In Support Of The 1st Amendment – Senator Ben Sasse

I am finding some things to like in some of the republican members of Congress these past few weeks.  Some of them are beginning to realize how dangerous the man in the Oval Office is, how inappropriate his words and actions are, and how he is sullying the office and all that it stands for.  And they are speaking up and speaking out.  Unfortunately, those who are beginning to realize what is happening are also some of the ones who are declining to run for re-election next year.  Figures.

ben sasse.jpeg

Senator Ben Sasse

I knew very little about Senator Ben Sasse until yesterday, though I had heard the name.  But yesterday, he impressed me … not once, but twice, both times in defense of freedom of the press!  It started when Trump fired off a series of ridiculous tweets claiming he might consider retaliation against NBC for a story they printed that Trump claims to be untrue, and then a general threat against all ‘network news’.

“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” 9:55 AM – Oct 11, 2017

“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” 8:09 PM – Oct 11, 2017

Ben Sasse responded in tweet with …

“Mr. President: Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment?” 9:03 PM – 11 Oct 2017

I cannot think of a more appropriate response.  Good job, Ben Sasse!

And then came Trump’s appearance on Idiot of the Week Sean Hannity’s program.  Here is a brief excerpt …

Trump: Media is bad. They are really dishonest people. These are very, very dishonest people in many cases, in many cases. And not all. Look, I know some reporters, I know some journalists that are phenomenal people, very straight, very honest. But there’s such dishonesty. I mean, you know, it’s interesting. If I was just watching television, you don’t know whether or not because, you know, you’re just watching a report. But when you’re the one being written about, you know if it’s good or bad and it’s always, they try and make it negative. So, the media — I call it fake media. It is fake. It is so much fake news. And we have to understand —

Hannity: Do you agree with that? Fake news?

Trump: You know, and I only say it, so when people read things, they can understand that so much of it is indeed fake.

After the interview, Hannity apparently saw Senator Sasse’s tweet and responded …

“One of the biggest mistakes in my career was supporting @BenSasse. Just useless,” 10:37 PM – Oct 11, 2017

And Sasse again responds with wisdom and without vitriol …

“Sorry, Sean — you changed, not me. Some of us still believe in the Constitution. No President should play with censoring news they dislike.” 5:29 PM – Oct 12, 2017

Now, I am not a fan of this back-and-forth tweeting.  I think the heavy reliance government leaders place on Twitter as their primary mode of communication is unprofessional and a deterrent to intelligent speech.  However, my point today is that here is a republican senator who is willing to stand for the 1st Amendment right to free speech and a free press, and that impresses me.

A quick trip to Senator Sasse’s Facebook page shows a letter to his constituents dated February 2016 in which he explained to them that he could not, in good conscience, support Donald Trump, and he very soundly stated his reasons.  I could question, of course, where he stood during the vote to repeal and replace ACA, for obviously his was not one of the much-needed ‘nay’ votes.  But for the moment, I will content myself with the fact that he is supporting the press rather than the ‘man’ who is seeking to constrain the voice of the free press, the voice of America.

I have created a new award that I will issue on occasion, when I feel it is deserved, and Senator Ben Sasse is the first recipient of Filosofa’s Golden Thumbs Up Award

golden thumb upPaul Ryan also came out in support of a free press when speaking with a reporter, though he sidestepped mentioning Trump …

“I’m a constitutional conservative. I’m for the First Amendment. I don’t always agree and like what you guys write, but you have a right to do it. And I’m a constitutional conservative, and I’m just going to leave it at that.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s threats to revoke the broadcast licenses of NBC or any other legitimate news outlet are empty threats … at least at this time.  First, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) only licenses individual stations, not networks like NBC.  While station licenses can be questioned by community members, it has been more than twenty years since the FCC has refused to renew a broadcast license, and the odds of them doing so now are slim-to-none.

Even so, Trump’s threat must be considered dangerous, for Trump’s new FCC chairman, installed in January, is Ajit Pai, a man who is openly against internet privacy, a strong supporter of Donald Trump, and I do not trust that he might not be willing to tweak a few rules to keep Trump happy.  Interestingly, while criticizing the legitimate, mainstream press, Trump gives conspiracy theorist and purveyor of fake news, Sean Hannity, an interview.  Speaks volumes, don’t you think?

What’s Behind The Smokescreen???

Smokescreen:  a cloud of smoke created to conceal military operations; a ruse designed to disguise someone’s real intentions or activities.

Smoke and Mirrors … Trump’s most recent rude & crude tweets appear to have taken over the internet, airwaves, and every other communication venue.  I will address those in a later post, as I, too, have much to say about them, however … those tweets are NOT the most important news of the day.  In my last post, I informed you that your voting history is about to be made public information by the Trump administration, and now I have more news …

smokescreenAll week long, the big news has been the Senate’s so-called ‘health care’ bill, written by America’s #1 Obstructionist, Senator Mitch McConnell, with the assistance of only a handful of other senators. The bill, once revealed, showed that the Senate bill was just as egregious as was the House bill that passed the House in May.  In the Senate, however, it requires only three (3) republican senators to vote ‘nay’ and the bill is dead in the water.  As the week progressed, it became clear that the republicans would not have the votes to pass this abomination of a bill that would cost every single lower-to-middle class person in the country.  So, the vote was delayed, much to the chagrin of McConnell & Trump.

So what next?  Well, Congress is now on its week-long July 4th break, but Trumpty-Dumpty has a brilliant idea!  “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”  Excuse me?  Take away healthcare from some 20 million U.S. citizens and give nothing but a vague … “one of these days we might give you something”?  I leave it to your imagination what words initially came from these fingertips, words that I have since replaced with nicer ones. (I may have to have a new computer soon, as I have beaten this poor little Dell to death in the past 5 months!)

Congress is officially on break as of the close of Friday, and the Senate will return on Monday, 10 July for three weeks before taking a month-long break in August.  Must be nice, eh?

To legislate Trump’s ‘repeal, no replace’ plan would cause anywhere between 20 million and 32 million people to suddenly be cut off from affordable healthcare.  Trump and certain members of Congress claim that this is what their supporters want, that they ran on a platform of repealing ACA and that is what they must do, whether or not they can come up with a viable alternative.  I cry FOUL! Though not a Trump voter nor supporter, I am a voter, I am a citizen of this nation, and my voice counts just as much as does any single Trump supporter. And my voice says I do not wish to see one single person lose their medical insurance, have to pay higher premiums, or see a reduction in benefits.

The idea was apparently the brain-child of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and is also supported by Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.  However, health industry officials are warning that overturning the existing law, which has extended insurance to roughly 20 million Americans and changed the rules under which insurance is offered across the country, would create chaos in a sector that accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The Kaiser Family Foundation polled this very approach back in March, and found only 19 percent of Americans favored repealing Obamacare first and then working to replace it. A 51% majority of Americans say they do not want ACA repealed at all, but simply prefer to work through the problems.

ACA  chart.pngOne theory is that repealing ACA now would force Democratic senators to work more closely with Republicans to craft a viable bill.  The fallacy in that, of course, is that the Republicans have made it clear they are gearing any health care bill toward the wealthy and to hell with the rest of us, and I cannot imagine that Democrats are going to compromise their values for that.  Even some of the high-ranking Republicans who have been working on the legislation rejected it as impractical, making it doubtful that they could even obtain the 51 votes required to repeal without replacing.

A group of Senate Republicans suggested Friday that McConnell should scale back or cancel the chamber’s month-long August recess, given the lack of progress they have made on not just health care but a tax-code overhaul, spending bills, the debt ceiling and a budget resolution. Personally, though I think a month-long recess is excessive, I would just as soon they stay on break throughout August and give us a break from their shenanigans.  Perhaps if they get a nice, long rest, they will be able to actually engage their brains and get something right in September.  Meanwhile, we must all hope that Trump doesn’t get a notion to repeal ACA on his own via ‘executive order’!!!

BAIL !!!!! The Ship Is Sinking …. Man The Lifeboats!!!

I am surprised that Twitter hasn’t broken this week!  I do not tweet, although I have an account.  However, my blog posts are published on Twitter, so I do get some views and ultimately followers through that venue.  But ever since Trump’s victory in Indiana last night, the Tweeting world has run amok, especially with Republicans expressing their distaste of, and lack of support for, the presumptive nominee. Here are just a few samples:

  • Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina: If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.
  • Ben Sasse, Republican senator from Nebraska: A presidential candidate who boasts about what he’ll do during his ‘reign’ and refuses to condemn the KKK cannot lead a conservative movement in America.
  • Mark Salter, former advisor to John McCain: The GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it’s on the level. I’m with her.
  • Michael Reagan, former President Ronald Reagan’s son: The Republican Party is no longer the Party of Reagan. It is the Party of Trump .. Good Luck
  • Robert Peter George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University: God help us.
  • Steve Deace, conservative talk show host: Well there goes my time as a Republican. We’ll be changing our party affiliations tomorrow. Frankly, I feel relieved to do it. Free even.
  • Jonah Goldberg, conservative syndicated columnist and author: I can’t wait for Trump to lead with his theory that Trump killed Tupac.
  • Jay Caruso, contributor to conservative blog RedState: Sorry Reince. Trump is a fake. A fraud. You should have expelled him long ago.
  • Brandon Morse, contributor to conservative blog RedState: So, I’m washing my hands of this. Y’all have fun with President Conspiracy Theory, and his wall we’ll never see.
  • Ben Howe, contributor to conservative blog RedState: #ImWithHer
  • Philip Klein, managing editor of the Washington Examiner, a conservative publication: I have officially de-registered as a Republican.
  • Kyle Foley, contributor to conservative Hypeline news site: I’m willing, if need be, to vote Hillary. That’s how strong my disdain is for Trump.
  • Louise Mensch, former member of the British Parliament: As a conservative, I would always rather lose to a democrat, than support a racist and sexist with my party’s nametag.
  • John Cook, Massachusetts Republican party fund raiser: Pigs may fly, hell may freeze over, and I, a lifelong GOPer, will never unite behind the Orange Menace.

And this picture sums it all up nicely:

burning

 

Most of these had thousands, some even hundreds of thousands, of ‘likes’ and ‘re-tweets’.  Does this speak volumes?  I knew the Tea Party movement was destined to come to an end soon, but I had no idea it would become the victim of such a bloody massacre!  Bye-bye, Tea Party … see you again in another 100 years or so.

Reince Priebus, Chairman of the GOP, tweeted this:  @RealDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton.

Though not a ‘twitter-er’, I did in this case twitter a reply: Sorry, Reince, not a snowball’s chance in hell.

Heck, during the next six months I may hone my ‘twitter-ing’ skills after all!  It seems pretty easy … but I do seem to have a problem with staying within that 160 character limit.

In all seriousness, however, although pretty much a liberal democrat, I feel badly for the ‘Grand’ Old Party (GOP).  There is no longer anything grand about them, and if they do not make some substantial changes in the coming four years, they are doomed to fall into the oblivion of history along with the Whig Party, the Farmer-Labour Party, the Bohemian National Alliance and others.  The reason for the epic failure of the GOP in 2016 started with the Tea Party movement and led to the nomination of one of the biggest political jokes in the history of the party.  Most Americans are actually pretty moderate, pretty middle of the road.  The ‘Tea Party’ movement took the party farther to the right than the mainstream was prepared to go.  It was a response to the Obama presidency and was based on several things, but race was the major one.  A wizened GOP, one that is chastised by the successes of an uneducated man such as Trump, will hopefully make wise decisions that move them closer to the center of the political spectrum.  Otherwise, I cannot predict what the political landscape will look like in four years, but I doubt I will be around to know or care.

The Many Faces of Donald Trump, aka The Clown, aka Trumpty Dumpty

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Ate a sour pickle?

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Constipated, perhaps?

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Gettin’ really mad …

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“WHO DARES TO TELL ME I CAN’T BUILD A WALL?”