Connect with us

Americas

Magician or Con Man: Trump Addresses U.S. Congress

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

Published

on

If a headline for the State Of the Union (SOTU) address was expected to be:  “A Truculent Trump Traduces Democrats”, it now could be “Trump Triumphs — Credits American People for Year of Successes.”  The speech was a litany of success stories, economic and military illustrated by tales of valor, grit, hard work, forbearance in the face of tragedy, the actual individuals involved all present, and, when mentioned, asked to stand to be applauded.  It was enormously upbeat with one sour note — the Democrats looking surly, determined not to applaud … not even the universalities of Congress, certainly not the tax bill on which they caved.  If truth be told, both sides have the same pay masters.  The speech itself a magician’s illusion, a glass not half empty or half full, but appearing full yet without content when turned over.

The Democrats’ response talked of chaos, and the negatives they could muster without seeming to realize that if Trump had credited the American people for the year and its successes, the Democratic response was indirectly blaming the same people for the failures.  It fell flat.  Attention focused on the white drool collecting on both corners of the speaker’s mouth, morphing Joe Kennedy III into a frothing-at-the-mouth, angry young man vandalizing the beautiful portrait painted by the American people and  displayed by the President.

Does this mean Mr. Trump has been a good president?  No, of course not.  He is temperamentally unsuited to the job.  In one year, the Union of Concerned Scientists have moved their doomsday clock twice:  each time a half minute closer to midnight.  It is now at two minutes to, the closest to doom since 1953.  They cite increased danger from nuclear weapons, that is proliferation, increased expenditures, improved accuracy and thus greater usability of tactical nuclear weapons, the absence of arms control talks and a general instability.  To that they add the calculated failure to combat climate change, a charge clearly leveled at the Trump administration.

Mr. Trump has also been lucky.  The world is in a synchronous economic boom, for the first time since 2010.  He is adding to it with a regressive unfunded tax-package contributing to the stock market’s record highs.  For the tax cuts, the bill will come later — perhaps on the backs of the same middle class whose paychecks will have more take-home money from February as the president proudly pointed out.

Some congressional representatives touted left-leaning credentials by announcing  their decision to boycott the SOTU address.  It achieved little, and might be considered a slight to the office of president.

If truth be told, most of our elected representatives are no longer responsive to the needs of the ordinary voter.  Election victories correlate with political ads on TV, and these cost money.  Fundraising is the name of the game, a time-consuming, lucrative activity that also makes politicians beholden to major donors.  It is a fact Donald Trump was able to exploit by declaring he was not bought as he was using his own money — and it struck a chord with many voters.  Of course, his tax bill will allow him to keep more of it, perhaps even more than he spent in the election.

Not a bad deal.  But then did he not claim to have written ‘The Art of the Deal’, a runaway best seller?

Dr. Arshad M. Khan is a former Professor based in the US. Educated at King's College London, OSU and The University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. Thus he headed the analysis of an innovation survey of Norway, and his work on SMEs published in major journals has been widely cited. He has for several decades also written for the press: These articles and occasional comments have appeared in print media such as The Dallas Morning News, Dawn (Pakistan), The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and others. On the internet, he has written for Antiwar.com, Asia Times, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Eurasia Review and Modern Diplomacy among many. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in its Congressional Record.

Continue Reading
Comments

Americas

Scandinavia Veers Left plus D-Day Reflections as Trump Storms Europe

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

Published

on

Mette Frederiksen of the five-party Social Democrat bloc won 91 of the 169 seats in the Danish parliament ending the rule of the right-wing Liberal Party group that had governed for 14 of the last 18 years.  The election issues centered on climate change, immigration and Denmark’s generous social welfare policies.  All parties favored tighter immigration rules thereby taking away the central issue dominating the far-right Democrat Freedom Party which has seen its support halved since the last election in 2015.

Ms Frederiksen promised more spending to bolster the much loved social welfare model and increased taxes on businesses and the wealthy.  A left wave is sweeping Scandinavia as Denmark becomes the third country, after Sweden and Finland, to move left within a year.  Mette Frederiksen will also be, at 41, the youngest prime minister Denmark has ever had.

Donald Trump has used the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorations to garner positive publicity.  The supreme promoter has managed to tie it in with a “classy” (his oft-chosen word) state visit to the UK spending a day with royals.  It was also a farewell to the prime minister as her resignation is effective from June 7.  Add a D-Day remembrance ceremony at Portsmouth and he was off to his golf course in Ireland for a couple of days of relaxation disguised as a visit to the country for talks — he has little in common with the prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who is half-Indian and gay.

Onward to France where leaders gathered for ceremonies at several places.  It is easy to forget the extent of that carnage:  over 20,000 French civilians were killed in Normandy alone mostly from aerial bombing and artillery fire.  The Normandy American cemetery holds over 9600 soldiers.  All in all, France lost in the neighborhood of 390,000 civilian dead during the whole war.  Estimates of total deaths across the world range from 70 to 85 million or about 3 percent of the then global population (estimated at 2.3 billion).

Much has been written about conflict resolutions generally from a cold rational perspective.  Emotions like greed, fear and a sense of injustice when unresolved lead only in one direction.  There was a time when individual disputes were given the ultimate resolution through single combat.  Now legal rights and courts are available — not always perfect, not always fair, but neither are humans.

It does not take a genius to extrapolate such legal measures to nations and international courts … which already exist.  Just one problem:  the mighty simply ignore them.  So we wait, and we honor the dead of wars that in retrospect appear idiotic and insane.  Worse is the attempt to justify such insanity through times like the “good war”, a monstrous absurdity.

It usually takes a while.  Then we get leaders who have never seen the horror of war — some have assiduously avoided it — and the cycle starts again.

Continue Reading

Americas

To Impeach Or Not To Impeach? That Is The Question

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

Published

on

Robert Mueller let loose a thunderbolt midweek.  Donald Trump had not been charged, he said, because it was Department of Justice policy not to charge a sitting president.  Dumping the issue firmly into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lap, he reminded us of the purpose of the impeachment process.  According to Mueller there are ten instances where there are serious issues with the president obstructing justice adding that his report never concludes that Trump is innocent.

So here is a simple question:  If Mueller thought the president is not innocent but he did not charge him because of Justice Department policy, and he appears also to favor impeachment, then why in heaven’s name did he not simply state in his report that the preponderance of evidence indicated Trump was guilty?

Nancy Pelosi is wary of impeachment.  According to the rules, the House initiates it and when/if  it finds sufficient grounds, it forwards the case to the Senate for a formal trial.  The Senate at present is controlled by Republicans, who have been saying it’s time to move on, often adding that after two years of investigation and a 448-page report, what is the point of re-litigating the issue?  They have a point and again it leads to the question:  if Special Counsel Mueller thinks Trump is guilty as he now implies, why did he not actually say so?

Never one to miss any opportunity , Trump labels Mueller, highly conflicted, and blasts impeachment as ‘a dirty, filthy, disgusting word’,  He has also stopped Don McGahn, a special counsel at the White House from testifying before Congress invoking ‘executive privilege’ — a doctrine designed to keep private the president’s consultations with his advisors.  While not cited anywhere in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has held it to be ‘fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the Separation of Powers under the Constitution.’  Separation of powers keeps apart the executive branch, the legislature and the judiciary, meaning each one cannot interfere with the other.

Nancy Pelosi is under increasing pressure from the young firebrands.  Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has already expressed the view that it is time to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump given the obstruction of lawmakers’ oversight duty.

Speaker Pelosi is a long-time politician with political blood running through her veins — her father was Mayor of Baltimore and like herself also a US Representative.  To her the situation as is, is quite appealing.  Trump’s behavior fires up Democrats across the country and they respond by emptying their pockets to defeat the Republicans in 2020.  Democratic coffers benefit so why harm this golden goose — a bogeyman they have an excellent chance of defeating — also evident from the numbers lining up to contest the Democratic presidential primaries, currently at 24. 

Will Trump be impeached?  Time will tell but at present it sure doesn’t look likely.

Continue Reading

Americas

When Republicans Are In Power, Banks, Real Estate, and Insurance Companies Crush The People

Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.

Published

on

There is certainly a correlation by and between when conservatives and Republicans talk about “de-regulation” and “freedom” of business, in the outright and total crushing of the American people underneath a boot of immorality.

For example, insurance companies will start to increase the use dishonest and unethical “adjustors” to set out to deny lawful proper claims for insurance, such as when someone has fully paid their expensive premiums, but then is cruelly and out of hand denied much needed assistance from these insurance companies for various health problems, automobile accidents, home and renters policy mishaps, professional liability defense, general business liability assistance, property damage, and other types of accidents and mishaps that these insurance companies state that they were designed to protect their customers with.

These insurance companies know fully well that the poor and middle class do not have the ability to hire and retain competent high powered lawyers to defend their interests, either by entangling with them or in dealing with the entities that are coming after them in the above named types of life problems.

The Democrats had created and implemented such consumer watchdog agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) and these agencies were very successful in prosecuting, investigating, and beating back insurance company and banker predatory behavior, but then the lobbying groups for these industries began to buy and pay for Republican whores and populated the Congress and Senate with their “people,” and low and behold, we got an avalanche of “deregulation” from the Executive and Legislative Branches, gutted agencies and replacement of its leaders, all of a sudden leaving the American people at the will and hellish end of the retaliatory insurance and banking industries, and now things are worse than they ever were before.

Similarly, as the Insurance industry benefited from screwing over the American people, the Banking industry simultaneously have begun again to rape the American people, by instituting usurious collections and interest rates, sometimes as high as 50-60%, on such things as student loans in default through no fault of the borrower (due to sickness, injury, loss of employment, bankruptcy) and credit card companies now routinely rape and pillage the American people with ungodly APRs and other “bait and switch” mechanisms designed to fleece their customers, enriching themselves while impoverishing their customers.

All the while these banks and insurance companies are charging more than ever for premiums, simple day to day processes such as ATM machine usage, finance charges, late fees, and other highway robbery-type methods to steal from the American people.

The real estate industry, headed up by men such as Ben Carson of HUD, have now mercilessly began to crush tenants and mortgage holders, denying them basic warranties of safety and habitability, skirting all state and federal regulation so as to make a buck.

“Freedom” as used by Republican and conservative leaders was supposed to mean something different than giving trillion dollar international banks, real estate, and insurance companies the license to rape and pillage the American people, but “deregulation” is the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing” or “trojan horse” by these communist industries to devastate the American people, and they must be reigned in once again by the Democrat led powers in the Congress and the Senate, and perhaps even the Judiciary (state and federal).

Continue Reading

Latest

Middle East2 hours ago

Caught in geopolitical crossfire: Al-Azhar struggles to balance politics and tradition

When Pope Francis I visited Egypt in 2017 to stimulate inter-faith dialogue he walked into a religious and geopolitical minefield...

Reports4 hours ago

Reforms Building Momentum for Growth in Myanmar

Myanmar’s economy is slowly regaining stability and picking up speed after a volatile 2018, according to a new World Bank...

Tourism5 hours ago

United States moves closer to re-joining UNWTO

The United States of America has highlighted its support of tourism as a driver of sustainable development. A high-level delegation...

Energy News7 hours ago

Clean Energy at Forefront of Fight Against Climate Change in Asia and Pacific

The advancement of affordable and reliable clean energy is not only at the forefront of Asia and the Pacific’s development...

Green Planet11 hours ago

As voices for the planet grow louder, we must get the job done

There is something in the air. I am not talking about pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. I am talking about...

Defense13 hours ago

Effectiveness of Nuclear Deterrence of India and Pakistan in Pulwama incident

The recent ‘Pulwama crisis were triggered by a suicide attack byAdil Ahmed Dar a 19 years old young Kashmiri from...

Newsdesk15 hours ago

Micro and Small Rural Entrepreneurs’ Access to Credit Enhanced by ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of Sri Lanka, and the Regional Development Bank (RDB) today signed Loan and...

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Modern Diplomacy