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Congressional Obstruction of the Senate GOP

President Barack Obama faced strong headwinds in obtaining Congressional passage of what many consider to be one of his Administrations greatest accomplishments – the Affordable Care Act – in his first year in office. Most attribute this to the fact that, however briefly, the Democrats held a virtual filibuster-proof majority in the US Senate and a solid majority in the US House of Representatives. Even so, tremendous effort needed to occur in both Houses of Congress before the final passage of this bill and signing it into law. Most Republicans strongly opposed the legislation as being too costly and unnecessary, while many Democrats (especially Progressives) thought it did not go far enough in terms of who gained affordable coverage and how they would receive it.

Despite these objections, the ACA passed and significantly improved health care coverage for millions who did not previously possess it. Given the losses suffered in the midterm elections and numerous court challenges to its Constitutionality, the law remained largely intact until the inauguration of Donald Trump and efforts by him and his followers in Congress to chip away at it. Talk promising to repeal and replace the ACA with some heretofore Republican alternative health care system that does not now and never did exist in any proposed legislation has been drowned out only recently by two impeachment attempts and a 2020 election drubbing of Donald Trump.

Upon the rise to power of Mitch McConnell to Senate Republican Leader, the call was first to reach the goal of a one-term Presidency of Obama, then to do anything in his power to thwart any initiatives put forth by Obama and/or Democratic Congressional representatives which strayed from his views of how to rule the country. Throughout the entire length of the Trump Administration, no effort, other than an occasionally critical public statement, was made to curtail the overt or covert attempts by the former President to usurp the will of the people while aggrandizing his personal wealth and making life better for himself, his family and those willing to go to great lengths to curry his favor.

Following the November election defeat of Trump at the hands of even more millions of voters than he lost by in 2016, the delusional (or some might say demented) soon-to-be-Former President Trump made a mockery of the entire election by claiming – via lawsuits in just about every state where anyone but he was deemed the victor. All these attempts to overthrow legitimate election results were defeated or dismissed as groundless accusations of voter fraud that existed in the muddled minds of himself, his ardent supporters, conspiracy theory extremists like Q-Anon and politicians elected largely based on groveling at his feet (metaphorically at least). To this day, the man insists that the election was stolen from him by anyone – Republican, Democrat or other – who dared state or certify that anyone other than Donald Trump received the most votes and hence won the election.

Two sham impeachment trials and uncounted sums in legal costs later, Trump still rails against the unfair and unlawful system that would leave the Greatest President That Ever Lived jobless after only four years at the helm. His outrage has encouraged Republican elected figures in numerous states to fight for legislation designed to make the election of non-Republican candidates in future elections much more difficult if not virtually impossible. Many of these laws, some of which have already passed in state legislatures and signed by their Republican governors, are so blatantly intended to make voting significantly harder for so many voters as to ensure that voter turnout will drop precipitously if they are allowed to remain in effect for any given election.

The assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 will be remembered as a day that will live in infamy (if I may steal a line from FDR) as a low watermark for democracy in this country. Donald Trump inspired that riot. Intentionally. He was properly impeached for it and provided a sham Senate trial after leaving office – which for the time being means he is still eligible to attempt another run for office. He needs to disabused of the notion that he has some inalienable right to be our Emperor.

The attempt to form a commission to investigate exactly what preceded the events of January 6th to make a future such coup attempt by Trump or any other Hitler/Stalin/Name-Your-Favorite-Dictator to gain power more difficult and less likely to succeed in the future. The Senate GOP, through the use of the undemocratic filibuster, is pretending we do not need to punish the leaders of this insurrection as well as the hundreds of ground troops and followers who have been arrested and charged since then. People like Donald Trump, in whose name these folks acted following his incitement speech just prior to the riot, need to be held responsible for their actions. There is no doubt some of the others are still “representing’” us in Congress and elsewhere.

President Biden no doubt faces greater obstacles to achieving his and/or our agenda to strengthen our Democracy, improve the lives of all Americans and enable us obtain and increase the power of our voices  in determining the future course of our lives. Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump and their political clones at every level of government in this country and abroad, must lose the power they have stolen from the rest of us and restore the integrity of this society before they can burn it to ashes and us with them. The American people deserve to know exactly what went on to create the events of 1/6/21 and ensure that all those who contributed to this failed coup are not only held accountable for their illegal activities but are never again allowed to subject the rest of us to their tyranny.

Further Suggested Reading:

‘Never again’: Liz Cheney spits fire at Trump’s 2024 re-election after she’s ousted from GOP leadership

The purge is complete: Republicans oust Cheney from leadership post

Trump critics push new direction for GOP

As the GOP implodes, Biden governs

McConnell fully embraces the Big Lie to fight Democrats’ efforts on voting rights and fair elections

‘Mass Psychosis’ May Follow Cheney’s Ouster

Adam Kinzinger Exposes Kevin McCarthy’s Rigged Vote To Boot Liz Cheney

Joe Manchin’s surprisingly bold proposal to fix America’s voting rights problem 

GOP election official in the Arizona county targeted by ballot recount called Trump ‘unhinged’ and said ‘we can’t indulge these insane lies’

The ‘third wave of autocratization’: Analyzing red-state America’s place in a landscape of democratic decay

‘Democrats will proceed to find the truth,’ Pelosi says after Republicans kill Jan. 6 commission

Active Shooter…Only in America | Envisioning The American Dream

Another excellent post from Sally Edelstein on her Envisioning the American Dream blog. The subject matter is not new to anyone who pays any attention to happenings in this country. For the umpteenth million time a person with a legally obtained firearm has terrorized significant portions of the American populace by letting loose a fusillade of bullets in a crowded public venue, killing way too many innocent people trying to go about their ordinary lives in a public grocery store.

Once again, homage is being paid in government circles to the senselessness and unacceptability of such horrific events. Once again, Congress makes noises about the pros and cons of various proposals to deal with the aftermath of such events and to end them for once and for all. It’s truly amazing how such people can spend so much time and energy while accomplishing virtually nothing of substance.

Countless numbers of people have devoted countless hours producing articles and speeches and arguments designed to rid this society of the scourge of the endless perpetuation of such senseless evil allowed to prosper in our midst to no avail. Since I began this blog nearly a decade ago, I have been among the many seeking to put a halt to such unmitigated violence and wanton destruction of any semblance of moral rectitude in the face of such unacceptable evil in the guise of a mythical unrestricted right to bear weapons of improper (or even mass) destruction of the lives of innocent people.

The pronouncements of the disgraced leadership of the National Rifle Association and those politicians who owe that group allegiance based on campaign contributions, which in no small way enable them to gain and retain their hold on political power, provide no acceptable or reasonable excuse for inaction yet again on the part of our elected  representatives in our collective best interests. Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz and all of the other (mostly GOP but including some Democrats as well) folks continuing down this path of inaction is enabling the perpetuation of deliberate evil activity causing immeasurable pain to way too many people far too frequently. Make your voices heard demanding an end to the bloodshed, or at the very least, no longer permitted by those with the power to lessen its burden but lacking the courage to do so. – rjc

Source: Active Shooter…Only in America | Envisioning The American Dream

Top 6 Reasons Not to Give Biden Any New AUMF, by David Swanson – Dandelion Salad

Now that the Biden Administration seems to be making strides via Executive Orders and legislation (due to Democratic Party control of the US House of Representatives and semi-control of the US Senate, we must put pressure on them to start putting forward effort to make peace rather than wage war. The time has come to end the perpetual wars being waged in the Middle East and to use diplomacy rather than continue waging them with no end in sight.

Furthermore, pressure must be put forth to strengthen Congress’s role in future foreign policy disputes while curtailing the ability of the executive branch to start future military activities. This article, written by David Swanson and posted to the Dandelion Salad blog gives excellent arguments in favor of this proposition. – rjc

Source: Top 6 Reasons Not to Give Biden Any New AUMF, by David Swanson – Dandelion Salad

Now What?

Like millions of my fellow Americans, I was suffering Trump fatigue from the time I realized we were in for a minimum sentence of four years under the thumb of the worst would-be authoritarian tyrant ever to occupy the Oval Office as President of the United States of America. Every public pronouncement of his – from his Obama birther fallacies to his tirades aimed at immigrants – promised nothing so much as division and the spread of hatred like we had never seen before.

Once in office, Trump went about trying to accomplish much that was contrary to the moral values of most human beings on this planet, let alone the citizens of the land of the free and the home of the brave. In trying to remake America in his own image, Trump managed to oversee outrageously inhumane treatment of many men, women and children while catering to the desires of white supremacists, racists, misogynists and just about every other sort of right wing extremists imaginable. He constantly displayed a degree of sympathy and empathy towards the undeserving targets of his hateful wrath normally found in rocks and other inanimate objects.

He constantly rails against anyone who dares reject his claims that up is down, black is white and wrong is right. No matter how many times his  many claims of factual reality were debunked as utter nonsense, he persisted in his own omniscience and demanded that others submit to his wisdom and act to carry out his will – regardless of the outcomes to people subjected to his ill-conceived policy decisions. Unfortunately, there were too few dissident voices speaking out against his tyrannical tendencies, and too many followers willing to suspend their own concept of right and wrong and submit to his will unquestionably. Some saw that he was doing stuff that they liked (nominating ultra-conservative judges, building a wall to keep out foreigners wishing to immigrate here, reversing almost any accomplishments achieved by President Obama) or trying not to be ridiculed publicly by his taunts and insulting nicknames.

Donald Trump did a fantastic job of taking the air out of many public debates. He dominated the airwaves at the expense of accomplishing much of anything of value in the way of “Making America Great Again” and improving living conditions for people living here or anywhere else on the planet. With the assistance of many in Congress who knew full well that much of what he was doing was either unconstitutional or morally bankrupt as pertains to how people were being treated in his name, he manages to accomplish something his 44 predecessors never did – get impeached by the House of Representatives for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The unmitigated sophistry that led any senators at all to vote to acquit Trump in either impeachment trial in despicable. He was guilty of everything with which he was charged and more. Topping it off with inciting the debacle at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, after more than two months of undocumented (read here “imaginary” or simply “fictitious”) claims that the election was stolen from him, was simply a bridge too far – for now. Hence Joe Biden sits in the White House while Trump fumes (without use of Twitter, thankfully) in his fat cat resort in Mar-a-Lago.

Gradually, Biden is replacing Trump in the minds of many, gradually eclipsing him in media coverage. We must make progress in all the areas that Trump either ignored or royally screwed up. Minor things like a pandemic which has killed half a million Americans so far, devastating the economy of which Trump was so proud. The fundamental lifestyle changes of millions of Americans need to continue to spur action as the Biden Administration has been doing, rather than ignored as was the case with Trump.

Straightening out the mess that Trump has made of virtually all aspects of American life will not be easy – nor will it be sufficient. We must be striving to improve our lives in all policy areas – foreign and domestic – progressively, not regressively as Trump’s vision was taking us. At the same time, Trump, along with his minions and enablers, do need to be brought to justice.

We must not only eliminate Trump’s ability to successfully usurp our government again in the future. We need to ensure that never again will this country face the disgrace of another Trumpian-style government takeover. We deserve better and we have had to deal with more absolutely insufferable conduct that any freedom and democracy loving people ever should. Peace, and may your post-Trump, post-Covid life be fruitful and fulfilling.

Further Suggested Readings:

There is Nothing More Difficult than Understanding Evil: Dealing with the Evils Unleashed By President Trump

The Scourge of Race Hatred, Anti-Semitism, Holocaust Denial, and Violence Will Continue Long After Trump Leaves Office

A Time to Stand against the Coming Coup of the Trump Cult

Trump incited the storming of the Capitol. Racist policing enabled it

Trump is locked out of Facebook, Twitter after video on Capitol chaos

The Threat of Fascism Rears its Head in Washington, by Pete Dolack + PSL Statement: Trump Incites Fascist Insurrection Against Congress — What Comes Next?

A High Crime, not a Misdemeanor: Hold Trump and His Minions Responsible for their Coup Attempt

Republicans Will Not Rethink or Reconsider…

Resist the Continuing Threat of Terrorist Insurrection by President Trump and His Cult

Opinion: – Did Trump Encourage His Supporters To Riot At U.S. Capital? You Decide

Mitch McConnell votes not to impeach, then blasts Donald Trump | Lexington Herald Leader

After voting to acquit now Former-President Trump in his unprecedented (or as Trump would say “Unpresidented”) second Senate impeach trial, Former-Senate Majority Leader (current Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell gave a speech in which he pretty much laid out the case that Trump was, in fact, responsible for inciting the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol and terrorizing both bodies of Congress and his own Vice President on January 6, 2021. He did, indeed, make an outstanding case for his own status as chief GOP apologist and hypocrite in once again allowing Trump to escape his own criminal activity unscathed.

The 43 GOP Senators who once again made a mockery of the entire impeachment process, despite the fact that a solid majority of the U.S. population disagreed with the verdict. Most, if not all, of these senators know full well that Trump is guilty as Hell of the charge the House of Representatives sent in impeaching him. No amount of sophistry will change this fact or be forgotten when history is written regarding the incident or the time comes for these enablers of Trump’s authoritarian attempt to retain his office despite the fact that he did lose the election decisively to President Biden.

The deaths of those killed on January 6, 2021 lay squarely at the feet of Donald Trump. That the situation resulted in fewer casualties than could have occurred is no thanks to him. A message must be sent to all that Trump should never again be allowed to be in public office and that those who allowed him to abuse the powers of the Presidency for his own aggrandizement and personal gratification are not fit to serve as representatives of the states and districts that elected them. They all violated their oaths of office and placed our democracy in grave peril.

Hopefully, such unacceptable behavior will be avoided and we can get back to trying to move forward for the benefit of us all, not the petty whims of a would-be dictator. Trump still must be brought to justice, even if it is only at the hands of some of the defenders of the state laws he violated. I look forward to a time when this is left behind and we need no longer fear a repeat of this coup attempt by Donald J. Trump or any other person or small group. – rjc

Source: Mitch McConnell votes not to impeach, then blasts Donald Trump | Lexington Herald Leader

AOC’s Instagram Live details the Capitol riot and her sexual assault – Vox

AOC’s account of the events in the US Capitol on January 6th. The perpetrators and the enablers of this ghastly conduct must be held accountable for their crimes – up to and including Members of Congress and Former President Trump. He was still President when these events took place. Leaving office in the meantime does not absolve him for his role in this insurrection, which endangered the lives of many Members of Congress, their staffs, police and even then-Vice President Pence.

If we let any of these people off unpunished, such conduct will surely recur in the future. Convict Trump and prosecute the others to the full extent of the law. Without delay. – rjc

Source: AOC’s Instagram Live details the Capitol riot and her sexual assault – Vox

“A country isn’t a rock. It’s not an extension of one’s self. It’s what it stands for. It’s what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult!” The Second Trump Impeachment Trial and Judgement at Nuremberg

The first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was a sham rushed through to a pre-determined acquittal by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and included no witness testimony. Hopefully, this second trial will be more worthy of the name. The attack on the Capitol in Washington, DC at the behest of pro-Trump anti-democratic forces was unacceptable in a democratic nation. Trump incited it and did nothing to abate it. Let the testimony begin. – rjc

Source: “A country isn’t a rock. It’s not an extension of one’s self. It’s what it stands for. It’s what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult!” The Second Trump Impeachment Trial and Judgement at Nuremberg | The Inglorius Padre Steve’s World

Opinion: – Read the full transcript of Trump’s audio call with Georgia’s secretary of state

In what scenario is a phone call like this acceptable in a democratic society? If this blatant attempt to solicit felony election fraud to overturn a legitimate election does not warrant Trump’s immediate removal from office (not to mention criminal prosecution) what would – shooting someone on Fifth Evenue in New York City in broad daylight with cameras and hundreds of smart phones recording it for posterity?

As January 20th approaches, Trump seems to become increasingly volatile and potentially deadly (literally). He is showing no inclination to back down and accept that he lost last November 3. The various House and Senate GOP members who continue to back his fiery rhetoric and outlandish lies share in his criminality in my opinion. This would be dictator/mob godfather needs to not only leave office but face criminal prosecution under any and all laws he has broken while pretending that he is not subject to.

Any Senator continuing to play out this coup as a charade attempt to make believe he deserves another four years at the helm deserved the same fate Joe McCarthy experienced in the 1950’s. Same goes for the many House Republicans who are in effect claiming their belief that several states conducted fraudulent elections. Unless you believe only Democrats and fake Republicans can get elected, should the election of Republicans in the states he’s targeting not be thrown out as well.

Tomorrow and Wednesday should be interesting (even dangerous). How long must we tolerate this lunatic inciting violence at every opportunity? I say not one more day. GOP elected members of Congress need to step up and live up to their oaths of office or resign because they feel they cannot do so. – rjc

Source: Opinion: – Read the full transcript of Trump’s audio call with Georgia’s secretary of state

What Uncooperative Non-Transition Means

Donald J. Trump is perhaps one of the most, if not THE most delusional person ever to hold the office of President of the United States of America. Not only does he maintain that he could not have lost to President-Elect Joe Biden in a non-rigged election (he did the same in 2016, when he prevailed in the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by over three million votes), he continues to act as though he needs to cooperate in any sort of transition to aid the incoming President in a transition that maintains national security and meet the ongoing needs of the American people in this time of a catastrophic health crisis.

After amassing a record number of failures in lawsuits seeking to overthrow as fraudulent victories by his opponent in key swing states that he won by miniscule margins in 2016 – due to absolutely ludicrous claims based on no solid evidence whatsoever, to this day he refuses to concede defeat. He appears to not care in the least how his actions are having a negative impact on millions of Americans becoming impoverished due to his policies and his woefully disastrously inadequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic. His cult-like supporters, many of whom are openly racist supporters of authoritarian policies and protest openly while armed to the teeth and threatening violence to those seeking relief from Trump’s policies along with movement forward from the dangers he has exacerbated through his claims that only he can fix the problems we face in these perilous times.

Elected leaders of what used to be called the Republican Party have staunchly refused to call him on his authoritarian and dictatorial tendencies or take actions meant to temper his outrageous rants against any possessing the temerity to end what threatens to become what can only be described as a modern-day reign of terror. Gradually, what started out as a trickle of dissent from Mitt Romney and a few other GOP senators, US Representatives and a smattering of state and local officials has gained a little more support as the court cases, electoral college vote and state recounts have shown that, as has been the case on many occasions since his inauguration on January 20, 2017, Emperor Donald has no clothes and he has no plans to defer to anyone else when it comes to stepping down.

The chaos that is accelerating as Trump fires or demands resignations from various key Administration officials who either attempt to do their jobs despite his demands that they bend to his whims regardless of their legality and/or Constitutionality is not only a threat to our national security but our health, economic well-being, civil rights, individual freedoms and democratic values as a whole. In many ways, Trump is using his steadfast refusal to face reality as yet another excuse to fleece his supporters to line his own pockets and wage millions of dollars to wage another four-year battle to try to buy himself another four year term in 2024.

As long as people continue to support politicians who act directly to allow him to do practically anything he wants without consequences rather than challenging him in the interests of the people they are supposed to be representing, his destruction of our society and political system and the impoverishment and deaths of untold numbers of our fellow human beings will continue unabated. We deserve better from our government. Not only Trump needs to go – those who have been and continue to permit his rule by temper tantrum need to join him in leaving government service at the earliest opportunity.

Trump has been responsible for more death, undeserved inhumane treatment, destruction of the environment and just about every form of inequality imaginable to ever be outweighed by any good he may claim to be responsible for. He claims credit for anything he finds to be a positive outcome of his policies while refusing to admit responsibility for any harm they may have caused. Everyday he continues in office is a day in which he poses a threat to further, lasting, damage to the American people. He’s been bailed out of impeachment and spared any personal consequences for some of the most hateful conduct of any President in the history of this country. His claims to be a “law and order” champion are fraudulent in the extreme when he claims personal immunity to prosecution and no responsibility to obey any law himself  while sewing chaos and inciting his supporters to violence.

The Supreme Court has said no to him recently. Even Mitch McConnell has conceded that Biden has won the election since the Electoral College voted thus. Refusing to ensure a peaceful transition to an Administration led by Joe Biden is wrong and dangerous for this country in both the short and long term. Sanity must be restored to the body politic. The time has come for the American people to heard, rather than continue to be silenced by the roar of a maniacal tyrant intent on getting his own way at any cost. I long for a day when I can watch a newscast without mention of Donald Trump, his policies or his insults and threats for even some of his most ardent supporters.

I saw a television commercial recently where Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame asked Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame if he wanted cheese with that whine. That seems to be an appropriate question to pose Donald Trump. January 20, 2021 seems to be approaching very, very slowly. We need to get down to the business of repairing the damage our sitting but totally unfit President has done in the past four years and making up for the huge mistake made in our 2016 election.  

Further Suggested Readings:

‘Going to Get a Lot of People Killed’: Covid-19 Soars to New Heights as Trump Sabotages Transition

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes spits fire at Republicans for letting America be ‘thrashed’ by COVID-19

Rice offers one possible reason there have been no security briefings for Biden transition team

America’s Dangerous Interregnum

Trump isn’t going to stay in control of the government, but there is something …

Trump Tells GSA Administrator Great Job As She Blocks Biden Transition

President-elect Joe Biden said the biggest consequence of Donald Trump’s efforts to obstruct his transition to the White House is that "more people may die" if Trump continues to block access to vaccine distribution plans.

‘I Guess He’s the Next One to Be Fired’: Even William Barr Says No Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud

Will Last Century’s Crimes Against Humanity Be This Century’s Too? Robert Jackson’s Closing Arguments at Nuremberg

Padre Steven Dundas posted these views in his blog earlier today. The parallels between Hitler’s Nazi Germany and what appears to be Trump’s vision of the future of the United States of America under his authoritarian rule despite the results of our November 3rd election are quite chilling.

I do not know if Steve’s predictions will ultimately occur. I strongly hope they will not, for the sake of our government and the wellbeing humankind as a whole. Time will tell. I am convinced that our recent election will fail to eliminate the danger of Trump’s governing modus operandi or lead to a humanitarian, sympathetic and empathic dealing with each other. His consistent shrugging off of any and all criticism of his policies and proclamations and doubling down on the most abhorrent ramifications of his psyche cause me to doubt his ability to bring about positive change for the lives of the vast majority of people living here and everywhere else on the planet (and beyond, if we start spreading ourselves off-planet).

So far, Trump has done little to assuage the trepidation that many expressed in defeating him in the last election. Indeed, he appears hellbent on fueling increasing violence perpetrated by his supporters upon his opponents. This we must fight against with every fiber of our being. Once he has been moved out of the White House, I would strongly recommend he not be permitted to return. He and his cult-like supporters must never be permitted to run roughshod over the rights and liberties of even the most vulnerable among us as has been the case since his inauguration on January 20, 2017.

All this means that there are still many, many Trump sycophants and enablers occupying positions of power in all facets of our government, federal, state and local. We must fight them (metaphorically speaking, and sometimes perhaps even literally) in their attempts to reform our society to match his toxic vision of what Making America Great Again really looks like. Rather than letting him and his puppets line their pockets, we must be vigilant in preventing them from picking our pockets to undeservedly benefit themselves at our expense, which exactly what they have been doing for the past four years. -rjc

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I spent much of the past week, until I had my emotional and physical meltdown discussing the importance of the Nuremberg Trials to today’s world. To do so I went through the five parts of Supreme Court Justice and Chief American Prosecutor, Robert Jackson’s opening address to the Tribunal. Tonight I will begin to work through his closing arguments, which like his opening are considered to be among the most powerful and definitive legal addresses in history.

We cannot forget or we will be doomed to repeat them, for the Holocaust was not an anomaly, it is the ever present part of the dark part of humanity.

Historian Gerhard Weinberg wrote:

“It’s very, very important for people to get a sense of what the potentialities of people really are, what the dangers of ignorance can be. It is in this context, that a supposedly advanced…

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