Despite the increasingly bizarre and even tyrannical behavior of Donald Trump, the mainstream media are still assuring Americans that our checks and balances are in play, and that the “guardrails” of democracy are in place. Serious pundits are even suggesting that the likelihood of impeachment has become greater and that the 25th amendment of the constitution, which offers protection against presidential disability, could be apt. My own view is that there has been serious deterioration in the institutions of governance over the past several decades, particularly in the area of political oversight, and that our political roller coaster will continue in the near term.
Even before his inauguration, Donald Trump indicated that he would be waging a war on intelligence on every level, not only the institutions of the intelligence community but the larger issue of intelligence or expertise. He has big plans for economic policy, but there are no genuine economists in his circle. Trump talks about foreign policy, but there are no diplomats in the conversation. He has huge areas of ignorance, but no interest in finding individuals with real expertise.
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More Bloat For Bloated Defense Spending
The justification for additional defense spending is reminiscent of traditional Cold War justifications. The Senate’s defense authorization act even empowers the Pentagon to establish a “strategic competition initiative” for the U.S. African Command, which would lead to an expanded U.S. military presence in Africa. The United States has already trained leaders of coups in Mali and Guinea, and provided aid to repressive regimes in Uganda and Niger. The Pentagon can’t even provide an accurate inventory of the military equipment it has provided to African countries.
American Exceptionalism: Our Gun Culture at Home and Abroad
There is an insidious and unspoken connection between our gun culture at home and abroad. U.S. politicians and pundits believe that huge defense budgets provide international security for the United States, and many Americans believe that personal weapons provide safety at home. We don’t question the use of deadly weaponry in unnecessary wars overseas; Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are the most recent examples. At home, there are more guns than people — 120 guns for every 100 people. The United States is exceptional because some of the same weapons designed for war are available to teenagers fighting their personal demons.