A $5 Billion Wall Has Paralyzed Congress

The Senate is going to vote on a proposal this week to end the government shutdown. It includes about $5 billion for Trump’s wall (fence or barrier) and an extension that protects DACA children.

Even before the proposal was made to Senate lawmakers, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, said the bill was dead on arrival. She reiterated that she would not compromise or accept any Trump proposals until government employees were brought back to work.

The ability of McConnell, the Senate Leader, to find 60 votes to end a filibuster is dubious. He needs 7 senate Democrats to vote with his Republicans. There are a few Democratic members who will likely take heat if they don’t support the bill, but it’s improbable that a deal is going to be approved. In the meantime hardship for government employees on furlough is increasing.

When you think about the current roadblock in Congress, you have to scratch your head and ask why each side is so obstinate about negotiating a compromise. It’s easy to find fault with the combatants.

The first thing that comes to mind is why Trump continues to use government shut downs to try to get his way. Too many Americans rely upon the efficient operation of the government for jobs, security, air travel and a thousand other things. Trump thinks Americans will endorse this tactic, but he’s wrong. He should end the standoff and open all government offices immediately.

The Dems have dug in their heels and refused to compromise when the issue at hand is mere chump change for the US government. Congress pisses away far greater sums of money with stupid, ill-conceived and ineffective entitlements every week they are in session. So what’s driving the Democrats?

It’s simple- they don’t want to give Trump any legislative victories. They believe that by acting in such a manner, it will increase the chances of defeating Trump in 2020. Frankly it’s a little early to think that a $5 billion face off now is going to move voters from red to blue in two years.

Also Dems have supported and approved appropriations for walls on the southern border in recent years. Obama was president and signed off on many billions that were used to construct barriers to stop illegal immigrants. Now Pelosi and others are saying the wall is immoral and racist.

As discussed in earlier blogs Democratic endorsement of illegals in the country makes no sense. They want to create sanctuary cities and states where people who entered the country illegally can be safe from immigration officials. Not since the Civil War have Americans broken the law to protect a class of people. But at the time it was to protect African Americans citizens, not foreigners.

How can any American defend and support elected US officials, governors, senators or congress people that provide safe havens for illegals and demand that immigration officers be terminated? Beats me. In the meantime the money being spent on providing services for illegals is not available for destitute Americans.

The situation in Washington is so horrible because individuals on both sides of the immigration issue are incompetent and incapable of seeing what is best for our country. Too many lawmakers are relics of the past, unable to make tough decisions. In the meantime Trump is tweeting away while Washington is burning.

Our country has so many other critical issues that need attention. We are being assailed by terrorists, who would like to kill us and bring down our high tech infrastructure. Our environment is worsening every day. Our roads and bridges are crumbling before us. Our health care system is teetering. And our children are not being educated adequately.

In the meantime we fight about a paltry $5 billion installment on a wall.


The Most Immediate Threats To America

There’s no question that President Trump’s vision of government coupled with his overzealous attitude towards opponents is a primary reason why our leaders have been unable to do their job and keep the nation on track.

It’s criminal that our elected officials have not yet crafted a resolution to the current government shut down. And now the most vulnerable among us will suffer indignities and may not be able to cope with, what should be, totally avoidable financial pressures.

There are plenty of guilty parties associated with the current state of affairs. Most notably Democrats have responded to Trump with a tit-for-tat attitude and total obstruction of any and all proposals by the president.

It could not be clearer that Trump is on the way out even if he refuses to recognize it, unless the Dems pick a presidential candidate that’s equally unaligned with the mood of the country.

Unfortunately liberals are moving towards a person who is just as far left, as Trump is far right. If this country really wants to forget about the unfortunate Trump experiment, both parties need to cultivate experienced, statesman-like, intelligent and empathetic candidates. America doesn’t need another rebel rouser who is the left wing version of the current president.

For the most part Democrats vying for their party’s presidential nomination are left-wing radicals or their rhetoric sounds that way. The old adage, be very left or right to win a primary is on display. But Dems should remember the second part – you must move to the center to win the election.

The proposals by current Democratic contenders are off the wall. It’s fashionable for lefties to say all our problems are affiliated with affluent, white, educated and successful Americans. It’s exciting to demand that rich people pay his or her “fair share,” even when nobody really takes into account how much 1%ers already are paying.

It feels good for proclaimed have-nots to target the most accomplished among us, and demand immediate income, racial, social and educational equality. It’s as if one can wave a magic wand and cure all social evils. Socialism feels good to those that portend to be stymied and abused by current conditions in the country, with no regard to their own efforts to improve their situations.

Socialism has proven to be a road to governmental failure. Immigrants and capitalists made the US great. To demand the government stifle entrepreneurship, innovation and exceptionalism will have dire consequences. History has proven this to be the case.

The most recent demands by left-wingers will result in the collapse of the financial system in the country. One hundred percent taxation would not be enough to fund the socialists’ intentions of the current crop of Democratic proposals. It would be great to have universal (and quality) health care, free college for everyone, forgiveness of student debt and open admission to the greatest schools in the country. The problem is that by trying to move to fast to accomplish noble objectives our country will not be able to defend itself from those that want to kill us or destroy our lifestyles.

Changes take time, collaboration and careful consideration. Revolutions will bring us back to the Stone Age while China and Russia streak past us militarily and economically.

Our country needs to effectively raise more capital to build businesses and provide more high paying jobs. We need to inspire our young people to get educated and lift themselves out of poverty. We need to focus more on the needy in our country and stop dedicating resources to those who enter our country illegally.

A lot of work needs to be done to make America a perfect place. In the meantime Americans should recognize that our country is the greatest in the world, and the place where most people want to live. We are the only country that offers others the American Dream.

Selecting new leaders and ridding ourselves of all the old-time, negative and confrontational dinosaurs in Congress is the first step towards a better society and more prosperity. Going backwards with revolution and socialism will weaken us.

Trump Should Quit And Make Way For Haley Or Romney

Why have American voters been so gullible in recent elections? We’ve allowed ourselves to be bamboozled by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. All of these presidential wanna-bes are/were not experienced enough to be commander-in-chief. It’s too bad some of them actually were elected. They have denigrated the presidency and hurt the reputation of the US globally. In every case the person proved that he or she was not up to the job.

Now a new crop of crap is rising to the top of the Democratic Party and spewing pie in the sky platitudes and giving Americans false expectations. Some want to end capitalism, some want immediate income equality, some want universal health care, some want to terminate immigration officers and some want open borders.

The group includes Joe Biden (who at least was a senator for a gazillion years), Elizabeth Warren (who wants to eviscerate financial institutions and their CEOs), Bernie Sanders (who dreams of a socialistic society), Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Corey Booker (all neophytes).

My favorite newbie is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29 year-old former bartender, who has taken Washington by storm after defeating a powerful Democratic representative. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has a boatload of crazy, socialistic ideas (she worked for Bernie Sanders) that are not new, but are unattainable according to most experts. The new congresswoman is driving the mother hen of the House, Nancy Pelosi, insane, along with every other more experienced Representative in the House.

Ocasio-Cortez wants to start a revolution as she pretends to represent her constituents. The country can be amused by her exuberance and ability to get in front of TV cameras, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. AOC still has a lot to learn. Really a lot.

This mob of radical left-wingers is attempting to appeal to the electorate by proposing to ravage our country with more taxes. It’s the only strategy Democrats have- raise taxes on the rich. They want to use increased revenues to pay for health care for everybody, free college tuition and more illegal aliens that they will defend in their sanctuary cities and states. If they taxed Americans 100%, it wouldn’t be enough to pay for their outrageous and populous give-a-ways.

Progressives are already adopting programs that will serve to bring America down another notch. This group actually wants to save Obamacare. You recall this entitlement in which you are “able to keep your existing doctors” and promised lower costs and lower deductibles. Didn’t happen.

The US is expected to spend $1.34 trillion over the next ten years on this ill-conceived, legacy deal of Obama. The initiative was so bad that after enactment and several months into his first term, Obama lost control of Congress and was a lame duck for the balance of his eight long years in office.

The reason why laws like Obamacare are passed is because our leaders are not experienced enough, naïve and overly self-confident to a point that it infuriates and motivates the opposition. The new crap (I mean crop) of Dems is more of the same. Any one of these people will destroy the US for a decade.

The irony is that it’s possible that Trump can defeat anyone in the Democratic lineup. That’s how pathetic the group is, and how left leaning the members are.

I’m so frustrated by the tactics of the Democrats that I would even support a Clinton-esque candidate, sans the misogyny thing. That’s saying a lot.

Republicans have a once in a lifetime opportunity to really put it to the opposition. The only hurdle is good old Donald. He needs to get the hell out of the way and support one of the two most eligible candidates for the presidency- Nikki Haley or Mitt Romney.

Haley has it all. She’s an incredibly successful woman who has been an administrator (Governor of South Carolina) and a diplomat (Ambassador to the United Nations). She’s conservative, but not a zealot. She’s highly intelligent, well informed, but not averse to listening to qualified advisors. Haley spent enough time with Trump to understand how not to build a presidential administration.

Romney turns off some people because he got trounced a few years ago. I look at it differently. Mitt is a seasoned veteran. He made mistakes. He admitted that some of his strategies and perspectives did not sit well with the electorate. He learned how to be a good candidate. Romney is one of the most successful businesspeople in the country. In addition he was elected Governor of Massachusetts and senator of Utah. He knows how to win elections.

The fly in ointment is Trump, and tradition. Trump could decide to go rogue and ruin everything for Republicans, or he can man up, step aside and support someone who can win in 2020. This needs to be done immediately so the new candidate can build an organization. Haley and Romney have indicated that they would not challenge Trump. Why? Tradition. Politicians never run against a sitting president of their own party. Yet, neither potential candidate has any love for Trump.

America needs a real player to take charge in 2020. No more experiments. No more socialists. No more political correctness obsessiveness. Republicans need to recover from the 2016 disaster. They need someone like Haley or Romney.


Ronald Reagan Supported Legal Immigration

In his last speech as president Ronald Reagan sent a “lover letter to immigrants.” He said, “You can live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can live in Germany or Turkey or Japan, but you cannot become a German, Turk, or Japanese. But anyone from any corner of the Earth can come to live in America and become an American.” Here is a link to the entire speech.

For many months I have been fulminating about the incompetence of our leaders regarding immigration. I queried, how could so many people be allowed to enter the US without authorization? It’s a travesty that over 15 million were not processed the way my grandparents were at the turn of the Century over 100 years ago.

My rhetoric concerning immigration is not a condemnation of immigrants or what they have done to make my country the greatest in world. I am not a xenophobe, a racist or intolerant. I believe immigrants bring with them fresh perspectives that are beneficial to our culture and our daily lives. They bring a sense of hope for us that sometimes wanes when times get tough. They appreciate our democracy and the freedoms that Americans sometimes take for granted. They remind us that the US is the best place in the world to work, raise a family and enjoy an American dream.

Nevertheless the US has standards and protocols that must be adhered to. By doing so we can protect our country from the small number of those that want to export hate and violence. And immigrants must be prepared to assimilate and be part of our society. We should not accept those who want to establish ghettos consisting of their own kind, who are unwilling to adopt our language or who are not prepared to obey our laws. Vetting of immigrants insures that most immigrants will, in fact, contribute to our way of life.

Allowing so many illegals to enter our country over the past 20 years was a serious mistake. Porous borders are not good for America. Now 15+ million illegals are in our country and we have no alternatives. We must integrate them to avoid chaos, but we should do so in an orderly fashion that ensures our way of life. There must be conditions to citizenship.

New illegal immigration must not be allowed. Leaders of today should not permit interlopers who flaunt our laws to gain entry. We must vet, and we must be strong as we accept new applications for immigration, asylum or for any other kind of issue.

The people who have entered the country are using resources that should be directed towards American citizens in need. This diversion is an outrage. The people who legally live and work in America should not become more destitute because others are breaking the law. Nor should our leaders turn the other way and allow this travesty to continue. Whether you want to recognize it or not, most illegals take more than they contribute. In fact this disparity has been estimated at over $100 billion each year.

The solution to the current immigration problem is not really that complicated. We must resign ourselves to the fact that the group already in the country should be given a path to citizenship that includes a vow to comply with our laws prospectively and to assimilate into our society. It would be inhumane to round up millions and ship them out of the country. The only quid pro quo is that new illegal immigration end immediately. If the wall expedites this objective I’m in favor of it.

Let me repeat myself. I am totally supportive of immigration into the US just as Ronald Reagan was. It must be legal and orderly. I am not in favor of porous borders that result in immigration that taxes every level of our government. The US cannot be the repository of all individuals throughout the world who seek a new place to live.



The Art Of Not Making A Deal

Congressional Democrats have created a gigantic sh–storm by refusing to approve a relatively minor installment on Trump’s immigration wall.

Opponents of the president will do anything they can to embarrass the president even if the country suffers for it. When Obama was in office conservatives never wanted America to fail, in any regard, to gain a political advantage. It’s un-American to do so.

Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi can’t quite grasp the current state of play in the negotiations. Trump is looking for a way to appease his constituents at virtually any cost by moving forward with his wall. If Democrats approve a $5 billion appropriation for it, the president will do just about anything in return.

What might these things be? For one, the DACA kids could put on the road to citizenship immediately. Second, in terms of immigration policy, the road to citizenship for all 15 million illegals in the country can be paved. There need be only one proviso, no more new illegals, which the wall will help to accomplish.

Democrats are missing an opportunity to hit a grand slam homerun on the immigration front because they don’t understand how to negotiate effectively, and they are blinded by their animus towards the president.

Americans who are following this story should take note of two interesting facts. One is that the $5 billion ask by the president is a drop in the bucket as it relates to our national budget of several trillion dollars. Second, all the whining about federal employees not receiving a paycheck is bluster. The Senate has already offered a bill that guarantees these people back pay lost from the furloughs. The House will surely follow suit.

Democratic leaders need to rein in their new electees who are screaming for impeachment. This country does not need another three-ring political circus and constitutional crisis that leads to nowhere and only serves to divert our lawmakers. The House can impeach with its majority. But there is no way the Senate will convict with a required 2/3 vote.

I suggest the liberals start focusing on China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, health care, education, terrorists, human rights, climate change and disease control and forget about small potatoes like the wall.

This is not so say that immigration is an unimportant topic. Fifteen million illegals are roaming around our country utilizing services that cost our taxpayers $125 billion each year. We need to deal with this problem now and stop it from growing any larger. Build the damn wall already. It will stop a huge number of new interlopers from entering the country.

Let’s use some smart negotiating tactics and get our government back to work for us.

Why Not Build A Wall?

The immigration controversy in America is taking a huge toll on our government. President Trump has shut down several agencies in an effort to force Democrats to work with him and to fund a wall that is supposed to prevent more illegal immigrants from entering the US.

Many Americans including the author of this essay are befuddled why the objective of stopping illegal immigration isn’t a noble cause. Why would Americans want the number of people living illegally in our country to increase any further?

It would be another story if this group of interlopers were meeting some sort of important need, or providing the US with a way to increase population in the face of lower birth rates. Rather, immigrants from the south, for the most part, are entering the country with no prospects of employment, without a place to live and creating financial chaos educationally and medically. Some analysts estimate that the net effect of 15+ million illegals is costing taxpayers about $125 billion per annum.

This money is being redirected from legitimate needs of American citizens and creating great strains on neighborhoods across the country.

How can we manage the affairs of our country with porous borders that allow undocumented people to enter the country with no barriers? Many of these individuals are destitute and are accompanied by minors, which serves to exacerbate an already terrible problem. Many claim that they seek asylum from some sort of persecution. The US has a process for this type of immigrant, which being ignored.

It’s heartbreaking to see that so many who want entry into the US are suffering, are hungry, are homeless. The world is a cruel place. But the US cannot be a repository for all those that are less fortunate than we are. It should be noted that many western countries are trying, just as unsuccessfully as the US, to help needy people.

Liberals, in their altruistic zeal, want to help the masses of people that are continuously entering our country illegally. This puzzles many Americans and has created a great divide. In fact some cities and states are breaking the law by setting up “sanctuaries” to shield illegals from our own immigration officials. These faux do-gooders have spurned the very people that protect their homes and provide safety against strangers who might be dangerous.

The security of our country is at stake. Grave mistakes in judgment over the past few decades have created a problem that is nearly insurmountable. Even with about 15 million illegals already ensconced among us, liberals are not willing to do what is necessary to stop the flow of more interlopers. This has occurred even though many who object to the presence of illegals in the country have agreed to allow them to stay and become citizens if they assimilate legally into our society.

The current situation is untenable. The president proposed a wall that will impede the flow of illegals into the country. It will not stop every attempt to do so. Many have criticized the wall saying it is too expensive and will not be effective. This commentary makes no sense. If illegals want to enter the country and they must scale over or dig under a 30-foot high wall, many will be unable to do so. The alternative is another 15 million illegals in the country over the next decade, which will increase the burden on taxpayers by another $100 billion each year.

Democrats and liberals have not proposed an alternative strategy to the wall. Trump is the only president in history that has directly addressed the proliferation of illegal immigrants. It’s a very difficult problem. The status quo is going to make the situation direr.

The current tab for construction is $5 billion (out of a multi-trillion dollar budget). Why not let Trump have his wall? It’s a relatively small price that may stem the tide of immigrants into the US.

Resources for the needy are limited and are becoming sparser every year. Why spend more on non-citizens Let’s move forward with the wall and see if it’s successful.

2020 Presidential Choices

Americans are going to have three presidential options in 2020. They are: Donald Trump, another Republican if Trump resigns or a Democrat.

The Trump option is becoming more remote with each passing day for two reasons. One, the Donald could resign because he’s unable to deliver on one or more of his most significant campaign promises. Two, Robert Mueller, the special counsel may be gearing up to deliver a knockout punch to the president relating to interference in the 2016 election and/or obstruction of justice.

The construction of a wall to keep illegal aliens from entering the US may be a bigger political issue than anyone thinks, as Trump has gone all-in, by closing down parts of the government until Congress agrees to fund the wall’s construction costs. If the president backs down he will lose all credibility with his base.

Interestingly the wall is not really so important issue from a financial perspective. We’re only talking about a relatively small installment of $5 billion in a multi-trillion dollar budget. Why all the “strum und drang?” It’s not so long ago that the Obama administration wasted $2 trillion on a pathetic, expensive and ill-conceived health care initiative.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their minions needed an issue on which they could hang their hats. They picked the wall and characterized it negatively by saying it’s racist, xenophobic, too expensive (keep in mind the US spends over $100 billion each year for services benefitting illegals) and not an effective way to stem illegal immigration. The total cost of the wall of about $50 billion won’t break the bank, and it just might prevent thousands of more illegals from coming into our country. Every new offender costs taxpayers more money for medical, educational and security services.

Nevertheless Democrats are standing tall against the $5 billion ask, even while certain employees of our government are not being paid.

If Trump is unable to get Democrats to relent, his political base may crumble. This would be great impetus for Trump to give up and retreat to his Tower in NYC.

The second presidential possibility is a run by Nikki Haley or Mitt Romney. Both have said they would not consider moving ahead if Trump decides to run for reelection. This is not the first time that Softball Politics has brought up the candidacies of these two outstanding politicians.

Republican-leaning woman who are disillusioned by Trump would jump on the Haley bandwagon, a former governor and legislator in South Carolina and Ambassador to the United Nations. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Haley were to become the first woman elected president of our country? She is eminently qualified and has political perspectives that a wide range of voters would respond to.

Romney is more of a wild card. He made plenty of errors in his previous bid for the presidency, but surely learned a lot that would serve him well in another campaign. Romney is well qualified as a super star businessperson and a governor of Massachusetts, a liberal stronghold. Recently he won election to become the junior senator from Utah. His integrity is second to none, a rare quality in current political circles.

The final option is the most disturbing. Democrats, many of them, are flocking to join the race for the presidency. Unfortunately it’s a contest in which each political hopeful in the group is trying to lean further left than the other.

Joe Biden is the only legitimate player. At least he has the experience to lead the country. Although he comes across a buffoon too often, is ancient (age wise) and is a relic of the failed Obama administration.

All the other contestants are lefties who want to raise taxes, allow more illegals to enter the country, provide extremely expensive universal health care, offer costly free college tuition and so much more. The country cannot afford to elect free spending socialists. It’s time for carefully thought out proposals that will not deter economic growth.

Yet, if Trump runs again, the possibility of a radical left wing socialist in the White House increases exponentially. Republicans’ only chance of regaining total control of the federal government is for Trump to resign and make way for one of two really attractive conservative candidates.

Bring Our Soldiers Home From Syria And Afghanistan

The withdrawal of troops by President Trump from the Near East has critics and supporters in an uproar. Yet there are overwhelming reasons to forego further US military adventures in Syria and Afghanistan and take our troops out of harm’s way.

The situation in Syria is a done deal. It’s occupied by Russia and Iran. The regime of Bashar al Assad will remain in power until the occupiers say otherwise. The Syrian interlopers have dedicated serious manpower and weapons to help Assad fight against a fledgling resistance. Moreover Syrian Kurds, who have fought mightily against the Syrian army, are under attack by Turkey.

It’s sad to say, but the damage in Syria is already done. Millions of citizens have lost their homes and Assad, the butcher, has summarily murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people. Occupation by 2,000 US soldiers brings nothing to the table other than greater potential for conflict with Russia and Iran.

It’s wise for the president to avoid problems with Russia. An escalation of hostilities could lead to a much more explosive situation in the region. As for Iran the US should deal with it by doubling down on sanctions, and military action if the ayatollahs begin to produce nuclear weapons.

There are other factors at work. Brave soldiers from our all-voluntary military continue to be in peril. What can they do to improve the hopes of Syrians? What is the end game for the country? What is the American mission? Why are our generals so intent on occupying places where locals hate Americans and everything we stand for? And finally, when will we bring our soldiers back home? The families of these brave men and women want to know.

The ubiquitous rationale for keeping our soldiers in Syria (and Afghanistan and Iraq) is that radical groups will flourish in any vacuum created by an American retreat. This perspective doesn’t hold water. The proliferation of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are not going to be hampered by a few thousand troops in Syria and a few thousand more in Afghanistan.

Only serious occupation with many thousands of troops will enable the US to have any impact on the savages that pillage these countries. It’s highly unlikely that Congress or the American people have the stomach for yet another major military incursion.

Afghanistan occupation poses a different set of problems. The Taliban is highly organized and famous for fighting off foreign intervention. They successfully repelled Russian and have done the same thing with the US (the US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001).

There is no positive outcome in the future for Afghanistan regardless of continued US occupation. The government is corrupt and influenced by radical elements in Pakistan.

It’s true that the planning and delivery of the troop withdrawal announcements for both Syria and Afghanistan were amateurish and not endorsed by Congress or the military brass. Even the Trump administration was surprised by the announcement by the president. Naturally critics of the administration focused on the plan’s lack of coordination more than the wisdom of the withdrawal.

As far as our allies are concerned, their inability to read Trump is their own shortfall. Any proposal to Trump, military or economic, that doesn’t take into consideration America’s interests will be dismissed.

For years our allies accepted assistance from the US beginning with two World Wars, a Cold War and now in response to terrorism. The US must make decisions that are beneficial for our country even if they are not what our allies want.

What Are The Odds That Trump Is Impeached?

Every day there’s more discussion about the impeachment and subsequent conviction of Donald Trump. The process of reversing an election of a president would be a monumental endeavor because the Constitution is vague and provides little guidance in this regard.

No president in history has ever been removed from office. Two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, were impeached. The House of Representatives brought charges against both men with a simple majority, but the Senate could not muster a 2/3 majority to convict,

Impeachment offenses are “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House is the only body that can impeach the president. It’s an extraordinarily difficult process that requires the accusers to bring charges that fit the constitutional definition of impeachable offenses. Those who drafted the Constitution left the definition of these offenses vague.

What constitutes an impeachable offense? Some say it is whatever a majority of the House considers it to be at a given moment in history. Most scholars reject this interpretation because it would seem like the president serves at the pleasure of Congress.

Nevertheless the Democrats will have the ability to create a list of offenses and impeach the president in 2019 with a simple majority. The charges may not fit the “high crimes” standard in the eyes of many members, especially Republicans.

A second standard for impeachment could be proof of indictable crimes. The House would need to document exactly what these crimes are and that an average American would also be prosecuted for them.

A third standard could be related to the president’s official duties, but a crime must have been committed. In this regard Congress might pass a law that defined a specific action by the president that is impeachable and use it retroactively. Many scholars think this would be tantamount to Congress unilaterally amending the Constitution.

The fourth standard is the language used in the Constitution. The president’s offenses must be treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors. The debate about whether certain actions of the president rise to this level would be epic.

What are the odds that articles of impeachment could be passed by the House, and the Senate could convict the president?

There is a high probability that Democrats will attempt to impeach Trump with their majority in the House. This will depend upon the strength of the specific charges and whether representatives are prepared to participate in a constitutional crisis of great proportions while so much else is happening domestically and throughout the world.

The easiest route would be if Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s witch-hunt discovers crimes by Trump that rise to an impeachment standard. The average American and even our lawmakers have no idea what Mueller is about to disclose. One would think that if Mueller could indict the president in some sort of conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 election, we would already have heard about it.

It’s more likely that Democrats will make a list of Trump actions and decisions and claim that it, in the aggregate, is an impeachable offense.

The list could include any actions by the president that illegally disregard current law. This might involve immigration, treaties and administration turnover, lying to the public or any behavior deemed un-presidential by Trump’s opponents. And there is the possibility the Mueller investigation could substantiate serious obstruction of justice charges against the president. Once again these seem far-fetched.

It’s worth considering whether Trump might resign for personal or political reasons. If Trump acted like most normal people and was not so unpredictable or spiteful, it would be entirely plausible that he resign now as the opposition takes control of the House. He’s going to be dogged by investigations of his time as president and his years past.

If fellow Republicans are no longer are willing to ignore Trump’s dangerous and erratic behavior, they may demand his resignation. Without support from his party, Trump would be unable to govern the country.

All this impeachment talk is probably not going to evolve into anything substantive. The politicians in Washington know that a constitutional crisis would be disastrous for our economy and our reputation globally. Nevertheless the most aggressive members of the Democratic Party are willing to do anything to denigrate the president to increase their chances in the 2020 presidential election.

The more likely scenario is one in which Trump gives up and returns to his ivy tower in New York City.

Mattis Publicly Denigrates Trump

The Truman Doctrine was issued by President Harry Truman in 1947. In it the president indicated that the US should be prepared to fight and prevent the spread of communism. Over the years the doctrine was expanded to include other types of conflicts where “free people are subjugated by conquest.”

This longstanding policy of the US may be in jeopardy as President Trump decreases the presence of US forces in certain hotspots around the world. In recent days he said he would immediately bring back 2,000 troops from Syria and soon will decrease the US presence in Afghanistan by 50 percent.

The proposed actions, along with several other offending comments by the president, caused a great divide between Trump and the Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis. The latter indicated he would resign in February to give the president time to name a replacement. After a careful reading of Mattis’ resignation letter, the president dismissed Mattis immediately. This is the second time a president has dismissed Mattis. Obama fired him after he refused to comply with his Iran policies.

Many have lauded the general for having the courage to stand up to his commander-in-chief. Yet I ‘m disturbed by Mattis’ overly political manifesto that has gone viral. By suggesting Trump is not concerned with ignoble intentions of Russia and China and the importance of our close allies, he disparaged his commander in a manner that weakens the reputation of our country even further.

The general certainly should be guided by his conscience and experience and resign if he disagrees with the president’s strategy in Syria or any other issue. But to criticize the president as he’s walking out the door was not an act of heroism, humility or class in my opinion. Rather he should have exited quietly, with dignity and respect, like so many great generals have done throughout history, think back to General Collin Powell retirement, regardless of his personal feelings towards Trump.

The liberal press, Democratic opponents and even some Republicans were overjoyed to see the president taken down a few notches. This dissatisfaction with Trump is totally understandable, but exposing our dirty laundry to the rest of the world will make it more difficult for the president to address pressing issues beyond the minutia investigated by Robert Mueller. Keep in mind Trump is going to be in the White House for two more years unless he resigns under pressure or is impeached as recommended yesterday by Tom Friedman, a NY Times columnist.

I think the specific decision by Trump to exit Syria is appropriate and reasonable. The blowback from hawkish politicians has been resounding. They say US aversion towards conflict where people are being repressed is bad policy. The naysayers believe that a strong response and continued support in regional conflicts like Syria are critical to American leadership.

But is it really? Trump sees no upside in subjecting our troops to unnecessary peril in Syria. The country is occupied by Russian and Iranian troops. A fledgling resistance supported by Syrian Kurds has fought courageously against the Syrian army led by the tyrant Bashar al Assad. But it’s a hopeless cause.

Assad mercilessly attacks the resistance and innocent bystanders with the assistance of his allies. This assault has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of refugees. Certainly the quest for freedom by the Syrian people meets the qualifications laid out in the Truman Doctrine. But the US must know when it is wiser to walk away.

Until now the US has kept the remote possibility of ousting Assad alive. But it is a fruitless endeavor unless the US goes all in. That would mean more US troops will be deployed, and direct confrontation with Russia and Iran will be inevitable.

What would the end game be for continued American involvement in Syria? Ideally it would be the downfall of the Assad regime. Even if the Russians and Iranians allowed this to happen, what group would assume control? It could possibly result in even more violence.

Trump has made the right move in Syria. Middle East countries and their citizens eschew American occupation, even while our soldiers risk their lives to protect the people. There is no upside for American diplomacy in this conflict.

Trump may, in fact, be a threat to the Truman Doctrine as he considers American alternatives overseas. But he should not be judged harshly for walking away from Syria. If Iran uses Syria as a platform to spread violence, the US can always reconsider aggressive military action.