Sedition

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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A Post By Robert Reich, Saturday, January 2, 2021 – Concerning today’s, January 6, formal congressional certification of the electoral votes. Two selected paragraph here:

…Eleven Republican senators and senators-elect said today they will vote to reject President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory next Wednesday when Congress meets to formally certify it.

The one consolation, if it can be called that, is that their cynical ploy will also force other Republican members of Congress to openly choose between doing their constitutional duty and accepting the results of the election, or displaying brazen loyalty to a fading demagogue who has sought to turn the GOP into a personal cult. In short, it will smoke them out: They must openly choose democracy or fascism.

Why Georgia Matters

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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NYT Tuesday Jan 5, 2021 – Editorial by my favorite economist, Krugman, on Why Georgia Matters. Its about infrastructure.

Two Senate seats in Georgia are on the line today, and with them control of the Senate. I have no idea what, if any, effect The Phone Call will have on the outcome. But what’s really on the line?

Clearly, this election isn’t about what the two Republicans are trying to make it about. No, their opponents Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock aren’t Marxists or socialists of any kind. And the truth is that even if Democrats win both races, they won’t have the votes for an expansive progressive agenda: The deciding senator will be West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, and I don’t think even Republicans could portray him as a Marxist (although on second thought I could be wrong about that.)

But if Democrats do take those seats, they will control the Senate’s agenda — and perhaps even more important, Mitch McConnell won’t. This will have major economic implications.

I’m not very worried about the next year or two. As I wrote last week, this isn’t like the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, when an overstretched private sector needed extended support from deficit spending, and Republican-enforced austerity took a serious toll on recovery. I expect a rapid short-term economic rebound once we have widespread vaccination, even without new fiscal stimulus.

There is, however, a longer-term need for a big increase in public investment, for multiple reasons. It would help sustain the economy beyond the vaccination bounce; it would help repair our decaying infrastructure; and it could be an important part of a climate strategy.

How should we pay for this surge in public investment? We actually don’t need to pay for it at all. Even before the pandemic we were an economy awash with more savings than the private sector wanted to invest, so that the government could borrow money very cheaply. In effect, markets have been begging Washington to borrow even more, and it would be good for everyone if Congress obliged and used the money to invest in the future.

And the politics look good, too. Polls suggest strong support for a major infrastructure bill, and this support extends to red as well as blue states. Infrastructure spending would surely pass the House, and would probably pass the Senate with bipartisan support if it ever reached the floor.

But in that case, why didn’t Donald Trump ever deliver the infrastructure legislation he promised on the campaign trail? Why did “It’s infrastructure week” become a running gag line?

Part of the answer is sheer incompetence on the part of the outgoing administration. Trump surrounded himself with people who had absolutely no policy chops; they didn’t know enough to legislate themselves out of a wet paper bag. (The one exception was trade policy, where Robert Lighthizer, the protectionist U.S. trade representative, actually knew his way around.) So Trump basically relied on Republicans in Congress to fill in all the details of his policies.

But those Congressional Republicans, Mitch McConnell in particular, didn’t want a big infrastructure bill, even though it would have helped Trump politically. McConnell’s objections probably flowed not from concerns that such a bill wouldn’t work, but from fear that it would — and in working, would help to legitimize an expanded role for government.

And if McConnell wouldn’t let infrastructure come to the floor with a Republican in the White House, he certainly won’t let it get a vote if he’s still majority leader under Joe Biden.

So a few thousand votes one way or the other in those Georgia Senate races could either unlock trillions of dollars in investment in our future, or keep that potential locked up for years to come.

Tweets For The New Year

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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Trump’s Legacy – Wrecking Ball to Democracy

Published / by Stephen

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A Robert Reich Post: Trumps’s Vilest Legacy

Below are selected quotes, organized for clarity:

[The broken Window Theory]: Nearly forty years ago, political scientist James Q. Wilson and criminologist George Kelling observed that a broken window left unattended in a community signals that no one cares if windows are broken there. The broken window is thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows.The broken window is thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows. The message: Do whatever you want here because others have done it and got away with it.

The broken window theory has led to picayune and arbitrary law enforcement in poor communities. But America’s most privileged and powerful have been breaking big windows with impunity.

In 2008, Wall Street nearly destroyed the economy. The Street got bailed out while millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings, and homes. Yet no major Wall Street executive ever went to jail.

In more recent years,

  • top executives of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, along with the members of the Sackler family who own it, knew the dangers of OxyContin but did nothing.
  • Executives at Wells Fargo Bank pushed bank employees to defraud customers.
  • Executives at Boeing hid the results of tests showing its 737 Max Jetliner was unsafe.
  • Police chiefs across America looked the other way as police under their command repeatedly killed innocent Black Americans.

Here, too, they’ve got away with it. These windows remain broken.

Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all – American democracy. The message?

  • A president can obstruct special counsels’ investigations of his wrongdoing,
  • push foreign officials to dig up dirt on political rivals,
  • fire inspectors general who find corruption,
  • order the entire executive branch to refuse congressional subpoenas,
  • flood the Internet with fake information about his opponents,
  • refuse to release his tax returns,
  • accuse the press of being “fake media” and “enemies of the people,” and make money off his presidency.

And he can get away with it. Almost half of the electorate will even vote for his reelection.

A president can also lie about the results of an election without a shred of evidence – and yet, according to polls, be believed by the vast majority of those who voted for him.

Trump’s recent pardons have broken double-paned windows. Not only has he shattered the norm for presidential pardons – usually granted because of a petitioner’s good conduct after conviction and service of sentence – but he’s pardoned people who themselves shattered windows. By pardoning them, he has rendered them unaccountable for their acts.

They include

  • aides convicted of lying to the FBI and threatening potential witnesses in order to protect him;
  • his son-in-law’s father, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion, witness tampering, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to the Federal Election Commission;
  • Blackwater security guards convicted of murdering Iraqi civilians, including women and children;
  • Border Patrol agents convicted of assaulting or shooting unarmed suspects; and
  • Republican lawmakers and their aides found guilty of fraud, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations.

 

 

Biden’s Speech, Dec 14, 2020

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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From President-Elect Joe Biden

To Stephen

It is official: The Electoral College has certified the election

Stephen,

Over the past few weeks, officials in each state, commonwealth, and district, without regard to party or political preference have certified their winning candidate.

Today, the members of the Electoral College representing the certified winner, cast their votes for President and Vice President of the United States in an act just as old as our nation itself.

And once again in America, the rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people have prevailed.

Our democracy — pushed, tested, threatened — proved to be resilient, true, and strong.

The Electoral College votes which occurred today reflect the fact that even in the face of a public health crisis unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetimes, the people voted.

They voted in record numbers. More Americans voted this year than have ever voted in the history of the United States of America. Over 155 million Americans were determined to have their voices heard and their votes counted.

At the start of the pandemic crisis, many were wondering how many Americans would vote at all. But those fears proved to be unfounded.

We saw something very few predicted or even thought possible — the biggest voter turnout ever in the history of the United States of America.

Numbers so big that this election now ranks as the clearest demonstration of the true will of the American people — one of the most amazing demonstrations of civic duty we’ve ever seen in our country.

It should be celebrated, not attacked.

More than 81 million of those votes were cast for me and Vice President-elect Harris.

This too is a record number. More votes than any ticket has received in the history of America.

It represented a winning margin of more than 7 million votes over the number of votes cast for President Trump and Vice President Pence.

Altogether, Vice President-elect Harris and I earned 306 electoral votes — well exceeding the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory.

306 electoral votes is the same number of electoral votes Donald Trump and Mike Pence received in 2016.

At that time, President Trump called his Electoral College tally a landslide.

By his own standards, these numbers represented a clear victory then.

And I respectfully suggest they do so now.

If anyone didn’t know it before, they know it now.

What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy.

The right to be heard. To have your vote counted. To choose the leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves.

In America, politicians don’t take power — the people grant power to them.

The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame.

Time and again, President Trump’s lawyers presented their arguments to state officials, state legislatures, state and federal courts, and ultimately to the United States Supreme Court, twice.

They were heard by more than 80 judges across the country.

And in every case, no cause or evidence was found to reverse or question or dispute the results.

A few states went to recounts. All of the counts were confirmed.

And yet none of this has stopped baseless claims about the legitimacy of the results.

Even more stunning, 17 Republican Attorneys General and 126 Republican Members of Congress actually signed on to a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas. It asked the United States Supreme Court to reject the certified vote counts in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

This legal maneuver was an effort by elected officials in one group of states to try to get the Supreme Court to wipe out the votes of more than twenty million Americans in other states and to hand the presidency to a candidate who lost the Electoral College, lost the popular vote, and lost each and every one of the states whose votes they were trying to reverse.

It’s a position so extreme we’ve never seen it before. A position that refused to respect the will of the people, refused to respect the rule of law, and refused to honor our Constitution.

Respecting the will of the people is at the heart of our democracy — even when we find those results hard to accept.

But that is the obligation of those who have taken a sworn duty to uphold our Constitution.

Four years ago, as the sitting Vice President of the United States, it was my responsibility to announce the tally of the Electoral College votes that elected Donald Trump.

I did my job.

And I am pleased — but not surprised — that a number of my former Republican colleagues in the Senate have acknowledged the results of the Electoral College.

I thank them. I am convinced we can work together for the good of the nation.

Now it is time to turn the page as we’ve done throughout our history. To unite. To heal.

As I said through this campaign, I will be a president for all Americans.

I will work just as hard for those of you who didn’t vote for me, as I will for those who did.

There is urgent work in front of us all.

Getting the pandemic under control and getting the nation vaccinated against this virus.

Delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today — and then building our economy back better than ever.

In doing so, we need to work together, give each other a chance, and lower the temperature.

And most of all, we need to stand in solidarity as fellow Americans. To see each other, our pains, our struggles, our hopes, our dreams. We are a great nation. We are a good people. We may come from different places and hold different beliefs, but we share a love for this country. A belief in its limitless possibilities.

And so, as we start the hard work to be done, may this moment give us the strength to rebuild this house of ours upon a rock that can never be washed away.

And as in the Prayer of St. Francis, for where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith, where there is darkness, light.

This is who we are as a nation.

This is the America we love.

And that is the America we will be.

May God bless you all.

May God protect our troops and all those who stand watch over our democracy.

– Joe

When Did Republicans Start Hating Facts?

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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A look at the evolution of the Republican Party: The Legend of The Gipper.

A straight line runs from Reagan to the Trump dead-enders.

Autocratic & Dangerous

Published / by Stephen

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Recent editorials and articles document that trump is autocratic and dangerous and that congressional republicans are complicit and a danger to our democracy.

Falsehoods and Threats

Trump Tries to Kill Covid Relief

The Republicans Who Embraced Nihilism

An Indelible Stain’: How the G.O.P. Tried to Topple a Pillar of Democracy

The Legacy of Donald Trump – The Atlantic

Is Trump Trying to Stage a Coup – The Atlantic

Question For Trump Supporters

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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A December 2 letter to the editor published by The San Jose California Mercury News poses questions for all all those who voted for Trump and are now disappointed: “Self-examination: Trump Supporters Should Ask Themselves Why.”

Mercury News Letters to the Editor for December 2, 2020:  Self Examination

Here are the main points:

  • In Santa Clara County approximately 618,000 voted for Joe Biden / Kamala Harris and 215,000 for Donald Trump / Mike Pence.
  • While the writer is gratified that Trump was crushed, he is dismayed that so many voted for him.
  • The writer suggests that the trump voters ask themselves: “am I a raciest? A misogynist? a con man? A liar? An ignoramus? Do I not care about our country’s democracy?”
  • The writer then states: “I am sure your answers will all be negative [for some questions I am not so sure]. In which case please consider that in voting for Trump you supported a man who embodies all of these qualities that you don’t tolerate in yourselves. But there will be progress if Trump voters acknowledge that they made a mistake and will think hard the next time they consider supporting candidates like Trump ….”

The Case Against Donald Trump

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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NYT Oct 16, 2020,
The Case Against Donald Trump

 

 

 

 

 

The Verdict In Summary
(click the media above to read the full verdict including supporting material)

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II.

Mr. Trump’s ruinous tenure already has gravely damaged the United States at home and around the world. He has abused the power of his office and denied the legitimacy of his political opponents, shattering the norms that have bound the nation together for generations. He has subsumed the public interest to the profitability of his business and political interests. He has shown a breathtaking disregard for the lives and liberties of Americans. He is a man unworthy of the office he holds.

A Psychological Profile of Mr Trump

Published / by Stephen Chapel

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I published a blog post shortly after Trump was elected 2016. It contains a letter to the editor published September 2016 in the Sublette Examiner, is a local Pinedale Wyoming newspaper.

The letter is worth reading. It contains a psychological profile of Mr. Trump written by a 91 year-old teacher whose specialty was emotionally and temperamentally disturbed children. She concludes that ”

  • Donald Trump fits nicely into the symptoms of that category, He is an egotist, a blatant narcissist and a definite sociopath who lies without realization or conscience. He is not realistic or genuine. This is not news. He has been that way for all his life and in all his selfish dealings. 
  • I am so sorry this clown appeared on the stage and won with lies and racist and sexist comments and that Perhaps if we close our eyes, he will disappear, but that is just wishful thinking. We must go out and vote to make it happen.

Link to the Letter: Disturbed Children — Like Trump

Vote, Our Democracy Depends On It!