America Drew a Line Trump Could Not Keep Crossing

Greenville        After eighteen months in office there are many of us who wondered if America was ever going to finally draw a line that told President Trump that he had gone too far.  Was there going to finally be a point where America forced President Trump to look past his own nose and self-interest and learn something about fundamental national values?  Was he finally going to have to learn that hard problems require hard work to solve rather than boasting and bullying, fussing and fuming?  Well, we may not like the answer to these questions, but we seem to have found them in his total capitulation over the issue of family separation and child incarceration of immigrants on the border.  The heartbreak and trauma of families being torn apart and children weeping created a firewall that stopped Trump and his heavy breathers from Attorney General Session on down to the rest of the gang.  We all need to take note and remember this lesson, just as Trump is being forced to do.  It could be important on many other issues around health and housing for example.

The Trump beatdown was total.  After weeks of claiming an executive order wouldn’t solve this crisis, even though his orders had initiated the crisis, he issued an executive order.  After weeks of falsely blaming the Democrats and saying only Congress could take action, he had to eat his words. backdown and face reality.  He and his people were swamped by a tsunami of popular, institutional, corporate, and political opposition.

Members of his own party rebelled.  Evangelicals and other religious denominations from the Pope down to the storefront churches rebelled, hurling back the hundreds of Bible verses protecting families to the few that Sessions and the head of ICE used to defend Cesar’s renderings in law.  Houston said it didn’t want a children’s detention center built in its city.  New York State said it didn’t want separated children sent to the state.  All four living first ladies condemned the policy.  There was conflict within the Fox family over its slanted news on the border.  Microsoft workers protested contracts with ICE.  The United Nations correctly claimed Trump’s actions were a human rights violation.  Mr. Trump meet America drawing a line.

Is this over?  Can anyone claim victory?  No, not yet.

No one in the administration knows the status of reunifying the 2300 children now in custody, and some in the administration are trying to argue they will be kept in detention, which will increase the political heat.  The federal judge’s order limits children being held to a maximum of twenty days, while Trump’s order wants to hold families in detention indefinitely.  Few believe the judge will budge.  No one has a clue where or how families will be detained.  There is seemingly no consensus in Congress.  A Senate bill would end family separation, while there are competing bills in the House that both lack the votes to pass.

This is a hot potato that no one wants to touch, and the fight – and damage to Trump and his party – is going to continue until there are real solutions, none of which seem to be anywhere near the hardline policy the president and his people want.

America may be teaching Trump exactly what a hard line really is, and we’re drawing it now.

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The Condominium Doctrine

New Orleans    Many presidents of the United States have been known throughout history for their foreign policy doctrines, good or bad.

The Monroe Doctrine was a message to the world from one of our earliest presidents that we would stay out of European conflicts, but other nations needed to stay out of the North America where we were asserting hegemony.  The Roosevelt Doctrine extended our oversight to all of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Truman Doctrine became the policy of containment characterizing the Cold War designed to suppress the Soviet Union in Europe and elsewhere.

The Eisenhower Doctrine, as a key step in global stability, expanded the international role of the United States arguing that any nation state facing aggression from another state could request US economic and/or military aide.

And, so it goes from president to president as the White House defines its foreign policy.  Now in the wake of the first visit of a US president with the equivalent in North Korea, the fundamentals of the Trump foreign policy are clear.  I think, following one policy expert, we can call the current policy, the Condominium Doctrine.

We now approach all countries, friends and foes, on a transactional basis.  The core American value system has now been starkly revealed, and it’s rank commercialism.

Real estate developers are experts in sales-and-promotion.  They build “castles in the sky,” hoping others will believe in their mirages, and that they will reap their profits and be gone before the whole thing disappears in dust.

Trump is a real estate developer and television personality who happens to be living in the White House rent free for a bit and using that as his current stage.  In North Korea he showed a 10-minute video sales promotion of economic progress in North Korea with the end of sanctions.  He settled for an unwritten promise of demilitarization just as a developer would tout a promise of project financing contingent on a city council’s approval of new project to build a mall with a hotel in the middle of the retail space.  He reportedly gushed on about the beauty of the beaches in North Korea and their positioning in between China, South Korea, and Japan as a potential tourist destination.  Looking at one waterfront, he asked the North Koreans to imagine having a condo behind that beach.

You can’t make this stuff up.  We all desperately want to believe that there will in fact be peace and progress that emerge from the Singapore summit.  We all continue to believe in miracles, like children who believe in Santa Claus.

Like any developer, Trump is convinced he will be long gone from the White House before this deal and others he is making goes sour.  Like all developers, he will blame his successors, the government, banks and others for the failure, and will have taken his profits out before the crash.

That’s the way the Condominium Doctrine works.  Sell the view and downplay the monthly maintenance and upkeep fees and flip the thing as quickly as possible so that it’s the next owner’s problem while you take your money and run.

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Please enjoy Bishop Gunn’s Shine.

Thanks to KABF.

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