Open Letter To Republican Members Of Congress

Dear Senator/Representative,

I write today out of extreme frustration as a citizen of the United States, a person who has paid taxes since 1964 when I was but 13 years of age, and an independent voter who has voted since 1972 for both parties at various times.  I believe I have earned the right to speak my piece, and I shall do so now.

Since the U.S. Constitution was adapted in 1787, this nation has abided by certain standards, one of those being a fair and honest election whereby everyone has an equal voice, and once the results are tallied, they are accepted by all.  In the 2016 election, it was later proven that Russia aided and abetted the election campaign of Donald Trump, who actually lost the election by nearly 3 million votes, and yet due to the electoral system, was placed in office on January 20th, 2017.  His opponent, Hillary Clinton, graciously congratulated him on his ‘win’ the day after the election, as did then-President Barack Obama.

Fast forward to November 3rd, 2020, not quite three weeks ago.  The election was held, but results were not immediately available because of the surging pandemic that led many of us to vote by absentee ballot.  Within a couple of days, it became obvious that Joe Biden had won the election, had earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and had scored over 6 million votes more than Donald Trump.  And yet … without one shred of proof or evidence, that result is being hotly contested by Trump and his lawyers.  Not only that, but Trump continually claims, falsely, that he won the election, that there was massive voter fraud, and that “the democrats stole” the election from him.

You know, and I know that not a single shred of evidence exists to support Trump’s claims.  Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the United States Department of Homeland Security, Christopher Krebs, said that the 2020 election was the most secure in the history of the nation.  He was fired for telling the truth and for doing his job.  Still, Donald Trump continues to create chaos by making false claims.

In the past week, four members of Congress have followed their conscience and condemned Trump’s attempt to cast doubt on the validity of the election:  Senator Mitt Romney, Senator Ben Sasse, outgoing Senator Lamar Alexander, and Senator Pat Toomey.  Each of the four have said it is time for Trump to face the fact that he lost and be gracious in conceding the election.  YOU, however, remain silent.  I ask you now … WHY?  You know that Joe Biden won the election honestly and fairly.  You know that Donald Trump is a temperamental, dishonest ‘man’, lacking in integrity, who has done more damage to this country than the last ten presidents combined.  So … why are you silent?  Your silence speaks volumes about your character.

Surely you must realize that Trump is casting doubt, not only on the integrity of the 2020 election, but on our democratic processes as he continues to rant and rave about things that simply do not exist.  You have achieved one of the highest-ranking positions in the nation, so surely you must be an intelligent and well-educated individual, and yet at this moment, it appears that you are without conscience.

I, and my fellow citizens, call on you today … yes, TODAY … to condemn Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and actions, to demand that he concede the election so that President-elect Biden’s transition team can get to work, planning for a smooth transition and the ongoing safety of the nation.  IF you do not, if you continue to enable Trump and his minions to undermine the democratic processes of this nation without so much as a whimper on your part, then you do not deserve the position you hold.  Know that, if you continue to allow this to go on without adding your voice to those of Senators Romney, Sasse, Toomey, and Alexander, then I and others will work tirelessly the next time you are facing a re-election bid, to ensure that the American public knows just how disinterested in the future of this nation and its people you are, and I will work to support your opponent, whoever he or she may be.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison – citizen, taxpayer, voter


Note to readers:  I have sent this letter to Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Representative Warren Davidson, and am planning to send it to the local newspaper, as well.  The silence in the GOP on this matter is deafening and we cannot wait forever for these members of Congress to find their consciences.  Feel free to adapt and use the letter if you wish.

The Pressure Builds.

A couple of days ago, our friend David wrote a piece on his blog, The Buthidars, about our upcoming (in 4 days!!!) election, the confirmation of Amy Barrett to the Supreme Court, and other current issues. Interestingly, his post coincided with the thoughts I was having about asking some of our non-U.S. readers for a guest post regarding their views on our election. Often I find that our readers from Canada, Australia, the UK and EU have a better perspective than we do about our situation. I shall start with David’s post this morning, and invite any and all from outside the U.S. to email me if you are interested in writing a guest post sharing your own views. Thank you, David, for sharing your views, and for allowing me to share them with my readers/friends.

The BUTHIDARS

In Wales we are under a Firebreak Lockdown. That’s new rules on top of the Lockdown I mentioned in my last post. It was set to last 17 days and if the Gods are smiling it should end on November 9th. That of course is going to depend on how bad the Coronavirus is in the areas that were spiking. one of which would appear to be mine. I certainly don’t mind about these rules for the sake of our health, after all I’m high risk in a high risk area and may not survive a bout with this illness. What both surprises me and annoys me in equal measure is the number of people who are happy to walk around without masks, If they want to infect themselves well and good, it’s their choice, but why take a chance on infecting me.

Another little niggle is that what they…

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USA Can’t Even Measure Up To One Of Trump’s Sh*tHole’s Country’s Leader In Tackling COVID 19

Hmmmm … seems like maybe the U.S. is lagging behind even ‘third-world’ countries in managing the pandemic! Thank you, Gronda, for this enlightening post! Meanwhile, the U.S. needs some real leadership — something that has been sorely lacking for almost four years!

Gronda Morin

Remember when Donald J Trump was spouting off about sh*thole countries in places like Africa and how his GOP cronies in the US Congress were mum as he vented on these racist leanings.

See below links to reports regarding how the leader Macky Sall of one of the president’s sh*thole countries, Senegal with extremely limited resources, has successfully contained the spread of the COVID19 pandemic within his country.  It has become evident that the White House can’t even begin to measure up to the leadership of one of his listed sh*thole countries to contain/ prevent the spread of a coronavirus within the USA.

Recently, President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a CNN interview with its host, Jack Tapper, blurted out a truth many of us had been suspicious about for months, “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we…

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Get Mad!!!!!!!

Much has been said in the past two days about the fact that Trump seems poised to reject the results of the November election and to plant himself in our government as an autocratic leader, ala Adolf Hitler or more recently Vladimir Putin.  Here’s what he told a reporter in response to a question of whether he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election …

trump-caricature“You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very … there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation … the ballots are out of control.”

Now, this isn’t really anything new.  Your blood probably reached a boiling point when you heard this, as did mine, but after a while I realized what this all is.  First and foremost, what his little tirade tells me is that he is scared, that he is fairly certain he will lose the election to Joe Biden.  As well he should be.  But he is a bully.  All his life he has gotten his way by being a big playground bully, by lying, cheating, and making inane threats … by instilling fear.

So, what does he hope to accomplish?  He hopes to make those of us who have a desire for a fair and honest election, those of us who believe in the U.S. Constitution, afraid.  He hopes we will panic, for people in a panic tend to act stupidly.  One thing he hopes to achieve is to reduce the number of people who vote, especially those who plan to vote by mail.  He hopes people will assume their votes, their ballots, won’t be counted, so why bother?  Some may fall into that trap, but frankly I like to think that those of us who stand against authoritarianism are smart enough to see through his rhetoric.

To set the record straight, there is no evidence whatsoever of voter fraud either in 2016 or 2018, and there is zero evidence that any is likely to take place in this election.  Trump makes things up.  He lies.  He is a habitual liar who says whatever he thinks will help whatever his cause-of-the-day is and who wouldn’t recognize the truth if it smacked him in the ass.

Second, I was pleased to see even congressional republicans deny that Trump could seize power in denial of the election results …

“The president says crazy stuff. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change.” –  Senator Ben Sasse (Nebraska)

Even ol’ Mitchie had to weigh in on the side of justice this time …

“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)

“No question that all the people sworn to support the Constitution would assure that there would be a peaceful transition of power.” – Senator Mitt Romney (Utah)

“Well, Republicans believe in the rule of law, we believe in the Constitution, and that’s what dictates what happens.” – Senator John Thune (South Dakota)

“As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one And at noon on Jan 20, 2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.” – Senator Marco Rubio (Florida)

“Throughout America’s history, the peaceful transition of power has been a hallmark of our democracy. This year, both candidates must commit to abiding by the results, no matter the outcome.” – Senator Rob Portman (Ohio)

It should be noted that none actually had the cojones to condemn Trump for his seditious rhetoric.  The question arises … will they find a pair in order to do the right thing in the event that Trump actually attempts to deny the election results?  I don’t know, but frankly folks, we’ve got bigger things to worry about for the next five weeks.  We need to work on making sure every eligible voter either votes absentee or gets off their asses on November 3rd and goes out and votes!

This is the key.  Trump’s approval rating is in the 40% range, and is likely to dip again soon, as the number of coronavirus cases rise and the vaccine that he has been promising either doesn’t materialize or is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).  If every person who doesn’t approve of the job Trump has done, who sees the demolition of the nation, who rejects his authoritarian regime, goes out and votes for Joe Biden, there can be no doubt who is the clear winner of the November election.

But if we let his hate speech, his purely delusional rhetoric reduce us to a state of fear and panic, then we will not have the strength left to do what needs to be done.  Forget him!  (I actually wanted to use a different “f-word” there but bit my fingertips – thanks Keith!) Don’t play into his hand!  Laugh at him.  Treat him as he deserves to be treated – like a recalcitrant toddler.  Remember that he is naught but a hired hand, a paid public servant who serves at the pleasure of We the People!  I don’t know about you, but personally I’m ready to fire this bastard (sorry, Keith).

Yes, there is reason to be concerned by this sort of authoritarian talk, but if we let it paralyze us, then all is lost.  Let’s address the situation calmly and rationally, in contrast to Trump’s own demeanor.  Meanwhile, let’s keep our eye on the ball, meaning convincing everyone you know that they simply must vote this time ‘round.  That is the main thing we can do.  The other thing is keep those letters, emails, and phone calls to your members of Congress going, let them know that you expect them to uphold a higher standard and to uphold our right to have our voices heard as per the Constitution.

Briefly, don’t get sad, get mad!  Be angry!  But don’t let it paralyze you, and don’t give up.  Together, we are strong, we can overcome the evil that has overtaken our nation for the past four years.  And if you need something to smile about, picture in your mind the Metro police leading Trump out of the White House in chains on January 20th!trump-prison

Seeking Election Integrity …

Dan Coats was the director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019. He resigned on July 28th 2019 when he was apprised that he was about to be fired.  The reason?  He did not play Trump’s game, did not take that oath of fealty that required him to be naught more than a yes-man.  He affirmed in no uncertain terms that Russia had indeed interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, contrary to Trump’s denials of such interference.  Today, Mr. Coats has written the following OpEd in the New York Times about the security of the upcoming election and offers one possible solution.


What’s at Stake in This Election? The American Democratic Experiment

Trump’s former director of national intelligence on how to firmly and unambiguously reassure all Americans that their votes will be counted.

dan-coatsBy Dan Coats

We hear often that the November election is the most consequential in our lifetime. But the importance of the election is not just which candidate or which party wins. Voters also face the question of whether the American democratic experiment, one of the boldest political innovations in human history, will survive.

Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace.

If those are the results of this tumultuous election year, we are lost, no matter which candidate wins. No American, and certainly no American leader, should want such an outcome. Total destruction and sowing salt in the earth of American democracy is a catastrophe well beyond simple defeat and a poison for generations. An electoral victory on these terms would be no victory at all. The judgment of history, reflecting on the death of enlightened democracy, would be harsh.

The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond.

The most important part of an effective response is to finally, at long last, forge a genuinely bipartisan effort to save our democracy, rejecting the vicious partisanship that has disabled and destabilized government for too long. If we cannot find common ground now, on this core issue at the very heart of our endangered system, we never will.

Our key goal should be reassurance. We must firmly, unambiguously reassure all Americans that their vote will be counted, that it will matter, that the people’s will expressed through their votes will not be questioned and will be respected and accepted. I propose that Congress creates a new mechanism to help accomplish this purpose. It should create a supremely high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election. This commission would not circumvent existing electoral reporting systems or those that tabulate, evaluate or certify the results. But it would monitor those mechanisms and confirm for the public that the laws and regulations governing them have been scrupulously and expeditiously followed — or that violations have been exposed and dealt with — without political prejudice and without regard to political interests of either party.

Also, this commission would be responsible for monitoring those forces that seek to harm our electoral system through interference, fraud, disinformation or other distortions. These would be exposed to the American people in a timely manner and referred to appropriate law enforcement agencies and national security entities.

Such a commission must be composed of national leaders personally committed — by oath — to put partisan politics aside even in the midst of an electoral contest of such importance. They would accept as a personal moral responsibility to put the integrity and fairness of the election process above everything else, making public reassurance their goal.

Commission members undertaking this high, historic responsibility should come from both parties and could include congressional leaders, current and former governors, “elder statespersons,” former national security leaders, perhaps the former Supreme Court justices David Souter and Anthony Kennedy, and business leaders from social media companies.

This commission would be created by emergency legislative action. During that process, its precise mandate, composition, powers and resources would be defined. Among other aspects, the legislation would define the relationship between the commission and the intelligence and law enforcement communities with the capability necessary for the commission’s work. And it would define how the commission would work with all the individual states.

Congressional leaders must see the need as urgent and move quickly with common purpose. Seeking broad bipartisan unity on such an initiative at such a fraught time goes against the nature of the political creatures we have become. But this is the moment and this is the issue that demands a higher patriotism. No member of Congress could have any valid reason to reject any step that could contribute to the fundamental health of our Republic. With what should be the unanimous support of Congress, the legislation must call upon the election campaigns of both parties to commit in advance to respect the findings of the commission. Both presidential candidates should be called upon to make such personal commitments of their own.

If we fail to take every conceivable effort to ensure the integrity of our election, the winners will not be Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Republicans or Democrats. The only winners will be Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Ali Khamenei. No one who supports a healthy democracy could election 2020want that.

Dear Kentucky, Please do us a Favor

Mitch McConnell is the poster boy for why we need term limits … the man has long overstayed his welcome in the U.S. Senate and needs to be put out to pasture. Our friend Jeff has written an impassioned plea to the good people of the State of Kentucky to please remove this wart from our posterior! Actually, Jeff phrased it far more kindly than I would likely have done, which is why he’s so great at what he does! Thank you, Jeff … let us hope Kentuckians are listening!!! The few I know are ready to dump Mitch, but they obviously don’t speak for the whole.

On The Fence Voters

A letter to the voters of the great state of Kentucky:

For the last 36 years, you have elected Mitch McConnell to the United States Senate. The loyalty shown to Mr. McConnell is genuinely something I’m sure he takes quite seriously and appreciates greatly. However, this year, I’d like to ask you a favor. Would you please consider removing Senator McConnell by voting for Amy McGrath on November 3, 2020?

Yes, I know. Who am I to ask such a thing? Well, I’m a concerned American who currently resides in the great state of Oregon. I’m about as far away as you can get from your state, not just in miles, but also in political ideology. But I’m also an individual who believes that we can and should do better for all Americans. And the truth is, your Senator has almost singlehandedly stopped hundreds of pieces of legislation.

Now, you…

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Skewed Priorities!!!

Coronavirus cases have hit 5.6 million in the U.S., the highest of any single nation on the globe.  The death toll in the U.S. is an astounding 171,535, again, the highest of any nation, despite the fact that the U.S. accounts for less than 5% of the global population.  More than one thousand people are dying in the U.S. every damn day.  People … moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children.  We are 80 days away from arguably the most important election in the history of this nation, while the Trump-dominated federal government is doing everything in its power to keep We the People from our constitutional right to vote.  The economy is largely, contrary to what some will tell you, in the tank, and millions of people are out of work, facing eviction by the end of the month.  Congress has stalled on the rescue bill that would help people over the hump, and the U.S. Senate has taken a vacation until September.  Many … some 20 million people … have no medical insurance.  Children are going to bed hungry at night.  So what, given all this grief, does our government choose to focus on???

Well, for one thing, UFOs.  That’s right … Unidentified Flying Objects!  According to Politico …

The Pentagon, under growing pressure from Congress, said Friday it has established a new high-level body to investigate reports of “unidentified aerial phenomenon” following multiple incidents in recent years of UFOs reportedly intruding into military airspace.

The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force was created by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist on Aug. 4, elevating an effort that since 2018 has been under the purview of the Office of Naval Intelligence, officials said.

Our government, for which we pay dearly, is more interested in looking for spaceships from fucking Mars than helping people keep their homes, keep safe, and feed their children!!!

What else are they focused on?  Hillary Clinton’s emails!  Yep, you heard me right, folks.  The damn fools in the conservative group Judicial Watch are still hounding Hillary Clinton who … listen to me closely, please … who HAS BEEN ABSOLVED OF ANY INTENTIONAL WRONGDOING.  Yes, she used poor judgment in choosing to keep certain emails on a private server … 8 years ago!!!  She has answered written questions under penalty of perjury about her email practices.  Leave the woman alone, for Pete’s Sake!!!

Fortunately, a trio of judges felt the same, and ruled in a 3-0 decision that Judicial Watch was not entitled to depose Clinton in connection with an 8-year-old Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records of details about information national security adviser Susan Rice discussed during interviews in 2012 about the deadly attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

It has been proven 40,000 times that Hillary Clinton did not cause nor have knowledge of the attack in Benghazi, that she could not have stopped or prevented it.  LEAVE HER ALONE!  Concern yourselves with the multiple crises facing this nation today, not what might have been done differently 8 years ago!

It is past time for our government to govern.  It is past time for all parties in the United States Congress to put aside their differences, to put aside partisanship and work in the best interest of the people.  It is time for somebody to put Mitch McConnell on a plane to Siberia with a one-way ticket so that Congress can get on with their work.  It is way past time for Congress to STOP enabling the actions of the madman in the Oval Office!

The top priorities of the government of this nation, if we are to survive into the next decade are:

  • Get financial assistance to those who need it most — quickly!!!
  • Implement mandatory masks, close schools, bars & restaurants, do whatever is necessary to halt the increase in the number of cases and deaths due to the coronavirus
  • Ensure the right of every eligible voter to vote safely, either by mail or drop box, in November
  • Force Congress back to the bargaining table … bring the Senate back to Washington and sequester all 535 members of Congress in the Capitol building until such time as they hammer out a compromise that helps people in need. Keep Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump and Mark Meadows out of the negotiations … it is NOT their place!

UFOs and Hillary Clinton are NOT the priority today!  If the executive and legislative branches cannot fathom that simple concept, then we need to throw da bums out … EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!

More Pandemic Of Stupidity

Pandemic of Stupidity rages on …

When I wrote the post Pandemic of Stupidity on July 30th, I had no intention of turning it into a series, or even a two-part post.  But for Pete’s sake … stupidity just seems to be surrounding me … everywhere I look, there are blatant examples of it and I am truly beginning to despair that far too many people in this country have partaken of some strange substance that turns the brain to mush in just a very short time!

Of course, there was never any doubt that Trump is a victim of the pandemic of stupidity, but the latest example even had my trump-weary jaw dropping with this utterance from yesterday …

“The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic. It certainly was a terrible thing where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people, probably ended the Second World War. All the soldiers were sick. That was a terrible situation.”

Through gritted teeth I tell you that World War II ended in 1945, some 26 years after the Spanish Flu came to an end in 1919.  If an average Joe made this statement, it would be bad enough, but for the person who is entrusted with the lives of 330 million people, the person who is entrusted with the nuclear codes, to be this effing stupid is just beyond reason!


And from the annals of stupidity …

“I’m sorry, Jill, but I’m unfriending you.  I really like you, you’ve been a good friend, but your blogs are just too serious all the time!”

This person, once a valued friend and co-worker, informed me that since I’ve become ‘obsessed’ with politics, social justice, and global affairs … since I ‘insist’ on carrying on about the pandemic, about Trump, and about racists … she can no longer be my friend because my writings “make it hard for me to stay happy.”

Okay, then.  There was a time I would have mourned the loss of a good friend, but … no longer.  You see, it’s people like this who would bury their heads in the sand, who would put their own ‘happiness’ ahead of human lives, ahead of the environmental crisis that threatens to bring about the extinction of numerous species including the human species … it is the people with this mentality who threaten our very existence.  So, sayonara, so long, see ya, hasta la vista.  Enjoy your blissful ignorance.


QAnon is coming to Congress?

It is reported that there are as many as a dozen members of the conspiracy theory group known as QAnon running for seats in the United States Congress this year.  Some are low-key, only espousing one or two of the conspiracy theories and not publicly proclaiming their membership in the group, while others are more … shall we say, outspoken. marjory-taylor-greeneTake, for example, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican who is perhaps the most unabashedly pro-QAnon candidate for Congress and has drawn a positive tweet from President Trump. She recently declared that QAnon was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out.”

In April, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a high-profile lawmaker and a favorite of Trump, donated $2,000 to Ms. Greene’s campaign. A political action committee with which Mr. Jordan is associated, the House Freedom Fund, gave her thousands of dollars more.angela-stanton-kingOr Angela Stanton-King, a House candidate in Georgia who has repeatedly posted QAnon content and obscure hashtags, such as “#trusttheplan.” The Republican National Committee gave $2,200 to her campaign, and the Georgia Republican Party gave an additional $2,800 to Ms. Stanton-King, who, by the way, was pardoned this year by Trump for her role in a car-theft ring!

In many instances, these candidates sought to spread a core tenet of the QAnon conspiracy: that Trump, backed by the military, ran for office to save Americans from a so-called deep state filled with child-abusing, devil-worshiping bureaucrats. Backing the president’s enemies are prominent Democrats who, in some telling, extract hormones from children’s blood.  Oh for PETE’S SAKE!  What in the Sam Hell have these people been smoking/drinking???

None of these candidates are likely to actually take a seat in Congress next year, but the fact that they are in the race, the fact that they are spewing and spreading such garbage, such nonsense, and that people … some people … will believe their every word and even vote for them, causes me to wonder if the human species even deserve to be on this otherwise beautiful planet.

Impotent Tyranny

I’ve been doing some thinking about Trump’s ‘executive orders’ last week, how he has overstepped his authority, shredded the Constitution yet again, and all for naught, for nothing he did is likely to help very many of the people who need help the most.  He is all pomp, no substance, as is proven by the fact that rather than sign these orders in his office as would have been appropriate, he took them to his country club to sign them in front of a group of rich, old, white men sipping wine who applauded enthusiastically, for they have no horse in this race.

Today I happened across a piece written by a freelance writer, Joel Mathis, writing for The Week, that I thought covered the matter well, so I am sharing it here today.


Donald Trump’s impotent tyranny

joel-mathisJoel Mathis

Everything is a show with Donald Trump.

He was never really a successful businessman — he just played one on TV. Now, as president, a similar pattern has emerged: Trump wants to perform the role of autocrat in front of TV cameras, but cannot or will not act effectively to protect the country from the economic and health challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s a Potemkin strongman.

The latest example of this phenomenon came over the weekend. With the House and Senate hamstrung on a pandemic relief bill, President Trump announced he would act unilaterally — signing executive orders to extend unemployment benefits, continue a moratorium on evictions, defer payroll taxes, and pause student loan payments.

“I’m taking executive action,” he said. “We’ve had it. And we’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers.”

Trump’s executive orders combined two paradoxical elements: overreach and impotence.

Let’s take overreach first. As The Washington Post noted, Trump’s orders “attempt to wrest away some of Congress’s most fundamental, constitutionally mandated powers — tax and spending policy.” The Constitution plainly gives Congress, not the president, taxing and spending power. One Republican senator called Trump’s orders “unconstitutional slop.”

But this isn’t the first time Trump has tried to usurp the legislative branch’s financial prerogatives: After his failed government shutdown at the start of 2019, he signed an emergency decree diverting defense funds to build his border wall with Mexico. That is plainly unconstitutional, but the courts have so far let him proceed, drifting leisurely toward a final question on the matter. Their failure to act in due haste has given the president an opening for additional transgressions.

Perhaps the sidestepping of Congress and the Constitution would be understandable if Trump’s acts would actually help Americans trying to survive the pandemic and its economic fallout. After all, President Lincoln disregarded habeas corpus during the Civil War, and Americans mostly love him.

Then again, Lincoln won the Civil War. Trump is losing the pandemic. And his executive orders probably won’t help him win it. There is less here than meets the eye. Let’s take them one-by-one:

  • Most unemployed Americans probably will not see the extended benefits. The president announced they would get an extra $400 a week — but that money would be paid under a formula in which the federal government will provide $300 if individuals qualify for an extra $100 from their own states. But states are facing their own financial problems, and observers say implementing that formula is a logistical nightmare. “There are so many problems with people getting a benefit under this,” one expert told CNN.

  • There are several problems with the payroll tax deferral. First, it only applies to Americans who are still working — if you’re unemployed, the cut won’t put any extra money in your pocket. That makes it largely ineffective as a stimulus. What’s more, workers might enjoy having slightly larger paychecks now, but they will still owe that money at the end of the year, unless Congress chooses to forgive the deferred taxes. Despite his claim to act on his own, Trump needs legislators to make the payroll holiday stick — and he is willing to play chicken with workers’ income to do so.

  • And, oh yeah: Payroll taxes are what fund Social Security and Medicare. “These systems, which have helped generations retire and live, are already underfunded,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeted Sunday. “Cutting the payroll tax without replacing the funding is the same as getting rid of them.” Trump is creating a bigger problem than he is solving.

  • The eviction moratorium is also problematic. As Politico reported, “the ban itself shields barely a quarter of the nation’s 44 million rental units — only residents of buildings that have federally guaranteed mortgages.” That leaves tens of millions of Americans vulnerable. The deferral of student loans is also flawed: It excludes nine million borrowers whose debt is held by private lenders.

All of this means that President Trump is undermining the constitutional order — again — but will probably have little to show for it.

This is in keeping with his now-tedious habit of prizing appearance over substance and ratings over effective action, his love of claiming “total authority” while often leaving states and cities to their own devices as they battle the coronavirus. Trump’s attempts at tyranny do nothing to solve the country’s problems, but they do compound the crisis of American democracy.

It’s the worst of both worlds.

Brief letter to Senators and Congress people (sent Saturday morning)

As I wrote earlier today, Congress has seemingly come to a stalemate in the relief bill intended to help people who are struggling. In lieu of that, Trump has signed executive orders that do little to help people, and that are beyond the scope of his constitutional powers. Our friend Keith compose an excellent letter that he has sent to certain members of Congress, and I am re-posting it here in hopes that others will share his letter with their own senators and representatives. We MUST let them know that we need them to step up to the plate NOW! Thank you, Keith, both for this excellent letter, for permission to re-blog, and for caring so much!

musingsofanoldfart

I posted the following on the my two Senators (and select others) and Congressman’s websites.

I am disappointed that Congress has failed to reach a decision to help people. As with any communication problem, it is the fault of at least two parties, so the president’s attempt to blame only the Democrats is just more posturing than fact. Please find a way to make a deal. Americans are hurting and the president does not have the authority to do what is needed.

I am big believer we must deal with the debt, but the hypocrisy of the Freedom Caucus and others astounds me. They had no trouble in voting for a $1.5 trillion tax bill when it helped the wealthy and businesses at a time when we should have been reducing debt with a pretty good economy. So, we wasted that debt cost to make a pretty good economy a…

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