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Mueller, Trump and Governance

Now that the Mueller investigation is over, can the elected officials of the United States government start governing? This writer understands that these august personages all believe that it isn’t governing that is their role, but grandstanding, but couldn’t a little time be allocated for the former?

Let’s look at a few things that might be considered.

International Law: President Donald Trump, who, according to the Mueller report, is neither accused nor exonerated, has just declared U.S. support for the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights. This isn’t all that surprising, since he has shown his complete disdain for international law. His current National Security Advisor has said that international law exists solely to constrain U.S. power (not true, of course, but anything that constrains U.S. power must be good). Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF); he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, all in violation of international law. Every one of these moves decreases world security and threatens the future of the planet. Couldn’t measures be taken to bring the United States back into conformity with international law?

Income Inequality: When it comes to income inequality, the U.S. has no peer. One recent study showed that U.S. citizens in the top 10% bracket earn nine times as much as the remaining 90%. Since at least the Reagan years, the very rich have been getting richer as the poor and middle-class lose ground. Isn’t that worth taking a look at?

Incarceration: The U.S. has spent over a trillion dollars on its ‘war’ on drugs, yet the level of drug abuse has remained the same since that ‘war’ was ‘declared’ during the Nixon years. This ‘war’ is seen as one of the reasons why the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country on the planet, with 724 people per 100,000 imprisoned. Iran, which Trump is always vilifying, has a rate far lower, with 284 people per 100,000 imprisoned, just slightly more than Trump’s beloved ‘democracy,’ Israel, with 236 per 100,000. Couldn’t Congress possibly review the way this money has been spent over the decades, and the negative consequences, and possibly seek to rectify the situation?

We could talk about crumbling infrastructure, the inferior education system, the high cost of higher education, racial inequality, and many, many other areas of concern, but we mustn’t tax the limited brain power of those who are elected to represent us.

It is no secret that Republican officials have sold whatever they have instead of a soul to the Party, holding the good of the people and their needs in contempt. This is not a result of the Trump presidency, but something that has been in the works for decades.

Across the aisle, things are no better. Democrats rage at undeclared wars waged by Republicans, and decry human rights violations until they are in power, and then these atrocities are somehow just fine.

And now, reminiscent of the Republicans prior to the 2016 presidential election, it seems that every Democrat and his brother (and sister) are declaring their intention to seek the presidential nomination. From the stuffy and old former vice-president Joe Biden, to the ‘youthful’ and lobby-owned former Representative from Texas, Beto O’Rourke; from the Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who, when asked in 2014 about Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip, ran from the reporters because she didn’t know how to answer, to the pharmaceutical puppet, New Jersey Senator Cory Brooker, they are all throwing their hats into the ring, each proclaiming the evils of the Republicans, while avoiding, for the most part, stating what they would do differently.

Couldn’t some of these people, at least those that still hold elective office, perhaps introduce a bill, find co-sponsors, work with the opposition on compromise, and actually do something constructive for the citizenry? Must they spend all their time decrying the truthful words of Representative Ilan Omar, who had the temerity to speak truthfully and say that U.S. officials’ loyalty to Israel is based on money? Since 1990, pro-Israel lobbies have donated $138,428, 805.00 to U.S. candidates. The Mueller investigation looked at possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election. Why is there no investigation looking at Israeli attempts to influence U.S. elections? One would think that, with that amount of money alone, there might be something worth looking at.

But no, doing so might dry up those funds; better to castigate an official who talks about it, rather than doing anything to rectify it.

That is the U.S. style, after all. Consider Edward Snowden, in exile and accused of all kinds of crimes because he exposed crimes of the U.S. government. Why prosecute those crimes, when the person who exposed them can be vilified, thus drawing attention from them?

With the Mueller investigation at an end, what will come next? Trump, who believes himself the best and most popular president ever, will gloat that the entire investigation was a conspiracy of the Democrats, who couldn’t bear to believe that their candidate, the corrupt and corporate-owned Hillary Clinton, could have legitimately lost the election (note: she won the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes, but according to Trump, that’s only because of widespread voter fraud, an accusation for which there is absolutely no evidence). But the Democrats will look at such things as hush money payments to a porn star, and other shady dealings during his campaign, so he is not quite out of the woods. Why govern, when Trump makes such an easy target?

One looks with fear and trepidation to the 2020 election. Trump will be coronated at the GOP convention. But what of the Democrats? Who among the multitudinous people seeking the nomination, or who will soon so declare, will be the standard-bearer? Does anyone really care?

There seems to be a belief within Democratic-Party circles that just about anyone can defeat Trump. Why this belief exists astonishes this writer. In 2016, when Trump was nothing more than a reality-show blowhard and real-estate developer, the Party thought the same thing, so it sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign and nominated Clinton, a widely despised corporate shill with no interest in the people who voted for her.

Oh, we have Sanders again, a self-proclaimed socialist, who seems as enamored of U.S. wars as any Republican. We have Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who will sell her soul for Israel (perhaps she already has; during the 2016 election, pro-Israel lobbies contributed $289,729.00 to her campaign). But basically, each one is a meet-the-new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss candidate and, much as Trump is a dangerous and incompetent buffoon, a threat to humanity itself, he has a reliable base of misogynists, racists and Islamophobes that he can rely on. With the Democrats afraid to differentiate themselves in any meaningful way, many voters, including this writer, will seek a third-party candidate to support.

It has been fourteen years since this writer left his home in Florida and moved permanently to Canada. He will not insult the reader by saying that the U.S.’s neighbor to the north is Utopian. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be an anonymous employee of some company now, unheard of beyond his own family circle, had his father not been a popular prime minister. But at least here, this writer’s tax dollars go to health care more than to war, and that is a significant difference between the two nations.

What the next two years will bring to the U.S. and to the world due to the U.S.’s contempt for international law is anyone’s guess. With half of Congress running around trying to get elected or re-elected, there will be little time for governance. Under other circumstances, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, since so much of what Congress does only benefits the wealthy. But having Donald Trump in the White House without any reasonable check on his bizarre and erratic behaviors is a frightening thought indeed. The world is barreling down a super highway toward disaster, with Trump at the helm. This is not a comforting thought for any reasonable person.

 

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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