BY VERN TURNER
Even the great journalists and pundits are nonplussed by the speed with which the Sargasso Sea of corruption, lies, indictments, departures and childish tantrums keeps turning each news cycle into a trip to Disneyland. 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 coming tragedy, the tragedy of a Romanov-like family swamped by its own arrogance, naivete and outright stupidity. The head of the family, of course, is leading by tantrum and “instinct,” more so as the Mueller noose grows tighter around his family and himself.
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. 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 2018.
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, possible money laundering by his former campaign chairman, the “symbiotic” relationship with Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman and his memos.
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 collusion 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? One must ask if Republicans are so beholden to their party line that the moral codes and laws of our nation don’t matter.
I’ve spoken about the tax cut before, but as the impact of the “plan” becomes more visible, it shows itself to be one of the most dangerous [to our working class majority] and special interest-oriented pieces of legislation ever passed in our entire history.
Speaking of which … 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.
Then, since most of our manufacturing jobs have been sent to other countries and our factories abandoned, we must ask what do we build? We build great airplanes and some automobiles. We build the most fearsome weapons of war. We build countless guns for our citizens to hoard and fondle. We build buildings for our insurance companies and corporate executives to reside in.
We build no televisions, no audio/visual devices, no smart phones and very few computers and printers, compared to the rest of the world. We build some alternative energy hardware, but other countries build much, much more than we do. We build medical devices and prosthetics for our injured and maimed veterans who are working in dangerous places created by George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s misbegotten wars.
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. How’s that for outright patriotism?
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 now, 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 appears that’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.
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. 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? Failure? Trump’s actions and inactions define the word perfectly.
So, while the White House environment continues to emulate that of an acid bath, his staff, some competent, are leaving in droves. The beleaguered chief-of-staff is stuck with a collection of family members and appointees who can’t get security clearances.
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] show 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.
With Hope Hicks, Trump’s 29-year-old soother, gone, who will talk him off the ledge? Is another real war a possibility? Why would he start another war? Well, it’s part of the deflection campaign against the Mueller investigation: distract, obfuscate, lie, change the subject, 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.
Trump’s ego and narcissism will drive 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 un-involved 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.
– Denver resident Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.