Back in September, 2017, for no actual reason whatsoever (except to add it to a list of things "Un-Obama"), President Trump in all of his wisdom, decided to use an Executive Order ("E.O.") to overturn an Obama E.O. that extended protections to young immigrants brought into this country illegally by their parents. Many of these children were under the age of ten when brought here, (many DREAMERS have younger siblings born in America, making them citizens). The program was created to provide a form of relief for these people. After all, about 800,000 of them have lived here their entire lives and as a result, see themselves only as Americans. (See: www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/trumps-decision-end-daca-explained).
But the Right Wing via Trump have vilified all undocumented aliens as "illegals", ergo, "criminals" posing a danger to "real Americans!" Trump campaigned on the theme that hispanics are "rapists and murderers." How do we know such caustic narratives work? He got elected on that platform. "BUILD A WALL!" "AMERICA FIRST!" This is why the Democrats have demanded legislative action on DACA. The GOP leadership will not commit to extend it. This is why the Dems have made it a stumbling block for the current budget impasse. It's called political leverage. It's fair game. Why? Because the actions of the president and the GOP prove they are unwilling partners in fairness, honesty and yes, compromise - ever!
Recall the recent trial of a homeless man in San Fransisco without documentation for murdering a young woman? Trump politicized this tragedy to push his "illegal=criminal" talking points. So many GOP members and Trumplings convicted the man solely because he was here "illegally" despite the fact that the gun involved was stolen and left behind by actual American criminals on a pier that was later picked up by the guy and it "went off." The bullet that killed the women was a ricochet. When the man was acquitted, arm-chair lawyers and Trumplings collectively screamed for his execution (as if our judicial system is based upon one created in some "shit hole" country or something.). Despite actual facts. Who needs facts when we have an overheated partisan tribe manipulated into a frenzy? How is this possible? Just look at the blame game being played. We have become so tribal that we no longer care about the truth. We create our own reality so it fits our world view, no matter how ignorant that view actually is - "it's OUR view damnit!" But it is wrong, period. (See: www.cnbc.com/2017/11/30/trump-says-government-shutdown-might-be-good-for-him-wapo.html). (See also: nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/gop-plan-blame-shutdown-democrats.html).
Now when I see pundits and Trumplings on social media writing that 60 votes are needed in the Senate to pass a Budget Bill, I cringe. It does NOT take 60 votes to pass any bill, let alone a budget one. It does though take 60 Cloture votes to overcome a filibuster - a mechanism in place in the Senate to force both parties to compromise - to reach an agreement on how to proceed. But between 2009 and 2014, the use of the Filibuster in the Senate had been used solely by the GOP to obstruct (See: www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/how-the-senate-filibuster-went-out-of-control-and-who-can-rein-it-in/266645/).
Who is to blame for this distasteful application? Hey wait a minute, does that make me a hypocrite, claiming one party is superior to the other? Of course not. I am simply relaying a FACT so conveniently forgotten by Republicans and Trumplings. When Obama was elected, Right Wing talking heads called for blocking everything the Democrats tried to do when it came to reviving a destroyed economy coming out of the W. Bush years. We had the emergence of the Tea Party with some real shady leaders (See: Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, et al.). (See: www.nosmokeblown.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/tea-party-2009.jpg). Recall, those same folks on Fox news and Breitbart et al., also opposed bailouts for the American automotive industry and TARP (except TARP was passed while Bush was still in office and the bailout of Detroit was recommended by Bush and his team) because it would "break our budget and add to our unsustainable bulging deficits!" (See: www.gq.com/story/republicans-deficit). Except the latest GOP Tax Bill adds TRILLIONS to our deficit and their proposed budget adds more to our debt. So much for claiming to be deficit hawks. They are nothing more than hypocritical political hacks. Sadly, many like me knew this all along while so many fell for their con. And today? The GOP and the Trumplings continue to follow this charade. But Trumplings and the GOP want Americans to forget these inconvenient facts. Why? Because the very tool they used to block Obama, they now want to eliminate so there can no longer be any mechanism for the opposition to have a say on, well, anything (See: swampland.time.com/2012/08/23/the-party-of-no-new-details-on-the-gop-plot-to-obstruct-obama/).
Yes, Harry Reid and the Democrats eliminated the filibuster for judicial appointments except to those to the Supreme Court. They did this because the GOP blocked ALL Obama judicial appointments (The Dems bad previously blocked well over 90 Bush appointments too). But Republicans took the game to an entirely new level! They used their majority powers to kill a Supreme Court nomination for over 14 months. Then when Trump came to power, they eliminated the filibuster entirely for Supreme Court confirmations (See: Gorsuch). Now, the President is demanding the GOP leadership kill the filibuster outright, so the GOP can jam their budget bills and all policies down the oppositions throats (See: www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/trump-launches-new-round-of-partisan-attacks-as-government-shutdown-hits-day-2/2018/01/21/0560aece-fe35-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_shutdown0122-desktoptablet%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.488a74e8e315).
Today we have the blame game for this Shutdown in high gear. More than a Super Bowl is at stake here, and this may have long-term damaging effects. In the event the GOP eliminates the Filibuster, they may very well be committing political suicide. Why? In the event the Democrats ever take control of the Senate again, the GOP will find itself on the other side of the fence from where they now stand. They won't like it and it will NOT be good for the country. Again, the Senate was supposed to be the "Adult" chamber, cooling the tempers enflamed in the House. Moderation and compromise were supposed to be the hallmarks of the upper chamber. Without the Filibuster, no minority party will have any leverage left as opposition to the majority. None. And America will be negatively affected by such a move. So why are we moving in this direction? Because, yes, our president is considered an "outsider" and some think that is what the country needs. Except the "outsider" is so woefully ignorant about why the Framers put the institutions together and what their intentions were for them. So ignorant, his rhetoric against Democrats and "DREAMERS" is now very dangerous for our democracy - all for a short-sighted gain in power. Power is all that is being played around with here - all at a great cost to our democracy and to America.
DACA and the budget could have been figured out months ago. Instead, the GOP jammed through a tax bill no one still quite understands (my own corporate tax attorneys and accountants can't even agree on what the new tax law means). We have a president lying to the public everyday with Trumplings wearing their hypocrisy like a badge of honor (from Trump's multiple sexual affairs to breaking the deficit). Now we have Trumplings repeating Trump's argument that Democrats shut down the government to hurt our national security and our military - except that too, is not true. When Democratic Senator McCaskill introduced a Bill last Friday morning (1/19) to exempt military pay from the Shutdown, McConnell and the GOP shot it down (See: www.c-span.org/video/?c4710181/senator-mcconnell-objects-military-pay-protection). After all, why take away leverage for their lie by making it go away with the McCaskill bill? So are the Democrats solely to blame? The GOP? Both have some responsibility but I blame the Trumplings more for ceding their positions as patriots in favor of political power. Based upon women waking up to their electoral powers with demographic changes coming (whether Trumpkins like it or not), they should be very careful what they wish for as sometime in the future Dems will be in the majority again and you can bet they will follow the GOP's lead in ruling with absolute authority.
Although I have used this quote before, it rings more true now. As President Harry S. Truman once wrote; "It's plain hokum. If you can't convince 'em, confuse 'em. It's an old political trick. But this time it won't work."
Just because our government is shutdown, it doesn't mean Americans' brains need to shutdown as well. Have a great week!