Roe V Wade Gets Struck Down In 2019: Now Where Do We Go As A Country?

Roe V Wade Gets Struck Down In 2019: Now Where Do We Go As A Country?

 

If, big if, but if the Republicans can hold onto the Congress and the Senate, then Roe V Wade will be over turned in 2019. I believe that this is the only way that the Republicans could get their votes on the Supreme Court. Thus their goal is to rule via the Supreme Court over the next 20-30 years of life in America. But my question is a simple one. When all abortions in the U.S. are ruled to be murder, how is our society going to respond? I believe that the biggest single reason that the Democrats lost the so-called Christian Right, is the abortion issue. This has got to be the only reason that the “Christian Right” would stay hooked to an habitual liar, fraud and thief like Donald Trump, his Family and fellow soon to be felons. Folks if this scenario I mentioned did happen, (with or without the help of Nannie Vlad), then the other will soon follow. But no, I do no expect the Fake News Fraud-in-Chief to ever spend a real day in a prison or ever be a felon, step #3 is good ole dependable hypocrite Mikie to give out full pardons to all the good -ole-boys.

 

Democrats like Nancy Pelosi in their ego actually believe that we the Sheep want them back in Office, no, no, no, you angry old lady, we just want the Hell rid of Donald Trump and his group of habitual lying kiss-asses that surround him. If the Democrats do win the Congress back in November and they then are stupid enough to vote this hateful Relic to lead them again, they deserve their own dirt. Personally, I believe that every single person who is in any level of Politics reaches the age of 70, they must retire. If you can Constitutionally mandate age discrimination as is done in the minimum age of a President, why should we not have a maximum age. If your 70th birthday would occur while you are still in Office, then you can not be a candidate for that Office. There has to be a limit somewhere in order to try to put a cap on some of this madness.

Honestly: Is There Anyone Who Didn’t Know What The Outcome Would Be?

Honestly: Is Their Anyone Who Didn’t Know What The Outcome Would Be?

 

Folks, please don’t even say to your self, that you didn’t know for sure or not, that Judge Brett Kavanaugh would end up on the SC.  Am I being cynical? I don’t mean to be, that is not my intent. I very seldom seem to be surprised by how politicians end up voting. I pretty much believe that the vast majority of people, are not at all surprised either. The votes tend to always be lined up with their Initial.

Lindsey Graham, Brett Kavanaugh, and the unleashing of white male backlash

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

Lindsey Graham, Brett Kavanaugh, and the unleashing of white male backlash

“I’m a single white male from South Carolina, and I’m told I should just shut up, but I will not shut up.”

Friday morning, during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said probably the most honest thing about this hearing that a Republican has said during the entire process.

“I’m a single white male from South Carolina, and I’m told I should just shut up, but I will not shut up,” Graham said.

Graham is elevating the stakes of the Kavanaugh hearing. No longer is this about Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, or what he may have done to her in suburban Maryland in 1982. It’s about beating back the challenge from feminists and people of color demanding a seat at the table; it is about showing that white men in power are not going anywhere — that they will not listen, will not budge, and will not give ground to #MeToo or the Black Lives Matter movement.

This was always the subtext of the Republican approach to the sexual assault allegations. But now Graham has officially made it the text: Voting “yes” on Kavanaugh is the battle cry of the reactionary man.

Lindsey Graham, Donald Trump, and backlash politics

Donald Trump’s 2016 election is now widely understood among social scientists to be a kind of backlash to social progress. The backlash against a black president gets the bulk of the attention, but there’s also good evidence that a sexist backlash to the prospect of a woman president played a major role.

Research by three political scientists — Brian Schaffner, Matthew MacWilliams, and Tatishe Nteta — found extremely strong correlations between an individual’s scores on measures designed to estimate racist and sexist sentiments and their likelihood of supporting Trump:

Brian Schaffner/Matthew MacWilliams/Tatishe Nteta

There is not a single, discrete backlash in the United States in the Trump era. There’s a more wholesale one, directed not just against racial minorities but decades of social progress for all sorts of different marginalized groups. Trump is a living, breathing avatar of this kind of politics. But at the outset of his presidency, it was an open question as to how far Republican members of Congress would be willing to buttress the president on these points.

Graham just showed that he’s pretty willing indeed.

The specific language that he used — “I’m a single white male from South Carolina, and I’m told I’m just supposed to shut up” — is a direct reference to one of the core arguments used by feminists and social justice activists: that white men in positions of privilege don’t have direct experiences with hostile sexism or racism, and should listen to the people who have.

Graham is saying he cannot, and will not, listen: He will vote for Kavanaugh regardless of what Ford said, and will defend him in the face of any criticism about the gender and power dynamics at work.

“I will not shut up” is a perfect mantra for Trumpian backlash politics. There is no risk that white men are, in mass, going to be silenced: They occupy the commanding heights of power in every walk of American life. The demands that they be quiet at times are a response to the over representation of their voices, that they understand what life is like for more vulnerable people and then change the way they act accordingly.

But Graham is not willing to give even that little ground. His rage on this point, one shared by Trump’s base, has been palpable throughout this process. During Thursday’s hearing, he interrupted Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor that Republicans had deputized to ask questions during the hearing, to deliver a furious rant in defense of Kavanaugh.

“To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics,” Graham said during Thursday’s hearing.

After Graham spoke, Mitchell was denied a single additional question. The Republicans on the committee, all white men, took turns apologizing to Kavanaugh for what he had gone through.

The literal silencing of Mitchell, and the stolid refusal to credit Ford’s account of Kavanaugh’s behavior, shows just how much contempt the modern Republican Party has for the idea of taking women’s equality serious seriously. The Kavanaugh confirmation has been a defiant attempt to show that #MeToo does not speak for the country, and a declaration that the white men the movement has targeted will not back down.

There is no better epitaph for this whole sorry episode than a white man from South Carolina saying he will not shut up.

Kavanaugh: Republican Leadership Broke The Four Rules Of Crisis Management

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FORBES)

 

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Kavanaugh: How The Republican Leadership Broke The Four Rules Of Crisis Management

Steve Denning

In July 9, 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the place on the U.S. Supreme Court vacated by Justice Kennedy, with the prospect of ensuring a Republican majority for another generation.

Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

However, in its actions over the last ten days, the Republican leadership has jeopardized its goals through its failure to respect the rules of crisis management:

  • Recognize the crisis as a crisis
  • Get out as much information as possible as soon as possible, particularly any negative information
  • Avoid saying anything that has to be withdrawn
  • Avoid doing anything that looks like a cover-up

The Confirmation Hearings

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee took place on September 4-7. The hearings were interrupted numerous times by Democratic senators and protesters. By the end of the hearings, a slight plurality of Americans surveyed did not approve of Kavanaugh’s nomination—a first for Supreme Court nominees.

Nevertheless, it appeared that the Republican leadership was on track to accomplish its primary goal, i.e. having Kavanaugh appointed to the court, and possibly preserve its other goals, such as maintain support of Republican women going into the mid-term elections.

The Crisis

On September 12, , the existence of a complaint against Kavanaugh, by a “woman, who has asked not to be identified”, was made public, in which she accused him of trying to force himself on her when they were both in high school. She said the incident happened in 1982, when he was 17 and a student at Georgetown Preparatory School, and she was a 15-year-old high school student. The woman stated that she was able to free herself and that she has sought treatment for psychological distress subsequently.

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On September 13, Senator Feinstein referred the matter to the FBI, including the identity of the accuser.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, California, Photographer: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg

On September 14, Kavanaugh issued a statement through the White House that said, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

On September 16, the accuser was publicly revealed by The Washington Post, to be Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a respected professor of psychology at Palo Alto University. She has written or co-written several books and many scholarly articles. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, whom she married in 2002, and two sons. In 2017 she participated in a local Women’s March protesting Trump and attended a March For Science in San Francisco to protest Trump administration cuts to research, but does not appear to have been active in Democratic politics.

Recognize The Crisis As A Crisis

The first failure of the Republican leadership was the failure to recognize the crisis as a crisis. The Republicans first instinct was to brush aside the accusation as partisan politics and press ahead with a quick vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. A single accusation from one woman 36 years ago was presented as “a little hiccup.” (Senator Heller)

However, once the identity and professional background of the accuser became known, first to the FBI on September 13, and then to the public on September 16, it became apparent that she deserved to be heard, as Senator Flake and Collins insisted. In effect, if the Republican leadership had pressed ahead, it would have been at risk of not having enough Republican votes for success.

What the Republican leadership hadn’t initially grasped was that this was a real crisis for Kavanaugh’s nomination. It would have been one thing if the accusation was being made by a partisan politician. It was another when it was made by a well-respected professor, with no active record in partisan politics and no particular axe to grind. Coming in the midst of the #MeToo movement, the accusation was bound to be a sensation.

Getting All The Information

The White House issued a short, categorical denial on September 14. It wasn’t until a week later that Kavanaugh sat down with the White House for a lengthy briefing session trying to ascertain all his answers to possible questions. (Even then, Kavanaugh refused to answer some questions that he saw as too personal.) In between, a steady flow of information has come into the public arena that has made the accusation steadily more credible.

According to Ford, Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, was in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her. Judge has written about how much alcohol he and his classmates consumed while in high school and other raunchy behavior. (Judge has said he does not remember the event and doesn’t want to testify.)

It emerged that Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh’s private, all-boys school, fostered a world of rowdy parties, excessive alcohol, drugs, and misogynist attitudes to women. These elite schools were even “bastions of misogyny,” according to Greg Jaffe, who attended one and is now a reporter for the Washington Post.

Kavanaugh himself seemed to be alluding to this culture, when Kavanaugh said in a 2015 speech at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, “Fortunately, we had a good saying that we’ve held firm to, to this day… which is, ‘What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.’ That’s been a good thing for all of us, I think.”

Efforts To Contain The Inquiry

Once the Republican leadership accepted the need to hear Ford, they then tried to limit the inquiry to testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford alone, with no witnesses and no FBI inquiry. The reasons were not persuasive.

  • “The FBI doesn’t investigate these kinds of matters.” (It does so all the time.)
  • “There is no time to investigate.” (The Anita Hill investigation was completed in 3 days)
  • “There is no need to investigate.” (If so, why was there a hearing?)

The Republicans also allowed themselves to get into a defensive crouch, giving the impression that Dr Ford was the one who wanted the truth to be told and they didn’t.

  • Ford wants to the FBI to investigate. Kavanaugh doesn’t.
  • Ford wants other witnesses to be heard. Kavanaugh doesn’t.
  • Ford wants the alleged eye-witness to testify. Kavanaugh (and the eye-witness) don’t.
  • Ford has taken a lie detector test. Kavanaugh hasn’t.

Republicans In Denial

As these details were emerging, Republican leaders began making defenses and raising questions that would later have to be modified or withdrawn:

  • “It must have been someone else.” (Ed Whelan)
  • “Dr. Ford is mixed-up or confused.” (Senator Hatch)
  • “If it had happened, it would have been reported at the time.” (Trump)

U.S. President Donald Trump Photographer: Neeta Satam/Bloomberg

  • “There are gaps in Dr. Ford’s narrative, which raise doubts about her veracity. (Senator Cornyn).
  • “Others have vouched for Dr. Ford’s character, so it couldn’t have happened.” (Trump)
  • “It happened so long ago, we can never know, one way or the other.” (Senator Cornyn).
  • Even if it did happen, it doesn’t matter. Boys will be boys. That was a different time.

Jumping The Gun: The Semblance Of An Inquiry

Having once crossed the threshold and accepted that there was going to be an inquiry, the Republican leadership then said things suggesting that it wasn’t a real inquiry, thereby undermining their own credibility,

“In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court,” McConnell said to applause from religious conservatives at the Value Voters Summit on Friday. “So my friends, keep the faith, don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.”

On September 21, after days of relative restraint, President Trump suggested that the accusation couldn’t be true because it wasn’t lodged with authorities at the time, thus revealing his conclusion, even before hearing from Dr. Ford.

Multiple Deadlines Maximized Public Attention

The sensational nature of the accusation increased public attention to the Kavanaugh nomination. That attention was further accentuated by the multiple shifting deadlines. The hearing was first scheduled for September 20. Then once it was agreed that Dr Ford would be heard, she imposed conditions. She was then asked to reply by September 21, then September 22, and then September 23, with no answer as to whether the vote might be on September 24 or a hearing on September 27. It was as if the Republican leadership wanted the public to follow the “would she/won’t she” nature of the negotiation.

Net Result

It remains to be seen what happens at the hearing of Ford and Kavanaugh, now apparently confirmed for September 27. Through failure to adhere to the rules of crisis management, there is now greater-than-zero chance that Kavanaugh will not be confirmed.

Moreover the Republicans have guaranteed that Democrats will be even more energized going into the mid-term elections in November. The Republican brand with women also risks being further weakened.

Perhaps most seriously, through politicizing the nomination process, the authenticity and apolitical character of the Supreme Court has been jeopardized.

Note: The author is registered as an independent.

My new book, “The Age of Agile” was published by HarperCollins in 2018. I consult with organizations around the world on leadership, innovation, management and business narrative. For many years I worked at the World Bank, where I held many management positions, including di…

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Steve Denning’s most recent book is The Age of Agile (HarperCollins, 2018)

G.O.P. Congressman’s 6 Brothers And Sisters Say: Don’t Vote For Our Brother

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Rep. Paul Gosar’s siblings in new ad: Don’t vote for our brother

Washington (CNN)Six siblings of Republican Rep. Paul Gosar delivered a stark message in a new television advertisement: Vote for their brother’s opponent.

The Democrat challenging Gosar in Arizona’s 4th District unveiled a new ad Friday that features Grace, David, Jennifer, Tim, Joan and Gaston lambasting Gosar over Social Security, health care, water policy and more.
“Paul’s absolutely not working for his district,” David says.
Then comes the big reveal: Gosar is their brother — but they endorse David Brill, the Democrat running against him.
Paul Gosar is the oldest of 10 children.
In response to the ad, Gosar told CNN in a statement Saturday that the siblings featured in the ad are “liberal Democrats who hate President Trump” and slammed Bill for engaging “in this shameful attack.”
“These disgruntled Hillary supporters (sic) are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Lenin, Mao and Kim Jung (sic) Un would be proud,” Gosar said. “It is unfortunate that my opponent chose to use family political differences to launch attacks on me rather than focusing on the issues.”
He added, “You can’t pick your family. We all have crazy aunt’s and relatives etc and my family is no different. I hope they find peace in their hearts and let go all the hate. To the six angry Democrat Gosars — see you at Mom and Dad’s house!”
Gosar has a long history of controversial remarks and actions. He promoted the conspiracy theory that the white supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year was a plot by the left financed by Democratic mega-donor George Soros, who Gosar said “turned in his own people to the Nazis.”
In July, Gosar spoke in London at a rally for an anti-Muslim activist. He is also one of the staunchest opponents of legal rights for undocumented “Dreamers” in Congress.
His district, made up of mostly rural western Arizona, is generally not considered competitive in November: Gosar won by more than 40 percentage points in 2016. President Donald Trump won there by 39 points in 2016, and Mitt Romney carried the district by 36 points in 2012.
But the sharply personal ad is certain to generate attention for Brill’s campaign.
The Phoenix New Times reported that the ad and others were unveiled at a fundraiser in Phoenix on Thursday night — and that in another spot, which is not public yet, Grace Goser says that “it would be difficult to see my brother as anything but a racist.”
It’s just the latest ad to feature a politician’s family member this year.
In Wisconsin, Democrat Randy Bryce’s brother is featured in an ad backing Republican Bryan Steil in the 1st District race for retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan’s seat.
And the parents of Republican Kevin Nicholson, who was a Senate candidate in Wisconsin before he lost the primary to state Sen. Leah Vukmir, gave the maximum contributions allowable under federal campaign finance law to the Democratic incumbent whom Nicholson hoped to challenge, Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Experiences With Labor Unions Here In The U.S. Both Good And Bad

 

 

A couple of days ago I read an article from another Blogger concerning his experiences with Labor Unions, it was his article that gave me the idea to write this article to you today. The Author’s name is Dan Antion and you can find his article on his site at http://nofacilities.wordpress.com/

 

I was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia back in the mid 1950’s, this was an area where there simply were no Union jobs. All of the jobs in the area all paid what ever the Federal National minimum wage happened to be at the time. None of the factories, silk mills or saw mills paid anything to their employees that was not mandated by law. Besides the people being paid the minimum wage there were no benefits at all for the employees, no health insurance, not dental or vision insurance, no paid holidays, no vacations or vacation pay, no overtime pay when you had work on a holiday, unless in doing so put you over the 40 work week. Another big thing was there was no job security at all, you could have been at a job for 20 years and the foreman or “Boss Man” as most were called could come into work one morning in a bad mood and fire you for any reason, or no reason at all and there was nothing at all that you could do about it. Needless to say my Mom and Dad whom were both factory workers were in favor of Unions but it was something that they had to keep quiet because you would definitely get fired if the Bosses ever even thought you were talking pro-union even if you were not at work when they heard that you were condoning the concept of a Union. The reasons are pretty simple, if the Company was forced to have a Union then the bosses would have to have a real reason to fire you or to suspend you. The company would be forced to pay much higher wages and be required to pay for benefits like vacation pay, health insurance, paid sick leave. To me I believe that there are two main financial reasons for a company to treat their employees this way. One is pure greed from the ownership stand point. If you own a company what you don’t pay out in wages and benefits you get to put into your own pocket. Two, competition, you as an owner had to be able to keep the wholesale prices of your product in line with what other companies whom made the same products as you were charging. When you paid more out for your costs than your competition then the customers would buy from your competition and not you, thus putting you out of business. Back then competition was mostly all domestic, now days everything is international. This is some of the reasons why so many factories have closed here in the States and moved overseas, competition and cheaper production costs.

 

Now to the crux of this article to you today. I was a long haul truck driver from 1981-2013, I drove all over the lower 48 states and all of the Provinces of Canada. Most of my driving was here in the U.S. so I am only going to speak of my Union/non-Union experiences here in the States. I my self do believe that the concept of Unions is a very good thing for the working class poor people but as a truck driver I really did not like having to go to Union customers. Companies simply want to get employees to get as much product out the door as possible for the least amount of cost. Unions want to make companies pay the employees as much as possible and they want the employees to have to do as little as possible for that higher pay. Also Unions want to have as many members as possible so their theory is if the employees of a company do less and less than the company will have to hire more Union employees to get the finished product out the door. This in turn creates more revenue for the Union via the employees Union Dues. The problem between the companies and the Unions are just like the problems we all see in American politics between the Republicans and the Democrats, they are total polar opposites.  The only way to make things work whether it is in politics or with companies and Unions is if both sides of the issues will decide to ‘meet in the middle’.

 

Examples of why a driver does not like to go to Union companies: There was a large Paper Mill in Lamar Louisiana that I went to several times, once you backed in the dock to get loaded you walked about 200 feet back into the Mill to the Shipping Office to sign and pickup the paper work for your load. By the time you walked to the Office then back to your trailer, it was loaded. These are big rolls of paper that are loaded with a clamp machine (adapted forklift). This Mill is non-Union and you could always hear the tires squealing on the forklifts as they were loading the trailers and your trailer was only in a dock for a total of about 15 minutes and you were ready to leave. One time I picked up a load from this Mill and the load was an (in-house) move, meaning that it was going to their own warehouse in Indianapolis Indiana. The difference here was that the warehouse in Indianapolis was a Union Shop. I got to the Receiver about a half hour early and was given a door assignment to back into which I did. This warehouse had about 40 dock doors and I was the only trailer in any dock. I waited for two hours and they still had not entered the trailer for the first time so I went back to the Receiving Office to ask when they might start, about another hour and a half passed before they pulled the first roll out. From that point it took them two hours to unload the trailer, my total time in their dock to get unloaded was 5 1/2 hours. Remember, at their non-Union Mill they loaded this load in 10-15 minutes.

 

One time I picked up a load of car fenders that were on either 5 or 6 racks that took the loader literally no more than about 5 minutes to load. This load was going to a General Motors Assembly Plant in Michigan. General Motors is very strict about incoming freight and they only give you a half hour window in which to be arriving, if you are late the company that you drove for gets a big fine so you don’t dare be late. My appointment was for 5 AM. I checked in at 4:30 and was told to pull in front of door #5 and to stay there until someone comes out and tells you to back into the dock. All of the dock doors had trucks lined up waiting just like I was. A couple of times during the day I went in to check with the Receiving Supervisor to see when they might get started as my dispatch had me a reload to get picked up and that customer was wanting to know when I might show up. Turns out that all of the Receiving Department employees were sitting in the break room doing things like reading newspapers and books, playing card games and watching TV. When the Supervisor asked them to please go out and unload these trailers they cursed him quite badly and told him to go F-off. The Supervisor one time even got a hold of the Union Representative who showed up on his little three-wheeled power cart and he asked the employees to please go unload the trailers, he got cursed just as the Receiving Supervisor had before him. Turns out that at about 6 PM I finally got to back into my dock door and they did get me unloaded in about 10 minutes. That was the one and only load that my company ever hauled into or out of a U.A.W. (United Auto Workers) location. Is it any wonder why the Company built factories in Mexico to get away from the Union here in the States?

 

Twice I had to pick up a load of flooring tile at a manufacturer in north-east Illinois. Both times I had gotten appointments for about 10 AM. The Shipper had a good-sized parking lot for the trucks to wait in until they were called to back into a dock door. Both times the company I worked for ended up canceling the load and the reason was simple economics. This was a Union Shipper, after waiting for a couple of hours past my appointment time I went inside to see what was going on as no trucks had moved from the docks yet. Just like at the GM Factory the shipping department employees were all just siting around in their break room. I was told that the Union had gotten a deal where the employees only had to load 4 trailers per shift, figuring 2 hours per trailer x 4=8 hour shift. Reality was that when the day started at 7 AM the employees would hustle to get their 4 trailers loaded. But, it actually only took them about 30 minutes to load a trailer so, 4 x 30 minutes =2 hours. Then the employees would just go to the break room each day until their 8 hour shift was finished then they would check out and go home. The reality was that they had a whole lot full of trucks waiting to get loaded that they didn’t give a damn about.

 

Folks, here is my take on this issue. We all know that all companies are in a global economy, if your company makes a product, lets say widgets, you are not only competing with other Widget Companies in your State or even just in your home Country. If I have a company here in Kentucky, Union or not, and I make Widgets at a cost to me of 48 cents each and another company in lets say China and or Indonesia comes into the market selling Widgets for a total cost of 35 cents each having a production cost of 20 cents per Widget then I have a tough choice to make. Either I get my production cost down to no more than 20 cents per unit so that I can stay competitive, or I close my factory before I go bankrupt. The other option is to close up my factory here in Kentucky and to open up a factory in a place like China or Indonesia where I can be competitive. Either way, I must close up my factory here in Kentucky.

 

My Mom instilled in me a major ‘work ethic’, the concept that when you are at work, you bust your behind, you work. It has long been my belief that if you are an employee and you are lucky enough to have a Union job then you should always work as hard as you can and to always put out the best possible product for you employer. If you are  employed in a Union Business I have always believed that you need to produce at a higher level because you are being paid at a higher level than your non-Union neighbor. Getting contracts where you can work for two hours and sit on your butt in the break room for the next six hours is how companies either go bankrupt, or move away to a non-Union location, like China. Either way, you now have no job at all.

Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail, and this time it’s personal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)

 

Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail, and this time it’s personal

Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail, and this time it's personal
Former President Barack Obama greets supporters as he campaigns in support of California congressional candidates. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

 

They used to call Bill Clinton the Big Dog, because wherever he went, people paid attention. His growl always drew a crowd.

Well, while President Trump was napping this week, the Sleek Dog got off the porch.

Finally.

Former President Obama had always planned to model his post-presidential life after the leads of other ex-presidents, like George W. Bush, who paints, or Jimmy Carter, who builds houses for poor people.

He was, he said the other day, “intent on following a wise American tradition of ex-presidents exiting the political stage, making room for new voices and new ideas.”

Turns out, the stakes are too high to remain above the fray.

On Friday, in a speech to students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and on Saturday at a rally in Anaheim for supporters of Democratic congressional candidates in contested Southern California districts, Obama made one thing clear: The muzzle is off.

And you know what else?

Since Trump has spent his presidency trashing Obama, dismantling his legacy piece by piece and making racists feel safe again, the Sleek Dog, whose aloof ways are legendary, has gotten downright snarly.

He called Trump shameless. A fear monger. A demagogue promising “simple fixes to complex problems.” A bully. He accused Trump of “toxic corruption,” of being responsible for the country’s “downward spiral.”

He blamed a spineless Republican Congress for allowing Trump to undermine the nation’s international alliances, to cozy up to Russian President Vladimir Putin — “the former head of the KGB,” as Obama reminded the crowd — and for “actively blocking legislation that would defend our elections from Russian attack.”

“In a healthy democracy,” Obama said, “there’s some checks and balances on this kind of behavior, this kind of inconsistency, but right now there’s none.”

We are in a moment where no one who cares about the fate of the nation can comfortably sit on the sidelines.

Welcome back, Sleek Dog. What took you so long?

::

Doesn’t it seems like eons ago that Michelle Obama stood onstage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and delivered that memorable line about civility: “When they go low, we go high”?

It seemed so reassuring at the time. Turns out, the line was better as prophecy than as advice.

What followed was a torrent of pettiness and ugliness from Trump, his associates, and his fans. “Lock her up!” said the future national security advisor who later pleaded guilty to lyingto the FBI.

Nice is so overrated.

“We never know what kind of sludge is going to roll out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,” California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman said Saturday as he welcomed about 750 Democrats to a small ballroom in the Anaheim Convention Center.

Obama strolled onstage Saturday, dressed casually in slacks and shirtsleeves. He was less bombastic than he’d been in Illinois the day before. Hey, Sleek Dog can only stay nasty for so long. Unlike our current president, it’s just not in his nature.

“There is no set of issues we can’t solve if we are working together,” Obama said, sounding very much like the optimistic cheerleader of years past. “It’s always tempting for politicians for their own gain and people in power to try to see if they can divide people, scapegoat folks, turn them on each other, because when that happens, you get gridlock and government doesn’t work and people get cynical and decide not to participate.

“And when people don’t participate, that vacuum is filled by lobbyists and special interests and we get into a downward spiral where people get discouraged and think nothing is going to make a difference. And that unfortunately is the spiral we have been on for the past couple years.”

::

If Democrats retake the House in November — and a handful of traditionally Republican seats in California could make the difference — many citizens will look upon Obama’s return to the political fray this week as the beginning of an American restoration.

A restoration of integrity.

Of decency.

Of honesty.

And, possibly even, of the ideal of bipartisanship, strangled by the current chief executive, then dumped by the side of the road in Crazytown, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly’s nickname for the White House, according to Bob Woodward in his new book “Fear: Trump in the White House.”

Trump’s response to Obama’s attack in Illinois? He said he fell asleep. It was his idea of a clever putdown. Instead, it inspired an outpouring of mockery on Twitter. (“Trump ‘fell asleep’ during Barack Obama’s speech because it wore him out looking up all those words in the dictionary,” quipped screenwriter Randy Mayem Singer.)

In truth, it’s the Sleek Dog who has been asleep.

“You can feel people saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” Obama said Saturday. “We’re going to kick off our bedrooms slippers, we’re putting on our marching shoes.”

Nap time is over.

Republicans: Trump Is a Mad King — Vote for Us to Give Him Unchecked Power

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INTELLIGENCER NEWS AGENCY)

 

Republicans: Trump Is a Mad King — Vote for Us to Give Him Unchecked Power

All power to this person. Photo: Rick Loomis/Getty Images

Throughout 2018, the Democratic Party has had two core messages for the American people: Donald Trump is a dangerouscorrupt president whose power must be checked — and the GOP are a corrupt, dangerous party thatwants to take away health care from the sick.

Now, as the midterm campaign hits the homestretch, Republicans are making the Democrats’ case for them.

In an anonymous New York Times op-ed published Wednesday, a senior Trump administration official wrote that President Trump has “anti-democratic impulses,” is bereft of “any discernible first principles,” behaves in an “erratic” manner that is “detrimental to the health of our republic,” and is so psychologically unstable, “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” (which allows for a president to be removed for physical or mental incapacity). The official went on to insist that all of this “would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House” who “have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.”

The op-ed never advises its readers to vote for Democrats this fall. In fact, it suggests that unified Republican government serves the American people’s interests, as it has led to “effective deregulation” and “historic tax reform.” But when GOP strategists were sketching out the ideal message for their party to run on in 2018, they probably didn’t choose: “The health of our republic requires Donald Trump’s power to be checked — but don’t vote to place any additional checks on his power because his insubordinate staff is sometimes successful at blocking his worst ideas, and if you vote Republicans out of office they won’t be able to pass any more corporate tax cuts that you don’t like.

What’s more, it isn’t just a single, anonymous Republican official saying that President Trump cannot be trusted with power. Following the anonymous op-ed’s publication Wednesday, GOP senator Bob Corker told reporters, “This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one … I understand this is the case and that’s why I think all of us encourage the good people around the president to stay. I thank General Mattis whenever I see him.”

Corker’s comments echo remarks he made in October 2017, when he told theTimes that the president’s recklessness threatened to put America “on the path to World War III”; that “every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” and that “the vast majority” of the Republican caucus knows these things to be true.

Corker’s Republican colleagues have not moved to expel him from the Senate for telling outrageous lies about the president. Many have declined to even dispute the senator’s account. Which is to say: A large swath of elected Republicans have tacitly conceded that Donald Trump poses a threat to global security, and that this threat is mitigated primarily by the systemic insubordination of officials who serve at Trump’s pleasure.

Once all this is stipulated, the only plausible argument for allowing Republicans to retain full control of Congress (instead of putting a check on Trump that he could not summarily fire) is that the GOP is ready and able to check Trump’s authority itself.

But in recent weeks, congressional Republicans have explicitly assuredvoters that they will not provide effective oversight of the Executive branch. In campaign advertisements, Republican congressional candidates have devoted more airtime to proclaiming their loyalty to Donald Trump than they have to defending their party’s signature tax reform legislation. In recent weeks, many Republicans have reframed their 2018 message around a pledge to protect Trump from overzealous oversight. Last month, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn warned voters that a Democratic Congress would seek “to reverse the election by whatever means possible.”

Around the same time, Republicans on Capitol Hill compiled a list of all the White House scandals that a Democratic House would likely investigate — which is to say, a list of scandals that the current Congress is actively covering up. Among them, per Axios:

• President Trump’s tax returns

• Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the

Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization

• Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin

• The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels

• James Comey’s firing

• Trump’s firing of U.S. Attorneys

• Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military

• Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings

• White House staff’s personal email use

• Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks

• Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago

• Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance

• Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors

• The travel ban

• Family-separation policy

• Hurricane response in Puerto Rico

• Election security and hacking attempts

• White House security clearances

It’s hard to imagine any Democratic consultant putting together a better advertisement for divided government than this.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been doing everything in its power to bolster the other pillar of Team Blue’s midterm message. It’s long been clear to Democrats and Republicans alike that health-care policy is the House majority’s biggest liability. The Obamacare repeal bill that House Republicans voted for last year proved to be the most unpopular piece of major legislation in America’s modern history. Shortly after the bill’s introduction last spring, the Democratic Party opened a double-digit lead in polls of the 2018 generic ballot, while President Trump’s job approvaldipped. Subsequent surveys showed the public favoring the Democrats over the Republicans on health-care policy by wide margins.

In May, Republican congressman — and longtime GOP strategist — Tom Cole told CNN that he wasn’t worried about the repeal effort hurting his party on Election Day. After all, by then, it would be water under the bridge. “It’s hard to beat you on a vote you didn’t succeed on,” Cole reasoned.

Alas, the Trump administration — and red-state attorneys general — has made that task much easier for Democrats. Earlier this summer, the Justice Department announced that it would not defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from a challenge brought by a group of red states, which claims that Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate rendered the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions invalid. This claim — that Congress is not constitutionally allowed to eliminate the ACA’s insurance mandate, unless it also repeals the law’s other regulations of the health-care market — is not some sacred principle of originalist jurisprudence. Rather, it’s an ad hoc rationalization for right-wing judicial activism so specious, it makes theNational Review blush. And yet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions concluded that his department could make no honest argument against the plaintiffs’ case, and thus, had no choice but to forfeit its responsibility to defend federal law.

Oral arguments in that case began this week — and a Republican-appointed judge in Texas signaled that he buys the red states’ case. Judge Reed O’Connor “gave only cursory treatment to the baseline question of whether the individual mandate without an accompanying penalty could stand as constitutional,” according to Modern Healthcare’s Susannah Luthi, devoting most of his questions to the matter of precisely how much of the Affordable Care Act he is constitutionally obligated to strike down. On Wednesday, the judge indicated that he expects to deliver a ruling soon on whether the ACA’s consumer protections can remain in force.

It’s hard to overstate how inconvenient such a ruling would be to the GOP’s electoral strategy. The only thing Republicans want to discuss less than repealing Obamacare is repealing that law’s most popular provision. Last year, the idea of letting the market decide who can get chemotherapy without having to declare bankruptcy proved so politically toxic, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell retained versions of the ACA’s protections for people with preexisting conditions in all of their health-care bills. Even for a House Speaker whose signature policy idea is privatizing Social Security, scrapping those protections outright was a bridge too far.

Now, as voters head to the polls, Republicans may be forced to defend the god-given right of insurance companies to deny coverage to anyone who’s ever seen a psychologist. In fact, in some of 2018’s most competitive Senate races, Republicans nominated state attorneys general who brought the lawsuit to begin with.

In general, the relevance of messaging to midterm election outcomes is greatly exaggerated. But to the extent that campaign themes influence voter behavior, the Republican Party is doing its best to turn the long-forecasted “blue wave” into a tsunami.

So, Your Gay And I Don’t Agree With Your Life Style, So What

 

Here in the U.S. far to many people have become one issue oriented whether it be in their politics or in their personal lifestyle. So many people these days decide on who they like, love or hate over how that person believes on just one issue. Take politics, many people vote Republican because of the Republican platform stance on gun rights while many other people vote Democratic because of that same issue. Just as many people vote for Democrats and against Republicans because of the abortion issue. Those for it will vote for the Democrat and those against abortion will vote for the Republican.

 

Concerning the issue of ‘Gay rights’ and ‘LGBT rights’ when it comes to political parties here in the U.S. most people who are for these ‘rights’ do seem to be Democrats as Democrats do seem to be more pro-LGBT-Gay rights than what the Republicans are. But now, let us get to individual issues, lets put this on a personal level, just between you and me. First I will fire off my salvo’s so that there will be no doubt where I stand on these issues. This is best being there is no way that I can possibly speak for you. All I can do here is to pretend that you are a person that thinks totally ‘liberal’ about the ‘Gay’ issues.

 

Growing up, I to the best of my knowledge didn’t know any Gay kids, yet as an adult I did learn of some kids that were actually Gay, I was just unaware of it. My ‘kid days’ were back in the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s and back then this was definitely a ‘Closet’ issue, kids would have been beaten up for less than this. So, in the 1980’s some of these kids ‘came out’ as young adults. Living in a closet for years within ones own family would have to have been such a difficult thing to have to do. I am sure that if I had been Gay and my Dad would have found out he would literally have beaten me to death, no doubt about it. Now, my wife was born in 1965, she only had one brother, he was born in 1963, he died from Aids in 1992 at the age of 28. This is something that devastated their family of six. He ‘came out’ at the age of 18 and even his Mom tried to run over him with the family car. Needless to say he moved out of the house at age 18, 9 1/2 years later, he was dead. I never met him as he died 7 years before I ever met his sister yet I do honestly believe that we would have gotten along quite well as long as he didn’t do ‘gay’ thing right in front of me. I’m just being honest, yet it seems that he was a kind and decent person who would not have thrown his ‘gayness’ into people’s faces, just as I would never have belittled him for being gay.

 

Now I try to be the best Christian servant of God that I know how to be and my wife said that her brother knew that the Bible says that acting out on ones gay tendencies is a sin. She said her brother did not want to be gay, he simply was. He tried dating girls but he just wasn’t interested, it would have been like a straight guy trying to date another guy to prove that they are gay when they weren’t. My wife believes that being gay or being bi is a chemical issue in the brain that a person cannot have ‘spanked or beaten’ out of them. In other words, if you are gay, your gay.

 

No one likes to be told that the things that we do, like or believe is wrong yet reality is, some things are wrong. Regarding human laws, these laws tell us what is okay for us to do and what things will get us fined or arrested. Concerning God’s laws (sins) we are told what is okay and what things He does not want us to do. We each set up rules within our own homes and within our own minds as to what we will or will not accept as being okay. Some will not like some of the things that I am saying but O well, that’s life, deal with it. Just as I will disagree with some of you on this issue, I need to deal with it. Just because you disagree with me or I you on this issue or on a plethora of other issues does not give any of us the right to hate the other person or to physically harm the other person, to do either, is sin. Even though by Scripture the LGBT-Gay lifestyle is a sin and it is not one I personally approve of, if I hate you because you are Gay, that is a sin on me. God says that He hates the sins that we commit, but He still loves the sinner and every one of us are sinners, we may just have different sins that we commit. If I lie, that is a sin, if you act out your gay wishes, you have sinned.

 

Disapproving of each others lifestyles is just normal human ways. Are you old enough to remember how short-haired people ‘hated’ people with long hair? Or, maybe do you remember how people would ‘hate’ people who wore different style of clothes they themselves did? Hate toward one another, it is stupid, it is sinful. Just because I am hair deprived and you have long thick hair it is wrong of me to hate you, or you me. Just because I wear a pocketed T-Shirt to Church services and you wear a thousand dollar suit to Church, should we hate each other? Just as some people may have to walk to Church services or ride a bicycle while another drives a new BMW there, should we hate each other? In these areas there is also another sin to watch out for, it’s called envy. Should I hate or envy you because you are able to have a purple Mohawk hair style when I have no hair? Really, how childish, how sinful are we inside our own minds? Everyday our hate, shows all the people around us just how sinful ‘we’ are.

 

Joe Biden’s McCain eulogy just explained exactly what’s wrong with American politics

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Joe Biden’s McCain eulogy just explained exactly what’s wrong with American politics

(CNN)Here’s a paragraph from Joe Biden’s eulogy of the late John McCain that you need to read:

“You know, I’m sure if my former colleagues who work with John, I’m sure there’s people who said to you, not only now, but the last 10 years, ‘Explain this guy to me,’ right? ‘Explain this guy to me.’ Because, as they looked at him, in one sense they admired him. In one sense, the way things changed so much in America, they look at him as if John came from another age, lived by a different code, an ancient, antiquated code where honor, courage, integrity, duty, were alive. That was obvious, how John lived his life. The truth is, John’s code was ageless, is ageless. When you talked earlier, Grant, you talked about values. It wasn’t about politics with John. He could disagree on substance, but the underlying values that animated everything John did, everything he was, come to a different conclusion. He’d part company with you if you lacked the basic values of decency, respect, knowing this project is bigger than yourself.”
Yes, that is, ostensibly, about McCain. But it is also an indictment of our current politics — and a road map on how we can fix what’s broken.
The prevailing “value” of modern politics is partisanship: You are good if you are on my team. You are not just bad, but morally bankrupt, if you are on the other side. You are real if you are on my team and fake if you aren’t. Anything the captain of my team says can be justified (and agreed with) because, well, they’re the captain of my team. Anything the other team’s captain says is wrong, by default, because they’re the captain of the other team. There’s no reason to listen to people on the other team. Or make friends with them. Or even be seen with them. They aren’t on my team. Why would I do that?
President Donald Trump is the walking, talking epitome of the sanctification of partisanship over all our other, real, values. (Yes, the irony is not lost on me — and should not be lost on you — that the modern patron saint of partisanship is someone who has been, literally, a Democrat, an independent and a Republican all within the last decade or so.) This is a man who has declared, repeatedly, that the mainstream media is the “enemy of the people.” A man who said his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election should be jailed. A man who has called elected officials of his own party who disagreed with him “incompetent,” “weak and ineffective” and “so bad,” among many other things. A man who, while McCain was home in Arizona fighting the brain cancer that eventually killed him, would use the story of McCain voting against health care repeal legislation to symbolize the Arizona senator’s alleged backstabbing. (“One senator decided to put the thumb down,” Trump would say in his standard stump speech. “That was not a good thing.”)
To be clear: Trump doesn’t take this if-you-aren’t-with-me-you’re-against-me view out of any sort of principles. After all, he made his living in the private sector as a deal-maker, someone who always saw compromise as possible — even in the darkest of situations. And as I noted above, Trump has been all over the map in terms of his personal politics. This is not a man wedded to a certain, unwavering view of what’s right in the world.
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING?

Check out the latest analysis from The Point with Chris Cillizza:

Trump has elevated pure, unstinting partisanship into a virtue because it works for him politically. The Republican base was mad as hell at its elected leaders who they believed were all too willing to compromise on core principles. And not just compromise, but compromise badly; conservatives have long believed that Democrats always got the best of Republicans when it came to the sort of last-minute deal-making that Congress made a habit of producing. Compromise as capitulation was a notion within conservative circles before Trump, but he seized the idea and turned it into gospel truth. Even being seen with a member of the opposite party has become enough to draw a Republican incumbent a primary challenge from someone in their home state, insisting that the elected official has “gone Washington” or “come down with Potomac fever” or some other claptrap like that.
Now go back up and read Biden’s words. And these words in particular (bolding is mine):
“It wasn’t about politics with John. He could disagree on substance, but the underlying values that animated everything John did, everything he was, come to a different conclusion. He’d part company with you if you lacked the basic values of decency, respect, knowing this project is bigger than yourself.”
When you read that last sentence, you understand why McCain was so openly critical of Trump, and why Trump disliked McCain in turn. McCain believed in the idea of public service as a noble — flawed, but nonetheless noble — profession. That the reason you got into politics was to find ways to do good, not for yourself but for the broader populace. That the most important lesson to always, always, always remember is that we all have a lot more in common than we have differences on. That focusing on that common humanity was at the essence of how politics should work. It wasn’t about what team you were on. It was about what good you wanted to do — and for whom.
That shared humanity — the sense that we are all, in the end, in this together — hasn’t disappeared.
It can’t disappear because it’s who we, at root, are. What’s wrong is that we just aren’t looking hard enough for it. We are too willing to allow ourselves to be manipulated by people who, for whatever reasons — political and monetary gain, mostly — have a vested interest in focusing on what divides us rather than what unites us.
I’m under no illusion that either McCain’s death (and life) or Biden’s paean to re-find what McCain represented will have any immediate effect on the body politic. It’s easier to retreat into partisan camps and surround yourself with people, TV talkers and the like who tell you that you’re right (about everything) and those who disagree with you are your enemies, villains to be vanquished.
In the end, though, I’m with Biden and McCain. Who we are might get obscured. We might forget. But those are temporary matters. In the end, our eyes will open and our minds will remember.