Today, by his actions and statements in regard to the Paris Accord, the President of the United States did the following:
Surrendered the US mantle of leader of the Free World...to China.
Doomed the planet to exceed the 2 degree Celsius threshold for warming that scientists have warned us not to pass.
Relegated the United States to the sidelines on the international stage until we regain our senses. We will be forever diminished regardless.
Made it inevitable that there will be great suffering in the lifetimes of our sons, daughters and grandchildren.
Disregarded the voices of all of the sane people in the room and instead relied on extremists and zealots.
Made it clear that the United States is past its zenith and headed in the direction of the Roman Empire, the British Empire and the Soviet Union. How long until we are on the ash heap of history?
Brought China and Europe closer together. At some point, they will decide they don't need us.
Because the man is not sane. There, I said it. Our President is not sane and represents a clear and present danger to Americans everywhere.
Because the Republicans in Congress are more fascinated with a fleeting legislative opportunity than they are with their constitutional and patriotic duty to act.
We have a moral responsibility to resist. We can cling to the hope that we can survive and escape this insanity and through great effort correct the damage that was done today, both to our international reputation and to our collective future on this planet.
By now, every American should be aware of the death spiral that looks to consume the Trump Presidency. Two weeks of shattering headlines have probably ended the effectiveness of the Administration. (See the links to some of the stories on the Issues Links on this website.) However, lost to a degree in the endless parade of revelations was the news of Roger Ailes' passing.
Mr. Ailes was singularly responsible for the rise of Fox News. When I was a child, there were only the three network news organizations and PBS on TV. Then, with the spread of cable television, came CNN. In response, Fox hired Roger Ailes to provide an alternative, conservative news perspective. Unfortunately, over the last twenty-five years, Fox News has degenerated into a mouthpiece for extremism. Accuracy and balance mean nothing. The network currently serves as the propaganda wing for the Trump Presidency. The Network, to a great degree is responsible for the spread of inaccurate, slanted news stories. If you doubt this just watch. And I don't buy the "liberal bias" in the media excuse. The Network, led by the guiding hand of Ailes has done more harm to American political discourse than Putin and his trolls. All of this in the pursuit of profits for the Fox Network.
The nation sees two realities, depending on what news is watched. The nation is divided. And "a house divided against itself cannot stand." Here is a useful story on Vox about how Fox News distorts reality. I urge you to view the video. It exposes Fax News for the "faux" news that it is.
So, as Roger Ailes is laid to rest, pardon me if I don't shed a tear, but hope instead he is being held to task by his maker for the damage he has done to our nation.
With yesterday’s shocking news that our President had given highly classified information to the Russians, reportedly for no other reason than to brag about the greatness of his intel, we have reached a tipping point. It is the foremost duty of the President of the United States to work to increase the safety of Americans. In this regard, we can now conclude that he is an abject failure.
We are not safer when the President betrays the trust of our allies in the intelligence community, making them less likely to provide us with life saving information.
We are not safer when the President undercuts long standing alliances with democracies that we count on for mutual security.
We are not safer when the President undermines the institutions of the independent judiciary and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, both institutions whose duty it is to protect us from injustice.
We are not safer when the President is a proponent for health care legislation that is a cynical vehicle for a tax cut for the wealthy that will leave tens of millions uninsured.
We are not safer when the President undermines the efforts of local law enforcement by using the threat of deportation to suppress crime reporting in immigrant communities.
We are not safer when the President supports efforts to gut environmental regulations that protect us from polluted air and water.
We are not safer when the President works at every angle to promote the interests of the kleptocracy (“thieving ruling class”) at the expense of the financial stability of the other 99% of us.
We are not safer when the President acts like a prevaricating, spoiled child and makes a mockery of the highest office of our great nation.
There are many excuses why the President behaves the way he does. The reasons are irrelevant. In the end analysis, if the President works to endanger us, then he has no right to be President. Congress must do its job and remove him from office. Immediately. We are now counting the days that the Republican majority continues to advance the agenda of party and the kleptocracy over the interests of the nation and its people. Delay imperils our nation. (S)
With today's firing of FBI director Comey, the time has come for Congress to do its job and appoint and independent investigator to the probe into the Russian hacking of our election and the Trump campaign's ties to that hacking. Delay is no longer acceptable.
Here is what we know or what is obvious.
No one is buying the false pretenses under which Comey was fired. It could not have been, as stated, due to the botched handling of the Clinton e-mail investigation. If that were the case, why not wait for the results of the ongoing investigation into this matter by the Inspector General. No, there had to be another reason to explain the timing.
We know that the FBI had issued subpoenas last week to individuals linked to the Trump campaign. This is more likely the cause of the timing. This would make sense, given that the firing had to have taken several days to orchestrate and wait for a time that Comey would be away from his office. (He was in LA at the time he was fired.)
The White House claims that they were surprised by the reaction to the firing. This is ridiculous. They had to know there would be a monumental reaction. Indeed, this was an historic event.
The calculus had to be that whatever Comey's investigation was closing in on was worse than dealing with the fallout from the firing. Indeed, Trump will now be able to appoint a new FBI Director who cannot be trusted and who could bury the emerging evidence.
Whatever was emerging from the shadows had to be bad. Bad enough to bring down a president.
Congress must act now to ensure that there is an independent investigation. Anything less risks the functional end of our democracy.
There is much that can be said about yesterday's passage of the ACHA in the House of Representatives. Here are just a few thoughts.
First, this is a piece of legislation that if enacted into law is detrimental to the greater public good. To step backward and allow increased premiums for pre-existing conditions and to see that tens of millions lose their healthcare so that the rich can enjoy a large tax break is a disgusting and vicious thing to do. There is no other way to say this-the House of Representatives is acting against the interests of the people and the country. They will be judged harshly by history. They, in fact, have violated the principles spelled out in the Declaration of Independence in which a government has a duty to work to advance the quality of life of the governed.
The passage of the legislation raises questions for the Republicans in the House. Did you pass a bill just for the sake of saying you did? Did you pass it simply because you hate Obama? Did you pass it because you are stooges for the super wealthy and care nothing for the average American? Did you pass it because you feel women are inferior and their rights less important (as the bill targets women's health care)? Did you pass it because you have contempt for those unable to secure employment that comes with benefits? Did you pass it because you fail to recognize that access to health care is a fundamental human right? Did you pass it because you are unconcerned that the cost of healthcare in this country is roughly double that in the rest of the industrialized world where single payer systems are the norm?
For Jeff Denham, our representative in CA 10, who was instrumental in the bill's passage, I call you out for the lying, vindictive, cruel, misogynistic, incompetent fool that you are. While name calling is not the best tactic, you have earned each of these adjectives with your role in this abomination that you call a health care bill. You must really hate your job to have voted for this as it all but seals your fate at the midterm. Meanwhile, we must watch as our fellow Americans agonize over the choices they will have to make if the Senate continues this lunacy.
You are wrong. The residents of District 10 are not paid protesters or activists. We are regular citizens who are appalled, disgusted, and extremely motivated to stop Trump and his Republican party, you included, from gutting everything good and positive this country has built and believes in. You sir, are on the wrong side of a majority of issues and because you refuse to listen and hear what the people of District 10 want, we are planning to oust you as our Representative. When you send out incorrect messages such as your current one saying we are paid activists, instead of acknowledging the truth, you make your self look ridiculous and confirm that you are in denial and out of touch.
Women's Democratic Party
Be the Change
Donald Trump has released his tax plan, if not his taxes. And yes, the two are related. Several elements of the plan stick out for the audacious manner in which they benefit Trump and his children while at the same time destroying what remains of our nation's solvency. We should not be surprised. Trump is trying to run the nation like he runs his businesses. We should all be deeply concerned.
By proposing to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and reducing his effective tax rate to 15% through changes to the corporate tax rate (he currently pays taxes-if and when he pays taxes-as an individual, not a corporation, but that would change under his proposal), Trump stands to gain billions in lower tax rates. By eliminating the inheritance tax (deceptively called the "death tax" by Republicans) Trump's children stand to inherit billions more than they otherwise would. These changes target the top 0.1% of taxpayers more than anyone else. So much for being a populist.
Trump's tax proposal has no realistic source of revenue or spending cut to balance it out. It would, if passed in its current form, balloon the deficit to catastrophic levels. Our nation's very solvency would be at risk. Future generations would pay dearly for Trump's kickback to himself and his billionaire buddies.
Trump, lining his pockets and then declaring bankruptcy and walking away leaving others to hold the bag should not surprise us. It's how he runs his businesses and, apparently, it's how he plans to ruin our nation. (S)
The Government Night/Town Hall event on 4-17-17 was my first opportunity to hear Representative Denham speak publically. What I encountered was not entirely pleasing. I will admit to going into the meeting with a bias against the congressmen. His lack of clarity over positions on the repeal/replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the president’s immigration Executive Orders and systematic removal of environmental protections made me weary of his ability to accurately represent the people who live in this district. Never the less, I was willing to give him a fair chance to share his current vision and plans to help promote the desires and needs of his constituents.
I learned very quickly that Representative Denham has a very thin skin. He shushed and reprimanded audience members who did not respond to his words in a positive manner. He explained to one constituent that he was going to allow them to ask their question…just not right now. It makes me wonder how effective he is fighting for our district in Washington D.C. if he resorts to pettiness with the people that he is paid to represent.
I also learned that he is an expert at evasiveness. He was asked a question about his support or lack there of for Charter Schools or school voucher programs and instead of answering the question, he insinuated that the teacher who’d asked it didn’t know the difference between the two. “You’re a teacher, you do know what a charter school is…?” This was a patterned I noticed; when he was flustered, he lashed out with sarcasm.
Stunningly, our representative also seemed unclear as to whether or not California was a right to work state. The audience member who asked the question regarding the policy actually had to take time to explain the issue. There was also the moment when a constituent called him out on a letter she received signed with his name. He at first insinuated that she had given him a random letter that was not authentic, and then several audience members yelled out that they’d received the same letter and he relented and began explaining all of the messages he receives and has to go through.
I will give Denham credit for staying for almost three hours. I will also give him credit for grudgingly admitting that global warming exists and for stating on record that he’s told republican leadership that he will not vote for a health care plan unless his concerns are addressed. The question is whether his concerns and the concerns of the district are similar.
Several times throughout the night Denham stated his belief that the biggest issue we have in our district in the area of healthcare is lack of providers. I agree, but that is not an authentic issue with the ACA which only became law in March of 2010. According to the Center for Health Journalism, the number of specialists per capita in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties is significantly lower than other California counties; the problem affects all residents regardless of the type of insurance, though those on medical are hit the hardest. This is not a new problem for Central Valley residents, particularly in the area of specialty medicine. Representative Denham is using this “pre-existing” condition as a red herring in the health care debate. For example, I asked a question about the lack of mental health resources and providers for adolescence in the district. I explained that I have very good private insurance and that I struggled to find local help for my own daughter. He had no response to my calls for help. He only continued to try and tie the ACA with lack of providers in our district, which is in my opinion, a cop out on truly taking a position on legislation that will effect tens of thousands of his constituents.
I think that one thing is very clear: Representative Denham needs to spend more time face to face listening to his constituents needs and less time hiding behind “telephone town halls”. With nearly 1,000 constituents (ID’s were checked) in attendance, there is obviously a clear demand for him to spend some more time with the people he represents. (C)
It's now been about 72 hours since we learned of the United State's attack on the Syrian airfield from which the latest nerve gas attack on civilians was launched. Members of the be the change Turlock group may not agree with my initial reaction which was one of thinking that at last something is being done to deter Bashar al-Assad from committing further atrocities against his populace. Some aspect of my initial reaction was undoubtedly nurtured by my sense of patriotism to our country and to my strongly held belief that it is immoral for nations to stand silently by when preventable human rights violations are occurring.
However, with the luxury of 3 days to think and reflect, I have come to the following conclusions.
1) Trump intended this attack to be symbolic, and only symbolic. The air base is already operational. The intended audience was not Syria or Russia, but the people of the United States. This was about distraction, not real policy or real prevention.
2) The actions actually place us more at risk. By being so transparently phony, there is nothing to stop the Syrians and Russians from continuing their atrocities. They may or may not use poison gas, but you are just as dead if a barrel bomb falls on your house as you are if a nerve gas canister does. So the next time Bashar al-Assad chooses to assault his citizens, will we have to escalate? Will we become embroiled in an unwinnable war, once again?
3) Trump is a hypocrite of the worst sort. When Obama faced the same painful decision and defered to the lack of congressional will for intervention in 2013, Trump tweeted emphatically for non-intervention.
4) The Iranians and Russians are now more likely to double down in Syria, making Bashar al-Assad's regime less likely to change and cementing an alliance that is not good for our interests.
5) I am a big believer in the idea that if something is worth fighting for then it is worth going all in. Half measures do not work, as proven in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Will we never learn? If, and that is a big if, it is worth going in, then the Syrian air force should no longer exist. Russian anti-aircraft defenses should be shattered.
6) And therein lies the problem. While a nerve gas attack is an atrocity, it is not worth starting a nuclear war over. In this case, history will record that the country that is most responsible, besides the Syrian government, is Russia. It has the power to stop the atrocities and does not. All in pursuit of their several centuries long pursuit of a warm water port. These deaths are on Putin, not that he cares. They are not on the nation whose intervention could lead to a broader conflagration.
7) Perhaps of the most importance, our constitution is important, and Trump did not uphold the clear language in the constitution when he attacked without congressional approval. This is why Obama, much to his chagrin, did not attack in 2013. Congressional Republicans should reflect on their harsh words for Obama given that he chose upholding the constitution over his own policy objectives. The test of a true leader is not how he or she uses his or her power, but when he or she chooses not to.
For these reasons, I now view the 59 cruise missile attack as unwise, ineffective and unconstitutional. If Trump gave a damn for the Syrian people, he would allow the refugees from that tragically war torn nation to flow into our welcoming arms. (S)
Yes, Friday's defeat without a vote of the abomination of a health bill put forth by Ryan and Trump is a huge victory for all Americans, even those who don't know how large a bullet was dodged. The so called health care bill was actually a tax cut for the rich funded by taking away medical benefits from the poor and middle class. We are all better off for its defeat.
However, we must not become complacent in the wake of this embarrassing loss for Trump and Ryan. There will be more threats in the days to come. Some we will lose without a fight, like today's gutting of several environmental regulations for no reason other than to allow Trump a win. (The stated purpose of bringing back mining jobs is bogus.) Others we will be able to fight. Do not doubt for a moment that the health care victory was won at the grass roots level. Remember that, so that when Trump comes around with a tax cut bill for the wealthy or tries to ram a budget through Congress that in no way reflects the values of Americans, we are prepared to fight.
Activism, not apathy, is the only way for our nation to survive this presidency. So celebrate the win, but remember, it is just one battle won in one campaign of what is surely to be a long war. (S)