Tag Archives: senate

The Blue Wave?

In 2018 the American people had a choice. Stick with President Trump and the GOP or return the Dems to power. The results are in. Almost.

In some districts in NY and California they are still counting ballots. Many were submitted by mail and have yet to be tallied. It is taking  a while. And the Republic still stands.

Which is an aside. Why not just have all paper ballots? It takes a little longer to count, but so what. We have an election in early November and the new Congress takes office in early January. That is almost 60 days. Plenty of time .

Paper ballots are not subject to computer fraud or machine error. They cannot be hacked by the Russians or the Chinese. Large numbers of votes can’t be “accidentally” or intentionally switched. The safest, most reliable form of voting. But I digress.

The results of the 2018 elections:

Governors: 20 Republicans won; 16 Dems won. The GOP holds 27 states, mostly in the south and plains. The Dems hold 23, mostly in the far west, the upper Midwest and the east. More significant is that Alaska switched from the Independent to the GOP, while Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Maine switched from the GOP to Dems. 45 million voted for Dem governors while 42 million voted for GOP governors.

Senate: Dems won 21 seats plus 2 (Vermont and Maine) that caucus with the Dems. GOP won 11 seats. A final total of 23-11. On the Senate elections 55.6 million Americans voted Democratic, while 34.4 million voted GOP. Pretty decisive.

The House of Representatives: Dems won 234 seats, the GOP won 198 with three seats yet to be decided. The GOP leads in 2 (NY 27 and NC-9) while the Dems lead in 1 (CA-21). Total votes for GOP candidates was 49.6 million and for Dems was 56.1 million). Pretty decisive.

Two things are obvious. It was a major Democratic wave election  and the country is still rigidly divided as far as political party voting is concerned.

The people voted fairly decisively for Democratic candidates and Democratic  policies. Again. Mr Trump went around to a few states and did a good job of rallying his base (except in Montana). But the Democrats, without a true national leader, did a better job of speaking to the issues and getting out the vote. A lesson for future elections.

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Filed under Congress, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, governor, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Society, Trump, United States

Have We Ever Met?

As soon as the Democrats whupped Donald Trump in the midterms he immediately fired Jeff Sessions, his Attorney General.

Jeff Sessions was lockstep in implementing all of Trump’s policies. He refused to act on any voter suppression cases. He refused to enforce the Voting Rights Act. He refused to enforce environmental laws. A Trumpster all the way.

Jeff Sessions was the first US Senator to endorse Trump. He was the first Senator to wear that goofy hat. Like Trump, he has a long history of racial discrimination. Birds of a feather.

BUT, following the required law, Sessions had to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. Because he, himself, had met with Russians and later lied about it. This made Trump mad. Not the meeting part. Not the lying part. The recusal part.

So, another in a long line of Trump sycophants is thrown under the bus. Or out the window of Trump Tower. Into the Trump fecal pond. So be it.

Now, Trump has appointed a new acting Attorney General (emphasis on “acting”). A Fox news guy who has long held that the Supreme Court is not allowed to interfere with the president. That the president is above the law.

OK. So he is a Trump stooge. What else is new?

Well, according to Trump this guy is a great man. People in the White House say he is a man who Trump has met with a number of times. A man highly respected. They get along real good. Or, do they ? Uh…wait a minute.

Well, Trump, who just appointed this totally unqualified weight lifter to become the HIGHEST attorney in the land  NOW claims he doesn’t even know the guy.

“Who are you? Do I know you? Wanna be Attorney General? Okey dokey, you got the job. Gotta run. ”

He just appointed this complete stranger to the leadership of the Department of Justice.

According to the NY Times ..the “FAILING” NY Times….

“Mr. Whitaker, who now oversees the investigation, has visited the Oval Office several times and is said to have an easy chemistry with the president, according to people familiar with the relationship.

“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left Washington for a weekend trip to Paris. “Matt Whitaker is a very highly respected man.””

Appointing someone he does not even know. Hmmm. If it were true it just might be a step in the right direction.

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Filed under Constitution, GOP, Politics, Republicans, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

My Job Interview

I have not blogged in awhile because I have been preparing for my job interview. I am seeking a permanent position, with a guaranteed life long appointment. This job should come with good benefits and be completely independent of any other authority. I don’t do well with bosses.

As fate would have it, just such a plumb job came open this year. It has something to do with the government. It is an opening on something called a “SCOTUS”. A SCOTUS, as I best understand it, is a bunch of people who decide what rights you and I have. They have this job for life. Can’t be fired.

So, I said to myself, “Sounds good. Short hours. And I have opinions. So, what the hell”.

Well, the interview with some guy named Grassley went like this.

Grassley: So, Mr Urban, you want to be on the Supreme Court.

Me: The Supre…oh, wow…so that is what SCOTUS stands for. Who would have guessed. ..Oh, yessir, I do.

Grassley: And your qualifications are ?

Me: Well, I have opinions. Good opinions. Thoughtful opinions.

Grassley: Do you have a resume? Or any written materials?

Me: Oh, of course. I have an extensive resume. 10 pages long. And I have been authoring a blog for years. Many years. Hundreds of blog posts.

Grassley: OK. So, can you give me this information?

ME; Well, I can give you one page of my 10 page resume. The other 9 pages you don’t need to see. I will give you the one page that I think is best for you to consider. Forget the other 9. Not important. Only 1 is important. I keep the other 9 under the title of “confidential”.

Grassley: Oh. I see. Well. If you say they are confidential then who am I to pry. After all, this job only lasts a lifetime. And it only entails you making decisions that will affect the lives of millions of people for the next…oh…maybe 50 years or so. So, I guess 1 page out of your 10 page resume will be fine. Now, what else do you have?

Me: Well, I have a blog. I have been writing it since 2011 or 2012. So, I have a whole lot of ideas. My philosophy of government is pretty much laid out over the course of these years.

Grassley: Great. That will be helpful. So, can you provide me with this blog?

Me: Certainly. Although, to be fair, some of it is not so good. So, I have labeled some of it “Top Secret”. Not that I am hiding anything, just a matter of privacy. What I will do is hand pick 10% of my blog posts and send them to you. That should give you a pretty good idea of where I stand. You don’t need to read everything I write, it might distort.

Grassley: Well, what if I look at all of them and decide what is important and what is not? Would that be ok? I mean, we do need to know your entire thoughtful philosophy, not just part of it.

Me: Nope. That does not work for me. I’ll decide what to share with you and what not to share. Then you can make your decision on this lifetime appointment. After all, it’s my blog. You are lucky I am sharing anything with you.

Grassley: Is see, Mr  Urban. So, you refuse to hand over 90% of your resume. And you refuse to hand over 90% of the documents outlining and describing your political philosophy. And you want a lifetime appointment to the SCOTUS, on  which will decide the fate of millions of people. Is that right?

Me: You got it, dude.

Grassley: OK. Thanks for coming in. We’ll be in touch

Oddly, they never called me back. Kind of pisses me off because they gave the same deal I wanted to this guy Kavanaugh.

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Filed under Constitution, government, Politics, SCOTUS, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Gillibrand Redux

Yesterday morning I called my senator, Kirsten Gillibrand’s office and questioned why she has not called on Mr Trump to resign, since she has called on Franken to resign for much less. I also called on her to name the other Congressmen who had harrassed her in 2014.  I explained that it seemed “opportunistic” to call for one to resign and not the others.

Her office simply said that she had already commented on the issue. As a result I wrote a blog critical of her.

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/senator-gillibrand-and-the-death-of-due-process/

Yesterday afternoon Senator Gillibrand finally DID call on Trump to resign.

“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” Gillibrand told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/11/politics/trump-resign-gillibrand-sexual-assault/index.html

Trump responded as expected.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”

I am not saying that my phone call had any influence on the Senator, but I am happy that she has been consistent.

(Your welcome).

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Condolences to Ray and Elfreda

The election for GOP candidate for the next senator representing the good people of Alabama is this Tuesday. Mr Trump was in Bama campaigning, kind of, for Luther Strange. His opponent is Judge Roy Moore. Whomever wins this primary election is pretty much assured of beating anyone the Dems put up in the special election to fill Jess Sessions seat. I mean the last time Alabama elected a Democrat as senator (Richard Shelby) he immediately switched parties and became a Republican.

So this election is, in effect, the election for the Senate seat.

A little research shows us that Luther Strange is, well, strange. He supports Donald Trump all the way.  He wants to kill trade deals, cut off funding for family planning at Planned Parenthood and of course, “Drain the Swamp” (but that is a different essay).

Luther, as Alabama attorney general, fought to allow Hobby Lobby to keep women from accessing basic medical care, like family planning services. He also supported Exxon’s refusal to reveal the climate change research it had done. As the replacement Senator for Jeff Sessions he has voted to take away health care for 40,000,000 Americans and to gut Medicaid  (which is the primary health insurance for over 1,000,000 Alabamians, mostly children). And Luther is the SANE candidate!

Judge Roy Moore, former Australian cowboy and kickboxing champion, has his own set of abominations. He was the judge who insisted, contrary to the US Constitution, that the 10 Commandments be placed outside his courtroom. (On a side note, the good judge has a personal set of 10 Commandments he carved himself… maybe he thinks he carved the originals as well). When he lost the court case and was told to remove the 2 ton granite boulders , he refused. He put himself above the law and was removed from the bench. Then Alabamians immediately elected him to the state Supreme Court.

He wants to give public money to Christian schools. ( I guess the Alabama public school systems are glutted with cash). He has condemned homosexuals from the bench. He condemns the idea of universal health care. He condemns trade. He condemns immigration, especially from our “northern border”.  (We don’t need no Canucks!) He condemns…well… just fill in the blank with any concept designed to give folks equal rights or make their lives better. You get the picture.

So, what does this have to do with Ray and Elfreda? I went to college with Ray and Elfreda (not their real names) back in the early 1970s.  (OK, Ray and Elfreda ARE their real names. I mean, who could make up a name like Elfreda?). They both live in Alabama.

Now, you could take any rusted pickup truck with a tail light out, stars and bars decals and gun rack (in other words, ANY vehicle in Alabama) and run over 2,000,000 Alabamians. And you would not hit anyone nicer than Ray or Elfreda. I mean, these folks left the relative sanity of the north and gave their professional lives to educating the kids of the Yellowhammer State. They migrated south of the Mason-Dixon Line to help kids in a state whose leaders couldn’t choose between 2 official fish,  so named them both: the tarpon and large mouth bass.

So I send Ray and Elfreda my condolences. Luther Strange or Judge Roy Moore is going to be “representing ” them for the next 6 years. A choice between an idiot and a bigger idiot. Heads I lose, tails I lose.  Perhaps there will be a tie and BOTH candidates can go to Washington.

“Introducing the distinguished senators fro the great state of Alabama: Moore Strange.”

Ray and Elfreda, I feel your pain.

(Actually I DO feel your pain. My “representative in Congress is an avid Trump supporter and all around con artist named Tom Reed, NY -29.)

 

http://www.lutherstrange.com/on_the_issues

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Strange

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Moore

https://www.roymoore.org/Positions/

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Filed under ACA, candidate, Congress, Constitution, gay rights, GOP, Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, Politics, Religion, Senate, Trump, United States

80 is the New 36

I have nothing against old people. Someday I may be old, after all I will be turning 65 soon. So don’t let this essay keep you awake at night. Or during the day.  Depends .(Double entendre intended).

I was cruising the demographic data on the US and discovered that the median age of our citizenry is about 36 years. So approximately half the population is older than 36 and half is younger than 36. So, most of the population will be living well into the 2nd half of the 21st century. Many will be living into the 22nd century. The decisions we make today will have  along term impact on their quality of life. Hold that thought.

The new Congress has just appointed chairmen and chairwomen for the next session. The Senate committee chairs will determine the course of politics over the next two years. Why ? Because,  unlike the rest of America, the Senate is not a democracy. The committee chairs decide which topics to investigate,  which bills get discussed and which ideas go onward for a vote. In other words, they decide what the laws will be. They will decide what the laws will be and what the future looks like for those millions of Americans who will be living in the end of the 21st and start of the 22nd centuries. Hold that thought,  too.

Let’s take a look at these new committee chairs. The men and women,( oops, woman) with a vision of the future. Men and woman like you and I, who have been molded by their life experiences. Brought up in a specific time and place. Influenced by the technology they used and the ideas they were exposed to during their formative years. People who have grown up in a different world than we see today…and a vastly different world than we will see in the future. Here they are.

The list of committees followed by the chairman and his  or her age in 2 years time, when their chairmanship may or may not expire.

Commerce, Science and Transportation, John Thune, 55

Energy and Natural Resources, Lisa Murkowski,  59

Homeland Security, Ron Johnson, 61

Foreign Relations, Bob Corker, 64

Budget, Mike Enzi, 72

Veteran’s Affairs, John Isakson, 72

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Lamar Alexander, 76

Appropriations, Thad Cochran, 79

Armed Services, John McCain, 80

Agriculture, Pat Roberts, 80

Environment and Public Works,  James Inhofe, 81

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Richard Shelby, 82

Finance, Orrin Hatch, 82

Judiciary, Charles Grassley, 83

Remember those thoughts I told you to hold? Some of these guys were born during the Great Depression. (No, not the Bush Great Depression, the Hoover Great Depression). Most were being rocked in their cradles before a guy named Hitler rocked Poland with the blitzkrieg. More than half were born during or before the US entrance into WW2. 6 of these 13 chair people will be 80 or older in two years. They should not even be driving a car, much less leading a lawmaking body. At least 2 knew the founding fathers personally .(OK, maybe that last one stretches the facts a little).

As I said, I have nothing against old age. And nothing against these particular fogeys. In fact, if I could get these guys into a pickup basketball game I would kick some Senate butt, no doubt. But whether Dem or GOP, isn’t it a bit disturbing to think that these octogenarians and septuagenarians hold such power over the future? Does anyone really think they are capable of devising strategies to develop sensible, realistic programs that meet the needs of the future?

The median age of the US population is 36. The leadership of the Senate is now in the hands of 80-somethings. On the negative side, they are completely out of touch with modern society and the future. On the bright side, they may never be able to find the committee rooms

 

 

 

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Filed under Congress, GOP, government, octogenarian, Senate, US