Friday, February 03, 2017

Faustian Bargain Bodes Ill for America

Our Republican dominated Congress has sold its soul to corporate interests. I sense they've made a Faustian bargain because they simply could not resist this once-in-a-lifetime chance to undue every law and regulation promulgated since Roosevelt's New Deal. Republican lawmakers have been well groomed by conservative think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation, which has been awaiting this come-to-Jesus moment for decades.
Our Republican Congress has totally forgotten to investigate the Russian hacking of the American election process. Instead, they sit, mostly silent and wide-eyed as our duo Presidents Trump/Bannon, govern by executive orders that are hitting every-day Americans like sledgehammers. And our Senate is confirming Trump/Bannon Cabinet nominees who hold views and carry historical records diametrically opposed to the missions of the agencies they will oversee. It is all agonizing to watch.
Trump also added his co-president to the National Security Council. Unprecedented and not good. 
During Trump/Bannon's first week in office, the U.S. was unfriended and put on notice by Mexico and China because of a fuselage of continuing campaign rhetoric. It didn't stop there. Now Germany and Australia have been mightily offended. Three of these countries are our friends and allies. How hard is it to hold on to friends?
On the eighth day, an executive order signed with great flourish, went after Muslin families. Those arriving at airports with all the proper papers in hand were detained and those scheduled to arrive had their journeys cancelled. Five Federal judges weighed in on this executive order. Interesting that all five have doubts about its constitutionality and all the judges are women with life time appointments. Our acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired for refusing to accept the premise of the order which she also called unconstitutional. Trump/Bannon fired her on the spot.
Americans responded to this Muslin immigrant executive order with spontaneous marching in dozens of cities and airports. Americans are sending their tweets of their own and are making calls and writing postcards to elected officials. This display of passionate and peaceful citizenship is unprecedented. We, the people, have had some wins. The Trump administration is backtracking on Muslims with green cards, but remains defiant on keeping the travel ban executive order. And we've not heard talk of repealing the Affordable Care Act for several days. This is probably not a win, but simply a temporary stay.
Three days ago, President Trump/Bannon announced the choice for the Supreme Court vacancy. Neil Forsuch is a smart and learned Federal judge, however, from his judicial record, it appears he is to the right of Justice Scalia. He played a role in the Hobby Lobby case, defending the right of Christian employers and organizations to deny employees health insurance that offers birth control coverage. He has not outed himself on Roe v Wade, but I have my suspicions. Gorsuch's hearings commence within days.
This spot on the Supreme Court has been vacant since Scalia's death a year ago, because of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He would not entertain a hearing for President Obama's centrist nominee. Unprecedented in American history. Now McConnell is salivating at the chance of confirming a VERY conservative white man to the Supreme Court. And McConnell is doubly rewarded. His wife was just confirmed for a Cabinet position.
What indeed do I find despicable about this Congress and the Trump/Bannon propensity for governing by edict/executive order?  Well, when President Obama issued executive orders, Republicans called it overreach, well beyond his executive powers. Now, we hear not one word about overreach. As if there was no such word in our vocabulary.
Republicans in Congress are indeed playing Faust. (Read the NYT David Brooks here on the nature of deals with the devil.) Having seen Houston Grand Opera's 'Faust' just weeks before the election, we know such bargains are seductive and end badly. Our misfortune is to be the recipient of the fallout from their bargain.

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