health care for everyone at a cheaper cost and better coverage than that dreaded ObamaCare. Instead, we ended up having the president gleefully sign a bill that cuts insurance coverage and pressures “the market” to raise premiums and rates on everyone … except the Congress, of course. The laugh line here is when the president told the world, “Who knew health care was so complicated?”

Trump has done the two-step on everything he’s touched while in office. It’s what he’s been doing his entire life. As a businessman, he’s stiffed his contractors and manipulated bankruptcy to walk away with millions in the bank. How does anyone fail in the casino business? Trump has. Now, he seems to want to stiff the entire nation, especially those who struggle to make ends meet. As Rick Wilson’s eloquent book title states: Everything Trump Touches Dies.

Trump almost daily violates his oath of office. Regarding the election security issues, he is fundamentally derelict in his first duty to protect our nation and its institutions from outside influence. Add to that McConnell’s shelving of several pieces of House-passed legislation protecting our election integrity. I guess rigged elections start at home if you’re a Republican.

We were attacked by the Russians, yet not a single disparaging word about Russia comes from the president’s lips. Not a single action to prevent or retaliate against Russia comes from his pen. Why is that?

So, while the White House environment continues to emulate that of an acid bath, his staff, some competent, are leaving in droves. The current administration, in just 3½ years has set a new league record for executive branch turnover … by far. The latest chief-of-staff, Mark Meadows, is stuck with a collection of family members and appointees who can’t get security clearances, nor know much about anything.

So, who is able to execute the daily grind of executive branch work? Leaked reports of the chaos and low morale in the White House [all wings] shows a flailing, angry, “unglued” individual [the president] lashing out at everyone and everything. We saw a brief glimmer of real humanity from President Trump when he addressed the Florida students after the latest school shooting. He then blew everyone away by saying he wanted all sorts of gun controls. Not to worry, NRA, all it took was another session behind closed doors to fix that outburst. Watch what they do, not what they say.

Is another real war a possibility? Why would he start another war? Well, it’s part of the deflection campaign against all the legal attacks and to obfuscate, lie, change the subject and doing something else outrageous. This is the flail of a flailing leader who is in way over his head. Neither he, nor his family, nor most of his appointees have the first clue about governing the nation. The COVID-19 situation has exposed Trump as a know-nothing doofus while his actual doctors produce fact-based reports. And, of course, there is room and time on the podium for Trump’s parade of ass-kissers to stroke his ego in light of no rallies allowed.

Trump’s ego and narcissism drives the failure of his administration, but the outright incompetence of himself and his staff and cabinet of amateurs has the executive branch of our government flailing away and doing far more harm than good. This is what we get when we combine an uninvolved electorate [92 million voters who didn’t vote] with an outmoded and misused part of our Constitution [Electoral College].

The irony is that the Electoral College was created to prevent someone like Donald Trump from becoming president. That must be fixed before it’s too late.

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Vern Turner
Vern Turner
Denver resident Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Why Angels Weep: America and Donald Trump, is available through Amazon.
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