Day 880 – Planetary Emergency

We recently published a blog post as part of a larger eBlast about the dire state of our planet and environment, mentioning several horrifying developments from the climate science community.  We noted that the most pessimistic climate predictions are regularly surpassed because of unforeseeable, compounding, self-reinforcing effects.  Here is yet another recent report describing such an effect, making the terrifying claim that scientists are seeing changes now to Canadian permafrost that were not predicted to occur until 2090.

Yes, you read that right.  2090.

Here is coverage in the UK’s Independent:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/climate-change-breakdown-arctic-frost-thawing-canada-environment-a8959056.html

Here’s in-depth coverage in Nature:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01313-4

The changes to our climate due to human activity have created a planetary emergency.  It’s bad enough that farmers in the Midwest have lost almost an entire crop from heavy, sustained rains due to climate change.  But when several regions suffer similar climate disasters at the same time, what will happen to our food supply?  This could take place any year now, not decades in the future.  If we have any chance of avoiding catastrophe, we have to make global warming our top priority.  We can and should press many other important issues, but they won’t matter if our planet stops being able to sustain human civilization.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a very important legal precedent, that perpetrators of crimes that violate both state and federal statues can be prosecuted by both.  In other words, there is no double jeopardy exemption for such cases.  This is very bad news for Trump’s convicted advisers who are hoping to get pardons.  Trump can only pardon federal crimes, and many of those convicted can also be tried in state court if need be.  Here is coverage in the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/us/politics/supreme-court-double-jeopardy.html

Trump’s outrageous corruption and criminality should be enough to disqualify him from a second term.  But his administration’s denial of and inaction on climate change are profoundly irresponsible and unforgivable.  It’s absolutely crucial that we kick Trump and his crooked cabinet out of Washington in 2020.

Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.

Day 879 – Their Judgment Cometh

Keep your eye on news about the Supreme Court this week.  A variety of decisions might be announced as early as today and they could have huge implications for the future direction of the court.  Chief Justice Roberts has vehemently denied that the court is composed of Trump judges and Obama judges, insisting that the court is apolitical and focused on justice.  But many of the issues in front of the court will likely divide the court along political lines.  Justice Roberts is a staunch conservative, and yet he seems to be the most moderate of the right wing, making him the new swing vote.  Will he vote in a way that reinforces the sense that the court is partisan and biased, or will he moderate some of his votes and side with the liberals?  Here is a great overview of the situation in the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/chief-justice-assures-the-supreme-court-is-apolitical-hes-facing-his-next-big-test/2019/06/16/8603bac6-8def-11e9-8f69-a2795fca3343_story.html

It’s clear that the Supreme Court is poised to do major damage to the precedents we’ve taken for granted for forty years–one of the most consequential outcomes of the Trump presidency.  Anything we can do to help defeat Trump and flip the Senate will take us closer to undoing this damage and eventually creating a liberal majority.

In case you missed it, Maureen Dowd had some choice words for Trump in an editorial in the New York Times yesterday.  Here is a highlight:

The way Trump publicly wallows in his mendaciousness and amorality is unique in presidential history. His motto might as well be: “I cannot not tell a lie.” His ego is too fragile to play patriarch to the country, so he takes the more ruinous role of provocateur.

There’s no vaccination against the vile machinations of Trump. But there are some signs, in this sickened capital, that antibodies are kicking in. The president and his top officials are getting taken to task by a range of government watchdogs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/opinion/sunday/dowd-trump-.html

Let’s hope the “antibodies” are able to slow down the corruption and destruction the Trump regime are causing in our agencies.  But the ultimate cure for Trump’s level of dishonesty and criminality is impeachment, which we should all be urging.  As John Oliver outlined on his show last night, impeachment isn’t about removing a president but rather a process of investigating and exposing misdeeds in a very public way.  Yes, it can ultimately result in the end of a presidency, but it’s more about shining a bright light on wrongdoing.

Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Day 878 – Why Risk Our Win?

As we approach the 2020 election it’s easy to focus on Trump as the main antagonist and target of our resistance, but keep in mind that our own Congressional district will once again be up for grabs.  No Republican has thus far announced a run, although the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) has already identified NY-19 as a top priority for them to try to flip back to the GOP.  They will undoubtedly pour a mountain of money into the race, along with all the usual billionaire villains like the Kochs, Mercers, etc.  Their GOP candidate could wind up being a newbie, or it could be someone as well known as Marc Molinaro.

Also keep in mind that Antonio Delgado–the hardest working representative in Congress–is not immune from a primary challenge.  In fact, on social media there are various voices, albeit small voices, claiming to be progressive yet urging a primary challenge.  They have every right to do so, just as I have every right to criticize them.  One of them recently Tweeted that “we can do better,” and in an ideal world this is possibly true, but in the real world we know with certainty that we can do a lot worse.  We had worse for eight years, culminating in the disastrous tenure of fracking lobbyist John “No-show” Faso, a nickname he earned.  So are we going to let the possibility of perfection jeopardize the reality of the good?

Aside from the main fact that Trump is a disgraceful horrorshow, there are many policy battles worth fighting for in today’s political arena.  Abortion bans versus a woman’s right to choose.  Immigration and asylum versus isolation and nativism.  Treating corporations as people versus true representative Democracy.

If any incumbent Democrat supported an abortion ban, I would heartily support a primary challenger.  But suppose a Democrat supports a Medicare option, as Delgado does, versus Medicare for all.  In what twisted and hyperventilating world is the difference between these two healthcare positions so awful and egregious that it merits a primary challenge?  Both sides of the issue have pluses and minuses, and in the end either would be much better than what we have now.  It’s one thing to be passionate about this kind of policy difference and strenuously advocate for one side or the other, but it’s quite another when it becomes an all-or-nothing rationale for a search and destroy mission of an incumbent.  Primary challenges aren’t always lethal to a House of Representatives incumbent but they drain away precious resources and risk getting ugly in a way that diminishes the general-election prospects for whoever wins.

I would urge any progressive who disagrees with a Delgado position to go to one of his many town halls and press him on the issue.  See if–just perhaps–his view is well considered and reasonable.  Ask yourself if the outcome you seek is really so vastly far from the outcome Delgado seeks that it’s worth risking control of our district–and perhaps the House of Representatives–to achieve.  For me, Delgado’s position on health care is not so unreasonable that he deserves being primaried.  Not even close.

With our Democracy being trampled by an authoritarian mob-boss and a corrupt, unethical, mercenary Senate Majority Leader, the stakes are way too high to demand perfection or purity from a first-term Democratic Congressman who works hard to listen to his district while standing on the right side of the vast majority of issues.  There are some things I will happily get in Delgado’s face and complain about.  But none of them are matters of morality; they are matters of strategy or process or implementation. Why risk our huge win in 2018 for what might be, at very best, a modest upgrade? Meanwhile, we might do a lot worse.

Trump is setting fire to our Constitution and destroying the foundations of our Republic.  Let’s keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

 

Day 877 – Action Day to #ImpeachTrump

Trump and his cabinet continue to accuse Iran of stepping up their “attacks” on targets allied with the West in the aftermath of the bombing of two ships in the Straight of Hormuz.  But the owner of one ship, a Japanese tanker, said yesterday that he didn’t believe the damage was done by an attached mine, as Trump and Pompeo claimed.  The owner instead believes that a flying object struck the ship.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/world/middleeast/oil-tanker-attack-gulf-oman.html

The details are important inasmuch as we were lied to and presented with phony evidence as a pretext for an invasion of Iraq, and it seems clear that the Trump team is desperate to go to war with Iran–despite Trump’s constant criticism on the campaign trail of unnecessary foreign wars, particularly in the Middle East.  Congress is trying to come up with legislation that will make it harder for Trump to attack Iran without Congressional approval, but it will be difficult to find a legislative consensus soon.  Trump and his third-rate advisers would love to create a distraction from all of the scandals and investigations and ethics violations of the Trump regime–so if Trump begins to take us to war for no good reason we need to be ready to mobilize.  Let’s hope it doesn’t get that far.

One of Trump’s many old scandals made news again yesterday.  His refusal to release his tax returns despite promising to do so on the campaign trail, along with recent reports that he lied about his net worth on loan applications and tax declarations, eventually spurred Congress to request them from the Treasury Department, as they are allowed to do by law.  But Mnuchin at Treasury refused to comply with the law, so Congress subpoenaed him.  Yesterday the DOJ sided with Treasury, claiming that the law allowing Congress to request tax returns was unconstitutional .  So it looks like this issue is heading to court.  Legal observers think Congress has a strong case but with two new partisan hacks on the Supreme Court it’s hard to predict what might ultimately happen.  Stay tuned.

Protests are scheduled to take place today around the country to urge Congress to impeach Trump.  The main target of these protests will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been reluctant to move forward with impeachment despite clear evidence of crimes by Trump.  As long as impeachment is framed not as a ploy to remove a president but rather as a process to expose wrongdoing and assign blame, it will help Democrats and bolster Congress as a co-equal branch of government.  As of this writing, the nearest protests will be in White Plains and in New York City, so if you happen to be in either place…!  Check this link for info and updates:

https://act.moveon.org/event/impeachment-day-of-action-events/search/

Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

 

Day 876 – Chaos And Corruption

The fallout from Trump’s comments about accepting foreign help for an election continued yesterday as members of his own party chastised him for his willingness to violate the law.  Accepting help from a hostile foreign power to influence an election is a crime, full stop.  Trump might not want it to be, and might lie about it and pretend it’s okay, but any observer with knowledge of the law knows it’s illegal.  It’s also unAmerican and unethical, but those facts don’t seem to matter to Trump, whose statements have increased the pressure on Nancy Pelosi to move toward an impeachment proceeding.  Equally distressing, it seems broadly agreed that Trump’s statements will entice hostile nations to hack our 2020 election and interfere on his behalf because they won’t meet resistance from our own security apparatus.  Mitch McConnell continues to block any legislation that would address this eventuality, so our Democracy is at grave risk.

Meanwhile, the Special Counsel’s office accused Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway of multiple violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits Federal officials from political activity while on the job.  The Special Counsel described her actions as “unprecedented” and recommended she be fired from the executive branch, but Conway and members of the White House pushed back and refused, which is the predictable response from an administration without any ethics or standards.  It remains to be seen what consequences, if any, Conway will suffer for her flaunting of the law.

It was also announced yesterday that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving her post at the end of the month.  Considering that she long ago stopped holding daily briefings out of exhaustion from defending so many lies, her departure is not a shock, nor is it surprising that Trump has not announced any replacement.  It’s yet another symptom of an administration that is moving toward opaque authoritarian rule and away from accountability and credibility.

When viewed from a distance, Trump’s White House is a steady stream of chaos and corruption.  Every day brings a new outrage that overshadows all the other scandals and crimes that keep piling up.  The Trump administration is hopelessly unethical and lawless, so it’s our desperate task to support impeachment and do whatever we can to “vote his ass out of office.”  Keep resisting…

Day 875 – Trump Seeks Foreign Help

Donald Trump continues to prove that he’s an ethical black hole, seemingly without bottom.  In a shocking interview yesterday with George Stephanopoulos for CBS, Trump denied that accepting help from a hostile foreign power to win an election would be a crime, even though the director of the FBI states clearly that it is.  Trump went on to say that candidates and politicians who are approached by a hostile foreign power and offered dirt on an opponent should “listen” and not necessarily call the FBI.  Here is a link to the interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2HsUhK-gI0

Trump pretends that calling the FBI on the Russians would be unthinkable, saying “I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI.”  Of course Trump has never called the FBI, because criminals don’t usually call law enforcement.

It’s clear that accepting help from a hostile foreign power is against the law, especially if it has monetary value, yet Trump admitted that he would accept it again if offered in 2020.  It’s a stunning admission and a testament to Trump’s criminality and lack of integrity.  Trump wants us to believe that everybody is getting info from hostile foreign powers, but this defense is ridiculous.  Most politicians know that it’s against the law, and the FBI and/or CIA would find them out.

The other nefarious dimension to Trump’s statements is the implicit invitation to powers like Russia and China to help Trump in 2020.  And why wouldn’t they?  He’s a disaster for our country and a force for division and hatred, so of course they would try to help him.  And he needs their help to get re-elected.  His recent internal polling numbers were disastrous, so his statements yesterday were a communication to foreign governments for help.

Trump’s statements are yet another impetus to begin impeachment hearings in the House.  With each passing day we get another Trump scandal or outrage, and many of them have national security implications that put our nation at greater risk.  So it’s paramount that we press our Representatives to pursue impeachment–not to remove Trump from office, but to expose on a national stage the misdeeds, transgressions, and crimes that he’s committed.

Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

 

Day 874 – Vortex of Corruption

Tuesday was a busy news day in America, and while we don’t need any more reasons to work to remove Trump from office, he continued to give us more anyway.

Three Tuesday takeaways:

1)  Trump completely undermined his own administration by dismissing warnings from his National Security Adviser John Bolton about North Korea.  Bolton told reporters yesterday that North Korea was not keeping its promises on missile development nor or testing, and this claim was backed by evidence from our intelligence services.  But later Trump contradicted Bolton, saying about Dictator Kim:

“He kept his word. There’s no nuclear testing. There’s no large, there’s no long-range missiles going up. The only things he’s set up were very short term, short range. That was just a test of short range. It’s a whole different deal, but he’s kept his word to me. That’s very important.”

For Trump to side with a murderous dictator over our intelligence community is yet another disgraceful betrayal of our national security.  Our nation is less safe as long as Trump is in thrall to Dictator Kim, who has played Trump and his giant ego with great effectiveness.  The situation is so bad that conservatives are raking Trump over the coals.  Here’s a scathing editorial in the Daily News from S. E. Cupp entitled “Trump is the enemy of the American people”:

https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-trump-is-the-enemy-of-the-american-people-20190611-6xakbhcqizdfneeamhhnav3o6e-story.html

2)  Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (wife of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell) is in increasingly hot water for what seem to be blatant ethics violations while in office.  She apparently failed to divest stocks directly related to asphalt and road building–while she’s in charge of road building in America.  Then, on an official trip to China, Chao asked the Chinese government to arrange meetings with her family members.  Her family owns a giant shipping company that does a lot of business with China, so it’s easy to imagine that she’s using her position to help enrich her family instead of doing her job.  The requests were so abnormal that they were flagged by two separate ethics watchdogs and the trip was ultimately cancelled.  Chao also created a special DOT liaison to make sure Federal grants get steered and fast-tracked to her husband’s home state of Kentucky as he approaches re-election.  No other Senator has such an arrangement with the Transportation Department–coincidence?

https://www.newsweek.com/swamp-msnbc-host-trump-elaine-chao-1443385

3)  While we’re on the subject of McConnell and corruption, the Senate Leader has yet to bring any bill to the floor of the Senate to address the attacks and hacking of our elections by Russia.  Bills have been authored and co-sponsored, but McConnell won’t allow any of them to be debated, so it’s safe to say that McConnell alone is the shameful roadblock to a safer and more secure election system.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/politics/election-security-mitch-mcconnell.html

Why would McConnell act in such an unAmerican way, betraying his oath of office by failing to protect our nation?  Perhaps he knows that action on Russian hacking will reflect badly on Trump, and will weigh against so many of Trump’s lies about Russian interference.  Whatever the dark reason, it’s a historic disgrace–and it’s compounded by the fact that McConnell takes money from voting machine makers!

Washington has become a vortex of corruption under Trump and it’s only going to go from bad to worse. We may not get another chance after 2020 to send Trump and his crooked cult of scumbags back under their rocks.    Let’s keep resisting and working to “vote his ass out of office.”