What If?

We will never get to see what the results of Obama and the
Democratic Party’s liberal agenda would have been if the obstructionists in the
Republican Party did not hold the Democrats back.  One area where this is true is in the health
of America’s economy. We will never see if loosening up on the budget a bit
would have allowed business to come back even better than it has since the
recession, because the Republicans insisted that the budget needed to be cut
and threatened to shut down government unless it was cut. So we see what
semi-austerity allowed, but we can’t go back and take that other pathway and
see what would have resulted from a little spending, not go-wild spending but
careful injections of cash. They might have acted like those cortisone shots
people get for their arthritis, but we will never know. Instead we got The
Sequester, which as far as I can see has had no positive effects on our
economy.
We could have experimented with raising taxes on the
wealthiest people and, since corporations are now people, on corporations, and
although we did get rid of the Bush tax cuts this and was not enough to cause a change in our economy. Would higher taxes
have been a shot in the arm our economy needed or would these taxes have made
the business climate in America worse as the GOP informed us they would. Since
these things are predictions and since the variables we might have examined
never included any appreciable tax increases we will never know if America
might have done even better in the Obama years than it did.
We could have experimented with some basic gun regulations
like registrations of all gun sales with records retained for use by law
enforcement. We could have done this for perhaps five years and we would already
know the results by now. Did shooters still continue to target people who are
either captive in public spaces as in the case of schools or are congregating
socially in public places as malls, movie theaters, and churches? But an
obdurate group of extremists has managed to convince Americans that President
Obama is just waiting to take away all their guns and turn himself into
President-for-Life Obama, crushing our 2nd Amendment rights forever.
We will be the new Cuba. This is nonsense. Are the perpetrators really
frightened (I doubt it) or are they just trying to have their way with the
American people regardless of who the President is. (Much more likely)
What about infrastructure? If Obama had been allowed to begin
a few infrastructure projects (not Keystone) would that have brought up the
employment numbers? Would it have helped move more people into a comfortable
financial condition? We have no idea. We did not get to find out.
So when you hear the Republicans blame Obama for America’s
slow economic recovery, unless you are totally hypnotized by FOX News and have
to get your right wing fix every day, then you must admit that there is some
truth to the things I have just talked about. Perhaps instead of saving America
by refusing to give Obama (and the American people) a decent allowance the
Republicans are actually responsible for some of the atrophy in the America
economy. Why would you trust people who want to get rid of the Federal
government to mess with the Federal Budget? How small do you want your
government to be? These folks still want to end all social programs including
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and they have already made a start on
this in their home states.  So why would
we elect a Republican President and hand them the whole kit and caboodle when
we have already been following their policies by default and they have not been
working. Think it through and you might agree with some of this.
By Nancy Brisson

Why Would Anyone Be a Republican?

Somedays it seems that there are so many things to
say about the GOP that it is impossible to pick just one. When I hear the
ridiculous, tone deaf things Republicans say I can’t believe that anyone claims
an affiliation with this particular party.
It is not just because Ben Carson says that the
students in Oregon should have attacked that gunman en masse and that if they
did attack then the gunman would probably be able to shoot only the first
person to oppose him. We all know what this is – it is blame the victim.
If we should all be ready to attack an armed person
at any moment then I think we need to be like Israel and require everyone to
serve a stint in the military. That way we will be trained in combat, our
reflexes will be quick, and we will be skilled in the correct approach to
disarming an armed person intent on taking us out.
Carson, not yet sure he had made his point,
continued on to say that he would rather see someone riddled with bullets than
give up his guns. Who was ever actually offered that choice? Do we all get a
chance to answer? Is he actually saying that he would rather see people shot to
death than give up his guns? This is not in the context of a revolution, it is
in the context of a massacre. He is not Patrick Henry saying ‘give me liberty
or give me death.’ He is saying I will never give up my guns to protect your
son or daughter from being senselessly slaughtered. No one has asked for your
guns Ben Carson. We have asked for your commonsense as a fellow citizen and a responsible
and well-educated adult. But we wish we did have the guns that the shooters took
to classrooms in Oregon, Sandy Hook, Columbine and more.
Our clothing is not designed to make carrying guns
easy or stylish. Will we all buy gun belts with holsters and learn how to twirl
our six-shooters? We will have to put fashion designer on notice about this new
style. Do the comments made by Ben Carson fall into the category of ridiculous,
or in the tone deaf one? I pick both.
Next we get the news that a new committee will be
formed in Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood. Americans do not react.
They just keep texting one another and sharing cute jokes on Facebook and I do
these things too. But these men are using our money to hound poor women and
take away their health services and they are using sneaky tactics to close down
all the centers where any woman can get an abortion, in their own state at the
very least; but their true target is the entire nation.
I’m surprised they don’t offer a deal. If you
liberals give up abortion rights we’ll be quiet about same-sex marriage. But
they cannot be quiet about either because their religion won’t let them.
We don’t need a committee to investigate Planned
Parenthood. Isn’t there any way to stop these guys? Isn’t anyone angry about
the atavistic bombardment of women by these reactionary males trying to prove
their alpha male bona fides? Or if not isn’t anyone at least angry about our
tax dollars being spent to form another committee we don’t need.
Few people speak up. Do they like what the
Republicans are saying and doing, or is it that they have no desire to be an
activist? Ours is a country which relies on us to govern (of the people, by the
people, for the people). Sometimes we need to let our representatives know when
we are displeased. If you don’t want to march or carry a sign at least you can
sign a petition online or drop an email to your Congressperson. All their email
addresses are available online.
I could go on and list more ways the GOP ticked me
off this week but, for now, enough.  You’ll be happy to hear that there will be more
later.
By Nancy Brisson

Lawlessness and the 2016 Election

During the recent Republican debate the candidates paraded their lawlessness for all to see. But they have actually been acting above the law throughout the entire Obama Presidency. They don’t like the 10th Amendment, or they do but they don’t like that is no longer purely adhered to, so they meddle in state politics with their legislative power group ALEC writing actual laws for state legislatures to pass. They have already used new campaign finance rulings to allow big money donors to get Republicans elected to state legislatures in about thirty states so that ALEC finds easy backing for its special interest legislation.  Are we supposed to think that this is the American way?
They have convinced some Americans that Obama hates the 2nd Amendment and wants to take away their guns, while they allow anti-government militias to form and offer a version of vigilante “justice”. We saw the Oath Keepers appearing at the face-off between the Bureau of Land Management and rancher Cliven Bundy who let his cattle graze on Federal land for decades without paying the fees that other ranchers paid. We saw the Oath Keepers again, so intimidating, walking the streets of Ferguson one year after the death of Michael Brown as if they had a right to be there and enforce order when there is a flawed but functional police force already present in Ferguson.
Republicans have never accepted Roe v Wade, and I know they are sincere in their beliefs that they need to defend unborn babies, and not women. But Roe v Wade is the law of the land. Since when do we only have to obey laws we agree with? Republicans seem to feel that when the Supreme Court does not agree with their take on an issue then the court is acting as a political body rather than a judicial body. It has never been entirely possible to appoint justices that are not at all political. But since Americas do not seem to elect the same party term after term, the court’s politics has stayed in a kind of balance. When decisions go with the GOP take on issues as in the case of Citizen’s United, Democrats may want to overturn a law they find un-America, but they accept that ruling as law and they don’t suggest that we overthrow the entire Supreme Court.
Republicans, on the other hand, take every opportunity to challenge laws they don’t like by means that actually skirt the law and sometimes go over the line between what is legal and what is technically not so legal. The days when pro-life activists actually murdered abortion providers may have receded for now but only because tricky local laws like trap laws have proven less problematic and more effective. Trap laws write medical standards for abortion clinics that are deliberately set so high that clinics have to close because they cannot comply. These laws are in no way medically necessary. They do allow local governments to break the Federal law without fear of being labelled as criminals and they have been so effective that in west Texas there are no clinics (or maybe one is left) where poor women can get an abortion without having to travel sometimes impossible distances. The only threat to this practice is the courts, but the local courts are also stuffed with conservatives.
Republicans want to rewrite the 14th Amendment. They want to make it clear that only babies born to “legal” Americans can become citizens. In that way they can end the practice of pregnant foreigners who come to America on purpose to provide their offspring with American citizenship documents and all of the benefits that are available to citizens (the non-PC “anchor babies). (Some say this is not even a huge number of people, sort of like the numbers of illegal votes and voters.)
It became clear with the events surrounding Kim Davis (the clerk who would not allow any marriages because she could not, in all conscience, allow same-sex marriages) and, in fact, with the reactions of Republicans to the very action by the Supreme Court that made same-sex marriage legal in all American states that Republicans, who are often convinced that same-sex relationships are abominations, are incensed by the actions of the Supreme Court. These people, fierce advocates of state’s rights, perhaps because the Federal government is too far ahead of the curve in terms of national policy, feel that they are being persecuted for their evangelical religious beliefs and are claiming that the court is not supposed to pass laws.
However, the court did follow proper procedure. The Supremes did not assign themselves this issue and then rule on it. Some state passed a law which others in that state fought and then they appealed to the highest court to settle which law would stand. The Supreme Court decided to take that case and before the decisions was made everyone held their breath. It was clear that one side would be unhappy with the outcome depending on what it might be. Once the court takes a case it is obligated to make a ruling and that ruling carries the force of Federal law. Since the court’s agreement was not the outcome Republicans wanted they now complain that the court is partisan and needs to be disbanded and replaced by a new system as designed by Republicans.
These things all might seem childish. “If I can’t have my way I will take my toys and go home”. Except that each one of these folks has submitted their application to be our next President. The campaigns and the debates can be considered our screening process, our interviews. Who will we hire?
These Republican candidates who claim to revere our Constitution seem to be unable to accept where it has taken us and now they want to go back to fundamentals and start over with exactly what our forefathers wrote (as interpreted by the GOP) (except the slave parts, I assume). It seems to me impossible for 21st century Americans to get inside the personas of our 18th -19th century forefathers. The entire cultural milieu in which the colonists swam was too different. Anyone who claims s/he is able to channel the founders is either lying or has gone off the deep end.
As far as I am concerned, these folks are in rebellion. They cannot accept the rule of law as it exists. They cannot take the time to go through the proper channels to change the law. They are on the edge of treason and they sound increasingly desperate These GOP rebels have basically stopped governance as we know it for seven years now, not to mention their more formal government shutdowns and shutdown threats. If they don’t get their way now, in this 2016 election, what will they do? If you were the boss of a stable company (country) would you hire anyone who has acted like an insurrectionist? I would be happy if their application would find a permanent home in that old circular file. You may think that treason and insurrectionist are too strong and these words may turn you off but you must admit that these Republicans have certainly been disruptive and that they would like to disrupt even more if they win the Presidency.
By Nancy Brisson

Is God Running on the Republican Ticket in 2016?

The Republicans have the Democrats going up against
God in the 2016 election. How is that a fair fight? They seem to be convinced
that they have read the Book, they have studied the Book, and they know God’s
will. In fact they are so confident that they are God’s messengers in America that
they believe that anyone who argues with them is Godless, a nonbeliever.
We are astonished as we see Muslim nations trying to
live out a literal interpretation of the Koran. We perceive the Koran as being
out-of-step with a world that is populated by over 7 billion people. We cannot
see how the people in 2015 could live by rules written in ancient times and for
a desert people.
However, isn’t it true that Fundamentalists in
America expect us to do the exact same thing? They expect us to live out a literal
interpretation of the Bible, which was also written in ancient times and for a
desert people. The Jewish people also, in orthodoxy, live as if the world is
unchanged since well before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. (There is, in fact,
no truly literal interpretation of any of the books that are sacred to any
of these faiths. All contain passages that are open to more than one meaning
and all have been studied by religious scholars for centuries.)
As the Evangelicals would have it America is on the
path to losing its religion. Our moral fiber is being tested and we are
definitely being found wanting (yes, I’m quoting A Knight’s Tale). The Bible tells us that homosexual love is wrong,
they say; it tells us that gender differences are mistakes that one must battle
in one’s soul. I’m not sure where the Bible says this, as many commenters say
that the Bible does not address these issues directly, although in the Old
Testament, God did wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah. Was it ever made clear what
kinds of sins were being committed in these two places?
Perhaps Evangelicals can ignore science, but I (and
many others) cannot. There is evidence in people’s genes that we are born as we
are born. Do Evangelicals believe that birth is a gift from God? Do they
believe that God makes mistakes? Does he have lots of “oops” moments?
Evangelicals do not put their faith in science. So how do they explain the
evidence before their eyes that some people cannot change to match a norm that we have perhaps outgrown. Will God wreak his vengeance on us because love
won?
Can a culture be moral even though it decides to
separate religion and government? Evangelicals seem to believe that it cannot.
I don’t believe the true issue is necessarily about religion. It is really
about freedom. Are we just as free to make bad choices as we are to make good
ones? Should our love of freedom force us to tolerate things like hate speech?
What if, at some future moment, people define ordinary speech as hateful? If we
curtail freedom of speech to try to shut up negative messages will those laws
turn around some day to deny us the right to say things we now perceive as
positive speech? If we allow Evangelicals to decide what is moral and what is
not, then what happens to our freedom? What happens to our equality?
Republicans are angry about many things that are not
about religion also. But the issues around women’s health and those around
gender and marriage freedom are the two issues where they invoke God and
morality.
Morality has to do with how we treat each other.
Isn’t it enough to follow The Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have
others do unto you)? Do we require a religious moral leader at the helm of
America making laws based on the Bible (or someone’s interpretation of the
Bible)? In so many ways America is still a moral nation. We do strive to
consider equality. We do strive to understand and respect differences. We do
try to legislate fairness to the best of our abilities in any given moment.
Are there strains present in modern culture which
test our moral behavior? Why are our children bullies in our schools? Why don’t
children have more tolerance for our differences? Is it because they were just
born and are therefore closer to knowing God’s will in these matters? Or is it
just that they are little magnets who pick up on how those around them feel and
then, because they have no filters yet, sometimes use what they have learned to
hurt other children? Our children should not be teaching us; it is our job to
teach them the values that help keep society civil.
Does killing people over and over in video game
rooms inure our young people to killing or make them insensitive to the idea
that when you die you are dead, forever, the end. Do young people have enough
judgement, especially given the effect of video killings, to be trusted with
guns? Should blind people have guns? The Bible doesn’t help us here; it does
not clearly spell out who should own a gun, because there were no guns when the
Bible was written.
Republicans want some religion back in our nation.
They want us to declare ourselves a Christian nation and they believe this
would be fine with our forefathers because everyone in America in colonial
times belonged to a sect of Christianity. They want to legislate morality and
they want to legislate genetics. Where do our ideals of freedom and equality
fit into their view of America’s future? These changes in our culture are not
necessarily easy for any of us, but they are consistent with what we believe as
Americans and these beliefs are the very things we love most about America.
Republicans don’t want to take back America. They
want to rule America and they are staking the claim that God is on their side.
How far are we willing to let them go?
By Nancy Brisson

Our Daenerys Targaryen

I love Bernie Sanders, but I’m a girl and I want us to have a
girl for President. We have to break this particular “glass ceiling” and we
need to do it now. Hillary is the woman who is most prepared to lead America at this particular moment in time. We are in a gender rut. Even women seem unable to accept that a woman could run America.

Bernie Sanders would make a great President but he is
definitely not female. If he wins, Hillary can’t and then how long will we haveto wait. Gender should not be an issue in electing the American President yet unless we break the male dominance now we may not break with tradition in mylifetime
Of course if Hillary is considered truly incompetent to lead
America then she should not get to be our President regardless of her gender. Fortunately, Hillary has a resume that suggests that she is more than qualified to be our President.
Our Presidents never govern alone anyway. As we have seen
clearly in recent years Congress can act as a check on a President. In fact we
have watched a Congress that interpreted checks and balances to mean blockades.
If President Obama overstepped his powers (which I do not believe he did)
Congress has definitely overstepped theirs. If both Parties had acted equally
to control the President’s executive powers that might read as appropriate, but to have one Party (the Party out of executive power), erect an ersatz wall
against the exercise of the executive and to, in fact, execute what appears to
be a plot against the executive power. This does not read as appropriate at
all.
If the Republicans don’t win, if Hillary wins, will obstruction continue for four more years at least? Will Hillary be able to buck the obstruction which has become the way Congress conducts itself.
Well, we already have the NRA getting their way through mad
intimidation tactics (in the sense of insane) and we have the climate deniers
using this same tactic to halt actions designed to counteract climate change.
We have Grover Norquist, large and in-charge, and the hot and stubborn tea
party and Republicans in Congress, all digging in and winning by turning into immoveable objects. This may not make you nervous, but it makes me very nervous. It smacks of anything but democracy.
Hillary seems mild and too light-hearted to handle these people, but I’m not sure Bernie Sanders is tough enough either. I’m not sure if any Democrat is. But Hillary is up. She’s the next metal marble in the chute of
the pinball machine that has become our government. She’s up next to beat back the right wing beasts or tame them from dragons into pussycats. Perhaps she is our Daenerys Targaryen.
Therefore it is Hillary for me even though I would normally be
torn between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton. However, since Democrats need to win this one, and the outcome is anything but certain, and since so many people continue to “dis” Hillary, I will vote the way I have to in order to elect a Democrat as President when the time comes.
By Nancy Brisson

Deals That Are Not Deals

It used to be that when a deal was done in Congress
each side gave a little so that each side won something and lost something. It
was not always pretty. There were terrible arguments. Enemies were made. But
compromises were arrived at. The way the Republicans try to do deals lately
(whether they have a majority or not) would be laughable if it weren’t so
maddening, so impossible, and so sad.
Republicans write legislation with a really bitter
pill and a slightly less bitter pill and then they present it as if it were a
gift-wrapped package instead of a flaming bag of poo. Or they might attach a
poison pill to a bill that has bipartisan appeal and then Democrats have to
vote against something they really want in order to avoid something really
toxic. The recent bill against human trafficking was a bill that had bipartisan
appeal and is the kind of law that usually makes us proud that Americans care about
human rights. But the Hyde Amendment got tucked into the human trafficking bill
so that Republicans could be sure to remind us that no federal funds can be
spent on abortion (which is legal by the way) even for a victim of human
trafficking. The bill gave with one hand and took away with the other.
Republicans knew all along that the Democrats would not vote for this bill with
the Hyde amendment attached. They hoped the Democrats wouldn’t notice.
Admittedly, the Democrats almost didn’t notice. They
should have read the bill way before they did. However, we have no clue about
when the Hyde Amendment snuck its way into the trafficking bill.  Now Republicans are ticked off. Their ploy did
not work. They blame the Democrats, but I think we can all see how the GOP took
a calculated risk and lost.
In a snit about not getting their Hyde Amendment
past the Democrats they now threaten to, one more time, postpone their approval
for Loretta Lynch to take the place of the current Attorney General, Eric
Holder, who they don’t even like. They have a hostage and she is their last one
so they have to make sure to use her to their best advantage. But Loretta Lynch
is very well qualified to be AG and has done nothing to deserve the treatment
she has received from the GOP. They are using Loretta Lynch to punish Obama for
everything he has ever done or ever will do as President, apparently.
Now that the trafficking bill vote is done, Congress
is moving on to the budget. The GOP is offering the exact same Paul Ryan budget
(perhaps with minor tweaks) that supposedly balances the U. S. budget in ten
years but leaves America with no social safety net. They are very much aware of
the fact that Democrats have basic ideological differences with the Ryan
budget. They are very much aware that economists feel the Paul Ryan budget
numbers offer an austerity that will not provide economic growth in America.
Economists tell us that this budget will worsen the economic inequality gap
between the wealthy and the rest of us. The only increase in the GOP budget is
in the area of defense where experts have said increases are not needed.
Republicans do not plan to abandon the Sequester
which is scheduled to continue taking its bite out of the lives of those who
are already at the bottom of the economic heap. The Republicans know that
Democrats cannot approve this budget. They do not agree that the meanness of
this budget is necessary and they do not subscribe to the theory that ending
social programs will force people to lift themselves up. Democrats do not
believe that government is useless and that private business will provide all
the services that our government once provided. We will stop paying as many
taxes but will pay private businesses to provide services like health care for
seniors and education. We will be like the miners who have to buy everything
from the company store owned by our employers. And we want to do that because
it worked so well the first time around?

What good will it do to balance the budget in ten
years if we do so by cutting everything that makes America a great country for “we
the people”. This budget deal is not a deal. The GOP offers only “our way or
the highway”. They only offer straight up Republican ideology. There is no
bargaining room here. Either you accept the beliefs and policies of the GOP or
they will take us over another cliff. (Actually we have to wait to find out
what threat they’ll use this time.) The only brake we have right now is that
the GOP does not want to show how much they favor the wealthy and how much all
their plans rely on the supposed (but never real) advantages of “trickle-down
economics” before they win the election and get control of all three branches
of government in 2016. Once Americas get a load of this budget in action they
will never vote for the Republicans.
By Nancy Brisson

47 Ronin Loose in America

Everyone is shocked by the letter that 47 Republican
Senators sent to Iran and it was a truly outrageous act. It was not bad just
because it broke with protocol but it also went against our Constitution and,
according to the Logan Act, this action may be punishable by fines or jail
time. This letter to Iran also revealed what until now have been internal American
political schisms and took them global.
The GOP is a party that is frightened by everything.
They believe immigrants will overrun America. “Give them an inch and they’ll
take a mile”, is their unspoken mantra.
They believe that terrorists are planning to flood
across our southern borders.
They believe that the Federal government is out of
control and needs to be much, much smaller which means good-bye to programs
that help poor moms have healthy babies, good-bye to programs that make sure
poor families can feed their children, good-bye to programs that take care of
people with mental disorders or physical disabilities and good riddance to
programs that keep the elderly from poverty. Good-bye public pensions, good-bye
unions; we don’t need public employees. Their fear here (they claim) is that
they are creating citizens with permanent dependencies.
 
The UN plan to help us save energy and stop sending
too much CO2 into our atmosphere, Agenda 21, makes them crazy
because it offers steps that would be “imposed” by an agency outside our
government. To the GOP this plan reeks of communism or socialism or all of the
bad “isms” rolled into one. It is obviously a plot to allow the UN to end our
democracy.
They are so afraid of climate change and the steps
they would have to take to ameliorate it that they cannot even admit it exists.
They believe their immortal souls will burn in Hell
unless American becomes a Christian nation and stops sinning.
They are certain that one or more of the secretive,
hostile nations around the world will make or have already made nuclear weapons
(which is highly likely because once a technology enters the world it always
proliferates) and that we will either have to fight a nuclear war or become
subjects of a totalitarian regime that will turn us all into slaves or kill us.
It is true that we all fear these things to some
extent. The future seems a bit more unsettling than it did in the Jetsons. Obviously any or all of these
things could happen, although some are more likely than others. The world seems
to be chaotic and to be possibly teetering on the edge of several equally scary
abysses. We seem to have lost a stability and certainty that we have always possessed
until now. Perhaps this is just what it feels like to live in a pivotal age.
But one wonders (well I wonder) if all these fears
are as strong as professed or if there could possibly be a bit of theater at
work here designed to provide a rationale (however bogus) for obstruction. If
these Republicans are truly as freaked out by real change in the world then
they are definitely not the folks to help us pick our way through the chaos to
more settled times.
I have been arguing for some time that there are Republicans
bent on sedition; on a sort of “Jesus take the Wheel” tear with the GOP
providing the “hands” for Jesus. They have been putting in place a plan that will
give the GOP control of all three branches of the Federal government in the
same way they have taken over in a number of states.
I wonder why the Democrats and the media seem so
clueless. Even now Hillary Clinton gets more flak about her email than those 47
Republicans get for breaking an act of Congress. Either we’re like those dogs
who forget what they are doing every time someone yells “squirrel” or Democrats
and the media are trying to avoid a crisis in America by down-playing
Republican activities so that our government comes out of this strife intact.
If Democrats act like what is happening is just a
touch more serious than things that have happened at other moments in history
then we can avoid a breach that cannot be healed. Their explanations do soothe
what is possibly my paranoia for a bit but this all just seems a little more
concentrated, organized and extreme than previous party hostilities. It does
seem odd to me that the rather serious lapse in constitutionality by these 47
Senators will die down quite quickly and that there will be no repercussions.

Those 47 ronin who abandoned their samurai lords in
Japan had better reasons for their outlaw behavior and yet they were hunted
down and had to fight for their lives. They may have found a new incarnation in
Japan as “superheroes” but I don’t think that will be the case with our 47 “ronin”.
I don’t expect our 47 outlaws to commit seppuku but somehow head/s should roll.
I think that, given there are so few pushbacks, these “outlaws” will probably
find new ways to pursue their program of obstruction.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

Who’s Actions Are Unconstitutional: President Obama or the Republicans?

Obama’s advisors (lawyers) told him his Executive
Action on Immigration is Constitutional. In fact Obama has his own degree in
Constitutional Law and so I’m sure he also believed his Executive Action was
legal according to the Constitution. We have all been reminded that Executive
Actions have been used by many administrations so an Executive Action on its
own is not unconstitutional. The question must be, then, is this particular
Executive Action constitutional?
Republicans, as we know, swear that this Executive
Action is not constitutional. But Republicans believe that everything Obama
does is unconstitutional, that he exceeds his powers so often that he must
believe he is monarch or an emperor.
A Federal Court in Texas has stopped the execution
of the Executive Action on Immigration. Can a Federal Court in one state
prevail against the President of the United States? This issue will probably
have to be decided by a higher court. It will have to be taken up by the
Supreme Court.
Republicans don’t want to wait for the court. They
want to threaten an action so dangerous and unpalatable that it will force the
President to vacate his Executive Action. Since Obama has shown no inclination
to be swayed by extortion, Republicans are able to claim that Obama is willing
to put the nation’s safety at risk in order to have his way (because he thinks
he is royalty). Sometimes when Republicans talk my brain feels as if it is
being twisted like a pretzel, one of those ones with no end and no beginning.
So, anyway, the Republicans threaten to stop funding
for the DHS unless Obama vacates his Executive Action.
Who’s right?
Is Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration
constitutional or not?
Can one party be allowed to bring governance to a
lengthy halt?
Is extortion a legitimate political tool?
Is Constitutional Law that slippery?
Is Constitutional Law a partisan matter?
Is party affiliation a determiner of
constitutionality?
Are there no absolutes here?
Is it the job of Congress to judge the
constitutionality of an action taken by a President who has been boxed in by
that very same Congress?
If Republicans believe, against all evidence, that a
President is out of line, which they do, does the Constitution suggest that
this is a single party’s decision to make? Congress has the power of impeachment
but can it decide the constitutionality of a Presidential Executive Action? This
is not even the entire Congress in agreement about this President; this is only
the Republican Party.
Can a political party drive a wedge into the gears
of government and bring the whole system to a halt? Well we have certainly seen
that they can; but is that kind of behavior constitutional?
Does the Constitution allow both the Executive Action
and the use of any and all tactics necessary to stop implementation of the
Executive Action? We’re in trouble if both activities are legal. How will we
ever again get back to regular order?
The GOP has employed work stoppage tactics over and
over again throughout the Obama Presidency. Democrats question these tactics
but Republicans think they are justified. I think they are appalling.
I think the behavior of Republicans is racist in the
extreme. It matches all the ways we have obstructed racial equality in this
country since the time of the Civil War all the way to Ferguson and beyond. It
is embarrassing and yet impossible to prove and therefore impossible to
adjudicate. But it certainly does not exemplify the ideals written into our
Constitution. That is why I also think the behavior of Republicans is
seditious.
And, due to the sparse nature of our original
Constitutional document, an enormous body of law has continued to interpret
what our forefathers intended and that enormous body of law does represent the
partisan politics that pertained in America at the various times these
interpretations were codified. Is this complexity to blame when we are unable
to decide about which party is acting in a manner consistent with our
Constitution and which party is not?
Who’s right, the President or the Republican Party?
Is this just an issue to be decided by polls and shifting public opinion or is
this something that the courts need to rule on? When even our courts have a
partisan bent it will be difficult to find a fair arbiter in this matter. We
have had six years of this and we are on our way to accepting two more.
Personally, with all the money and power that is behind the Republican Party at
this moment in time, perhaps any ruling in these matters will have to be left
for less partisan times. I’m afraid we may be headed toward an America with
only one political party and that would be very bad indeed.
By Nancy Brisson

2016 Election Outcome Already Determined by Historical Data

Pundits seem to have this treasure trove of election
“truisms” gleaned from careful analysis of America’s political history by
political “geeks”. We heard some of it before the midterms and it centered on
using past practice to predict election outcomes. We heard about low turnouts
in midterms. We learned that this favored Republicans in the 2014 election.
Pundits knew which races held an infinitesimal amount of wiggle room and which
elections did not. Why even bother to open the polls? These pundits proved that
tradition matters and it trumps even the most atrociously outrageous political
behavior, and very active attempts to contravene it with sweet reason.
The newest piece of “geek” political “truth” says
that once a party controls the White House for two terms the country always
(very few, very old exceptions) votes in the opposite party. Such historical
analysis suggests that an election in 2016 is unnecessary and that we could
save a lot of money and time if we simply let Republicans pick our next
President.
Since the pundits have this down to basically a
science I am already inclined to just accept the inevitable. Yes, I have a
sinking feeling in my gut because I think we would have to eventually undo
almost everything a Republican President would do right now, especially with a majority
in Congress and in the Supreme Court. This nightmare scenario may make many
feel the same degree of glee as I do of despair, but I still conclude that what
the faithful applaud in ideological form they will soon come to despise in
practice.

Perhaps you already have heard me say this, perhaps
not, but I just cannot stop making this point until or unless it becomes a
political meme. I believe if America had referees the Republicans would be
benched for their disgustingly anti-American behavior. They have accepted public
office under false pretenses. They had no intention of governing. They took
office in order to stop governance and have left the American people to fend
almost for themselves through very tough economic times. We had only the Obama
administration between us and financial ruin. Republican racism has embarrassed
us in front of the entire world. They should be arrested for sedition and
jailed. They should be penalized and they should have to sit out this election.
They do not deserve to skate into the highest office in our nation on the heels
of some kind of statistical probability.
By Nancy Brisson

The Federalist Revolution, Maybe

Imagine if this was true:
I have been thinking that Republicans needed to get elected
to effect their quasi-Federalist revolution but perhaps I was more right when I
described what they are doing as a bloodless coup.
Republicans and their minions want a smaller Federal
government. They have been acting already to shrink our Federal government.
This is one of the reasons they were so upset about the Affordable Care Act. It
is a big government program that sets back their plan to cut government.
Republicans want more power to go to the states. That plan is also underway.
There are 23 “rebel” or red states stuffed with so many Republicans that it is
simple to get the bidding of the GOP “generals” done. There are only 27 states
to go and then hello to the new Federalist States of America.
This is being led by Ted Cruz and Grover Norquist, if I had
to take a guess, and we will wake up very soon to find ourselves living in a
very different America. These guys believe they are activists and
Constitutional scholars and purists and they are convinced that they must do
what they are doing to save the purity of our forefathers’ governmental
intentions. They are the ideologues.
That each state will supposedly be able to pass its own laws
sounds reasonable, but it is not. Each state will only be able to pass the laws
that Republicans want because they will have wormed their way into control of
the whole shebang. Old mostly white men may be a dying breed but there are
still enough of them around to accomplish this, and they really don’t want to
give up power, at all. They are not all ideologues.
That is why Republicans won’t let any legislation through.
It is not because of laziness or outrageous behavior. It’s a plan to whittle
away our Federal government. Kiss Medicare good-bye, no more Social Security,
no more Social services of any kind, the “entitlements” will be gone. There
will be no safety net if you get in financial trouble. Education and Energy
departments will be gone, perhaps even the IRS will be closed, but, I think,
not the NSA.
There will be no more discussion of climate change and the
charge to find all the fossil fuels in America will spread across the nation
and out into both oceans. There will be no Federal minimum wage at all, there
will be no more talk of equal pay, Roe v Wade will be overturned, and no there
may be no contraception. There will be no Immigration Bill and there will be
plenty of deportations and we will be at war all the time because that is all
the Federal government will be allowed to do.
There are people in the GOP who have decided to go around,
over, and through the American people. They do not care what the American
people want. They are running our government from behind the scenes. If they
have their way, and they are well on the way to meeting their goals, American
will become one huge factory town from greasy sea to coal mines to coke piles
to pipelines to oil trains to oily sea, all the time pumping dollars to those
at the top of the heap.

This is not going to happen in the future. That is what I
got wrong. This is already happening, as inevitable as plate tectonics and a
lot faster. America has already been shut down.
Do we have any ways to fight back and by that I mean do we
have any political and strategic plans that Democrats and Independents could
come up with, not actual fighting. Of course, I could be wrong. Or I could be
right. Or everyone could label me a crackpot and ignore this. Or perhaps it is
not too late to come up with some pushback plans that would get us back to
regular order. I know our traditional American system had flaws but by opening
the door to liberal reform we may have activated groups with much different
reforms in mind.

Maybe we are already the bodies in the floater chairs and so
lost in the American Dream that we just will not see when people are trying to
rip those chairs right out from under us. Surprise, it’s a new day. Moral
behavior will henceforth be defined by your very small central government. And
where are the courts in all this. Well we have seen where the courts are. They
won’t help us. The courts are stuffed too. In order that no one object, the
Supreme Court was not stuffed with Conservatives, it was loaded instead with
Catholics with moral views very similar to Conservatives.

And besides practicing mandated good behavior you will be
working morning to night for all the days of your life after your brief, and
very Christian, education. Gone will be the days of two cars in every garage
and two chickens in every pot although perhaps the memories of a summer house and
a boat will carry you through for a while. It looks like we will have baseball,
football, and lots of NASCAR, and BBQ but, alas, no time to enjoy it. I
sincerely hope I am wrong about this whole construct. I just offer it to you
for your consideration. Perhaps if we are able to keep this internal power
struggle from getting too explosive we can turn this plan around and keep
America to the forms we recognize and revere. 
By Nancy Brisson