As you no doubt have heard by now, President Donald Trump has been impeached by Congress. This is only the third time in the history of the country where a sitting President has been impeached. The first was way back in 1868 when President Andrew Johnson was impeached after the Civil War as the nation struggled with reunification. The second time was President Bill Clinton, who was impeached for lying to Congress about a sexual relationship he had with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Both Presidents were acquitted as neither received the two-thirds Senate vote to remove them from office. President Nixon resigned before the impeachment moved forward and was fully pardoned by President Ford.
And now President Trump has joined the Impeached Club for:
The vote in Congress went as much as you would expect, along party lines. The abuse of power article passed 230-197, the Obstruction of Congress article passed 229-198. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) voted “Present” in each case, which is neither a “yes” or “no.”
So … now what happens?
Not much for the time being. President Trump is still the sitting President. Speaker Pelosi will, eventually send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate who will then hear a trial (or maybe they won’t) and vote to remove the President from office.
But, Pelosi hasn’t quite sent the articles to the Senate floor yet. She’s holding out, some believe, in order to get Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to agree to hold a Senate trial as opposed to simply vote against the articles of impeachment without further investigation or trial, which Republicans have already threatened to do.
The problem is that key witnesses refused subpoenas to testify before Congress. This … is a bit awkward. By comparison, when the Republican Congress sent out subpoenas to former Clinton advisor Susan McDougal to testify at the Whitewater hearing, she refused. And so Republicans threw her in jail for a year and a half. Today, several White House aides, lawyers, and even the acting chief of staff have ignored their subpoenas to testify before Congress in the Trump impeachment hearing. None of them went to jail. But maybe they should have. In fact, President Trump ordered some of them to ignore the subpoena, which is why Congress also added the Obstruction of Congress impeachment article. I mean, if Congress orders you to testify and you just, you know - refuse to show up, that’s pretty much the exact definition of “Obstruction of Congress.” Hard to argue with.
Eventually, the articles of impeachment will get to the Senate and President Trump could be, but will probably not be removed from office. Democrats claim he is corrupt and was trying to get a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 election. Republicans say he’s a man of God and was only trying to fight corruption by speaking with Ukraine about the Biden scandal.
If Trump were indeed a “man of God,” who wants to fight corruption at every turn then … um, well, he probably wouldn't be stealing money from charity and using it to pay for things like, a $12,000 autographed football helmet (which he kept), a $20,000 portrait of himself, paying off his legal debt. Trump actually spent more than $250,000 of money he raised for charity - to settle lawsuits involving his for profit business. That doesn’t even count his 2016 veterans fundraiser where he raised millions for vets and just .. you know, kept most of it to spend on his Presidential campaign. Which is what led to the actual New York State lawsuit against him and the $2 million fine he has been ordered to be distributed amongst eight charities Trump’s foundation swindled money from.
Not only that, the Judge found the foundation to be so corrupt, he ordered the entire Trump Charity Foundation to liquidate, worth about $1.7 million, and also give that money - to the charities Trump swindled money out of. In conclusion, Donald Trump's charity, which raises money for charity, takes the vast majority of that money for personal use and business gain. This is grossly illegal. After the liquidation the Trump Foundation was ordered to pay out (and it quietly did so) approx $400,000 to each of the following charities, listed alphabetically:
The Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals on Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of the National Capital Area, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
If you ever wondered why Donald J. Trump was elected our 45th President, you only needed to watch the testimony last week of William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch.
If you ever wondered what Washington based bureaucrats do to represent us, you only needed to watch the testimony last week of William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch.
And, if you ever wondered why real Americans refer to Washington as a swamp which needs to be drained, you only needed to watch the testimony last week of William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch.
Taylor, Kent and Yovanovitch aren’t inherently bad people. But they live in their own little worlds where what they think is more important than what the President—whose pleasure they serve at—thinks. And they are an integral part of what former (and the late) President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about on his way out—the military, industrial complex.
They have—and freely admit—zero first hand experience of the subject matter allegedly being “investigated” by Adam Schiff.
Now, diplomacy—in context—is a good thing. In theory, that is what keeps mushroom clouds away from Peoria, Illinois, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Reno, Nevada among other places where you can “smell the Trump support” at the local WalMart Supercenter. But it is the President and Commander in Chief who gets to set our foreign policy—not some diplomat at State who serves at the pleasure of the President. Any more than an FBI director who also serves at the pleasure of the President. And the real world is not an episode of Madam Secretary or the West Wing.
The truth is that impeachment is purely political.
The House, if it has the votes, can impeach the President because it does not like the cut of his suit.
Ask the dumb Republicans who impeached Bill Clinton in 1998.
How do you impeach a President who has less than two years left in his second term? But Newt Gingrich did it and ended up bringing dishonor on the institution for no good reason. And did I mention that the Senate told him to pound sand? In an almost predictable vote mostly along party lines, the Senate fell way short of the 67 votes necessary to remove him from office.
So, let’s assume that the currently sitting House goes ahead with impeachment.
What do you think might happen to these guys—Adam Schiff et al—who have such a flimsy case against Trump in a Republican controlled Senate?
The Senate vote will be utterly predictable. And that’s assuming the Senate doesn’t dismiss the charges without a trial. (If this is what passes for an impeachment investigation, who’s to say the Senate cannot hold a 20 minute trial to dismiss the charges?)
The anger from the 63,000,000 voters who elected Trump and told both the media and the Washington establishment, “Enough already!” will be palpable enough to elect him again and take that anger out on the House.
People like Schiff and his little buddy Eric Swalwell may not realize this, but they are doing their best to make the House of Representatives irrelevant to the real Americans outside of the swamp. It would appear that these guys were beat up every day when they were freshmen in college by the seniors and now, they are going to show all of us.
I wasn’t in the room when our founding fathers wrote the impeachment clause, but I read a lot and I have serious questions that Adam Schiff’s version—along with Rashida Tliab’s “impeach the motherf**ker”—were what they had in mind. I’m pretty sure when they wrote the term “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” they weren’t thinking about a President doing his job.
So my question is simple.
What will the left do when what I have predicted actually happens?
“Who is attacking your First Amendment through illegal censorship more than big tech companies that the government is working with hand in glove? No one!”
First, there was Trey Gowdy, then there was Daryl Issa and Jason Chaffetz, and the latest to come on board with the great American appeasers is Ted Cruz.
The headline delivered by "today’s conservatives, yesterday’s liberals" was “Ted Cruz Grills Google on Censorship of Conservatives”
The show goes on, the people are appeased, and in the end, there is no justice!
One would think that if Teddy here were truly seeking answers from Google on this magnitude, he would have had a panel of top executives within the company answering these questions. Instead, he settles for an incompetent employee.
Notice with me that Ted starts out saying, “As you know, Google enjoys a special immunity from liability under section 230 under the Communications Decency Act.” A special immunity given to Google from whom, I ask?
Americans, did you give delegated authority to your representatives in giving favor to those who are now censoring you today? No, I know that I did not!
Furthermore, the First Amendment of the US Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law.”
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So, I ask, where did Congress receive lawful authority to hand over to Big Tech companies a privilege in censoring free speech?
Ted then goes on and said that this special immunity to Big tech companies was predicated upon a neutral platform, and over and over again this incompetent employee of Google makes up excuses for her lack of preparedness. She said that it was a busy day as she chuckles it off.
Ted Cruz is merely an appeaser in the circus of politics, the fox that is guarding the chicken coop in protecting the criminals rather than prosecuting them.
When will Americans learn the lesson (Hosea 4:6) that they are in on the censorship, censoring those who would dare criticize anyone in government who is transgressing the Constitution that they swore to uphold? This is how they are allowed to tear down the laws and destroy the nation. They just leave off justice (Amos 5:7). This is not a grilling indictment on Google, it is a message to appease the conservatives of the day who take it for face value.
Just ask the bad actress congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, who last week told Americans what is going on, and in her confusion, she blurted out the truth.
“Those people that are online making fun of members of Congress are a disgrace. We're gonna shut them down and work with whoever to shut them down, and they should be prosecuted.”
You would think with all the corruption found within the career politicians, that Americans would figure out why there are no indictments brought forth when it comes to those who are doing the “grilling.” Oh, how Americans love to be entertained by these actors in the circus of politics.
Yet, Americans are conditioned through these appeasers via hearing after hearing, investigation after investigation, and in the end, Americans settle for no indictments and no resolve when it comes to the justice which guards American liberties. They merely get talk (Isaiah 59).
Appease is defined as, “to bring to a state of peace, quiet, ease, calm, or contentment; pacify; soothe: to appease anger.”
So, what are the purposes and what is the outcome of such appeasements? It creates a nation of pacifists. Instead of prosecuting the criminals, they simply put on a show (WWE at its very worst) to appease, only to say to the American people through their inactions, “Just go back to sleep, we have got this" (Amos 5:7). Americans then drink the Kool-Aid and do as they are told to do (Isaiah 59:5-15) and God-given rights and freedoms then dissipate into thin air, which further enslave their posterity.
Remember that soft judges create hardened criminals, and that is what the American politicians have become, hardened criminals toward the American institution of our constitutional republic (Article 4, Section 4 of the United States Constitution) as they are given a free hand to transgress, at will, without any consequence whatsoever. Meanwhile, Americans are then laughed at behind closed doors and again, justice is left undone which breeds more injustice.
When Americans decide to be the strength of the US Constitution and begin to enforce the laws which apply to all of us, then things will change, but not until then (Jeremiah 6:16).
Assuming you are reading this on the day this electronic newspaper is officially dated, this is the 243rd anniversary of some very brave men telling a king, 3,539 miles away, to stuff it and that they were going to chart their own destiny, create their own nation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Back in those days, we had whatever government was installed by that king, 3,539 miles away. And he enforced his dictates by military “persuasion.”
This was the Continental Congressional response:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”
That was then.
Today, we no longer have a Continental Congress. We have a congress in which the House of Representatives is dominated by clowns like Adam Schiff, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. We have a Senate dominated by Republicans, some of who have higher political ambitions and some who just want to hold the nation together.
And we have a President who many believe was the instrument that many citizens voted for to fix that government which they believe had become “destructive of these ends.”
We also have a Supreme Court which recently held that it is not unconstitutional to ask a census question about citizenship BUT they didn’t like the attitude of the Secretary of Commerce so they sent it back to a lower court to try and run out the clock. How judicial of them.
In 2020, we are going to have a referendum on what the citizens actually think of the dysfunction we find in our elected government.
The President will stand for re-election, so will most of the various clowns in Congress, as you and I get our official say.
My guess is that in the 244th year since those men appended their names to the document in the National Archives, you and I will make it clear what we decided in 2016, which is to say that we had enough. That our government was becoming oppressive and was beginning—actually well past beginning—to take away from those unalienable Rights. That is why we sent Donald Trump to Washington.
The opposition to the President wants open borders, state sponsored and controlled healthcare, the right to kill unborn babies with their hearts beating, the repeal of the right to keep and bear arms, taxing at obscene rates job creators and a host of other stupid ideas which would cripple the very reasons that those guys in Philadelphia wrote and signed that document.
They disguise their desires by couching the unacceptable with misleading words.
Gun confiscation becomes gun safety. Killing babies with detectable heartbeats becomes reproductive health rights. State sponsored and controlled healthcare becomes Medicare for All. Open borders becomes sanctuary cities and sanctuary states.
These folks use their tongues prettier than the hookers who service some of the men in Congress.
Frankly, if we don’t put a stop to this nonsense in 2020, we’ll deserve everything we get.
I’ve never blamed the Democrats for Barack Obama. I blamed the Republicans. 2008 and 2012 were winnable elections. But you cannot beat somebody with nobody. And John McCain was Obama light. Mitt Romney invented Obamacare in Massachusetts when he was governor. Why elect the diet drink when you can have the real thing?
That said, Trump’s opposition has done us a huge favor. They have shown us who they really are. It’s our job to vote NO!
Watching President Trump host a national day of prayer at the White House—immediately after Nancy Pelosi spewed impeachment talk at her press conference—reminds me of a favorite story about my late friend, Oral Roberts.
President Roberts was, of course, the biggest fan of the Oral Roberts University basketball team, for which my then Tulsa radio station, KTRT, created a network to distribute the broadcasts which we originated. But ORU was an independent at the time and had to hire referees from the Big Ten, Missouri Valley and other conferences. Sometimes, they didn’t get the best refs.
One of the features at an ORU home game was an invocation, usually given by a student in the divinity school. As students are wont to do, the invocations began getting longer and longer until they began to irritate President Roberts. The kids were spending time blessing everything in the building…the hardwood, the rims, the band etc.
One night, prior to a fairly big game, President Roberts caught me in the hallway of the Mabee Center and asked if we cut away during the invocation and the National Anthem. The answer was an emphatic no, we did not because I always found that carrying a message to God and to our nation is also good business and was unashamed then and now. (That is our policy even today.)
He smiled and said, “good, tonight will be interesting.”
At the appointed time, public address announcer Doc Blevins waited for the lights to go down and said something like, ladies and gentlemen, giving tonight’s invocation is the founder, President and Chancellor of Oral Roberts University…Oral Roberts!
The spotlight went on, President Roberts strode to the center of the court, put a microphone to his mouth and said, “Heavenly Father, please bless the referees’ eyesight. Amen” And walked off the court.
Then, he came over to our table, sat down next to me, smiled and asked, “How did I do?”
He later told me that he never prayed for a win. That God doesn’t determine wins and losses. He just gives you the talent to win. Winning is up to you.
But things which stood in the way of winning—poor officiating, as an example—were fair game.
To a great extent, that’s where President Trump finds himself today.
He is a very talented individual who won the Presidency against all odds. God gave him that talent. Think of the Democrat controlled House as a mediocre referee who has a decided vendetta against a very non-establishment, independent public official.
The House is trying to use every opportunity to make a call against the President.
As usual, when officiating gets in the way of the game, there are no immediate winners and almost everybody involved loses.
Frankly, the House Democrats are just like the refs who screwed the Vegas Golden Knights in the last game of round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And the results are most likely the same in the long term because it is the fans (the voters in this analogy) that get to make the ultimate decision. In sports, the decision shows up in attendance and TV ratings over the long term. Think Colin Kaepernick and the NFL.
Do you really think that the Democrats, running on investigating the President, will be successful?
So far, they are not only out of control on investigations but on the positions being staked out by the 20-some candidates who think they have what it takes to become President.
You can’t beat a horse without an equally talented horse—unless some state employee gets involved (think last week’s Kentucky Derby) and we’ve already been through that in the past two years.
I guess it all gets down to Oral Roberts’ position that you never pray for a win.
That’s what the Democrats are doing because the only reason any of them can give to get elected is that they are not Donald Trump. Americans are not that stupid.
There will be a temporary deal to open parts of the government for a few weeks, mainly for critical issues. Of course, there will be no wall. Which is fine. Walls are medieval and not terribly effective, but whatever. There will be; however, additional money to increase the current level of fencing and assist with said fence repair costs (about $1 billion). There will also be some back pay available to specific workers (but as far as I can tell - as of yet, it’s unnamed as to which workers will receive back pay and which will not). And, I guess, finally there will be a State of the Union.
And it’s this last point that makes me go, “Hrmmmmm.” (Just like in the old Arsenio days). A few days ago when the President announced he won’t have a State of the Union until after the shutdown ends. BUT it is also clear that Nancy Pelosi kind of .. uninvited him from delivering the State of the Union in the House chambers.
And then, Trump agreed to delay with this Tweet:
“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative — I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!”
Okay. This immediately made me wonder, “Wait. Is it actually her prerogative?” I mean, obviously, she does not, nor did she ever say she was denying the President to have a State of the Union - she is denying him use of House Chambers. Um, okay. But aside from that - so what? Can Nancy Pelosi deny him use of House chambers? Can the Speaker, actually do that? I’m honestly not sure. I read over lots of online sources today from CNN, to the NYT and Fox News and all of them keep mentioning “according to House Rules,” but none of them linked to any House Rules.
And then I found the House Rules. And now I know why no one linked to them, because it’s a nightmare 50+ pages of tightly fonted legalese. Ugh. It’s bloody painful to read. And confusing. Anyway. Let me dive into it.
First, let’s check the Constitution and see what it says about a “State of the Union:”
“The President shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.”
The key phrase seems to be my emphasized, “convene both Houses, or either of them.” Convene, as you may or may not know means, “come or bring together for a meeting or activity; assemble. Summon. Order.” In other words, the President may “summon/order” either or both houses to a State of the Union.
Now, the reason that the State of the Union is in the House chamber is because, well - it’s large. And fitting. And so now we ask the question - can a Speaker of the House prevent a President from delivering a State of the Union in House chambers?
As far as I’ve been able to determine the answer is very clearly - no. But the Speaker DOES have a lot of power over what can and can not happen on the floor of House chambers. You see, not just anyone can walk onto the House floor and have a speaking role. That privilege is restricted to the usual suspects one would assume - current members of Congress, House staffers, invited VIPs, dignitaries, ambassadors, delegates, etc. and, of course, the President / Vice President. Former members of Congress and former Presidents may also enter the House chamber and deliver speeches, if invited.
So, the Speaker can’t prevent an acting President from entering House chambers BUT according to House Rules, and as much as I understand the 50 pages of legalese I just waded through, a Speaker is, in fact, in charge of several key House chamber factors including (but not limited to):
“Use and Admittance. 1. The Hall of the House shall be used only for the legislative business of the House and for caucus and conference meetings of its Members, except when the House agrees to take part in any ceremonies to be observed therein.”
Okay, fair enough. So, it’s possible the Speaker can just decide to not agree to take part in the State of the Union, and if the Speaker decides this, congress will not attend. And if congress does not attend, then the chamber is technically not “in session,” and can not be used.
Does this supersede the Constitution’s statement that the President may “convene both houses?” Maybe. Maybe not. I guess it’s all debatable, but even if the President could order congress into session for the State of the Union, I did find a couple of picky (perhaps juvenile) things a Speaker could do to make the State of the Union, (if held in House chambers) a disaster. For example, according to House Rules:
“BROADCASTING THE HOUSE. 1. The Speaker shall administer, direct, and control a system for closed circuit viewing of floor proceedings of the House in the offices of all Members, Delegates, the Resident Commissioner, and committees and in such other places in the Capitol and the House Office Buildings as the Speaker considers appropriate. Such system may include other communications functions as the Speaker considers appropriate. Any such communications shall be subject to rules and regulations issued by the Speaker.
This all means the Speaker of the House could order all close circuit cameras turned off so the speech wouldn’t be broadcast to anyone in the building. AND the Speaker could order that no cameras or press would be allowed onto the floor (although, I believe that currently only C-SPAN is allowed on the House floor). So, sure, the President could still deliver the State of the Union, but the Speaker could make sure that no one ever heard it or recorded it. In fact, it sounds as if the Speaker could, literally, order the lights shut off. So the President would have to deliver the speech in the dark, to no one. And this all may be juvenile tactics but “juvenile tactics” seem to be the ways and means of politics in the last several years.
Anyway, I’ll leave it up to you to further dig through the House Rules for more information because that is some sucky reading, let me tell you (and I’m done with it).
Finally, and again, I am not suggesting that House Rules should always supersede the Constitution. I am only suggesting there does appear to be clear reasons why a Speaker of the House can make a State of the Union, at best - difficult, assuming the President decides to address the nation in House chambers.
A Speaker of the House, obviously, can not stop the President from delivering the address elsewhere, or to Congress or directly to CNN or Fox News or, in the probably case of our current President - on Twitter.
Imagine that. A SOTU address. On Twitter.
The 116th Congress opened today with second time speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) as Speaker of the House. Despite the pointless “Never Nancy” posturing of several freshman (and a few veteran) Congress Folk - Nancy Pelosi is the first and second woman to hold the role of Speaker. She’s also the first congressperson to win the role a second time since 1955.
That being said, in order to appease some of the vocal “Never Nancy” folks, Pelosi made some behind closed doors deals with them (which, is all they wanted in the first place) and agreed to step down as Speaker after a four year term.
Pelosi won with 220 votes (of the 218 she needed to win), defeating Republican nominee Kevin McCarthy who now takes the role as Minority Speaker. Here are all the leaders for the 116th Congress (from the House.gov site).
As for the “why” of the “Never Nancy” folks? Well, it doesn’t matter much now (the “pointless “Never Nancy” link above explains some of it), but a lot of them were merely “out with the old, in the with new” types. Which is totally fair. But Nancy Pelosi has become the most powerful female politician the US has ever seen. For a reason. And so all the, “out with the old, in with the new,” folk, as fine an idea as it is, might want to apply some common sense and reason in respect to our current political climate. Experience might be what we actually need to move forward.
Or not. Maybe the “Never Nancy” folks are correct. I guess we’re all about to find out. As for the dissenters - I often find great interest in what dissenters against popular opinion have to say and I am keeping my eye on them. They may have lost this battle but as they say - the war is not over, yet.
Here are the congress people who voted for someone other than/against Pelosi:
Freshmen: Anthony Brindisi (New York), Jim Cooper (Tennessee), Jason Crow (Colorado), Joe Cunningham (South Carolina), Ron Kind (Wisconsin), Conor Lamb (Pennsylvania) Ben McAdams (Utah), Max Rose (New York), Kathleen Rice (New York), Mikie Sherrill (New Jersey), Kurt Schrader (Oregon), Elissa Slotkin (Michigan), Abigail Spanberger (Virginia), Jeff Van Drew (New Jersey) and Jared Golden (Maine).
House Minority Whip, Nancy Pelosi, was easily nominated by House Democrats in a 203-32 vote to secure her potential return as speaker. That 85% margin is actually much higher than her last time around the block when she won the nomination by a 68% vote facing challenger Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio). But that’s what happens when you run unopposed, as she did this time.
Pelosi’s win is not unexpected despite the few dozen “Never Nancy” freshmen incoming congressmen. A few behind closed doors deals here and there and suddenly, most of those Never Nancy folks have changed their minds. All they wanted, obviously, was seat on a committee or a promise for this, or a deal for that. Most of the Never Nancy stuff was nonsense posturing masquerading as politics as usual.
But there are a handful of hardcore Never Nancy folks that still claim they will not support Pelosi in the upcoming January vote when both sides of the House get to vote on the new upcoming Speaker role. This too, reeks of political posturing.
The Democrat opposition against Pelosi seems to be spearheaded by Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY-4th district). Rice’s main beef, as I understand it, is twofold. First, that Pelosi has already had her chance and now new (perhaps, younger) leadership should be explored. I’ll quote her for her second point,
“...backroom deals represent the establishment-based transactional politics that the American people hate and patently rejected on Election Day (2018) … These tactics also stifle fair and open leadership elections within our caucus and perpetuate the leadership stagnation that has plagued our party for over a decade.”
And these are all fine points.
But now the Democratic Party has nominated Pelosi to be their Speaker representative for the January vote and common sense and reason tell us all that Rice should back her own party’s nominee, right? She had her voice. She lost. Now - do the right thing and vote for your party’s nominee.
Republicans are going to have a nominee as well. But so far, Rice is pressing on with the Never Nancy nonsense. Rice also has 17 other House Reps., mainly incoming freshmen, that claim they will not vote for Pelosi, either. And if you do the math, Pelosi can NOT lose 18 Democrat votes. Because, assuming all other Democrats, outside the Never Nancy 18 vote for Pelosi, and all Republicans vote for the nominee - then Pelosi will lose and the Republican nominee will actually win the Speaker role - even though Democrats control the house.
This is not something the Democratic party will stand for. Trust me. If the Never Nancy rebellion goes so far as to get a Republican Speaker nominated when the Dems control the house, well, the Never Nancy folk can kiss their political careers goodbye.
Besides, there is a furious push from powerful, influential Pelosi supporters up to and including John Kerry and Barack Obama. I’m sure you’ve heard of those guys. In fact, the Never Nancy crew was actually significantly higher until recently. Pelosi and her team have flipped more than a dozen Congress-folk from the Never Nancy movement to Pelosi’s side.
Of course, they all changed their minds, as I mentioned above, during closed door meetings, which is precisely what Rep. Rice is talking about. So, there’s that.
But still, the time to rebel against your own party is - not, bloody, now. I suspect most of the Never Nancy crew will fall in line before that crucial January House vote. There will be a holdout or two, for sure. But threatening to not vote for your party’s nominee and allowing the opposing party to keep the Speaker role - that way lies madness.
And we’ve had enough madness these last two years.
Jason Lewis is the outgoing, Minnesota Congressman who on Veterans Day blamed a recently deceased prisoner of war for costing him reelection and Republicans the House majority in the 2018 Midterm Elections. In his defense, Lewis had no control over the publication date of his op-ed after he submitted it to The Wall Street Journal. Lewis did, however, blame the late Republican Arizona Senator and Vietnam POW John McCain for his election loss and the losses of his fellow House Republicans. It just happened to be published on Veterans Day, which has been the focus of just about everyone on social media.
Most of the media, however, has resisted mentioning the date of publication, but haven’t bothered to check if there’s some truth to Lewis’s claim. McCain couldn’t possibly be entirely responsible for Republicans losing 39 House seats. No single moment, however momentous, decides an election let alone 39 elections. There are a myriad of reasons why people vote the way they do. Money is just one reason.
The biggest spender in House elections won just 89.8 percent of the 2018 House races—down from 95.4 percent in 2016. But the biggest reason House Republicans lost so much in the 2018 Midterm Elections might very well have been because of their support for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the failure of Senate Republicans to pass the legislation because of John McCain.
In his ill-timed op-ed, Lewis alleges that the Arizona Republican Senator’s decisive vote against Congressional Republicans’ “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, "prompted a 'green wave' of liberal special-interest money, which was used to propagate false claims that the House plan 'gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.’”
Lewis might be absent-minded at best, insensitive at least, and downright disrespectful at worst, but his claim is not entirely wrong. He and fellow Republicans were wrong, however, to assume McCain would vote along party lines when it came to healthcare, even when faced with an opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Like most Republicans, McCain campaigned for reelection in 2016 promising his Arizona constituents to repeal and replace Obamacare. And like most Republicans in 2016, he won reelection. But McCain was never like most Republicans, especially when it came to healthcare.
Healthcare has long been a concern of McCain’s. He was an early co-sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In 1998, he introduced a bill to regulate the tobacco industry and increase taxes on cigarettes that failed due to opposition from his fellow Republicans. And it took a lot of convincing stories of personal struggle, but in 2001 he joined a bipartisan effort to pass a patients’ bill of rights despite being concerned about the right it gave patients to sue health care companies.
McCain then shocked his fellow party members by running for President on a healthcare platform in 2008. While his opponent adopted a healthcare approach implemented by Republican Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, McCain’s plan would have subjected health insurance premium contributions from employers to income tax. Tax credits would help taxpayers offset the costs of employer coverage or coverage purchased on the individual market, and any remaining funds could be deposited in a health savings account (HSA).
McCain also wanted to allow Americans to buy health insurance coverage across state lines, but he didn’t want government getting its hands on healthcare. He did, however, propose federal funding to help people who couldn’t get coverage through the individual market because of their health conditions, i.e. pre-existing conditions. So protecting affordable access to healthcare coverage for people with pre-existing conditions was important to McCain almost a decade before his decisive vote against the AHCA.
Yet Republicans and Democrats alike were shocked at McCain’s vote to kill his party’s baby that was going to show Republicans’ constituents they finally did what they had long promised: repeal and replace Obamacare. And that might have been enough to carry them to victory in 2018 because the adverse effects of their AHCA predicted by the Congressional Budget Office—including higher premiums resulting from 24 million more Americans going uninsured by 2026—wouldn’t take effect in time for American voters to reprimand them in the 2018 Midterm Elections.
The only problem with the Republicans’ plan was the free press, which informed constituents of the potentially devastating impact of the AHCA, especially for people suffering from pre-existing conditions. In turn, those constituents voiced their opposition to the bill and let their Congresspeople know how many votes they could expect to lose in their next election. Turns out once people got a taste of Obamacare and discovered it wasn’t just nasty, expensive health food but tasty, affordable health food, they started to like it. Why do you think Republican Congresspeople in 14 states continue to withhold Medicaid expansion from their constituents? They say they don’t want to take federal funding for healthcare out of principle, but what they really don’t want is their constituents discovering how much they could be saving on health insurance premiums.
On July 28, 2017, a week after learning of an “aggressive,” inoperable brain tumor, McCain, reminiscent of a Roman emperor deciding the fate of a wounded gladiator, killed Congressional Republicans’ last-ditch efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with the "most powerful thumb in the country." It took two other votes from Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to kill the American Health Care Act. Any one of the three voting “yes” would have resulted in a tie broken by Vice President Mike Pence.
Andy Slavitt, a former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama, called McCain’s “no” vote on the AHCA a “watershed moment in health-care policy” in an interview with the Arizona Republic. But it was also a watershed moment in political policy, too. It was both a reprimand of the Republican Party by a most-respected Republican, and a reminder that people, regardless of political affiliation, are going to do what they think is right. More so than anything, regardless of pre-existing conditions protections, McCain didn’t care for the Congressional Republicans’ process (or lack thereof) to repeal and replace Obamacare. Not allowing the legislation to go through committee and instead forcing it through Congress rubbed the old school Republican the wrong way.
Republican Representative Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and still the only woman elected to Congress from Montana, broke with her party and all of Congress when she voted against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. She was joined by a bipartisan group of 49 House members and six Senators voting against war with Germany 24 years earlier. McCain’s “most powerful thumb in the country” moment was reminiscent of Rankin and is McCain’s most legendary moment. It's for what he'll be most remembered.
There’s no denying McCain’s momentous “no” vote motivated an already energized Democratic Party. Whether it resulted in a “green wave” of donations from those with liberal special interests is debatable. Democratic House candidates received 50 percent more in campaign contributions than Republican House candidates in 2018, but that was paced by individual donations, not special interests represented by Political Action Committees (PACs). Democrats raised twice as much from individuals as Republicans to make up for a $46-million deficit in PAC contributions.
Whether McCain’s momentous vote was responsible for specific donations is impossible to determine, but Democrats did receive 54.7 percent of the $226,586,167 health-related campaign contributions, which was fifth most amongst business sectors in contributions made to 2018 campaigns. That’s actually down from health sector spending on the 2016 election, which saw health as the sixth-highest sector represented by campaign contributions, but nearly 60 percent more than what the health sector spent on the 2014 Midterm Elections.
So McCain’s vote against the AHCA might have been responsible for increased election spending on Democrats from the health sector, but it was absolutely responsible for robbing House Republicans of the ability to run for reelection advertising the fulfillment of their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. That alone could have been enough to sway the 2018 House Midterm Elections toward Democrats, if they weren’t already swinging that way.
Almost five months before Democrats flipped their first Congressional seat—getting an upset win from Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election for Senator on Dec. 12, 2017—McCain gave Democrats their first ray of hope since being robbed of the White House by Russian election meddlers assisted, perhaps, by Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. Whether Trump acted as an accomplice in the confirmed election interference by the Russians could be revealed by Special Investigator Robert Mueller any day now that Trump has reportedly responded in writing to Mueller’s questions.
Both Trump and Pence failed to convince McCain to support the AHCA, with Trump even assuring McCain the bill wouldn’t become law. Trump wasn’t likely considering a “no” vote from another Republican Senator, although that might be exactly what he wanted McCain to think. It’s more likely Trump was told a key provision of the bill would be found unconstitutional.
In his op-ed, Lewis alleges Democrats’ claims that the AHCA “gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions” were false. But like Lewis’s op-ed rejecting responsibility for his and House Republicans’ election losses, Democrats’ claims weren’t entirely false. PolitiFact awarded “Half True” ratings to ads and statements from Democrats on healthcare in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia and California. Why?
The MacArthur-Meadows Amendment to the AHCA was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 13, 2017. It was meant to coerce the votes House Republicans needed from the Rightest-leaning, three-dozen-or-so members of the House Freedom Caucus in order to pass the AHCA legislation onto the Senate. The amendment introduced by Republicans Tom MacArthur, a former insurance executive and now outgoing member of Congress, and recently reelected Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, would have effectively gutted coverage for some people with pre-existing conditions.
People suffering from pre-existing conditions who didn’t maintain continuous health insurance coverage for all but 63 days of the prior 12 months would be forced to pay health insurance premiums based on their medical history, which would no doubt be higher than premiums currently available to them. While not every person with a pre-existing condition would be directly affected, nearly a third of people with pre-existing conditions experience a gap in coverage over a two-year period due to job changes, other life transitions, or periods of financial difficulty, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Since price most dictates what Americans’ healthcare coverage actually covers, Republicans effectively “gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions” by allowing health insurance companies to pick and choose what healthcare services are covered and at what price for people with pre-existing conditions failing to maintain continuous coverage. That’s why PolitiFact awarded “Half True” ratings to all those ads run by or for Democrats.
So while Lewis isn’t entirely wrong about increased campaign contributions being made to Democratic House candidates in 2018, he is wrong in calling it “liberal special-interest money,” as individual donations were the source of Democrats’ “green wave” of contributions, not PACs representing special interests. Whether that increase in Democratic contributions was a result of McCain’s vote against the AHCA is debatable and impossible to determine. And while Lewis claims that money was used to “propagate false claims that the House plan 'gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions,’” those claims made by and in behalf of Democrats were at least partially true, making Lewis mostly wrong, but not entirely wrong.
"Disapprove of the president's style if you like, but don't sacrifice sound policy to pettiness," Lewis wrote to close his op-ed, which would have been fitting had the AHCA actually been sound policy. The MacArthur-Meadows Amendment sacrificed any semblance of soundness the AHCA had, so if Lewis wants to blame someone for Republicans losing the House, he might start with the members of the House Freedom Caucus instead of attacking a dead POW of the Vietnam War who can’t defend himself.
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With Democrats winning a majority of seats in the United States’ House of Representatives and Republicans retaining a majority in the Senate, a Republican-controlled Congress with an approval rating of just 21 percent entering the 2018 Midterm Elections will be split when new members of Congress are sworn in on January 3. Here are some of the bipartisan issues a split Congress could address, in order of likelihood.
It would be negligent not to acknowledge that Democrats now have the votes to impeach President Donald Trump. House Democrats already introduced five articles of impeachment in November 2017 and could again. Now that Trump has forced the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matthew Whitaker, the man who on CNN floated the very idea of replacing Sessions with a temporary Attorney General who could cut funding to Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential involvement with Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Sessions wasn’t well-liked by Democrats, but he did recuse himself from the Mueller investigation to the chagrin of Trump. A day after the 2018 Midterm Election, as to not adversely affect election results, Trump convinced Sessions to resign, but instead of promoting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to whom Mueller currently reports, Trump installed Whitaker, a Trump loyalist.
If Whitaker acts on the idea he floated on CNN, expect House Democrats to respond by filing articles of impeachment, eventually voting on those articles, and forcing Senate Republicans to decide between protecting their own political careers or that of their party’s President. Removing him would take two-thirds of all Senators.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich writes that Democrats would need to retain Doug Jones’s seat in Alabama, defeat both Susan Collins in Maine and Cory Gardner in Colorado, and pick up a seat in a red state. The best bets would be in Arizona, where Jon Kyl is not seeking reelection, and in Iowa, where Democrats flipped two House districts and came within 40,025 votes of installing a Democratic Governor. Of course, if Democrats win the Presidential Election, they’d need to win one fewer Senate seat for a majority, as the Vice President would break a tie.
The issue upon which both Congressional Democrats and Republicans can most likely agree is the nation’s need of vast infrastructure updates. U.S. infrastructure was given a D+ grade by the American Society of Structural Engineers in its latest Infrastructure Report Card, and despite efforts to address this, America hasn’t come close to making up for the estimated $2 trillion in needs over 10 years.
New House Committee Leader for Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio, appears to be willing to work with the President to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and subways, and perhaps expand access to high-speed internet. A blueprint for doing so has already been provided by Senate Democrats, requiring an estimated investment of $1.6 trillion.
DeFazio has suggested raising the gas tax in line with inflation to pay for some of the updates. With gas prices at their lowest in six months despite sanctions limiting Iran’s oil exports, addressing America’s crumbling infrastructure could be a means to comfortably introduce new members of Congress to Washington politics, bridge the widening gap between the parties, and deliver a win for both parties, their constituents, and the President, who promised “the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history.” If Democrats and Republicans are actually going to do what they said they will after the elections and work together, infrastructure investment is probably the best place to start.
One issue for which House Democrats could get enough support from Senate Republicans is a middle class tax cut that was mostly absent from the corporate tax cut Congressional Republicans passed. At the very least, House Democrats could use their newly won majority in the underchamber of Congress to force Republicans to vote on a middle class tax cut and show where Republicans really stand and whom they really represent when it comes to taxes.
Regardless, there are probably five votes Democrats could get from Senate Republicans on a middle class tax cut if it doesn’t also include an increase in taxes for the richest Americans and corporations. Any legislation passed by House Democrats will almost certainly include a tax hike on the richest Americans and corporations, however, so the Senate will have to draft legislation agreeable to Senate Republicans and appeasing House Democrats.
Ending federal prohibition of marijuana does not require Congress, but it does require a U.S. Attorney General willing to initiate the process of executive reclassification. With Trump convincing Sessions to resign, the best opportunity for him to boost his approval ratings going into the 2020 Presidential Election might be by appointing an Attorney General willing to initiate this process so Trump can take all the credit for being the President who legalized weed...or at least tried.
Trump doesn’t seem to be considering his Attorney General appointment as an opportunity to improve his approval ratings via cannabis reform. Neither Chris Christie and Pam Bondi have expressed interest in ending marijuana prohibition, but Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary urged employers to take a “step back” on drug testing so cannabis users could fill the many open employment opportunities.
Still, executive reclassification requires the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which consults the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This is where Trump’s self-proclaimed business acumen might have to reveal itself, because the DEA affirmed its hard stance against reclassifying cannabis in 2016, it seized $20.5 million dollars in assets through its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in 2017. But it did loosen restrictions on cannabis with regards to research.
There was yet another mass shooting resulting in the deaths of 12 people in Thousand Oaks, California, this time by a war veteran whose very actions seemed motivated by Congress’s lack of action in response to gun violence in America. In a Facebook post prior to the attack, the mass shooter wrote “"I hope people call me insane... (laughing emojis).. wouldn't that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I'm insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is 'hopes and prayers'.. or 'keep you in my thoughts'... every time... and wonder why these keep happening.”
Democrats elected gun control candidates throughout the nation, and with a majority in the House, can finally pass gun control legislation that would force a vote on gun control legislation by Republicans in the Senate, 20 of whom are up for reelection in 2020, and perhaps more pending results of runoffs and recounts.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Costa Report, Drop Your Energy Bill, Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio, The Tech Night Owl, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show