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Walls and Bridges

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, February 16th, 2019 - 54 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, Jeremy Corbyn, Simon Bridges, uk politics, uncategorized, us politics, winston peters, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

It’s been a funny old week.

In the States, Trump has caved to the Democrats and signed the government finance bill that was he never, ever going to sign if he didn’t get his wall.

He doesn’t get his wall.

In the UK, Theresa May is apparently now resigned to a No Deal Brexit, following yet another humiliating loss in Parliament. Her only consolation is that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn still looks lamer than she does.

And here in NZ, National leader Simon Bridges has gone into hiding, battered by the polls, buggered by a bizarre advert and literally reduced to a joke when Winston Peters used him as subject material for his stand up comic routine.

Trump, May and Bridges have a lot in common.

No future.

Trump has declared a ‘National Emergency’ to try and build his pointless wall and even he acknowledges that the process will be bogged down in the courts for years to come. As a distraction, he’s now reduced to delivering speeches in the form of a kindergarten sing song:

 

The best line on Trump’s cave in comes from former supporter Ann Coulter:

“The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.” 

 Oh, well. As I write this Trump is playing a round of emergency golf.

In the UK, Theresa May has lost another Parliamentary vote when hard Brexiteers in her own party abstained, refusing to support a motion endorsing the government’s negotiating strategy.

Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, is facing increased criticism from within UK Labour because of his refusal to get off the fence on Brexit. The party, and the country, are left bewildered at his failure to show leadership.

The polls say Corbyn is hobbling Labour at a time when they should be sprinting away.

There are now advanced moves to set up a new centre party, mirroring the desperate situation Labour found itself in back in the early eighties, when breakaway MP’s formed the SDP  after Labour leader Michael Foot proved himself equally ineffective in galvanising opposition to a divisive female Tory leader.

Simon Bridges’ week started with a NewsHub poll that suggests he’s made no headway with the voting public at all, (or even his own caucus), moved on to a first sitting of Parliament for the year where he was the butt of cruel jokes, and finished with a bizarre online ad apparently designed to wipe out any support the Tories still have among women.

But hey, the ad was funny, doncha know? It’s not Simon’s fault no one laughed.

Oh, well, that’s this week done.

Next week will be much quieter.

Maybe.

 

 

54 comments on “Walls and Bridges ”

  1. Trump has gone golfing despite being told about yet another mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois, and refusing to answer while boarding the plane.

    He’s tweeted his presidential response: “Great job by law enforcement in Aurora, Illinois. Heartfelt condolences to all of the victims and their families. America is with you!”

    If anyone is wondering why gun violence isn’t considered a national emergency in the US, you’re not the only one. Apparently there have been 38 mass shootings in 46 days this year.

    5 died today.

  2. RedLogix 2

    A lamentable time; our political leaders are so confused and divided they can no longer act, or even know, what is in their best interests.

    Politics is the art of a conversation, between the naturally conservative and progressive parts of society. But we’ve stopped listening and shout slogans instead.

    We live in a globalised world where all our big problems are global in nature, but we’re too frightened to contemplate a political solution at the same scale.

    We know that the planet we depend on for life is being crushed and is dying before our eyes, yet it takes school children to point out that us emperors are wearing no clothes.

    As races, cultures, religions and gender we all share far more in common than not; yet our ancient fear of differences causes us to magnify them beyond all reason.

    Trust is the foundation of all things; yet we act as if it was not.

  3. marty mars 3

    “Trump, May and Bridges have a lot in common.

    No future.”

    Yep and sadly they will drag as many into their no future as they can.

    Look to the light not the shadows.

  4. DJ Ward 4

    “In the States, Trump has caved to the Democrats and signed the government finance bill that was he never, ever going to sign if he didn’t get his wall.

    He doesn’t get his wall.”

    That’s wrong. He gets 55 miles of wall how he wants it.
    The courts struck down the butifly case, so the Dems put it in the negotiated agreement just makes the Dems look silly.

    It’s Pelosi who said they would give him nothing. She is the fool.

    This is making the Dems look stupid. It exposes the vast devide the Dems actually have with the majority of the population. There are many for open boarders. Obama spent $800 million on the northern boarder, his calling the southern boarder an emergency to get wall funding etc etc.

    Trump has actually played this pretty well. Shows his base he is fighting to secure the boarder. Expose Dem voting blocking his moves. Shows the Dems ignoring the experts advice. Exposing promises to negotiate when they won’t. Eventually getting a deal that funds the wall building long enough to free up Emergency Funding.

    So no loss for Trump.

    This is on the backburner until next budget.

    I can say the Republicans are proving themselves useless.

    Even more useless and dumb is The Dems new superstar intelect who just cost her constituents 25,000 jobs at around $150,000 a pop. I wonder if the 96% of people in her electorate that had nothing to do with her getting the nomination are happy.

    • Jess NZ 4.1

      Nope. I know you feel required to slant things against the left, but this is pretty out there and presumably comes from right-wing analysis.

      “According to a congressional Democratic aide, the deal explicitly prohibits the use of this money on a concrete wall, and only authorizes funds for ‘existing technologies,’ like the current fencing along the southern border.”

      ‘One reason they’re mad is that, even though the bill provides some funding for border barriers (not a concrete wall), it gives local communities input over this construction — essentially allowing them to veto anything they don’t like. And since border communities generally vote Democratic and largely hate the idea of a wall, they may oppose much of this construction altogether. So it’s not even clear if all or most of the 55 miles of new border barriers will, in fact, be permitted.’

      And he’s the one ignoring expert advice about what works on the border.

      https://www.alternet.org/2019/02/how-democrats-brilliantly-outplayed-trump-on-the-border-negotiations-and-got-an-even-better-deal-than-it-seems/

      And as for ‘costing jobs’ – does anybody here really still believe the line that ‘jobs’ in and of themselves are always a net plus when a big company moves into your
      patch? Amazon jobs have been in the HR firing line for a LOOOONG time – got jobs? Got stressed, underpaid, and suicidal employees? Just what NY needs!

      Does everyone really have to bend over for big business? I think I’m on the Standard, right? 🙂

      https://www.newsweek.com/amazon-jeff-bezos-foxconn-china-labor-echo-968691
      https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/11/29/amazon-employee-email-note/

      • Rangimarie 4.1.1

        It’s not slant against the left. It’s fact. He’s getting at least part of his wall. Calling it . national emergency and all.

        Not everything is about left and right

        • Jess NZ 4.1.1.1

          The national emergency may or may not get him part of his concrete wall – still a few ‘barriers’ in the way 🙂

          ‘In theory it could. Following the declaration of a national emergency, military officials are empowered to divert funding and resources “essential to the national defense” including the “use of the armed forces”.

          ‘So Trump could order the military to move money and troops around to address the emergency – in this case, Trump imagines, by building a wall.

          ‘But many analysts believe that the emergency declaration will not produce a wall, owing to the aforementioned anticipated challenges in the courts and Congress. Or it will fail due to public outcry or perhaps to a breakdown in compliance somewhere in the chain of command, either on the part of military officials or Trump’s own legal team.’

          https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/14/trump-national-emergency-explainer-border-wall

    • Jenny - How to get there? 4.2

      Was it like this when Hitler took full constitutional power?

      Were the commentators so blasé?

      Probably

      Hitler hoped to abolish democracy in a more or less legal fashion, by passing the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act was a special law that gave the Chancellor the power to pass laws by decree, without the involvement of the Reichstag. These special powers would remain in effect for four years, after which time they were eligible to be renewed. Under the Weimar Constitution, the President could rule by decree in times of emergency using Article 48.[8] The unprecedented element of the Enabling Act was that the Chancellor possessed the powers. An Enabling Act was only supposed to be passed in times of extreme emergency and had only been used once, in 1923–24 when the government used an Enabling Act to end hyperinflation (see hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire

      “I don’t believe a national emergency declaration is the solution,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who warned of taking the country down a “rabbit hole” with future presidents seizing unchecked executive power.

      “No crisis justifies violating the Constitution,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

      Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said, “Declaring a national emergency is unnecessary, unwise and inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

      It’s an outcome Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership warned Trump against. For days, they publicly urged him not to declare an emergency. But with Trump’s signature Friday on the action, the Republican leaders are largely falling in line behind Trump.

      As Democrats are quick to call for oversight and investigation, they are also almost certain to seek a vote of disapproval that will force Republicans to stand with the president — or against him.

      House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., says his committee will investigate the “serious constitutional and statutory issues” raised by the declaration and will ask White House officials to appear for testimony.

      Nadler said Trump’s decision shows “reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system.”

      The ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said that while he supports Trump’s commitment to securing the border, “a national emergency is a serious act with deep implications, and it’s disappointing that partisan politics have brought us to this point.”

      Congress has specific ability under the National Emergencies Act to halt the president by a simple majority vote of disapproval in both chambers. That makes the outcome uncertain, especially in the Senate where Republicans now hold a narrow 53-47 majority.

      Trump would almost certainly threaten to veto such a resolution, if it passed, and Congress would then be faced with the difficult task of mounting the votes to override…..

      …..Trump’s decision creates an “important moment for constitutional democracy,” said Chris Edelson, assistant professor of government at American University and author of a book on presidential power.

      “Congress has the tools available to stop this if it chooses to act,” Edelson said. “All eyes should be on Republicans in Congress, some of whom are clearly troubled by this action, including the precedent it could set.”

      Top Trump allies are splintering. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, once resistant to an emergency declaration, told Fox News he’s all for it. “We would be idiots as Republicans not to support Donald Trump to try to build this wall anyway he can,” Graham said.

      Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., may be tougher to sway. “I, too, want stronger border security, including a wall in some areas. But how we do things matters,” Paul said in a statement.

      “Extraconstitutional executive actions are wrong, no matter which party does them,” added Paul, who regularly criticized former President Barack Obama for what Paul and other Republicans termed executive overreach.

      On and off Capitol Hill, many Republicans criticized Obama for what they saw as executive overreach, particularly on immigration issues. Some of Obama’s actions, including those to shield young immigrants from deportation, continue to play out in the courts.

      While some GOP voices this week urged Trump on, others encouraged restraint.

      “We’ll regret this,” said a headline in the conservative National Review. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Friday that Trump’s decision will “create a dangerous precedent that erodes the very system of government that has served us so well for over 200 years.”

      Rubio and others have asked what would happen if a future president tried to use the same emergency authority for their priorities — for example, to impose gun control or fight climate change……

      …..Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., another Trump ally who chairs the conservative Freedom Caucus, said there’s “wide support” in the party for Trump’s action. “There’s certainly a big push to make sure that we limit executive power,” he said, but the laws are in place and “we support it.”

      Democrats are already gearing up to do battle. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted Friday that Democrats “aren’t going to let the President declare a fake national emergency without a fight.”

      Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was introducing a resolution to terminate the declaration, which he called “an end run around the Constitution.” The joint resolution, he said, “will allow Congress an opportunity to reclaim its authority.”

      Among those signing the letter, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said it’s a “dangerous precedent for the president to be forced to declare a national emergency” over funding.

      The White House said it would be looking at “lower priority” projects. A senior administration official granted anonymity to brief reporters on a conference call Friday said officials will look to shift money from projects that are “to fix or repair a particular facility that might be able to wait a couple of months into next year.”

      https://wtop.com/national/2019/02/trumps-national-emergency-sparks-new-gop-divide-in-congress/

    • Craig H 4.3

      https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2018/12/politics/border-wall-cnnphotos/ is a good summary of the current border situation in my opinion, although obviously not everyone will agree with them.

      According to that article, there is currently around 700mi of fences/wall/barriers along the 1933mi US-Mexican border. I would have thought that while another 55 miles is better than nothing for the base, it’s hardly going to make a big difference given how much they already have. Essentially, this looks like a case of diminishing returns.

  5. greywarshark 5

    I am trying to reach thinking lefties. If there are any of the ts community who want to help me by giving me their opinions please would you. I’ve tried on Open Mike but I have to go to each post I think, begging for crumbs.

    Who in the Labour-Greens-NZF is practically interested in advancing NZ by applying green solutions to farming and the environment to advance our enterprises and our land resources so we bring new ways to protect against climate extremes?

    I see Eugenie Sage has just stopped land tenure rorts on high country.
    Now what about day to day practical things with vision, on low-country, farming and horticulture relating to water – irrigation and droughts, fire prevention. Who are the stand out MPs in thinking plus doing here? What has he achieved as example?

    Damien O’Connor? Min of Agriculture
    David Parker? Min of Economic Development and Min. of Environment and Min of
    Trade as well. He should be good value but is he a talk person mainly.
    James Shaw? Min of Climate Change – He is new to executive status.
    ? Anyone else.

    I’d like to know you views soon so would appreciate a quick setting down of them.

    • Ed1 5.1

      I suspect I don’t have the answers you are looking for, but I am also confused as to your question, and so have some questions of my own. You ask “Who in the Labour-Greens-NZF is practically interested in advancing NZ by applying green solutions to farming and the environment to advance our enterprises and our land resources so we bring new ways to protect against climate extremes?”

      I suspect most if not all are interested in seeing green solutions applied, and our enterprises advanced, and land resources advanced – but few of them interested in doing it themselves – they are politicians not farmers. How “green solutions” are implemented will vary considerably around the country. What the politicians will be doing is seeking good scientific advice as to what policies should be put in pl;ace – and after 9 years of steering the public servants away from such questions it is not surprising that this takes a little bit of time. Those policies have to deal with climate change, international commitments, local issues (for example water has different problems in different parts of New Zealand), requirements for Local authorities, impact on other priorities. They will also be interested in how new requirements and opportunities are communicated, and this may go more to where your question leads. We used to have Ag advisers, and they used to travel around giving latest research and advice to farmers – they may still exist, but it depends what you are really looking for. The politicians doing the thinking may be quite a number of people, but understandably they will talk largely among themselves before talking publicly about specific detail of proposals.

      I suggest you talk to your nearest Labour or Green MP – or even NZ First – they all talk to each other. National appear to want to be seen as acknowledging a problem – albeit one that can be deferred for quite a long time. They may be more interested in ways of avoiding tax on capital gains – where their solution is to remove it (yes we do tax some of those gains currently). For farming that could mean a sharp increase in market values of farms, but also if there had been a change of government, greater purchasing by foreign companies, who may be less interested in Green solutions and more in explolting a low wage economy . . .

      Best wishes – I am sure if you have thoughts yourself your local Green or Labour organisations would welcome discussion.

    • Ad 5.2

      You need to have a good read of the submitters to the Carbon Zero bill.

      They are all on the Parliamentary website.

      PLenty of thinkers and groups of thinkers of the kind you are seeking.

  6. gsays 6

    Heh, the observation that we get the government we deserve rings true.

    Once again, at the risk of seeming fanboy, Prime Minister Ardern and her government may just be forging a new way in politics. My best example is Labour’s silence during the JLR/Bridges/Bennett fiasco.

  7. Ad 8

    nice work TRP

    needed doing

  8. mickysavage 9

    Ha you left out the fuster cluck that is Australia.

    The right wing parties in the western world are all in a mess.

    It is as if circumstances and the world’s challenges are such that their lack of ability to lead is being cruelly exposed.

  9. Jackel 10

    I have to admit I don’t see a wall, brexit and sizzling sausages as anywhere near possible solutions to the world’s real problems.

  10. Adrian Thornton 11

    ” Her only consolation is that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn still looks lamer than she does.”

    A line that could only come from the centre of The Standard…or maybe The Guardian,,yuk.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      With the Conservatives in utter disarray Labour should be cleaning their clock; yet they languish behind in all the polls. This is no accident.

      https://news.yahoo.com/brexit-news-latest-theresa-may-071500808.html

      Corbyn has sat on the fence too long. At first it was a reasonably principled position, respect the outcome of the referendum, give the govt a shot at negotiating an exit.

      Some months back it was clear to everyone that Brexit was going to be a shambles and nothing like what was sold to the country before the referendum. And many people had now changed their minds on it.

      All he had to do was come down off the fence in favour of Remain, or at the least a second referendum, and Labour would not be in the humiliating position it is now. But he’s let his personal feelings on Brexit get in the way of making a decision in the interests of his nation.

      • Ad 11.1.1

        Corbyn will need much more than that now.

        He will need to show that he really is a Prime Minister in waiting by revealing a detailed, safe, and coherent plan for a post-Brexit Britain.

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.1

          Sadly I have to agree; it’s too late to undo the damage now and Remain is probably no longer an option.

          Yet I’m 95% certain a second referendum would yield a decent majority for it now.

          • Anne 11.1.1.1.1

            …I’m 95% certain a second referendum would yield a decent majority for it now.

            I think that is beyond question. So many have admitted they would change their vote to ‘Remain’ if they were given another opportunity. It was beyond stupid to put it to a referendum in the first place.

            In the beginning I welcomed Corbyn’s leadership of the British Labour Party with enthusiasm, but his seeming failure to take a proper stand over Brexit is disappointing and perplexing. Is he being hampered by members of his parliamentary caucus? Or is he just refusing to consider any compromise positions?

            Politics is always the art of compromise and if Corbyn is not prepared to accept that reality then he should step down as leader.

            • RedLogix 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Agree completely; Corbyn has made the mistake of thinking all he had to do was watch and wait for the Conservatives to self-destruct. There is a time for that, but this is proof that by itself this is a weak strategy.

              • KJT

                Maybe, unlike some people here, Corbyn respects the result of a democratic referendum.

                And the propaganda and bullshit from both sides probably cancelled out.

                Don’t forget, there a plenty of good reasons, even left wing ones, for leaving the bankers Neo-liberal paradise, that is the EU.

                Hell. The UK may have to start producing things again, instead of money laundering.

          • Ad 11.1.1.1.2

            The creepy thing is that there’s simply nothing political anyone can do now except wait for the first day of Brexit and await the impact.

            With simultaneous manufactured crises in previous lighthouses of democratic leadership so close to hand, the impact will not just be on the conservative end of politics; the commentary is going to go to whether referenda-style direct democracy is useful at all when the popular will of the people is so destructive, so meaninglessly brutal in its impacts.

            I can easily see a much stronger tendency to authoritarianism arising in reaction to these failures of democracy, on the left and the right, on the corproratised politics and the green.

          • Gabby 11.1.1.1.3

            The mistake has been to call it a second referendum, rather than casting it as a ratification of negotiated term. No terms, no Brexit. No ratification, no Brexit.

      • Craig H 11.1.2

        I think there’s a real constituency in the UKLP for Brexit (as well as Remain), and Corbyn is worried that coming out for Remain or at least another referendum would have badly damaged the party either through internal ruptures, or getting destroyed by the media.

      • Macro 11.1.3

        Regretfully the Labour Party is as much divided on Brexit as are the Tories – it’s not a simple split along party lines with the possible exceptions of the lib dems, snp, and greens. Corbyn is aware that many of the English Labour in the North are very much Brexiters and he is being told by those MPs who fear the loss of their constituencies to hold firm on Brexit. It really is a buggers muddle and yes the only sane solution is to back off or call for another referendum now that the reality of what the country choose is upon them. It’s almost too late even for that though. They definitely need to call for an extension to Article 50 to sort this mess out. In the meantime the cost to the country is in the order of 800 million quid a week!

    • Thanks for the shout out, Adrian, much appreciated. Being compared to professional writers, particularly those on a genuinely left wing msm outlet like the Guardian is very encouraging to a mere drudge like myself. Your endorsement really means a lot to me, so thanks once again.

      • veutoviper 11.2.1

        Well done! LOL.

      • Adrian Thornton 11.2.2

        @TRP…My pleasure, I was pretty sure you would like being compared to the gate keeper establishment watchdogs.

        • The Al1en 11.2.2.1

          Rather that than the locked in naughty little Shih Tzu, yapping at the people who tune out it’s noise, as they walk on past out in the real world.

      • KJT 11.2.3

        The Guardian is an establishment newspaper, which limits thought to the “approved left”.

        I wouldn’t consider that a compliment.

        • te reo putake 11.2.3.1

          Actually, it is a compliment. The Guardian and the Mirror are the only widely read national papers with a left lean. I’m also keen on the Morning Star, however it doesn’t have the readership base the other two enjoy.

          No media outlet is beyond criticism. But the attacks on the Guardian from the left mainly come from idealogical purists who imagine that the paper should be something it is not and will never be.

          The grumble du jour is that the Guardian isn’t sufficiently worshipful of Jeremy Corbyn. For some reason, a left wing paper taking the view that a Labour leader who is personally conflicted on the biggest political issue of a generation and is not doing his job well, seems to upset some folk.

          Tough.

          Corbyn seems determined to go down in history as a glorious martyr who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. That might be fine with the puritans, but it does working people in the UK no favours.

          • Ad 11.2.3.1.1

            “…snatched defeat twice from the jaws of victory…”

            FIFY

          • Adrian Thornton 11.2.3.1.2

            “idealogical purists” pah…if because some of us put lines in the sand and actually stick by them, and expect our political leaders do so too, then makes us purists, then I wear that badge with honor.

            You are wrong, completely wrong, the Guardian has shown itself to be overtly hostile to Corbyn (and Sanders to for that matter) that is just a plain and simple fact.

            The statement “The grumble du jour is that the Guardian isn’t sufficiently worshipful of Jeremy Corbyn.” is quite bizarre…no not quite bizarre, it shows that either you are very comfortable with the Guardians overtly anti Corbyn (and sanders) negative bias, or you are to dim to see it…and I know you are not dim.

            http://www.lse.ac.uk/[email protected]/research/pdf/JeremyCorbyn/Cobyn-Report-FINAL.pdf

            “Yes, Jeremy Corbyn has suffered a bad press, but where’s the harm?”
            https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2016/jul/19/yes-jeremy-corbyn-has-suffered-a-bad-press-but-wheres-the-harm

            But as I said earlier, you seem quite at ease defending the status quo centre left liberal orthodoxy…so I guess you wouldn’t see the harm in the Guardian bias to an actual Socialist project either.

          • KJT 11.2.3.1.3

            What bullshit.

            Corbyn, like anyone to the left of the establishments, “allowable socialism” has been damned with faint praise by the “chardonnay socialists”.
            I.e. Left wing socialism is fine, so long as I don’t have to give up any of my comfortable upper middle class privilege.

            “We will carry on making the noises, but any serious attempt at removing poverty, reducing inequality and returning to a just and functioning society is to be condemned as, “unrealistic”.

            The same thing has happened to Saunders, is beginning to happen to Cortez, and happens to anyone who sticks their head above the “allowable” parapet, in New Zealand.

  11. Adrian Thornton 12

    What a fucking ridiculous comment, I think you must have got confused and have forgotten where you are…this isn’t the youtube comments section, but maybe head back there, it suits you better..

  12. joe90 13

    Hot take.

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