Being Ready to Stand Up and Speak Out: Vote and Turn the Tide

Last Wednesday, DT issued a sweeping executive order to strip career federal employees of their civil service protections. I didn’t hear about this until Saturday afternoon. Amidst so much news, about the pandemic, polls on the last debate, the GOP disenfranchising voters while abusing their power in the Senate in order to turn a sycophant judge into a justice, and the election⎼ this move by DT went almost unnoticed.

 

I doubt what he did is legal, but that hasn’t stopped him before. What this order does is allow him to dismiss, without any cause or recourse, anyone in the bureaucracy involved in helping make public policy. He is invalidating laws and policies meant to protect these workers and the integrity of government operations and the rule of law and making the federal bureaucracy totally dependent on one man for their job. And their job would no longer be to serve the American people and this nation, but to serve DT. The federal bureaucracy would join the DOJ and the Supreme Court as a division of the DT Empire. We can’t allow this to happen.

 

And this follows years of him firing any head of a government agency, including the FBI, or any Inspector General that could hold him accountable.

 

DT has talked about voting as an “honor,” not a right protected by the constitution. On several occasions, including the first debate with Joe Biden, he speculated he possibly would not honor election results (or repudiate the white supremacists who support him). He earlier threatened to withhold government funding to Democratic states which allow those fearful of getting COVID-19 to request mail-in ballots, and has called for indicting and imprisoning not just Hillary Clinton (“Lock Her Up”) but any political rival, or anyone who protests for justice or against him. This is a president who, at a rally in Wisconsin on Sunday, stood not before the American flag but the “thin blue line” flag that has become a symbol not as much for law enforcement but racism enforcement. So we oppose him.

 

Our legal system has favored the white and rich forever. There was always a “two-tier” system, one law for whites and one for people of color⎼ one for the wealthy, and one for the rest of us. In fact, the legal system might be doing what it was intended to do⎼ protect the position and property of the white and rich.  But there was still a principle of rule by law, not by the whim of people in power. The legal system might have even been improving due to the justice and civil rights movement that began in the mid-1950s, and due to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But no more. Not since the Supreme Court in 2013 nullified the most important protections in that act; not since the Citizens United decision in 2012 allowed the rich to exert overpowering influence in our elections, and certainly not since DT’s assumption of office.

 

Most of us understand how dangerous the situation is right now. We have seen or heard about other nations where no one but the rich and connected can depend on the government, to get permits, passports⎼ anything. Where paying bribes or depending on the pressure of the influential is commonplace. If DT is allowed to continue as he has, our laws and environmental regulations will be used even more not to serve the community but those in power. This is where we’re headed. The level of corruption in this administration was frightening even before his order to remove civil service protections. He campaigned on draining the swamp, but instead he’s stuffed it so full it’s flooding the nation. So we oppose him….

 

And we must vote. Vote early, if possible. If not, we can vote on the third of November and bring friends, neighbors, and family (in a safe manner) with us. Dress up in Revolutionary War costumes. Make it a neighborhood event. But vote. On Tuesday, the whole political landscape could drastically change. This is our opportunity to turn the tide and stop the devastation wrought by DT….

 

To read the whole post, go to The Good Men Project which also published it.

 

 

Enough Is Enough: To Vote in November, Act Now!

On Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the arrival of the news of emancipation from slavery, rallies were held throughout the U. S.. It was the Friday before the weekend of the Trump rally in Tulsa, at the end of the fourth week of protests over the murder of George Floyd, and a week where 23 states had upward trends in new coronavirus infections (and states like Florida had seen record increases of over 3,000 new cases per day for 4 straight days), when DT took another shot at ending the separation of powers in the U. S. government. And he did it while trying to hide it behind a whirlwind weekend.

 

He fired Geoffrey Berman, the U. S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. This is one of the most powerful independent legal offices in the nation and one that is investigating DT’s associates including his present personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and previously investigated his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. But the fight is not over.

 

He first attempted to do this on Friday, Juneteenth. He had Attorney General Barr falsely announce Mr. Berman had resigned, and that he would install his own candidate, Jay Clayton, the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman and a friend of his, to the office. But Berman issued his own statement. He denied he had resigned and stated he refused to do so. The President then had to officially step in on Saturday, the 20th. The result of Berman’s defiance and the negotiations which followed was that Barr and DT could not immediately install Clayton to the post, and had to allow Audrey Strauss, Berman’s deputy, to temporarily assume the office and thus continue current investigations⎼ at least until the Senate could approve a permanent successor.

 

This will not be easy for DT to accomplish, as even his supporter, Senator Lindsey Graham, has said that he would not allow the Clayton nomination to move forward without the approval of the 2 Senators from New York, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who have called on Clayton to drop out of contention for the office.

 

This follows months of DT firing 5 Inspector Generals and pardoning corrupt officials. He has threatened to formally adjourn congress and subvert the constitution.

 

In May, Eric Lutz, in an article in Vanity Fair, speculated that DT might be trying to set the stage to cancel the November election. In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, DT threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada, “lying that the states—each of which is governed by a Democrat — are allowing illegal voting.” He attacked the state of Nevada, “baselessly accusing it of attempting to ‘cheat in elections’.”

 

He claimed voting is an “honor” not a right guaranteed by the constitution and he and his adherents in the Republican party are doing all they can to disenfranchise voters, especially voters of color.

 

The protests in the streets calling for justice for the murder of George Floyd and other African Americans by police are one of the few forces protecting the last remnants of democracy in our nation right now. The protests have spread not only throughout the country but the world. Not only do the protests proclaim Black Lives Matter but the civil rights protections in the constitution matter and must be enforced. Our voices matter. They show politicians and other people with institutional power that the power of the people once released will not be silenced. Enough is enough.

 

And DT is clearly afraid of the protests, as well as polls showing him trailing Joe Biden by a considerable margin. In February, as COVID-19 was just striking the US, before he even became the recognized Democratic candidate, Biden was leading DT by 4.8 points. In June, Biden went ahead by 8 points or more. A June 17 poll by Reuters/Ipsos showed Biden ahead by 13 points. In swing states, Biden is gaining considerably, putting into play states that used to be Red.

 

Even the Tulsa rally this weekend, which DT said would be filled to capacity and was supposed to lift his spirits and campaign, failed to do so. He had to cancel planned outdoor events because the audience for it did not exist. Even inside the arena, a good portion of the seats were empty. The Tulsa Fire Department estimated there were under 6,200 people in the 19,000 capacity arena.

 

Trump blamed the limited attendance on the media and the interference of protestors outside the arena. But the numbers of in-person protestors was relatively small. If anyone had a hand in the smaller numbers, besides DT himself and his declining approval ratings, it was young people. TikTok users and K-pop fans said they registered for potentially hundreds of thousands of free tickets, and then posted they couldn’t go.

 

DT is losing in many areas. Whether he actually tries to cancel or delay the election, pull a surprise coronavirus vaccine out of the air to distract voters from his malignant, corrupt, negligent and racist response to the pandemic, or declare some other kind of “emergency,” it is clear this election is and will continue to be different from any other⎼ more fraught with election interference from Russia or elsewhere, more voters threatened or subject to long lines and other obstructions. We will have to prepare to protect polling places or to go to the streets to protect the election results.

 

And to do that, we must act now. No matter our race, we benefit from joining the Black Lives Matter protests and calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. Right now we must call Congress and demand an investigation into the firing of Geoffrey Berman, universal mail-in ballots, more voting places, extended voting hours. Right now, we must call to protect the USPS. We have the coronavirus pandemic, the hundreds of years old pandemic of racism, and we have DT. All 3 are interconnected and the time to fight them is now.

 

*This post was syndicated by the Good Men Project.

 

Cutting the Jugular Vein of Democracy

Do you feel the news cycle is speeding up or things are getting even worse since the impeachment trial? I thought the world was in trouble ever since DT was elected. But since the Senate abdicated its role in holding the President accountable for his actions, DT’s tweets and actions have spiraled out of control. Or maybe his aim is clearer. He has gone directly toward the jugular vein of democracy and has cut it.

 

Even Bill Barr, his legal fixer, spoke out saying enough is enough. Whether it was real or more likely political theatre, he said that DT’s tweets attacking the justice department, attacking actual judicial proceedings, was making his job impossible and undermine the legal system.

 

The context for Barr’s comments was DT’s direct and obvious intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, his “friend” and supporter who knows where so much dirt is buried. DT even attacked the judge and a juror in the case, illustrating what his lawyers, as well as GOP Senators (other than Mitt Romney), proclaimed: DT thinks he can do whatever he wants, thus destroying the concept of a fair trial. As the New York Times, Adam Schiff and others pointed out, if he is the law then there is no rule of law, and the constitutional separation of powers is dead.

 

After Barr warned him to stop his tweets, DT went on to say that he had the power to interfere in the Stone Case, or any case. And Barr’s move to make sure any investigation of the President must go through him, just cements DT’s control over the DOJ and judiciary and destroys the constitutional balance of powers.

 

As Rachel Maddow pointed out, DT is interfering in cases and pardoning criminals in order to make clear: if you violate the law on my behalf, you get a free pass. If you oppose me, as his firing of Ambassador Sondland, and Colonel Vindman and his attacks on Adam Schiff illustrate, you will pay a severe price.

 

And it is not just DT and those close to him who are speeding up their attacks on democracy, but Russia and some corporate media outlets. Last week, as reported by the New York Times, former acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire had officials from his agency brief the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was interfering right now in the 2020 election to aid DT’s re-election campaign. This led to DT angrily berating Maguire and replacing him with Richard Grenell, someone with no experience in intelligence but who is a DT loyalist….

 

To read the whole post, please go to The Good Men Project.