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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,796

Journal Archives

Trump Might Try to Postpone the Election. That's Unconstitutional.

He should be removed unless he relents.

I have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, including voting for Donald Trump in 2016. I wrote op-eds and a law review article protesting what I believe was an unconstitutional investigation by Robert Mueller. I also wrote an op-ed opposing President Trump’s impeachment.

But I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist. But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.

Here is what President Trump tweeted:
The nation has faced grave challenges before, just as it does today with the spread of the coronavirus. But it has never canceled or delayed a presidential election. Not in 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln was expected to lose and the South looked as if it might defeat the North. Not in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression. Not in 1944 during World War II.

So we certainly should not even consider canceling this fall’s election because of the president’s concern about mail-in voting, which is likely to increase because of fears about Covid-19. It is up to each of the 50 states whether to allow universal mail-in voting and Article II of the Constitution explicitly gives the states total power over the selection of presidential electors.


A Half-Century After Wallace, Trump Echoes the Politics of Division

George Wallace’s speeches and interviews from his 1968 campaign feature language and appeals that sound familiar again as the “law and order” president sends federal forces into the streets.

The nation’s cities were in flames amid protests against racial injustice and the fiery presidential candidate vowed to use force. He would authorize the police to “knock somebody in the head” and “call out 30,000 troops and equip them with two-foot-long bayonets and station them every few feet apart.”

The moment was 1968 and the “law and order” candidate was George C. Wallace, the former governor of Alabama running on a third-party ticket. Fifty-two years later, in another moment of social unrest, the “law and order” candidate is already in the Oval Office and the politics of division and race ring through the generations as President Trump tries to do what Wallace could not.

Comparisons between the two men stretch back to 2015 when Mr. Trump ran for the White House denouncing Mexicans illegally crossing the border as rapists and pledging to bar all Muslims from entering the country. But the parallels have become even more pronounced in recent weeks after the killing of George Floyd as Mr. Trump has responded to demonstrations by sending federal forces into the streets. The Wallace-style tactics were on display again on Wednesday as Mr. Trump stirred racist fears about low-income housing moving into the suburbs.

“In the presidential campaign of 1968, my father, Governor George Wallace, understood the potential political power of downtrodden and disillusioned working class white voters who felt alienated from government,” his daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, said by email the other day. “And Donald Trump is mining the same mother lode.”


I never believed in Wallace's "rehabilitation" after he was shot and paralyzed, just as I never believed in Chuck Colson's "rehabilitation" during his prison stretch.

Pompeo clashes with lawmakers over troop withdrawal in Germany and watchdog firing

Source: Washington Post

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashed bitterly with Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday in his first visit to the panel in more than a year.

Lawmakers grilled the nation’s top diplomat on an array of issues, including the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany and Pompeo’s firing of the department’s internal watchdog, who had been investigating alleged wrongdoing by him and his wife.

The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Robert Menendez, said the U.S. administration had “abetted” Russian President Vladimir Putin by withdrawing the troops from Germany and took aim at the central focus of Pompeo’s tenure, Iran, noting that the country “is much closer to a nuclear bomb than when you came into office.” He also criticized Pompeo’s “maximum pressure campaign” for failing to stop Iran’s aggressive actions in the Middle East.

Menendez said that for all of Pompeo’s “bluster against China,” it has not stopped Beijing’s “march in the South China Sea” or its “suppressing and oppressing its own people” in Hong Kong.

“Under your watch, the United States has faced setback after setback on the world stage, ceding leverage and influence to our stated adversaries,” Menendez said.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/pompeo-clashes-with-lawmakers-over-troop-withdrawal-in-germany-and-watchdog-firing/2020/07/30/186a1f8c-d272-11ea-af07-1d058ca137ae_story.html

In a new interview, Trump again shows that he's Putin's puppet

So Jonathan Swan of Axios did what Chris Wallace of Fox News did not do in an otherwise admirable interview with President Trump: He asked about the reports of Russia placing bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The responses were as appalling as you might expect, with the “America First” president once again turning into a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Swan began by asking whether Trump had discussed the reported bounties during his phone call with Putin on July 23. “No, that was a call to discuss other things,” Trump said, explaining that they discussed “nuclear proliferation, which is a very big problem.” Nuclear proliferation is indeed important, although it’s doubtful that Putin has either the ability or the willingness to do much about it. But Putin does have it in his power to stop the headhunting of U.S. troops — if, in fact, it has occurred. But Trump did not ask him to do so or upbraid him for reportedly having carried out such operations in the past. To listen to Trump, the threat to the soldiers under his command wasn’t important enough to bring up.

Trump again cast doubt on the extensive reports, calling them “fake news.” In fact, according to news reporting, the CIA was convinced of the veracity of the claims — especially after Navy SEALs uncovered $500,000 in cash at a Taliban outpost — while the National Security Agency was more skeptical. But the intelligence was credible enough to be widely circulated. Trump flat-out lied when he claimed: “It never reached my desk.” It was reportedly included in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) in late February. Granted, Trump seldom reads the PDB (in spite of his laughable claim to Swan that “I read it a lot,” and “I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anyone you’ve interviewed in a long time”), but that’s no excuse.

“If it had reached my desk,” Trump said, “I would have done something about it. … But it never reached my desk.” The Russian bounties have reached his desk. They’ve been public since the New York Times broke the news on June 26. Even on the dubious assumption that Trump was previously unaware of the intelligence (which first reached the White House in early 2019), he is certainly aware of it now. But he has not had one word of condemnation for Putin. Not one.


This Republican implosion has been a long time coming

It should now be clear to everyone: The Republican Party is incapable of governing.

Sure, this sounds partisan. In fact, it’s an analytical reflection based on what is happening right before our eyes.

You would think that with our nation facing its most profound economic crisis since the 1930s, married to a public health disaster and growing unrest over racial injustice, the party that controls the White House and the U.S. Senate would get serious.

Instead, the Senate’s Republican majority and the Trump White House are in chaos, unable to produce a coherent relief bill to keep the economy from spiraling further downward.

Republicans admit this.

“It’s a mess,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) of the party’s own ramshackle proposal. “I can’t figure out what this bill’s about.”

A telltale sign of the Republicans’ flight from responsibility is that they waited until the last minute before launching their haphazard scramble because they were hoping to avoid having to do anything.


For third day in a row, Florida sets record-high coronavirus deaths

Source: Tampa Bay Times

The state also added nearly 10,000 coronavirus cases.

For a third day in a row, Florida added a record-high number of coronavirus deaths, recording 252 deaths Thursday.

That brought the weekly death average up to 154 people dead each day, which is the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic. Since March, 6,709 people in Florida have died from the virus, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The state also logged another 9,956 coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 461,379 infections. The positivity rate, or the percentage of positive test results among all tests processed, was 12 percent.

Thursday was the second time, this week or ever, Florida has announced more than 200 COVID-19 deaths in a day.

Read more: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/07/30/for-third-day-in-a-row-florida-sets-record-high-coronavirus-deaths/

Trump, With Racial Foghorn, Blows Up Right-Wing Rationale For Rescinding Fair Housing Policy

For years, the right’s best think tanks and commentators have criticized an Obama-era anti-segregation policy by changing the subject.

Conservative scholars and officials have argued that the policy — aimed at giving the feds more authority to fight segregation in housing — was “federal overreach on steroids,” and that it could bankrupt poor communities in need of help.

Finally, on Wednesday, President Trump did what they have been asking for. He ended the policy.

But he also, as he so often does, screamed the quiet part loud, using an incredibly racist explanation for tossing the Obama rule out: suburbanites would “no longer be bothered.”


In GOP plan, you can't sue your employers for giving you COVID -- but they can sue you

If you were looking for evidence that Republicans in Congress have no sympathy for workers facing illness or worse from the coronavirus pandemic, look past the party’s proposal to cut unemployment benefits.

Instead, focus on the provision in its coronavirus relief bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calls a must-have in any bill that passes: It’s liability protection for employers whose employees get sick at work.

This proposal has received scant attention in coverage of the GOP plan. But it’s more vicious than you could possibly imagine.

The GOP proposal would erect almost insurmountable obstacles to lawsuits by workers who become infected with the coronavirus at their workplaces.

It would absolve employers of responsibility for taking any but the most minimal steps to make their workplaces safe. It would preempt tough state workplace safety laws (not that there are very many of them).

And while shutting the courthouse door to workers, it would allow employers to sue workers for demanding safer conditions.

This is the provision that McConnell has described as his “red line” in negotiations over the next coronavirus relief bill, meaning that he intends to demand that it be incorporated in anything passed on Capitol Hill and sent to President Trump for his signature. The provision would be retroactive to last Dec. 1 and remain in effect at least until Oct. 1, 2024.


Three big takeaways from Trump's awful new admission about Putin

President Trump just admitted in a new interview that during his recent conversation with Vladimir Putin, he didn’t ask the Russian leader about the news that Russia might have paid bounties to Taliban-linked militias for the killing of U.S. troops.

Because Trump is often so unabashedly shameless about his corrupt motives and his prioritizing of his own interests above all else, his efforts to justify his conduct frequently end up incriminating him further. That’s the case here as well — in a particularly troubling way.

Asked by Axios’s Jonathan Swan if he brought up this issue in his July 23 call with Putin, Trump blithely said he had not.

“No, that was a phone call to discuss other things,” Trump replied. “And frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news.” Trump further confirmed: “I have never discussed it with him."


It can't be more obvious that this Republican president is a traitor to his own country.

Biden's election will end national nightmare 2.0

Moments after becoming president on August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford said, “Our long national nightmare is over.” Having served a quarter-century in Congress, he understood that presidents are to “take care” that laws produced by the first branch of government are “faithfully executed.” The nation in 1974 was eager for a collegial respite from the gladiatorial strife that had consumed the country during urban disorders and the Watergate stew of scandals.

Joe Biden’s election will end national nightmare 2.0, the nation’s second domestic debacle in two generations. Hell, Thomas Hobbes supposedly said, is truth seen too late, and in 2020, the nation, having seen it in the nick of time, will select for the Oval Office someone who, having served 36 years 16 blocks to the east, knows this: A complex nation cannot be governed well without the lubricating conciliations of a healthy legislative life.

Biden won the Democrats’ nomination by soundly defeating rivals who favored — or, pandering, said they favored — a number of niche fixations (e.g., abolishing ICE, defunding police). He clinched his nomination earlier and easier than did the winners in the Democrats’ most recent intensely contested nomination competitions (Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton in 2008; Clinton against Bernie Sanders in 2016).

Biden does not endorse Medicare-for-all: He understands, as some competitors for the nomination amazingly did not, that for several decades organized labor’s most important agenda has been negotiating employer-provided health care as untaxed compensation. Similarly, Biden does not oppose fracking, which provides many of the more than 300,000 Pennsylvania jobs supported by the oil and gas industry, and many others in Ohio and elsewhere. He understands, as some progressives seem not to, that presidential elections are won not by pleasing the most intense faction but by assembling a temperate coalition.

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