There are no breaking news at the moment

What could it be if not the chill of the Autumn air and the thought of winter — some people love it of course with its winter sports even if only on TV.  Whatever the reason, we have simultaneous challenges to legislatures on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the UK, with the thorny Brexit issue to be resolved, Boris Johnson offered a plan for the open border problem in Ireland:  people could go through but goods would be subject to customs inspection.  People drive through in cars and cars often have luggage.  Mr. Johnson’s plan went over like a damp squib.    Shortly thereafter, he asked MPs to consider a ‘no confidence’ vote, in fact staking his job.  There aren’t many takers for his job right now.

Then there is Donald Trump, challenging Nancy Pelosi to hold an impeachment vote.  Under pressure, she agreed to initiating an impeachment inquiry.  An exercise in futility it is for even if the House did pass articles of impeachment, the Republican controlled Senate will most certainly quash their effort  The grounds are so extraordinarily trivial that the voters are likely to teach them a lesson at the polls a little over a year hence.  And there are plenty of vulnerable Democrats in marginal seats.

The voters are not interested in the parsing of constitutional legality as the Democrats are doing.  From their point of view, he was merely asking the Ukraine president to dig for dirt on the Bidens.  Papa Joe is Trump’s main rival so why not even if Ukraine is a foreign country.

Son Hunter Biden became an international consultant when his father was Vice President — one supposes a successful one for his operations also included China.  Would you and I have had the same access to levers of power in those countries?  So what exactly was he selling?  Exactly what former legislators at Federal and State levels have to offer if they set up as consultants:  access and the services of an advocate with contacts.  It all depends on whether their actions pass the sniff test.

In Britain, Brexit looms (particularly the no-deal variety) with its gaping jaws ready to bite chunks of economic prosperity from Britain and Europe, but mostly from Britain.  A study by Goldman Sachs estimates the economic effects to be five times greater for the UK than for the EU — for example, the auto industry would be seriously hurt.  Plus a no-deal Brexit in particular would impact countries trading most  with the UK, notably Ireland.

As I was writing this, it was announced that Boris Johnson will, after all, be asking the EU for a time  extension if a deal has not been agreed to by October 19.  He seems to have ended his defiance of Parliament, in words if not deeds, and his much threatened no-deal is off, at least for the time being — although he is clearly not a man to give up easily.  If the high stakes game played by Boris has ended for the present not with a bang but a whimper, the Donald continues to push back defiantly.

He wants to run the country like his own business with complete dictatorial powers and screams twitter abuse at any who get in his way.  The problem for him is the House, controlled by Democrats at least through 2020.  It has the power of the purse and the authority to declare war, enshrined in the constitution.

For Trump, with his wheeler-dealer ways, it is all a profound pain in the proverbial …, as the not-so-elegant saying goes.

Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media.  His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.


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