Just days before Christmas Day
And all through the country
Smiles of joy
And sighs of dismay……
I have seen many a Christmas day some truly glorious and others not so much…..but this year, 2018, takes the cake as a huge piece crap as far as the country goes…..
We are watching our stock indices sliding into oblivion, presidential legal woes, troops coming home from Syria (possibly)….and an overdose of “Jingle Bells”….all that is enough to make any one person apprehensive…..but it did not stop there……
After VP Pence goes to Congress and tells them the president will sign the CR to fund the government……he, Trump, does what he does best…waffles……
A government shutdown is suddenly in the cards again. After the Senate appeared to lessen the risk of one by passing a temporary funding bill, the measure ran into a brick wall in the House. President Trump and Republicans are again demanding that any legislation include $5 billion to build a border wall, and the president delivered the message in person during a meeting with House GOP leaders Thursday. “The president informed us he will not sign the bill that came from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security,” Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters. “So what we’re going to do is go back to the House and work with our members.” The details:
- One day left: The president’s move “dramatically” increases the chances that a partial government shutdown will begin at the end of Friday, reports the Washington Post. And Politico uses the same word. The Senate bill would have provided funding into February.
- The statement: “We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation,” said White House press chief Sarah Sanders after the Trump meeting. “We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall.”
- The problem: If House GOP leaders bring a bill to the floor with $5 billion in wall funding, there’s no guarantee it would pass, reports the Wall Street Journal. It would likely get the support of zero Democrats, and many lame-duck Republicans have been skipping votes. Even if it did pass the House, it would likely fail in the Senate, because spending bills need 60 votes and Republicans have only 51 seats.
- Right-wing fury: After Trump signaled earlier this week that he would settle for less, conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus berated his stance, as did right-wing pundits. Among those coming down hard on Trump late Wednesday was Ann Coulter, with a column headlined “Gutless President in Wall-Less Country” at Breitbart. “On the basis of his self-interest alone, he must know that if he doesn’t build the wall, he has zero chance of being re-elected and a 100% chance of being utterly humiliated,” she wrote.
- Trump’s first hint: In a Thursday morning tweet, Trump gave the first hint of his intentions. “When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership,” he wrote. “Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries – but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!”
- If it happens: National parks will likely close, nine federal agencies will shutter, and more than 420,000 federal employees would have to work without pay. The New York Times has details on the ramifications of a shutdown.
There is time for a short term spending bill…will the “Grinch” crap on Christmas?
That would be big enough jolt but there is more……the jobs report was not as good as it could have been……
And then the big news……
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is stepping down from his post, President Donald Trump announced Thursday, after the retired Marine general clashed with the president over a troop drawdown in Syria and Trump’s go-it-alone stance in world affairs. Mattis, perhaps the most respected foreign policy official in Trump’s administration, will leave by the end of February after two tumultuous years struggling to soften and moderate the president’s hardline and sometimes abruptly changing policies, the AP reports. The announcement came a day after Trump surprised US allies and members of Congress by announcing the withdrawal of all US troops from Syria, and as he continues to consider shrinking the American deployment in Afghanistan. Trump said on Twitter that a new secretary will be named soon.
In his resignation letter, Mattis alluded to disagreements with Trump as the reason for his departure. “Because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote. Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria has been criticized for abandoning America’s Kurdish allies, who may well face a Turkish assault once US troops leave. Mattis, in his resignation letter, emphasized the importance of standing up for US allies in an implicit criticism of the president’s decision. “While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies,” Mattis wrote.
No worries here. Trump will nominate a “yes man” in the vane of Pompeo…look for the “suck up” Tom Cotton to be mentioned.
Trump has issued his statement about his desire to withdraw American forces from Syria made the Hill go into stroke mode then his next desire for troops should send the pundits and the M-IC into heart attack territory…..
Fresh off the announcement of a US military withdrawal from Syria, officials are saying that the Trump Administration is actively considering a major drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, potentially starting in the next few weeks.
Details are still emerging on this discussion, but the recent struggles of the Afghan War have been very well publicized, and the Taliban’s negotiations with the US has centered on them wanting the US to withdraw under any peace deal.
With the August 2017 escalation in Afghanistan having gone poorly, there have been reports for months of the administration changing direction. The Pentagon had been pushing hard against a drawdown, however, trying to emphasize the large death tolls in Afghanistan as a sign of progress.
But the draw down could be coming very soon, according to officials. They say that the first US troops could be returning home as soon as January. Though official troop levels aren’t well documented anymore, there are an estimated 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan.
Who wrote this script? That was rhetorical for we all know where the direction came from now don’t we?
What happened to hot buttered rum and shopping this time of the year?
So this is Christmas?
Five days and counting (this is for those that are filled with anticipation)
And as always…”Merry Christmas”!