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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/10/18

Neither Bolton, nor Trump is the real problem

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From AlJazeera

Bad as Bolton is, he is not the problem. Bad as Trump is, he's not the problem. The problem is "them" -- Republicans.

John Bolton and Donald Trump
John Bolton and Donald Trump
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John Bolton is back!

Bolton is ridiculously bad. But the key two words in the above sentence are not his name, they are "is back."

Bad as Bolton is, he is not the problem. Bad as Donald Trump, who brought him back, is, he's not the problem. The problem is "them" -- Republicans. Self-designated conservatives.

In case you need a guide to what's wrong with Bolton, besides his moustache, recall the Iraq War. Not hard to do, since it's still going on. And still un-won, by anyone. It was brought to us by -- among others -- John Bolton. He still believes it was a good thing. He helped massage the "evidence" that the Iraqi regime had weapons of mass destruction. Before that, in 2002, he wanted to go to war with Cuba. Why? Because they were developing weapons of mass destruction! Though that wasn't true either.

Now he wants another war. What for? To stop weapons of mass destruction. As he wrote in a New York Times op-ed, "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran. "

He is adamantly against the Iran nuclear deal. He says it's a horrible deal because it has "sunset provisions" that would allow Iran to leap into nuclear development action after 10 or 15 years. So what should we do? The US -- or Israel, encouraged by the US -- should launch a strike! That -- according to Bolton -- "could set back its program by three to five years." But the internationally backed Iran deal looks like it will delay Iran's nuclear development by far more than that. Also, if military action is just a strike, it would motivate Iran to move to nukes as fast as possible. If it means a land war, it would be far worse than the war in Iraq.

Bolton came to us in the Bush-Cheney administration. George W Bush wanted to make him ambassador to the UN. To most observers that seemed strange, since Bolton hated the UN then, as he does now, and thought it shouldn't exist.

It wasn't strange . It's them. That's what they do.

Trump appointed Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt's a perfect example of "them." Not only he is responsible for the EPA being sued by 14 states, most of his money came from the kinds of polluters he is supposed to regulate. That's part of their grand tradition.

Ronald Reagan put Anne Gorsuch Burford in charge of the EPA. She cut the agency's budget by almost a quarter and the staff by 30 percent. She cut back on enforcement against polluters. She "came under fire for accepting expensive dinners from industry and striking sweetheart deals with those companies. She later served time in jail for lying to Congress about a conflict of interest involving a former employer. Gorsuch herself was cited by Congress for contempt after refusing to turn over documents during the investigations. By Gorsuch's own admission, the resulting political meltdown paralyzed the agency, preventing it from getting any actual work done." Her son, Neil Gorsuch, is now on the Supreme Court.

George W Bush appointed a "moderate" Republican to head the EPA, Christine Todd Whitman. During her short time in charge, the number of smog days went up 32 percent. Completion of Superfund clean-ups of the worst pollution sites was cut in half. " [A] multi-million-dollar verdict ... was changed in Monsanto's favor just days after Whitman received a 45-minute 'briefing' on the case." But when she came out in support of the Kyoto Protocols, the Bush administration found her too liberal and forced her out.

The Trump administration steams with the odors of financial scandals. Donald and his family appear to be using the White House as a means to promote their private businesses -- People with policy interests staying in Trump hotels and signing up for membership at Mar-a-Lago; Trump condos being sold to shell companies; US visas being offered to foreigners who buy Kushner real estate; the Secret Service leasing space in Trump Tower for $130,000 a month.

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and leading adviser on the Middle East, went to the Gulf looking for money. Qataris said no and the US foreign policy turned against Qatar. Saudis gave him funds, and the US started supporting Saudi Arabia's interests in the region. Michael Flynn lobbied for Turkey. Paul Manafort laundered money. The Health and Human Services Secretary with the incredibly apt name, Price, had (allegedly, apparently, obviously) used non-public knowledge he acquired on House and Senate committees to make lots of money in stocks. He also got in trouble for running up over $400,000 chartering flights. He did offer to reimburse the government $52,000 for doing so.

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LARRY BEINHART is the author of SALVATION BOULEVARD,  a major motion picture with Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Marissa Tomei, Ed Harris, and Jim Gaffigan, WAG THE DOG, The LibrarianFog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin  and HOW TO WRITE A (more...)

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