Hot Button Issue: Women’s Reproductive Rights. Part 3: The Anti-Choice Arguments and A Response.

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The Anti-Choice Movement has three fundamental objections to contraceptives and abortion:

1) Abortion and some contraceptives are murder. And using preventative contraception (like birth control pills/patch, diaphragms, and IUD’s) are violations of God’s law because they permit sex for recreational purposes, not child-bearing. The unwanted “babies” are then murdered in the womb.

2) Abortion and contraception allows people (women mostly) to avoid personal responsibility. This is the “It’s A Child, Not A Choice” argument. If you had unprotected sex (or even if your contraception failed) and you become pregnant, then it’s your (the woman’s) responsibility to carry that child to term, raise it if you have the means or put it up for adoption. Abortion is “the easy way out” and allows a woman to avoid taking responsibility for her actions.

Abortion -- its a child not a choice

3) At the very least, abortions and contraception should in no way be funded by federal tax dollars because that would violate the religious beliefs of Anti-Choice taxpayers.

All three are poignant arguments and therefore they should be addressed individually.

Response to #1):  Abortion and contraception are NOT murder (*see list of countries below where it is illegal – not exactly an “A” list of advanced democracies). Nowhere in our legal code does it say otherwise. Anti-Choicers may want it to be legally classified as murder, but as of the last time I checked, it’s not. Calling it murder is simply imposing your personal beliefs on a matter that has already been legally and frankly, politically decided. Your Anti-Choice position however clearly violates the private, individual rights of all women. We are not moved by your arguments about Scripture, God’s word or religious belief.  That may define who you are, but for the rest of us, it has no bearing on the issue whatsoever.

More generally, in what society or culture has a fetus ever been legally regarded as a separate, individual member? None that I’m aware of. (With the exception of a criminal act upon a pregnant women resulting in the death of the fetus.  But the death of a fetus without the mother’s consent is an entirely separate issue.)

Infant mortality rates US

In fact, many ancient cultures, where infant mortality rates where 2000-5000 times higher than today, had a completely opposite view: they didn’t even name a child until it reached 2-3 years old! Why jinx a name on a child that has a 20-50% chance of dying before it reached a certain age? In America today, where in the census are unborn children counted? When are most children named? When are children given a birth certificate and a Social Security number? Regardless of what it is called in the womb up to viability (blastocyst, zygote, fetus or baby) only after birth, does it become an independent person in the eyes of law.

If we were to make abortions illegal again in this country (or with only an exception to save the mother’s life) we would join the company of the following nations:

Nicaragua                        Egypt
Venezuela                        Iran
El Salvador                      Lebanon
Haiti                                  Libya
Angola                              Sudan
Chad                                 Syria
Nigeria                             Yemen
Somalia                            Indonesia
Uganda                            Philippines
Afghanistan                    Ireland*

*Ireland is currently working on liberalizing their abortion laws.  Stay tuned.

Response to #2):  Automatically saying that a woman is avoiding ‘personal responsibility’ by using contraception or having an abortion is not only a cheap shot and grotesquely ignorant but sexist as well. Anti-Choicers have no clue why any individual woman chooses to use contraception or have an abortion. Nor do most of them (men) have any idea of the emotional stress and trauma of carrying a child to term and then giving it away. And frankly it’s none of their f…ing business. Might some women use abortion as de facto birth control? Yes, but I have seen no statistics that suggest this is a common practice. Even in such rare cases, many of those women may lack access to health facilities and contraception.

What is to be done in the case of rape, incest or medical conditions that effect the life of the pregnant mother? Do you honestly believe in forcing a rape victim to carry the fetus to term? What does that have to do with ‘personal responsibility’? Same with forcing a woman to deliver a child that may result in the mother’s death or disability? These are the most highly personal decisions anyone can make. And you believe the Government should make that decision for the pregnant mother? Sorry, not in a free society.

But even in more normal, healthy pregnancies, how can we possibly justify allowing the Government (largely controlled I might add, by older white men) to take away the very right a woman has to her own body, to her own life, to her own future?

Abortion and men

Anti-Choicers tend to lean Conservative on many other voting issues. One of the hallmarks of Conservatism is limited government interference in people’s lives. EXCEPT WHEN IT PERTAINS TO WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS! Oh no, when it comes to that, Anti-Choice Conservatives want MORE GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE. In fact, many of them want the government to make abortion and contraception ILLEGAL, period, no exceptions.  Hypocrisy anyone?  “Don’t touch my money, my land or my gun but the government can go ahead and take control of all ovaries and uteruses”.

For a moment let’s consider what would happen if abortion and contraception became illegal in the U.S. The first thing you must understand is that ABORTIONS WON’T STOP. Sure, the number of abortions will appear to drop, in part because if they’re illegal, then no one will report them. But I guarantee you there will still be hundreds of thousands of abortions every year.

What would we do with women and doctors that have participated in an abortion? Arrest them? Put them in prison? “Yes”, you say? “Should have thought about that before you got knocked-up”, you retort? What if those women have other young children? What if they are single moms? And what’s the punishment? If you say terminating a pregnancy is murder, then these women and doctors should get life in prison? The death penalty? How can you justify putting hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding, tax-paying, child-rearing women in prison or to death for making an extremely difficult decision concerning their own bodies? Prison populations will explode.  Our foster care and adoption systems will be completely overwhelmed.  Rates of abandon, homeless and malnourished children will sky-rocket.   Crime rates will go up.  You will have a revolution on your hands. There will be blood in the streets.  And abortions will still continue.  This is not a sane, pragmatic solution.

Abortion for men

Response to #3):  I understand the religious objection to having tax dollars pay for abortions and contraception. I had moral objections to the Iraq War. I didn’t want my tax dollars going to fund that fiasco. Did I get an exemption or have a law passed saying my taxes won’t go to pay for the War? No. Second, funding women’s health programs and pre-natal care, encouraging healthy lifestyles, educating and empowering women, especially for financially struggling women, has a positive long-term effect on our entire society.  We should willingly allow a reasonable amount of our taxes go to funding such programs.  But Religionists are constantly claiming that all sorts of activities and beliefs violate their “religious liberties”: gay marriage, legal marijuana, inter-racial marriage, pornography, nudity, video games, transgenderism, science textbooks, evolution, not being able to put your Creche in the town square. We understand you disapprove of many of these issues, but their existence in no way prevents you from worshipping your God or practicing your religion! So please, can you let the rest of us exercise our non-religious liberties?

Abortion -- dont like abortions, dont have one

If abortion and contraception remain legal no individual* has to give up any existing rights. Anti-Choicers are not required or mandated to have an abortion or use contraception.

(*And no, I don’t consider a blastocyst, zygote or a pre-viable fetus to be an “individual”. Neither do our laws or the laws of most advanced democracies.)

If abortion and contraception become illegal, hundreds of millions of current and future women lose the obvious right to make their own decisions about their body, their life and their future.  Denying  those rights is autocratic and authoritarian.  It smacks of the kind of heavy-handed theocracy that most Conservatives find so distasteful about certain Islamic countries.   How ironic, those are the very nations we would emulate by making abortion and contraception illegal.

We can compromise on reasonable restrictions and even exemptions, but abortions and contraception must be remain legal. As a free and democratic nation we cannot severely restrict or deny the entire female population of our country the rights of reproductive freedom, regardless of what anyone’s religious or moral beliefs may be. If we do, we are no longer free or democratic. Your definitions of “life”, “murder”, “viability”, “child”, “individual rights” and “privacy” are simply different than ours. That’s why we have laws to sort these things out. It simply comes down to how we, as a society, protect the rights of the largest number of people possible. Living, breathing, out-of-the-womb people.

Abortion my uterus

COMING SOON:  PART 4:  THE SOCIAL BENEFITS OF ABORTION AND CONTRACEPTION.

 

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Hot Button Issue: Women’s Reproductive Rights: PART 2: ALTERNATIVES TO ABORTION: FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION

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Adoption by the numbers

To Anti-Choice America, the alternative to abortion is to carry the fetus to term and either keep it or put it up for adoption. For many women, keeping the child after birth is not a realistic option. It isn’t (and shouldn’t be) necessary to spell out the hundreds of situations in which a pregnant woman may find herself where keeping the child would not be a good thing – either for her or the child or perhaps other family members. We don’t live in a perfect world and babies sometime happen unintentionally.

Adoption is a viable and crucially important option. If your newborn is healthy and white, finding adoptive parents may not be that difficult. But if your newborn is not healthy and/or not white, adoption is simply not the answer for every pregnancy. In fact, in some cases, adoption causes its own set of problems.

 

Here are some brutal facts about adoption:

— On any given day, roughly 428,000 children live in foster care in the U.S.
— On average children spend two years in foster care.
— The average age of foster care children is 9 years old.
— In 2015 more than one half of the children entering foster care were children of color
— In 2015 around 20,000 children aged out of foster care without permanent families.
(above statistics from childrensrights.org)
— In 2014, the National Center on Family Homelessness estimated there were 2.5 million homeless children in the U.S. (www.air.org).

Foster Care statistics    Foster Care Waiting Times

So yes, adoption is important. But it hardly solves the larger problem of unwanted children. On top of this, U.S. foster care programs are seriously underfunded (thanks in part to legislators that are also Anti-Choice – a horrible hypocrisy that will be discussed later).

Adoption creates additional issues all on its own. A report from the Institute for Family Studies in 2015 showed that:

“At the start of kindergarten, about one in four adopted children has a diagnosed disability, twice the rate of children being raised by both biological parents. Adopted children were significantly likelier than birth children to have behavior and learning problems; teachers reported they were worse at paying attention in class, and less able to persevere on difficult tasks.”
“…by eighth grade, fully half of adopted children have diagnosed disabilities. One third have received an out-of-school suspension by the end of that school year, compared to 10 percent of children living with both biological parents. And adopted students performed significantly below average on reading, math, and science assessment tests.”

I was unable to find any statistics about how adoptive parents handle the disabilities of their children. But suffice it to say that the more severe the disability, the greater the challenge it is for the parents.

Foster Care exit statistics

Notice in the chart above how in just 11 years the number of foster kids reunited with parents or primary caretakers has dropped 9%.  The number of adoptions has gone up 5%, the number of emancipations (children that aged out of the system without a permanent family) has gone up 4%.  These are not encouraging numbers.  And with all these children desperately in need of loving homes, there are some states that have passed laws that actually prevent some parents from adopting at all!

Foster Care discrimination

While it is safe to say that many children are adopted by caring, nurturing, loving and financially secure parents; many are not. If you take the disability statistics above and factor in less-than-perfect adoptive parents, many adopted children are getting a disadvantage double dose. I’m not suggesting that they’d be better off without parents; but we know that poor parenting is the cause of many childhood problems.

In the debate about women’s reproductive choices, adoption must play a critical role. But in order for it to be maximally effective, our adoption/foster care system needs a massive upgrade and an infusion of generous financing which must include healthy, viable programs to relieve child homelessness, poor nutrition and lack of medical care. Anti-Choice legislators have consistently and persistently voted against such programs and funding for 40+ years. Even with all of that, adoption is simply not a cure-all for many unintentional pregnancies.

Frankly, we as a country have failed to build such a network. If we’re not going to step up and make that a reality, then forcing women to birth unwanted babies is not only cruel but it’s a social disaster of unimaginable proportions. Or as the comedian George Carlin famously described the Anti-Choice mentality: “When you’re pre-born you’re fine. When you’re pre-school, you’re fucked!”

 

Coming soon:  Part 3  The Anti-Choice Arguments and A Response.

 

Hot Button Issue: Women’s Reproductive Rights: PART 2: ALTERNATIVES TO ABORTION: FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION

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Adoption by the numbers

To Anti-Choice America, the alternative to abortion is to carry the fetus to term and either keep it or put it up for adoption. For many women, keeping the child after birth is not a realistic option. It isn’t (and shouldn’t be) necessary to spell out the hundreds of situations in which a pregnant woman may find herself where keeping the child would not be a good thing – either for her or the child or perhaps other family members. We don’t live in a perfect world and babies sometime happen unintentionally.

Adoption is a viable and crucially important option. If your newborn is healthy and white, finding adoptive parents may not be that difficult. But if your newborn is not healthy and/or not white, adoption is simply not the answer for every pregnancy. In fact, in some cases, adoption causes its own set of problems.

 

Here are some brutal facts about adoption:

— On any given day, roughly 428,000 children live in foster care in the U.S.
— On average children spend two years in foster care.
— The average age of foster care children is 9 years old.
— In 2015 more than one half of the children entering foster care were children of color
— In 2015 around 20,000 children aged out of foster care without permanent families.
(above statistics from childrensrights.org)
— In 2014, the National Center on Family Homelessness estimated there were 2.5 million homeless children in the U.S. (www.air.org).

Foster Care statistics    Foster Care Waiting Times

So yes, adoption is important. But it hardly solves the larger problem of unwanted children. On top of this, U.S. foster care programs are seriously underfunded (thanks in part to legislators that are also Anti-Choice – a horrible hypocrisy that will be discussed later).

Adoption creates additional issues all on its own. A report from the Institute for Family Studies in 2015 showed that:

“At the start of kindergarten, about one in four adopted children has a diagnosed disability, twice the rate of children being raised by both biological parents. Adopted children were significantly likelier than birth children to have behavior and learning problems; teachers reported they were worse at paying attention in class, and less able to persevere on difficult tasks.”
“…by eighth grade, fully half of adopted children have diagnosed disabilities. One third have received an out-of-school suspension by the end of that school year, compared to 10 percent of children living with both biological parents. And adopted students performed significantly below average on reading, math, and science assessment tests.”

I was unable to find any statistics about how adoptive parents handle the disabilities of their children. But suffice it to say that the more severe the disability, the greater the challenge it is for the parents.

Foster Care exit statistics

Notice in the chart above how in just 11 years the number of foster kids reunited with parents or primary caretakers has dropped 9%.  The number of adoptions has gone up 5%, the number of emancipations (children that aged out of the system without a permanent family) has gone up 4%.  These are not encouraging numbers.  And with all these children desperately in need of loving homes, there are some states that have passed laws that actually prevent some parents from adopting at all!

Foster Care discrimination

While it is safe to say that many children are adopted by caring, nurturing, loving and financially secure parents; many are not. If you take the disability statistics above and factor in less-than-perfect adoptive parents, many adopted children are getting a disadvantage double dose. I’m not suggesting that they’d be better off without parents; but we know that poor parenting is the cause of many childhood problems.

In the debate about women’s reproductive choices, adoption must play a critical role. But in order for it to be maximally effective, our adoption/foster care system needs a massive upgrade and an infusion of generous financing which must include healthy, viable programs to relieve child homelessness, poor nutrition and lack of medical care. Anti-Choice legislators have consistently and persistently voted against such programs and funding for 40+ years. Even with all of that, adoption is simply not a cure-all for many unintentional pregnancies.

Frankly, we as a country have failed to build such a network. If we’re not going to step up and make that a reality, then forcing women to birth unwanted babies is not only cruel but it’s a social disaster of unimaginable proportions. Or as the comedian George Carlin famously described the Anti-Choice mentality: “When you’re pre-born you’re fine. When you’re pre-school, you’re fucked!”

 

Coming soon:  Part 3  The Anti-Choice Arguments and A Response.

 

HOT BUTTON ISSUE: WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: PART 1: ABORTION, A HISTORICAL CONTEXT.

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Abortion -- the debate

The abortion/contraceptive/reproduction rights issue has raged for 45 years. It’s time to put down our torches and pitchforks, establish a sane, pragmatic approach to this problem and focus our attentions, money and energy on more pressing problems facing our country.

The abortion question comes down to this: Should it be legal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy, within certain time constraints, or not? Or phrased another way, should federal or state governments be able to restrict a woman’s pregnancy options, and if so, how much?

First let’s establish one crucial point. Abortion, pregnancy termination and contraception is as ageless as sex itself. Every piece of historical evidence reveals that women have been trying to control their pregnancy options for as long as they have been getting pregnant.

References to abortion and contraception methods date back as far as 1550 BCE in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (Wikipedia) and those references continue consistently through history such as an 8th century Sanskrit text to “sit over a pot of steam or stewed onions” or to use massage/pressure techniques to induce abortions found on bas reliefs at Angor Wat in Cambodia from 1150 CE.

Midwives from past eras have prescribed herbal remedies as contraceptives and abortifacients (drugs that cause abortions): silphium, rue, birthwort, pennyroyal, hellebore, Italian catnip, savory, sage, soapwort, cyperus, brewer’s yeast, tansy, rubia tinctorum (madder), savin, Spanish fly, opium, watercress, iron sulfate, iron chloride, worm fern, the saliva of camels and crushed ants have been tried to varying degrees of success and danger.

In more desperate situations, women have been forced to undergo primitive surgical procedures involving bloodletting, perforation of the uterus with sharp objects such as annular blades, copper spikes and blunted or covered hooks for extraction. Another prescribed method was having pregnant women jump up and down while kicking themselves in the vaginal area each time.

Abortions -- ancient tools

Even the Bible describes an abortion procedure in Numbers 5:19-21 as a test for a pregnant married woman’s fidelity:

“Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the LORD cause you to become a curse[d] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

From this Biblical verse, one could reasonably imply that the LORD permits abortions (or intentional miscarriages) for a woman who becomes pregnant by an adulterous act. If so, that legitimizes about 80-90% of all abortions today! Author Sam Harris writes in “Letter to a Christian Nation”: “It has been estimated that 50 per cent of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion, usually without a woman even realizing that she was pregnant. In fact, 20 percent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. There is an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all.”

The truth is, through modern science (not God) we have made birthing babies infinitely safer and more successful today than ever before. A much higher percentage of babies and mothers are surviving birth. The number of abortions performed every year is only a fraction of babies that died from natural causes or complications at birth than they did less than 100 years ago.

Human history clearly indicates that where there is sex, there will be abortions. In a perfect world, where every pregnancy is between two loving, married parents and where every new baby is brought into a caring, nurturing, financially secure household, there would be no need for abortion. But unfortunately we don’t live in that kind of world.

 

Watch this blog for PART 2: ABORTION ALTERNATIVES: FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION. Coming soon……

Nov. 8, 2016 Part One: What If Hillary Clinton Had Won Like She Should Have?

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NOVEMBER 8, 2016 PART 1:
“WHAT IF” HILLARY HAD WON LIKE SHE SHOULD HAVE?

First, the good news:

— Donald Trump would not be President.

— First woman President. After electing Barack Obama, America demonstrates that it will continue to embrace diversity and greater gender equality by electing the first ever woman President.

President Hillary

— The Supreme Court has a 5–4 Liberal majority for the first time since the very early 1970’s. That, in itself, should have been reason for Democrats/Liberals to turnout in record numbers. If only.

Supreme Court Ideology (2)

— The “McConnell Gambit” would have failed. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, blocked dozens of Obama’s judicial nominations and, most importantly, his Supreme Court nomination on the slim hope that a Republican would win the November 2016 election. If Hillary had won, McConnell’s gambit would have failed and eventually he would have had to allow at least some of Hillary’s judicial nominations.
Sen. Mitch McConnell R-KY

Mitch McConnell

— The Paris Climate Change Agreement, environmental regulations against polluters and offshore drilling protections would all still be in full effect. The official position of the Federal Government would be that Climate Change is serious business and a threat to our National Security, not a Hoax.

 

— Millions of law abiding undocumented immigrants would be living, working and paying taxes in this country without fear of arrest and deportation. However, with a Republican controlled Congress, no headway would be made toward a comprehensive immigration policy.

— There would be a sane and sensible Attorney General who would reinforce Justice Department decrees against police departments that had abused power and used illegal and discriminatory tactics. There would be no waste-of-time threats and intimidations against states with legal recreational marijuana programs.

Eric Holder

— America would remain a world leader thru the Paris accords, NATO, Southeast Asia and in democratic loving countries all over the world. Russia would have suffered intensive sanctions and suffered possible retaliation for its interference in our election.

— Congressional investigations into Russian meddling and conspiracy to collude with the Trump campaign would be moving forward a bit more rapidly. Clinton would have insisted on an aggressive, all-out effort to protect the security of American elections from cyberattacks and infiltrations.

— — Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea would probably not be quite as intense as they are today. There is a much higher probability that Clinton would have had capable State Department negotiators taking a much more active role to try to diffuse the situation.

— The Affordable Care Act health care system would have been improved and expanded as much as a Republican Congress would have permitted. But we would not be dealing with the losses of health care for millions of Americans.

ACA

— Taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans would not have been slashed at the expense of the other 98%. And the economy would have been just fine.
Now for the bad news about a Hillary Clinton Presidency:

— With a Republican controlled Congress, much of Hillary’s agenda would have been stymied. On most issues we would be suffering through a similar kind of gridlock that we had under Obama.

— Republicans would have been relentless in their ongoing pursuit of finding Hillary Clinton guilty of something, no matter how trivial. Congressional inquiries of the Clinton email controversy, the Clinton Foundation, the Uranium One deal, hell, probably Bill Clinton’s infidelities would have continued endlessly. How they would ended is anyone’s guess. Ironically, Congress today is investigating some of those red herrings anyway.

— A Clinton Presidency would have further incensed Republicans and they would have pilloried Clinton at every step. The resulting chaos would make the Democrats more susceptible to mid-term (2018) defeats, allowing Congressional Republicans more power to block the Clinton agenda and possibly even impeach her. If still President in 2020, and if she sought a second term, winning would have been very difficult. Clinton would likely have been a one-term President and Republicans may have recaptured the White House in 2020.

In sum, a Clinton victory in 2016 would not have brought about an atmosphere of change in America politics. A reason in fact why many independents and Republicans voted against her. But sometimes “change” isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be — especially if it’s change directed by a madman. I never understood why in 2016 so many Americans were eager to vote for change. After all, under Democratic leadership, America had recovered from the Great Recession of 2008; job growth had been steadily increasing, the housing market was coming back, the stock market was back above pre-Recession levels, more Americans had health care than ever before, gasoline prices were low, taxes had been raised slightly on wealthy individuals with no ill effects. America’s recovery from the Great Recession was more robust than any other economically advanced democracy. Why then was such radical Trump-style change so attractive?

The American political attention-span is dangerously short. How quickly Republicans, independents and some Democrats forgot how god-awful things were under the Dubya Bush administration. We were attacked on 9/11, started 2 failed wars, we tortured and illegally renditioned POW’s, we dismally failed to help the people of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and the economy collapsed all in 8 short years. And for his achievements? Uhhhh………. No Child Left Behind? Good Job Brownie? I’m the Decider? And it wasn’t just Bush. He had a Republican led Congress that aided and abetted his failures.

Bush funny face

But just 8 years later, after things were starting to turn around, 61 million voters thought it was a great idea to elect a Republican majority again! This time, led not by a simple minded, ne’er-do-well who had failed at most things in life; but by a scoundrel, a charlatan, a snake-oil salesman, a narcissistic thug, a pussy — grabber, a money-launderer, a conspiracy theorist who was simultaneously mentally deranged!

America did not need this kind of change. But there may be a silver lining to all the ensuing chaos and tumult. Nov. 8 2016 was a day of great surprises and shocks but there are reasons why Democrats, Liberals, Independents and other clear-thinking Americans can have hope for our future; and may even see a day when, in the longer run, Hillary’s defeat was perhaps the best outcome.

Coming soon on this blog: “Nov. 8 2016 Part 2: Little Donnie’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

HOT BUTTON ISSUE: Religious Liberties

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Religions as businesses poster

From time to time I want to address some of the key Hot Button issues that both political parties use to divide us and distract us from their real agendas.

The king of all Hot Button topics is Religion, and more specifically, what special liberties, exemptions and exclusions should our laws allow for religious worship and institutions?

The U.S. Constitution boldly states:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof…”. (Amendment 1).  Seems simple enough…..until you dig under the surface.

The “Establishment Clause” seems (to me) to imply that our Government should neither establish a religion (like England had done in the 1530’s under Henry VIII) nor favor one religion over any other.

The “Free Exercise Clause” seems (to me) to imply that our Government should not pass any laws that restrict individuals or religious institutions from exercising their right to follow their beliefs and doctrines.

Beautiful words, but they haven’t always been applied fairly.  While our government has never taken the drastic steps to establish or impose a state religion; the de facto religion of America is Protestant Christianity.  Christians immigrated to this country and took over.  Native Americans were certainly not given free exercise of their religion.  Nor were Catholics, or Jews, or African-Americans, or Chinese or Mormons.  Or even today, Muslims aren’t as free to exercise their religious beliefs as Christians.  And what about the fastest growing segment of the American religious scene:  Non-believers (unaffiliateds, secularists, humanists, agnostics or atheists)?  Are our rights not-to-believe just as free as theists?   Not even close.

Protestant Christians have pretty much run the show in this country since colonial times.  In fact, Christians are unabashed about claiming America as a “Christian nation”.   They contend that Christians built this country and we are a great nation because of Christian leadership, ingenuity and work ethic.

Some of that last sentence is true.  Most of the Founding Fathers were Christian of some sort or another, but not all.  George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Madison and Thomas Payne all tended more towards Deism than orthodox Christianity.  This included a healthy dose of skepticism about the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity and even much of the Bible.  Thomas Jefferson wrote his own version of the Bible, in which he removed all references to miracles, talk of Jesus’ divinity and the Resurrection.  No way he could win the Republican nomination these days.

Christians were clearly the driving energy behind America’s modern transformation.  But to see them as nothing but God’s Force for Good, is just plain bat-shit crazy.   Christians enslaved at least 10,000,000 innocent Africans.  Once here Christians separated family members, beat and whipped them, lynched them, worked them to death, imprisoned, murdered and raped them on a level the world had never seen.  They exterminated Native Americans, enslaved Chinese immigrants and interred Japanese Americans.  They committed unspeakable crimes against others just because they were Catholic or Jewish.  These unfortunate people were given little to no freedom to exercise their religion beliefs.
Religious LIberty cartoon
Christians, you own your whole legacy….the good, the bad and the ugly.  But to a larger point,  in America, freedom to exercise one’s beliefs has primarily meant freedom for Christians, at every one else’s expense.

Let me give some examples:  Can Christians determine school curriculum and book choices in public schools?  Apparently so, it’s been going on for a 100+ years.  Can Christians require Bible reading and reciting Christian prayers in public schools?  Absolutely, it’s been going on just as long.    Can Christians use public spaces upon which to place their religious symbols and celebrate their religious holidays — at the exclusion of any other religion.  Sure they can!  And boy, they get really pissed when you tell them they can’t.

Are Christians immune to our laws about discrimination?  Sometimes I think they are.  They want a religious exemption from our most important cherished notion:  that all men (and women) are created equal.  They claim their religious freedoms are violated if they can’t discriminate against the LBGT community.  They also claim their precious religious liberties are threatened if they have to provide coverage for women’s reproductive health care services on their corporate insurance policies.

Name one other non-religious group that is allowed such powers of discrimination or ability to deny people legal services or health care benefits.  You can’t, there aren’t any.  Christians are one of the most over-privileged groups in America.
Religion and fascisim Sinclair Lewis
This recent (last two decades +/-) push to further immune Christian religious beliefs from laws of our government has come at a time when those same Christians believe that there is a “war” against them by secularists in this country.  But it’s not a “war”,  it is simply push-back from the unmistakable fact that America is becoming less religious than it ever has in its past.  It’s about equality and fairness under the law.

There was a legal case that made big headlines in 2015.  After the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legal, LBGTQ marriages, a county clerk in Kentucky continued to refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone but heterosexual applicants because doing so would violate her religious beliefs.   She was an elected public official and she was the only person in that county with the legal authority to issue marriage licenses.   But as an off-the-deep-end Christian, she felt entitled to pick and choose who got licenses and who didn’t.  A classic case of Christian entitlement.

Two years later and the clerk is still on the job!  Instead of firing her for discriminatory behavior and failure to perform her sworn duty, Kentucky resolved the matter by passing a law that the County Clerk’s signature was no longer required on the marriage certificate for it to be legal.   A civil suit against the clerk is still working its way through the courts.

What incredible and outrageous lengths we go through in this country to guarantee religious privilege.  The most disgusting example is a legal case known as Burwell v Hobby Lobby — a Supreme Court decision from June of 2014.  A brief background:

A previous, seemingly innocuous, legal case known as Employment Division v Smith (1990) started the uproar.  Smith, two Native American plaintiffs, sued the Employment Division of the State of Oregon, for denying them unemployment benefits when they were fired for testing positive for mescaline (the psychotropic ingredient of the peyote cactus) while working at a rehab clinic.  The men claimed that they used mescaline for religious purposes and therefore this violated their religious liberties.

The court ruled against the plaintiffs.  Somehow this case got the attention of politicians, and being good religious men, they saw a grave inequity here.  Their response was the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Congress by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

The RFRA significantly increased protection for religious groups from Federal legislation.  Now such legislation is subjected to a higher level of scrutiny:  “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”[5]   Specifically, 1)  any burden upon religions must be for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest” and 2) it must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

Translated:  Federal legislation intended for “general applicability” (i.e. applies to everyone) can potentially be disregarded by the religious community if it places a burden on their right to exercise their religion.  Talk about establishing a privileged class!  And exactly what creates a burden??

Well the Supreme Court answered that question in 2014 and the RFRA was at the heart of it.  The case is called Burwell vs Hobby Lobby.  The case involved a lawsuit by the Hobby Lobby corporation (and others) against the Federal government (namely Sylvia Burwell the Secretary of Health and Human Services, whose department oversees the Affordable Care Act (ACA also known as Obamacare)) over a provision in the law which mandated for-profit corporations employing more than 50 people to provide health care to their employees including contraceptives.

The owner of Hobby Lobby Inc. is David Green and his family from Oklahoma City, devout Evangelical Christians who believe that life begins at conception.  Hobby Lobby is a for-profit corporation that employed approximately 21,000 people at the time.  The crux of the suit was that Hobby Lobby claimed that having to provide contraception coverage for its employees imposed a religious burden on the company and its owners that violated their religious rights under the RFRA and the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Now the ACA had already allowed for exemptions on providing contraceptives to religious organizations, non-profits, and companies with no more than 50 employees.  But never before had a for-profit corporation been granted such religious privileges.

                                                               Religious hypocrisy poster
A 5-4 Conservative majority ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby citing  that a) due to Hobby Lobby being a “closely held corporation” with strong religious (Christian) beliefs, providing contraception in the employee health care plan was an undue burden upon the exercise of the owners religious beliefs and b) per the RFRA, the ACA law was not the least restrictive way to further the government interest (the majority suggested that it would be less restrictive if the Government provided and paid for contraceptive coverage instead).

Judge Ruth Ginsburg wrote in her dissent:  “”In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”  And also, “”Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities…[60“.  She ended by saying:  “The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield …”[63]
Indeed, how far can this go?  Can a “closely-held Muslim corporation” force female employees to wear burkas to avoid violating the corporation’s religious beliefs?  Can a “closely-held Jewish corporation” fire an employee who brings a pork sandwich for lunch?  Where does this stop?

On a separate case, a judge in St. Louis has helped us define one boundary.   A St. Louis man arrested on heroin distribution charges claimed that he was “a student of Esoteric and Mysticism studies” saying he had created a religious non-profit that aims to get the powerful narcotic to “the sick, lost, blind, lame, deaf and dead members of God’s Kingdom.”  He further claimed that his indictment violated federal protections of religious rights because his heroin peddling was an exercise of his “sincerely held religious belief.” (Associated Press).  This judge decided the defendant’s claims were illegitimate and he was found guilty.  It seems mescaline is acceptable for religious ceremonies, heroin is not.

I predict the “Hobby Lobby” defense will be used hundreds or maybe thousands of times in attempts to push the limits of what does and what doesn’t qualify as restrictions upon religious liberties.  How absurd!  Either laws apply to everyone, equally or get rid of the law entirely.  In a society where special interests can use power, money and influence to usurp our laws, lawlessness will reign.  This is the “minefield” cited by Justice Ginsburg.

Same goes for taxes.   IRS rules pertaining to churches allow exemptions from paying property taxes, sales taxes and ability to deduct certain “expenses” that businesses and individuals cannot .   In exchange, churches are supposed to refrain from endorsing/opposing political candidates and referendums (Johnson Amendment — 1954).  But not only have many churches violated this “agreement” but worse, the IRS almost never enforces the rule.  Recently, the Trump administration has pushed to repeal this amendment but without requiring churches to pay their share taxes!

The solution isn’t more laws and special classes, it’s less.  In my opinion churches are businesses, they are selling a product and often making a profit.  And while there are thousands of churches that operate on shoe-string budgets, many churches generate huge wealth for their founders, owners or administrators.  Let’s stop the charade.  Tax churches like the businesses that they are.  Pay your income, sales and property taxes and you can speak freely about political issues if you wish.  According to a 2013 study(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/22/you-give-religions-more-than-82-5-billion-a-year/?utm_term=.5e0d78c0a36e) religions in the U.S. receive at the very minimum over $80 billion dollars a year in Federal tax subsidies and own at the very minimum $600 billion dollars worth of real estate.
subsidies_table
“When people donate to religious groups, it’s tax-deductible. Churches don’t pay property taxes on their land or buildings. When they buy stuff, they don’t pay sales taxes. When they sell stuff at a profit, they don’t pay capital gains tax. If they spend less than they take in, they don’t pay corporate income taxes. Priests, ministers, rabbis and the like get “parsonage exemptions” that let them deduct mortgage payments, rent and other living expenses when they’re doing their income taxes. They also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes (and benefits).”

Talk about special treatment under the law!  What this means is that all Federal income taxpayers heavily subsidize U.S. religions.  That violates my non-religious rights!  This tax-free custom originated in medieval Europe because the Church was the wealthiest and most powerful landowner.  The tradition has continued to this very day.  It is time to end these religious “liberties”

Religious Liberties Martin Luther King quote
The RFRA legislation and the Hobby Lobby decision represent yet another religious grab for even more extra-judicial rights and liberties, that the rest of us don’t enjoy.  In the majority opinion of the Hobby Lobby case it was determined that for-profit companies could be considered persons under the RFRA.   Which means that there is no separation between religious beliefs of owners and the corporation itself, even though the corporation is a separate legal entity.

I agree with Justice Ginsburg, “How can a corporation have religious rights?”   A corporation is strictly a legal entity formed by completing and filing proper paperwork with the state and the Fed.   How can filed paperwork have religious beliefs?  Owners voluntarily form corporations to benefit from an extra layer of legal protection and to allow them to qualify for lower income tax rates.

How is it possible for a corporation to act as an entirely separate entity from the owners in the event of legal malfeasance while the religious beliefs of the owners are allowed to flow freely back and forth between the two entities?  Either they are separate on all accounts or they are not.  Apparently religious (read Christian) people once again get a big and exclusive exemption from the law.

The chart below does a much better job than the Supreme Court or even the First Amendment of determining when religious rights have been infringed:
Religious Liberties chart
In the Employment Division vs Smith case the most equitable and fair solution would have been to simply legalize mescaline and peyote.  That way there would be no religious privilege — all adults could use the drug without fear of prosecution or discrimination.  In the Hobby Lobby case, the Justices should have laughed that case right out of court.  The Hobby Lobby corporation has legal rights but shouldn’t have religious (or political affililation) rights — it’s a piece of fucking paper for Christ’s sake.

And how exactly does providing health insurance that might include contraception a burden on the owner’s religious beliefs?  No one is forcing them to take contraceptives and the health care decisions of their employees are private.  The owners remain unrestricted in practicing their faith and the corporate entity should not be allowed to impose any religious or political beliefs on its employees.  Otherwise the rights of the employees are being burdened.

This horrible, narrow-minded, religiously motivated decision must be overturned as soon as possible.  It allows religious people special privileges under the law that NO ONE ELSE may claim.  Do we as Americans stand for equality, justice and freedom for all?  If so, then creating a special class of people, whether it be by religion, wealth, race or gender, is (or should be) unconstitutional and it undermines American democracy.   Our greatness will not last long as a nation divided by classes with unequal rights.

We, as Americans of all denominations and beliefs, must fight against the perpetuation of special privileged classes.  Religion, in my opinion, is a particularly undeserving candidate for special exemptions.  It is, after all, a belief in invisible magical beings for whom there is no physical evidence or proof.  If you wish to believe in fairy tales, angels, demons, or elves in the forest that’s your prerogative but at the very least, that type of belief should not entitle you to extra rewards from our government.

Religious liberties should not be a Hot Button issue with which politicians are able to  divide us.  We already have generous religious protections in the First Amendment.  Adding more causes deep rifts in our society.   All religions, as well as non-belief,  should enjoy equal standing under the law.  I will defend your right to believe in whatever you wish, no matter how absurd, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my rights.   Will you, religious believers, in kind, defend my rights to believe (or not believe) whatever I wish, as long as it doesn’t interfere with yours?  If so, then neither you, nor I, should be able to use our personal beliefs to be exempted from laws of general applicability.

  • REGISTER AND VOTE — 2018 ELECTIONS ARE ONLY 14 MONTHS AWAY.
  • VOTE AGAINST CANDIDATES THAT INSIST UPON USING RELIGION TO DIVIDE US.
  • VOTE AGAINST CANDIDATES THAT BELIEVE THAT RELIGIOUS GROUPS DESERVE MORE SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND EXEMPTIONS UNDER THE LAW.
  • AMERICAN GREATNESS IS DEPENDENT UPON FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY.

 

Please Don’t Applaud Or Encourage The Master of Distraction!

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Trump has demonstrated that, as a politician, he is good at three things:

  1.  He is very good at whipping up fear and hate.
  2. He is even better at lying.  He does it so naturally because it’s pathological.
  3. He is a master of distraction.

I’ve written extensively about his first two talents (see The Successful Republican Election Strategy …..Divide And Conquer!”   Part 1 — Wedge Issues. and The American Pluto-Kleptocracy).  So, this article is about Trump’s Art of The Distraction.

Chapter 1.  Whatever I Call You,  I Am Times Infinity.

Trump gives his opponents nicknames that are a manifestation of some of his own worst qualities.  During the campaign he called Marco Rubio “Little Marco”, specifically referencing the size of Rubio’s hands – and thereby implying Rubio had a little dick.  Now that we all unfortunately know Trump better,  he sure acts like a guy trying to overcome multiple insecurities — one of which probably involves his unusually small penis.

Marco Rubio Little

Trump’s nickname for Jeb Bush was “Low Energy Jeb”.  During the campaign, Trump didn’t come across as a low energy guy.  But since becoming President, Trump has been the laziest bastard to ever inhabit the White House.   Trump doesn’t read policy papers, daily briefings or books, instead he watches Fox News.  Trump didn’t vet Circuit or Supreme Court nominees, he used the list that the Heritage Foundation handed him.  He hasn’t invested any measurable time into healthcare, a more comprehensive immigration plan, infrastructure or really even JOBS.

Trump fat

Clearly his greatest priority is his own self-interests followed by those of his family and a small fraternity of ruthless billionaires.  He really has no macro, long-term vision for a greater America; instead he tweets his morning brain farts. He has played golf 15 times in 16 weekends on the job (politifact.com) and has spent 10 weekends at his Mir a Lago Resort in Florida.  That’s a lot for a man who said, “I would rarely leave the White House because there is so much work to be done.  I would not be a President that takes time off”  (June ’15, thehill.com).  Trump is a fat lazy fuck.

 

Which brings me to Ted Cruz, better known as “Lyin’ Ted”, his chief primary opponent and the only man I wanted to become President less than Trump.  The fact that Cruz received the second most primary votes says as much about the state of the Republican party as nominating the Orange Buffoon.  But no one trumps Trump on telling lies.  He doesn’t lie like a normal politician, making promises that he can’t keep and selling his soul to Big Donors for $$$.  Trump lies pathologically, about EVERYTHING:  little things, like the size of his inauguration crowd to huge things, like “Obama wiretapped Trump Tower”.  His lying is so pervasive that it may well be, in the end, the very flaw that sends his Presidency crashing down.  No one is a more accomplished liar than Trump, not even Cruz.  See How To Spot A Pathological Liar

And “Crooked Hillary”.  Trump knows crooked — he’s made a career out of it.

Trump liar

From contractors he stiffed, to landowners he bullied and intimidated, to banks he defaulted on, to the Trump Foundation’s funds he illegally misused, to Trump University students he scammed.  In retrospect, Hillary’s email issue seems petty and partisan compared to Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors.  He is a criminal that has, until now, escaped prosecution.  He makes Richard Nixon look like a Boy Scout.  See It’s Time to Revisit the Watergate Scandal.

Finally, the “Fake News”, “Alternative Facts” mainstream media.  Trump’s attacks on the independent media have sent the chills of Fascism down millions of spines.   And true to form, no one is a bigger phony than Trump — from his lies, his conspiracy theories,  his contentions about his wealth, his hair, his whole campaign shtick of bullshit and snake oil that 60 million gullible Americans consumed as a magic elixir.  Trump has no conscience, no real policies, no substance, he was surprised how “hard” it is to be President and was shocked that issues like healthcare and tax reform were so “complicated”.  “Who knew?” he tweeted.  Everything that doesn’t directly serve or benefit Trump is either “fake” or “false” until his deluded, addled brain decides otherwise.

By using nicknames in this fashion, he deflects his own worst flaws onto someone else.  He uses simple, 4th grade level, derogatory name-calling as a distraction.  And for many Republicans voters, it was quite effective!

Chapter 2:   If You’re Going to Distract…..Distract Bigly!

Trump’s campaign chants, “Lock Her Up”, “Build The Wall”,  “America First”, “Fake News” were simple, yet whopper distractions to overcome the fact that Trump had no policies, no real practical knowledge of governance or no long term goals.

He just couldn’t let go of the fact that he lost the popular vote by roughly 3,000,000; so he invented a distraction that “3-4 million” votes were cast fraudulently in the 2016.

Trump illegal voting

He doubled down and said proof would be coming in 2 weeks.  It’s now been 2 months and not a shred of evidence has been produced; secretaries of states from all 50 states have certified their election results and found virtually zero cases of in-person voting fraud.  Not dissuaded, Trump has recently appointed an advisory panel to investigate the non-existent fraud.

After being “forced” to fire Michael Flynn and in the wake of snowballing news on the Russia/Trump controversy and Jeff Sessions recusal, Trump tried to avert the firestorm by claiming “Obama Wiretapped Trump Tower” and demanding an investigation.

Trump Flynn

And once again he claimed that supporting evidence would be “released very soon”.  Days later he even went so far as to ask the Congressional Intelligence Committees to begin an investigation into the wiretapping — without releasing one whiff of evidence to back up his claim.  That was 2 months ago.  The FBI has said they have seen no proof nor have the Congressional Committees received anything upon which to launch an investigation.  In this author’s opinion, this claim is more than a fabricated distraction; it is liable and slander of the highest order and proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Trump is mentally unfit to continue in the office of President of the United States.

In early April the heat in Trump’s hellkitchen was becoming uncomfortable.  Michael Flynn offered to testify before Congress; leaks were popping up everywhere; and the FBI was not corroborating Trump’s claims that “he wasn’t under investigation”.  At this sensitive moment, U.S. intelligence reported that Bashar Al-Assad had used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Syria.  This gave Trump the opportunity to pull off one of his biggest distractions yet — he ordered a missile strike on the Syrian air base from which the chemical attack had originated.

To my horror, many people, even some who had been very skeptical of Trump, applauded the move and publically praised Trump.  Brian Williams, the MSNBC anchor, described the event:

Brian Williams syrian missle strike

“We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” Williams said. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’”

“They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them what is a brief flight over to this airfield,” he added.

Shame on you Brian Williams.  I thought you were better than that….

Why are people cheering this mental patient for potentially committing an act of war?  Trump really doesn’t give a damn about Syrian children caught in hell-on-Earth.  We know this because he hasn’t said “boo” about it since then, hasn’t promoted any plan to change the children’s plight, has proposed a budget that significantly reduces foreign humanitarian aid and is in neck-deep with the Russians who are propping up the thug Assad.  This was just an excuse for Trump to try out his very dangerous new toys and redirect people’s attention from his Russia scandal.  Stop cheering!  This isn’t a good thing.

Chapter 3 (and Moral To The Story):  Don’t Encourage The Master Distractor.

The absolute LAST THING we should be doing is giving Trump praise and adulation when he carelessly and without proper notification/authorization uses American military power.  I almost hesitate to print this but military strikes, military build-ups and war have traditionally been the most effective distractions for an otherwise, unpopular President.  Most recently, “W” Bush (with the help of Darth Cheney) used 9/11 to pass the Patriot Act curtailing individual freedoms and to justify torture and illegal rendition against enemy combatants in direct violation of the Geneva Convention.  And clearly the on-going Afghan and Iraq wars helped Bush win a second term.

WE CANNOT NOR SHOULD NOT APPLAUD PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR LASHING OUT MILITARILY AGAINST ANYONE AT THIS JUNCTURE OF HIS PRESIDENCY.  He is a reckless and disturbed man who has become increasingly isolated and desperate as scandals of his own making are threatening to undo everything he has accomplished.  INSTEAD, WE SHOULD REACT IN HORROR AND PROTEST WITH OUR LOUDEST VOICES AGAINST THIS MANIAC.

Resist

More recently Trump has provoked North Korea using tough talk and sending an “armada” to Australia instead of Korea.  This has done nothing but fueled talk of retaliation from North Korea, followed by an aggressive series of missile tests.

Most recently, Trump attempted another massive distraction by firing the director of the FBI and gave a series of conflicting and nonsensical reasons for doing so.  The real reason behind Director Comey’s firing is all too obvious.  Comey was leading a growing, and potentially very damaging investigation into the President and his campaign aides over their involvement in the Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.  In Trump’s deluded mind he thought this would side-track or maybe end the investigation.  Instead, he may have just added ‘obstruction of justice’ to the list of crimes he has committed.

As Trump becomes more deeply mired in scandal and possible treason, his attempts at distraction could become increasingly ominous.

drumpf-crazy-face4

I would not put it past this deranged man to do something genuinely terrifying.  Trump is unfit to remain as President and he MUST BE REMOVED either by impeachment or by invoking the 25th Amendment (Sec. 4) to the Constitution.  Unfortunately, Republicans are recklessly slow-walking the Trump/Russia investigations and have yet to stand up to this spreading cancer.  For a party that ran on the slogan “America First”, it’s time they set aside their real agenda, “Party First”, and commit to the constitutional rule of law.

In the meantime, We The People must remain vigilant and encourage our Representatives to keep Trump in check over the next few weeks and months — especially our Republican Representatives, until he can be legally and permanently removed from the office of the Presidency.

Trump impeachWrite your Congressmen and Senators today.  Demand that they hold Trump accountable and allow these investigations to move forward post-haste, and if they don’t, we will not-so-kindly show them the exit door come 2018.  Leaving Trump in power one extra day might be too long.  What other acts of desperation is Trump capable of before he is removed from office?

To Contact Members of the House Of Representatives:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

To Contact Members of the Senate:

https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

 

“The Power Of The People Is Greater Than The People In Power”   Wael Ghonim

 

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