Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fall of the American Empire; the GOP's New Katrina

Thousands dying in Puerto Rico due to the Trump/Pence regime's failure to provide adequate hurricane relief seemingly failed to force far too many Americans to recognize the monster who had been elevated to the White House.  Thankfully, now - although at horrible human cost - the hideous force family separations going on at the nation's southwest border (Trump plans to double down on the barbarism) seem to be belatedly forcing recognize that Trump's election has triggered a national emergency while at the same time showing once and for all that the Republican Party is the party of cruelty and racial hatred.  The irony is that Trump's mind dead, racist and religious extremist base believes Trump is "making America great again" even as he destroys the country's moral standing in the world and is unraveling trade policies and alliances which will only diminish America economically.  One can only hope and pray - if one still believes in prayer - that the daily horrors will convince decent moral Americans and Hispanics in particular that they must turn out as never before and vote to defeat Republicans at every level come November 2018. While removing Trump and Pence from office may be difficult, the cancer they represent can be controlled. Two pieces are worthy of note.  One in Politico looks at how the cruelty on display may harm the GOP.  Here are excerpts:
Republicans want to talk about tax cuts. Instead, they’re talking about kids in cages.
Rather than touting lower taxes and a steady job market, House and Senate Republicans are being forced to answer for President Donald Trump’s contentious immigration policies — whether it’s separating migrant kids from their parents, removing DACA protections or building a border wall. And that’s likely bad news heading into November.
[A]s the White House blames Congress for the crisis at the border, GOP lawmakers are struggling to craft a proposal that unites their own party, let alone one that can win bipartisan support and become law. And with no congressional solution in sight, Hill Republicans worry that Trump’s immigration crackdown could swamp their success on the economy and overshadow all the things they want to run on in the midterm elections.
And the renewed focus on immigration is almost all self-inflicted, from Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to his relentless focus on the border wall to his “zero tolerance” policy for border-crossers, which has already led to more than 2,300 children being separated from their parents.
Hugh Hewitt, a leading conservative media voice, raised the prospect that the family separation crisis could become “the Republicans’ new Katrina and the president’s new Katrina” in an interview with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Monday.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that 66 percent of Americans who participated in the survey oppose Trump’s move to separate migrant kids from their parents. But 55 percent of Republicans back the action.
A column in the Washington Post notes in part (take the time to view the picture and see what is being done in the name of every American citizen):
John Moore may have lost the midterm elections for the Republican Party and badly damaged the reelection prospects of President TrumpMoore is the Getty Images photographer who snapped a viral picture of a crying 2-year-old Honduran girl at the U.S.-Mexico border. 
A picture is worth a thousand words, the saying goes. But this one is worth a million tweets. In political consequence, it is like the one taken of President George W. Bush surveying the devastation of Hurricane Katrina— by peering out the window of Air Force One. As Bush himself later acknowledged, the photo made him look “detached and uncaring.” It reinforced his frat-boy image. 
Of course, Trump is nowhere near the crying Honduran girl. But his fingerprints are all over the picture. . . . Moore’s picture is of a very special category — the pain of innocent children. It is reminiscent of the one Nick Ut of the Associated Press took of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, fleeing a napalm attack in 1972.  
But back to the Politico piece.  Yes, you read the quote correctly: 55% of Republicans support Trump's horrific and cruel policy.  55% of Republicans support this!  Remember this on election day in November.  

As bad as the forced separation policy may be, the larger damage being done to America by the Trump/Pence regime and its Republican enablers is even more pervasive and seems intended to end the pax Americana that has existed for 70 some years.  All so Trump can appear "tough" and "winning" to his morally bankrupt base. Here are excerpts from a column in the New York Times:
The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures (which officials insist aren’t cages, oh no). The U.S. president is demanding that law enforcement stop investigating his associates and go after his political enemies instead. He has been insulting democratic allies while praising murderous dictators. And a global trade war seems increasingly likely.
What do these stories have in common? Obviously they’re all tied to the character of the man occupying the White House, surely the worst human being ever to hold his position. But there’s also a larger context, and it’s not just about Donald Trump. What we’re witnessing is a systematic rejection of longstanding American values — the values that actually made America great.
America has long been a powerful nation. In particular, we emerged from World War II with a level of both economic and military dominance not seen since the heyday of ancient Rome. But our role in the world was always about more than money and guns. It was also about ideals: America stood for something larger than itself — for freedom, human rights and the rule of law as universal principles.
By the end of World War II, we and our British allies had in effect conquered a large part of the world. We could have become permanent occupiers, and/or installed subservient puppet governments, the way the Soviet Union did in Eastern Europe. And yes, we did do that in some developing countries; our history with, say, Iran is not at all pretty.
But what we mainly did instead was help defeated enemies get back on their feet, establishing democratic regimes that shared our core values and became allies in protecting those values.
The Pax Americana was a sort of empire; certainly America was for a long time very much first among equals. But it was by historical standards a remarkably benign empire, held together by soft power and respect rather than force. (There are actually some parallels with the ancient Pax Romana, but that’s another story.) 
[T]he modern world trading system was largely the brainchild not of economists or business interests, but of Cordell Hull, F.D.R.’s long-serving secretary of state, who believed that “prosperous trade among nations” was an essential element in building an “enduring peace.” So you want to think of the postwar creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as part of the same strategy that more or less simultaneously gave rise to the Marshall Plan and the creation of NATO.
So all the things happening now are of a piece. Committing atrocities at the border, attacking the domestic rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about ending American exceptionalism, turning our back on the ideals that made us different from other powerful nations.
And rejecting our ideals won’t make us stronger; it will make us weaker. We were the leader of the free world, a moral as well as financial and military force. But we’re throwing all that away. . . . Trump isn’t making America great again; he’s trashing the things that made us great, turning us into just another bully — one whose bullying will be far less effective than he imagines.

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