A lot of things happened again yesterday, and not many of them were good for the country. The biggest news should have been the nominee for the Supreme Court. Neil Gorsuch was named as the nominee. There will be plenty of time to get into this pick, but I am not going to say a lot today. I need to review his record more before making serious comments.
However, from what I have researched so far, if you like the idea of a religious state, and allowing discrimination against anyone who does not share your narrow views of religion, you will love Gorsuch. Some people are calling him Scalia 2.0. But, at first glance he is even worse than Scalia when it comes to civil liberties for every citizen.
As I said, we will have more on Gorsuch as time goes on. I need more research on his record so I am going to take my time on this matter. Though I will say that since the only real “vetting” of him was from the right-wing Federalists, it doesn’t look good if you love all of our freedoms.
There was other news that we cannot stop looking just because trump nominated someone for SCOTUS. The nomination was supposed to take place tomorrow, but his weekend was so bad with his unconstitutional executive order, he needed to change the subject and hope we wouldn’t notice the rest of the shit happening.
The Dissent Chain memo at the State Department now has about 1,000 signatures on it. It was first reported that 100 employees were going to sign it, but that number rose significantly and more people are reportedly eager to sign it as well.
That will place all of these people in trump’s crosshairs. They are risking their careers to show dissent against the immigration order. Yes, it is true that in State, this dissent channel is supposed to “protect” employees who express dissent, but with trump and his henchmen in charge, there is nothing to stop him from trying to “get them”.
Then we have the problem of the nominations for HHS and Treasury. Yesterday, the Democrats on the finance Committee boycotted the hearing that was supposed to vote on these two nominations. They boycotted because the day before, reports and evidence said that both Price and Mnuchin lied to the committee in their hearings.
Democrats wanted them to be recalled to explain their lies. Republicans hated the idea and did nothing except complain about Democrats using the same tactics they used in 2013 in a hearing for the EPA Secretary. Oh, yeah, Republicans boycotted a hearing trying to get their way.
Only Democrats did not do what Republicans did today. In an effort to show their support for their dictator in waiting, Republicans changed the rules for the committee that said they didn’t need any Democrats to attend to form a quorum.
As a result of this rule change, both were approved by Republicans on the committee by a 14 – 0 vote. Republicans have no problem that nominees for their dictator lied to the committee. That just shows Republican values, I guess.
Also yesterday, Betsy DeVos was approved by her committee to be voted on in the Senate to tear apart our public education system. It was a total party-line vote and we can see the end of public education in the works.
The actions taken by Republicans on these three nominations show clearly that Republicans do not give a shit about the American people or what they want. There is more pushback on these three nominees than any others with the possible exception of Jeff Sessions.
DeVos is totally unqualified to head up the Department of Education, and the other two were caught is bare-faced lies to the committee. Yet, Republicans don’t care about qualifications or honesty. They only care about pleasing their beloved leader.
This is the exact type of behavior we expect from a dictatorship. If you can’t get what you want quickly through the normal rules, change them and do whatever you want anyway. Democrats wanted more information on these two liars, and Republicans did not even talk to them about how to resolve the situation.
Yes, it is true that they would have probably been approved by the committee anyway, but the American People have a right to know if the people being placed in positions of authority in our government have even an ounce of integrity.
Republicans don’t seem to believe the same thing. They seem to believe that if the nominee is appointed by a Republican, nothing else is required. This also shows just how much and how quickly Senate Republicans are willing to change decorum and integrity of the Senate. They only care about power, and now that they have a little bit of it, they are going to ram through whatever they want, the American people and our democracy be damned.
If you take a look at the SCOTUS nominee, what is going to keep McConnell from changing the 60 vote threshold for this nominee to be approved? The filibuster is a tool that allows the minority to have a say in governing. Without the filibuster, the majority can ram through anything without any problem. That is true regardless of which party is in control.
The nominee for SCOTUS is far more serious than even the Appeals Courts judges. SCOTUS is the final court. There is no appeal to a Supreme Court decision. If you claim to really love the Constitution, then you should be more in favor of centrist judges who will look at each law individually not ideologues who will make their mind up before the case is even heard.
The filibuster and the 60-vote threshold on SCOTUS nominees are intended to help make that possible. They are intended to help keep the court independent of ideologues who want to dominate the rest of the country with their views.
The real frightening part of the rules change in the Finance Committee is that Republicans have shown that they only care about their agenda. They are willing to destroy the very fabric of our government just to please their beloved leader.
Republicans have been very quiet about the executive order banning Muslims, except to say it “wasn’t rolled out very well.” They have been very quiet about spending billions of dollars building our Berlin Wall on the Mexican border. They have been quick to complain that Democrats have used some of the very tactics they used in their hatred of President Obama to “obstruct” him at every turn.
They have shown with their action in the Finance Committee they are not interested in cooperation with the other party. They are not interested in bi-partisanship between the two parties. They are not interested in what is good for America. They are only interested in their authority and their power grab.
What they don’t understand is that once trump gets his dictatorial powers, they will also become “surplus to requirements”. Our president came into office with the clear intent to establish an authoritarian government with him having all of the power. Republicans in Congress are more than happy to give him exactly what he wants.
I am not even sure that the upcoming battle over the nominee to SCOTUS is even worth fighting. If trump doesn’t like what the court says, he isn’t likely to follow it anyway. That became clear over the weekend when courts across the country said detainees at airports were supposed to be allowed to speak to lawyers and CBP refused to let them anyway.
The administration has said over and over that trump won because many people wanted change. That is true. But, I don’t think the majority of Americans thought that change meant destroying our democracy. They are beginning to discover that is what their votes will get them. The real question is when and if trump voters will realize their mistake and join the resistance to his authoritarian desire?
Until they do, the shirts keep marching along.