Tag Archives: Planned Parenthood

Choose Your Antidote – Double Down with ACLU

You are being poisoned. So are your children and grandchildren if you have them. And the rest of your family and your friends. Slowly, of course, by the withdrawal and/or reversal of many of the most important environmental regulations adopted in the past few decades. It’s going to take a while for the effects to manifest throughout the population but you can be sure they will manifest in due time.

Why is this happening? Because the Trump administration is trading away protection of the air and water you need to prosper in return for … money. Money for himself, his family and the super-rich Republican oligarchy that supports whatever Trump wants. Trump is the handmaiden of the extractive industries, mainly petroleum and coal. Lacking a functional education and identifiable moral framework, Trump claims that non-fossil-fuel-based energy sources, like windmills, cause cancer and that electricity will cease to flow when the wind stops blowing.

Another element of the poisoning is the infestation of the country’s politics with ideas last prominently heard during the post-Civil War Reconstruction and the sorrowful Jim Crow period of American history and the period of the Southern Strategy in the 1950s and 1960s. Usually, the racism and related ideas behind these movements were masked in some kind of rhetoric to smooth over their true nature. Trump sees no need for that and his true-believer supporters routinely reward him for what is deemed to be his “lack of political correctness.” The underlying corruption and conflict with universal American values in Trump’s rhetoric and policies cause no discomfort for his ardent supporters.

The ultimate antidote for the poison that Trump has unleashed is, in the upcoming 2020 election, to vote out of office both Trump and his legion of jack-booted Republican know-nothing supporters in Congress and elsewhere. In the meantime, however, it is important to resist the poisoning of national politics and policy represented by Trump’s relentless determination to undermine the physical and moral health of the country while enriching himself, his family and the sycophantic Republican billionaires that benefit from his policies.

Everyone likely has one or two favorite resistance forces to which they contribute. I do not argue that anyone should stop supporting Planned Parenthood or any of the dozens (hundreds?) of worthy organizations that in their separate ways push back regularly against the evil that Trump represents. We contribute to some of them as well.

What I am urging is that everyone who sees Trump’s administration as I do should add a contribution to the American Civil Liberties Union and do it now. The reason is straightforward. The money goes to support legal actions against the Trump administration’s innumerable violations of law and the Constitution he swore an oath to uphold. The ACLU wins most of its cases and is an irreplaceable force against the unprecedented and destructive legal malfeasance of this administration. Even when it doesn’t “win,” the ACLU is often able to compel changes in policies that mitigate the impact of ill-conceived and unsupportable policies and practices that harm millions of people. The vast reach of ACLU’s legal resistance to the Trump administration is listed at https://www.aclu.org/about-aclu and https://www.aclu.org/action/

Money given to ACLU goes to actionable causes that have results. Trump likely hates the ACLU more than any other resistance organization because their successes in court have so effectively frustrated his plans to run over the legal system to get what he wants.

The ACLU just sent me a renewal notice for my December 2019 membership turnover. I am going to renew it now and double the contribution to help, in a small way, to fight the fights that must be fought right now. Then, in 2020, we’ll vote the bastards out of office.

 

When You Rest on Your Laurels, You Become a Stationary Target

The defeat of the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act (AHCA) was a great victory for the people.  Thanks go to the organizing leaders at, in alpha order: ACLU/PeoplePower.org), Grassroots Alexandria, Indivisible (and its many local arms), MoveOn.org, Women’s March, plus the many other national and local groups whose names I don’t even know and, of course, to the individuals who called, wrote, marched, protested, demonstrated and rallied against the atrocity of the AHCA. And thanks also to AARP, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Planned Parenthood, among others.

I have noted that some people feel that we have somehow “won the war” with this victory and that they can now either step back or at least “move on to something else.” This is an understandable response to what has happened. At the same time, we must not become complacent about the Trump administration. The AHCA could be brought back by the Republican majority at any time. So by all means celebrate, relish the feeling of a huge and, I must say it, improbable achievement. Then prepare to fight the enemy in our front.

But also post guards on the flanks and in the rear. Trump blames the loss of the ACHA on Democrats and, of course, he would. It is certain as the sunrise, however, that Trump never expected any Democrat to vote for the bill. Blaming Democrats is just another head-fake. Remember, as someone (not Thomas Jefferson) famously said, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” This is particularly true now. Trump and Ryan are humiliated and angry and they have shown that they do not grasp what “the welfare of the people” really means.

Moreover, Trump has tweeted that the way forward is this: “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” That tweet has been “liked” over 91,000 times. As suggested by Deepak Gupta and others, what does this say about Trump’s constitutional obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed?” U.S. Constitution, Art. II, sec. 3. Trump appears to believe that the Take Care obligation is part of the “fake Constitution” and does not apply to him. Wrong again.

What comes next is not clear. It could be “tax reform” or something else. Or multiple things. We already know that the Trump administration, through executive orders and Cabinet appointments, has declared war on the environment. Many more craven acts of legislative and regulatory vandalism are coming. But the March for Science is also coming – on April 22 in Washington and elsewhere … and many other demonstrations of the peoples’ commitment to resisting the destructive agenda of the Trump administration. It is critically important to show Trump that the people do not accept his assault on the air they breathe and the water they drink, that the people do not accept his attempt to shift the burden of taxation toward the population sector already suffering economic hardship or worse and that the people will not accept his effort to turn the country into “fortress America” with border walls and distrust of everyone who does not fit his narrow concept of what it means to be an American.

The Resistance must remain constant, relentless and ubiquitous so the administration sees that there are no weak spots to be exploited. Resistance is the only course left to stop the right-wing idealogues from undermining American values. In this regard, finally, it is important to make clear to Democratic lawmakers at every level that supporting the Republican agenda in any respect is unacceptable.

We have seen what the Republican agenda is prepared to do to achieve its imaginary wonderland of the “free market” in all things: just consider that the leadership was prepared to strip from the Affordable Car Act replacement legislation most of the “essential benefits” in order to appease the Freedom Caucus and secure their votes. Fortunately for the country, enough of the extremist demands of the Freedom Caucus were rejected to stop them from supporting the legislation. While Trump’s oft-touted-but-never-demonstrated negotiating skills failed him in this instance, we have seen the price the leadership was willing to pay to achieve their ideological ends, regardless of the consequences to the people who need those “essential benefits” the most. We cannot afford to take chances with a group that is willing to drive the country off a cliff to prove a point.

Speed Kills – The Republican Rush to Eviscerate the Affordable Care Act

Republicans in Congress are rushing to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. No hearings have been held to receive public inputs. Why not? The Republican managers have now declared that the Congressional Budget Office “scoring” of the replacement bill is unnecessary because the CBO always “gets it wrong so who cares what it says?” That is a total reversal of previous positions taken by Republicans when objecting to federal spending under Democratic administrations. Why?

Republicans claim to care about the welfare of the people and of the country as a whole but after seven years of complaining about the ACA, they now are desperate to prevent public input into the legislation they cobbled together. Why is it always party before country with these people? Why the secrecy and the resistance to thorough and thoughtful analysis and examination of the elements of their alternative? What are they afraid of? Do they not hear the cries across the country from even their political base that =the replacement for the ACA is going to deprive millions of people of their health insurance in exchange for what …  a tax credit? If the replacement bill is so good for everyone and consistent with Trump’s campaign promises, as he routinely claims, why are Republicans afraid to give the legislation full exposure to expert analysis?

It’s not that the Republican bill is completely without redeeming elements. Trump’s desire to allow create a single national marketplace for competition among insurance companies may be sound or at least worth an in-depth examination. If so, why not let that and other elements of the legislation be fully examined on the public record? Is there a gift to the insurance companies hiding in the complex economics of this legislation?

The almost certain answer to all these questions is that the Republicans want this legislation at all costs, regardless of the very high probability, if not certainty, that it will destroy so much of the health care on which many millions rely. Taken as a whole, which is what the Republicans are insisting on, the “replace” legislation is an outrageous attack against many of our most vulnerable citizens while conferring a huge tax break for the very well off. The Republicans claim it’s all about giving people more choice and avoiding government mandates. In other words, the real-world impacts don’t matter as long as the Republican philosophy of “individual choice” is the centerpiece of the new system.

Trump promised his supporters a cheaper health insurance system that would cover all the same people as the ACA, with more choices and at lower costs. This turns out to be just another lie. In fact, the Republican alternative will not cover millions who were covered under the ACA, it will not provide meaningful choices for millions whose new Republican-approved choice will only be “no insurance” and the costs will ultimately be infinite for those with no insurance and thus no access to essential health care services.

Along the way, the Republican alternative will defund Planned Parenthood. Republicans hate PP primarily because they believe it pays for abortions. So they want to take a financial meat ax to it … again in the name of Republican philosophy. Curiously, to put it mildly, it seems not to have occurred to the congressional Republicans that their core philosophy of avoiding government intervention in the lives of Americans is being used to justify telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies, while Republican-dominated science-denying legislatures around the country obsess over which bathrooms transgender individuals use.

It is a fair conclusion that the Republican approach to health insurance is going to result in denial of critical health care to large numbers of Americans and deaths will result … deaths that could have been avoided. Yes, the Republicans are moving very fast to get rid of Obamacare and in the process are signing death warrants for many vulnerable Americans.

The President of the United States Lied … Again

President Donald J. Trump has distinguished himself in the pantheon of American presidents by his remorseless lying about dozens of important issues. His White House support team has become famous by asserting “alternative facts” and arguing that actual facts are irrelevant now – the only thing that matters is what you choose to believe. (The lies have been listed in a multitude of places so I won’t repeat all of them here.)

Thus, it comes as no particular surprise that a few days ago, Trump awoke early, thought about the fact, yes, the fact, that his administration is embroiled in a serious crisis related to lying and/or dissembling about the relationship between his election campaign and the Russian government. This is an existential crisis for the President because if the truth emerges that his campaign people, with his knowledge, worked with the Russian government to tilt the 2016 election his way, his status as President will be in the gravest jeopardy.

So, at 6:35 am on March 4, 2017, Trump tweeted that he “just found out” that “Obama had my “wires tapped” [Trump’s quotes], citing no evidence because, of course, there is none. If there were, Trump would have published it. Instead, he has demanded that Congress investigate what he already “found out.” Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to media calls for release of confirming evidence by saying the administration will have nothing further to say until Congress ferrets out the truth about the President’s allegations. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for him, but he has chosen the bed he lies in so, no, no sympathy. And the Republican-dominated committees with jurisdiction appear to be complying by adding this issue to the Trump-Russia connection that they are, with extreme reluctance already allegedly “investigating.” They resist calls for an independent counsel to conduct the investigation because, of course, they want to investigate themselves and, surprise, “we found no evidence….”

It is tempting to say, as I and many others have said before, that Trump’s claim is another unhinged example of his erratic behavior that makes him unfit to hold office. It is that certainly, but it is also the latest example of Trump’s deflection skills. He is treating the country like a school yard where he the biggest bully. Then, just as someone is about to stand up to him, he yells “look, there’s XX, he stole the money, get him!” And the kids all chase after XX. The bully laughs and counts out the money.

Consider this. Suppose Trump had not “found out” about the wiretap but instead “found out” once again that President Obama was born in Kenya to non-U.S. parents and thus arguably all his actions as President would be null and void. Would the Congress then add that issue to the Russia-Trump investigation? Maybe they would. They likely appreciate that their “hold” on the government turns on Trump not being held accountable for lying to the American people. So they continue to do his bidding.

But that doesn’t make the lies anything but lies. Trump’s strategy earned him the presidency so he likely will continue to play the lying hand until it fails to work. If you read his infatuants’ tweets (I beg you to not expose your mind to them), you can understand how difficult it will be to deal with a president for whom the truth is simply whatever he chooses to make up.

The question for the majority of Americans is: how long will this continue before they rise up against Trump’s official supporters in Congress? Continuous, unrelenting pressure through calls, letters, postcards, demands for answers at town halls for those legislators with the courage to face their constituents, marches, demonstrations, public humiliations are essential elements of the process of making these people uncomfortable with what the President, and they, are doing. Give money to ACLU, Planned Parenthood and every other organization that has shown it will stand up against the tyranny of the Trump administration. Attend the rallies and demonstrations whose numbers are increasing almost daily.

This national disgrace and nightmare will not end until the people make it end. Go to https://www.resistancecalendar.org/ where you will find the amazing array of actions being planned. Take action.