So much of the America I had taken for granted as recently as last week has disappeared.
President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” feels increasingly appropriate, leading many Americans wonder if Trump will really remain President for four years of will one of the many scandals swirling around him lead to his impeachment, or if Trump’s erratic behavior and plummeting popularity will lead his cabinet to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.
Breaking Faith With Iraq
Last week our country was a trusted partner in the Middle East. We led the international community by example, obeying international law and using our army to defend our allies, restoring order when they are attacked by enemy nations, terrorists or natural disaster.
Last weekend at the CIA, Donald Trump repeated an assertion which he made at the presidential debate , suggesting that we should have profited from our invasion of Iraq by plundering their oil reserves.
The old expression, “to the victor belong the spoils” — you remember. I always used to say, keep the oil. I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that, keep the oil. Now, I said it for economic reasons. But if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil. But okay. (Laughter.) Maybe you’ll have another chance. But the fact is, should have kept the oil.
Helping ourselves to Iraqi resources certainly would have been a violation of the fourth Geneva convention.
By declaring the policy that Iraq’s oil reserves are ours for the taking, we not only violate international law, but we put seeds of doubt in the minds of the Iraqi army and Iraqi government whose cooperation has been crucial in turning the tide against ISIL. Having repeatedly coveted the Iraqi oil and named Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, we encourage the oil producing countries in the Middle-East to turn away from us, and cooperate instead with Iran, Russia or even ISIS.
How will we restore our credibility in the Middle East?
Breaking Faith With Israel
Last week American intelligence and Israeli intelligence worked hand in hand against the common threat of terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Eight years ago Iran was within weeks or months of deploying a nuclear weapon. Now, after coordinated covert actions including destroying centrifuges with the Stuxnet virus, assassinating nuclear scientists in the streets of Tehran and recruiting defectors such as Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s personal photographer who fled for US protection along with a bevvy of photographs of the Iranian nuclear program.
Now, with reports that the Kremlin may be blackmailing President Trump with his 2013 sex tapes and evidence of financial misconduct, Ha’aretz reports that US intelligence officials have warned their Israeli counterparts not the share information with the Trump administration since it might then be leaked to Putin who could then share it with the Iranians.
How will we restore the trust between the United States and Israel which we took for granted last week?
Breaking Faith on the Environment
Last week our country was among the leaders in protecting the environment. The Obama administration promoted jobs based on clean energy technology, and we were instrumental in last year’s Paris Global Climate Agreement.
Now, we have a president who has pledged to cancel the Paris climate agreement and endorsed drilling off the Atlantic coast. Today, Trump reversed Obama’s decisions to reject the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
Similarly, within hours of being sworn in,
the Trump administration has instructed officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze its grants and contracts, a move that could affect everything from state-led climate research to localized efforts to improve air and water quality to environmental justice projects aimed at helping poor communities. (WP)
His nominee to run the agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, disagrees with scientific consensus that human activity causes global warming. Pruitt has “repeatedly sued the EPA over the years, challenging its legal authority to regulate everything from mercury pollution to various wetlands and waterways to carbon emissions from power plants.”
How can we even begin to protect the environment from this crisis if we fail to acknowledge the crisis?
Breaking Faith With Women and Minorities
Last week, we had an administration which signed the Violence Against Women Act, and fought to end the plague of sexual assault in our schools. The very first bill Obama signed was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which guarantees women equal pay for equal work.
Now, we have a new president with a record of demeaning women. He was recorded by Access Hollywood in 2005 commenting to Billy Bush about Arianne Zucker.
“I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her…. And when you’re a star they let you do it…. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
What kind of example does this set for our children?
Breaking Faith on Voting Rights
Our Federal government was still engaged last week in litigation to overturn discriminatory voting laws such as the Texas voter ID law which permits people with gun permits (primarily Republicans) to vote, but does not allow students or government workers to use their ID.
Now under new leadership, the Department of Justice requested a delay of the hearing originally scheduled for yesterday.
When the hearing is rescheduled will the Department of Justice still be arguing for the plaintiffs?
Breaking Faith With The Truth
Last week President Obama brought to a close an eight-year administration untainted by any major scandal. Since then the Trump administration has defied all of the norms we associate with an American presidency free of financial conflicts of interest, and accepting of a vibrant and free press corps.
Trump has refused to reveal his taxes or any details about his financial holdings around the world. These allow foreign leaders to attempt to influence our government
- by holding their meetings at the Trump International Hotel in DC,
- by issuing building permits for Trump Tower Buenos Aires shortly after speaking with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri,
- by issuing the building permit for the Trump property in the Republic of Georgia shortly after Trump’s election,
- by Erdogan and Trump coming to a truce over Erdogan’s human right violations and Trump’s tower in Istanbul, or
- by Deutsche Bank lending $2.5 billion to Trump.
Similarly, many of Trump’s nominees have followed suit and are going through their confirmation hearings without the required background checks.
Again and again the Trump administration has engaged in the most bald-faced lies claiming that:
- A mountain of blank pieces of paper were “some of the many documents that I [Trump] have signed turning over complete and total control” of his financial empire to his sons.
- Trump’s inauguration “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” With a crowd that “looked like a million-and-a-half people” and “went all the way back to the Washington Monument.”
- The inaugural concert was the first in front of the Lincoln Memorial. (In fact Bush and Obama both held large concerts there for their inaugurations.)
Send Donald back to Trump Tower and “make America great again.”