Friday, November 22, 2019

Could Donald Trump usher in the End of the American Democratic Republic?

The End of American Democracy?

With the barrage of witnesses whose testimony corroborated each other, at this point in the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, honest Americans can see that he is guilty.

Nearly every witness so far has testified that Trump directed a group of people to work with Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to help Trump abuse his power by recruiting Ukraine for interference in the 2020 US election.

Trump ordered actions taken that would delay Ukraine from receiving Congressionally approved military aid unless Ukraine President Zelensky made a public announcement that he was investigating Hunter and Joe Biden.

Additionally, Trump wanted President Zelensky to announce an investigation into Ukraine's part in the 2016 election interference, a false narrative that is being pushed by Russian president Vladimir Putin.  Every intelligence agency of the American government has identified Russia as the 2016 election intruder.  They have also indicated that the conspiracy Trump is pushing about Ukraine being the culprit in election interference is a Russian conspiracy propaganda attack.

The Republicans on the committee could have accepted the witnesses evidence.  But they didn't.  Instead, they defended Trump's conspiracy theories, blamed Democrats for an impeachment scam, lied and  yelled at witnesses.  They have lost their self-respect and prostrated themselves in loyalty to the worst President in US history.  And for what?  Are they complicit?  Do they know the "fix is in" and they can't lose in 2020?  What could make a whole party go mad?  Does Donald Trump have a spell cast over them?

Maybe it doesn't matter to understand Republican thinking.  Maybe the important things to know are that they do not govern with all Americans in mind.  They will not defend American democracy.  They do not respect the law.  They do not care about Presidential accountability.  They do not recognize their Constitutional duty in the balance of powers.  They do not care about America's national security.

Even worse, hope that the impeachment inquiry will help more Americans come to the realization that Republicanism is a betrayal of democracy, is being lost.  Recent polls are showing that there are now more Independents that are against impeachment than for it.  This is a bad sign for Democrats.  Independents are the game changers for political elections.  If this signals that Independents are becoming more Republican leaning, it could usher in another Trump term.

It is the Senate that determines if Trump is removed from office.  Trump has already met with his jury of Republican Senators who might be on the fence about removing him from office.  The transcripts of that meeting are not published, but Senator Susan Collins, one of those at the meeting, announced that she will not vote to remove Trump from office.  Making this decision before the Senate trials even start, begs the question; what empty promises did Trump make to those Senators?

If Susan Collins and the House Republicans are any indicator, the Senate will never remove Trump from office unless their constituents (the ultra-rich and lobbyists) call for it.  Since the ultra-rich and lobbyists are reaping the lion's share of benefits from having a Republican like Trump in office, there is  no reason for them to insist that Trump be removed.

The Senate will not save America.  In fact, Republicans who support Trump despite the damaging evidence against him, have set up the failure of American democracy.  Republicans have forsaken the balance of powers by defending Trump.  They are denying Article I of the US Constitution and are thereby making Trump more of a dictator than a President.

Trump's administration started out by admitting they were out to "deconstruct the administrative state."  Trump appointed administrative officials who opposed the agencies they lead.  Trump has decimated the State Department.  Regulations that protected Americans' health and welfare have been perverted or overturned to make America less safe for Americans and more profitable for the rich.  Science has been denied and puts human existence in jeopardy.  If Trump is re-elected, there is no telling what other deleterious changes to US democracy and national security he may make.

It has been reported that Trump has seriously asked if he could just get rid of judges.  Without a Judicial branch, all power would lie with the President.  That is a dictatorship.  His praise for and friendships with global dictators is already in public view and gives a plausible assessment of his desire to become one himself.

Ultimately, it is the American voter who has the last chance to save our Republic.  This will not be an easy fight.  Russia will be out in force, attempting to interfere in our elections and power grid.  Trump will be spending millions of dollars on propaganda campaigns to denigrate Democrats and praise himself.  Trump loyalists will be repeating the ramblings of the Trump administration and those in Senate committees will advance Trump's conspiracy theories.  Right wing media will be continuing to lie to their viewers to make Trump appear the right choice for President.  Trump's mysterious and almost supernatural spell over MAGAts and Republican political figures will be strong.

America faces the possibilities of two futures.  One being the shining star of freedom and hope for the world, the other being the frightening world of a self-serving dictator.  We will only get one chance to get it right.  After that, we will have the country we deserve, be it good or bad.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Meet Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Born in Oklahoma to a working class family, Elizabeth Warren has the childhood experiences of the ordinary American whose family is struggling from paycheck to paycheck.  She understands what middle class Americans  have been going through for the longest time and in her gut has the motivation to help people.

Her first marriage was to her high school sweetheart, Jim Warren.   Shortly after marriage, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Houston.

A couple of years after having her first child, she enrolled in Rutgers Law school where she received her Law Degree while pregnant with her second child.

The Warrens divorced and two years later Elizabeth married Bruce Mann but retained her last name from her first marriage.

Prior to her service in elected office, Elizabeth has been a public school teacher, a lawyer and a law professor at various Universities including U of Pennsylvania and Harvard.  Law and economics has been her focus area in the private sector.  She is a published author with eleven books to her credit.  She was a highly influential law professor and is the most cited scholar in the field of bankruptcy and commercial law during the time she was in that role.

She is a former FDIC Advisory Committee member and a member of the national Bankruptcy Conference.  She was a vice president of the American Law Institute.  

During the 2007 economic recession, she was appointed to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel to oversee implementing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.  She was an early advocate of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and was assigned by President Obama to setup the CFPB. 

Warren had been a long time conservative and registered Republican, but in 1995 began to vote Democrat because she started realizing that the Republican Party no longer was "principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets" and instead was favoring the rich and large corporations at the expense of middle-class Americans.

Elizabeth won her Senate seat in the 2012 election win against Republican Scott Brown, becoming the first woman Senator in Massachusetts history.  At the 2012 Democratic national Convention she gave a speech that explained her beliefs as a champion of the middle class.  She ran for re-election to the Senate in 2018 and won over the Republican by 60% to 36%.  As Senator she has been assigned to the Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Special Committee on Aging.

Since announcing her candidacy for President, Elizabeth Warren has been developing her important focus areas and policies she will pursue as President.  Her top priorities are: 
  • Strengthening Democracy
  • Rebuilding the Middle Class
  • Equal Justice Under Law
  • Ending Washington Corruption
  • A Foreign Policy for All
She wants to strengthen democracy by ensuring voting rights are not suppressed and by eliminating gerrymandering. She wants to ensure America fights back appropriately when foreign governments attack our elections.  She wants to hold Americans in power accountable for divisive talk.

She wants to rebuild the middle class by building Unions.  She wants workers to elect 40% of the Corporate board.  She wants antitrust enforcement.  She wants to stop the give-aways to the rich and ensure they pay their fair share.  She wants to enact an ultra-millionaires tax on the 75,000 richest people in America.  She is for green manufacturing, clean energy, affordable housing and wants to fight for veterans and service members.  She advocates for Medicare for all and promises that she has a plan to accomplish it without raising middle class taxes.  She wants to create great public schools and refurbish the public school system.

She'll fight for equal justice under law.  She knows there are two legal systems; one for the rich and one for the rest of us.  She will fight to change this.  Criminal Justice reform must make the punishments for laws fair and equal for everyone.  She is for legalizing marijuana.  She wants to ban private prisons.  She'll lead a new commitment to prosecuting giant corporations and their leaders when they cheat customers, stomp out competition or rob workers.  

She'll fight for ending Washington Corruption.  Corruption in Washington, DC makes government work for the rich but fails the rest of America.  She wants to put political and economic power back into the hands of the people.  She wants to remove big money from politics by overturning Citizens United.  She wants no more lobbying, PACS or SuperPACS.  She wants to eliminate the unfair advantage that corporate America gets when high level federal employees go to work as lobbyists for Corporate America after their federal jobs end. 

She'll fight for a foreign policy for all that serves all people and not just the wealthy.  She is against Trump's NAFTA II trade policies unless it produces a better deal for Americans.  She advocates for people over corporate profits.  She is in favor of cutting the military budget to a reasonable level to end the stranglehold defense contractors have on our military policy.  She wants to reinvest in diplomacy and stand with our allies to advance our shared interests, something that Trump has directed us away from. She is an advocate for cybersecurity and fighting climate change.

I can't go into the details here but it will be important for you to follow the debates and Elizabeth Warren's rallies during the campaign.  She explains her policies best when you hear her speak.  In my opinion, Elizabeth Warren has a very good chance to be the Democratic nominee.

Friday, November 01, 2019

McConnell's Senate Graveyard

Pelosi describes McConnell's Bills Graveyard
The primary duty of Congress is to write, debate and pass laws.  Congress is composed of two bodies; the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The leader of the House of Representatives is a person selected from the members of the party in the majority.  In the house, the Democrats are in the majority and Nancy Pelosi is the leader known as Speaker of the House.  

The leader of the Senate is known as the Senate Majority Leader and is also selected from the party in the majority for that body.  In the Senate, the Republicans are in the majority and Mitch McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader.  

The White House and the Congressional GOP have often used derogatory terms to describe the Democrats in Congress.  Much like the childish bullies they are, they believe that name-calling is a useful policy tool.  We have heard Trump use slogans like "Do nothing Democrats" to convince their  own gullible constituents that it's the Democrats who are not getting anything done in Congress.  However, in this case, the name-calling tool is really a projection of their own failure to work for America.  

In order to pass legislation that originates in the House of Representatives, Mitch McConnell must bring those bills up for debate in the Senate.  In a normal functioning Congress, the goal is to find agreement in both houses through compromise and concessions during a healthy debate. The goal is to enact legislation intended to help all Americans and improve the condition of the country.  But in the Republican led Senate, the goal is to stifle Democratic legislation that would help Americans.

McConnell has stated publicly that no Democratic bills will ever pass the Senate and will "die" there.  McConnell has been so pleased to prevent America from progressing with bipartisan legislation that he sees his new job as that of a "grim reaper," a name that he gave himself.  And he has been true to his name.  

According to the website, in this 116th Congress, the House has so far passed 258 (H.R.) bills since the session started in 2019.  To view each bill and search for other interesting data, visit at the following shortened url: .

Only thirty-three House bills have passed the Senate and only thirty-one have become law.

McConnell and the Republicans in the 116th Congressional Senate have introduced thirty-nine bills.  Eleven of them have become law.  Included in those Senate initiated bills that became law are:
  • S.2249 A bill to allow the Deputy Administrator of FAA to continue as Deputy
  • S.1693 National Flood Insurance Extension
  • S.1379 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness
  • S.998 Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis
  • S.863 A bill to amend title 38 to clarify pay grade and pay of podiatrists of the VA
  • S.744 Effective Prosecution and Possession of Biological Toxins and Agents
  • S.483 Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension
  • S.252 A bill to authorize Bob Doyle to grade of Colonel in the regular Army
  • S.163 Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection
  • S.49 A bill to designate the outstation of the VA in North Ogden, Utah as Major Brent Taylor Vet Center Outstation
There are so many House Democratic bills that McConnell is holding up, I cannot include them all, but a few of the more important ones include:
  • H.R.3722 Joint Task Force to Combat Opioid Trafficking
  • H.R.3710 Cybersecurity Vulnerability Remediation
  • H.R.3625 PCAOB Whistleblower Protection Act of 2019
  • H.R.3525 U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards
  • H.R.3239 Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody
  • H.R.2513 Corporate Transparency Act
  • H.R.2359 Whole Veterans Act
  • H.R.1585 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
  • H.R.1331 Local Water Protection Act
  • H.R.1112 Enhanced Background Checks Act
  • H.R.987 Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs
  • H.R.986 Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions
  • H.R.582 Raise the Wage Act
  • H.R.6 American Dream and Promise Act
If you visit the government website mentioned above, you can see the stark reality that it is the Republicans in Congress that are obstructionists.  You realize that the Democrats in Congress have the energy, desire and concern for America that enables them to create these bills.

Republicans have proven themselves to be liars, obstructionists, and now grim reapers.  They may think they are attacking Democrats but it is you, the American people, that the Republicans are really hurting. Vote smart when the time comes and don't believe the Republican lies.