US News Roundup

So I will occasionally do a post directed at the US, mostly because I try to avoid US news in my daily news roundup unless it deals with other nations. Also, it is because US news at the moment is very tiring, and while I want to be engaged, I don’t want to obsess about the US political situation at present. I also tend to add a bit more commentary with US news.

In Illinois, the son of the Late Robert Kennedy has announced he is running for Governor. A Chicago Businessman, Chris Kennedy now enters the Democratic field with billionaire J.B. Pritzker. The Democrats wanted “someone wealthy” in order to go up against Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

OK, so with a  country getting angrier and angrier at the 1% and the excesses of wealth, they choose two rich guys to run for Governor? While I understand that more money in these races give you an edge, it is becoming rather apparent that being rich is now the main qualification for running for office. That being said, both men take an important edge from Rauner, who campaigned on being a business man and not a politician, and with 3 years of political gridlock in Illinois, I suspect something will have to give.

Republicans are getting restless on the pace of the ACA repeal. As the first deadline to present ACA Repeal legislation has passed, several members of Congress are trying to make sure that repeal will happen by the end of March, but with 6 weeks until that deadline, there has been no committee meetings, or word on what the unified GOP plan is.

Considering that the ACA took two years to pass to begin with, I get the feeling that repealing it within two months is going to be nigh on impossible. Coupled that with Trump’s statement that there “should be insurance for everyone” and the split in the GOP caucus between repeal, and repeal and replace, there is a lot of tension on Capitol Hill. Also, I feel that any replacement for the ACA must have the public debate. Again, it took 2 years of debate to pass the ACA, and I feel that the GOP will try and Second Hand Used Car Salesman the US into accepting an inferior agreement and try to pass it before we can object. It has been 7 years since the ACA began in the US, and the GOP still does not have a unified answer for what they will do when they repeal the legislation, and that alone tells me that this is going to be a massive disaster.

“Nevertheless, she persisted”

Those words may haunt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he invoked an obscure rule in the Senate to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren as she read a letter from Coretta Scott King on the racism of Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions, who is also a Senator. What is a bit more circumspect is that hours later, Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico read the same letter, in full, without reprisal. Warren has been seen as the primary voice against many of President Trump’s nominations, and she used the gag order to gain more attention on the letter’s contents.

Alright, this is interesting because McConnell fell into a trap. He not only went after Warren, who was likely prepared for such an event, but he also allowed her male colleagues to do the same thing. It wounds Sessions even further and makes the vote even more contentious. Showing rank sexism in the Senate is not a new thing, but this is quite blatant, and it feeds into the enduring belief that the GOP is uncomfortable with combative women in power. Much like the Streisand Effect, a lot of people will now know that letter.

The situation about Yemen is getting complicated, so I am going to present two of the main storylines with the situation.

The New York Times has reported that Yemen has withdrawn permission for the US Military to  run special ops to go after Terrorist in the region. The Times state that after the mission last month that killed 30 civilians and a US Navy SEAL, with Yemeni Politicians furious they were not consulted about the raid. This would be the second time Yemen has withdrawn permission to US forces, the first being in 2014 when another raid led to Civilian deaths.

However, Fox News has just reported that the withdrawal of permission has not been made.  Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi said his country called for a “reassessment” of the raid, but not a stop to ground operations. And US Generals in the area have said they have not been told to stop operations. The White House has stated that the raid was a complete success while critics have pointed to the civilian death, the loss of a helicopter and the escape of Al Qaeda leader was not being successful. The White House has claimed that the mission did not include the Al Qaeda leader as a target.

Firstly, The last sentence makes me think that the Al Qaeda leader was somehow a “Bonus” objective in a video game. “Your main mission is to generally blow some stuff up, but Options: Kill Terrorist Leader.”

but I digress.

In an era where the death of 4 people in Libya lead to years of government investigations, and in an era where a botched raid lead to the US pulling out of Somalia, that this event, no matter whats it mission, would be almost ignored by the conservative press and treated as a winning situation. The Administration seems to be operating from weakness to weakness, with reports of Mr. Trump being disengaged about the raid, to the overall handling of the situation. All of it seems like the absolute wrong thing.

I’ll close with a thought. Over the last three weeks, we have seen the Administration push as hard as it can against the powers enshrined in the Presidency. Mr. Trump seems unconcerned with his behavior and what it could mean for his political future. We have a long four years ahead of us, and if he is getting upset now at what is happening against him, he is going to be furious next year when the election will be a referendum on him and his policies. What is even more interesting is that the ACA I suspect will be the bomb the GOP does not want. The longer the wait, the worse the bomb gets, and I suspect that there are a number of GOP members who are worried about what will happen when the ACA is repealed. They may yet rue the day they won.

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