Pack it

The reason I would have been reluctant to pack the Supreme Court is fear of setting a precedent. It would have been the idea that if we do this, then they’ll do that, and we don’t want to start down that path.

That fear is nullified because I no longer believe that any restraint on the part of Democrats will influence Republicans. No courtesy that we extend will be reflected in kind. No attempt to preserve our norms and traditions will make Republicans regard those norms and traditions with reverence.

Quoting a friend on social media

“We should expect nothing but bare-knuckled realpolitik from Republicans from now on; we have to stop being shocked. This is the reality of the GOP moving forward. Nothing is sacred to them, even the sanctity of the vote or the stability of the republic.”

https://mastodon.social/@monkeyborg

Some Republicans still put the United States above Trumpism, but they no longer drive the party. It is no longer an exaggeration that Trump could shoot someone on 5th Avenue. They are murdering us in the streets.

I no longer fear setting dangerous precedents with Republicans. Now I fear not setting them.

I don’t care about whining Trump supporters

Every now and then I have the urge to waste my time and look into an accusation that Trump supporters make about Democrats playing unfairly. They’re making accusations now to justify their attempts to stop the count of legally cast votes. Occasionally, their accusations have some grain of truth.

But I remember birtherism. I remember Ted Cruz boasting about shutting down the government and then denying he did so. I remember that Donald Trump is the most dishonest and corrupt president in American history, who has told thousands of lies while profiting from his office. I remember Trump’s central campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the wall, and how when that didn’t happen Republicans supported him declaring a bullshit national emergency so he can steal money from the military to build it. I remember him breaking an explicit promise to the Dreamers because he wasn’t happy with how many American tax dollars were going into his fucking wall. I remember how Republicans blocked hearings for Merrick Garland over a bullshit rule that they made up about not seating a Supreme Court justice in an election year, and how they broke that rule with fanfare and glee by pushing through Amy Coney Barrett, one of the most unqualified Supreme Court justices in recent history only a month before an election so she can support Trump if tries to win by cheating.

It’s time for me to stop giving a fuck about the accusations of Trump supporters any more. It’s time for me stop wondering if there’s a grain of truth in their lies. We’ve had more than four years of non-stop lies, corruption, and some of the dirtiest tricks ever played by an American political party. Some Republicans have been so disgusted by their own party that they’ve turned on Trump and his supporters. Those Republicans still have some credibility. Trump supporters have none.

A Few Reminders about How Much Donald Trump Loves America and American Heroes

Donald Trump took no action with intelligence that a Russian spy agency was paying the Taliban to kill American troops

Donald Trump threatened to veto military pay in order to defend Confederate base names

Donald Trump spent most of Memorial Weekend 2020 golfing and tweeting Insults

Donald Trump ordered thousands of National Guard members home just one day before they would qualify for education and retirement benefits

Donald Trump took money from the military to pay for his border wall

Donald Trump vilified and fired Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Vindman for telling the truth under oath about Trump’s “perfect” phone call

Donald Trump lied to all of the men and women serving their country when he said he was the first to sign a pay raise in 10 years

Donald Trump took a year and 11 months to finally, reluctantly, visit the troops in combat zones.

Donald Trump referred to fallen American military members as “losers” and “suckers”

Donald Trump failed to visit the American Cemetery in France during an Armistice Day trip, and failed to visit Arlington when he returned, on Veterans Day

Donald Trump, after not visiting the troops for months, sent Vice President Pence to lie to them about who’s putting their pay in jeopardy during a government shutdown

Donald Trump’s assault on the VA has exacerbated long-standing difficulties in hiring, leaving the VA with almost 50,000 vacancies

Donald Trump Discussed Submarine Locations with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

Donald Trump publicly insulted and argued with the mother and father of fallen soldier Captain Humayun Khan

Donald Trump insulted John McCain for having been captured in Vietnam

Donald Trump belittled real soldiers with a stupid joke about his “Personal Vietnam”

More about Donald Trump’s Insults and Abuses of the Heroes who Defend America

Williams Would be Great on City Council. I’m voting for Milteer

I like LeOtis Williams. I’ve supported him in the past when he ran for delegate and I’ll probably support him in future political endeavors. He’s a successful businessman, a philanthropist, and a popular figure in Suffolk. But he shouldn’t be in the race for the Whaleyville seat for Suffolk city council this year.

Given an electorate’s first, second, and third choice, our electoral system often elects the third. This year, that third choice will be Mike Britt, the overtly Republican candidate for Whaleyville.

City council candidates don’t run on party tickets in Virginia, but that rule has become nothing more than a technicality lately. Whaleyville votes almost 2 to 1 for the Democrat. But this year that 2 is going to be split between Williams and Curtis Milteer.

Curtis Milteer has been Whaleyville’s councilman for as long as most of his constituents can remember. Some people are saying it’s time for him to step aside and let someone younger take over. I agree, but Milteer isn’t stepping aside yet and he still has support among constituents who think he’s been good for the borough. I believe that support includes some Republicans. Milteer will lose some votes to Williams but he might still have enough to hold on to his incumbency. Williams, on the other hand, might get enough votes to beat Milteer, but he’s not going to beat Milteer and Britt. Too many Republicans are going vote for Britt and too many of Milteer’s loyalists will vote for Milteer.

And that’s going leave us with Republicans once again cheering and saying, “The people have spoken” as they seat a representative who doesn’t represent the people.

This is a redistricting year which means it’s a bad year to loose a borough to Republicans. Curtis Milteer has been doing a fine job for many years and I have faith he can keep going for a little longer. The chances of a Democrat winning if they split their vote is diminished, but Milteer has a better chance of holding on than Williams has of beating him and Britt together. My vote is too important to throw away. I’m voting for Milteer.

(note, I accidentally posted this while I was still drafting, and the earlier version had incorrect information)

A Disaster that Waited to Happen

There might be better words to describe this, but Donald Trump likes taking risks where although he’s likely to win, the cost of losing is higher than most people would feel comfortable with.  He likes it more of someone else pays the price.

The kinds of risks Trump takes are like playing Russian roulette on a bet.  With only one bullet in the cylinder, the chances of winning are high, but the cost of losing would be catastrophic.  Except for Trump, the gun has never been pointed at his own head.  It doesn’t matter to Trump if one of his companies goes bankrupt, because he has plenty of others.  It matters to the people who lose their jobs or investments.

Image: https://openclipart.org/detail/185024/roulette-wheel

That strategy works for Trump. He doesn’t have to win a lot, he just has to win more than he loses. For a while, it was working for our country, too.  We enjoyed the benefits of taking risks which, for the most part, seemed to be paying off. We’re like people who every day rode a shuttle driven by a maniac who sped and disregarded traffic signals.  Some of us cheered the thrill of the ride while others worried about crashing, but for a while, most of us enjoyed the advantages of a fast commute.

Each time Trump takes a risk, things will probably be just fine.  He ridiculed a nuclear armed madman, but America is big and scary so Kim probably won’t launch attacks against our allies.  He’s antagonizing our trading partners but America is the world’s economic superpower so they’ll probably keep sucking it up and dealing with us. He plunged us into record-breaking debt during an economic recovery – very risky according to many economists – , but America has deep pockets and we’ve been managing all that debt just fine.  And Donald Trump fired qualified doctors and scientists and put political loyalists in charge of our pandemic readiness.  Maybe it was probable that everything would be fine. How likely was it that a new breed of virus – a ‘novel’ virus – would have plagued us, and that the crisis would overwhelm a CDC led by a religious fanatic with a questionable past, or that it would turn out we really could have used some of those knowledgeable people who Trump got rid of, like the pandemic response team and our experts in China?

Individually, these risks were all risks that probably would have turned out fine. Collectively, something was bound to wrong.

Trump was always a disaster waiting to happen.  If it weren’t COVID-19, it would have been something else.  It still might be something else. 

Now we crashed and over 80,000 of us have died, will we decide that the speed was worth it?  Will we continue to endure the same kinds of risks or will we decide that more sensible leadership, like the kind of leadership which gave us almost eight years of economic stability and growth and provided smart and swift responses to the outbreaks of Ebola and H1N1, is the kind of leadership we’d rather go back to?

Every year is an election year in Virginia

If you live in Virginia, your friends and neighbors may not be aware that every year is an election year in our great commonwealth. They may think that all of the political ads, the editorials, and all of the candidate’s signs and literature don’t apply to them, and don’t apply to an election that is less than a month away, on November 5th, 2019.

Please tell them!

Don’t let the outrageous and deadly antics of our president distract us from the many state and local elections that are occurring throughout the United States of America. Perhaps that’s exactly what those antics are designed to do!

Because every year Virginia has an opportunity to rid itself of politicians who think their primary job is to protect the wealthy from taxes, to protect corporations from regulations, and to protect their own friends from prosecution.

The Democratic candidates who your friends, your neighbors, and you can help elect this year – in less than a month – have been and will continue to protect hard working Virginians like you, so you can get medical care when you need it, find quality education for you and your children, get fair pay for your hard work, and get proper representation at the polls.

Virginia needs your vote, but your vote won’t be enough. You have to help spread the word. Every year is an election year in Virginia. Make this year count!

Get Suffolk To The Polls!

Voter suppression; gerrymandering; fake news; hacking. All of these are threats to our democracy.

But our biggest threat is people not registering to vote and voters not getting to the polls!

The Suffolk Democratic Committee is working with other local organizations to register voters during National Night Out and other events in and around Suffolk.

Help us out!

Call Michele at 757-934-2929 or use the Suffolk Democratic Committee’s Contact Form to let us know that you want to register voters and get people to the polls.

Thank you!

Virginians: You mad yet?

After decades of grousing about service, family values, the rule of law, executive restraint, and the dignity of the Office of the President, Republicans elected a draft-dodging, sexually abusive philanderer who has no understanding of the Constitution, boasts about all his executive orders, and embarrasses the nation with his childish tweets and his reality show cabinet of hired and fired loudmouths.

Are you mad enough to do something about it yet?

I ask because the goon who now soils the world’s most dignified office has a minion poised to do the same to the highest office in Virginia.

You can stop it by voting. And when you vote, don’t stop at Governor. Because every Republican victory only encourages Republican hatred, lies, and embarrassing behavior.

Sure, a lot of Republicans are decent human beings. But what good is a decent Republican who doesn’t denounce the hatred and lies of their party’s leadership? What good is a decent Republican who supports the lie that smart immigration policy is the same as supporting vicious gangs? What good is a decent Republican who doesn’t stand up to the NRA as they distort the meaning of our Constitution to make money from the blood and fear of American citizens? What good is a decent Republican who will throw away federal funds for Medicaid expansion just to spite hard working Virginians who might benefit from it?

This is the year for real Virginians to show the wold that we’re smart enough to see the truth behind the lies and bring back some dignity to hour highest offices. This is the year we get to the polls and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.

Colaw Will Dig In and Find Answers

The forum that I wrote about earlier is over and done with so it should be time for me to leave it alone and move on. But Ryan Kushner’s article about the event in the October 18th edition of the Smithfield Times is slanted to make Rebecca Colaw seem weaker when she is by far the stronger candidate, and I want to set the record straight.

For example, Emily Brewer did not answer the question about background checks. But like Brewer, the article is unclear about her response, saying,

only Colaw suggested the need for an end to purchasing firearms at gun shows without a background check, Brewer stating that there was already a provision in place that allowed sellers to refuse a sale at the shows.

Mr. Kushner quoted part of her reply and left open the possibility that somewhere in the rest of her response was an answer to the question.

Ms. Brewer also avoided answering the question about women’s reproductive health.

The only editorializing in the article is where Mr. Kushner describes Ms. Colaw’s stance about Confederate monuments as “less firm” than Brewer’s. But Ms. Colaw’s response was amazing. She spoke to African American groups and The Sons of the Confederacy and found common ground. She said that neither side wants to pay for removing the monuments. She also said that each monument has its own circumstances that would have to be addressed because, for example, some are on public grounds and some on private. So indeed, Ms. Colaw’s response might be “less firm” than taking a side on an issue without doing any research, but her response is far more balanced and truthful, and shows the kind of effort Rebecca Colaw will put into addressing the issues that affect Virginians

Rebecca Colaw’s response to free community college was also intelligent and revealing of the amount of effort Ms. Colaw will put into addressing our issues. She said she was against public funding of community college until she looked at how Tennessee implemented it. She said it would add to the tax base by creating more and better paid taxpayers. She also said she would research the details before pushing for it. But her answer was glossed over, and she was made to sound as if she supported free college without any thought of the costs and benefits.

Rebecca Colaw is what our community needs. Emily Brewer stuck to talking points. Rebecca Colaw spoke truth to opposition and provided data to back it up. She proved her willingness to hear different sides of controversial issues and to dig in and find answers to complex problems.

It’s Not Hypocritical To Review the Election

A commenter on an article in the Independent about how the election might have been rigged wrote this

Liberals lost, they should accept the result. They slated Trump when he said he may or may not accept the result. Severely damaging to democracy to challenge the result they said…except when liberals do it eh.
Turn the result around now, legitimately or not, and all hell would break lose.
This is the most hateful election I’ve ever experienced.

Bullshit. The problem with Trump’s accusations of rigging are that he had no evidence. Even before the election, as he was dropping in polls, he was said the only way he could lose was due to rigging.

We’re not even making accusations yet. Looking at evidence before making accusations while condemning someone for making accusations without evidence is not hypocrisy. It’s the opposite of hypocrisy.