- US Congress on Trial -
Eric LaMont Gregory
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand, a mighty woman with a torch,
whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
Every American political party that wins a majority-changing low-voter-turnout mid-term election has a tendency to boast that the results demonstrate disillusionment with the policies of the sitting president, whomever it is at the time. It is always suggested that the election was a referendum on the President.
And, this midterm election is no different, but there were some significant anomalies.
Whereas, the Republicans won seats in the House and Senate, with a voter turnout of less than 40%, when it comes to their core ideas on gun control, abortion and the minimum wage, they suffered significant setbacks in the State of Washington, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Arkansas, Alabama and Nebraska. And, for the party of law and order, policies that saw the prison population in America grow to the largest in the world, mainly due to non-violent drug crimes, mostly marijuana; the steady reversal of that thrust by the people at polls does not bode well for their 2016 presidential prospects.
If there is a silver lining, Hilary Clinton will have to face her husband's 100-to-one drug policy, a policy that put more of her natural constituents in prison than any other policy in US history. And, that he promised to spend the rest of his life paying contrition for signing into law.
When in reality the election result only reflects, notwithstanding local issues, an it-does-not-matter who wins an election to join a Congress that more than 80% of American voters believe is unable to come to grips with the fact that we have very serious problems in this country and elsewhere that will inevitably affect our well-being and our security with which the Congress has not developed plans, strategies or reasonable ideas to address.
But, judging from the first meeting between the President and the emboldened Republican leadership, we are in for two more years of the same do-nothing obstructionist Congress that we have had for the last six.
From campaign jargon, one would have surmised that the new majority had shovel-ready plans to fix immigration and all the other problems their electioneering sound bites made seem so easily doable, if only they were given a majority.
Well, they have it, and the first thing the new majority requests is more time to come up with plans, strategies and reasonable ideas.
Surprise, and surprise again.
The President suggested that there were three things on which there should be immediate Congressional and Executive Branch cooperation -- emergency funding to combat the Ebola outbreak, approval of a federal budget and quick action on spending authorization to fight the Islamic State insurgency.
The Speaker of the House, Boehner, and soon to-be majority leader of the Senate, McConnell, took that conciliatory opening to warn the President not to take unilateral action on immigration reform. Such an outcome would result in the continuation of mass deportations under current laws, a policy which the President and many other Americans find wholly repugnant.
Republicans in the House and Senate, under the leadership of Boehner and McConnell, have not passed immigration reform because they could simply fund the enforcement of current laws and claim how tough they were on immigration matters, while families are torn apart and the Statue of Liberty, that mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles, is rendered meaningless.
On immigration in particular, in a country so polarized on the issue, the new majority wants to string out any legislation until the convening of Congress that takes office in 2017, or beyond.
Otherwise, they will have to accept responsibility for whatever they decide on an issue that has been a plus for their party (and according to their first postelection meeting with the President continues) by merely citing what the President has and has not done -- the turnout in 2016, however, will not be of the shrunken polls midterm variety, and they have no noncontroversial star on the presidential horizon.
Cruz is off the measurable political calculation’s chart, Paul is simply not viable, Christie has too many bridges to cross, Perry is under federal indictment and Bush (Jeb) would make people think about the great losses suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq and ask why their sons and daughters died in light of current realities in those countries.
The Republican National Committee commissioned some rather astute election number crunchers who concluded that in order for the Republicans to win in 2016 they would have to recruit nearly 75 minority candidates to run under their banner. But, there is very little chance for that in Ohio under Kasich, who oversaw the release of a highly questionable billboard campaign specifically designed to discourage minority voters in Ohio’s two largest cities during the last presidential plebiscite.
And speaking of Ohio, there is still much speculation as to why Portman was not Romney’s choice for his vice-presidential running mate.
It would have been difficult for Romney to run as a let’s make government like a successful business candidate, when his running mate signed one of the most one-sided trade deals in American history while serving as trade negotiator. Signed is the operative word, not negotiated. The deal called for American goods entering China carrying a 30% tariff, while Chinese goods enter the United States at 9%. And, when he was budget director, the President wanted to justify cutting 500,000 jobs from the federal government and subcontracting them to private industry. The next budget director showed that it had cost more to conduct government that way, and it had caused considerable disruption, because the remaining federal employees had to not only do their own jobs, but also to train the new private contractors to do theirs.
But what about the President’s three-item wish list, i.e., funding to combat Ebola, a federal budget and spending to combat the Islamic State insurgency?
Congress will muddle its way through the Ebola epidemic with the same sublime polemics that accompanied the H1N1 flu outbreak. A federal budget, however, is still rather problematic, but when it comes to the Islamic State, the future, well ...
Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama have all struggled with Islamic militancy and to date none of them have accomplished very much. There are members of the House and Senate who have served under all of them. One might reasonably expect that there would be some collective wisdom accumulated over the past 38 years that would guide the American response. But sadly, there is none.
Obama assumed the presidency and quickly addressed the glass ceiling, in fact on his first day in office, but did little to address the culture within the federal government in those agencies which discriminated against women in their higher ranks. The Secret Service is only the latest case in point.
At the same time, the military had more minority officers in it when he entered office than it has today, and this will be the legacy that he leaves behind. Truman did more to prepare our military for the kinds of hostilities we face today than Obama has.
Our intelligence services are the sons and daughters of brats who hired other brats to replace them in a non-merit-based employment environment. So our intelligence services are peopled by those who only know and understand the root causes of struggle from what they learned from books written by other brats who attended schools who had non-merit-based admissions systems. On September 11, 2001, our intelligence services were more worried about the Black Muslims in Chicago than the people who carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Returning to Truman, although he flirted with the KKK briefly as a young man, he also grew to sign one of the most significant executive orders in American presidential history, and that came about because he immersed himself in the military literature that equates the level of discrimination in a society with that society’s ultimate ability to defend itself - something that Obama has failed to do.
The American Presidency is the realm of vision and history-setting initiatives, The Emancipation Proclamation, Universal Suffrage, Executive Order 9981, Civil and Voting Rights Acts, among others.
If, this president wanted to be loved, he should have sought the theatrical stage and not the world political one.
We had a chance to gain the initiative over the Islamic State, at the same time that Senator and former presidential candidate McCain was photographed with what we know now to be an Islamic State insurgent in Syria. McCain's presence there gave a false impression of our ability to contain that situation and the relative success of arming Syrian rebels through CIA arms warehouses in southern Turkey. Many of those arms went directly to Islamic State insurgents and were used in their takeover of northern Iraq (Kurdistan).
The American military's counterinsurgency strategy has not matured since Kennedy announced his Graduated Deterrence/Flexible Response doctrine in the early 1960s. The US military's adherence to the Flexible Response doctrine has kept the United States embroiled in a series of costly wars in which we have time and again deployed conventional troop arrangements onto the asymmetrical battlefield. And, as a result, the slingshot has kept the world's undisputed superpower at bay as well as encouraged groups like al Qaeda, the Islamic State and a host of others, not to fear possible US retaliation for their involvement in kidnappings and beheadings of Americans and other allied citizens, the slaughter of countless noncombatants in their own countries, the sex trade and enslaving women, forced conversions and territory grabbing.
The new Republican leaders of the House and Senate have been in the US Congress as long as Islamic radicalism has been a thorn in the side of America. And yet, with all the posturing and their support for intervention in Somalia, the first Iraq War, Afghanistan and the hunt for the Ace of Spades, and the second Iraq War, the Speaker is waiting for the President to lead the way.
One of the cardinal rules of counter insurgency is not to announce a departure date, because the insurgents will simply fade from the battlefield, organize and wait until you leave to renew their offensive.
It would seem that an individual, third in the line of succession would know that, but this Speaker was more concerned with grabbing headlines by taunting the President (when he took a moment or two from blustering his new Republican/Tea Party members) about a spurious campaign promise, than in the integrity of our counter-insurgency effort, which within the last few days has poised a threat to the titular head of state of our oldest and most enduring ally.
God save the United States of America, and its people from their current leaders.
ebook by E LaMont Gregory - The Egyptian Secret -