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The Constitutional Convention Concept Is A Republican Con Job.

The GOP's Con Con.

American democracy is headed for peril. A quiet campaign to legally overwrite the Constitution of the United States of America, with the ostensible purpose of proposing a balanced-budget amendment, has been silently building steam.

The process is known as a Constitutional Convention, a legal apparatus by which the contents of our Constitution can be altered.

Prominent extremist Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have supported it, and the Koch brothers‘ libertarian network has long placed its financial power behind their push.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to amend the Constitution by a two-thirds vote. It gives the states the power to call for a convention to amend the Constitution if two-thirds of the states can muster support for the measure.

Having the radical right wing rewrite our Constitution would be an unparalleled disaster for the American people, not to mention the rest of the world.  The Center on Budget and Priority Policies understates the case beautifully by telling us that it’s got “serious risks”. That’s a soothing way of telling us our entire global economy will be wrenched.

David Super of the Los Angeles Times wrote that “It would also drastically reduce America’s standing in world affairs,. far more than handing the presidency to an incoherent, shop-worn reality TV star.”

Conservatives have been after what is best called the “Con Con” for years. The Constitution is a nuisance to them because it stops them from completely disenfranchising everyone who’s not in the good ol’ boys club.

Although the same people who brought you “Medicare for All” and the Free College plan are able somehow to convince themselves otherwise, it is virtually certain that conservatives would dominate a convention held today.

They have control of the White House, Congress, and 32 state legislatures. They’ve also got all the money. They would clearly have marked influence over every provision in the project.

The right has also retained control of the Supreme Court, thanks to Republican refusal to vote in the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s candidate Merrick Garland. This too would obviously give conservatives the upper hand in any litigation arising out of the convention.
Whether the delegates run for election in heavily gerrymandered districts or are appointed by state leaders, the result would be the same. A convention with a heavily right-wing bent.
If the Tea Party or the alt-right of Richard Spencer and Sebastian Gorka, were to write us a new Constitution, it hardly requires speculation to imagine a lack of improvement.

The things on their agenda read like a grocery list of bad ideas, but then again, that’s the Republican way.

They will make English the official language of the US.

They intend to “define life at conception“, which is a polite euphemism for criminalizing abortion and perhaps even contraception.

They will also include corporations as people with every constitutional right, clarifying the matter legally in favor and confirmation of the horrendous Citizens’ United ruling.

They will reverse gay marriage, as former Alabama judge and alleged molester Roy Moore proposed by way of a Con Con in 2014.

They will codify in the 1st Amendment their right to impose Christian faith and values on everybody in the whole country.

They will change the 2nd Amendment to forbid regulation. All hope of reasonable gun control would thus disappear.

The big thing they’re emphasizing now, the balanced budget amendment, might even involve the doing away of the income tax and the Federal Reserve altogether. This would leave the American poor to scrabble for a living like beggars in the sewers of Calcutta- in the richest country in the world.

Once a constitutional convention is called, all bets are off. “Regardless of why a convention is called, there is nothing to stop it from becoming a runaway convention that could ultimately overhaul the U.S. Constitution completely,” said Scott Swenson, the vice president of communications for Common Cause, to Salon Magazine.

The Constitution and the foresight of the Founding Fathers in making it so hard to alter are all that has saved us from Donald Trump and the other Republicans, who have been trying to get around it for years. Overhauling it would be an atrocity.

The only thing that has prevented it from happening already is the Democratic Party, which is now doing its best to stave off completely unnecessary threats from the far, radical left. Unbelievably, they are for this too.

Organizations such as Justice Democrats founder Cenk Uygur’s Wolf-PAC have been fighting for this as hard as the Tea Party has.

“It’s got to be an amendment,” said Wolf-PAC’s Texas state director, Todd Jagger.

That someone on the left could actually believe this defies the limits of human understanding.

Concluding, the big takeaway from this article, is that an Article V convention call is a terrible danger to American democracy.

If the Republicans manage to pull this off, we will all be rendered helpless. They could do anything they wanted. The states would lose all control.

We’ll be flat on our backs for the rest of our lives.

We have to get the word out about this, and we’ve got to do it now, or we may very well see the very foundations of the United States – the rights we hold so dearly as Americans – shake or disappear.

The best way to stop them is by electing Democrats to state legislatures, and everywhere else. Our professionals are tough. They will shut this thing down across the board. The Blue Wave is the first step. We must all make sure we vote.

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Spread the Word! #GOPTaxScam Is Part of a Crippling Long Game.

Hard times coming, if the GOP gets its way.

If top income tax cuts worked, then the middle class would have been gaining since 1980 instead of declining.

The last time the Democratic party held enough of a majority in all 3 branches of government for long enough to get a lot done was under Johnson in the 60’s.

They ended segregation in schools. They passed the Voting Rights Act so that black folks could vote. Passed the Civil Rights Act including provisions to protect those who aren’t old white men in the workplace. Passed Medicaid and Medicare which has helped all lower income a great deal. Secured critical funding for education infrastructure.

Since that time Republicans have been in power most of the time, and/or have held at least one branch in order to block the Democratic party from doing more. We Democrats did not even get two complete 2 year periods with a filibuster-proof majority.

Bill Clinton lost his after the first year, and Obama just barely had a filibuster-proof majority for a few months. The special election in Massachusetts caused Republican Scott Brown to be elected, which ended the filibuster-proof majority.

Even during this minuscule amount of time, they did an incredible amount of good work. The much-maligned bill that Bill Clinton passed on welfare reform is actually what got federal funding for many work and education programs, besides being absolutely necessary

It got more poor people into good paying jobs than any program ever has in the history of this country.

During Obama’s presidency, Nancy Pelosi alone did more good than all the Republicans to be elected since the 1960’s combined.

The $840 billion stimulus package, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank banking-reform bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Waxman-Markey climate bill all stand out as examples of the skill and professionalism that she has and they lack.

Millennial Democrats would like to send the following message to extremists of all shapes and sizes: It would be wiser to vote than sit out unless you want Republicans to keep making your lives harder. They’ve got an encyclopedia full of dirty tricks with which to do it, and they put all the mechanisms in place with Trump’s tyranny of a tax plan.

Top income federal tax cuts mean more taxes and cost increases for everyone else. The State doesn’t just do without lost revenue from top income, in a show of stately love toward citizen.

It is instead replaced at the local and state level through backdoor tax increases on low and middle income.

Reducing regulations just means allowing top income to take advantage of more people. Government regulations are all that protects low and middle-income people, especially wage earners.

Most of us read Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in high school; for those who didn’t, it was about a factory worker from Poland eaten alive by the meatpacking industry of Chicago. The reason people aren’t living like that now is government regulation.

Be that as it may, however, there is a tendency on both ends of the political spectrum to revile government. To label all government as tyranny or fascism is to make the terms useless. There are people out there who benefit from the existent state of polarity. People have been taught to hate their government for a reason, by specific people.

Charles and David, the Koch brothers, are the sons of Frederick C. Koch, who co-founded Koch Industries. It has grown to be the second-largest privately held company in the United States, of which they own 84%. If their individual fortunes were combined in one place, they would likely represent the wealthiest person on earth.

They have used this gargantuan wealth to subjugate one of the two parties and subordinate it to an ultra-conservative and authoritarian agenda. They have spent a fortune on it.

Most estimates show numbers of more than a billion dollars, every one of which proves the rise of the Tea Party movement was far from an accident. It was orchestrated, and it was well funded.

It also had a deliberate aim: to destroy Washington’s ability to pay for its social programs, which would be to break Washington itself.

What we are seeing now is part of a long game. They know full well the Blue Wave is coming. They know Trump will not last long. There is a reason that they all retired as soon as the tax atrocity was passed.

It’s not about the near future. It’s about what’s going to be happening decades from now and what kinds of limitations Democratic leaders will face in the near future.

The tax plan was forced on us like saddlebags on a racehorse. It was meant to handicap and even cripple our long-term prospects as a democracy. An understanding of this going forward is where discussions of policy must begin. The long-term goal of Republicans is to shrink government until it is so small it can be drowned in a bathtub, in the words of tax-cut crusader Grover Norquist.

Let’s try and keep our heads above water, just the same.

Our Last 100 Years? Climate Change and Partisan Denial.

Merry Christmas!
“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

This tweet was Donald Trump’s reaction to the news that it’s going to be a cold New Year’s Day out East.

Climate refers to atmospheric action over a long period of time, while weather describes what’s to be happening in the near future. The climate can be thought of as the sum of long periods of weather. The climate is the forest; the weather is the trees.

The percentage of Americans unaware of this is dangerously high already and growing.

In 2016, Stephen Hawking made a dire prediction. In 1000 years or less, the human race would not survive. Epidemics, rogue AI, and various other factors would combine to make the planet unfit for human life.

Many of us, knowing the brilliance of Hawking’s mind, read those words and shivered. They were, after all, surrounded by the rest of the news.

But here we are at the end of 2017, and Hawking has come up with some new numbers!

Thanks to modern-day health care, 100 years is nearly a lifetime, but in May, Hawking proposed that this is how long humans have left on Earth.

Where’d the other 900 go? In a word? Trump. You read the tweet.

In July, Hawking told the BBC that humanity is at a “tipping point”. If we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

But a week of cold temperatures was enough for our president to call for more global warming.

Nor was this said in jest. Trump used the frigid East Coast weather as an opportunity to boast of what a good decision he’d made, in withdrawing from the Paris Accord earlier this year.

Hawking predicted that humanity’s natural greed would impede us from being able to properly address this problem.

According to Hawking, Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of this deal might turn out to be the final step towards the drastic climate problems scientists have been warning us about.

Trump’s history of climate change denial highlights a number of problems our society is currently solving.

A presidential administration hostile to climate science is a disaster. It is certain to deepen the already endemic scepticism on the topic existant in American political life.

Scientific reality has not escaped the distorting influence of political polarization in the United States.

Scepticism of man-made climate change within the GOP has been a worsening problem over the course of the last decade.

Like it or not, fossil-fuel corporations relative to the government have a gigantic power and influence over the conduct of the rest of us because they’re the ones who own so much of the information we see. They pay a lot of money to keep this issue frozen in political polarity.

As for Trump himself, his record of making stupid remarks about climate change goes back years. In 2015, he tweeted out something nearly identical to the nonsense he spit out today. As soon as he selected Scott Pruitt to run his Environmental Protection Agency, we could already guess at the rest.

Not long before taking office, Pruitt co-wrote an article claiming that scientists “disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Trump’s choice to run the Energy Department, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, claimed “the science is not settled” on climate change.

His pick to lead the Interior Department, Republican Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, said that global warming is “not proven science.”

Most Americans know that climate change is real. According to a poll done by Yale, six out of ten Americans consider themselves worried about it.

However, this is where we encounter the crux of the problem; in fact, of all problems dealing with why change in America comes so hard and slow. We are not getting our information from the same sources anymore.

Conservative media and political mouthpieces such as the Koch– funded Tea Party have created a toxic environment for healthy discourse. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as an “alt-fact”. There’s only errors, blunders, and lies.

If they can succeed in helping people to forget this, they can blur the lines of truthful news and spread cynicism like a plague. What better way to turn a good country into a lousy mess?

Back to our subject, the same Yale poll, Climate Change in the American Mind, finds that although people are indeed legitimately concerned about global warming, if you include a partisan watchword in the question, people start answering through a different frame.

They give the answer that matches their political affiliation, even if they may harbour doubts about it.

For instance, on the question of whether scientists near-unanimously agree that human industrial activity is causing global warming, there is vast partisan disagreement.

Lest there be any doubt on this issue, they do; nearly every study finds unanimity on this issue among scientists.

But only 13 percent of Republicans are aware that is the case, as compared to 55 percent of Democrats.

Climate science scepticism within the GOP has intensified greatly since 2016. Trump’s administration has made every effort to combat anti-global warming efforts as an expensive waste of time.

His withdrawal from the Paris Accord has now increased the odds of a species-ending disaster to the point where Stephen Hawking, for one, has lost all hope.

Trump has made a habit of airing his climate scepticism on Twitter. He has snidely tweeted on the topic of “climate change” or “global warming” more than 100 times since 2011. But it’s more alarming now by far. He’s the President these days.

Some people are bound to follow him, no matter how hard we fight against normalizing his administration. It’s that same recalcitrant third of our populace who says they’d support Trump over Jesus. 

There’s been something in the air these last few years. Instinctively, everyone seems to know that the species is at a crossroads and coming closer and closer to being forced down one path or the other.

We have all made decisions we regret; we have all burned bridges before. There is no walking backwards in time. We learn from these things, we move forward, and we try to help others learn from our mistakes. But when speaking of a geological extinction event, one has to realize there won’t be any more moving forward.

Add your voice to ours, with measured conviction, and help to save the world. Donald Trump’s moronic attempts at levity notwithstanding, it really is that serious. Somehow, we have got to find a way to spread the word. Or the days of saying things like Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are going to be coming to an end, real soon.

Image result for when the last tree is cut
Why Climate Change Matters

Modern Indulgences- Trump and the Religious Right.

At the Family Research Council’s recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right declared itself for Trump, with great enthusiasm and thunderous applause. Trump went on one of his rants about saying Merry Christmas, and the crowd went wild.

This is a travesty, and a hard to understand one. This president is the antithesis of every religion’s value systems, all of which emphasize right living and a connection with a higher power. Trump is a sack of walking debauchery. Christmas will not be merry at all, until he’s been shown the White House door. Neither will Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday.

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference, held in Washington, D.C. for ultra- conservative operatives and elected officials from across the United States.The president was received there as a conquering hero, especially after declaring that there’s been a War on Christmas going on all this time, and that it has just been won.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that if the president wanted to win an imaginary war, he might have invested some of his billions into an X-Box.

Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, who both were fired from the White House due to their virulent extremism, were both present, and both out for blood. “There is a time and season for everything,” said Bannon. “And right now, it’s a season for war against a GOP establishment.” The whole event was a fraud. That’s a room full of people at war with itself.

This is the bill being presented to the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. The alt-right is a golem, called forth to do the bidding of a small and shrinking group of men. And like any golem worth its salt, it has risen to consume its masters.

These are the fruits of the policies that the Conservative Coalition started. This term refers to an unofficial, Tea-Party like outfit in the U.S. Congress that existed between the 1960’s and 1990’s. Its goal was to bring together the Northern Republicans and the minority of Southern Democrats who were incapable of changing with the times.

The term became obsolete once there weren’t any Democrats left; we showed the door to the reactionary and bigoted elements of the Democratic Party long ago. The philosophy and approach lived on, however, and seems to be making an unfortunate comeback.

Many people think this way of doing business came largely to an end with Jerry Falwell’s declaration to end the Moral Majority in 1989, declaring under George H.W. Bush that their goals had been achieved. It didn’t. It just shifted gears and chose a new name.

Since then, America has continued watching the process of one of its political parties drained utterly of mercy and benevolence. This has never been so clear as since Trump took office.

Over this last year, the Republicans have proposed legislation to destroy unions, the healthcare system, and the education system. The Environmental Protection Agency was placed in the charge of Oklahoma’s former attorney general, Scott Pruitt, a man who has spent his entire life opposing it.

They want to defund Planned Parenthood, they want to restrict abortion. Legislature has been proposed in sixteen states to stifle public protest. Increased risk of violence against transgender persons and other at-risk groups are the inevitable result of a roll back of anti-discrimination laws, but they do not seem to hold this important.

What they do hold important is to funnel wealth from the poorest to the richest. Their desire seems to be to roll back the clock arbitrarily, to a time that most of us are very glad is past. All of this is being done with the full support and sanction of the religious right, who are making big bank too.

This is why they were so happy to see the election of Donald Trump. They knew he would be good for their finances. Franklin Graham at the time said that he was convinced it was the “hand of God that got Donald Trump elected. Not Wiki-leaky, or anything else. The hand of God”.

The finances of the people who make up their congregations were not considered. Even the ability of those people to receive basic health care and keep breathing was ignored, as none of them were heard protesting Trump’s decision to gore Obamacare. The disgraceful examples set by Trump, i.e. greed, profligacy, nepotism, corruption, etc. were shown a blind eye also. Even the infamous “Grab em” tape in which he blatantly proves himself a sex offender didn’t do the trick. All of it was ignored.

One thing only was taken into account- their plan to lay waste the First Amendment, with its insistence on enforcing the separation of church and state.

Leaders of the religious right recently started demanding federal benefits for churches hit by Hurricane Harvey, even as the cleanup started. It seems innocuous, but actually it represents a highly significant milestone in their plan to lay waste the First Amendment. They have preparing groundwork to lay claim to public funds for a long time.

If they can gain a toehold by getting legal recognition collecting federal money, they can slowly worm their way into positions of influence in a government they are legally forbidden to enter.

This is why they’ll forgive Trump anything. It’s why Franklin Graham attributed his victory to the Hand of God, and not “Wiki-leaky, or anything else”.

The way the whole thing works out is markedly similar to the historical sale of indulgences, where corrupt priests caused an entire Reformation, selling God’s permission to live licentiously to the rich. Wow. In the meantime, we’re to start saying Merry Christmas again, but one wonders what Christ might think.

It’s all being made possible by Donald Trump, which is why they’ll forgive him anything. Martin Luther must be turning over in his grave, to see Protestants selling indulgences. The whole operation drags the spirit of the church through the mud like nothing since the Spanish Inquisition.

“I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before,” President Donald Trump said on Friday. “That’s what’s happening. We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”

It is the very definition of irony, that the people who’ve been screaming about the End of Times and the Antichrist all these years, would end up lining up with the guy who best fits the description. For Democrats, this all provides a pleasant reminder of the reasons we can look at ourselves in the mirror and sleep at night.

 

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