Nel's New Day

August 29, 2020

The 2020 GOP Platform According to DDT

The “virtual” GOP convention last week was not only bizarre event but also set the 2020 GOP platform designated as anything Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants. A few samples from the political platform from the Grand Old Party for the next four years. 

Support for racism and sexism: On the week when others honored the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech and celebrated the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Abby Johnson delivered her support for racial profiling and allowing only the male head of the household to vote. If the wife disagrees with her husband about the vote, Johnson declared, “In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

Support of violent unrest throughout the nation: DDT’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, leaving the White House because of family conflicts (husband George is a 100-percent anti-DDTer), exulted about the number of votes DDT will get from “chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence” (largely created by the radical right). If the violence isn’t serious enough, DDT sends in his personal militia to make it worse.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rejection of information—security, scientific, etc.: Massive numbers of lies and misleading statements from all speakers reinforced this part of the platform. “We are focusing on the science, the facts, and the data,” DDT said to a large group ignoring social distancing and mask wearing. The plank ignores the massive number of coronavirus cases to achieve a feeling of “normal”—the pandemic is over. (House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Debbie Meadows, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows support this behavior, waiting for DDT’s speech.) 

Misrepresentation of information: In a video on the first night of the RNC riots and crime in “Biden’s America,” the most striking one of four segments showed protests in Barcelona, Spain, taken from Shutterstock, a source of stock images and videos.

Elimination of public education: A heavy emphasis on “school choice” omitted the issue of children not allowed into private schools avoiding testing requirements and other regulations because they can eliminate “less desirable” students such as the LGBTQ, differently abled, and those less motivated. Republicans use private schools and privately run charter schools to funnel public education funding into religion and for-profit businesses.

Promise of non-functioning government: McCarthy summarized this plank by saying that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are wrong when they think that the election is about the government.

Recognition of DDT’s first term failures: VP Mike Pence distilled the essence of this position when he said, “Make America great again, again.” Gone for DDT is “Keep America Great”: Biden purchased that domain where he posts DDT’s broken promises.

Removal of institutions: The DOJ now works only for the man in the Oval Office, the State Department is trying to make the world Christian, the EPA is taking away all environmental protections, the Department of the Interior turns public land over to private interests, and DDT obsesses about erasing mail delivery. His sole goal is to win the election, either through getting rid of Democratic votes on mail-in ballots or delegitimizing the November election to stay in the White House if he loses. DDT refuses to say whether he’ll leave the White House if he loses the election. Joint Chief of Staffs Mark Milley said the U.S. armed forces will not be involved in a dispute about the vote, but Defense Secretary Mark Esper hasn’t answered a question from congressional members whether he will refuse to follow unlawful orders regarding the election results. 

Disdain for “law and order” so pervasive that a few convention examples will have to suffice: DDT used acting DHS director Chad Wolf, probably illegally in his position, to perform the naturalization of five people who were not informed they would be used to promote DDT’s agenda. Their naturalizations may not be legal because Wolf had performed them.

Subjects in a video intended to smear New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio at the RNC were not told their interviews would be used to support DDT’s campaign. Lynne Patton, DDT’s associate who oversees New York federal housing programs, persuaded four tenants to talk to her by claiming she wanted to discuss conditions in the NYC Housing Authority’s buildings. Three of the four said they didn’t support DDT. Last year Patton violated the Hatch Act, displaying a DDT campaign hat in her office and “liking” political tweets.

Over 80 years ago, Congress passed the Hatch Act, restricting political campaign activities by federal employees except for the president and vice president. This summary was given employees in the Interior Department: 

“The Hatch Act generally prohibits Federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty, in a Government room or building, while wearing an official uniform, or while using a Government vehicle. Under the Hatch Act, “political activity” is defined as any activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

During DDT’s first three years, the Office of Special Counsel issued 134 warning letters to federal employees, disciplined an additional 46 federal workers, told 31 more to withdraw from political races or leave their government jobs to pursue them, and cited at least nine high-level DDT appointees for abusing their government roles to further the DDT’s reelection or disparage his rivals. Former administrations have banned Cabinet members from political activities, but three of them participated in DDT’s political show. Congress is investigating State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo’s speech from Jerusalem for violations. 

The six senators who spoke are primarily vulnerable in this year’s election or running for president in 2024. Seven representatives also spoke as well as four other congressional candidates, one of them a QAnon supporter. A major theme of DDT’s speech, however, was to portray himself as an outsider, to “turn the page” away from “the failed political class.” Half the keynote speeches were assigned to DDT and his family members. Two speakers were given full pardons, Jon Ponder at the event and Alice Johnson the day after.

RNC speakers included six White House aides as well as senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. Other ways DDT violated the Hatch Act are the use of the National Park Service (NPS) for his campaign fireworks on the National Mall and a video from the Interior Department lavishly praising DDT for new legislation. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that “nobody outside of the Beltway really cares” about the Hatch Act—which is a U.S. law. It seems the Hatch Act works only for people who criticize DDT.

DDT’s conclusion to his acceptance speech:

“On November 3, we will make America safer. We will make America stronger. We will make America prouder. And we will make America greater than ever before. I am very proud to be the nominee of the Republican Party.”

If he’s the current president, why doesn’t he start now?

Satirist Alexandra Petri described DDT’s message:

“If you think things are bad now under Donald Trump, vote for Donald Trump, who will fix things…

“Any bad things happening now were sent by Joe Biden, from the future. Do not be fooled by the fact that they are happening in the present, when Donald Trump is president…

“Joe Biden has controlled all of government for the past 47 years but, confusingly, he has never gotten through any of the radical policies he really wanted—[for example to] get rid of hamburgers and make cows illegal…

“Joe Biden wants to defund the police, which is why he is advocating not defunding the police.

“Most of all, Joe Biden wants to destroy America’s greatness. (Greatness is what we have right now, under Donald Trump, but also don’t have yet, but will definitely have in the future.) Joe Biden will never create jobs, the way Donald Trump has, by first presiding over the loss of millions of them.

“Under Donald Trump, America has never been safer. It has also never been more dangerous. We must elect Donald Trump to make us safe again, which he has already made us, never more than we are now, although we also aren’t, and won’t be, unless we elect him!

“…Donald Trump is a crusader against nepotism, corruption and the abuse of power for personal gain, wherever it may lurk… He despises people who profit from public office, and the times when he has urged people to stay at Trump properties were just because he gives and gives without thinking of himself…

“In conclusion, Donald Trump has accomplished more than any other president, ever, in his single term, including some accomplishments that did not even happen during his term, like his landmark achievement, the Veterans Choice Bill, passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama. There is no pandemic to speak of, or to put on a mask for; if there ever was one, it was someone else’s fault… Donald Trump does not look at America and see thousands of people needlessly dying and millions losing their jobs — this is what Joe Biden sees. Donald Trump sees greatness!”

So that’s the GOP platform: incessant lying, racism, sexism, and breaking laws. From the beginning of the RNC on Monday night to the end of the event on Thursday night, more people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. than on 9/11. In the past 24 hours, the U.S. has gained another 42,843 COVID-19 cases for a total of 6,139,078. Another 954 deaths bring the total to 186,855. The number seems down, but that usually happens on weekends. 

 

June 13, 2020

Much of GOP Platform Works for Dems

Filed under: Politics — trp2011 @ 12:22 AM
Tags: , ,

Although Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has moved on from dangers about COVID-19, the virus has kept GOP delegates from gathering to draft a new platform. Not all Republicans support the continuation of the current platform. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, titled White House Senior Advisor to the President for Strategic Planning, wants a one-page platform with bullet points. He tried to rewrite the platform in a closed process but alienated grass-roots activists and probably led to the refusal of an updated platform. Tony Perkins, head of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, wants a better deal for fundamentalist Christians. He’s worried about the fall of DDT’s approval among white evangelicals from 87 percent to 62 percent since March. White Catholics dropped even more by 27 percentage points.

The most “interesting” parts of the re-tread platform are the almost 40 criticisms of the “current president.” A few of them—which seem accurate for 2020:

“The survival of the internet as we know it is at risk. Its gravest peril originates in the White House, the current occupant of which has launched a campaign, both at home and internationally, to subjugate it to agents of government.”

The “current” president imposes “a social and cultural revolution,” causing a “huge increase in the national debt” and damaging relationships with international partners.

“The Middle East is more dangerous now than at any time since the Second World War [because of] impotent grandstanding on the part of the current President and his Secretaries of State. The results have been ruinous for all parties except Islamic terrorists and their Iranian and other sponsors.”

“The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations.”

“Left unchecked, [the debt] will hit $30 trillion by 2026.” (It’s above $26 trillion in the first half of 2020.) 

“The current Administration has abandoned America’s friends and rewarded its enemies.”

“The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority, brazenly and flagrantly violated the separation of powers, sought to divide America into groups and turn citizen against citizen.”

“Our most urgent task as a Party is to restore the American people’s faith in their government by electing a president who will enforce duly enacted laws, honor constitutional limits on executive authority, and return credibility to the Oval Office.”

“The next president must restore the public’s trust in law enforcement and civil order by first adhering to the rule of law himself.”

“The President has refused to defend or enforce laws he does not like, used executive orders to enact national policies in areas constitutionally reserved solely to Congress, made unconstitutional ‘recess’ appointments to Senate-confirmed positions, directed regulatory agencies to overstep their statutory authority, and failed to consult Congress regarding military action overseas.”

“The current President and his allies on Capitol Hill have used [executive] agencies as a superlegislature, disregarding the separation of powers, to declare as law what they could not push through the Congress.”

“We will meet the return of Russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will not accept any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine, Georgia, or elsewhere, and will use all appropriate constitutional measures to bring to justice the practitioners of aggression and assassination.”

“We call for an objective review of the impact on readiness of the current Administration’s ideology-based personnel policies, and will correct problems with appropriate administrative, legal, or legislative action.”

Other complaints about the “current president” include inability to generate economic growth above 3 percent, undermining the value of government whistleblowers, stagnant wages, “labor force participation rate at or below 63 percent,” cronyism, playing “favorites among energy producers,” and nation’s declining “standing in world affairs.” The platform denounces “bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance.” All these positions sound good to a Democrat.

A West Virginia RNC member who helped write the 2016 platform, Melody Potter, said:

“The 2016 platform is the best one we’ve had in 40 years, so I’m fine with renewing it and extending it to 2024. As a matter of fact, and you can quote me on this, I think it is a ray of sunshine in this whole messy storm.”

Four years ago, a messy debate in Cleveland led to the retention of anti-LGBTQ language. Four years ago, DDT campaigned on LGBTQ support, but he’s followed the GOP platform in opposing LGBTQ rights: opposition to marriage equality; transgender military ban; conversion therapy; and legality for businesses’ discrimination against same-gender couples. All this and more despite the right of gays and lesbians to marry for five years. In the U.S., 82 percent believe that gays and lesbians should be protected under civil rights laws—including 71 percent of Republicans. 

At the same time, the GOP, wanting LGBTQ votes, falsely claims DDT has “taken unprecedented steps to protect the LGBTQ community.” It lists times DDT “kept his promise to protect the LGBTQ citizens,” omitting the hundreds of discriminations against the LGBTQ community. The only “accomplishments” are not erasing those of previous administrations. Today, in the midst of an epidemic, the DDT administration finalized a rule using “biological sex” to discriminate against transgender people, including in “health programs.” The rule focuses on nondiscrimination protections laid out in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. That federal law established that it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.” Because of the “biological sex” mandate, doctors can refuse checkups for transgender people—even treatment for COVID-19—because of “moral or religious beliefs” as well as deny a transgender man treatment for ovarian cancer or hysterectomy.

The platform states, “The cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman.” A few other losses for LGBTQ people because of DDT and the GOP: banning transgender people in the military, policies to eradicate LGBTQ health care protections, allowing shelters to turn away homeless, permitting agencies to stop adoptions for same-gender couples, refusal for embassies’ flying the Pride flag, lack of any statements about LGBTQ achievements, appointments of anti-LGBTQ judges, support of discrimination against LGBTQ people in schools and employment, and more.    

A week ago, DDT started Pride month not with a positive proclamation but with a DOJ brief to the Supreme Court voluntarily stating that cities should not protect same-gender couples from discrimination by religious organizations. The issue deals with Catholic Social Services’ refusal to place children in homes with same-gender couples, an act violating a contract with Philadelphia. Two courts have already denied an injunction for CSS.

The GOP thought they could get away with keeping the 2016 platform by blaming Gov. Roy Cooper for forcing them to comply with social distancing at the conference in the host city of Charlotte (NC) because of COVID-19. DDT, however, is unhappy without a new platform, and he wants the Republicans to write one. RNC rules dictate the party’s business must be carried out within the original convention site or the original convention city. Only a roll call vote for nominating the president or vice president candidate is allowed outside the original site. DDT can offer personal guiding principles for the GOP, but these would be separate from the platform.

Two days ago, the RNC’s executive committee voted to not make changes to the 2016 Republican convention platform and scaled back the 2020 convention business, still held in Charlotte. In-person participation will be limited to 336, far fewer than the over 2,500 who normally attend. Yet the event is over ten weeks away, and revisions to the RNC plan can be made before August 27.

In a rare agreement among people in the United States, 88 percent believe the nation is in crisis under DDT. Of the respondents, 94 percent believe COVID-19 epidemic is a major problem.

Exactly four years after a man killed 49 people in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Florida, DDT is still fomenting hatred. Today, June 12, almost 800 people died of COVID-19–at least in recorded cases–to bring the total to 116,825, tens of thousands of them dying because DDT lacks leadership. Another 27,000+ new cases bring the total of infected people in the United States to 2,116,922. At that rate, the number will hit three million by the end of July, or before. 

[Note: Massive backlash forced DDT to change the date of his campaign rally in Tulsa (OK) to June 20, the day after Juneteenth. The one day change, however, doesn’t fix his problems of holding the rally in a city where white people killed and wounded hundreds of black people in 1921.]  

July 20, 2016

GOP Platform Goes Back to 19th Century

Republicans love to talk about the importance of following the U.S. Constitution being the party of Lincoln. Judges and legislation are bound by the Constitution. This year the platform of the self-proclaimed party of Lincoln has seven pages—ten percent of the content—in a section called “A Rebirth of Constitutional Government” (aka revisionist constitutional theory).

This section of the GOP platform proclaims that government exists to protect “God-given, natural rights”; in any difference of opinion, God wins. One of these God-given “inalienable right that predates the Constitution” is “the right of individuals to keep and bear arms” as “a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution.” Another God-given rights are “to devote resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports” (such as influencing elections), influence elections), to “set their own membership standards” free from anti-discrimination laws, and the “freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs” often when those beliefs call for defiance of the law, as examples of rights that are “not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess.”

The platform gets worse by completely invalidating  the U.S. Constitution. “The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights.” Thus the GOP repudiates the way that legislators and judges are bound by the Constitution. Republican position is that Congress cannot propose and states cannot ratify, for example, a constitutional amendment overruling the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the Republican Party’s position is that this amendment would be null and void.

“Inalienable” means “impossible to take away or give up.” Therefore Republicans state that rights that they consider inalienable cannot be changed through constitutional process and no more amendments with the slightest connection to the First Amendment—religion, free speech, and financing—can be made.  Also “the unborn child” has an “inalienable right to life … which cannot be infringed.”

Stephen Rosenfeld has culled these excerpts from the 2016 GOP platform.

  1. Tax cuts for the rich.
  2. Bank deregulation.
  3. Elimination of consumer protection.
  4. Repeal of environmental laws.
  5. Shrinking unions and union labor.
  6. Privatization of federal railway service.
  7. Freezing or elimination of federal minimum wage.
  8. Cuts in government salaries and benefits.
  9. Appointment of only anti-choice Supreme Court justices.
  10. Appointment of only anti-LGBT and anti-Obamacare justices.
  11. Legalization of anti-LGBT discrimination.
  12. Christianity as a national religion.
  13. Greater campaign finance loopholes and dark money.
  14. Eliminate gun controls nationwide.
  15. An anti-choice constitutional amendment.
  16. Elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
  17. Permission to states in closure of abortion clinics.
  18. Opposition to stem cell scientific research.
  19. Condemnation of executive branch policy making.
  20. Retention of the electoral college.
  21. Requirement of citizenship documents for voter registration.
  22. Drawing congressional districts without consideration of undocumented immigrants.
  23. No labeling of GMO ingredients in food products.
  24. Work requirements for welfare recipients and cuts in food stamps.
  25. More oil and gas drilling on U.S. shores.
  26. Completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  27. Expansion of fracking and burying nuclear waste.
  28. No tax on carbon products.
  29. Disregard of global climate change agreements.
  30. Privatization of Medicare.
  31. State administration of Medicaid.
  32. No increase of Social Security benefits by taxing the rich.
  33. Repeal of Obamacare.
  34. Monopoly control by internet service providers.
  35. English as the official U.S. language.
  36. No amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
  37. Wall along U.S./Mexico border to keep immigrants out.
  38. Government verification of citizenship of all workers.
  39. Penalties for cities giving sanctuary to migrants.
  40. Puerto Rico a state but not Washington DC.
  41. Support of traditional marriage but no other families.
  42. Privatization of government services to fight poverty.
  43. Mandatory bible study in public schools.
  44. Replacement of public schools with privatized options.
  45. Permission of abstinence-only approaches in sex education.
  46. Privatized student loans without lowering interest rates.
  47. Restoration of the death penalty.
  48. Dramatic increase in the Pentagon budget.
  49. Cancelation of Iran nuclear treaty and expansion of U.S. nuclear arsenal.
  50. Reaffirmation support for Israel and elimination of sanctions movement as anti-Semitic.

And that’s just a few of the issues covered in the platform. The GOP shows itself to be pro-rape, pro-gold standard, and pro-“right-to-work” while being anti-national parks and anti-mass transit.

The less rabid members of the Republican party who don’t follow all these positions blithely say that no one reads the platform or pays any attention. Yet the platform is the wish list of GOP leaders for Congress; it’s what they think they want to do to the United States. This platform calls for a drastic military buildup when a large percentage of taxes already goes to the Pentagon. This policy, combined with the massive tax cuts that they call for, follows the first term of George W. Bush which led to trillions of dollars in deficit and a recession that still hurts the nation’s economy.

In his speech tonight, GOP VP candidate, Mike Pence, called for the appointment of Supreme Court justices who will uphold the constitution, but the platform calls for justices who follow the GOP platform. During the convention, speakers consistently maintained that there is nothing progressive about the Democratic party, that it is the GOP that wants to move forward. In many ways, however, the platform resembles the conservative position of the mid-1800s except conservatives 150 years ago didn’t oppose abortion and immigration.

The theme of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) speech tonight is that “freedom matters.” He’s right, but his party’s platform wants to take away freedom for many people in the United States—no freedom for LGBT people to have the same rights as heterosexual people, no freedom for women to have reproductive health care, no freedom from poverty and illness, no freedom to have clean water and air, no freedom for equal internet use, no freedom for people with any skin color to travel safely wherever they want, no freedom for people other than strict “Christians.” In short, no freedom for all—just the entitled.

Of course, Cruz was booed at the end of his speech for not endorsing  Donald Trump after he said that people should not stay away from the election in the fall and that they should vote their conviction. Then Cruz’s wife, Heidi, was escorted from the floor for her own safety. So much for GOP unity. Or maybe the entire situation was a set-up so that Cruz would make Mike Pence, who followed Cruz, look good.

As far as the platform and Donald Trump, however, anyone with sense knows that Trump won’t even read it—and he certainly won’t pay any attention to it. He only wants a wall between the United States and Mexico.

July 13, 2016

GOP Platform—From the Party of Small Government

Filed under: Politics — trp2011 @ 10:14 PM
Tags: ,

The GOP is still working on its platform, but drafts of amendments already reveal its direction. Their stated philosophy is to shrink the government so much that it would fit in a bathtub, but the platform thus far shows that they can’t even fit it into an Olympic-size swimming pool. Here are highlights of the two planks, “America’s natural resources, energy and environment” and “Great American families, education, healthcare and criminal justice”:

  • Pornography is a “public health crisis.” The GOP claims that they want to make children safer, but the public health crisis of gun violence was not addressed.
  • Planned Parenthood is condemned, and Supreme Court vacancies are to be filled with “committed judicial conservatives, like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, so that the Court can begin to reverse the long line of liberal decisions—from Roe to Obergefell to the Obamacare cases.” The anti-abortion policy remains the same—no consideration for rape, incest, or the life of the pregnant woman.
  • The use of Title IX to support survivors of campus sexual assault and trans students is condemned. The GOP “salutes” the state governments who are suing the federal government in these areas.
  • Marriage should be between a man and woman. Despite a Supreme Court ruling which established the constitutional right of same-gender couples to marry, the GOP demands a “reversal whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.” The committee rejected an amendment to have a “thoughtful conversation” within the GOP on marriage equality from an openly-gay platform committee although DC delegate Rachel Hoff begged the committee members to “include me and people like me.” She was told that she could still join the party even if it wouldn’t recognize her marriage. Only 37 percent of people in the U.S. oppose same-gender marriage. The platform also calls for overturning the Supreme Court marriage decision through a constitutional amendment and appointing judges “who respect traditional family values.”
  • Children raised in “traditional” homes are “healthier.” The GOP ignores research that this statement is flat wrong. Outcomes for same-gender couple’s children—including health, emotional difficulties, and coping and learning behavior—is not different from those for children of different-gender couples. Although the GOP doesn’t give children the right to clean air and water, they “have a natural right to be raised in an intact biological family.”
  • Early childhood education should be prevented. A GOP committee member explained that it “inserts the state in the family relationship in the very early stages of a child’s life,” and conservatives have called pre-K education a “godless, socialistic” institution.
  • All government intervention in parenting is to be eliminated. Parents can discipline children any way they wish, including beatings, locking them in cellars, and raping them. Parents can withhold vaccines from children, kill them through religious beliefs, and refuse to educate them because End Times are coming. Texas already legalized parents’ right to deny children an education.
  • Food stamps are unconstitutional. Even for children.
  • Parents can force their LGBT children to undergo “conversion therapy.” Several states have passed laws preventing forced therapy to “take away the gay,” and President Obama has called for a ban on “conversion therapy.” Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that this practice, especially on young people, is not medically or ethically appropriate, instead causing great harm to the subject. (The committee entirely avoided the use of “LGBT” while endorsing discriminations against the community.)
  • State laws should limit which restrooms transgender people could use.
  • Education needs “a good understanding of the Bible.” The GOP wants students to have the option of taking biblical literature in public schools because this “good understanding” is “indispensable to the development of an educated citizenry.” The Bible should also be taught in public schools as American history to keep students from getting “the wrong version” of events. No reference was made to the other 10,000 religions of the world, many of them in the United States. One delegate said that churches should teach the Bible instead of schools, but that position lost. At least one-fourth of people in the U.S. are not Christians.
  • Coal is a “clean” form of energy. The platform uses the same language as coal’s lobby group, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). Burning coal creates a large quantity of heavy metals, pollution that endangers the environment and health.
  • Campaign contributions should be unlimited and concealed“[Republicans] support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain-Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation designed to vitiate the Supreme Court’s recent decisions protecting political speech in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.”
  • Military women should be barred from combat. 
  • A physical wall should be built along the entire U.S. border with Mexico.  
  • A ban on AR-15 assault rifles or restrictions on the size of ammunition magazine clips is not acceptable.  
  • People from “terror-sponsoring” countries should receive “special scrutiny” before entering the United States.
  • The power grid must be protected against magnetic pulse attacks. Some of the language in this declaration comes from fictional sources.
  • Congress should turn federal lands over to the states. That way states can sell all the land to private parties.
  • The United States should support Israel against Palestine. There should be “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel; any mention about a two-state solution between those two countries was removed from the platform.
  • GOP delegates should not be allowed from identified areas such as parts of California, Hawaii, Florida, Ohio or New York. Okay, this was a proposal that might not have been passed. But the other crazy positions above are up for consideration during the convention.

Republicans brag about being the party of Abraham Lincoln. The GOP of 150 years ago expanded federal power by funding the transcontinental railroad, state university system, and homesteading in the West while creating a national currency and protective tariff. After the Civil War, Republicans passed laws granting protections for blacks and advancing social justice. That party was left in the dust; now the GOP embraces racism, xenophobia, and misogyny in the name of freedom and liberty. It’s an oligarchic, theocratic party seeking apartheid and obsessed with sex.

The GOP platform of 1956 supported equal pay for equal work, union expansions, trust-busting and anti-monopoly laws, the United Nations, correction of inequities in taxation, and national parks. It also recommended desegregating the schools, expanding  a “soundly financed system of transportation,” strengthening Social Security, and providing a national health care plan. Achievements cited “the highest wages and the highest standard of living ever enjoyed by any nation.”

The GOP platform of 1956 bragged about raising wages “substantially” during Eisenhower’s first term as well as increasing the minimum wage and extending Social Security benefits. Its intent was to “protect the working standards of our people.” “[Since the 1952 platform] unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions.” Because the Republicans of 1956 considered “that the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the people is as important as their economic health,” it had “created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the first new Federal department in 40 years.”

In addition, “the Republican Party supports an immigration policy which is in keeping with the traditions of America in providing a haven for oppressed peoples, and which is based on equality of treatment, freedom from implications of discrimination between racial, nationality and religious groups, and flexible enough to conform to changing needs and conditions. That 1956 platform also stressed the importance of resources’ conservation across the United States.

“America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper,” and “government must have a heart as well as a head,” according to 1956 Republicans.  “We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.”

Much of the current platform has been directly crafted by Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative religious Family Research Council; Kris Kobach, Kansas AG who wrote restrictive voting legislation and open gun rights for the country; and other ultra conservatives.

“The Republican Party’s platform is taking a turn for the right,” reads the lead sentence from a Time article by Zeke Miller. It’s actually in the ditch. The “autopsy” purchased by the GOP after the presidential loss in 2012 recommended inclusion of women and minorities, but the proposed platform promotes hatred, racism, religious bigotry, and exclusion. As Republicans express a fear that a handful of Muslims in the U.S. (0.8 percent of the population) will force Sharia law on everyone, they project their far-right evangelical Christian law from the Old Testament on the entire population, no matter what religion they follow.

The platform is not a done deal. The 2,475 delegates will have a vote on it during the GOP convention. It may make for interesting television watching.

People reading about the GOP platform may say that nobody pays attention to party platforms. They do, however, reflect the thinking of the party leadership—and this platform is insane. That makes the GOP crazy.

March 14, 2016

GOP Platform—Not My Problem, No

Conservatives tend to care only for themselves. Asked about the importance of health care for all, they respond, “But then I can’t find a doctor.” According to conservatives, suffering for anyone else is “not my problem (NMP).” Questions showing how conservatives take no responsibility for anyone except for their personal, selfish needs with conservatives’ responses:

Birth Control: Do you know that birth control keeps women from having unwanted pregnancies? “NMP.”

Abortions: Do you understand that more unwanted pregnancies mean more abortions? “I’m pro-life.” What about women who have children they can’t afford? “NMP.”

Food Stamps: Do you realize that forcing women to have children they can’t afford means they need food stamps and Medicaid? “I cut spending on those because I’m fiscally responsible.” But that means children have no medical care and go hungry. “NMP.”

Crime: What about children growing up in poverty who turn to crime? “I live in a gated community so NMP.”

Minimum Wage: What about millions of people forced to live in poverty because of low wages even if they work 60 hours or more each week? “NMP.”

Food Stamps Again: What about people who have to rely on food stamps because of low wages? “I cut spending on those because I’m fiscally responsible–NMP.”

Immigration: Do you know that building a wall along the entire border would such up taxpayer money and not even work? “NMP.”

Families: Don’t you understand that deporting parents away from their children is cruel and inhumane. “NMP.”

Racism: What about the anti-Latino rhetoric increasing racial tensions and violence against innocent people? “NMP.”

“War on Drugs”: Do you understand that the so-called “war on drugs” does no good while it puts millions of people in prison for smoking a plant? “NMP.”

Racism Again: What about the effect of these laws to put Blacks in jail more often and for longer times than Whites? “NMP.”

Gang Violence: And what about the devastation of black communities that contributes to poverty and gang violence? “NMP.”

Health Care: Do you care that repealing Obamacare would talk health care away from over 20 million people? “NMP.”

Pre-existing Conditions: Are you aware that Obamacare stops insurance companies from denying health care to sick people? “NMP.” And kicking people off insurance if they get sick? “NMP.”

Pro-Life: How can you be pro-life and not care about people dying from lack of insurance. “NMP.”

Heroin: Do you realize that the white communities will have the same experiences because millions of Whites are using heroin? “That can’t be true. We need to change the laws (ala Koch brothers)! They aren’t criminals—they victims and deserve our compassion and help! Spare no expense!”

When the conservatives took over both congressional chambers 14 and a half months ago, they bragged that they were going to move the country forward. Instead, they’ve created more gridlock.  The policy of”not my problem” is accompanied by “hell, no!”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) promised a “Year of Ideas,” with legislation aimed at poverty and health care. The chamber has been in session for 154 of the 431 days since the GOP Congress took over. As in the past few years, legislation previously dominated by name changes for buildings can’t even manage that any more: nine GOP members fought naming a post office after national treasure and poet Maya Angelou, calling her a “communist sympathizer.” The House did manage to delay regulations for brick kilns.

The GOP Senate has 298 House-passed bills awaiting action while it spent four weeks on an energy efficiency bill that isn’t finished. Opioid legislation was passed with no funding, and individuals stalled bills for criminal justice reform and Flint’s water crisis—in this case GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz.  It also made the policy of NO quite clear by rejecting the constitutional directive to consider any nominee for the Supreme Court. President Obama came out with six possible appointments, three of them women. That number has been cut in half as conservatives trash professional careers.

One of those who disappeared is Jane Kelly, heartily endorsed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for the 8th Circuit Court. Grassley described Kelly, unanimously confirmed for her present position in 2013, as “a forthright woman of high integrity and honest character” with an “exceptionally keen intellect.” That was before an ad funded by the conservative Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) smeared her for defending constitutional rights guaranteeing all people accused of a crime “the assistance of counsel for his defense.” A public defender in 2005, Kelly represented Casey Frederiksen, on child pornographer who was later convicted of killing a five-year-old girl. Although Kelly did not defend Frederiksen for this murder, the ad uses this murder to inflame people.

JCN began a Judicial Confirmation Network during the Bush administration to help confirm George W.’s nominees. The name changed in 2010 to prevent President Obama’s nominees after the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. It has a seven-figure advertising budget to keep Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and vulnerable senators up for election from allowing a nominee to be considered as well as a six-figure campaign targeting Democrats. JCN has also hired a team of ten researchers from America Rising to locate information keeping any nominees from going to the Senate.

Not satisfied with its continuation of congressional malfunction and trying to wreak the same for the Supreme Court, Congress has decided to ignore the country’s budget—the first time since the system began in 1974. This after bitterly complaining about Democratic inaction several years ago. Both the House and the Senate have decided that they will not have hearings on the president’s budget or allow administration officials to testify about it. This decision came before they even saw any budget. This stupidity follows the 14-month refusal to act on a nominee to head up the Treasury Department’s terrorism section. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), chair of the Banking Committee, explained the reason for the wait: he faced a primary challenge and couldn’t approve any Obama nominee.

The NMP and NO economic stagnation policies for 99 percent of people in the U.S. have led to widespread poverty and misery. It’s the conservative “me me me” philosophy that trashes long term greater good for short term personal profit. Now the establishment Republicans can’t understand why Donald Trump is in the lead. The word “demagogue” is freely tossed around—even applied to President Obama. Users of this term need to consult their dictionaries: it refers to “a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason, a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”

GOP consultant Alex Castellanos may have said it best:

“If our self-indulgent Republican party establishment had really wanted to prevent a takeover of the GOP, they should not have gorged on political power while they failed to do anything to prevent the decline of the country. Our leaders could have led. They could have done more than say ‘no’ to Democrats while offering no alternative.”

President Obama followed up this analysis when by connecting the Trump phenomenon to “a notion that everything I do is to be opposed; that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal.” This, he said, made “an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive.” Tomorrow will show how much Trump is thriving when five states hold their primaries. If he does, the GOP will be—well deservedly—suffering.

trumpprotest-missouri2This is what happens to a non-violent protester at a Trump rally. And it may get much worse. Trump supporters have called for a “militia” supposedly to protect voters against so-called “violent far-left agitators.” “The Lion’s Guard” calls on people to “provide security protection to innocent people who are subject to harassment and assault by Far-left agitators “ and be “willing to forcefully protect people if need be.” Members are already asking for “uniform suggestions.”

While Trump invites violence, he calls for pledges.  As Saturday, he told his audience to repeat after him:

“I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, will vote on or before the 12thfor Donald J. Trump for president.”

He then promised that “bad things” would happen to them if they broke their pledge.

GettyImages-513910372

Donald Trump’s campaign is reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s as he asks for violence and demands people to swear that they willl vote for him. All this came from the GOP that decided on a platform of NMP and NO.

 

November 10, 2012

GOP Needs to Look Back to 1956 Platform

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:25 PM
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The latest excuse for Mitt Romney’s loss: President Obama was too hard on him. The entire GOP has accepted Romney’s lies and gone into deep denial about the falsehoods of Romney’s advertising and his debate statements. The president should complain about Romney’s mendacity during the campaign.

Business facts for example. During the last four years, the DOW increased from 8,000 to 13,000, and the NASDAQ doubled. The president cut taxes for small businesses, including the $200 billion in tax relief. Corporate profits are at their all-time high. Federal taxes from corporations fell to 12.1 percent of profits, far below the 25.6 percent average between 1987 and 2008. Small businesses with fewer than 25 works and average wages of less than $50,000 receive tax credits to provide health coverage for workers. Mandated state health insurance exchanges starting in 2014 allow small businesses to buy coverage at a lower cost.

If the GOP wants any chance of winning, they might consider reinstating their own platform from 1956. It supports equal pay for equal work, expanded unions, trust-busting and anti-monopoly laws, the United Nations, correction of inequities in taxation, and national parks. At that time the GOP wanted to desegregate the schools, expand a “soundly financed system of transportation,” strengthen Social Security, and provide a national health care plan. In their 1956 platform, the Republicans “endorse the present policy of freedom for the Federal Reserve System to combat both inflation and deflation by wise fiscal policy.”

In the 1956 platform, Republicans wrote about Dwight Eisenhower’s re-achievements during his first term—“the highest wages and the highest standard of living ever enjoyed by any nation.” The GOP platform bragged about raising wages “substantially” during Eisenhower’s first term as well as increasing the minimum wage and extending Social Security benefits. Other virtues were to “protect the working standards of our people.” In addition, “[Since the 1952 platform] unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions.”

The GOP was so proud of these actions that the platform aimed to “stimulate improved job safety of our workers” and “improve the effectiveness of the unemployment insurance system.” A goal was to “revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public.” Because the Republicans of 1956 considered “that the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the people is as important as their economic health,” it had “created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the first new Federal department in 40 years.”

“The Republican Party supports an immigration policy which is in keeping with the traditions of America in providing a haven for oppressed peoples, and which is based on equality of treatment, freedom from implications of discrimination between racial, nationality and religious groups, and flexible enough to conform to changing needs and conditions,” according to the 1956 GOP platform. It also stressed the important of resources’ conservation across the United States.

“America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper,” and “government must have a heart as well as a head.” And finally, “we recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.”

Compare these ideas to the current GOP platform that wants to make English the official language, curtail marriage equality, put more people in prison, reduce benefits to people, consider returning the dollar to the gold standard, keep the U.S.-controlled Mariana Islands from having any minimum wages, and repeal the 16th Amendment because it allows federal taxes. The current GOP platform also supports a “personhood” amendment that would convey full rights to a human fertilized egg.

Republican candidates also want to eradicate the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; diminish the area of national parks; ignore equal pay; reduce the minimum wage; and eliminate unions. If the GOP were in the majority, they would get rid of national health care, Social Security, welfare, regulations to protect workers, and any financing for the infrastructure.

The equal rights amendment isn’t even a consideration now.

As Marc Fisher wrote in The Washington Post:

“The Republican Party, viewed through its quadrennial platform documents, is consistently business-oriented and committed to a strong defense, but has morphed over the past half-century from a socially moderate, environmentally progressive and fiscally cautious group to a conservative party that is suspicious of government, allied against abortion and motivated by faith.”

Yet the “Republican’s” don’t understand why everyone doesn’t flock to their policies. Even reasonable members of their own party, such as David Frum, can’t convince them that they have lost the right to call themselves “conservatives.” The GOP destroys, not conserves.

The United States has moved so far to the right that many Democrats don’t follow the ideas of the 1956 GOP platform.

September 1, 2012

GOP Convention 2012 – The Platform

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 6:46 PM
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The GOP presidential election is over for another four years. Mitt Romney has dropped by Louisiana to visit the disasters from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac but failed to tell the suffering people that the Republicans didn’t want to help them. Chris Matthews of MSNBC got into a heated argument (what RNC Chair Reince Priebus would call hysterical) with delegates which they started by calling him an asshole. Other than that, there’s a curious lack of energy about the Republican convention on the Internet except for dialog about Clint Eastwood’s performance.

All that’s left now are the candidates and the platform. And what a platform it is!

A party that prides itself on freedom and a belief in the U.S. Constitution continues its attempt to drastically restrict human rights in this country. Republicans want to make English the official U.S. language, pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one woman and one man, and outlaw abortion in all cases. The GOP also wants to create more mandatory prison sentences and force youth to attend faith-based (translate, Christian) organizational programs for behavioral problems. Washington, D.C. won’t be allowed to govern themselves.

The change in Medicare and public schooling to voucher systems accompany along deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare in order to give extra money to the wealthy. And the ubiquitous elimination of health care is front and center.

The GOP also wants to create more mandatory prison sentences and force youth to attend faith-based (translate, Christian) organizational programs for behavioral problems.

The Republican craving for privatization is also prominent: the platform calls for taking airport security away from the Transportation Security Administration. (People familiar with the debacle of the private security in the Middle East can see the failure in this.) The platform also calls for privatization of the post office, which means we will pay much more for not getting mail on time or perhaps ever.

As usual, Republican business interests are determined to destroy the country with their plan to develop “state-of-the-art” coal-fired power plants and the new coal gasification and “coal-to-liquid” fuels. (I guess that would use the “clean coal” that the GOP touts.) The GOP think that private ownership would be able to protect the land far more than government can. (Theodore Roosevelt would be screaming at the loss of the national parks!) The platform also suggests that Congress should see which of its massive land and water holdings would be better for private activities like ranching, mining, and forestry.

Naturally, more business interests enter in with the GOP desire to give more money to banks. Although the platform cuts student loans, it moves the process back to the banks which will keep the profits from interest and fees. The banks won’t lose any money, however, because the platform also requires tax-payers to reimburse the banks for any unpaid loans.

Although the GOP want to “strictly enforce” pornography (however they define it) on the Internet, the platform also calls for allowing cable companies to charge as much as they wish for Internet access (called “free” market but not “fair” market). Not only are cable companies worried about more strict enforcement, but hotel owners are also concerned. The recent anti-porn push came from someone who say that the Marriott Hotels are

In the GOP fear of being taken over by global interests (as if global corporations haven’t already done that), they obliquely reference “Sharia Law” by stating, “There must be no use of foreign law by US courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws.” Protecting the country from the United Nations, they reject the nonexistent UN tax. And they still think that Hawaii isn’t really part of the United States through its reference to preventing Native Hawaiians similar status to Native American tribes by opposing “the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States.”

The platform also focuses  on current events. In reference to a mistake that was immediately corrected, it declares, “A Republican Commander in Chief will protect religious independence of military chaplains and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities.”

In a bow to supporters of Texas Representative Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy, the GOP calls for a commission to study the feasibility of returning the dollar to the gold standard.  The platform did note that a similar commission created by President Ronald Reagan “advised against such a move.”

The platform gets very specifically micromanaging. Federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants. Washington, D.C. must have looser gun ownership laws.  There’s even a piece in the platform that criticizes the president’s administration for leaking details of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. More sour grapes, I’m guessing.

The GOP wants to allow corporations and the wealthy to donate as much money to political campaigns as they wish. This seems to be working out quite well for Romney, and the Tea Party is glorying in all the donations from the Koch brothers and other corporate heads who plan to benefit from the Republicans’ selling off the country.

An interesting oddity is the opposition for any minimum wage on the Mariana Islands. According to the platform, this lack of flexibility “has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.” This gem comes from the U.S. government’s attempt to clean up sweatshops on the Islands because the U.S. has controlled them since World War II. Chinese women brought there were subject to prostitution, forced abortions, and penny-salaries for producing clothing that could then be labeled “Made in the USA.”

Jack Abramoff, hired to stop any U.S. reforms in the Islands, hired Ralph Reed and his political direct mail company, Millennium Marketing, to persuade U.S. Christians to write Congresspeople to stop these reforms. Reed lied to his Christian constituents, telling them that the left and organized labor were to blame for hurting those poor Chinese women. As head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Reed now boasts he’s building a political machine of five million members with an annual budget of $100 million, full-time lobbyists in all fifty state capitals, and contacts with 27 million conservative voters.

The minimum wage will go from $5.05 to $5.55 at the end of September. Next time a conservative claims to be a Christian, ask them about this exploitation.

Other oddities include repealing the 16th Amendment that federally taxes people; policing universities for liberal bias; defending the Electoral College at all costs; importing less fertilizer; and maintaining liberty for innovation.

The Tea Party organization Freedomworks cheered that the Republican platform adopted 11.5 of the 12 points of the tea party’s Freedom Platform. The GOP came short of eliminating the Department of Education.

Less than 30 percent of the adopted GOP platform will do anything; the rest of it will undo everything else, destroying decades of environmental, social, and economic policies, both Republican and Democratic. The platform moves the country back over 80 years when the GOP convention had only white men.

The good stuff? Support for NASA and space-related technological advancements. That’s it.

From a party that complains about long bills in Congress, the 62 pages of the GOP platform seems excessive. Even House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that both the GOP convention and the platform are too long. He wants only one page.

Romney does not agree with parts of the platform. Delegates thought that this was okay; they reportedly said that Romney could do anything he wanted. Even RNC Chair Reince Priebus repeatedly says that the GOP platform is not Romney’s platform. Yet the RNC delegates approved all these ideas. The overarching theme of the convention, although supposedly only for one day, as “We built that.” That describes the platform.

Aside: Republicans had been hoping for a bounce from the convention. The one point that Romney achieved has now flattened; a Reuters poll shows that President Obama is again ahead by a point. Romney’s likability improved after the convention; conservatives say that’s more important that the polls about who people will support in the election.

It appears that Paul Ryan is truly a congenital liar—about everything! He even lied about his fastest marathon time in an interview with Hugh Hewitt last week. Although Ryan claimed to run Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth (MN) in less than three hours (“I had a two hour and fifty-something”), his time was actually 4:01—causing the then-20-year-old to come in nineteen hundred and ninetieth place out of the 3,277 men who ran that race. We can be pretty sure that if Ryan’s lips are moving, he’s telling a lie.

October 12, 2020

GOP Gets More Bizarre

The following is from Letters from an American (October 11, 2020) by Heather Cox Richardson 

Today’s political chatter was just bizarre. The talking point on the Sunday talk shows, pushed hard by Republicans and enabled by the media, was that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden needs to explain his stance on “court-packing,” that is, adding more justices to the Supreme Court. Some Democrats have begun to talk about that outcome if the Republicans ram through Amy Coney Barrett in these last few days before the election. 

This is bizarre first of all because the Republican Party did not even bother to write a platform this year to explain any policies at all for another Trump term, and Trump has been unable to articulate any plans for the future, while the idea of “court-packing” is a future hypothetical, dependent on what today’s Republican Senate does.

It’s bizarre because Trump is egging on his followers to violence—just today he urged supporters to “FIGHT FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP.” He is so misrepresenting the reality of the coronavirus pandemic that today Twitter tagged one of his tweets as a violation of Twitter rules and Dr. Anthony Fauci publicly objected to the Trump campaign’s misrepresentation of his statements about Trump’s handling of the pandemic. The campaign quoted Fauci out of context and without his permission, but campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh dismissed Fauci’s complaint, saying that they were indeed Fauci’s words, and Trump agreed. The New York Times has also continued its coverage of Trump’s taxes, showing him to be deep in what amounts to a pay-to-play scandal, in which he has essentially turned the U.S. government over to the highest bidder, revealing himself to be the most corrupt president in U.S. history.  

And yet, today the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, told Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Face The Nation that she would not talk about Trump’s financial scandals because “you have a Democrat running on the biggest power grab—the absolute biggest power grab in the history of our country and reshaping the United States of America and not answering the question. That’s all we should be talking about.” The media seems to be taking this distracting bait.

What makes this so especially bizarre is that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who have made the courts the centerpiece of their agenda and have packed them with judges who adhere to an extremist ideology. Since the Nixon administration began in 1969, Democrats have appointed just 4 Supreme Court justices, while Republicans have appointed 15. 

The drive to push the court to the right has led Republicans under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take the unprecedented step of refusing to hold a hearing for Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, the moderate Merrick Garland, on the grounds that it was wrong to appoint a Supreme Court justice during an election year. There have been 14 justices confirmed during election years in the past, but none has ever been confirmed after July before an election.

Obama nominated Garland in March 2016, but now, in October, McConnell is ramming through Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Americans are worried that the increasingly conservative cast to the court does not represent the country. Four, and now possibly five, of the current justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote and have been confirmed by senators who represent a minority of the American people: Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate support represented just 44 percent of the country. 

So there is talk of increasing the size of the Supreme Court. This is legal. The Constitution does not specify the size of the court, and it has changed throughout our history. But the current number of justices—9—has been around for a long time. It was established in 1869. Nonetheless, in 2016, when it looked like Hillary Clinton was going to win the presidency, Republicans announced that they would not fill any Supreme Court seats during her term, and if that meant they had to reduce the size of the Supreme Court, they were willing.  

Instead, with Trump in the White House, the Republican Senate has pushed through judges at all levels as quickly as it possibly can.

This is no accident. Since Nixon, Republicans have made control of the nation’s courts central to their agenda. But while most voters tend to get distracted by the hot-button issues of abortion or gay rights, what Republican Supreme Courts have done is to consolidate the power of corporations.

In 1971, a corporate lawyer for the tobacco industry, Lewis Powell, wrote a confidential memo for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warning that corporate America needed to work harder to defend what he called “free enterprise.” Angry that activists like Ralph Nader had forced safety regulations onto automobile manufacturers and the tobacco industry, he believed that businessmen were losing their right to run their businesses however they wished. Any attack on “the enterprise system,” he wrote, was “a threat to individual freedom.” 

Powell believed that business interests needed to advance their principles “aggressively” in universities, the media, religion, politics… and the courts. “The judiciary,” he wrote, “may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.” He wrote that “left” institutions like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), labor unions, and civil rights activists were winning cases that hurt business. “It is time for American business—which has demonstrated the greatest capacity in all history to produce and to influence consumer decisions—to apply its great talents vigorously to the preservation of the system itself.”

The following year, Nixon appointed Powell to the Supreme Court. During his tenure in office, Nixon would appoint three more justices. Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, would appoint another.

Democratic President Jimmy Carter, who followed Ford, appointed none.

Under President Ronald Reagan, cementing the interests of business in the Supreme Court would become paramount. Reagan’s Attorney General, Edwin Meese, deliberately politicized the Department of Justice in an attempt, as he said, to “institutionalize the Reagan revolution so it can’t be set aside no matter what happens in future elections.” Reagan made 4 appointments to the Supreme Court.

During Reagan’s term, lawyers eager to push back on the judicial decisions of the post-WWII Supreme Court that had expanded civil rights and the rights of workers began to organize. They wanted to replace the current judges with ones who believed in “originalism” and who would thus cut regulations and expanded civil rights.

In 1982, law students at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Chicago organized the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies to advance a legal ideology that opposed what they believed was “judicial activism.” Judges who expanded rights through their interpretation of the laws were “legislating from the bench,” they believed, intruding on the rights of the legislative branch of the government.

By the time of President George W. Bush, the Federalist Society was enormously influential. Members of the society made up about half of his judicial appointments. The society also urged Bush to stop letting the American Bar Association rate judicial nominees, believing the ABA was too “liberal” and therefore rated conservative judges more harshly than others.

During the Obama administration, justices who were associated with the Federalist Society were deciding votes for the 2010 Citizens United decision permitting businesses unlimited contributions to political campaigns and the 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Under Trump, its power has grown even greater. Five of the 8 current members of the Supreme Court—Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh—and now Supreme Court nominee Amy Barrett, are members of the Federalist Society.

While Republicans desperately want to make the Barrett nomination about her religion, the reality is that the members of the Supreme Court who are wedded to an originalist interpretation of the document threaten far more than reproductive rights. Among other things, the court is taking up the Affordable Care Act just a week after the election.

Most Americans believe that the Barrett nomination should wait until after the election, but a key Republican constituency is demanding it. Americans for Prosperity, a pro-business group backed by billionaire Charles Koch, has launched a campaign on her behalf. It aims to mobilize voters to pressure senators who might otherwise try to avoid a confirmation at such a time. AFP also launched fights for Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. 

[Note: Recent polling about the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett (Yahoo News/YouGov): 77 percent of voters want Congress to focus on passing more COVID-19 relief for struggling workers and businesses than on confirming Barrett for the Supreme Court; 66 percent want the vote on a relief bill before voting on Barrett’s nomination.]

September 15, 2020

GOP Needs to Take “Responsibility”

Danielle Pletka, 57-year-old senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is disgusted by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)

“[H]is odious tweets, his chronic mendacity and general crudeness. Over the past four years, like an oil slick that besmirches all it touches, Trump himself has managed to obscure his administration’s more-substantive accomplishments, such as focusing the world’s attention on China’s threat to global security and brokering a new era of Middle East peace.”

She continues:

“I fear Trump’s erratic, personality-driven decision-making. His contempt for NATO is alarming, as is his delusion that he can manage rogue leaders. I don’t doubt that his eagerness to withdraw U.S. troops from their stability missions in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq will encourage conflict and terrorism. And I fret that his bizarrely isolationist attitude toward international trade will hurt the U.S. economy and splinter the global trading juggernaut that over the past half-century has brought the world amazing prosperity, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty.”

Yet she writes she will vote for DDT because she is afraid of Joe Biden’s “hard-left ideologues.”

DDT’s motto wants the United States to return to the past with its statement “Make America Great Again.” Pletka is too young to remember the GOP of the past when conservative meant saving resources and money in the government. The GOP platform in 1956 when Dwight Eisenhower ran—and was elected to—a second term supported equal pay for equal work, expanded unions, trust-busting,  anti-monopoly laws, the United Nations, correction of inequities in taxation, and national parks. At that time the GOP wanted to desegregate the schools, expand a “soundly financed system of transportation,” strengthen Social Security, and provide a national health care plan. In their 1956 platform, the Republicans “endorse the present policy of freedom for the Federal Reserve System to combat both inflation and deflation by wise fiscal policy.”

In 1956, Republicans wrote about Dwight Eisenhower’s re-achievements during his first term—“the highest wages and the highest standard of living ever enjoyed by any nation.” The GOP platform bragged about raising wages “substantially” during Eisenhower’s first term as well as increasing the minimum wage and extending Social Security benefits. Other virtues were to “protect the working standards of our people.” In addition, “[Since the 1952 platform] unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions.” The Republicans built the U.S. freeway system in the 1950s; the only “infrastructure” DDT managed is about five miles of unwanted southern border wall.

The GOP platform aimed to “stimulate improved job safety of our workers” and “improve the effectiveness of the unemployment insurance system.” A goal was to “revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public.” Because the Republicans of 1956 considered “that the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the people is as important as their economic health,” it had “created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the first new Federal department in 40 years.”

“The Republican Party supports an immigration policy which is in keeping with the traditions of America in providing a haven for oppressed peoples, and which is based on equality of treatment, freedom from implications of discrimination between racial, nationality and religious groups, and flexible enough to conform to changing needs and conditions,” according to its 1956 platform. It also stressed the important of resources’ conservation across the United States.

The 1956 GOP platform stated, “America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper,” and “government must have a heart as well as a head.” It stated, “We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.”

By the 21st century, Pletka’s Republicans support racism through QAnon, admiration of white supremacy, rejection of all immigrants, English as an official language, and reduction of wages to put even more people into poverty. Republicans want to convey full legal rights to a human fertilized egg—maybe even an unfertilized egg. The exact platform of 2020 is murky because it supports only whatever Donald Trump wants—and that changes from day to day. GOP candidates also want to eradicate the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; diminish and/or plunder national parks; ignore equal pay; reduce the minimum wage; and eliminate unions. If the GOP were in the majority, they would erase public healthcare, Social Security, welfare, regulations to protect workers, and any financing for the infrastructure, except for DDT’s wall. The equal rights amendment no longer a consideration.

Marc Fisher wrote in The Washington Post:

“The Republican Party, viewed through its quadrennial platform documents, is consistently business-oriented and committed to a strong defense, but has morphed over the past half-century from a socially moderate, environmentally progressive, and fiscally cautious group to a conservative party that is suspicious of government, allied against abortion, and motivated by faith.”

Respected Republicans are leaving DDT—and even the GOP—in droves. The 2020 Democratic convention was crowded with former GOP leaders who understand the danger of reelecting DDT including former Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich, former NJ governor Christine Todd Whitman, former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, former NY Rep. Susan Molinari, former senior DDT administration official Miles Taylor, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The anti-DDT Lincoln Project, led by Rick Wilson and George Conway until he resigned after his wife Kellyanne Conway quit as DDT counselor, endorsed Biden and has some of the sharpest ads for Biden currently on the aid. Another Lincoln Project leader, Steve Schmidt, worked on the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John McCain. Other former members of Congress such as Rep. Charlie Dent (PA) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) support Biden as does 95-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran and NRA Edward Good who voted for DDT in 2016 and was a Republican since the 1960s until now. Over 70 former national security officials of both parties wrote about how DDT has “gravely damaged America’s role as a world leader,” “shown he is unfit to lead during a national crisis,” and “solicited foreign influence and undermined confidence in our presidential elections.” Over 20 former GOP lawmakers wrote they support Biden. That list and more Republicans for Biden are here.

Even Fox network, that has made a fortune off DDT, is backing off from him. In DDT’s long monolog on this morning’s Fox & Friends, he told viewers he would be doing this appearance every week. Surprised, host Steve Doocy said, “I haven’t heard of that.” Later Doocy told DDT, “Fox is not committed to that.” At the end of DDT’s interview, Doocy said

“We are going to take it on a case-by-case basis, and Joe Biden as well is always welcome to join us.”

In his book Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, Brian Stelter suggests Fox thinks it might get higher ratings without DDT in the Oval Office. The propaganda network does better attacking Democratic administrations, and DDT’s constant claim of “fake news” is also tainting Fox. The network just needs to hope that DDT won’t create his own right-wing network.

For the first time in its 175 years, Scientific American endorsed a presidential candidate:

“The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.”

The essay addresses DDT’s horrifying statement, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” More available here.

DDT has always bragged about his alma mater from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, a place he called “super genius stuff.” A new analysis from the school concluded Joe Biden’s economic proposals will lead to greater economic growth with a faster-growing economic, higher employee wages, and greater reduction of national debt.

Pletka knows the problems with DDT, i.e., violent protesters on the right she describes as “execrable gun-toting racists [who] have received too much tacit encouragement from Trump.” Yet she claims “they do not represent the mainstream of the Republican Party,” demonstrating she doesn’t understand the swing of DDT supporters to QAnon beliefs.

Under DDT, the United States went into an economic recession last February before COVID-19 hit the country. DDT’s denial to the public about the seriousness of the virus despite his awareness of its great danger, told in Bob Woodward’s Rage, has led to the U.S.’s death toll of over 200,000 with the number of cases almost 7 million. Even today, he is “playing it down” with his indoor rallies and ridicule of mask wearing and social distancing. Having alienated almost the entire free world, DDT plans to “negotiate” for a third term to become even closer to the authoritarian leaders across the world and hide his illegal acts.

Pletka is welcome to vote for anyone she wishes, but her strong recommendation for a candidate she finds completely disgusting and worthless is professional malpractice. If he wins, I can hear Pletka in four years: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” Along with all the other people who vote for DDT.

[Note: A must read is Alexandra Petri’s satiric response to Pletka.]

August 25, 2020

DDT’s Claims False But He’s the GOP Agenda

After Day One of the GOP convention, party lawmakers and strategists asked for more vision and less doom, but the RNC has no values in its platform. It’s sole agenda is Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)—whatever he wants—“the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration.” His campaign page does list 50 points divided into ten categories beginning with new jobs and businesses while cutting taxes and giving more money to large companies. It finishes with hiring more police, being more punitive on immigration, and creating more military strength both here on Earth and in space. Nothing about anti-abortion, religious freedom, or the U.S. Constitution—nothing that DDT used to woo the evangelicals.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) concluded last night’s convention by falsely claiming “our side is working on policy”—unlike the Democrats. The GOP non-platform of 2020 using only catch phrases and no debating or writing proves Scott wrong. Annie Lowrey wrote in The Atlantic, the GOP is “the party of no content,” which has grown “remarkably quiet on how they would govern” and “moved into a queasy post-policy space.” Follow Scott’s claim with questions, What policies? And where are they?”

The four-night production speaks only to DDT’s base. Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who lost his district in 2018, said that parties only “about the cult of personality don’t so well in the long term.” After his narrow loss to a Democrat in 2018, the two-term Curbelo said DDT wasn’t the future for “a small government, free enterprise party.”

The GOP has the advantage of spinning off the Democrats’ convention. Speakers last night stressed what a lovely person DDT is: kind, compassionate, empathetic, just downright sweet. Certainly not racist, despite references to “Chinese virus,” and much better than his opponent, Joe Biden. Other rosy views included how well DDT did in handling COVID-19—with no numbers of deaths or infections—and his humanitarian treatment in criminal justice. These perspectives, as well as the sunny view of the economy, erased the past seven months. [A round-up of commentary from the Daily Kos.]

Tonight, Eric Trump who professed his love for his father, touted peace in the Middle East, (eradicating any notice of Palestinians), and cited his father’s love for law and order, (ignoring the many arrests of his associates and Eric’s subpoena to appear in a fraud investigation regarding the Trump Organization). If Eric wants to claim the Fifth Amendment, he must appear in court and give that response to every question.

Also discordant was the naturalization ceremony for five people in the White House while DDT is blocking all other naturalizations throughout the U.S. because they must appear in person. For purely partisan purposes, DDT used the White House to present people as props from places he called “sh*thole countries.” 

Another speaker allowed to speak, Abby John, praised the police of being “smart” if they racially-profile her biracial son, saying, “Statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.” 

The speech drawing the biggest controversy was the one from Pompeo who bragged about giving a possibly illegal, and definitely unethical, partisan speech from Jerusalem, where he is on official business. U.S. policy is that the U.S. speaks with one voice overseas and not for one political party. According to updated memos, approved by Pompeo, give this instruction:

“Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.”

Pompeo is not exempted, and restrictions are more strict for U.S. diplomats overseas. Last month, he sent the directive to all people on diplomatic and consular posts. State Department employees expressed disappointment in Pompeo, but many were not surprised because of his past partisan activities. Left-learning pro-Israel organizations expressed opposition to Pompeo’s choice of backdrop for his speech because of the partisan U.S.-Israel relationship. Yet he needs DDT’s support for a 2024 presidential run.

My favorite message from many of the speakers is that people in the United States need to think for themselves—as long as they think the way that these same speakers tell them to do.

One of the speakers for the second night of the Republican National Convention was scrubbed from the program for her QAnon tweet telling her 40,000+ followers to investigate an evidence-free Jewish plot to enslave the world. On the same night that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke from Israel, Mary Ann Mendoza, a DDT campaign advisory board member, was supposedly going to speak about her son’s 2014 death caused by a drunk driver illegally in the U.S. The anti-Semitic tweet related lying smears about Jewish banking forces determined to enslave non-Jews and promote world wars as well as Nazi hoaxes. Her tweet described Hillary Clinton as a “Satanic High Priestess” and the smell of sulfur in Barack Obama’s Washington home, relating him to the devil and Hell. Former Utah GOP legislator Sheryl Allen has called for the RNC to remove House candidate Burgess Owens, another Qanon believer, from speaking tomorrow night.

In a disastrous press conference, DDT rolled out  his convention the day before with a “breakthrough” for his new COVID-19 miracle cure. He pushed an emergency use authorization (EUA) of the convalescent plasma transfusion treatment with antibodies with the claim of 35 percent mortality reduction. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said “we dream” of this statistic, and FDA commissioner Steven Hahn glowed about “a 35 percent improvement in survival,” even defending it to a reporter who questioned whether he was over-selling the treatment.

The truth emerged about the “breakthrough” being only hype from incomplete data by a subgroup of hospitalized patients. A scientist from the Mayo Clinic study didn’t know the source of DDT’s figure he attributed to the study. It wasn’t in any material. Dr. Walid Gellad, leader of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, added, “For the first time ever, I feel like official people in communications and people at the F.D.A. grossly misrepresented data about a therapy.”

In addition, the study, lacking a placebo group, was not a randomized clinical trial,  Duncan Young, a professor of intensive care medicine at the University of Oxford, UK described problems with the EUA:

“We will not know if it works, as the EUA essentially causes clinicians to give the treatment rather than entering patients in clinical trials. There may also be a rationing problem as it may be in short supply.”

Hahn said the criticisms are “entirely justified”; DDT and Azar are keeping mum.

Lawmakers have written Hahn about concerns of politicization. The day before Hahn’s erroneous comments, DDT tweeted an evidence-free accusation of the FDA being part of the “deep state” and creating difficulties in testing “vaccines and therapeutics … hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd.”  The letter cited the announcement as the latest example of politicizing science since the pandemic, i.e., the hydroxychloroquine debacle, criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the White House coronavirus task force sidelining the CDC. Hahn also refused to answer a question about DDT’s evidence-free claim about 99 percent of virus cases being “totally harmless.”

The letter requests information about future vaccine reviews and FDA’s safeguards against political pressure by September 4.

Although the White House denies the information, DDT is considering a EUA to avoid regulatory procedures for vaccines so he can get a vaccine out by Election Day. U.S. health agencies require a trial of 30,000 people; an experimental virus vaccine is being tested in the UK on 10,000 people. HHS stated the FDA won’t issue an EUA before the election, hoping the vaccine will be developed by early 2021. We’ll see: DDT said Sunday, “You’ll be hearing about [vaccines] very soon.” Russia and China bypassed large clinical trials, but only 24 percent of Russian doctors said they would take the vaccine.

Yesterday was another disaster for DDT with the testimony of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy before the House Oversight Committee. Although he felt that DDT’s war against mail-in ballots was “not helpful,” he thinks his only job with the USPS is making the trucks run on time. According to DeJoy, he isn’t responsible for removing the sorting machines, cutting overtime, and slowing down delivery. He doesn’t know who is, and he doesn’t care. And he won’t change them. He doesn’t know how much anything costs in the postal service except for a first-class stamp. He lied about delayed deliveries before he took over, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she will subpoena his calendar for information about his secret meetings after he said he’d check with counsel to see if he has to submit a public record to Congress. To a question from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) about his Senate testimony, he said he couldn’t remember what he told them—a problem for a person who lies.

According to internal USPS not available to members of the Senate when DeJoy lied to them, steep declines began when DeJoy started and not in April or May with the pandemic.  He took over in early June; priority mail was delivered over 90 percent of the time in early July but dropped to under 80 percent within a month. Marketing mail experienced an 8.42 percent decline and periodical deliveries, 9.57 percent. DeJoy did not share these documents with Congress. DeJoy said anyone who blamed him for the changes in USPS is lying. Walter Einenkel describes questioning by 30-year postal employee, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI).  answer—democracy and rights.

For the first time in two days of hate-filled monologues, Melania Trump expressed sympathy for the families and friends of the 182,404 people (or more) who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. All the hugging, kissing, and closeness of people at the convention may add to the 5,955,728 people in the U.S. known to contract the disease. That figure will top six million before the convention ends.

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