Manchin, Sinema Prefer NOT to Defend Our Democracy

It is impossible to comprehend why Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema believe that keeping the filibuster, designed specifically to prevent Black Americans from being treated equally, is more important than preserving our democracy itself.

Their claims that the filibuster somehow fosters bipartisanship are based on fantasies, or distant memories of what once was but is no more. Since 2008, the Republican Party (while providing almost no legislation that benefits the many rather than the few) has made it nearly impossible for Democrats elected by the majority to follow through on the mandates that those elections had given them to do the peoples’ work. Moscow Mitch has said repeatedly in public that his “Number one goal is to block the Democrats’ agenda”.

Joe’s and Kyrsten’s continued insistence that bipartisanship is made better by keeping the filibuster makes me wonder if they’re on drugs – or maybe they’re both suffering from some type of dementia or delirium – because the Republicans have made it clear they no longer have any interest in preserving our democracy as we have always known it to be, and have no intention of doing anything that will reflect well on the Biden administration.

Not only have Republicans lost all interest in actually governing or legislating for the good of the country or the people within, they are now hellbent on returning to power BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, including by extreme gerrymandering and passing laws giving them the ability to overrule the voters if they lose. Republicans in 43 states are passing voter suppression laws specifically targeting voters of color and those in areas known to vote Democratic.

Despite Biden winning the election, most elected Republicans continue to spread lies about the 2020 election results in order to undermine our entire election system and enable states led by Republicans to steal future elections. Those few willing to speak the truth are being pushed out of the party (although many like Liz Cheney continue to insist they still support the Republican Party and “election integrity”), and the new ones coming in to take the place of those leaving the party are more extreme and even less likely than McConnell to “reach across the aisle”. People of the caliber of Marjorie Taylor Green or Lauren Boebert have no interest in anything other than spreading their conspiracy theories and increasing their visibility on social media.

Joe Manchin has capitulated to the Kochs, insisting that preventing Republican-led legislatures from passing voter suppression laws and election rigging is “partisan” because there are no Senate Republicans who will vote for it. To call this circular reasoning gives circles a bad name; NO bill will get Republican support if it is in any way going to derail their states’ plans to prevent “urban” voters from having their voices heard. Kyrsten Sinema, with her misplaced belief in allowing the minority to obstruct everything seems, frankly, clueless, and needs simply to be voted out of office and replaced by someone with some common sense and a realistic view of what is actually going on in this country.

These two are providing cover for other Democratic Senators who aren’t ready to do the right thing and eliminate (or at least reform) the filibuster to allow the things that they were elected into office for in the first place; because Sinema and Manchin are so loud and proud in their refusal, the others can hide their acquiescence to that view. They also allow the Republicans, who have no worries that Manchin might in fact be willing to consider something more drastic, to just stonewall everything the Democrats try to do. Then the Republicans can use the lack of progress under the Democrats in their attack ads, benefiting at the ballot box from their complete and utter abdication of their role as representatives of the people.

Make America Great Again…Again?

Do you think he considered how stupid this sounds>?

The dichotomy between the US that we are living in and the one that the Republicans claim they are living in was more than striking – it was schizophrenic. Over the course of four nights, various members of the Trump family and assorted hangers-on and Republican sycophants painted a dystopian picture of the country as great now, but ready to dissolve in anarchy and revolt should Joe Biden win in November. Where do these people live that the Covid-19 pandemic is over, or that the crisis itself was handled perfectly by Trump?

The in-your-face violations of the Hatch Act throughout the entire reality-show ‘production’ – which is what it was, given that the nomination was completed early Monday – using The White House, Fort McHenry, and other federally-owned properties and government employees and political appointees as backdrops for their partisan politics,further reveals the rank hypocrisy of the party as a whole. The Republicans who have claimed that they are the party of ‘law and order’ since the 1960’s are fully complicit with using taxpayer-funded federal properties to get their president re-elected, with an abundance of violations of the Hatch Act on national television. I have to go there – if Obama had done this… Of course, they also decided it was in their own best interest that Trump should remain in office despite abusing the power of the office of the president to force an ally to announce a bogus investigation into his political rival. They are the same people we saw spreading lies and conspiracy theories during the RNC and within the Senate itself, often using Russian talking points for those conspiracies, again in order to maintain their minority hold on power. They are the same people willing to destroy the Postal Service in order to disenfranchise and suppress the votes of those of us not likely to vote for them.

The Fox ‘New’s bubble is so much more dangerous than we thought, because most of us don’t watch them in the first place. Fox ‘New’s shows present Trump with stories, often unsupported by any real facts, that he then posts on his Twitter account, where there starts a dangerous echo back and forth from Trump and Fox to the base and back again. Trump ignores experts and does whatever the talking heads on Fox ‘News’ tell him to do. The Trump cult, unmasked and packed in like sardines, was on full display in the political events that we paid for, and it was unbelievable in its flouting of the law and in its absurdity.

I’ve said over and over that the lives of his followers are of absolutely no value to Trump, and his insistence on having these events with his adoring followers shouting his name at a super-spreader event is just proof of his total lack of basic human kindness and empathy. Trump has always only cared about what is in it for him, without regard to anyone else involved. When he built those casinos in Atlantic City, scores of local small businesses provided him with products and labor that Trump then screwed over by refusing to honor his contract to pay. As a candidate, he swore he would release his taxes right up until he got elected, when he admitted that no, he never intended to release his taxes.

No one should be surprised by his willingness to just throw his followers into huge petri dishes for his own edification – in fact, I’d go further and say that we should in fact expect this and worse in the coming weeks, as he tries desperately to hold on to power and the temporary immunity that the presidency affords him. Trump felt no compunction in staging the pardon of a Black man (the irony!), a naturalization ceremony (without telling the immigrants it would be used for the RNC beforehand) or using a formerly pardoned woman as a prop because nothing outside of Trump matters to Trump at all, except insofar as those things can benefit him right now.

Listening to one speaker after another would have driven me mad, and honestly, this is the kind of event that the DVR was made for. While I watched most of the DNC at normal speed with the sound turned on, I utilized fast-forward through the speakers, only listening when MSNBC interrupted to provide fact checks for the lies just aired to keep my blood pressure from rising. Altogether, it made for a much more enjoyable experience than it would otherwise have been, given the toxicity the entire thing contained.

Is it possible that somewhere out in the country there are people who agree these fever dreams are real, or do they believe the things that their eyes see and their ears hear? Of course it is! Again, Fox ‘News’ and its policy of ‘all things Trump’ provides the base with the propaganda that keeps them fired up while making it almost impossible for friends and family to disabuse those Fox-ites of their manipulated view of the country and Covid-19. These are the same cult members who refuse to wear masks or remain socially distant because of ‘personal freedom’ while refusing to accept that their personal freedom ends where your personal freedom to not get sick starts. The problem with elevating ‘personal freedom’ above the public good is that any attempt to require those freedom warriors to do their civic duty and wear a mask leads to some kind of confrontation, often with someone with a firearm.

Trump’s diatribe at the end of night four was something, alright. It’s so obvious whenever he reads from a teleprompter that he refuses to really familiarize himself with the speech before he goes live, between his reading like a young child (almost singing) to his mother for the first time and saying that he “profoundly” accepted the nomination. Either he was supposed to say “proudly” or his speech writer is an idiot. Or perhaps both can be true simultaneously.

Elections have consequences.

Open Letter to Senator Sanders

Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

Dear Senator Sanders:

First, let me thank you for your decades of public service for the people of your home state of Vermont as well as for those of us who live elsewhere in the country.  Your unique perspective and populist vision have helped to push the Democratic Party towards a more liberal agenda that would have taken years longer if not for your input.  Your laser focus on universal healthcare and income inequality has influenced a younger generation to become more involved in our politics, something so necessary to reach our goals of holding our majority in the House while flipping the Senate and winning the White House.

I feel the need to ask that you now do what is best for our country and the party given the unprecedented situation we are facing.  The coronavirus pandemic, which has for eight weeks been mismanaged, dismissed, downplayed and lied about by Trump and his minions, is so highly contagious that there is nothing else to do for the foreseeable future but to isolate ourselves from everyone we don’t live with to slow the spread.  The virus is going to continue to migrate through the population regardless of what we do until there is a viable vaccine, but we can manage the effects on our healthcare system by spreading out the sickest patients over the longest period of time possible, thereby reducing overall mortality.  This is only going to be possible by maintaining our social isolation, which is not helped by insisting that people leave their homes to congregate in order to cast votes.  The primary is already underway, with little time to switch to mail-in ballots, but the general in November still has the lead time to get such a change in place.  Given the rank incompetence of this entire administration, it has fallen to others in government such as yourself and your cohorts to do what you can to ensure that nothing prevents us from voting Trump out of office in November.  As a US Senator, that should now be your number one focus.

I know that you believe that the good of the many outweighs the good of the one, or the few (Spock).  As a retired nurse with friends in the system, I hope you will seriously consider ending your campaign for the Democratic nomination as soon as possible, not only to protect the primary voters who dare to vote in person and the (generally) elderly poll workers most at risk of the worst outcome from Covid-19, but to also enable you to put your considerable influence behind both the party and your supporters so we can unite behind Joe Biden to end this nightmare Trump presidency.  The threat is real, and you have the power to do now what you waited too long to do in 2016 and rally your supporters to join you in fully supporting Joe Biden’s campaign for the presidency.  The “Bernie or Bust” folks who say they won’t vote for anyone else need you to explain to them that supporting the Democratic nominee is the only viable option if they want to see progressive changes in their lifetimes.  Four more years with Trump’s corruption, racism, xenophobia and misogyny unchecked by the Republican Senate (that will continue to approve lifetime appointments for ‘judges’ deemed as unqualified by the ABA) while his cronies continue to undo regulations and protections for the public and the planet in order to benefit fossil fuel donors may take decades to recover from, if indeed we are able to recover at all.  Cutting off your nose to spite your face is pointless and honestly, not a good look for anyone.  We are now in a pandemic that for eight weeks Trump tried to lie out of existence, with a recession on the horizon.  There has never been more proof of the existential threat we face as a result of Trump being president.

It is now clear that the number of votes you received during the 2016 primary were in part due to anti-Hillary sentiment within the primary electorate.  With a much less divisive opponent in Joe Biden, you haven’t reached anywhere near the proportion of pledged delegates necessary to win the nomination, and now, you would need win around 67% of all the votes in the remaining primary states.  There is no realistic path to accomplish this, barring something catastrophic.

The Democratic voters are speaking loudly and clearly, Senator Sanders.  Please do not take their voices as a rebuke of you or your policies.  They are clear-eyed and recognize that, at this pivotal moment in our democratic experiment, we cannot enact the progressive policies so many of us want to see unless and until we remove Trump and the Republican Party from their current positions of power.  Your particularly brand of Democratic Socialism and personal way of communicating have their drawbacks, and the majority of voters don’t believe you can beat Trump in November.  Your coalition of young voters hasn’t materialized in sufficient numbers to matter to your candidacy, a poorer reflection on them than on you, but the outcome is what it is.  This is not the national party manipulating things to impede your campaign; these are the grassroots voters, casting their ballots for Joe Biden.  Coloring these election results as anything except the actual wishes of the voters should cease immediately.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  Edmund Burke

I can no longer keep this inside.

I’ve made it to 61 years of age through trial and error. I did more things right than not because I had the good fortune of having around me people who cared enough to tell me when I was screwing up.

I am a child of the 70’s, and am still around 25 between my ears. One look in the mirror, though, reminds me that I’m no longer 25 on the outside!

I voted for the first time in 1976, for Jimmy Carter, and have voted in almost every election since then for the Democratic ticket. Until 2016, I was pretty complacent about our politics, paying some attention to what was on the local and national news but not expending any extra effort to get involved in anything remotely political. When Trump won the Republican nomination, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it – why would ANYONE vote for this asshole? It seemed obvious he was unfit for the job – he had a big mouth, but all that came out of it was lies, bullshit and right-wing media conspiracy theories. It was then that my blood pressure, which had been fine until that point, started to go up, and I was started on an antihypertensive to help reduce it to a normal range.

When Trump won, I did something I’d never done after an election – I burst into tears. I cried for the loss of Hillary as the first female president, and for the Trump presidency that promised even then to be a huge threat to our democracy and the rule of law. I had no idea then what an unmitigated disaster Trump’s time in office would be, or how fully the Republicans would participate with the hollowing out of vast swaths of the federal government writ large. In fact, I had no idea how much damage the Republicans had already done, how their unrelenting desire to remain in power despite representing a minority of the population was driving their continued efforts to take over the judiciary and suppress the votes of the majority.

The past three years have opened my eyes. I am no longer able to just sit by and do nothing while our country is being overtaken by a cabal of power-hungry old white men who cannot accept that their time is over. The Republicans have taken control of key aspects of our state, local and federal government by lying about almost everything. They lie about being “fiscally conservative”, because they are only worried about doing whatever makes their donors happy, not what is best for the voters who actually put them in office. They lie when they say that the only way to reduce federal spending is to cut benefits for Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare and other social programs while they continue to increase military spending and fund Trump’s border war year after year. They lie when they claim to believe in the Constitution but refuse to honor their oath to “uphold and protect” it from all enemies, foreign and domestic. They lie about voter fraud, because what they really want is to prevent liberals from voting.

The Republicans refusal to hold Trump accountable has indeed taught him a lesson – that he can do whatever he wants without fear of being held accountable. Trump is now convinced by the Republicans spinelessness that he can commit his crimes boldly, in public and on television – and he’s right. The Republicans have made it their personal crusade to keep Trump in the White House because they want more unqualified, incompetent, life-time appointed right-wing nut jobs in the judiciary to make sure that their agendas carry on even if they somehow lose their next elections. They do not care at all about the damage being done to the reputation of the presidency and the country throughout the world, nor do they concern themselves with the way their regressive policies are hurting millions of Americans. They are concerned with only one thing – keeping their donors happy by any means necessary in order to remain in power.

There are millions of Americans who are eligible to vote but don’t because they think that their votes don’t matter. We have to do whatever we can to get those non-voters to see that their lack of participation in the franchise is no longer tenable. If they cannot be convinced to perform their civic duty in this most consequential election, then there is a frightening chance that Trump will be re-elected for another term. Everyone knows someone who doesn’t bother to vote, and it is up to each and every one of us to connect with those folks to get them involved and registered, then drive them to the polls to get their votes counted.

We vote with our hearts in primary elections, for whichever of the candidates we most believe will address the issues we find most pertinent to our lives. Once a candidate has been chosen, we must unite behind that candidate to win. Trump must be defeated in November, or his lawlessness, narcissism, incompetence, bigotry and misogyny will destroy the country as we know it, leaving our children and grandchildren to pick up the pieces. Trump’s inability to acknowledge that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, or to accept that there are experts who do know, has decimated our science-based system of understanding the world around us, and his refusal to agree to the facts as accepted by the majority of the world reveals his complete lack of capacity to perform the duties he’s required to do as president. He insists that his “beliefs” are all that matter, and the complicity of those around him to support his disordered and deranged opinions must be stopped. He is a useless idiot.

The Republicans have managed to convince their base to vote against their own best interests with the help of the pundits on Fox ‘News’, Brietbart, Sinclair, and other right-wing, opinion-based outlets. These outlets are intent on flooding their airwaves with the Russian propaganda that was so successful in getting Trump and his cronies into the White House in the first place. They are destroying the regulations put into place to protect our environment, air, water and food supply to benefit themselves and their donors, and they will continue to do so unless they are removed permanently from power. There is no longer any options left that makes it acceptable to have Republicans in charge of anything. Period.

The climate is being destroyed by the continued spewing of massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but they refuse to publicly acknowledge that this has been caused by the burning of fossil fuels. They refuse to consider how their public denial of the science and facts is hurting their constituents, the country, and the world, and they are not able to admit what they know is true because they fear the tweeter in chief will say something nasty about them.

I would love to not have to fear what awful thing Trump is going to do today, or tomorrow, or next week, but Trump and his minions make that impossible. I want to have days go by without even thinking about what the president or his administration have been doing because whatever it is, it’s not illegal, immoral, or lining their own pockets using our money. I am unable to fathom how the people he has surrounded himself with can pretend what is happening is okay or normal. What I do know, however, is that it is up to each and every one of us to do what the Republicans in the House and the Senate refused to do.

We must remove Trump from office now – not in 2024. Our nation and the world will not be able to withstand another four years of Trump’s assaults on the rule of law, the international order, and the world as a whole. If we do not, we will have to look our children and grandchildren in the eyes and explain to them why their future didn’t matter more to us than tax cuts and judges did.