Four weeks and counting the shutdown continues except the
tit-for-tat is fast approaching kindergarten level. The Speaker of the
House Nancy Pelosi is third in line for the office of President. The
Democrats having won back the House she is a Democrat, and Donald Trump
just canceled her morale-boosting trip, together with a congressional
delegation, to the soldiers in Afghanistan. Able to do that very
simply by denying the use of the military aircraft scheduled to fly
them there (he cited the shutdown), he suggested they could fly
commercial, although disclosing plans to a war zone by such a high-level
elected official has left some dismayed.
day earlier, Ms. Pelosi urged the president to postpone his State of
the Union address which is hosted by the House, again because of the
shutdown, prompting some believe Mr. Trump's response.
Meanwhile many Federal workers are having difficulty buying groceries -- about 800,000 either continue to work without pay or are just sitting at home waiting to return. Many, if they can, are taking on temporary jobs.
As the cost of the shutdown rises, so does the political cost. A new Marist poll finds 54 percent blame Trump for the shutdown
while 31 percent believe the Democrats are the cause. But, cutting
across party lines, 70 percent do not like the shutdown and agree it is a
bad negotiating strategy. It looks like it might cost all incumbents,
and Republicans are likely to suffer worse.
latest shot fired is a threatened investigation by Democrats. It is
alleged that Mr. Trump instructed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress
about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The House Intelligence
Committee will investigate the claims according to its new chairman Adam
Schiff, a Democrat, adding that suborning perjury before this committee is the most serious charge to date against the president.
ground wars to space wars: President Trump has now announced new
missile defense plans. A layer of space sensors to detect missile
launches anywhere on earth is the intent. "Our goal is simple: to
ensure we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United
States -- anywhere, anytime, any place." Inevitably the new plan
invites comparisons with Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" concept introduced
in the 1980s but later shelved after the Soviet Union dissolved.
The Pentagon's Missile Defense Review notes four countries (China, Iran, North Korea and Russia) that could be possible threats with missiles capable of hitting the U.S. "We have some very bad players out there," according to Mr. Trump, though it is almost impossible to imagine any of the four countries mentioned launching a missile strike. Given the consequences, including a nuclear winter to threaten the planet as a whole, it is difficult to envision circumstances leading to nuclear war. And Russia warns of a new arms race.
Mr. Trump wants immediate funding for these plans. But the House holds
the purse strings. Oops! It's back to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The game
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