The United Nations General Assembly has convened an emergency session in New York to, among other things, vote on a motion tabled by Yemen and Egypt to condemn the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The result was expected to be overwhelming and so it was. The vote was 128 in favour, 9 in opposition and 35 abstentions. The 9 opposed were Guatemala, Israel, Nauru, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Togo, Honduras and the US. Countries that abstained included Argentina, Australia, Canada, Mexico and Poland. The vote matches the overwhelming vote of the UN Security Council on Monday that was vetoed by the United States. The fallout will be one to watch.
Something that has been troubling me in recent weeks has the emerging trend among people in the Democratic Party who, in their pursuit to demonise Trump, have decided to extricate him from the GOP. In there eyes Trump is an unprecedented and unholy aberration and that the US would be in much better shape if a different Republican was in office rather than Donald Trump. I don’t necessarily disagree with this premise as a President Jeb Bush wouldn’t be exactly good but I don’t suspect that he would openly muse about using nuclear weapons. However what has now taken over the Democratic Party is that Trump has now been separated from the Republicans to such an extent that many Democrats have rehabilitated the historical record of George W. Bush.
Back in 2013 the main weather event that captivated the US press was Hurricane Sandy, a storm that smashed into the East Coast of the United States severely impacting people in Florida all the way up to New York. Indeed New York was one of the worst states hit as the storm surge hit Staten Island and resulted in hundreds of thousands of people in the North East without power and many were forced to flee. The narrative of this storm is that the United States pulled together in this time of crisis, as personified by Governor Chris Christie hugging President Obama after the storm hit New Jersey, but this is not the case. Some Republican senators instead opted for political point scoring and now their hypocrisy needs to be called out.
When Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement the world stood firm in opposition to his idiotic decision. Something that was noteworthy from the time of the announcement was the number of governors and mayors who said that they intended to stand by commitments to reduce carbon emissions. This act of refusal is important because it shows how representatives outside of the federal government can tackle climate change even if the President has the intellectual calibre of an especially dim squirrel. The environmental movement has to use its resources carefully and focus its energies on ways to do serious damage to those corporations that are, in large part, responsible for the current climate crisis.
It is widely known that United States government is unapologetically pro-Israel and this has normally resulted in the favourable press coverage of the right-wing government of Israeli, even in supposedly liberal publications. However this has gone one step further. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) has introduced Senate Bill 720, also known as the Israel Anti-Boycott Bill, and already the bill has 45 cosponsors- 31 Republican and 14 Democrat. Not only is this an attempt by the pro-Israel lobby to continue comparing opposition to the Israeli government as the same as anti-Semitism, but this bill shows that many members of the Senate do not understand the US constitution.
One of the main issues that the Republicans campaigned on in the 2016 election, both at the national and the state level, was the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Speaker Ryan recently announced what the Republicans in the House will seek to replace Obamacare with and it was Draconian to say the least. Many expected that Republicans in the Senate who had taken more moderate positions on healthcare reform like Susan Collins (R-MA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would mean that the Senate bill would be less extreme. In a remarkable turn of events the Senate bill is even more harsh on the poor and provides a massive handout to the wealthiest individuals in America. But thankfully the Senate bill has hit a snag.
On the campaign trail Donald Trump paid lip service to the idea of non-intervention by arguing from a position of economic nationalism. Any illusion that he was intending to reduce the role of the American military in the world has now been shattered, but this is not especially surprising given his temperament. In response to the suspected chemical attack in Idlib province on Tuesday, the US military has launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syrian military installations. The targets are centred on the Shayrat Airfield south of the Syrian city of Homs and were designed to cripple the Assad government’s aerial capability. Everything about this is situation is terrible.