An Open Letter From Adam Schiff

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff of California published an open letter in The Washington Post to his republican colleagues.  I am sharing this letter, for in it Mr. Schiff makes a number of very valid and valuable points that the republicans in Congress need to hear, and not just from Mr. Schiff, but also from We the People.  I have sent a copy of his letter with my own plea to the republicans who represent my state/district and with a rather stern warning that if they fail to step up to the plate, I will do everything in my power to unseat them next year.

Adam Schiff: An open letter to my Republican colleagues

By Adam B. Schiff February 21 at 6:06 PM
Adam B. Schiff, a Democrat, represents California’s 28th Congressional District in the House and is chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress.

And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week’s Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.

For the past two years, we have examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow’s effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American.

But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist’s name, we must say it.

I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trump.

The president has just declared a national emergency to subvert the will of Congress and appropriate billions of dollars for a border wall that Congress has explicitly refused to fund. Whether you support the border wall or oppose it, you should be deeply troubled by the president’s intent to obtain it through a plainly unconstitutional abuse of power.

To my Republican colleagues: When the president attacked the independence of the Justice Department by intervening in a case in which he is implicated, you did not speak out. When he attacked the press as the enemy of the people, you again were silent. When he targeted the judiciary, labeling judges and decisions he didn’t like as illegitimate, we heard not a word. And now he comes for Congress, the first branch of government, seeking to strip it of its greatest power, that of the purse.

Many of you have acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations over the past two years. You have bemoaned his lack of decency, character and integrity. You have deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth. But for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you have chosen to keep your misgivings and your rising alarm private.

That must end. The time for silent disagreement is over. You must speak out.

This will require courage. The president is popular among your base, which revels in his vindictive and personal attacks on members of his own party, even giants such as the late senator John McCain. Speaking up risks a primary challenge or accusations of disloyalty. But such acts of independence are the most profound demonstrations of loyalty to country.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III may soon conclude his investigation and report. Depending on what is in that report and what we find in our own investigations, our nation may face an even greater challenge. While I am alarmed at what we have already seen and found of the president’s conduct and that of his campaign, I continue to reserve judgment about what consequences should flow from our eventual findings. I ask you to do the same.

If we cannot rise to the defense of our democracy now, in the face of a plainly unconstitutional aggrandizement of presidential power, what hope can we have that we will do so with the far greater decisions that could be yet to come?

Although these times pose unprecedented challenges, we have been through worse. The divisions during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were just as grave and far more deadly. The Depression and World War II were far more consequential. And nothing can compare to the searing experience of the Civil War.

If Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, could be hopeful that our bonds of affection would be strained but not broken by a war that pitted brother against brother, surely America can come together once more. But as long as we must endure the present trial, history compels us to speak, and act, our conscience, Republicans and Democrats alike.

A Letter From Parkland …

Today, February 14th 2019, marks one year since 17 people were killed, 14 of them students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  I would like to share with you a letter written by Jaclyn Corin, a senior at the school and the founder of March For Our Lives.  The letter was published yesterday in the New York Times.

Corin.jpgWhen I arrived at school on Feb. 14, 2018, like any junior, I was mostly caught up in Valentine’s Day chatter and events. But that all changed in the space of a few minutes that afternoon when a gunman opened fire on my classmates and my teachers, killing 17 of them and injuring just as many.

Despite the countless tragedies you see on TV, nothing prepares you for the day it happens to your community.

The familiar images of students fleeing their school as SWAT teams entered, of parents waiting by the perimeter desperately praying to get their kids back, were now my reality. They were my classmates and friends, too many of whom never came home.

After the shooting, my friends at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and I decided we couldn’t sit by as school shootings and gun violence became a normal part of life in America. We were determined to turn an act of violence into a movement, to do everything we could to send a powerful message to the country and to Washington.Parkland-2.jpg

There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of the shooting. When I hear the sound of sirens or fireworks, I’m taken back to that horrific afternoon. For me, Valentine’s Day will now forever be a reminder of loss.

Yet our community isn’t alone in its tragedy. In 2017, nearly 40,000 Americans died as a result of guns, an average of 109 people a day. And according to a tally from Education Week, there were 24 school shootings that resulted in gun-related deaths or injuries in 2018 alone.

While several states have taken positive legislative measures in response, there have been zero bipartisan investigations or new laws from Congress.

Not a single federal law has been passed since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 to address the crisis of school shootings. This year could be different — but only if we organize and insist on it.

Last week, Congress held its first hearing on gun violence prevention since 2011. This week, the House Judiciary Committee is poised to approve a bipartisan bill to requiring background checks for all gun purchases, a proposal that represents one important step toward keeping deadly firearms out of the wrong hands. However, it’s also likely this bill won’t get a hearing, let alone a vote, in the Senate.

That chamber’s majority leader, Mitch McConnell, needs to explain to all of us who have survived a shooting or lost someone to gun violence why the Senate won’t even vote on such a bill even though there’s been over half a million gun deaths since 2000, the year I was born.

And Americans should truly reckon with why this epidemic of gun deaths is treated so differently from any other health crisis in our country.

Imagine for a moment that all these gun deaths were caused by something else widely feared: airplane crashes. There’s no universe in which we wouldn’t see it as a national emergency worthy of our undivided attention.

In fact, 2017 was a remarkable year in aviation. No one died in a commercial airplane crash, meaning it was safer for me to fly than it was for me to go to high school. It would take hundreds of completely full Boeing 737 flights crashing without survivors to total the number of people who died by guns in America in just 2017.

If even a handful of such crashes occurred, the government would declare a national emergency. All 737s would be grounded, there would be an independent commission created to investigate the crisis, and Boeing would be called before Congress to answer for its failures.

So why then don’t more than 30,000 gun deaths in a year rise to the level of a national crisis for America’s conservative leaders?

The past year has been one with the deepest of lows and, at times, the highest of highs — moments when the hope that springs from fighting for a better world makes anything feel possible. On Thursday, the anniversary of the shooting, I will be in the only place that matters, nestled in my community and with my family.

And for the next four days, the organization I helped found, March For Our Lives, will go dark to honor those we lost and their memory.

I am deeply proud of all that my friends and I have accomplished in the last year. Still, I can’t help but wonder why so many lawmakers are ignoring — and, at their worst, enabling — the horrific gun deaths that occur in our country each day.

Parkland-1.jpgIn the year since the Parkland tragedy, nearly 1,200 more children have lost their lives to guns in this country.   When do we say, “Enough!!!”?  When do we put the lives of our children ahead of politics and corporate greed?  The sign above says it all … “Choose Me, Not Guns”.

A “Power Grab” or Democracy?

Elections in most countries are held on a weekend.  Why?  Because people don’t have to worry about how to make it to the polls after work or on their lunch break.  Because it makes it more convenient for voters.  And thus, it makes it more likely that more people will get off their arses and vote!  The United States is one of the few exceptions, where elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  Out of 68 nations that hold regular elections, the only ones that do not hold them on weekends are Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, South Korea, and the United States.  Some of the countries that hold weekday elections declare election day a public holiday, others permit across-the-board absentee ballots or postal votes.

The voting date in the U.S. makes it harder for poor people and minorities to vote, thus concentrating the vote and expanding the impact of the upper class, the wealthy voters, the WASPS.  In addition, we’ve made it harder for those people by closing many polling places in poorer neighborhoods, thus requiring some to make a trip by bus.  Add to that the restrictive voter ID laws that exist in some states and, well, what we end up with is the majority of the voters being middle or upper income and white.

US voter turnout trails most developed countries. During the 2016 presidential election, less than 56% of the estimated voting-age population in the US voted.  While the majority of US states have voter leave laws that guarantee certain employees a modicum of time off to vote, no federal law currently mandates that employees get time off to cast their ballots. So, when faced with choices like having to take unpaid time off work to vote, waking at the wee hours of the morning to vote so that they’re not late to work, standing in hours-long lines with everyone else who waited until after the workday to cast their ballot, or simply not voting at all, many choose the latter. Of the nonvoters surveyed by the US Census Bureau about the 2008 presidential election, the 2012 presidential election, and numerous other elections, the most commonly cited reason for not voting was being too busy or having conflicting work schedules. Obviously, we need to make some changes.

This month, House democrats introduced a bill known as the For The People Act, or HR1. It is a 571-page compendium of existing problems and proposed solutions in four political hot zones: voting, political money, redistricting, and ethics.  Obviously, I cannot address the entire bill in this post, but one portion of the bill calls for election day to be made a federal holiday in order to make it easier for everyone to vote.  Because of the large number of issues covered by HR1, it is highly unlikely that it will become law any time soon, for it would need to pass the Senate and be signed into law by Trump.  The #2 Fool on the Hill, Mitch McConnell, has already mocked and criticized the idea, saying “Just what we need, another paid holiday for federal workers”.  And how many days off do you take, Mitchie???  And then this …

“So, this is the Democrats’ plan to ‘restore democracy. A political power grab that’s smelling more and more like what it is.”

A “power grab” to ensure that everyone has a chance to vote?  I think not.  I think it’s called “democracy”, Mitchell.  Last September, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a bill in the Senate, S.3498, titled The Democracy Day Act of 2018, that would have declared election day to be a federal holiday.

“Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote.  While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”

Needless to say, Sanders’ bill was DOA in the republican-controlled Senate led by Mitch McConnell.

Other points in HR1 pertaining to voting:

  • Voter registration would be made easier. Citizens could register online or get registered automatically, via data from driver’s licenses or other government sources. For federal elections, states would have to provide same-day registration and at least 15 days of early voting. Election Day would be a federal holiday.

  • The bill would crack down on efforts to take voters off the rolls or prevent them from casting ballots. Felons could regain their voting rights after finishing their sentences.


  • Federal elections would require paper ballots to prevent computer tampering. State chief election officials couldn’t get involved in federal campaigns.


  • The bill would declare an intent to revive core anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were effectively shut down by the Supreme Court six years ago. It would also state that failing to vote isn’t grounds for taking away a person’s voter registration.

There is much more of substance in this bill that I cannot cover in a single post, but NPR has a highly informative, easy-to-understand article covering the highlights that I suggest you take a look at.  Campaign finance, ethics, and gerrymandering are also covered, all of which sorely need to be addressed if we are to have a chance at fair elections.  Sadly, as I noted before, I don’t think the bill has a snowball’s chance of passing the Senate, for the reality is that if every eligible voter had cast a vote in 2016, we would be writing today about President Hillary Clinton, and McConnell and his band of merry thugs are well aware of it.  Mitch and his cronies are well aware that those disenfranchised voters would put an end to this picnic they’ve been having and hold them accountable for their responsibility to ALL the people of this nation, not only those who hold the nation’s wealth in their dirty hands.

Oh The Generosity …

Last Thursday, CNN published a list of members of Congress who will decline their paycheck this month, in light of the government shutdown, and today the list is updated to include 102 members. Noble, eh? The list is comprised of an almost equal number of republicans and democrats. 20 Senators … out of 100, or 20%. 82 representatives out of 435, or 19%. Here is the list:


House of Representatives
• Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Louisiana)
• Rep. Rick Allen (R-Georgia)
• Rep. Kelly Armstrong (new, R-North Dakota)
• Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa)
• Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska)
• Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan)
• Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon)
• Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Indiana)
• Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida)
• Rep. Tim Burchett (new, R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Kevin Calvert (R-California)
• Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-California)
• Rep. John Carter (R-Texas)
• Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Georgia)
• Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming)
• Rep. Jim Costa (D-California)
• Rep. Angie Craig (new, D-Minnesota)
• Rep. Dan Censhaw (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah)
• Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Washington) (donating to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project)
• Rep. Antonio Delgado (new, D-New York)
• Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-New York)
• Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana)
• Rep. Lance Gooden (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas)
• Rep. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana)
• Rep. Mark Green (new, R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Oklahoma) (donating to veterans groups)
• Rep. French Hill (R-Arkansas)
• Rep. George Holding (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas)
• Rep. Dusty Johnson (new, R-South Dakota)
• Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio)
• Rep. John Joyce (new, R-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tennessee)
• Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado)
• Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio)
• Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nevada)
• Rep. Elaine Luria (new, D-Virginia)
• Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) (donating to food banks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens)
• Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York)
• Rep. Ben McAdams (new, D-Utah)
• Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan)
• Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts)
• Rep. Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina) (donating to a charity to be determined)
• Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Arizona)
• Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas)
• Rep. Chris Pappas (new, D-New Hampshire)
• Rep. Greg Pence (R-Indiana)
• Rep. Denver Riggleman (new, R-Virginia) (donating salary to volunteer fire department)
• Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware) (donating to the First State Community Action Agency, the Food Bank of Delaware and the Coast Guard Mission Fund)
• Rep. Max Rose (new, D-New York)
• Rep. Chip Roy (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. Dutch Ruppersburger (D-Maryland)
• Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pennsylvania)
• Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois)
• Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) (donating to an Oregon charity)
• Rep. David Schweikert (R-Arizona)
• Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California)
• Rep. Mikie Sherrill (new, D-New Jersey)
• Rep. Elissa Slotkin (new, D-Michigan)
• Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (new, D-New Mexico)
• Rep. Jason Smith (R-Missouri)
• Rep. Abigail Spanberger (new, D-Virginia)
• Rep. Ross Spano (new, R-Florida)
• Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York)
• Rep. Van Taylor (new, R-Texas)
• Rep. David Trone (new, D-Maryland)
• Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan)
• Rep. Mark Walker (R-North Carolina)
• Rep. Michael Waltz (new, R-Florida)
• Rep. Steve Watkins (new, R-Kansas)
• Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont)
• Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia)
• Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas)
• Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia) (donating to a charity to be determined)
• Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-New York)


Senators
• Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)
• Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) (donating to Homes For The Brave)
• Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania)
• Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) (donating to local charities)
• Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana)
• Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) (donating to Hawaiian food banks)
• Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) (donating to charity, likely the North Dakota National Guard Foundation and the United Way’s Emergency Homeless Shelter in Bismarck)
• Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) (donating to The Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh)
• Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) (donating to charity)
• Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) (donating to West Virginia food banks)
• Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) (donating to Nevada charity)
• Sen. Martha McSally (new, R-Arizona)
• Sen. Jacky Rosen (new, D-Nevada) (donating to domestic violence survivor programs in Nevada)
• Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) (donating to Vermont charities)
• Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) (donating to Advocates for Human Rights)
• Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
• Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)
• Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) (donating to unspecified charity)
• Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) (donating to refugee group HIAS)
• Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana) (donating to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation)


Notably absent from the Senate list is Mitch McConnell, who has done more than his share to keep the government shut down.  His net worth being just under $27 million, I suppose he cannot afford to forego that $16,000 monthly paycheck.  But then, I also don’t see Nancy Pelosi’s name on the list either.

I do applaud the gesture these 102 men and women are making, but where are the rest of the loons in Congress who are mostly millionaires and can well afford to give up a month’s pay?  And while I always applaud those who donate to charity … wouldn’t it have made more sense to donate to the 800,000+ men and women who are not getting paid because our federal government can’t get its act together?

Erik Trump’s wife, Lara, who is a campaign advisor to Donald Trump, had something to say about those 833,000 federal workers who have now gone a full month with no paycheck …

lara trump

Lara Trump

“Listen, it’s not fair to you and we all get that.  But this is so much bigger than any one person. It is a little bit of pain but it’s going to be for the future of our country. And their children and their grandchildren and generations after them will thank them for their sacrifice right now.”

A “little bit of pain”Seriously, bitch?  This is a woman who has enough money to buy whatever she wants, a woman who has never in her life gone hungry or had to wonder how to pay the damn electric bill so she can keep the heat on!  Think about it, folks … a month with no pay, and now Trump is indicating that the shutdown could last well into March … or April.  And more than half these people are expected to show up for work every day, to pay for the gas or bus fare to get to work.  What happens when they cannot make their car payment and the car is repossessed?

To add insult to injury, while furloughed workers, those who are not working, are eligible for unemployment benefits during the shutdown, workers who are deemed ‘essential’ and are forced to work without pay are not eligible, per Donald Trump.  He has refused to allow states to offer unemployment benefits to federal workers who are required to work without pay during the shutdown.  I applaud three states, California, Colorado and Vermont, whose governors have defied Trump in this and will be paying unemployment to all federal workers who are not being paid.

“A matter of commonsense and compassion.” — Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a republican

“Jaw-dropping and extraordinary. The good news, we’re going to do it, and shame on them.” — California Governor Gavin Newsom

At least somebody has humanitarian values.  The ‘man’ who would be king certainly has none.  This government shutdown, now in its 33rd day, is the most serious screw-up by this president yet, and all based on a myth that he perpetuates to keep his base riled.  833,000 people are not paying taxes now, for they have no income.  The wealthy aren’t willing to make up that difference.  Those of us who do work for a living are still paying taxes, but … for what?  We have no government … what little government we have isn’t doing anything.  Air travel will soon begin grinding to a halt.  Tax refunds will not go out until … who knows when?  And we’re to applaud a handful of millionaire members of Congress for donating a paycheck back to the government?  I would rather they take their paycheck and donate it to those who are working as slave labour, with no pay.

There are a number of organizations that have established funds to help the federal workers:

  • United for U.S. – a joint effort by corporate partners, organized labor, the United Way network and nonprofits
  • Feeding America – makes donations to local food banks for distribution to federal workers
  • GoFundMe – distributes donations to nonprofit organizations across the country that are offering general relief to government workers, including but not limited to, food, counseling, and housing support.

Meanwhile, I read on Facebook tonight that one of my friends is “sending thoughts and prayers”.  I’m sure that will help them pay the mortgage and put food on the table.  I ‘un-friended’ that person.

I won’t apologize for my cynicism tonight, for it is well-founded, however tomorrow I will highlight the people who are truly being helpful and making generous contributions of time, goods and services to help the unpaid workers.  Fair enough?

Why the Shutdown is Stuck & What We Can Do

Yesterday, fellow blogger tokyosand published a post that gave the clearest, most concise explanation of how the current government shutdown came to be, and what we need to do about it … how we can use our voices to, hopefully, make a difference. Please take a minute to read this fine post, for it may answer some questions you’ve had, or help clarify what you already know. Thank you tokyosand, for this fine post and for your generous permission to share it with my readers!

Political⚡Charge

partial+government+shutdown

Millions of Americans are already affected by the shutdown. Federal employees aren’t getting a paycheck (right at the end of the holiday season no less.) Others are being told their food stamps aren’t guaranteed if the shutdown continues. There is already real damage happening, and it will only get worse.

How did we get here? Why is it still a problem? Is there anything we can do?

How did we get here? 

At the end of the 115th Congress, we hit a deadline to renew funding for a third of the federal agencies. Ideally, we’d have an annual budget that took care of all of our agencies for one year, but since Congress hasn’t been able to agree on the budget, we’ve been patching together funding for these agencies with something called continuing resolutions.

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Since the President sends his requests for the budget to Congress, having the leaders…

View original post 628 more words

More Snarky Snippets …

I have an overload of sarcasm built up in me today, so … it must be time for some snarky snippets, don’t you think?  But first, I want to begin with something positive for a change!


Thumbs up to the new Governor of Maine …

Maine has a new Governor, Janet Mills, who replaced the bigoted Paul LePage.  As I wrote a while back, the people of Maine had approved Medicaid expansion by a ballot initiative more than a year ago, but former Governor Paul LePage had blocked it from taking effect.  Janet Mills promised during her campaign that she would ensure the initiative moved forward, and thankfully for the people of Maine, she keeps her promises.Janet Mills.jpgOn Thursday, in her first executive order on her first day in office, Mills ordered Maine to move forward with Medicaid expansion, which is likely to provide health insurance for an additional 70,000 Maine residents.  LePage had been fighting tooth and nail to prevent Medicaid expansion in the state for years, vetoing no less than five different bills.  Then, when the issue was passed as a separate ballot issue in 2017, he blocked it … went directly against the will of the people.  Is it any wonder he lost his bid for re-election?  Ms. Mills has certainly started on the right foot.


In order to protect Trump …

What if you’re a republican who does not support Donald Trump?  Yes, there are actually some of them out there, although we are told only about 20% of republicans do not support him.  Well, if you are hoping for a better option on the republican ticket for 2020, you may just be out of luck, especially if you live in South Carolina.

The Republican Party in South Carolina is giving serious consideration to cancelling the primary in their state in order to “protect Donald Trump from potential challengers”.  Say WHAT???  They can do that?  Yes, they can do that and in fact did do that in 1984 when Reagan was running for re-election and again in 2004 when George W. Bush was running.

Drew McKissick, the chairman of the South Carolina GOP, had this to say …

“We have complete autonomy and flexibility in either direction.  Considering the fact that the entire party supports the president, we’ll end up doing what’s in the president’s best interest.”

My question is … if they are so damn sure that Trump has the support of all republicans, then why is there a need to “protect” him? What are they afraid of?  Other potential candidates who are considering a run on the GOP ticket include former Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, and Ohio Governor John Kasich.  Personally, I think any of those three would make a much better president than Trump!


On inventing a crisis …

First, let me say this:  THERE IS NO NATIONAL SECURITY CRISIS!!!

Well, actually there is a national security crisis, and it has a name:  Donald Trump.trump-tweet.pngAnd then he plans to travel to the southern border on Thursday, according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  Now why would he feel a need to ‘address the nation’ on live television at this time?  It isn’t as if we don’t have his opinions, his hateful rhetoric, shoved in our faces 24/7 by the media and on Twitter.  But to interrupt prime-time television programming … presidents typically only do that when they have a major announcement, such as when Obama interrupted programming on May 2nd, 2011, to inform the nation that 9/11 master planner Osama bin Laden had been captured and killed.

Given Trump’s recent threats, I can’t help wondering if his ‘announcement’ will be that he is declaring a state of national emergency in order to attempt to circumvent democratic processes to get his wall.  I hope I am wrong, for if he does that, it will throw this nation into chaos and create the biggest constitutional crisis this nation has seen in our lifetime.  In the end, I do not believe that Trump will be successful in this endeavor, for the legality is highly questionable, given that there is no crisis.  Still, Congress and the Courts will be the ones to deal with that, meaning there will be little else accomplished.  The cost will be high and it will further divide an already unstable nation.  Meanwhile, the U.S. government is still in shut down mode, 800,000+ federal employees are going without pay, including many who are critical to the safety of this nation.


One man is to blame …

The entire Trump administration is to blame for the ongoing shutdown, for they have enabled Trump and forsaken the nation in so doing.  Donald Trump is responsible for his horrifying behaviour and failure to uphold his duty to the nation.  But that said, there is one man who I hold more accountable than the rest (except Trump himself, that is) and that man is Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell.mcconnell dartboard.jpgMcConnell refused to allow a vote on the spending bill that was passed by the House of Representatives, saying …

“Any viable compromise will need to carry the endorsement of the president before it receives a vote in either House of Congress. Under these conditions … the package presented by the House’s new Democratic leaders yesterday can only be seen as a time-wasting act of political posturing.”

But that may not be true.  There are a number of republican senators who have expressed a willingness to at least consider the bill passed by the House, and it may well be that, if put to a vote, the bill would pass the Senate with a veto-proof majority.  It might not, but we’ll never know if McConnell doesn’t stop pandering to Trump and let the Senate vote on the bloomin’ bill!!!

Apparently, Mitch McConnell has no more conscience than does Donald Trump.  They are both in the process of destroying this nation and killing its people.  Great job, guys!


Th-th-that’s all for now folks!bugs bunny

A Letter To Senators

The following is a letter that I have sent to the two senators from my own state, as well as a number of other republican senators including Mitch McConnell, and every other who will face re-election in 2020*.  In truth, I question whether our letters are ever seen by the intended recipient, but we have to try.  And keep trying.  The stakes are too high to give up.


Dear Senator _________________,

Tonight is a sad night for this nation, for it is crystal clear that we do not have a president, but we have a dictator.  Further, it is equally clear that said dictator is highly irresponsible with the reins of our government, proving time and again that to him the people of this nation are naught but pawns, tools to be used to expand his own power and wealth.

I write to you tonight, not asking, not hoping, but insisting that the Senate, starting with you, step away from Mr. Trump and become the independent law-making body that the Article I of the U.S. Constitution defines.  You often seem to forget that you are not beholden to Mr. Trump in any fashion, but rather are tasked with doing what is in the best interests of this nation and the approximately 328 million people who live here.

Mr. Trump has said that he would be proud to shut down the government, which he did.  Now he says he will keep it shut down for months, or even years, and further that he is considering declaring a national state of emergency where there is none.  More than 800,000 federal workers are going without pay.  Three people have died in accidents in our national parks that might have been avoided if the park rangers had been on duty.  The lines outside social security offices are reminiscent of the lines of concert-goers waiting for tickets.

This is the single most irresponsible act that I can recall by any president in my 67 years on this earth.  Some federal workers stand to lose their homes.  Food stamp offices are essentially closed, with only a skeleton staff.  People are going to die, Senator ______________, and those deaths will be on Trump’s shoulders, certainly, but also on yours as long as you continue to support his ignominious demands that the government stay shut down until he is awarded initial funding for what will in all likelihood turn out to be a $70 billion white elephant.  The wall is not needed, for immigrants are not our major problem.  A president with no conscience is our major problem.  Unregulated guns are our major problem.  And a boot-licking Senate that puts their own well-being ahead of that of the nation are our major problem.

The problem of the government shutdown is easily enough solved if the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate get off their collective asses and determine that they will work for the good of the nation, pass a veto-proof spending bill in conjunction with the House, and open the government.  If you fail in this, I and many others will make a concerted effort to see that you are not re-elected when your current term comes to an end.  Please, for a change, do your job!

Sincerely,

Jill E Dennison, taxpayer and voter


*List of all Republican Senators up for re-election in 2020

  • Dan Sullivan – Alaska
  • Martha McSally – Arizona
  • Tom Cotton – Arkansas
  • Cory Gardner – Colorado
  • David Perdue – Georgia
  • Jim Risch – Idaho
  • Joni Ernst – Iowa
  • Mitch McConnell – Kentucky
  • Bill Cassidy – Louisiana
  • Susan Collins – Maine
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith – Mississippi
  • Steve Daines – Montana
  • Ben Sasse – Nebraska
  • Thom Tillis – North Carolina
  • Jim Inhofe – Oklahoma
  • Lindsey Graham – South Carolina
  • Mike Rounds – South Dakota
  • John Cornyn – Texas
  • Shelley Moore Capito – West Virginia
  • Mike Enzi – Wyoming

Is ‘Rule of Law’ Dead?

Whether Trump’s firing of Jeff Sessions was warranted or ethical is not the question.  Whether Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General is constitutional is not the question, nor is the question whether Whitaker should recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. The question tonight is whether this nation has become one where ‘rule of law’ applies only to those without wealth & power?  I would begin by asking just what gives one single man, Mitch McConnell, the power of life and death over the Mueller investigation?

It’s funny how just the day before, Mitch McConnell wrote that OpEd piece promoting bipartisanship and bemoaning the fact that he didn’t believe democrats would be willing to reach across the aisle … not that Mitchell has ever once reached across that aisle.  But now, there is a bipartisan effort by Republican Senator Jeff Flake and Democratic Senator Chris Coons to pass legislation that would offer protection to the investigation that has been ongoing for a year-and-a-half, but McConnell has blocked that legislation.  Single handedly he stamped it “null and void”without consideration. 

“As you can imagine, I talk to the president fairly often, no indication that the Mueller investigation will not be allowed to finish, and it should be allowed to finish.  We know how the president feels about the Mueller investigation, but he’s never said, ‘I want to shut it down.’ … I think it’s in no danger, so I don’t think any legislation is necessary.”

I cry FOUL!  This legislation is very necessary and if Trump can get by with it, he will shut it down in a heartbeat.  Just listen to Trump’s latest rant against Mueller and the investigation …

“The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to  our Nation and don’t care how many lives the [sic] ruin. These are Angry People,including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years.They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”

For the record, Bob Mueller is a registered republican, and a much-decorated former Marine who served in Vietnam and came home with a Purple Heart from being shot in the leg. 

“I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have made it out of Vietnam. There were many—many—who did not. And perhaps because I did survive Vietnam, I have always felt compelled to contribute.”

Trump mixed up his facts a bit … Mueller was Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for twelve years … eight under President George W. Bush, and four under President Barack Obama.

The only … the one and only thing that has kept Trump from taking action sooner was the fact that he cannot fire Mueller directly, Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General had recused himself, so he couldn’t fire him, and Rod Rosenstein is a man of integrity and wouldn’t fire him.  But now, with Whitaker in the position of Acting Attorney General, and Whitaker having licked Trump’s boots more than once already, echoing Trump’s rhetoric about the investigation being a ‘witch hunt’, the conclusion is obvious.  The only question is ‘when’?

There is no ‘witch hunt’, else Mueller would not have brought indictments against 32 people and 3 companies thus far, including Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time attorney and ‘fixer’, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman. 

Even Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, another who has stayed in Congress far too long and is a Trump sycophant, has said that he would back the bill to safeguard the investigation.  Jeff Flake has, perhaps, used the most important leverage of any in saying that he would refuse to advance any judiciary nominees until or unless the bill is passed. McConnell really wants to get as many of Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed as possible in order to stay in Trump’s good graces, if in fact there is such a thing.

Mitch McConnell has been in the Senate since 1984 … thirty-four years, and at least 22 years longer than he should have been or would have been if limits of two or even three terms had been in place.  Unfortunately, there is no recall provision such that the people of Kentucky could vote to recall McConnell from the Senate.  However,  Under Article I, Section 5, clause 2, of the Constitution, a Member of Congress may be removed from office before the normal expiration of his or her constitutional term by an “expulsion” from the Senate (if a Senator) or from the House of Representatives (if a Representative) upon a formal vote on a resolution agreed to by two-thirds of the Members of that body present and voting.  Okay, so we all know that this is about as likely to happen as my cat growing wings, but it should.  If McConnell ever had a conscience or a soul, he has long since sold it downriver and he does no service to the people of his state nor to the people of this nation. 

If the Mueller investigation is halted, or if it is shackled in such a way as to render it pointless, then it will serve as proof that Trump and his minions are all considered to be above the law and have always been, for the crimes being investigated took place before Trump’s election … he was not president at the time he and his campaign staff conspired with the Russians to adversely affect the outcome of the 2016 election.  Trump’s lawyers would argue that you cannot indict a sitting president, so … does that mean that if it were discovered tomorrow that Trump had killed an entire family and buried their bodies somewhere under Mar-a-Lago, Trump could not be charged?

Rule of law is defined as …

“The authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; the principle whereby all members of a society are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes.”

The principle whereby all members of a society are considered equally subject …  ALL members.  Is Donald Trump above the law?  If he is, then he is not a member of this society, therefore cannot be a president, and instead is a dictator.  Can’t have it both ways, folks.  I have attempted to contact Mr. McConnell by phone and by email to let him know in no uncertain terms that We The People want this investigation to continue to its logical conclusion, that we want to know the results, and we want every single person who acted against the law to be held accountable by a court of law.  EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.

Abandon Ship!

Passengers and crew aboard the Trumptanic are headed for the lifeboats!  About time some of them woke up and noticed that the ship had no captain, only a madman with a demonic expression at the helm.

The latest in the series of evacuations was none other than Paul Ryan, who had the temerity to say …

“You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order. As a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process.”

Quite so, and well done for standing up to the ‘man’, even though ol’ Paul had nothing to lose, since he isn’t running in next week’s mid-terms and therefore will be requiring no further favours from Trump.

But then, speaking to the same issue, none other than George Conway, an attorney and a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, not to mention Kellyanne’s husband, also spoke against Trump in an OpEd for The Washington Post:

“Sometimes the Constitution’s text is plain as day and bars what politicians seek to do. That’s the case with President Trump’s proposal to end “birthright citizenship” through an executive order. Such a move would be unconstitutional and would certainly be challenged. And the challengers would undoubtedly win.

He is threatening, with the stroke of a pen, to declare certain people who are born in the United States ineligible for citizenship — despite the plain words of the 14th Amendment.

The president promised to put justices on the Supreme Court in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia, but we have no doubt what Scalia — who preached adherence to the text of the Constitution and the laws of the United States in light of their original meaning — would think about this proposal. To say that he would have declared it dead on arrival would be an understatement.”

Kellyanne, meanwhile, went on Fox News to defend Trump’s claim that with a stroke of a pen he can undo the 14th Amendment.  Can you imagine last night’s dinner table conversation between George and Kellyanne?  Anybody smell a divorce in the making?

And then there were Paul Ryan and even master boot-licker Mitch McConnell, who refused Trump’s offer to accompany him on his misguided visit to Pittsburgh yesterday.  Trump was asked by Mayor Bill Peduto to stay away, saying that it was a time of grieving and the focus should be on the victims, not politics.  Even democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi declined his invitation. But Trump, in his usual manner, did as he wished and went to Pittsburgh where the red carpet was definitely not rolled out, and local officials refused to appear with Trump.  It sent a message, loud and clear.

In the wake of the brutal murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, five republican senators have declared that negotiations between the US and Saudi Arabia for a deal that could allow American companies to build nuclear reactors in the kingdom should be suspended.  The five, Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Todd Young of Indiana, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Dean Heller of Nevada, penned a letter to Trump, which reads, in part …

“The ongoing revelations about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as certain Saudi actions related to Yemen and Lebanon, have raised further serious concerns about the transparency, accountability, and judgment of current decision-makers in Saudi Arabia.”

It’s only a start, but as Trump blatantly refuses to denounce white supremacy, as he escalates his calls for racism and further divides the nation, and as he continues to support strongarm dictators while disparaging our allies, perhaps those who have blindly supported him are beginning to rub the dust out of their eyes and see that he is bringing this nation down, that he is causing us all to be the laughingstock, the embarrassment and the shame of the world.