Saturday, August 22, 2015

Year Three of the Trump Presidency

Future History - In Search of the
 Trump Presidency 

Fire Up the Short Current Essays
"Future History" Machine!
It's not at all too early in the 2016 campaign
 season to juice things up a bit with a very
 tasteful little episode of MeanMesa fiction...

Granted, given the already stark lack of any particular details concerning the Trump Campaign, it is actually quite difficult to visualize what conditions might prevail in the nation should the reality show host ever get close to the Oval Office. Yet, in hopes of being prepared for all eventualities, MeanMesa has, once again, "fired up the Short Current Essays 'Future History' machine" so we all might have a glimpse of exactly what this would look like.

Well, as the extremely wise Mullah Nassr Edin might have once said "every fiction needs at the very least a token, flimsy, literary foundation," and an ambitious effort such as this one is certainly no exception! Consequently, we'll have to "just throw together something or other" to ground this modest little blog fiction with some sort of plausible setting to allow visitors to "suspend disbelief" long enough to enjoy it, so here it comes.

MeanMesa promises. It will be just as entertaining as...uh...television.

MeanMesa's Interview With the
 Speaker of the House of Representatives
Julian Paul Buttford, Capital Hill Correspondent
August 22, 2020, Washington, D.C.
[Excerpts of the live interview available on MeanMesa network streaming podcast.]

Naturally, everyone at Galactic Headquarters was quite excited when we received the invitation to interview Speaker Farber McMurkly in his office at the Capital. There had been the usual blather about "increased transparency" when McMurkly was elected Speaker by the new Democratic House majority in the 2018 election Congressional Session, and since then a series of in depth interview "media availabilities" had become a regular part of the Speaker's weekly schedule.

When, during this newly adopted House policy, it became MeanMesa's turn to interview Speaker McMurkly, we immediately dispatched MeanMesa's young Washington Bureau correspondent, Julian P. Buttford, to meet with the Speaker in his Capital Hill office. Buttford filed this full transcript for immediate release to Short Current Essay affiliates nationwide via the MeanMesa Network's standard AP download.

Speaker McMurkly: "Welcome to Capital Hill. The House Democratic Caucus is always anxious for the opportunity to keep voters informed about what's going on in Washington."

Correspondent Buttford: "Thank you Mr. Speaker. Everyone at MeanMesa is very grateful for this chance to speak with you about our government. I brought along a few questions, so let's get started."

Let's begin with an update about Congressional efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations with Mexico and Canada -- and, now, also with Cuba. Has there been any progress with Congressional attempts to influence the State Department toward a more conciliatory tone?"

Speaker McMurkly: "Well, we have had a little success in some areas, but the continuing resolutions passed while President Trump and the Republicans still controlled the House and Senate before last year's election continue to present major obstacles. Even after I took the Speaker's chair, the remnants of the tea party faction of the Republican caucus continued to act as if they were 'calling all the shots.'

"The constant threats that they were going to 'unleash the billionaires' on Democratic House members in primary campaigns are quieting down now that public polling has begun to straighten out the perception that they were speaking for some sort of conservative majority. Most of them are still relying on FOX for all their news, so it's not surprising that they are still clinging to that network's 'explanations' about why they lost the election.

"All those, frankly, hateful comments about our national neighbors made right after the President was inaugurated have cut deeply into the possibilities for starting good relations again -- especially with Mexico. We could definitely use a few friends in Europe and the UN, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Correspondent Buttford: Speaking of international relations, I realize that the 'Trump Doctrine" with respect to ISIL turned out to be disappointing, but is there any talk in the House about sending military aid to Iran and Turkey?  Now that the 'caliphate' has taken control of Iraq and most of Syria, Iran and Turkey represent the main effort to keep them out of Europe.

Speaker McMurkly:"Well, I'm sure you know that after what President Trump ordered the military to do in Syria and Iraq, most of the other NATO members and a large majority in the UN General Assembly made it clear in no uncertain terms that US involvement was not welcome in the region. You probably heard the "trigger happy lunatic" crack. That attitude has penetrated deeper than just NATO --  clearly into most of the EU, now.

Correspondent Buttford: "On a domestic note, has anyone in the Congress come up with any ideas for a solution to the Supreme Court problem?

Speaker McMurkly: "Not really. The five Justices who remain on the Court are still making rulings on cases, but it's clear that the Court, itself, is beginning to lose the confidence of the citizens. 

"Speaking of this, I have no problem with the Senate's refusal to approve any of the five Trump Administration's nominations sent to Capital Hill so far. Two of them hadn't even ever gone to law school, and no one was ready for a self-proclaimed Klansman in a lifetime judicial appointment, either. The other two were some Wall Street characters that the President owed favors for some reason.

"Going ahead with the five that are left on the Court is probably better than the alternative.

Correspondent Buttford: "The President doesn't seem to particularly mind the 27 VETO overrides that have come from the Congress so far.

Speaker McMurkly: "Actually, this is getting worse, not better. There is absolutely no communication between the President and the House and Senate majorities. I've heard that he's still talking to the tea party reactionaries and a few 'deep South' Senators and convincing them to keep proposing one weird bill after another. The Congressional majorities work on this legislation, and we try to change it so that it might pass. But pretty much everything not coming directly -- word for word -- from this bunch gets VETOed by him, and then the VETO gets overridden when it comes back up here.

"There are just enough of these reactionaries still surviving in the Congress to keep this up, repeating the same process time after time. Everyone knows that the whole works is standing still.

Correspondent Buttford: "But hasn't the President gotten the message, yet? Surely there must be something that the White House and the Congress could agree on and get passed into law. Have you noticed any improvement in the quality of legislative proposals from the White House? Are Administration sponsored bills growing any more palatable or changing tone in ways making it so that some of them are more likely to be able to withstand these VETO overrides?

Speaker McMurkly: "These VETO override votes are not just coming from Democrats. The President's bills are so bad that these VETO overrides have been getting a majority of Republican votes here in the House, too. I think he might be even more out of touch now than what we saw during the campaign.

"I'd like to be passing some legislation, but we simply can't pass this stuff. At this point I have no idea what his agenda might be.

Correspondent Buttford: "Have White House relations with the Pentagon improved any now that some time has passed after he fired all those Generals? 

Speaker McMurkly: "Well, theoretically it was Secretary of Defense Rubio who actually did the firing, but you can be sure that the word originally came from the Oval Office. I was relieved when the Chiefs of Staff refused the attack orders and walked out on him. Again, not even many of the Senate Republicans would vote in favor of the nominees he was sending, let alone support his war making binge.

"I think that this actually scared him a little. Since then, the White House rhetoric has calmed down a bit. This may have been a result of Secretary of State Cruz simply telling him to 'tone it down.'

Correspondent Buttford: "Was this a result of the Chinese reaction to the proposed 30% import tariff?

Speaker McMurkly: "I think so, but there were a number of other factors as well. Still, the Chinese were 'quite upset' when the President proposed this. Their economy started to tank the next day, and after they pulled every loose investment out of here, of course, our economy took a hit, too. That hurt us because no one else was interested in having any assets here. Most of them didn't even want US dollars.

When the world reserve currency officially changed to the yuan, it was clear that the US was in for a hard time. Still, how could anyone blame them? The diplomatic impact hit the Western Hemisphere hard, too.

Remember, by this time most of his Ambassador appointments to South and Central America had already been sent home. It's not surprising that Putin is more respected down there than he is now. Cuba put an open war crimes indictment on Cruz after what happened in the Middle East.

"I've heard that no one in the EU is even taking his calls any more. US exports are at the lowest level since Treasury began keeping records. Most of the world doesn't seem to want anything to do with us. These days, our largest export markets are Israel and England.

Correspondent Buttford: "Speaking of the economy, does the CBO have any idea how bad the economy got hit during those first years of the Trump Administration"

Liquidating America - Losers have
 to be liquid to trickle down.
[image source]
Speaker McMurkly: "Of course no one in the Congress has access to the economic data being held by the Executive branch. The President isn't releasing much of that at all. However, we do know that the National Debt went up by around $3 Tn during those first couple of years. When Trump was campaigning, no one even imagined how obsessed he was going to be with the old 'trickle down' model, but now that we can see the impact, it's pretty clear that he has been hollowing out the General Fund and handing the take over to the 'job creators.'

Correspondent Buttford: "That sounds more like George W. Bush.

Speaker McMurkly: "Actually it looks even worse, but no one can stop him.

Correspondent Buttford: "Is there talk of impeachment?

Speaker McMurkly: "Of course there is, but the man hasn't really committed any high crimes or misdemeanors that anyone knows about. There would be enough votes to do that if the case could be made.

Correspondent Buttford: "Before we finish, I'd like to ask you about race relations and all the riots.

Speaker McMurkly: "I'm sorry, there's a floor vote in a few minutes. Maybe we can discuss that next time.

One thing is for sure, though. Donald Trump has accomplished something that no one else seemed able to accomplish. He changed the political atmosphere in the country and especially the level of voter turnout. 81% of eligible voters cast ballots in the last election.

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