Keep it Positive – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.15.2020

Keep it Positive

This has been a dismaying week in politics for me as a Democrat.

As the political contest has gotten real, and because support for the field of candidates is split three to five ways, things are getting ugly.

It can’t go on like this or there is no chance we will achieve anything resembling unity in the months ahead.

There is a good chance that at least a third of democrat voters are going to feel like the nominee of the party does not represent them, if they refuse to support that person, for whatever reason, because he or she is a democratic-socialist, or because he or she raises money from super-pacs, because he or she might be worth a billion dollars or more, because she is a woman or he is gay, because they are too young or too old, or Jewish or whatever, then we will have ceded the field, and engineered our own defeat.

For all of us out hear in the audience, now is the time to listen, and if you are going to speak up, so it to demand that the candidates, all of them, remain positive.

Admonish your friends if you hear or see them running down the candidates they do not prefer. There is no place for this. It is not the time to be pandering to those people who love to put forward the notion that democrats and republicans are all the same, we are not.

That kind of false equivalency is poison, and the more often it is repeated, the more people believe it, and the more likely it is that the orange menace will be reelected.

Do not play into it.

Keep it positive.

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.08.2020

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders

With all of our eyes on the presidential campaign, and the nominating process in the Democratic Party, with all of the interested parties taking up positions and staking out ground in loosely organized “caucuses,” such as the so-called “progressive-caucus,” we have to be mindful of the fact that there is a lot more at stake in 2020 than the presidency.

We need a Democratic president to sign Democratic bills into law, but if we seriously hope to get any of our bills to the signing desk, we need to keep control of the House of Representatives, we need to increase the majority of the democratic caucus in the House and we need to take control of the Senate, we need to send Mitch McConnel packing.

This is why it matters who we pick for our standard bearer.

Even if we lost the presidency, taking control of the Senate would put more power behind progressive causes and give us more effective oversight over the executive branch. We need a candidate who can generate that enthusiasm and get people to the polls, and we need to stick together.

It is not just the presidency that is on the line in this election, it is Congress, and it is not just the 2020 Congress that is on the line, it is the make up of Congress for the next five elections.

The most important thing the legislature will do in the next congress is redistricting, following the apportionment of Congressional seats after the census. If we are serious about pursuing our progressive agenda for the long term, we must control this process. If we want the government to respond to the will of the majority on any number of things: from taxation to gun control, from executive oversight to a woman’s right to choose, from criminal justice reform to the War Powers Act, from…you name the issue, if we want to be governed by the will of the majority we must control this process.

The apportionment of electoral college votes follows the apportionment of congressional districts. We cannot eliminate the electoral college unless we are able to pass constitutional amendments, I will address these numerical challenges shortly.

If we want to see more equitable representation of the majority in the electoral college right now then we must control congressional apportionment and redistricting. If we have simple majorities in congress, and a democratic president who is willing to act, we can make the apportionment process fairer. Even if we don’t have a president willing to change the apportionment laws in US Code Title 2, simple majorities in congress will help us to create congressional districts that represent the people on a more equitable basis.

Keep this in mind, until we get the number of votes in congress, in the House and the Senate, and in State Houses across the country, unless we get a sufficient number of Governors and a President willing to pass a constitutional amendment there won’t be any constitutional amendments and the struggle for justice and equality will have to take place through the legislative process.

There are two ways to amend the constitution: the process either requires that two thirds of the members of both houses of congress vote to approve it, and then it must be ratified by two thirds of the states, or that two thirds of the states call for a constitutional assembly to amend the constitution in which proposed amendments must be ratified by three fourths of the states.

People talk about passing constitutional amendments all the time, but this is a very difficult process and if want to see it happen, to do this we would need:

1. 290 votes in the House of Representatives, the house is currently divided 233D to 197R, there is one independent (who typically votes with the republicans, and there are four seats currently vacant.
2. 67 votes in the Senate, the Senate is currently divided between the democratic and republican caucuses 53R to 47D (this includes independents who caucus with the party most closely aligned to their values) with a tying vote going to the republican voce president.
3. 34 States to ratify, State governments are currently divided between democrats and republicans 26R to 24D, while their legislatures are divided 67R to 37D

These numbers represent the numerical hurdles the people would have to cross in order to affect enduring changes to the structure of our democracy. We cannot pin our hopes on this, it is pie in the sky thinking.

If we intend to do this then we are back to where we began this essay, the absolute need to control the redistricting process after the census, we must have a willingness to change congressional apportionment if we win both chambers of congress and the presidency in November.

We must elect a president who is willing to sign into law enforceable provisions to restrain presidential power, to enforce the authority of congress to engage in oversight, and to reshape the federal judiciary including the addition of justices to the Supreme Court.

We are in a precarious time, and we must hold together, we cannot attack each other with broad labels intended to vilify one another, we cannot afford to pit so-called democratic socialists against so-called corporate democrats, so-called liberal progressives against so-called pragmatic progressives. There is too much at stake to allow ourselves to be divided this way.

We have to resist it.

I know a lot of people who like to pretend that both parties are the same, and they may have a point, but here is the truth: it is not the parties that are the same, the Democratic party and the Republican Party have radically different platforms.

It is the politicians who are the same, because it is the nature of these politicians, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they are on, it is in their nature to be feckless, cowardly, deceptive, ego-maniacs those are the unifying characteristics of all politicians.

This is not to say that they completely unreliable, that they do not love their families, or that they are all wicked people, but it is to recognize that the power of high office attracts the highly corruptible.

There are two tasks in front of us right now, as voters who care about our liberal and progressive causes, as people who ant to see the Voting Rights Act reinstated and expanded, who want to see structural changes to our representative democracy that takes big money out of politics and returns power to the people, who want to see a woman’s right to equal pay, equal treatment under the law and the right of self-determination to be protected, who want to enforce the separation between Church and State, if we want to curb the rise of white nationalists and domestic terrorists; the first thing we have to do is hold together through the next nine months, and we have to bring more people into the voting process, we have to these things thoughtfully, carefully and deliberately, even if the party does not nominate the candidate we prefer.

With that being said, when I look at the field of candidates running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, when I look at the size and strength of their respective coalition’s, when I weigh them against each other, I have to conclude that our best bet is to support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, not because I support all of his ideas, though I am in favor of most of them, it is because he is steady, his support is steady, his message is good, his vision is good for America, and if we all get behind him we will win.

Take Out the Trash – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
01.25.2020

Take Out the Trash

You heard the impeachment managers from the House of Representatives, it is time for the Senate to do their work and clean out the oval office.

Donald J. Trump must go!

Sadly it is not likely to happen. The GOP has turned into a cult of personality, it is not the Grand Old Party anymore, it is now the Great Oligarchichal Party of America, completely unmoored from its founding as the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

It has become the party of anti-intellectual no-nothings, totally corrupt, self-dealing self-serving garbage, and we have to throw the bums out.

We all know that the republicans in the Senate are faithless, craven cowards. They have abandoned their oath of office, which they never meant to uphold, and they are planning to sell out the constitution for their personal short term political gain.

We must hold them accountable. If they are unwilling to hold Donald trump accountable, the rest of must hold them all accountable, take our country back, and uphold the rule of law.

This means we have to stick together.

We have to stay unified, all the way through the campaign season which is now in full swing.

We have to get behind and stay behind the candidate who captures the momentum, we have to stop letting our idealism get in the way of progress.

Let the republicans have their moment over the next few days, because it is their moment, and there is nothing we can do about it. Let them have it, they can stew in their garbage until the next election when we clear them all out in a clean sweep.

Remember people, this election year is a census year, and whoever control congress controls redistricting, if we let that slip away we give up the whole game for the next ten years.

Trump is getting to be acquitted, not in the interest of justice, but because fifty four Republican Senators are not able to bear witness to Trump’s corruption through the filters they have set up to blind themselves to their own.

Correct the Record – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
01.18.2020

Correct the Record
Donald Trump like to refer to his impeachment as the “impeachment hoax.”

It is not a hoax. Donald Trump has been impeached. It cannot be undone.

I was listening to one of his lawyers, Alan Dershowitz talk about the “alleged impeachment,” and about his desire to speak up against the unconstitutional impeachment of Donald Trump.

The impeachment of Donald Trump is not a thing that has been alleged, is being alleged, it is a historical reality.

The 116th Congress has impeached the 45th President of the United States.

Donald Trump has been impeached for Abuse of Power, and Obstruction of Congress.

It is grossly irresponsible for the fourth estate, our media, to pretend that this hasn’t happened, or to allow anyone they are speaking to, interviewing, participating on a panel with to issue these kinds of counterfactual statements without challenging them.

Donald Trump has been impeached, he is a disgrace.

The process of impeachment was legal, therefor it was constitutional, Alan Dershowitz is wrong.

We cannot let this criminal regime and its supporters continue to lie on his behalf, muddle the truth, pretend that Donald Trump’s crimes in office do not matter.

They matter.

Correct the record.

Speak the truth.

A.O.C. and the Self-Important Caucus – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
01.01.2020

A.O.C. and the Self-Important Caucus
I heard the representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez complaining about former Vice President, Joe Biden the other day.

She offered her insight regarding his candidacy, stating that in another country the two of them wouldn’t even be in the same party. I think that she meant it as some kind of scathing rebuke of Joe Biden, who is running against her preferred candidate Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Of course Bernie Sanders is not a democratic, he is an independent running as a self-styled democratic-socialist. Ocasio-Cortex is a democrat but she styles herself as a democratic-socialist as well.

There is no Democratic-Socialist Party in America, maybe there should be, but there isn’t, there are a few minor political parties, like the Green Party and the Libertarians, they hold a few seats in local governments around the country. The United States remains a two party system, with the Democrats and the Republicans holding sway.

Like it or not that is the way it is.

It is true, what she said, that in another country she and Joe Biden would not be in the same party. The insight her rebuke lacks is this: in those other countries the party she would find herself in would at best be a minor part of a governing coalition.

Her comments also fail to appreciate how she came to represent her constituents. She was elected to office as a Democrat, had she run as a third party candidate or an independent, it is not likely she would have been successful.

She ran as a Democrat in a democratic primary and unseated the incumbent, who was a member of the Democratic Party leadership. Her opponent accepted his defeat, allowing her to use all of the tools the party had to offer to win the seat for real.

That is the way the Party system works, and it worked for her.

Now Ocasio-Cortez wants to campaign for her pal on the notion that the Democratic Party should have a smaller tent. In this election year we have to stay focused on the positive, talk about the ideas, tell me what you stand for.
If your team is spending political capital telling us why they are against the Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg or Michael Bloomberg it only confirms that your preferred candidate will not be able to come into power with a strong enough constituency to accomplish any of your legislative goals.

We do not need ideological puritans holding office with their precious “integrity” intact, while they sit around out of power with their so-called progressivism stuck in reverse, because the other team has won.

Keep your eye on the prize people, in 2020 its not just the white house on the line, its redistricting, and no matter who wins the nomination we all have to work together if we are going to get past this moment in time.

Assassination – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
01.01.2020

Assassination
We have arrived at this, foreign policy by political murder.

I will not pretend that the United States hasn’t always employed this tool to carry out its agenda, we have been in the assassination game for quite some time, from the beginning in fact. This is not anything to be proud of even though it is something we must acknowledge.

This ass assassination is different. It is in the open, it is public.

It hearkens back to when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney attempted to normalize torture. We had to acknowledge that the United States tortures people, we always have, and it is no good.

Torture is a criminal act, so is assassination, even in a time of war these things are criminal, they must remain criminal, when they are discovered those responsible must be held accountable.

If we turn the corner and move toward accepting these things as a normal way of conducting our international affairs, we are doomed.

Donald Trump and his ilk are lazy and feckless, they want what they want and they want it now. They are no interested in developing constituencies, in building consensus, in forging alliances or long term cooperative effort.

They just want to hurry to the end, cheat and lie, violate our standards, breach the norms, and throw ethics out the window.

Their vision of the social order is not just, there is no compact, there is only might makes right.

The reason why we do not assassinate the leadership of those we face on the battlefield, is so that we have someone to make peace with when the battle is over. If we eliminate the leadership of our adversaries we cannot engage in meaningful negotiations, agreements cannot be arrived at, or if they are arrived at they cannot be enforced.

Donald Trump has brought us to another low, he has made our relationship with the Iranians much more dangerous. American’s will be killed because of what he has done, it he cannot say that his actions have protected anyone.

Assassination is a shameful thing, those who are justifying it are behaving shamefully, the shame does not belong to Donald Trump alone. It belongs to all of us.

Impeached – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
12.21.2019

Impeached
Something good happened this week in Washington D.C., it doesn’t matter what the motivation for it was. It was good and it doesn’t matter that the impeachment of Donald Trump was a partisan affair, though it is a stain on our societal-conscience that it had to be. What matters is that the man was impeached and that is good.

It was just.

Donald Trump conspired with a foreign adversary to win the presidency, he has been lying to the American people about that and many other things since before he took the oath of office.

He has committed many crimes since then, including fraud, perjury, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, obstruction of congress, and lying to the FBI, submitting false reports to congress, ordering federal agencies to lie to the American people and to produce false reports, and he is profiting from his office by receiving emoluments both from the States, and from foreign governments.

Donald Trump is corrupt to the core and it is good that he has been called to account.

We must do more.

Donald Trump has been protected from being indicted by a Department of Justice policy that does not have the force if law, He has been protected from being investigated for his crimes by his Attorney General, and so his impeachment in the house was the only path forward to hold him accountable.

Despite the best efforts of the Republicans in the House of Representatives the impeachment was passed. The majority of the American people want this man removed from office, but there are no republicans in congress who support it.

They must be voted out as well. Such feckless people cannot be allowed to have access to power. They have violated their trust and their oath of office.

Donald Trump is unworthy of the presidency. The Senate must hold him accountable, remove him from office and bar him from ever seeking to hold federal office again.

It is time for Republicans in the Senate to do the right thing, to stand up for principle, to stand up as patriots and put the orange menace out.

Tear the band-aid off and do it.

Strip Mitch Mc Connell of his office while you are at it, appoint a new majority leader, appoint someone committed to justice, to America, and to protecting our constitution.

Reject the tyrant and his minions, do it now.

Every day that Donald Trump remains in office he poses a threat to the security of the United States. Inauguration day 2021 is to far away.

Donald Trump has sold us out to our adversaries, weekend us on the world stage and he threatens to set the American people against each other in something like a civil war.

The time for action is now.

Impeach Donald Trump – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
12.06.2019

Impeach Donald Trump
The fake president is going to be impeached!

Thank goodness, nevermind the naysayers, those who want to decry this development as an act of partisan politics. It is partisan, but that is only because the democrats in congress are showing a genuine concern for the rule of law, our national security, and the integrity of our elections.

It is true that there are some partisans that have been calling for the impeachment of the president since he took office. You can complain that they were being presumptive, but it does not mean that they were wrong. Donald Trump conspired with a foreign power to win the presidency in the first place, and he is set to do it again if nobody stops him.

He is corrupt to his core, and his corruption is spreading to every branch of government.

Those who were calling for his impeachment from t=day one, they may have been presumptuous but they were right.

Donald Trump is a criminal and he must be removed from office, if the Senate won’t do it when he stands trial there, then the people will have to do it November, but either way history has to record that his conduct is unacceptable, will not be tolerated, and cannot continue.

It is the duty of all Americans to stand behind this impeachment.

The day he ordered a government agency to lie about the size of the crowds attending his inauguration was the first instance of an abuse of power that showed us what we could expect during the course of his term.

It was a small thing, and completely in keeping with his character; people laughed and made light of it, but I was reminded of Master Ittei’s words from the Hagekure: “Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.” Master lttei commented, “Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.”

This is more than just a bit of strategy, it is a philosophy for life.

Donald Trump cannot be trusted to execute his oath faithfully, and censuring him is not enough.

Congress must let the world know that his presidency is not acceptable to the American people, and every single one of his supporters in the House of Representatives, and the Senate must be put on the record that they approve or disapprove of his actions, whatever the case may be.

They must be put on the record and held accountable for their vote by the judgement of their constituents, and of history, ultimately.

Let come what may!

Rudy, Rudy…Rudy – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.30.2019

Rudy, Rudy…Rudy
There is not much to like about Rudy Giuliani, even when he was ostensibly a “good-guy,” during his time heading up the U.S Attorney’s Office at the Southern District of New York, or his time as Mayor of New York City, he was a blow hard.

Now look at him…he is worse than ridiculous.

There is something going with Rudy that makes him more detestable than the ordinary Trump sycophant…because he is not the ordinary sycophant. He is a former U.S. Attorney. He knows the law, and his shameful disregard of it is despicable.

His desire to be near the center of power, cavorting with the Russian mob, courting them, seeking money from them all while acting as the so called personal attorney of the President of the United States, it is beyond outrageous.

So what happened to Rudy? Where did he go wrong?

The most uncomplicated analysis suggests that he, like Donald Trump is undergoing a process of mental decline. This would speak to his poor representation of himself and his client, his inability to articulate a coherent defense for their activities, both on the campaign trail and abroad, but it does not explain the corruption and the depravity.

Trump’s corruption is understandable, he has always been corrupt, he was raised in it.

Rudy was once a crime-fighter….wasn’t he?

He prosecuted people and put them in jail, he took on the organized crime syndicates of his day,

Did he do those things without corruption?

The most banal analysis suggests that Giuliani’s current lifestyle of pandering and graft is all about keeping him in a lifestyle that he has become accustomed to. That analysis also suggests that he was incapable of making an honest living.

If that is true, it begs the question; was Rudy corrupt the whole time?

He was always a creature of politics, it came out most clearly in his time as Mayor, he bent the rules, he started the dreaded program of Stop and Frisk, he dared people to challenge him in his efforts to “clean up the city,” a lot of people suffered under his regime, innocent people were arrested, beaten, prosecuted, jailed, at rates higher than normal, and Rudy knew it, but he did not care. He justified it in the utilitarian mode, suggesting that the end justified the means,

When he was still an active politician he thought that the trajectory he had established himself would put him in the United States Senate, and failing that he thought it might put him in the White House. He failed at that too.

Now, having gone to work for Donald Trump, it is clear that the end he sought was never the greatest good for the greatest number, but rather the greatest good for himself. He has proved that even the law does not matter to him, and he is happy to conspire with the Mafia, to keep him near the center of power.

He is a criminal, and it is likely that he always was.

Five More Years…Really, Is that what you Really Want – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.16.2019

Five More Years…Really, Is that what you Really Want?
I would love to hear this question get put to republican lawmakers every single day:

Do you really want another five years of Donald Trump?

Do you really want to have to answer to this lunatic, to answer for his corruption, to answer for his crimes every single day for the next five years, five months, five days?

Do you think it is good for America?

Does it make you look like a rational actor, a reasonable person, a good policy maker to have to defend all of Donald Trump’s lies, his self-aggrandizement, his profiteering from his office?

How can this be what you want for yourself, your constituents, your party or the country?

How can it be?

Do you think it will get better or worse if by some miracle he gets reelected, and at the same time the voters do not hold you accountable for your failure to uphold your oath?

Donald Trump, with the help of the Russians cheated and therefore stole the election in 2016, In your heart you know this is true.

He is trying to do the same thing again, this time he is trying to do it in lain sight.

You do not have to let him.

Trust me, if you take the time now to exercise some political courage, you will be rewarded. As much as I disagree with your right-wing agenda, your agenda will be better served. More importantly, the country will be better served…right now we should all e able to come together and agree that this is the most important thing.

Impeach Donald Trump, remove him from office, and bar him from seeking office ever again.

Do it now, find your courage, there is no time to waste.