Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fear for our democratic form of government greater than any partisan issue

A democracy is only as strong as the people it governs. If I had one fear that
is above any partisan issue that is dear to me,it is
this. That what has made our country the strongest and the most powerful is
our form of government. It is under attack. For that reason I have been raising
red flags about freedom of the press and freedom of religion and the importance
of checks and balances, because the Trump administration has been attacking and undermining
all of those fundamental institutions. At least a third of US voters either don't care
or understand the implications of living in an autocratic society. I have seen it first hand and
you do not want to go there.
These have been the themes in my published columns and
my  See postings: Attack against press freedom is the first step to the end of democracy,  The rule of law: Trump's attorney says he is above it:  Freedom of religion: key word and search press freedom, rule of law, freedom of religion for recent postings or scroll down in the website

It’s not that democracy is “fragile,” exactly, but it is “reversible,” according to former President Barack Obama.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Heads up, seniors and soon to be seniors. You are about to be screwed by the GOP

Newest polls...note especially the drop in support of seniors. "Trump also lost approval among older voters—47 percent of people age 50 and older supported the president in February, compared to 38 percent now—and among white evangelical Protestants, 61 percent of whom now support the president, down from 78 percent." Pew Poll. Rightly so
since Trump once claimed he would not touch Medicare and Social Security, but he has ignored the tax "reform" legislation, supporting whatever comes out of Congress . . Immediately, though, it cuts billions from Medicare.…/senate-tax-bill-change-federal-health… The House Majority Leader Paul Ryan is planning to propose cuts in 2018 to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. because their tax "reform" bill caused such an increase in debt.…/paul-ryan-aims-for-medicare-medica…/

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The GOP makes a Faustian bargain and sells its soul

Version of this published in the Sky Hi News December 13, 2017

Revised December 8, 2017
You may have heard the term , " a Faustian bargain". It means when someone sell one’s soul to the devil to get what they lust after.  The GOP sold its soul for tax reform, setting precedents for years to come. In  Alabama’s Senate race regardless if Judge Roy Moore wins or loses ( election results are unknown as this is being written), Faust’s bargain lives on. With their support of Moore and their tax reform bill, Donald Trump, the Republican National committee and almost all of the GOP lost any credibility as the guardian of fiscal responsibility and with caring about the safety and credibility of women in the workplace.

Why Faust? The greatest work in German literature, Faust, a play in prose and poetry, was authored  in the late 1700’ and revised through the early 1800’s by  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  He tackled a basic human dilemma,  a conflicted man  frustrated with failures in life
making a choice between doing what he knows is  moral or losing  out on other personal goals after which he lusted.  In Goethe’s play,  Faust   makes an arrangement with the devil: the devil will do everything that Faust wants while he is here on Earth, and in exchange Faust will serve the devil in Hell.  Faust , with help of the devil, pursued his seduction of his love, Margaret/Gretchen, who in turn killed her mother who opposed their affair . That tragedy is just for starters.  Faust's themes have resonated in opera and drama and have become an icon for the kind of dilemma humans have faced in life and in politics. It is that kind of Faustian bargain that will haunt the GOP for years.

The Republican National Committee  and Donald Trump reversed their  prior opposition to Moore. The RNC  put a million dollars into his campaign and  lost any holy than thou  moral authority in endorsing Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. Moore had been credibly accused of sexual violation of teenagers. Even the GOP Senatorial leadership caved, pontificating that it was up to the good people of Alabama, but, playing both sides, they would have an elected/seated Moore face their ethics committee, of course while or after the tax "reform" bill votes.  The exception: Colorado's Sen. Cory Gardner, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who said the NRSC would never support Moore .Gardner voted for the Senate tax "reform" bill version. Most of the GOP still gave the public  rationalization of the party’s continued support of Moore as his vote was needed on tax "reform". The "reform" bill is highly unpopular, polling with 35% approval.

The GOP has forever weakened their ability to use debt and deficits as an argument against supporting or expanding the social safety nets. They have forever wounded their reputation as budget/deficit hawks by approving a tax "reform" that would add one trillion dollars to the national debt. Nearly all independent experts agreed, including Congress' own experts.

Expect the GOP  to make the deficit hawk argument again when the service on the debt eats up so much of the federal budget, they have no choice but to cut medicare, medicaid, and social security and force it to be privatized or cut benefits, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan's goal all along.    Democrats will then be able to throw back in the GOP’s  face the GOP does not care about the debt so why should they?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Trump attorney claims Trump above the rule of law

"President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution's Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case," attorney John Dowd told  Axios."

Of course, this was Trump's attorney speaking, not the president himself. Besides, Trump not only expressed his opinion, he fired Comey, later stating he had the Russian probe on his mind at the time. Trump's recent tweet, allegedly written by his attorney, he fired Flynn because he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI has become another possible indication of his intent to obstruct justice since he knew Flynn had committed a crime of lying to the FBI and asked Comey to go easy on him.
Nonetheless, Dowd's comments  reminds me of Richard Nixon's famous 1977 interview with David Frost in the midst of Watergate, the last time a President overtly claimed his actions were above the law. ".when the president does it, that means it's not illegal". The issue over turning over the tapes that would incriminate him went to the US Supreme Court, which ruled that Nixon's privileges did not extend to this issue. The situation is different here, but if Watergate set the precedence was that Nixon was not above the rule of law.
Nixon's lawyers argued that this was a dispute between   parts of the executive branch over which he had control.  That did not fly.  The Court ruled that while the president had many powers, he could not claim that when other parts of the Constitution were involved, such as the right to a speedy trial. The facts are difference in Trump's case, but the principles are similar.  We do have a different balance in the Supreme Court, too,  with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch. It tilts right. If this ever ends up in the Supreme Court, who knows. Obstruction of justice was the prime charge  that resulted in the Watergate impeachment action.The same defense approach was tried by Bill Clinton in his House impeachment trial, and it, too, failed, though he was acquitted by the Senate for other reasons..

 More than likely, with the House in the hand of the GOP, and the House has to initiate the impeachment process, nothing will happen.  However, this could be the chief Democratic attack in 2018 that could result in a change in House leadership and a Democratic majority.  Aside from the pain certain constituents will feel due to the "tax reform" bill or the failure of "trickle down", I can see Democrats arguing if you want Trump impeached, vote for the Democrat standing for Congress and/or if you want to check the failed absolute rule of the GOP of all branches of government, vote Democratic.  All House seats are up for election in 2018 and there is a numerical chance the House could flip.  That chance does not exist for the Senate in 2018, because only one/third of seats, mostly Democratic, are up for grabs. However, 2020 could see a backlash in both the Senate and White House.