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Wall Writings

Wall Writings
News analysis of politics, cinema, modern culture and the ambiguity of human existence addressed from a religious perspective.
Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere”

March 16, 2019 - 1:19pm

by James M. Wall

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere”, launch the poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882).

Those opening words came to memory as I read the latest posting from one of my most trusted and reliable Jewish sources, Phillip Weiss.

On the site he co-founded, Mondoweiss, Phillip Weiss wrote under the headline, “Don’t accept the rules for how to criticize the Israel lobby”  :

A maddening element of the Ilhan Omar controversy is all the experts offering instruction on The right way and the wrong way to criticize the Israel lobby.

Why must someone who sees a dreadful faction working to skew US policy-making walk on eggshells when attacking it? Do the Parkland students hold back about their target lobby? Do advocates for abortion rights issue rules of rhetorical niceness when they see the enemy gathering across the Supreme Court plaza?

Oh– but you are talking about Jewish influence.

Actually we have made that distinction: we are talking about Zionist influence.

My high school English teacher encouraged her students to become familiar with Longfellow’s poem. I know she succeeded with me, because here I am, reading Phillip Weiss many decades later, and saying to my self, you must share this.

Which is what leads me to write: Listen, and you shall read, not the story of a British invasion, but the invasion of the Israel Lobby into every personal corner and public square of American life.

Phillip Weiss’ latest posting led me to utilize Longfellow’s poem to sound the alarm that the current discussion of Zionism and Judaism has been politically manipulated, not just by members of the Jewish community, but by Zionists of all stripes, including Christian fundamentalists.

The goal of that highly-successful Lobby invasion, is to totally erase the distinction between the political ideology of Zionism, a 19th century political phenomenon of exclusivism, and religious/ethnic Judaism.

This unholy merger of Zionism with Judaism was predicted by many Jewish religious leaders when the modern state of Israel was created in 1947-48. Their warning was simple: A state established for Jews, is an act of idolatry, the move to replace Yahweh with the worship of a state.

Those Jewish leaders knew Zionism for what it is: idolatry. To criticize a state which demeans and seeks to eliminate non-Jewish residents is not anti-semitic. Hatred of, the Jewish people is anti-semitic.

Through both its words and deeds, anti-semitism is evil and deplorable. Criticism of Zionism is not anti-Semitism. To erase that distinction, which the Israel Lobby does repeatedly, demands corrective criticism.

The midnight ride of Paul Revere recalls a journey from history which may now be seen as recalling a more recent invasion in our history, one which has reduced an unwitting nation   to a bondage to the Israel (Zionist) Lobby.

We must guard against that invasion which works so effectively to shape each new generation into a bondage. How does the Lobby accomplish that?  

This week we have the latest example of how a racially-based ideology led to the horrific slaughter of at least 49 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, by a white nationalist killer from Australia.

The Israel Lobby exploits Americans with its message that merges  Zionism, a political ideology, with Judaism, a racial ethnicity and a religion. As earlier noted, they are not the same, just as white nationalism, an ideology of exclusion, is not the same as the white race.

“So listen my readers, we must be “ready to ride and spread the alarm” against a foreign power To close this journey which began with “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Below here are the first stanzas which I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to read and remember.

Their parents and grandparents are responsible now to connect the dots which identify links from history. We must be ready to ride and spread the alarm.

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

The picture at top of current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and former American President Barack Obama, is from Mondoweiss.

Updated: “I Once Was Blind. . . But Now I See”

February 11, 2019 - 6:03am

The recent death of Albert Finney brings attention to his many appearances in film and television and on stage. Finney was 82 when he died February 7, 2019. One of his more memorable films was Amazing Grace. The Wall Writings posting from April 14, 2014, reprinted below, recalls Finney’s role as John Newton, author of the hymn, Amazing Grace. This 2014 posting links the evil of slavery to the still unresolved evil of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people. 

Originally posted on April 14, 2014 by

by James M. Wall

In a scene from the 2006 movie, Amazing Grace, set during the lifetime (1759 – 1833) of William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd, right), Wilberforce presents his anti-slave trade bill to the British Parliament.

It is a task he performs annually.

Wilberforce is following the advice of his former preacher, John Newton (played in the film by Albert Finney), author of the hymn, “Amazing Grace”, who tells him that sometimes change occurs only through steady drips.

The purpose of Wilberforce’s annual legislative “drip” is to eventually persuade the majority of the Parliament to make it illegal for British ships to transport slaves from Africa to the New World.

At a crucial turning point in the film, speaking to an indifferent body of law-makers, many of whom have financial ties to the shipping industry, Wilberforce begins his annual plea:

“It is with a heavy heart that I bring to the attention of this House a trade that degrades men to the level of brutes and insults the highest qualities of our human nature. I am speaking of the slave trade.”

Immediately he is greeted with shouts of disapproval. Wilberforce continues:

I know that many of my honorable friends in this House have investments in the Indies. Others are ship owners. And I believe them to be men of humanity. I believe you all to be men of humanity.

If the wretchedness of any one of the many hundreds of slaves stowed in their ships could be brought to view there is no one among you who could bear it.”

The bill fails. Wilberforce invites a few select members of the House to join him and a few  of his abolitionist supporters for a meeting at his home.

The response is slight. Only one other Member of Parliament (MP), shows up.

That man is Sir William Dolben, who represents a constituency which does not depend on the slave trade for its economic well-being.

Wilberforce thanks Dolben for his presence. He then asks him to explain what prompted his  decision to accept Wilberforce’s invitation.

Dolben tells the group “he recently took  passage from Sierra Leone aboard a slave ship”.

“What I saw during those 15 days (he pauses, unable to describe what he saw. Then he continues) “I believe there are plenty of others in the House of Commons who share your feelings, Wilberforce. They are just afraid to show it.”

Wilberforce knows it is time to do more than drip away at the problem.

“Perhaps we should begin this journey with the first step. We are talking about the truth. So we should hand it out to people. Drop it from the church roofs. Paint pictures of it. Write songs about it. Make bloody pies out of it. (he pauses, speaks more quietly, and starts again.) There is a slave ship at dock at Tilbury with twice the slave berths it is insured for. I know that for a fact. But how do we prove it.”

Wilberforce already has his answer. He will trick members of the House into a moment of revelation.

Sir William Dolben, not yet known as an ally in the anti-slave movement, charters a boat and invites a number of MPs, and their wives, for an afternoon boat ride with food,  drinks and music.  They are enjoying themselves, until their boat suddenly halts next to what they discover is a slave ship.

William Wilberforce appears on the ship’s deck and speaks to the surprised MPs and their wives. He informs them that this ship has just returned from the Indies after unloading 200 slaves, all of whom had been confined for three weeks below deck chained in boxes.

The journey began with 600 slaves, men, women and children. The remaining 400 died during the trip. Their bodies were tossed overboard.

The MPs and their wives, dressed in their finest, reached for their handkerchiefs. They had begun to smell odors from the slave ship.  Wilberforce tells them to remove their handkerchiefs from their faces. “Breath deep. What you smell is the smell of death”.

Reluctantly, they do so. Wilberforce’s strategy has worked.  Previously, far removed from the smell of the deaths the Parliament has funded and sanctioned for many decades, this particular group of MPs and their wives, encounter their existential moment of reality.

A two minute preview of Amazing Grace (below) captures the essence of the film, including scenes of Wilberforce and his “preacher”, John Newton (Albert Finney), the former owner of a slave ship, who, when converted, wrote Amazing Grace.

Wilberforce is fighting an evil that has been embedded in the British economy for centuries. Wikipedia explains:

“The British initially became involved in the slave trade during the 16th century. By 1783, the triangular route that took British-made goods to Africa to buy slaves, transported the enslaved to the West Indies, and then brought slave-grown products such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton to Britain, represented about 80 percent of Great Britain’s foreign income.

British ships dominated the trade, supplying French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and British colonies, and in peak years carried forty thousand enslaved men, women and children across the Atlantic in the horrific conditions of the middle passage. Of the estimated 11 million Africans transported into slavery, about 1.4 million died during the voyage.”

Israel’s Zionist leaders have long been aware that if enough American voters smelled the death and suffering of the Palestinian occupation, Israel’s propaganda campaign to present itself as a victim, would collapse.

Like Sir William Dolben, Americans must travel on a 21st century slave ship. They must go to Gaza and the West Bank where they will hear, feel, and smell the brutality imposed on Palestinian families, who are locked in an occupation prison.

Israel’s Zionist leaders have always known they were riding into their carefully planned future on a weak platform of deception and lies. Their strategy was to disguise  this platform by pretending to be humane and willing to compromise.

The U.S. allies of these Zionist distorters have their own strategy. Take, for example, the recent comments by former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, now executive director of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

DeMint was interviewed by a right-wing conservative radio host. At one point he was asked about slavery.  His answer:

Well the reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people. Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to ‘all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights’ in the minds of God.  But a lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people, it did not come from the federal government. It came from a growing movement among the people, particularly people of faith, that this was wrong.

People like Wilberforce who persisted for years because of his faith and because of his love for people. So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.

A former U.S. senator, DeMint appears to have a rather limited view of the legislative process. He also appears to know very little about Wilberforce, other than the fact that he was an evangelical Christian who worked against slavery.

Of course, Wilberforce’s arena was the British parliament, not the U.S. Congress. Wilberforce died in 1833, thirty years before slavery ended in the U.S.

Most U.S.  Zionist leaders are no doubt better informed on British history, and perhaps DeMint also knows that Wilberforce was British, not American. But the need to keep things simple appears to have led DeMint astray.

In Israel itself, Zionist leaders also rely on their ability to reshape history to their own purposes. They have long been devoted to shaping the historical narrative of the creation of the modern state of Israel.

To accomplish this  they have twisted and distorted their own biblical narrative for their own modern political ends.

To build a modern state that is exclusively Jewish, these Zionists have been guilty of falsifying doctrine. Creating a nation from scratch was a challenge even larger than one faced by the British shipping industry. In both cases, deception was paramount.

No single individual ended the slave trade, nor, for that matter, ended slavery in the U.S.  The right thing to do was forced upon the British and the Americans through the legislative process.

William Wilberforce finally achieved his goal.  Before the final vote on the British slave trade act, William Wilberforce visited his old preacher, John Newton, the former slave ship captain, who has been tormented by his memories of “20,000 ghosts” of slaves he took to their deaths.

At this point in his life, and in Amazing Grace, Newton is totally blind. In the film, he greets his former parishioner with the cry, “I once was blind, but now I see”.

He asks Wilberforce, “did I write that?”. Wilberforce answers quietly, “yes, you did”.

Freed from his years of torment after having finally been able to dictate his memoirs, what he refers to as his “confession”, Newton cries out to Wilberforce, “Now it is true!”

Wilberforce was the political leader of the abolitionist movement.  What he accomplished, however, he did not do alone.

He was supported in his legislative struggles by a team of abolitionists, which included his wife, Barbara Spooner, two clergymen, John Ramsay and Thomas Clarkson, and of course,  his”old preacher”,  John Newton, who was his initial spiritual guide.

Another key member of the Wilberforce team was a former African slave, Olaudah Equiano, who wrote a book of his life during, and after, his enslavement.

With Wilberforce’s dogged legislative leadership, and the joint educational and activist efforts of the abolitionists, the British Parliament finally outlawed the slave trade, in 1807.

In the final year of Wilberforce’s life, 1833, the Parliament outlawed slavery in all of its forms throughout the British empire.

Wilberforce’s close political ally, Prime Minister William Pitt, known as “the younger”, played a significant role in ending the slave trade. Pitt, the youngest man ever to become a British prime minister at age 24, died in 1806.

Pitt and Wilberforce are interred, side by side, in London’s Westminster Abbey. They understood that each had a role to play in the game of politics. At one point in the film, Amazing Grace, Wilberforce asks for advice from his friend and now prime minister.

Pitt responds: “As your prime minuter, I urge caution”.  Wilberforce then asks, “what about as my friend?”  Pitt’s response, “Oh, to hell with caution.”

Thus far, there is little evidence of a Wilberforce or a Pitt in the U.S. Congress who both understands the imperative of ending the Palestinian occupation, and who has the courage and the political sagacity to lead a Wilberforce-like struggle to make it happen.

That leadership is required, because, as Sir William Dolben said to Wilberforce, “There are plenty of others in the House of Commons who share your feelings, Wilberforce. They are just afraid to show it.”

 

 

Children and IDF are Israeli Occupation Pawns

January 25, 2019 - 12:50pm

By James M. Wall

There are times when one picture says it all.

This picture at right shows a terrified Palestinian child between two Israeli soldiers who, from my perspective, are ashamed of what they are doing.

Ponder that picture a few moments and then ask yourself, “Does Israel have a right to exist”?  It is the wrong question. It is actually a “trick question” intended to deceive.

Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, wrote an article in the liberal Jewish publication, Forward, which exposes “right to exist” as a trick question, a tactic designed to evade the political reality of Israel’s immoral and corrupting occupation of Palestinians.

Any occupation, by definition, is corrupting to everyone involved. It is corrupting to the occupied and to the occupiers. It is also corrupting to those who look at what is happening and pass by on the other side of the road. 

I have had the “trick question” hurled at me for almost half a century. It is universally employed by occupation apologists. It is a question which serves as a mental wall to hide the immorality of Israeli military control, which is not a defense force but a conquering force.

Up close, it is an ugly and heart-breaking sight.

On one of my 20 reporting trips to the Middle East, I needed to travel to Lebanon when Israel was involved in one of its armed conflicts with Lebanon. I signed in as a journalist with the IDF press office outside Jerusalem.

We traveled through Palestinian villages in an IDF jeep, heading north. The two soldiers escorting me took note of children along the way who had tossed a Palestinian banner on a wire and were eager to throw stones at our jeep. 

One soldier muttered, “we’ll take that one down on the way back”. I felt degraded for the two soldiers. They should have been home in Tel Aviv with their own children. Instead, they were escorting an American journalist who witnessed children mocking them.

When I told the story of that trip to readers, Israeli-backers fired back with the inevitable trick question, “Does Israel have a right to exist?” I wish I had known then to dismiss the question as a trick.

Well-protected behind the wall that trick question has built, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a national election in December, motivated, the Guardian alleges, to delay pending legal action against him. Israel’s voters will have an opportunity to change course from a government that makes the IDF and children pawns in Netanyahu’s obvious plan to conquering all of Palestine.

Is Israel’s current government acting like a democracy concerned about the well-being of its own citizens and the well-being of Palestinians living under its military control? 

Look at the record.

The Guardian writes:

According to the United Nations, Palestinians – many of them children – were killed at the rate of around one a day while taking part in protests along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza about their right to return to ancestral homes. They included medics and journalists. Most of the dead were unarmed and posed no danger to anyone, with little more than rocks in their hands and slogans on their lips.

Yet Israel continued with an immoral and unlawful policy that sees soldiers of its military, which is under democratic civilian control, teargas, shoot and kill protesters, including those who pose no credible threat.

Hospitals in Gaza, which already struggle under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, have been stretched to breaking point in dealing with the flood of patients ferried in from the protests.

The Guardian recalls a phrase from the late Amos Oz, the Israeli novelist who was a loyal Zionist with a conscience.

The novelist Amos Oz’ words that “even unavoidable occupation is a corrupting occupation” have been ignored for too long. Netanyahu’s nearest rival [in the upcoming election] brags that he sent parts of Gaza “back to the stone age” when in the military.  

Netanyahu would dismiss Oz’s warnings; but perhaps he ought to take heed of the recent spat between the historian Benny Morris and the Ha’aretz writer Gideon Levy.

Benny Morris is the historian who “lifted the veil” on the ethnic cleanings on which Israel was founded, but then drifted to the right to say that these heinous crimes did not go far enough. Gideon Levy is the left-leaning Ha’aretz columnist. They differ on much but agree that “the two-state solution is a fading prospect”.

[Meanwhile] Netanyahu lulls the public with the notion that a two-state solution will wait until Israel deems the conditions to be ripe. He hints that new friends in Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi will come up with a proposal the Palestinians will swallow.

This is pure cynicism. There is no new plan – just a rebranding of the status quo, maintained by force by Israel, and with Palestinians within and without Israel’s borders subjugated and dependent. Israelis must turn away from the occupation, which is debasing their society and suffocating the Palestinians.

Israel’s “right to exist” trick question, is a high wall built around the minds of those who are easily distracted away from Israel’s evil occupation.

It is time to say, “tear down that wall”. Let children grow up in peace and let the IDF soldiers go home to their own children.

The picture above of two Israeli soldiers and one small Palestinian boy appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

Why MLK Would Back Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

January 21, 2019 - 4:20pm

by James M. Wall

Juan Cole’s column, published today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, links King to 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress. 

This nation honors King on each third Monday of January, a day when we remember the civil rights leader who denounced through his grand eloquence, the sheer and unmitigated evil of this nation’s legal and long-standing bias against people of color.

Professor Juan Cole’s column, published today (1/21/19), makes a convincing case that had MLK, Jr. not been cut down on April 4, 1968, by a nondescript killer, assigned to the evil task by yet unidentified forces, he would have celebrated his 90th birthday January 15, 1929, by endorsing Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’ fight against racial and economic injustice.  

Cole begins his column:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 29, has become a lightning rod. She was recruited to run against a corporate Democrat by activists of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which has become a significant caucus within the Democratic Party.

Her advocacy of a higher marginal tax rate (no, she doesn’t want to raise taxes on you) and of a host of practical measures for addressing the exponentially increasing inequality and injustice in American society, has attracted the attention of the capos of the billionaires– the hatchet men working for the odious Rupert Murdoch and the mindless minions of the mountebank Trumps.

Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the DSA advocate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel because of its extensive catalogue of war crimes and crimes against humanity in its treatment of the stateless, Israeli-Occupied Palestinian population. That position is seen by the Israeli government’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, headed by Gilad Erdan, as dangerous to that government’s propaganda effort.

Virulent Jewish-nationalist groups like the Zionist Organization of America and others have also attempted to marginalize especially African-American and minority voices who take up BDS.

Resistance to Ocasio-Cortez runs deep in the American soil and soul. It also runs even deeper in the increasingly malignant Zionist forces now running Israel and among the U.S. media and political  centers where Zionism holds power.

AOC will need the backing of U.S. citizens who must stand up to the vicious attacks aimed at her. In Cole’s column, he points to recent examples of what happens when American and Israeli oligarchs zero in on defenders of the oppressed,.

Their names are in bold face to signal the importance of remembering each one in the struggle ahead:

Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for a speech upholding Palestinian rights within a one-state framework, and Angela Davis was denied a human rights award in Birmingham for her position on BDS. Other new members of Congress such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have also been attacked on these grounds.

Note carefully in Cole’s column, the video of AOC speaking.

Cole’s column deserves to be savored on this day because while King and AOC, spoke and acted in different decades, they sound the same note of righteous indignation.

Cole reminds us, further, of the reluctance of many U.S. leaders to honor King.

The American elite, people like Dick Cheney, had opposed the establishment of Martin Luther King Day, but once it was voted as a Federal holiday, they have attempted to defang it.

These elites watered down King’s image to remake him “as a gentle radical, deploying nonviolent noncooperation to dismantle Jim Crow structures of systematic discrimination on the basis of race. We are permitted to hear the ‘I have a dream’ speech over and over again because its diction does no more than express a mild hope for racial equality, and racial equality is now given at least lip service outside white supremacist circles.”

But we aren’t typically exposed on television to King’s anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism and anti-war message. If he were alive today, he would certainly be a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and would certainly lend his enormous charisma to the promotion of younger activists such as Ocasio-Cortez.

Below, Cole offers segments of King speeches to make this point. Your assignment, should you wish to accept it, is to find time this week to view this video. Then ask yourself what King would say today, about our new political force, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“There is No Crisis at the Border”

January 13, 2019 - 6:48pm

by James M. Wall

On January 11, the Washington Post took readers back to April 8, 1952, the day President Harry Truman (right) declared the nation was in a crisis.

That journey resonates with our present moment as President Trump repeatedly insists the nation in a crisis because it does not have a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico. 

President Trump demands that Congress authorize five billion plus dollars to “complete” the wall he deems essential for the nation’s security.

The weakness of his case rests on the definition of what constitutes a crisis. 

President Truman acted on April 8, 1952. as this nation was winding down its involvement in a real war in Korea. Union workers in the nation’s steel mills were on strike. Owners of those mills refused to yield to the workers demands.

President Truman was a political ally of unions. He was reluctant to force the striking workers to return to work. They were, after all, an important part of his “base”. He was unwilling to offend his “base” by forcing an end to the strike. 

President Trump is not dealing with a strike. But his “base” had been hoodwinked by fear and fantasy. His “base”, those voters who helped put him in the White House after he promised to block immigrants from “pouring across the southern border”, demand their wall.

President Trump, the master hoodwinker, wants the wall because he believes that what he wants, he must have.  Nor does he want to arrive at reelection time in 2020 without winning his battle of the wall.

He threatens to get his five billion plus dollars from other pouches in the federal budget.. legitimate pouches designed for real emergencies. Congress has refused to give him his wall money for what Mark Summer described in the Daily Kos as a “wholly manufactured crisis with just one objective: to give Donald Trump the excuse to seize power with the aid of compliant Republicans”.

Steve Hendrix began his Post analysis of Harry Truman’s 1952 confrontation with Congress:

The president was frustrated. He was at odds with Congress. The regular workings of government didn’t let him do what he desperately wanted to do. So he went on national television to explain why a public policy impasse amounted to a national emergency allowing him to take extraordinary action.

“My fellow Americans, tonight our country faces a grave danger,” President Harry S. Truman said from the White House on the night of April 8, 1952. “These are not normal times. These are times of crisis.”

Truman went on to explain why he had just directed his secretary of commerce to seize control of the country’s steel mills. An ongoing dispute between the companies and their workers threatened to deny U.S. troops the weapons and tanks they needed to fight in the Korean conflict.

“I would not be faithful to my responsibilities as president if I did not use every effort to keep this from happening,” he argued.

Hendrix points to political parallels in the two events 67 years apart. In 1952, Truman’s action led to a Constitutional dispute that found its way to the Supreme Court through Youngstown Steel & Tube Co. v Sawyer, “a great test of presidential power”.

Hendrix continues:

The government argued that even though the Constitution did not explicitly empower the president to seize private property, his role as commander in chief gave him authority to do so in times of national emergency. The steel companies argued that not only did Truman lack the power to take over their mills, but also that Congress had considered granting him such powers while debating the Taft-Hartley Act and deliberately rejected it. Instead, it had approved another mechanism to protect national security by giving the president authority to suspend a strike.

Truman lost.

By a vote of 6 to 3, the justices sided with the steel companies. The “President’s power, if any, to issue the order must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself,” Justice Hugo Black wrote in the majority opinion.

In his 2019 speech from the Oval Office, President Trump made his case that “the United States is facing a security crisis at its southern border”. Though he has threatened on several occasions to declare a national emergency, he chose not make that declaration during his short White House address. 

In his analysis of President Trump’s demand for his wall, the Daily Kos‘ Mark Summer exposed the absurd claim of  “crisis” in President Trump’s threats.

Summer writes of documented facts, not made-up fantasy stories: 

There is no crisis on the border. The influx of undocumented immigrants is at its lowest point since 1971. The drugs that Trump points to are entering through legal ports of entry. The State Department has made it clear that no—zero—terrorists have entered the country by illegally crossing the southern border.

Beyond that, the wall isn’t a solution, or even a strategy. It’s a talking point created by Trump’s advisers to keep him on message at rallies. There is no plan. There was never any plan.

So why do those who guide our President these days, continue to bolster his ego and play to his needs rather than to the needs of the country he was elected to lead?

This is a wholly manufactured crisis with just one objective: to give Donald Trump the excuse to seize power with the aid of compliant Republicans. That Trump didn’t try to push this funding for the wall through in the first two years, when he enjoyed a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, isn’t a coincidence. Because it’s not about the wall. 

And don’t expect the slightest push-back from the Republican side. Mitt Romney may have entered the Senate with an op-ed stating his disagreements with Trump. But just days later, when a crisis came, Romney demonstrated his true mettle, refusing to even say that there’s a problem with Trump overriding Congress, and hurrying away to the safety of the Senate GOP lunch.

When the executive asks for something and Congress says no, the answer is no. That’s a little thing called American democracy. A little thing perched very perilously on a knife edge.

The crisis in our nation is the one created by those members of Congress who lack the moral courage to resist the President of the United States, a man so emotionally stunted he does not care what damage he causes by demanding he get his way.

The major crisis at our southern border is not found in the false statistics of President Trump’s message of fear and danger. It resides in the suffering children and families who remain separated by the United States government, perhaps forever.