A be­gin­ning of the end or the end of the be­gin­ning?

The McLeod River Post - - Front Page -

This last week may prove to be the week that was per­haps the be­gin­ning of the end or the end of the be­gin­ning of Don­ald Trump’s Pres­i­dency. Former Trump cam­paign chief Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud and fail­ing to dis­close for­eign bank ac­counts. Another 10 charges re­main to be de­cided on and Manafort faces another trial next month in Wash­ing­ton D.C. for another seven charges and, short of a mir­a­cle, which could hap­pen, faces a pos­si­ble lengthy jail term.

On the same fate­ful Tues­day former Trump lawyer Michael Co­hen en­tered a guilty plea in court over elec­tion hush pay­ments at the di­rec­tion of a can­di­date; there can only be one. The me­dia de­bate moved more se­ri­ously to whether a sit­ting pres­i­dent can be in­dicted for a crime and the pos­si­bil­ity of an im­peach­ment process af­ter the mid-terms.

As­ton­ish­ingly Trump then gave an in­ter­view to Fox TV where he seemed to ad­mit pay­ing the hush money out of his own pocket not cam­paign funds so that’s OK. How about no? From my take of the law the act it­self could be an in­dictable crime.

So, what next? Dis­trac­tion and de­nial is the usual course. I’m not sure it’s go­ing to work this time. The mid-terms are com­ing soon as is Mueller’s re­port. I don’t ex­pect Trump’s core sup­port to waver overly much that leaves the rest. The rest may just de­liver the House to the Democrats and the op­por­tu­nity to start an im­peach­ment process.

I’m in pre­dic­tion mode now and I could be wrong. I think there are sev­eral ways this could play out. Trump could pull a star­tling dis­trac­tion, maybe start a war. He could, given his per­son­al­ity, say, you know what I’m quit­ting and blame ev­ery­body else for be­ing losers. Or, stick it out for the du­ra­tion and risk im­peach­ment maybe even crim­i­nal charges and con­vic­tion. Out of the three I favour num­ber two maybe with a deal on or un­der the ta­ble. We’ll see.

Wild­fires, over 500 of them are burn­ing in B.C. as if the smoke doesn’t tell us that. Cal­i­for­nia and On­tario have also suf­fered greatly this sea­son. Al­berta, at the time of writ­ing, seems to have missed the worst of it. The fire near Hin­ton was a bit dicey for a while but a com­bi­na­tion of brave and dili­gent fire­fight­ers and a change in the weather got it un­der con­trol. Hope­fully, no Fort Mc­Mur­ray or Slave Lake, this year.

Fire is a nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non in the forests. Even with­out camp fires, ci­garette butts, off road ve­hi­cles and more we would still have them. I have heard nu­mer­ous peo­ple in au­thor­ity say that this is the new nor­mal. OK if that’s the case then I guess we must throw fire fight­ing bud­gets out of the win­dow. More and newer fire­bombers, more fire­fight­ers, more and bet­ter equip­ment, larger FireS­mart pro­grams, maybe a ma­jor na­tional force that can be de­ployed post haste to bad fires to aug­ment lo­cal forces be­fore they be­come ex­hausted. Com­mon sense, trans­par­ent emer­gency plans that peo­ple can un­der­stand and also ques­tion to their cir­cum­stances. All of this and more. I can’t see the point or merit in sit­ting back in the halls of of­fice and ask­ing, “do I feel lucky?”

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