On Boot-Lickers, Pakistan, and Karen

The snark-o-meter is spinning madly tonight … partly, I think, from being treated to an hour or so of my daughter’s bagpipe practice 🧏 !  But there’s more than that … there is … life.  Reality.  News.  Politics.  People.


Why oh why are they still licking his boots???

I will never understand why the Republican Party has hitched its wagon to the former guy and won’t let go.  NEWS FLASH, Republicans … Donald Trump is NO LONGER the president of this nation, he has absolutely ZERO power, unless you give it to him.  He was, on the whole, the single worst, most corrupt president the United States has ever known, and we breathed a collective sigh of relief on January 20th of this year when the former guy went back to his estate at Mar-a-Lago and President Joe Biden took the oath of office.

The congressional Republicans are digging their own grave, shooting themselves in the foot … pick your analogy.  The former guy has threatened Republicans in Congress who sign on to the current and much overdue infrastructure bill … WTF???  He’s nothing … a nobody … why in hell are they cowering in their tracks at the slightest hint of displeasure from that asshole?  What, specifically, has set me off this time?  A statement by Ohio Senator Rob Portman …

“I have encouraged President Trump to take credit for this. President Trump’s effort to raise the level of awareness about the need for infrastructure improvement should help us get this done. You know, he proposed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.”

No, STUPID … NO NO NO NO NO … he is NOT the damned president and he deserves LESS THAN ZERO credit for a bill that has happened under President Joseph R. Biden!  How low, Rob Portman, are you willing to go.  You’ve licked his boots for years, are you now willing to kiss his posterior as well???  And why, one has to ask … Trump has no power and Portman is retiring from the Senate at the end of 2022.  The only thing I can come up with is that Portman is kissing Trump’s ass in hopes of currying favour and becoming his vice-presidential nominee in 2024.  Either way, I used to think that Rob was one of the better Republicans in Congress … I no longer think that.


Something to ponder …

I often criticize society and life in general here in the United States, and in truth there IS much that is wrong.  Racism, both systemic and societal.  Greed, arrogance, lack of attentiveness to climate change, corruption in our government, an education system that has been in decline in recent years, political chaos, the worst healthcare system in the western world and more.  But, something I read tonight made me thankful to live in a western nation, if not specifically the U.S.

In Pakistan, an 8-year-old boy was arrested and may face the death penalty when he comes to trial.  Yes, you heard me right … 8 years old.  What, you ask, did he do?  He peed in a library.  How many 8-year-old boys have taken a dare by friends, or just decided to show off, and peed in inappropriate places?  Likely most all of them.  Heck, some people on our street have a teenager who routinely pees in our birdseed!  I might yell at him when I catch him doing it, but I’m damn sure not going to call the cops!  And even if I did, he would not even face jail time, let alone the death penalty.

This boy, not named by The Guardian where I saw the story, is the youngest person ever to be charged with blasphemy in the country.  According to the story …

The boy’s family is in hiding and many of the Hindu community in the conservative district of Rahim Yar Khan, in Punjab, have fled their homes after a Muslim crowd attacked a Hindu temple after the boy’s release on bail last week. Troops were deployed to the area to quell any further unrest.

On Saturday, 20 people were arrested in connection with the temple attack.

The boy is accused of intentionally urinating on a carpet in the library of a madrassa, where religious books were kept, last month. Blasphemy charges can carry the death penalty.

Speaking from an undisclosed location, a member of the boy’s family told the Guardian: “He [the boy] is not even aware of such blasphemy issues and he has been falsely indulged in these matters. He still doesn’t understand what his crime was and why he was kept in jail for a week.

“We have left our shops and work, the entire community is scared and we fear backlash. We don’t want to return to this area. We don’t see any concrete and meaningful action will be taken against the culprits or to safeguard the minorities living here.”

Blasphemy laws have been disproportionately used in the past against religious minorities in Pakistan. Although no blasphemy executions have been carried out in the country since the death penalty was introduced for the crime in 1986, suspects are often attacked and sometimes killed by mobs.

I understand and respect that different cultures have different social norms, values and laws, but … pardon me, I think to hold a child such as this accountable for an act that harmed nobody, that is easily enough repaired, is a violation of human rights.  Yeah, sometimes it’s not so bad living in the U.S. … relatively speaking.


But then … are we really so far from similar atrocities?

On a recent Sunday …

“46-year-old real estate agent Eric Brown was showing off a Wyoming, Michigan, home to 45-year-old Roy Thorne and his 15-year-old son Samuel. Thorne, an army veteran, was in the market to buy a home and Eric Brown has worked in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan selling people homes for two decades. At some point during the 30-minute walk around the prospective homeowner was doing, six uniformed Wyoming police officers surrounded the property with their guns drawn. All three men were forced to exit the home with their hands up as officers pointed their guns at and then handcuffed them. The men were then placed in three separate police vehicles.

Eric Brown, Roy Thorne, and Samuel Thorne are all Black. According to the Wyoming Police Department, the officers were responding to a 911 call from a neighbor that claimed the home was being burglarized. It was only after spending around 20 minutes in handcuffs that the three were released. Brown told a reporter that he would be lying if he didn’t believe race played a large part in the 911 call and police response.”

Hell yes race played the entire part in the 911 call AND in the officer’s treatment of the men.  No doubt some Karen made the call, but the police might have bothered to assess the situation before arresting the men … and teen.  Perhaps we’re not as far off from Pakistan as we’d like to think.

A Letter to a Republican Senator

Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will begin on Tuesday.  Currently, it does not appear that the requisite 2/3 supermajority will vote to convict Trump, despite overwhelming evidence that he inspired and incited the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.  If this be the case, if he is acquitted and therefore allowed to run for office again, then justice will not have been served.  More importantly, it would set a dangerous precedent for future presidents and at some point, perhaps sooner than later, the people of the United States will lose their freedoms to a power-hungry dictator.

It was with this dark thought in mind that I composed the following letter to the Republican senator from my state, Rob Portman.  I know that a single letter from me will not change his mind, but I’m hoping he hears many voices telling him to please vote to convict, and that at the end of the day, he will follow his conscience.  Feel free to copy, alter, and use this letter if you feel so inclined.


Dear Senator Portman,

I write to you today regarding the upcoming impeachment trial of Donald Trump.  You are one of 100 people who will decide the ultimate fate of this nation, and I want to be sure you understand the seriousness of your role next week. 

While I have not seen the evidence that will be presented to the full Senate next week, I have read enough to know that there is sufficient evidence that many of Donald Trump’s actions over the two months after the November 6th election were the run-up, setting the stage for what happened on January 6th.  He claimed voter fraud before the first vote was cast, he filed hundreds of lawsuits sans evidence, he riled his base with claims that he “won bigly” and that there was “massive voter fraud”.  When lawsuits were thrown out of court, recounts taken, and the election certified for Joe Biden, he claimed the election had been ‘stolen’ from him.

I know, and you know, that Joe Biden is the rightful President of the United States.  While Trump received more votes than I would have expected, 81 million of us rejected his erratic, inept, and incompetent ‘leadership’, especially in light of his bungling response to the pandemic that has taken so many lives of our loved ones.  More to the point, there is sufficient evidence that he replaced Pentagon personnel in order to slow the response to the attack on the Capitol that he knew was coming, for he had incited it.  He called on his followers to ‘fight’, and then watched from the safety of the White House, with a grin on his face and his son’s girlfriend dancing in the background, as our voices were very nearly snuffed out. 

The events of January 6th were not only an attack on you, Senator, and on all your fellow members of Congress, but on We the People, the voters, the citizens, the taxpayers who support your policies and pay your salaries. 

I realize you will not run for re-election in 2022, so perhaps the fate of the nation does not matter much to you.  But for ten years now, we have paid your salary out of our own hard-earned income, and in return, we ask that you support those things that are in our best interest, such as ensuring that no future president can ever act as unconscionably as Donald Trump has and expect to go unpunished.

Although I often disagree with your views, I know that you are a decent man with a conscience.  You have two choices … you can follow your conscience and vote to convict Donald Trump on the charge of inciting a coup to overthrow a fair and honest election, or you can play to the party line, even though in your heart you know it is wrong.  Which will it be, Senator?  Will you do the right thing and sleep with a clear conscience at night, or will you put the Republican Party’s interests above those of the people you represent?

If you and your fellow senators vote to acquit Donald Trump, he will have the opportunity to rise from the ashes and destroy this nation as we know it.  He is not a president, never was, and is not a believer in democratic principles, but rather would install himself as king given the chance.  If that happens, the responsibility will fall squarely on your shoulders and those of your fellow senators.  The choice is yours, Senator Portman … please think long and hard, and choose wisely.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, independent voter, taxpayer

A Response …

Yesterday morning I contacted my Republican representative, Warren Davis and Republican senator, Rob Portman, sending both the following short email …

As a representative of the district (state) in which I live and pay taxes, I expect you to support the will of the people.  Joe Biden won the office of president on November 3rd in a fair and honest election.  Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud are lies and are in themselves fraudulent.  Joe Biden will take the Oath of Office on 20 January, and I fully expect you, Mr. Davidson (Mr. Portman), to vote to certify the electoral results on Wednesday.  If you do not, then you are trying to undermine democratic processes and take away the people’s right to choose their leaders.  Think about that and think about your responsibility to We the People.

Just as I call out these same people when they act in ways that are unconscionable, I thought it only fair to commend them when they do their job and actually represent We the People.  I share a portion of the response I received later that afternoon from Senator Portman …

In accordance with the Constitution and federal law, the Electoral College cast their votes for President on December 14, 2020. I think we need to respect this process the Founding Fathers established, and we must respect the will of the voters.

The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy, and although I supported President Trump, the Electoral College vote makes clear that Joe Biden is now President-Elect.

The presidential election was contentious and hard fought. Roughly half of America was bound to be disappointed with the outcome. My hope is that all of us, as Americans, regardless of who we supported in the campaign, will be willing to accept the result because a thorough process was followed, and the final vote count was clear.

Our country faces serious challenges, from the public health and economic crises brought on by COVID-19, to an epidemic of drug addiction, to our growing national security threats. To solve these problems, we need to come together and rise above the dysfunction in Washington. I know if we work together, we can deliver results and make a real difference in the lives of Ohioans and all Americans.

Though I quite often disagree with Senator Portman, I greatly appreciate his views on the election certification, and he has gained a bit of respect in my eyes.  Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson, Marsha Blackburn and many others could take a lesson from Senator Portman.  As of this writing, I have not had a response from Warren Davidson, which is fairly typical … perhaps he only responds to favourable comments.

Billy Is Out And Biden Is In

Just two thoughts tonight … well, okay, I actually have more than two, but I’m going easy on you tonight since it’s only Tuesday with another long week ahead.


Bye-Bye Billy Boy

I don’t watch junk television, so I never watched Mr. Trump’s show where he apparently took pleasure in screeching, “You’re Fired” to contestants on the program.  But from the early days of his term in office, it has been obvious that he does like to fire people without cause, but he’s a coward and doesn’t do it face-to-face, but rather FBI Director James Comey found out he was fired from television, and others have found out via Twitter or been forewarned through the grapevine.  The latest is William Barr who, although he technically wasn’t fired, resigned yesterday rather than give Trump a chance to tweet his termination.

I have neither respect nor empathy for Attorney General William Barr, since he has used his office to condone corruption and criminal activity to the detriment of this nation and its people.  However, the reason for his resignation is that he, like Chris Krebs before him, fully expected to be fired … for doing his job!

Mr. Trump fired Chris Krebs on November 17th because Mr. Krebs had the audacity to actually do his job and, after two weeks of investigations, announce that there was no evidence of the sort of widespread voter fraud Trump was claiming, and that the election was the most secure in the history of the nation.   Trump fired Krebs that very same day, saying …

“… recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud.”

A month later, and still Trump & Co have not been able to produce a single shred of evidence to support their claims, but are still bleating nonsense nonetheless.

And now, William Barr was about to be fired for the exact same thing.  After weeks’ of investigation by the FBI and Justice Department, earlier this month Barr declared that the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.  And Trump was furious.

Even before Krebs and Barr, firings have been ‘without cause’, such as Mark Esper, who was terminated from his position as Secretary of Defense because he would not commit to using active-duty troops to help quell mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C.

Anywhere else, such unconscionable terminations would be cause for lawsuits, and in fact Chris Krebs has filed suit against the Trump campaign, NewsMax, and Trump campaign lawyer Joseph DiGenova who called for Krebs to be “drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot”.  When I hear these things, I shudder and wonder if our federal government at the highest levels is run by the Mafia.

Any business manager can tell you that you simply don’t fire people because they did their job, told the truth, though it happened not to be what you wanted to hear.  I spent over 20 years in management level positions and was sued twice during that time for “wrongful discharge”, though in the end the plaintiffs both lost their cases.  This is why companies have Human Resource departments, to keep managers from terminating employees unfairly or without cause.  WHERE is the H.R. department in the White House???  Sleeping?  Or were they fired, too?

Again, Bill Barr was a man who had sold his conscience, who did not consider his loyalty to be to either the Constitution or to We the People, and as such, he deserved what he got, however he was forced out for all the wrong reasons.  The main person that I can see who needs to be fired was just officially fired yesterday by the Electoral College, and will leave his position at noon on January 20th, at which time you will hear a collective sigh of relief.


In other news …

Ohio Senator Rob Portman finally, a month late, acknowledged in a short public statement that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States, though not without a certain amount of rancor …

“In accordance with the Constitution and federal law, the Electoral College cast their votes for President today. The Electors met in their respective state following certification of the results. I think we need to respect this process the Founding Fathers established, and we must respect the will of the voters. As I’ve said previously, the Trump campaign had every right to pursue recounts and legal challenges. That has now happened over the past six weeks, and although there were instances of fraud and irregularities, it has not been shown to be widespread enough to change the result of the election. States must take seriously the proven examples of fraud and irregularities, prosecute anyone who engaged in it, and review voting systems to maintain the integrity of our elections. The transition process and briefings for the Biden team began three weeks ago at the direction of President Trump, and I commend him for that. The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy, and although I supported President Trump, the Electoral College vote today makes clear that Joe Biden is now President-Elect.”

McConnell?  Gaetz?  Graham?  Did you guys get the memo that the Electoral College has officially declared Joe Biden the winner of the November 3rd election?  Speak up … I can’t quite hear you.


And for a bit of humour, here is a MeidasTouch video I found rather humorous …

Oh Da Snark Keeps On Coming …

How much snark can a snarkster snark?  A lot, it would appear.  Between the pandemic and the republicans’ refusal to accept reality, the snark buildup is something to behold.  If it were a tangible thing, it would tower over the tallest buildings and take a demolition crew at least a year to remove it.  Luckily, it isn’t tangible and exists only in the corners of my mind.  And so on it goes …


The honour is gone …

Yesterday, the outgoing ‘president’, Donald Trump, awarded another Medal of Freedom.  He has given these out willy-nilly throughout his tenure in office, the most ridiculous having gone to right-wing conspiracy theorist Rush Limbaugh in February.  The medal he awarded yesterday was to a wrestler.  What wrestler Dan Gable actually did to earn the medal is unclear … my best guess is he donated to Trump’s re-election fund.

Let me plainly state that at this point, the Medal of Freedom is no longer an honour, has no relevancy, no real meaning.  Those who actually earned the medal for their work in civil rights or other humanitarian causes should send their medals back to the White House with a note saying that the medal is severely tarnished and it is no longer the honour it once was.

During his awarding of the medal, Trump did not miss an opportunity to toot his own horn … falsely, as it happens, when he said …

“He won 117 consecutive matches and lost only one. Well, you know, in politics, I won two, so I’m 2-0, and that’s pretty good, too. But we’ll see how that turns out.”

No, you son of a bitch, you did not win 2!  You didn’t even win one, but through a fluke in the electoral college system you were installed into an office you never deserved!

Sports figures have been awarded the medal in the past for things they accomplished off the field, such as Jackie Robinson who was awarded the medal posthumously for his work in civil rights.  Gable apparently ‘earned’ his award simply for being able to fight people and come out on top.  Wow, huh?


Speaking of Trumps …Tennis Anyone?

Melania came under criticism yesterday when she announced that that a new tennis pavilion is set to be unveiled on the south grounds of the White House.  A f$%&ing tennis pavilion when more than a quarter of a million people in this country have died of the coronavirus this year and more than 2,000 are dying nearly every day!  A damn tennis pavilion!  But then, what do you expect from a nude model who married a circus master for his money and a path to citizenship and stays with him for the money.  What more could you expect from a woman who, when going to visit abused children being forced to live in cages wore a jacket that said, “I really don’t care do U?”

I wonder how much the damn tennis pavilion cost we the taxpayers?  The project has been ongoing for over a year, since October 2019, so I’m guessing it cost us a pretty penny!  According to Politico, “the White House did not disclose the cost”. 

Molly Jong-Fast, editor-at-large for the Daily Beast, had the perfect response:

“Oh good, those people in their ICU beds will feel so much better knowing that she has finished her tennis pavilion.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


He LOST … get over it!!!

As of midnight last night, only two states, Hawaii and Missouri, have yet to certify their state’s election results.  The current count stands at 302 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden and 222 for Donald Trump.  Nothing foreseeable is likely to change that result.  It is time, my friends, for our elected representatives to accept the election results, call Joe Biden to congratulate him, and let us move on!

Electoral

Last week, I wrote (again) to Ohio’s republican senator, Rob Portman, to tell him that I am disappointed in the fact that he is not supporting the election results, has not stated that Joe Biden is the President-elect.  Yesterday morning, I received a cordial response from him (again), basically admitting that there is nothing that is likely going to change the outcome, but still … he hesitates.  In his letter, he apparently thought I was something of a dumbo, and he proceeded to explain to me how elections work, as per the Constitution.  Given that I have both a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science and have studied Constitutional Law for many years, I was a bit offended by his condescension, but not enough to respond to him as such.

The bottom line is that he and likely the majority of the republicans in Congress are well aware that Joe Biden will be taking the Oath of Office at noon in just 43 days, regardless of what Trump tries to do in the interim.  They need to open their damn mouths and speak the truth … it would go a long way toward beginning to calm the ruffled feathers of the people in this nation.


And speaking of Trump’s shenanigans …

After his efforts to coerce Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to overturn the will of the people fell on deaf ears, now he turns his sights to Pennsylvania once again.  In the past week, he has twice called Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Brian Cutler, pleading with him to use the state legislature to override the will of the people.  Cutler turned him down, but … then Cutler implored the Pennsylvania representatives on Capitol Hill to object to the state’s electoral votes when Congress convenes to formally accept the votes of the Electoral College.  WTF???

baby-trump

This is beyond old, people.  This is the third time that Trump has, in violation of all federal ethics laws, attempted to subvert the voices of the people.  NO MORE!  Somebody shut this braying ass up and NOW!  He is doing more damage by the day to the people of this nation.  Maybe the republicans find some perverse humour in all of this, but it has given me stomach ulcers and cost me many night’s sleep.  Trump reminds me of a spoiled brat child who will upend the entire household in order to get another cookie.

Watch this asshole representative from Indiana prove just what a big idiot he is … George Stephanopoulos didn’t even have to help him!

The math is not hard.  7 million more people voted for Biden than Trump.  Biden won.  Trump lost.  End of story.  Grow up, America, and play by those rules you claim to believe in.  Stop supporting a wanna-be dictator who cannot accept his loss, cannot accept that we are tired of him destroying what’s left of the democratic principles in this nation.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Two Senators — Two Responses

You may remember that on September 21st, I wrote a letter to the republican senator for my state, Rob Portman, regarding Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.   I also sent the letter to the other senator for my state, Sherrod Brown, a democrat.  I posted the response from Senator Portman on September 29th  and today I received a response from Senator Brown.  Compare the two letters and tell me which one seems to you to be more concerned about preserving the Constitution, the rights of We the People.  For the purpose of comparison, I have included both here …

Senator Brown’s response …

Dear Ms. Dennison:

Thank you for contacting me about President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The process of appointing a Supreme Court justice is designed to maintain the separation of powers and ensure that the nominee is highly qualified for a position on the nation’s highest court. The Senate should not be voting on a nominee to fill Justice Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court until after the presidential inauguration in 2021.

As our country faces a pandemic that has already killed 200,000 Americans, my top priority is keeping Americans healthy and safe – not packing the courts with judges that will side with corporations over workers and create a path to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the courts, kicking millions of Americans off of their health insurance. Instead of moving heaven and earth to rush through the confirmation process and install a justice that will put American’s health care and fundamental civil rights in danger, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should do their jobs to help Americans struggling amid a pandemic.

I am already deeply troubled by the recent trend of Supreme Court decisions that strip rights away from Ohioans, including workers, voters, and women, and I have serious concerns over Judge Barrett’s ability to apply the law fairly and impartially. That is why I voted against her confirmation to the United States’ Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2017. During her past three years on the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barrett has issued a number of opinions that have done little to assuage these concerns. Working people need justices who will put their rights first, not justices who will side with insurance companies over cancer survivors, financial scammers over customers, or massive corporations over American workers. The Senate should take the time necessary to explore Judge Barrett’s views on these issues, not adhere to a political timeline in order to confirm a nominee to our nation’s highest court, weeks before a major election.

While the President has the responsibility to select and nominate a justice, the Constitution requires that the Senate provide advice and consent on all Supreme Court nominees. As a result, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate must conduct a comprehensive review of Judge Barrett’s background, record, and qualifications. I am concerned by Senator McConnell’s attempt to ram this nominee through the Senate confirmation process. His compressed timeline, tailored to fit a political agenda, is not adequate to ascertain Judge Barrett’s views or consider the factors relevant to her nomination.

Ohioans and millions of other Americans across the country are already voting, and they deserve to have a say on the court that will decide the fate of their health care, workplace safety, criminal justice reform, and civil rights. In a matter of weeks we will know who Americans have elected to serve as president, and that person, given a mandate by the American people, should have the opportunity to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.

I will not support any justice who would take rights away from Ohioans. Thank you again for reaching out to me.

                                                             Sincerely,

                                                             Sherrod Brown

                                                            United States Senator

It goes without saying that I agree with him.  And Senator Portman’s response …

Dear Jill,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter and the opportunity to respond.

As the second woman in history confirmed to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg served our country in this important role for 27 years. Her death on September 18, 2020 created a vacancy on the Court.  The U.S. Constitution provides that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the supreme Court.” Considering we are less than two months from a presidential election, there is controversy regarding whether the Senate should take up a nomination before the election.  The Senate’s historical precedent demonstrates that when the same party controls the presidency and the Senate and a vacancy arises during a presidential election year, the Senate almost always confirms a nominee.

In the more than two dozen vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court that have arisen during a presidential election year in our nation’s history, the sitting president made a nomination in every single case.  Leader McConnell has said that he will hold a vote on any nominee President Trump sends to the Senate, and I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits. The president was elected in 2016, in part, based on a commitment to nominate men and women to the judiciary who would fairly and impartially apply the law and protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not advance public policy goals by legislating from the bench.  Likewise, in both 2016 and 2018, the American people have re-elected a Republican Senate majority to help President Trump fulfill that commitment.

In 2016, when the vacancy occurred following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I said “the president has every right to nominate a Supreme Court justice … But the founders also gave the Senate the exclusive right to decide whether to move forward on that nominee.” Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposing-party president’s Supreme Court choice when the vacancy occurred in a presidential election year.  In contrast, when the presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party – as it is today –the precedent is for the president’s nominees to get confirmed. In the occasions that a vacancy has occurred when the President and the Senate are of the same party in a presidential election year, the Senate has confirmed the nominee and filled the seat in every instance but one where there was a bipartisan ethics concern. I look forward to seeing who President Trump plans to nominate and thoroughly assessing his or her qualifications for this important role.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. For more information, I encourage you to visit my website at portman.senate.gov . Thank you, and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

 Rob Portman

U.S. Senator

It also goes without saying that I considered this response to be a pile of crap … the Republican Party line, a load of b.s.  Not relevant, but I did find it interesting that Senator Brown addressed me as ‘Ms. Dennison’, a term of respect, while Portman addressed me as simply ‘Jill’ … more familiarity than he is, perhaps, entitled to under the circumstances.

And now, I shall finish preparing to watch tonight’s bloodbath, otherwise known as a presidential debate.  Wish me luck, please.

An Answer To My Letter …

You may remember the letter I wrote to Senator Rob Portman a week or so ago regarding the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  One thing I will say about Senator Portman is that he always responds to my emails, and this was no exception.  On Saturday I received this response …

rob-portmanDear Jill,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter and the opportunity to respond.

As the second woman in history confirmed to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg served our country in this important role for 27 years. Her death on September 18, 2020 created a vacancy on the Court.  The U.S. Constitution provides that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the supreme Court.” Considering we are less than two months from a presidential election, there is controversy regarding whether the Senate should take up a nomination before the election.  The Senate’s historical precedent demonstrates that when the same party controls the presidency and the Senate and a vacancy arises during a presidential election year, the Senate almost always confirms a nominee.

In the more than two dozen vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court that have arisen during a presidential election year in our nation’s history, the sitting president made a nomination in every single case.  Leader McConnell has said that he will hold a vote on any nominee President Trump sends to the Senate, and I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits. The president was elected in 2016, in part, based on a commitment to nominate men and women to the judiciary who would fairly and impartially apply the law and protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not advance public policy goals by legislating from the bench.  Likewise, in both 2016 and 2018, the American people have re-elected a Republican Senate majority to help President Trump fulfill that commitment.

In 2016, when the vacancy occurred following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I said “the president has every right to nominate a Supreme Court justice … But the founders also gave the Senate the exclusive right to decide whether to move forward on that nominee.” Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposing-party president’s Supreme Court choice when the vacancy occurred in a presidential election year.  In contrast, when the presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party – as it is today –the precedent is for the president’s nominees to get confirmed. In the occasions that a vacancy has occurred when the President and the Senate are of the same party in a presidential election year, the Senate has confirmed the nominee and filled the seat in every instance but one where there was a bipartisan ethics concern. I look forward to seeing who President Trump plans to nominate and thoroughly assessing his or her qualifications for this important role.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. For more information, I encourage you to visit my website at portman.senate.gov . Thank you, and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Rob Portman
U.S. Senator

My response, if I felt inclined to respond, would be to remind him that the United States Supreme Court is intended, by the Constitution he places so much stock in, to be non-partisan.  They are supposed to judge cases by their constitutionality, not by how the results play into the hands of one political party or another.  What I hear in Senator Portman’s response is that he will continue licking the boots of the Ass in the Oval Office and will vote to confirm the nominee, for he hasn’t the cojones to stand up to either Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell.  I hope I’m wrong.

Letter To Republican Senator

What follows is the letter I wrote this morning to the republican senator from my state, Senator Rob Portman.  Feel free to amend and use as a template to send to your own senator, if you feel so inclined.


21 September 2020

Dear Senator Portman …

I am writing to you today to ask that you withhold your vote on the confirmation of any candidate for the Supreme Court between now and January 20th.  I’m sure you have received many such letters, as well as some by those who hold the opposite view, but please hear me out.

First, in February of 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, when President Barack Obama nominated a very moderate judge, Merrick Garland, to fill Scalia’s seat, you stated in part …

“I have concluded that the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in and to have the confirmation process take place in a less partisan atmosphere. Awaiting the result of a democratic election, rather than having a nomination fight in this contentious election-year environment, will give the nominee more legitimacy …”

To change your mind about that now, when the country is even more divided than it was in 2016, is the ultimate hypocrisy and I must question your motives.  I know that Mitch McConnell is an unconscionable sycophant of Donald Trump, as are many of your other colleagues, but I always thought you were better than that.

Throughout your nine-year tenure as a U.S. Senator representing Ohio, I have seen you as a moderate, and while I disagree with you on some things, I was proud when you changed your mind and came out in support of same-sex marriage and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.  Granted, I’ve been disappointed by your stance on climate change … too little too late … and other issues such as abortion, but overall you have always seemed one of the better republicans in Congress.

Now, however, you appear to be willing to compromise the integrity of the United States Supreme Court, and I must ask you why?  Do you not realize the implications of a court divided 6-3?  Do you not realize that not only will Roe v Wade be endangered, and thus women’s rights, but also Obergefell v Hodges, thus endangering the rights of the LGBT community?  Do you remember that the Court is supposed to provide checks and balances on the Executive branch, not simply rubber-stamp the president’s wishes?

I would like to remind you that you were elected to represent ALL the people of not only Ohio, but the United States.  Donald Trump appears to believe that he is obligated only to those who slavishly support him, but I would like to think you are a better man than he is.  Please remember that your constituency includes both democrats and republicans, as well as those like myself who are independent.  Your constituency includes people of all races, and people of every and no religion.  You do not solely answer to white, male, republicans, but to every man, woman and child, regardless of party affiliation, ethnicity or religion.

In closing, I ask you to seriously consider what I have said, seriously consider withholding your vote on Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, in order to give We the People an opportunity to have our voices heard.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter

Letter To Senator Re: Impeachment Trial

letterBelow is the letter I have sent to both of the senators for my state.  


Dear Senator Portman,

I am writing today about a matter that is of the utmost importance to the people you were elected to represent, and in fact to the entire nation:  the upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate.

As I’m sure you are aware, Donald Trump has grossly abused his power during his nearly three years in office, has literally trampled the U.S. Constitution – that document you swore to uphold when you were last sworn in on 03 January 2017.  We currently have the single worst president this nation has ever had, and my fear, along with some 60% of the people’s, is that he has already done irreparable damage to the nation.

Last December 18th, Donald Trump was impeached, only the third president in the nation’s history to have been so.  My understanding is that Speaker of the House Pelosi will be sending the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate next week, and that an impeachment trial will begin sometime thereafter.

Now to the purpose of this letter.  Your colleagues, Mitchell McConnell and Lindsay Graham, have announced that they do not intend to conduct a fair and impartial trial, but rather plan to hastily acquit Trump without reviewing all evidence, and without hearing from any witnesses.  This is plainly against the intent of the Constitution, and is against the Senate rules, as you no doubt realize.

I am writing to ask you to please use your conscience and your integrity to demand your colleagues treat this impeachment with the seriousness that it warrants.  It seems that some members of Congress are intimidated by Trump, or by the 40% of the people in the U.S. who support Trump, but that is politics, not governance.  You were not hired to look after your own political interests, but to govern fairly and honestly, and in the best interest of the country as a whole, not a select few.

Mr. McConnell claims he wishes to simply finalize the trial, acquit Mr. Trump, and “get on with the people’s business”, but … the Senate has not been doing the “people’s business” for a very long time now.  How many bills have been passed by the House of Representatives that the Senate has not even reviewed or considered?  More than 400 at last count.  What about the election security bill that would help prevent the foreign influence that changed the landscape of our 2016 election?  In 2019, the Senate passed, I believe only 70-some bills into law, many of which were non-essential, such as the re-naming of a post office or federal building.  What about the universal background check bill, that is supported by more than 80% of the people in this nation, including gun owners?  Or what about the net neutrality bill that would force internet service providers to provide access to all sites, content and applications at the same speed, under the same conditions without blocking or preferencing any content?

I agree that the Senate needs to conduct the business of the people, but they have been deficient in this for the entirety of 2019, and even before that.  The impeachment trial is the business of the people. We the People see our nation being placed in grave danger by the antics of the madman in the Oval Office.  I could provide you with countless examples, but you already know where you and your colleagues have let us down, you know what you should do.  The question now is … are you man enough, are you human enough, do you have enough integrity to do what you know is right?

We the taxpayers, the voters, the people of this nation, will be watching over the coming weeks, and our pleasure or displeasure will be reflected in our votes.  You have almost three years left in your term, but in many ways, that is a very short time, and if you fail us, if you let us down and swear your oath of fealty to Donald Trump instead of the people of this nation, you will not be returned to the Senate on January of 2023.  Do the right thing, Senator Portman.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter


I would strongly urge everyone to write to your senators, both republican and democrat, and let them know that you expect them to do their job, to do what is in the best interest of the nation and its people, not their own pockets.  Feel free to use any or all of this letter, or to compose your own.  Thank you for making your voice heard!

Letter To Republican Senator

I think that if there is a chance that the U.S. Senate will remember their oath of office, will remember that their oath is to the U.S. Constitution, not the president, and that their loyalty damn well better be to We the People, it will only happen if we remind them.  Seems many of them have forgotten where to look for their conscience, their values.  I think the time has come to remind them.

Below is the letter I have sent to the republican senator in my own state.  Feel free to take any of the ideas expressed within if you write to your own senators.

Dear Senator Portman,

I am writing to you today, because as a resident of the State of Ohio, a citizen of the United States, I am very concerned about the actions of the Senate. 

First, I would like to remind you that you took an oath whereby you swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution.  Your loyalty is to the people of this nation, not the ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office today.  We currently have the most corrupt president in the history of this nation, and frankly he has brought our reputation to its knees.  We are no longer regarded as a trusted ally by virtually any nation.  We have let the people of the entire world down with our complete disregard for the environment.  And all this has occurred in the last three years, and all because of the corruption that begins and ends with Donald Trump.

I believe it is a foregone conclusion that the House of Representatives will vote to impeach Donald Trump, possibly before the end of this year.  And then, Senator, the ball will be in your court.  The majority of people in this nation support the impeachment, conviction, and removal from office of Donald Trump.  Nothing less is acceptable, for the fate of not only this nation, but every nation in the world is at stake.  I firmly believe that within the next twelve months, Donald Trump will do everything in his power to ensure that next year’s election will be so dishonest and unfair that it will be a complete sham, a mockery of any democratic principles that remain in our nation.

I ask that you think long and hard about the actions of the Senate, search your own conscience and ask yourself if your loyalty to Donald Trump is of more value than your loyalty to the people who voted you into office.  Is your dedication to Donald Trump truly worth selling out your own values?  Is it worth risking your own career?  Can you look your three children in the eye and tell them how important it is to always ‘do the right thing’?  And perhaps for you the most important question:  Do you wish to be re-elected in 2022?  We the People have long memories, and if you fail us this time, I promise to do everything in my power to see that you never serve a third term in the U.S. Senate.

I think you know the right thing to do.  Please remember your oath of office, remember the people you are paid to serve, and do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, voter/citizen/taxpayer