US govt shut-down: Trump faces Democrat woman-power | Sunday Observer

US govt shut-down: Trump faces Democrat woman-power

Anyone scoffing at woman-power needs to take a good look at what is going on in the USA. A woman-strengthened US legislature is set to take on their womaniser head of state not just for his womanising but for the entire range of wrong-doings for which the American President is being accused. The first female Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (Democrat), leads the way, scoffing at Donald Trump’s insistence on building a border wall with Mexico as being a test of his manhood.

Anyone going to the USA or doing business with America may need to monitor on-going politics in the world’s sole superpower to know whether the United States government will continue to be inoperative as it is now. President Trump himself told news media on Friday that the federal government shut-down due to his refusal to sign the government budget could continue “for months or years!”

For tourists in Washington there will be disappointment because some of the most famous attractions like the Smithsonian Museum and some national monuments are closed indefinitely due to the government shut-down. US science experts’ bodies have warned that essential scientific testing and research has stalled due to non-release of funds. Over 800,000 federal employees have been without pay for two weeks and many have been asked to stay away from work due to lack of funds to pay for institutional operations.

News media carried visuals of ugly mounds of garbage piled up at various historic national monuments in Washington, DC, because federal agencies maintaining them have suspended operation since they are not declared ‘essential services’. There is emergency government funding that enables the functioning of federal essential services ranging from the military to medical services to customs and immigration.

But US news media warned that with much of the federal bureaucracies either closed or partially open, the public would experience delays in getting things done. The BBC featured an American couple who had barely begun their legal marriage procedure when the government registration office had to close half-day and the staff left. They were left ‘half-married’ and will remain so until the office re-opens.

A far bigger social outcome is the impact of non-payment of salaries and service fees to federal employees, most of them being in the middle, lower-middle and working class categories. Many with salaries barely enough to meet monthly expenditure, fear that they will face problems in meeting such crucial monthly expenditures like rent, credit card instalments, utility bills and many other social costs. And many fear that the lack of pay could even affect their food and health security and, in winter, heating supplies.

The President refused to sign the government budget bill passed by Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) last month because it did not include the US$ 5 billion that he had requested to fund his famous promise for a concrete wall along the US border with Mexico, ostensibly to halt the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants.

The ‘border wall’ became his most famous election campaign promise along with the promise that “Mexico will pay for it”.

At the time, most educated Americans, along with border security experts themselves, belittled the Trump promise as the cheap theatrics for which the entrepreneur-showman had been famous for decades. Experts were quick to point out that an actuial wall continuously along the thousands of kilometres-long Mexican border was an extravagant waste since modern technology provides far better ways of effectively combating illicit cross-border activity. Democrats have always supported enhanced border security, even while in Opposition (till last November’s mid-term general election).

The border wall idea was seen merely as the simplistic political symbol for Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and not as something which anybody (let alone Mexico) should pay for because, simply, it was a waste of public money.

But, most Americans never thought that Trump would end up as President. Worse, most Americans had not anticipated that the lecherous, unscrupulous, ruthless, business tycoon would be the bumbling and unsophisticated President he has turned out to be. And now the country has to live through the nightmare that the Trump presidency is becoming.

Even if lechery is on the backfoot inside the White House, the country has seen the Trumpian ruthlessness in full play along with his complete lack of scruples. But his bumbling, now in the full glare of the whole wolrd’s media, has been as prolific and, the entertainment from all the gaffes, vulgairities and faux pax has helped ease the pain from his misrule. Some of his clumsy and almost illegal presidential antics have been entertaining to the vast majority of Americans too busy living it off to see too deeply, the severity of the outcomes.

The country suffers and, the world suffers, especially neighbouring countries and allied states and political forces.

And Trump’s simplistic style – being the simpleton that he is – means that rather than softly dropping the border wall idea, he must play crude politics by flaunting his promises and making a macho show of executive muscle by trying to force through an enormous budget for a useless concrete border wall.

So he continues to insist that an actual border wall is essential for border security although he now says that “steel slats” will be used instead of concrete. Many commentators are quick to point out that Trump’s wall histrionics are also meant to distract attention from the many criminal probes now investigating his business and political dealings.

Now, with the Democratic Party in control of the House of Representatives, the Democrats are saying funding for any ‘continuous border wall’ would be a waste and is out of the question. Most Republicans, (they still control the Senate) also agree that such a wall would be waste of money and are happy not to fund it. But the Senate Republican leadership depends much for their voter base on Trump constituencies and fear that a failure to support the Trumpian promise would cost them votes in the next election.

Thus, bills for the federal budget passed by the House of Representative are not likely to be even taken up by the Republican controlled Senate because they say they have no assurance that Trump would sign them into law minus funding for the wall.

The stand-off will soon complete a month. By then both Trump and the Opposition Democrats would be feeling the popular reactions to the social impact of the government shutdown – the third longest in US history. The test will be who blinks first – the macho bumbling President or the astute veteran political toughie who is the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives.

As Nancy Pelosi herself frames it, the contest is a kind of political battle of sexes. It is perhaps just that a man who is not ashamed to publicly boast of physically assaulting women and having multiple furtive affairs, is confronted by Pelosi, the first woman to reach the third highest elected political office (after the presidency and vice presidency).

And Pelosi is backed by a cohort of newly elected Congresswomen, the largest ever, most of whom came into politics because of the emerging threat to women’s rights arising from Trump’s executive actions and those of the Republican government.

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