We Must Applaud Political Courage

As always, our friend Keith brings a bit of reasoned calm to the dialogue of the past several days. Please give it a look. Thank you, Keith!


Earlier this week, two Republican Senators, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, said the briefing by the White House on the assassination of the Iranian Soleimani, was not just poor, but the worst of briefings. I applaud their political courage to push back on the president for less than satisfactory explanation. I have called each Senator to share my thank you as an Independent and former Republican voter.

I had the same type of kudos for the parade of diplomats and other public servants who testified under oath and at great risk to the House Intelligence committee about their concerns over the shadow diplomacy being used by the president in Ukraine to strong arm action for his personal benefit. I watched these witnesses speak under oath about how we should be doing our best to nurture and protect the young democracy in Ukraine. On the flip side, I saw a president…

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For Trump, Loyalty Is A One-Way Street

trump-sessionsLast year, 2016, then-Senator Jeff Sessions was the only senator to endorse Trump for much of the presidential campaign. His loyalty and dedication were not, however, what earned him the position of Attorney General under the Trump regime. His willingness to roll back certain civil rights protections and be tough on immigration issues were what earned him the position.  His loyalty and dedication have earned him the right to be belittled, humiliated and bullied in public statements nearly every day by his boss.

And now, the bullying tactics have become an obvious attempt to coerce AG Sessions to resign.  Speculation is that if he does not resign, Trump will seek an opportunity to fire him.  This is how Mr. Sessions’ loyalty is repaid.

I have no sympathy for Jeff Sessions. He’s a terrible attorney general because he’s a terrible human being. Since taking office, he has encouraged police to increase asset forfeitures, told federal prosecutors to put people in jail for as long as possible, spoken to an anti-gay hate group, ended an effort to raise standards of forensic science, ramped up enforcement against undocumented immigrants, shut down reviews of abuses by police departments, threatened to take DOJ grants away from sanctuary cities, stopped a DOJ fight against a Texas law rolling back voting rights, and moved backward on transgender rights. That said, those are the very things Trump hired him to do.

Jeff Sessions is an employee of Donald Trump, and all other considerations such as legality, fairness, underhandedness aside, Trump can, in fact, fire Jeff Sessions.  But the men and women in Congress are not employees of the president, they are elected representatives of We The People, and Trump cannot fire them.  However, that does not stop him bullying them.

After Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky went on television earlier this month to oppose the Senate health care bill, Trump ranted to other Republican senators that Paul was ‘grandstanding’. One of his milder attacks, and Paul brushed it off.


Senator Lisa Murkowski

But then there was his tirade against Representative Lisa Murkowski of Alaska after she voted against a motion to proceed to healthcare legislation despite heavy lobbying from Trump, saying she “really let Republicans, and our country, down.” I appreciated Murkowski’s response: “We’re here to govern. We’re here to legislate. We’re here to represent the people that sent us here.” Not only did Trump tweet publicly his displeasure with Murkowski, but then Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke phoned both of the senators from Alaska to tell them the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy. What kind of administration threatens one of the states based on the vote of a senator?  Members of Congress are expected to vote in the best interest of their constituents, not to stroke the president’s ego.  What is he going to do … give Alaska back to Russia?


Sen. Dean Heller

Last month, after Senator Dean Heller from Nevada announced that he did not support the health care bill that was crafted by Senator Mitch McConnell, Trump’s PAC, America First Policies, ran a 30-second television ad in Heller’s home state of Nevada:

“Now with strong leadership and a chance to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered care that protects American families, Sen. Dean Heller is saying ‘No.’ Call Sen. Heller, tell him America needs him to keep his promise: Vote ‘yes’ to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

They also ran a one-minute ad that went even further:

“…Now with the leadership of President Trump, we have a real chance to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered care that protects American families and provides health care stability. But Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is saying ‘No.’ ‘No’ to tax cuts to help small business, ‘No’ to ending Obamacare penalties, and ‘No’ to families who can’t afford to see the doctor of their choice. Call Sen. Heller and tell him to keep his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare — before it’s too late.”

After outrage from Senate republicans, the ads were pulled, but not before making their point.

And this is why a large number of republicans in both the House and the Senate are hesitant to cross the bully in the Oval Office.  He is like a junkyard dog — mean, vicious, and with no conscience.  When he does not get his way, it matters not who has given him loyalty in the past, he will strike out and take no prisoners.

Trump asked James Comey to swear his loyalty to him, and shortly after refusing, Trump fired Comey.

Loyalty: allegiance, faithfulness, obedience, adherence, homage, devotion.

Only it isn’t loyalty Trump actually wants from the people around him. There’s something noble in true loyalty – standing by a person who deserves your support and returns it. One of the key elements, perhaps the major element of loyalty is respect, and Trump respects … only himself.  No, what Trump wants … demands … from not only his own employees, but ours as well, is fealty.


Oath of Fealty

Fealty: Fidelity to one’s lord

For Trump, loyalty is a one-way street.  It matters not how supportive his staff are, one misstep and they will feel the pain of the figurative whip. Donald Trump has no friends, for friendship, like loyalty, is a two-way street and requires giving as well as taking.  In the mind of Donald Trump, all persons are here to do his bidding, to be used and then when no longer useful, tossed aside like the wrapper from a Big Mac.

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’!!!