I’m still trying to figure out how you actually mess up a condolence call to a soldier’s family and turn it into a national nightmare when the White House Chief of Staff has to lie to cover up for the president’s lies. And just to make it worse, the White House Press Secretary then questions an American’s right to ask questions simply because the Chief of Staff is a Four Star General.
I’m all for respecting the military and the soldiers who serve our country. What I strenuously object to is the idea that we need to glorify the military and hold it in higher regard than the rights they fight to protect, among which are the right to freedom of speech and of the press.
Saying that its inappropriate to criticize John Kelly simply because he’s a general shows me how utterly ignorant the present administration is of our history and jurisprudence. It also shows me how dangerous they are when it comes to what people say. Would it not also be inappropriate to question John McCain’s service to our country? The president did not hesitate to question McCain’s heroism and commitment.
Perhaps Trump’s tax returns have a line for moral bankruptcy to go along with his likely other manipulations.
Is there not going to be day when something that used to be predictable, normal, mundane or life-affirming is turned into a sloppy, incompetent, truthless, egomaniacal, psychological endurance test? How much more will the president’s actions cause good, honest people to lose their way and wobble because their moral gyroscopes have been knocked off their axes by his insipid need to be the story? Wasn’t John Kelly the man who was going to bring order to the White House? To stop the internecine bleeding and feuding that was tearing the country apart?
This is not going well, especially because Kelly is now looking a lot less like a pillar of moral strength and more like a man who is wading into the tide of turpitude that threatens to become a tsunami. None of this is making America look like a worthy ally, governing entity or negotiating partner.
All of this comes at the end of a week that saw the president flip-flop on whether he supports a bipartisan fix for the Affordable Health Care Act that would go a long way towards meeting goals that he’s enunciated, which are to provide comprehensive health insurance to people at an affordable price and to stabilize the insurance markets. Of course, that’s what Trump has said. What he really wants to do is disrupt the law and have the country blame the Democrats, but that’s not going to happen. There are too many people in states that Trump won that rely on the ACA. Does he think that Democrats won’t remind those voters next November that it’s his actions that caused their plight if they lose coverage?
This is also a week that saw the president also try to kill two deals that are not nearly as bad as he says they are: NAFTA and the Iran nuclear agreement. The NAFTA negotiations are not going well, and you can’t really blame Mexico and Canada for wanting to hold the line on the deal because their economies have done well under the pact. Why would they want to renegotiate, especially since this administration has shown that it will destroy any agreement they don’t like. And while NAFTA has done serious damage to many parts of the United States, it has also done some wonderful things to other parts. Scrapping the deal will lead to significantly higher prices, an there’s no guarantee that it will lead to the job growth that Trump has promised.
The Europeans, in addition to the Iranians, are also wary of this administration’s negotiating tactics and are saying that Iran is abiding by the nuclear deal. That Iran is supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East is terrible, but let’s address that separately. The last thing anybody wants is for Iran to support terrorists and have a nuclear program.
Which brings us to tax reform, in which the middle class is going to be asked to give up deductions for mortgage interest and state taxes and, as of yesterday, possibly a severe restriction on how much its members can contribute to 401(k) retirement plans. All because the president wants to give businesses a massive tax break, from 35% to 20%, under the illusion that corporations will use that money to create jobs.
And not to help their stock price.
Which is what investors want.
And is tied to executive compensation.
See where I’m going with this?
If these corporations were so moral, why not use the money they have parked away now, bring it back to the US, and create more jobs. You know the answer.
We are very quickly losing our moral authority as a beacon of democracy, tolerance, openness and responsibility. It will take us years to get those back.