Politics Analysis

America’s humiliations just keep piling up

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons)

Multiple events in the USA this month have dismayed, disturbed and disgusted the watching world, as Alan Austin reports.

AMERICAN CONGRESSMAN George Santos was charged last Tuesday with 13 counts of financial crimes, including fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds. These major crimes could land him 20 years in prison. Yet his Republican Party colleagues are perfectly happy for him to remain a member in good standing and continue working on legislation.

This contrasts with Australia’s experience in 2012 when Federal Government backbencher Craig Thomson was investigated for alleged fraud. He was immediately forced to resign from Labor’s parliamentary ranks and was later expelled from the party. After leaving Parliament, Thompson was found guilty of taking modest amounts of money from a trade union and fined $25,000.

The Straits Times in Singapore headlined its news report: ‘Republican leaders stand behind embattled U.S. Representative George Santos after his indictment.’

Even the Italians were dismayed that such serious charges did not require Santos to stand aside, as shown in Il Post and Il Giornale. Other major news outlets to cover this prominently include The Irish Times, The China Daily, The London Times, Germany’s Die Welt, The New Zealand Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald and Le Figaro in France.

This is one of eight scandals that have riveted the global community already this month. And we are only halfway through. All have been reported with consternation by the world’s media.

Convicted violent sex offender is still leader

Also last Tuesday, former U.S. President Donald Trump was found guilty by a nine-person jury of sexually assaulting a woman in 1996 and then defaming her by denigrating her appearance, character and truthfulness. Trump must pay E Jean Carroll five million dollars as compensation, unless an appeal succeeds, which seems extremely unlikely.

Again, Republican Party leaders have taken no steps to remove Trump as effective party leader and frontrunner for the 2024 Presidential Election.

Judicial system openly mocked

The next day, Trump attacked the judge and the jury’s decision in a televised election rally broadcast by cable TV station CNN:

“We had a horrible Clinton-appointed judge. He was horrible. He allowed her to put everything in. He allowed us to put nothing in. This is a fake story.”

Trump also continued to attack E Jean Carroll:

“This woman, I don’t know her. I never met her. I have no idea who she is... and I swear, I have no idea who the hell — she’s a whack job.”

Vox described Trump’s performance on CNN as ‘an endless parade of lies and moral obscenities’.

Americans applaud as Trump humiliates his rape victim

The most venomous condemnations of Trump’s CNN appearance were not of Donald Trump, but of his Republican Party audience. To the astonishment of most of the media in the USA and beyond, they clapped and cheered at all of Trump’s cruel and malicious attacks, including against his rape victim.

Trump confessed to taking documents

Unexpectedly, Trump admitted on CNN that he had intentionally taken classified documents from the White House, claiming entitlement:

“I had every right to under the Presidential Records Act... I was there and I took what I took and it gets declassified... I took the documents. I’m allowed to.”

This may have been unintentional, as it contradicts letters sent to the FBI asserting that any documents in Trump’s possession had been inadvertently moved by staffers.

Insurrection confirmed

Five members of the militantly pro-Trump Proud Boys were found guilty on 4 May of multiple felonies arising from the riots at the Capitol building on 6 January 2021.

Four were convicted of seditious conspiracy, thus confirming that this was indeed a violent insurrection — a truth which both Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp continue to deny.

According to the evidence, the defendants conspired to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power after the 2020 Election.

Supreme Court judge corruption allegations

Supreme Court judge since 1991, Clarence Thomas, has been caught accepting undeclared gifts amounting to millions of dollars over recent decades from billionaire Harlan Crow and others. Despite his denials, Thomas has voted on decisions in which Crow’s companies have had direct interests.

Additionally, Crow has been connected to groups that have lobbied the Supreme Court through “amicus briefs” by which third parties seek to influence outcomes.

On the face of it, this is glaring corruption, masked by the fact that the Supreme Court does not have any code of ethics and is shielded virtually entirely from congressional oversight by the doctrine of the separation of powers.

Congress threatens catastrophe over debt limits

Finally, the Republicans are refusing to allow the debt ceiling to be raised, thus risking economic disaster for the USA and significant disruption of the global economy. They have no sound reason for this, apart from political bastardry.

Why these matter to the world

These developments are critical because the USA is still a powerful global force. They matter to Australians particularly as the last government locked the two nations together in a defence alliance for at least six decades. This will impact diplomatic relations, the economy and trade as well as national security.

The watching world is hoping America’s Right-wing political establishment – which is where virtually all the malignancy lies – can sort things out soon.

A great start will be the mainstream media refusing to give Trump platforms such as last Wednesday’s CNN event. Of course, this is a forlorn hope, as the soaring ratings totally vindicated CNN’s decision.

The banner is still aloft over what used to be the home of the brave. It will recover its starry spangle when Trump and his White supremacist movement of anger, hatred and malice are gone forever.

Alan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @alanaustin001.

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