Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The GOP's vote on Trump's racist tweet will haunt the Republican party

Updated: July 18, 2019

Let us not forget  the reason why our Constitution was established, reads " We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. "   Donald Trump is doing all he can do to disturb domestic tranquility and undermining the blessings of liberty by becoming our racist in chief, stirring the pot of racial and immigrant hatred, to promote his own re-election.  The unintended consequences of his recent racist tweets are to leave the GOP branded as a racist party and to give a gift to Democrats of unity in a common cause to defeat him.

In response to the President using a known and long old racist attack  in a tweet s."..these four women of color should go back to where they come from"(all are American citizens, 3 or 4 were born here)..we now know .he has now come out of dog-whistle racism into the light as openly racist.    All Democrats and four Republican members of the House voted for the resolution to condemn his tweet as racist. It passed on a vote of 240 to 187 on party lines. Those opposing the resolution now have their individual votes on the record supporting a known racist insult and its tweeter. There is no longer a debate if the president was racist; it is clear he is.  It is no longer a debate if the GOP supports racism or aids and abets white nationalism.  It is a matter of record in the House of Representatives.

It is also now a matter of record that many of Trump's core supporters are also racists.   In a scree of chanting from Trump rally-goers July 17, 2019, his audience attendees have also now come now out of the shadows of suspected racial bias into the light of identified racists. The rally chant yesterday confirms suspicions that white nationalism was at the root of Trump's appeal. So now it is politically correct to tell everyone with whom you disagree who has different ethnic and racial roots, darker skin than yours, to send 'em back to where they came. whenever they rub you the wrong way. No longer is the Trump phenomena of Make America Great Again's meaning a question mark, the "again" refers to when America was all White and everyone else was a second class citizen to be suppressed or abhorred, whenever that was. America has always been a nation of immigrants from all over the world. . . Of course, if those Trump rally fans tried this in the workplace, they could be subject to legal action because the phrase is specifically identified as a term of discrimination and harassment by federal rules of the EEOC and the US Department of Labor.

The reason that the EEOC has specifically mentioned the "go back to where you come from" as an example of anti-immigrant, anti-race, anti-ethnic discrimination is because it has been used so often by those who are discriminating and harassing those of backgrounds different than theirs in the workplace.  My doctor immigrant husband was told that many times as well German-born, US citizen friends of mine.  Even in my own circle, I saw hatred against immigrants expressed by this phrase.

Donald Trump has a history of racial discrimination in his family's real estate rental property., hH rose to media prominence on the back of racism..from the Central Park 5, birtherism, African nations..shit hole countries, Mexicans are murderers and rapists, Muslim ban, his  "fine people" comments about neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville..  Really?. He's color blind? He's a con man from Queens, the home of iconic Archie Bunker. Those who believe he is color blind are the ones who are blind. 

 For those who claim the reason Trump tweeted as he did was because he objected to socialism or other public policy issues taken by the four freshmen, is a ruse since the phrase he used was one identified as and example of discrimination by federal agencies and often used to harass immigrants and "others" because of who they were, not because of ideological differences. Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) attempting to quell the outrage, only added to it the next day saying for proof if a Samali refugee wore a MAGA hat, he/she would be welcomed in the White House.  So now we get it: pledge allegiance to the Trump instead of to the United States of America and you will not be discriminated against.  So forget the first amendment that protects those who dissent?

Is Donald Trump a racist himself? To paraphrase Andrew Gillum, a candidate for Florida governor whose opponent had used racist tactics against him, he answered the question of whether his opponent was a racist. He responded that he did not know if he was a racist, but the racists think he is a racist.  Substitute the word white nationalist for racist, and that is the answer. The former head of the Ku Klux Klan and a candidate for office in Louisiana as a white nationalist, David Duke, said on the election of Trump,  it was a great victory for "our people". and the New Zealand killer cited Trump and his "common purpose" in his manifesto. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham called Trump tied with. the most racist president (Andrew Johnson)  in US history. Either Trump is the most successful demagogue in history if he does not believe what he orates and tweets or white nationalism comes from deep in his gut. The latter is most likely true given his record throughout his adult life.

For Democrats, the House vote condemning. Donald Trump for his racist tweets works.  For those Republicans in purple and blue districts, their Democratic opponents in 2020 will have more ammunition they did not have before.  It will be a rallying cry by those wanting to defeat Trump in 2020, unifying for Democrats. It should help Democrats retain or increase their control of the House. Those who swallow right-wing media claiming Trump is color blind are those who were going to vote for him anyway per polls taken after the House vote. This does not expand Trump's base, but only guns their engines, as the talley broke down mostly by party affiliation.

 Trump's approval rating among Republicans rose 5% after the House vote on condemning him for his racist tweet. It works for Trump in the short term. He had begun a strategy of trying to paint all Democrats as the same as the four outspoken freshmen.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi had even distanced them from the rest of the Democratic caucus.  For the future of the GOP,  it will forever now be known as the party of racism, either as white nationalists or those who accept and support Trump. As the demographics shift in this country to more people of color, the long term impact of the GOP with this vote will be harmful.  You will hear those who voted against the measure claim the rules were violated, they saw no evil, heard no evil in the president's comments, or hem and haw.  Some did not have the guts to vote yes for fear of being primaried. Whatever their excuses, their vote was their vote and will forever be on their record and the GOP will forever be branded with racism.





Friday, July 12, 2019

In spite of Donald Trump, Democracy won one, a big one.

On July 12, 2019, Democracy as we know it got a boost.  The President of the United States, Donald Trump acknowledged the supremacy of the rule of law and a constitutional crisis was averted.  The Supreme Court had ruled that his administration's proposal of putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census was unconstitutional because the reasons for their actions presented by the administration were bogus and they sent the question back to the administration to come up with a better reason.  In a press conference, President Trump bowed to the Supreme Court ruling, announced the citizenship question would not be on the census form.  He had formerly declared he would put the citizenship question on the census form in defiance of the Supreme Court ruling.  The rule of law and the checks and balances of another branch of government prevailed.

The Administration had argued that the purpose of placing a citizenship question on the census form was for ensuring the integrity of the election process restricted to citizens only and they were responding to a question from one of their agencies. That argument did not fly.

To put their best foot forward, Trump and his Attorney General Bill Barr contended there was not enough time to deal with other challenges in lower courts and to get the census forms printed in time by June 30.  To appease the white nationalist part of the base, Barr and Trump tried to appear to be their radical, anti-minority old selves and said they could get the information from various government departments about the count of non-citizen inhabitants and make policy decisions based on those estimates.

Of course, the number of House representative districts per state would still be based on census data, not guestimates made by federal agencies. The argument made by opponents of the administration's actions presented evidence that the motivation for the question on the ballot had little to do with election integrity but had much to do about partisan politics. It would have decreased the count of both citizen and noncitizen minority inhabitants. Hispanics, in particular, feared they or non-citizen members of the family would be subject to deportation by the Trump's administration ambition to deport non-whites, especially Hispanics, who were not citizens,  and information collected by such a census would be used to hunt down, target,  and deport them. The Census bureau had estimated that the count of families with at least one undocumented member would be reduced by 8%.

The impact of an undercount of minorities had widespread implications on partisan politics, as well.   It would have changed the electoral college vote and representation in Congress in favor of GOP for at least ten years, until the next census. New evidence had come to light that disclosed the administration's political consultant had advised the administration to put the census question on the census form specifically to increase the GOP's political power and representation. 

It also would have changed the distribution of federal aid to disaster relief, and other federally funded services flowing to states used for all of their inhabitants regardless of their citizenship status.  Not so coincidentally the losers were mostly blue states, like Colorado, who has large Hispanic populations. It would have resulted in a flawed census as a significant undercount of the portion of residents of the US since citizens and non-citizens would fear to respond to the census takers. In addition, it would have added more election districts dominated by a single party due to gerrymandering based upon the warped findings tilted to whites.  There is still fear the issue will result in an undercount of Hispanics who still do not trust the census process and may not respond to mail in forms or answer a knock at their door.  The administration may have bowed to the rule of law, but still, they may have reduced the number of minorities willing to respond to census takers because of their distrust of the Trump regime.






Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The treatment of immigrants: a shameful blot on the 4th of July celebration

The DHS internal inspector put to lie the official Trump administration who denied these conditions were happening, calling reports as "unsubstantiated". Last year there was a bipartisan proposal for increased border security that was delivered to the White House...who instead rejected it and decided to launch a policy of cruelty to children and humans in order the scare away migrants. Their policies backfired, not only because bungled execution and administration, the numbers of immigrants increased instead as coyotes told their "customers", this would be their last chance to escape poverty and violence before Trump builds his wall and calls up the military and the numbers of desperate migrants increased instead. This will forever be a shameful blot on the history of a nation that was built to protect humans from government inhumanity, something to contemplate the meaning of why our country declared independence from England as we celebrate this 4th.


Children and adult migrants detained at the US-Mexico border are subjected to “dangerous overcrowding” conditions that represent “an immediate risk to the health and safety” of border agents …

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Democratic candidates smell and draw blood on health care

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News, July 5, 2019.

 Democrats smell blood when it comes to health care as a winning issue. The danger is that the loyalties to various kinds of proposals and their partisan proponents become such a  divisive issue, it loses in 2020. Any hope to improve health insurance to any degree during a Trump second term would be lost as well. 

 Democratic candidate debates last week have renewed the national focus on health care policy because nearly all of the twenty on stage put it on or near the top of the issues they addressed. It is no wonder. A Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll in June 2019 before the debates found that 87% of Democrats put health care at the top of the list for candidates to discuss. The various candidates touted their approaches and criticized their opponents' health care plans with enough passion and drawing blood with criticism to give rise to the fear that the party is seriously divided.

 Both Republican and Democratic strategists will be sharpening their swords on the issue. In the 2018 midterms, coverage of pre-existing conditions was the hot button topic, even forcing Trump and some GOP candidates to pledge to protect pre-existing condition coverage without even providing a plan of how to do it or its cost.  

 What we can expect is for the GOP to claim that any plan with Medicare for All in its title or any variations thereof is nothing but socialism, a term that frightens GOP voters, but it does not scare most  Democrats,  especially younger ones, per a recent Pew Research Center poll.  The GOP has a grand old historical tradition of calling "socialism"  any government provided assistance to seniors such as Medicare and Social Security and they have begun beating the war drums against Medicare for All now with the same fire breathing tactics of yore. They would benefit from seeing the health care debate becoming lost in a socialism v capitalism controversy.

In taking sides of the various health care proposals,  Democrats could lose sight of who are the real enemies. They are the GOP who failed in their first attempt to repeal without replacing Obamacare and the Trump administration who would sabotage Obamacare out of existence, making it either unaffordable for many consumers or economically unsustainable.  Using executive orders,  Trump has eliminated the mandate for all to be insured and now permits employers to provide junk and cheaper insurance plans without all of the essential benefits.  Both of these  Trump actions are undermining the balance in the  "pool" of potential claimants. Increasing the numbers in the pool of those who use the benefits more than those who do not, leaves more of the sicker more expensive to treat in the pool,  increasing the costs for all of the participants and taxpayers associated with Obamacare.   There are fears that if employers offer poorer quality insurance plans,  they will dump the underinsured or uninsured sicker into Obamacare, unbalancing the pool even more.  Trump will want voters to buy his promises to repeal Obamacare with no comparable replacement proposals. Trump voters were pacified by those empty promises in 2016 and again in 2018 and may believe him again in 2020. 

There are several fundamental issues that may decide which plan comes out on top. One is the cost of the total replacement of Obamacare with Medicare compared to the public option method that allows consumers to buy into Medicare as a choice within or outside of Obamacare exchanges. The cost to taxpayers or to consumers of any Medicare for All plan at this stage is speculative and subject to self-serving claims. In fact, we may never get the official nonpartisan actuarial cost projections until the Congressional Budget Office weighs in on specific legislation being proposed in Congress. 

 The cost factor is not the only a worry to taxpayers, but it is also Important to consumers who fear they still have to pay too much out of their own pockets in co-pays and deductibles in any plan. Bernie Sanders proposed to replace all health insurance, Obamacare, employer or union provided, or private plans with Medicare for All. Sanders will have to convince voters higher taxes will be offset by the elimination of premiums and lower out of pocket expenses.  An issue that may scuttle the Sanders type proposal is the loss of union or employer-provided insurance, private plans, or supplementals. being proposed by him and some Democratic party candidates. The issue is fluid.  What was revealed in the KFF poll is that voters currently do not have a clear picture of the differences between the various Medicare for All proposals. The majority feared taxes would increase, there would still be deductibles and co-pays,  and 55% thought employer health insurance would still be provided. 

 Sen. Kamala Harris has supported both Sanders' plan and public options in the past and clarified her position after the debate to permit private insurance to exist in any case.  Julian Castro and Andrew Yang along with Sen. Kristen Gillibrand in the debate, and/or in prior public statements supported Medicare or Medicaid for All closer to the Sanders' model, but still permitted some limited private insurance.  The remainder of the debaters, including former vice president Joe Biden, supported the public option approach to some degree or another and would not eliminate private or employer insurance.