News

News 

 

 

 

Trump Seeking to Cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if Reelected

In a reversal from his 2016 campaign promises, Donald Trump said on CNBC Wednesday that he would look to cut “entitlements” if re-elected. He revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year, after a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos.

“The cruel irony of this scene cannot be overstated,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “While Davos billionaires may not understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare, millions of Americans who rely on the health and retirement benefits they have earned through a lifetime of hard work do.”

“Retirees need help, not a slap in the face,” Fiesta added. “We should be working to expand Social Security and increasing benefits for current and future retirees. This can be accomplished by making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share by lifting the arbitrary payroll tax cap.”

Social Security and Medicare are vital for a secure retirement. With Americans paying the highest prescription drug prices in the world, cuts to these programs would make it much harder for retirees to pay for basic necessities. Social Security is the only source of income for 4 in 10 older Americans. For even more retirees, Social Security provides 90% of their income. These modest earned retirement benefits average just $1,461 per month for a retired worker.

The Alliance for Retired Americans supports strengthening and expanding Medicare by finally reining in high drug prices, which are the biggest driver of Medicare costs. H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act passed by the House of Representatives last year, would save taxpayers billions of dollars, cap out of pocket drug spending at $2,000 per year for retirees and add hearing, dental and vision benefits to Medicare.




From the New York Times, Op-Ed, January 20,2020

Trump’s Evil Is Infecting Our Nation

The rise of Donald Trump has shown America precisely what happens when good people stand by and do nothing to thwart the worst impulses of the downright evil, Timothy Egan argued in a recent op-ed for The New York Times.

His threat to bomb Iranian cultural sites — mimicking “the kind of barbarism practiced by the Taliban and rogue-state thugs” — was met with little more than a shrug by those on the right.

His pardon for an accused war criminal, described by a fellow SEAL members as “freaking evil,” was met with no consternation from his fellow Republicans, Egan recalled — though the move came as no real surprise.

The examples of presidential action driven by Trump’s most base instincts are plenty, and so too are the number of political figures who remain impervious to his darkness.

“On any given day, Trump is vindictive, ignorant, narcissistic, a fraud — well, his pathologies are well known. But it’s time to apply the same word to him as the brave Navy man did to the renegade in his unit,” Egan wrote. “Under Trump, the United States is a confederacy of corruption, driven by a thousand points of evil. And that evil is contagious.”

Egan reminded readers of the old adage that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing,” and he surmised that the United States is learning the wrong side of this lesson.

“The Trump presidency has shown just how many ostensibly good people will do nothing, and how evil, when given a free rein at the top, trickles down,” Egan said, going on to recall a handful of times Trump displayed his evil — from tweeting a “fabricated image of the two most important Democratic leaders of Congress dressed in Islamic garb in front of the Iranian flag” to putting migrant children in cages and tearing them from their families.

Trump “has so desensitized us that a day without a round of blunt force cruelty from the White House is newsworthy,” he wrote, and now looks set to realize the greatest triumph of his presidency to date: escaping consequence for trying “to force a struggling democracy into doing his political dirty work for him.”

By all accounts, Republican lawmakers — whom Egan described as the “smaller evils” — lack the courage to say aloud that yes, Trump violated his oath and should be removed from office.

“Do not, as my party did, underestimate the evil, desperate nature of evil, desperate people,” Egan quoted from Rick Wilson’s new book, Running Against the Devil. “There is no bottom. There is no shame. There are no limits.”

Egan closed with two steps that are now required of all good people in this country: “First, realize the level of depravity that has taken over the White House, and second, fight accordingly.”


 

The Washington Post developed a way to determine which Democratic presidential candidate agrees the most with your views on issues. I think it’s interesting.

It’s at  https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/policy-2020/quiz-which-candidate-agrees-with-me/?fbclid=IwAR1Ph4ZG4sUSOiKfblqIBr7DjbIUk01HbcKvvJ-pzT3zrCrKGDHn7NCxLuk


 Long but worth readingFascism scholar: If Trump wins again, America will be ‘ready for full-on authoritarian rule’

January 13, 2020

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Congress will soon send its articles of impeachment for Donald Trump to the Senate, where Republicans are determined to acquit him on all charges, including abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, and encouraging foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.

No evidence or witnesses will persuade the Senate majority to reach a conclusion consistent with the obvious facts that Donald Trump should be impeached, convicted and removed from office. The Constitution’s mandate that a impeachment should involve an impartial trial and a fair hearing of evidence and witnesses has no meaning in TrumpWorld.

The Republican Party is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump’s regime and an expression of his personal will and power. To that end, Trump has promised financial support to the Republican senators who will soon be voting at his trial. It has also been reported that Trump ordered the execution of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in order to ensure that Republican senators would support his acquittal.

In essence, Donald Trump pays political blood money to his supporters. This is more evidence of Trump’s political thuggery and mobster-style behavior that is unbefitting an American president.

Like other dictators, authoritarians, autocrats and political thugs, Donald Trump believes he is above the law. With the support of Attorney General William Barr, this appears increasingly true.

The obscenities continue.

Donald Trump has suggested he is “the chosen one” and God’s messenger on earth. White Christian evangelicals believe this to be true and have pledged themselves to his cult.

Writing at USA Today, historian John Fea described the first event of Trump’s “Evangelicals for Trump” campaign, which occurred in Florida two weeks ago:

His evangelical supporters loved every minute of it. That night, Christians who claim to be citizens of the Kingdom of God went to church, cheered the depraved words of a president and warmly embraced his offer of political power. Such a display by evangelicals is unprecedented in American history.

I usually get angry when members of my tribe worship at the feet of Trump. This time, I just felt sad.

Trump and his allies label Democrats, liberals, progressives and anyone else opposing him as traitors and enemies of the United States. The most recent example: at a rally last Thursday in Toledo, Trump said that Democrats were “vicious horrible people.”

None of this should be surprising. Trump is following the authoritarian’s playbook almost to the letter in his assault on American democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. The question is not whether Donald Trump is an authoritarian and would-be dictator but rather whether anything or anyone is capable of stopping him.

I recently spoke with historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat in an effort to better understand where America is on its road to fascism and authoritarianism in this fourth year of Trump’s regime.

Ben-Ghiat is a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University and an expert in fascism and authoritarianism. She is the author of “Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema” and other books. Her opinion essays and other writing have been featured by CNN, the Washington Post, The New Yorker and the Atlantic.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. You can also listen to my full conversation with Ruth Ben-Ghiat through the player embedded below.

As you watch the Trump regime’s ongoing authoritarian assault on America, how do you feel?

I feel very resolute. It is very important not to feel helpless and desperate. In a funny way, I’m not frustrated with the Trump supporters because I understand how the process works. Of course, I’m very upset that there are in fact Trump supporters and I have zero sympathy towards them. But once individuals bond to an authoritarian leader it is a process, like a train that has already departed the station. It is very hard to stop and is well underway.

How is this constant state of temporary hope and then inevitable disappointment impacting the American people? For example, Trump has been impeached. Yet now he will be acquitted by his servants in the Republican Party. The American people are in a manic state because of Trump’s regime.

This is all happening a little bit at a time. Surveying the history of authoritarianism, only in a military coup do you really have an instant change. A person leaves the house in the morning and five hours later they are living in a dictatorship and there is mass violence. But otherwise, even Mussolini and Hitler took many years to get into power.

The shoe drops slowly, and it is hard for many people to discern what is really happening. This is especially true when there are multiple things happening at one time. For example, William Barr and his attacks on the rule of law and how he is part of this right-wing Christian counterrevolution in America. Yes, Trump is impeached, and that is a type of pushback against him and his forces. What judges are doing to slow down Trump’s agenda is very important too. It is very important to not give up because that is what authoritarians want the public to do.

Authoritarian leaders want you to believe that resistance is futile and that you should just give up. If we give up and resign ourselves to the conclusion that impeaching Trump is not going to have an effect, then he has won. Impeachment is extremely important because it will be on the record, marked in the history books as opposition to Trump and his agenda.

Three years into Trump’s regime, why are so many Americans still in a state of denial about this crisis?

They have no reference point for what is going on in America right now. Providing that reference point is one of the things that motivates my work. Many people are also scared. Many people in the news media are afraid to really engage the fact that Trump is an authoritarian because if they do so then reality becomes too threatening, and therefore they would have to take a different stance publicly.

Is this a lack of historical context and knowledge? Is it cowardice?

As I said earlier, only in a military coup do we really see sudden change in a society. Most people are not trained to recognize what is going on with Trump’s authoritarian agenda. If these leading media voices admit that they are living in the middle of a fascist, authoritarian takeover, then what are they going to do about it? Compare the United States to Hong Kong. Those incredible human beings are out there in the streets in Hong Kong day after day, month after month, because they know really well what the stakes are. The American people either do not understand those facts or they do not want to inconvenience themselves and disrupt their lives. That lack of mass protest and resistance is also an indictment of a particular American way of life where people are overly comfortable and take too many things for granted about their culture and democracy and their own lives.

Applying your historical framework and expertise about fascism and authoritarianism, what are Donald Trump and his regime an example of?

Donald Trump is an example of someone who comes up in history, and the way forward has been prepared for him, in this instance by the Tea Party and the Republican Party.

The road was already prepared for Trump by eight years of Barack Obama and how that created a type of mass anger and rage and panic among many white people. People like Donald Trump appear in history and their role is to undo social and political progress. Trump is a figure who is trying to undo everything that Barack Obama stood for and accomplished. But of course, historical figures such as Donald Trump add something new. Trump comes in and he has a “movement.” Trump does not have a political party. At first, Trump said that he was above politics. This is another common thread among authoritarians.

When we say that Trumpism is a “movement,” what specifically do we mean?

Donald Trump said, “This isn’t a party, it’s movement.” Trump did this to excite his potential followers and get their loyalty. At a traditional Republican convention or campaign rally, there are not loyalty oaths. There are not MAGA hats. All successful movements have rituals and symbols. Donald Trump is a marketer. He knows that symbols and rituals and having a movement is how you get people excited. Nobody is excited to show up for the Republican Party. But the Tea Party? Donald Trump? MAGA? That is something different. There are actually people who are addicted to Donald Trump’s rallies. They are following a movement. Of course that movement has now taken over the Republican Party — and Trump transcends the GOP.

Trump is establishing what is known as “personalist rule.” This can happen in failing democracies and in actual authoritarian states. Personalist rule is a process wherein the state comes to revolve around the personal agendas and needs of the ruler. This includes the need to defend the ruler’s corruption. To defend the ruler from the law and judicial processes and investigative journalists. Another indicator of personalist rule is when the leader’s personal obsessions, such as Trump’s wall, begin to monopolize and overtake other policies. This would not be possible and sustainable without the leader’s supporters coalescing in a movement.

There is an obsession in the mainstream news media with Trump’s “white working class” supporters. In that reporting, one of the repeated narratives is that those people feel some type of kinship with him. Somehow, in their delusional minds, Trump’s supporters believe that a supposed billionaire is actually like them. He is “oppressed” and “victimized,” as they are. The premise is absurd. But why is it so compelling for some people?

That is the personality cult. For Trump’s rule to work — as with Putin and other autocrats and authoritarians — the leader must be both an everyman and a superman. The leader is a populist in the sense that he speaks the “language of the people.” Almost all of these types of leaders have a sense of humor where they make crude jokes that get people to laugh. Politically incorrect jokes. Their humor is corrosive, of course. But the jokes work in showing that these types of leaders are very much of the people. Donald Trump uses a fourth-grade vocabulary. He is also very visual. He performs with his body. Yet Donald Trump is a billionaire, and supposedly a great success. The combination of all those traits is very attractive to his followers. “He’s a super success story. He’s done this, he’s done that.”

Consider the expression “TrumpWorld.” It is an accurate description. The goal of Trump and his allies is to colonize society and the media 24/7. To achieve that goal, they need attention and to get inside people’s heads. This is TrumpWorld. Authoritarian leaders also present themselves as victims of coups or other attacks by their enemies. This makes them look vulnerable. These types of leaders talk about emotion in their speeches. Trump does this. He’s always talking about “love” and “hate,” relative to his friends, enemies and rivals. This makes Trump’s followers bond to him because they feel very emotional and want to take care of their leader. This is a very successful strategy by authoritarian leaders like Donald Trump.

Part of the power of the Trump cult is how he promises to be their savior, protector, friend and father figure.

It is no accident that during the impeachment process Donald Trump has said that he is going to stay in office for 28 years. Of course, that is not physiologically possible. But what matters is the fantasy, because Trump is terrified right now. Leaders of that type create fortresses around themselves in a million ways. They do this with flatterers, lackeys and family. Authoritarian leaders like Trump do not want to hear any criticism. They also want and need total control over people because that settles the anxiety.

Trump does this in other ways as well. He does not have permanent appointees. This means they do not have to be confirmed by the Senate. Authoritarian leaders are actually terrified and brittle people inside. That is why they retreat inward. Donald Trump will not take any real questions from the news media. The authoritarian leader’s ego will not permit any questions, and the longer they stay in charge the worse it gets for a country because they lose all sense of reality. Leaders like Donald Trump make bad decisions, such as starting wars. One of the things that scares me the most is that Donald Trump is extremely destructive. Authoritarian leaders like Donald Trump delight in being destructive. Sometimes such people are also self-destructive.

How does authoritarianism impact people’s sense of time and history?

Part of the experience is the anxiety of the minute. Twitter facilitates this because it is not just how many people check the news, but also journalists drip out news stories in the form of small tweets. This is not just one presentation of a story and the facts. It is not like reading the front page of a newspaper and getting the whole narrative at once. Twitter is a filter for information and experience that is constantly changing. People lose perspective on what is important and what is not.

Our capacity for discernment goes down and our anxiety goes up. Everything is made to feel urgent. Yet the more time people spend on Twitter the less time they are doing anything about Donald Trump and the crisis. Twitter is just an example of this problem. But it is the prime example because it is an unhelpful mechanism psychologically, emotionally and politically because it’s like a mass venting session without much real world impact.

How should we understand the ways that Trump and his movement conflate their love for him with loyalty to the country and what it means to be a “real American”?

The civil service has been purged and ruined under the Trump administration. The civil service makes government work. The State Department is a particularly sad example. Career civil servants have been purged because of ideological tests. This can take the form of leader loyalty — which is an ideology of loyalty. It could mean Trump removing experts who know that climate change is real. Civil rights as well. For example, The Department of Health and Human Services under Trump now has a “civil rights office” devoted to the “rights” of right-wing Christian evangelicals who believe their freedom is violated by doctors who agree to perform abortions. The state has been hollowed out. Expertise is gone and ideology rules. The state, the government bureaucracy and civil service are now just a vehicle for the authoritarian leader’s goals.

The end goal is for Trump, Barr, the Republican Party and the conservative movement more generally is to have their own secret police. I keep returning to the question of civil disobedience, protest and corporeal politics as a response to this threat to democracy. Are the American people just cowardly? Have they already surrendered? Is the news media just afraid of the truth? Calm my nerves — or not — about the Trump’s regime’s plans to have political police and other enforcers.

This brings up the question of madness versus method. One of the objections that gets leveled at people who offer these types of analyses about Trump and authoritarianism is, “No, Trump’s just impulsive.” He’s not mentally ill. He may have some dementia, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. Trump’s spokespeople have been very clear that Trump wants his own intelligence and security services.

Such goals are part of the counterrevolution that has been slowly chipping away at democratic institutions, norms and laws under Trump and the Republican Party. Trump is going after the country’s trust in the FBI and intelligence services. All the relevant structures of government that could obstruct what Trump wants to do are being chipped away. What Trump has been doing up to this point is not at all an accident in that regard.

It takes a lot of time to prepare the public for such an outcome. It requires information and psychological warfare. Trump is very expert in those areas. Chip away at reality and objectivity, and then the public is ready for full-on authoritarian rule. The Nazis knew this very well. The public must be shaped and prepared. This is what Goebbels excelled at. The Russians excel at it. Once the public is shaped and prepared, the authoritarian regime can do what it wants.

What is the Trump regime preparing the American people for?

Not only Trump, but many other people around him, including Republican elected officials, have been speaking like authoritarian thugs. They say things such as, “Hillary Clinton needs to be executed.” That is how fascists speak. Making such threats is a type of trial balloon. If Trump wins in 2020, those trial balloons of fascist threats will be able to be made real. Even with all the horrible things that Trump has said and done, his popularity remains stable. Trump’s followers have not deserted him. The 2020 presidential election is almost a referendum and a mandate for Donald Trump to finally do what he’s been threatening to do all along.

What were some moments when the rise of Trumpism, and what feels like a type of inevitability and path dependency, could have been stopped?

This is called “gatekeeping.” Authoritarian leaders and their movements are very clear about being violent. Authoritarians always tell you what they are going to do. It’s just that the American people are not ready to hear it. We do not want to hear the truth that Donald Trump is not kidding with his violent threats and promises. When Trump would not release his tax returns, that was a damning signal of how imperiled America is and was. When Trump said he could shoot someone on the street without losing any followers, that was another moment where I knew we were stuck on a very dangerous path. No American presidential candidate in modern history has threatened to murder someone as part of his campaign. Such behavior is what political thugs do.

The Republican Party’s leaders and other influential voices could have prevented the corruption of the system by this violent outsider. That was one path. The other path was and is to accept Donald Trump fully and claim he’s your savior sent from God. That is the path America is now on.

What comes next with Donald Trump in 2020 and the presidential election?

Exacerbation of the polarization. The goal is to leave people so confused about the truth that they are more and more dependent on Trump while also being increasingly disaffected. Trump may capitalize on some horrible event happening to the United States. Donald Trump has made some very scary declarations that the way to unite a country is through some catastrophe. Trump says that he hopes such a horrible thing does not happen but that is the way a leader can unite the county. Donald Trump has stripped anti-terrorism programs of their resources. He has defunded many national security programs that combat terrorism. If a calamity took place, Donald Trump would use it to declare martial law or some type of ongoing national emergency.

Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at Chaunceydevega.com. He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020Let’s recap the mess Trump has made with Iran and Iraq:

  1. Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Soleimani — a national hero in his country — has united every faction of Iranian society against the United States.
  2. The parliament of Iraq — before now a U.S. ally and an enemy of Iran — just voted to throw the U.S. out of the country.
  3. The U.S. has lost vital allies in the fight against ISIS, including Iran.
  4. The U.S. has evacuated diplomats and civilians from the region because of ongoing threats of attacks from Iran and their proxy forces.
  5. Iran just announced that they will no longer abide by the Obama administration’s nuclear deal and is now racing to build a bomb as we speak.

Trump Unites Iran and Iraq… Against the United StatesThe Trump administration charge that Soleimani had to be killed because he was planning an immediate, large scale operation against America in Iraq strikes no one in Iraq or Iran as very likely. An Iranian professor observed that Soleimani had not sneaked into Iraq but rather took a commercial flight and went through passport control with his diplomatic passport. Not signs of a covert operation. He alleged that the Iraqi government had invited him. I would add that the US did not increase embassy security in the past week, which allowed the embassy to be invaded. If they thought there was a dire such threat in the offing, wouldn’t they have sent in some Marines? Only after they received a stronger than expected reaction to their assassination campaign did they finally take the security of the embassy seriously.All we can expect from Trump and his people are lies, lies, lies.


January 7, 2020Donald Trump spoke to reporters today and opined over the audacity of him not being able to commit war crimes and he was just wondering “why we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions” while referring to Iran. Now, you probably think that after that he toned it down so he wouldn’t appear to be an inexperienced, amateurish buffoon, but you’d be wrong.Trump went on to claim that he knows “all 3 million” Greek-Americans with the Prime Minister of Greece seated next to him. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis seems to have a better grasp of the English language than President Stable Genius does, by the way.“We have a tremendous Greek population. Over 3 million people as I understand it,” Trump said. “That’s fantastic. I really feel I know most of them. I think I know all of them, come to think of it.”Twitter users couldn’t believe what just came out of that idiot’s mouth.Trump needs to come up with a new routine because, at this point, he’s just regurgitating a lie from last year when he held a controversial press conference with Irish politician Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. “You are certainly one of the leading countries in terms of people moving and living in the United States,” Trump said at the time. “We have millions of Irish, and I think I know most of them because they’re my friends. We love the Irish.”He knows everybody, you guys! Trump knows more Greek people than the Prime Minister of Greece. Who falls for his schtick anyway? You’d have to part of a cult to buy what he’s selling. Oh.


 

  •  
From the New York Times, updated January 7, 2020American businesses and consumers, not China, are bearing the financial brunt of Donald Trump’s trade war, new data shows, undermining the president’s assertion that the United States is “taxing the hell out of China.”“U.S. tariffs continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” Mary Amiti, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, wrote in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

From the New York Times, Tuesday, January 6, 2020Pentagon Rules Out Striking Iranian Cultural Sites, Contradicting TrumpThe defense secretary acknowledged that “the laws of armed conflict” prohibited attacking antiquities and said the military had no plans to do so, even though the president declared them targets.


In response to Donald Trump’s assassination of the leading general of Iran, Iran has said it will retaliate against the United States. In response to that threat from Iran, Trump said he would destroy specific places in Iran, including some of those protected as cultural treasurers. It would be considered a war crime to destroy those cultural treasures.


Some think that impeachment automatically means that you cannot run for another office. That is not correct. For example, Alcee Hastings was a federal judge who was impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate. He later ran for Congress, won, and is still serving. This would not apply to Trump, because the House included in his Articles of Impeachment that if he is removed from office he would also be prohibited from ever again holding any federal office.


On the national level, many are upset because our Electoral College system can and has resulted in the candidate who receives the most votes actually losing the election. That has happened 4 times in our history, twice in the last 20 years including the election that gave us Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party candidate, received almost 3 million more votes than Trump, but Trump won in the “Electoral College.”  The reason for this is that our elections are really 51 separate elections. Each state’s electoral votes go to whomever wins that state. Most states, such as Maryland, are almost guaranteed to give its electoral votes to one of the major parties, so the election is really decided by about 12 swing states that are not reliable for either party.
An alternative that might work is National Popular Vote. Instead of each state’s electoral votes going to the person and party that got the most votes in that state, each state would commit to a voluntary agreement among states that would promise to give their electoral vote to the winner of the national vote, regardless of how people in that state voted. If states that have 270 electoral votes (a majority) sign onto National Popular Vote, and if it works as promised, the Electoral College would become a body that simply ratifies as President and Vice President those who got the most votes in the nation.So far, 16 jurisdictions (states plus D.C.) representing 196 electoral votes have joined National Popular Vote. If states representing 76 more electoral votes join, that would be enough for this earth-shaking change in our national politics to take effect.Another change being discussed locally is called Ranked Choice Voting. Many people in Montgomery County feel our voting system is flawed when, as happened last year, someone with far less than a majority vote, and only a few more votes than the next candidates, can be elected County Executive and County Council Member. Their solution would allow voters to indicate on ballots their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and possibly more choices. Then, if the candidate with the most votes didn’t have a majority, the votes of the lower-vote-getter would be redistributed to #2 choices. That would continue until one had a majority.Both of these ideas would drastically change the way we vote. The Democratic Club of Leisure World will continue to tell you about any changes in our voting systems.


How Impeachment WorksMany people think that impeachment means Donald Trump would be removed from office. That is not true. Here’s how the impeachment process works.First, a committee or committees in the House of  Representatives do a thorough investigation of alleged “high crimes and misdemeanors” committed by the President. What are “high crimes and misdemeanors?” No one knows. Our Founding Fathers purposely left that unclear. So we have to look at our history, and also precedents from the common law of England.Throughout the history of the United States there were have been several impeachments. Those impeachments established the precedent that “high crimes and misdemeanors” is whatever the House of Representatives decide they are. They don’t necessarily have to be crimes that could be proven in court, but they have to be serious failures to do their jobs properly. Essentially, it means an abuse of power by a high-level public official.Once the committee or committees of the House decide that “high crimes and misdemeanors” have been committed, they write up “articles of impeachment.” These are presented to the whole House of Representatives, where a majority, 218 of the 435 members (or fewer if there are vacancies or absences) must vote to adopt one or more of the Articles of Impeachment.
If the House of Representatives adopts even one Article of Impeachment, it then appoints some of its members to be the “Managers,” meaning prosecutors. The Managers go to the Senate and present their case to remove the impeached individual from office. If the impeached individual is the President, the Chief Justice presides.The impeached person has the right to be represented by lawyers in the Senate, and when both sides have finished presenting their cases, the Senate votes on whether or not to remove the person in question from office. It takes a 2/3 vote to do that.The House has begun impeachment proceedings 62 times since 1789, and 19 federal officials have been formally impeached as a result, including: two Presidents, Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton, both of whom were not removed from office by the Senate. Also impeached have been 1 Cabinet Secretary, William Belknap (acquitted), one Senator, William Blount (expelled), one Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Chase (acquitted), and 15 federal judges (8 were convicted and removed from office). Although Richard Nixon was not impeached, he resigned the presidency when it became clear that he would be impeached and that the Senate would vote to remove him from office.


Trump Argument Called “Repugnant”
On October 7, 2019, a federal judge ruled that Donald Trump cannot successfully oppose the release of his tax returns for the last 8 years, as requested by the New York District Attorney. Trump’s lawyers claimed that it was unconstitutional to subject a sitting president to what he called the “criminal process.”
The judge said, “This Court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process,” He further wrote, “This Court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”
Trump’s lawyers immediately appealed, and the judge’s decision was put on hold. This case is likely to get to the Supreme Court.
Trump promised over and over when he was a candidate that he would release his taxes, giving many excuses that were all lacking logic. Every presidential candidate for at least the last 40 years has released tax returns. Trump is the only exception. Many people wonder what awful things we would find out if we got to see Trump’s tax returns.


Richest Americans Now Pay Less Tax Than Anyone Else

For the first time in U.S. history, the 400 wealthiest Americans paid less in taxes last year than people in any other income group, thanks to decades of tax cuts and loopholes benefiting the rich.

A year after the Trump – Republican tax plan, often called the #GOPTaxScam by critics, was passed into law, the richest people in the country paid little or nothing in taxes. Trump and Republicans claimed this law would “supercharge” the economy. Instead, GM and other large corporations are cutting American jobs and sending them overseas.

As New York Times columnist David Leonhardt showed in a graphi, “The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You,” the tax rate wealthy Americans are forced to pay has plummeted over the last seven decades while middle-income households have paid roughly the same share of their incomes each year.If you want taxes to be more fair, vote for Democrats and tell all your relatives and friends to vote for Democrats.


Republicans Turn on Trump
On October 16, 2019, Congress voted to describe Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. military from Syria as being “beneficial to adversaries of the United States government” including Russia, Syria and Iran.Even 129 Republicans joined in the vote, 354-60.This was one of the worst insults to Donald Trump that has ever happened.


Seniors always vote in higher turnout percentages than anyone else. In 2014 Seniors turnout rate was 59.4%. No other age group came close. In 2018 Seniors turnout rate was 32%. Again, no other age group came close.
According to the Pew Research Center (the gold standard of research), “Seniors have been the most engaged age group in politics throughout 2018.”Seniors used to vote heavily Republican. That is changing. In 2010 seniors Rep vs Dem vote was 38% to 59%. In 2018,, that rate was 49% to 50%, a huge change, and the trend is in favor of seniors voting more for Dems in each election.According to Pew Research, in 2020 the largest turnout will again be seniors — Baby Boomers, aged 56-73.


The Trump administration is planning to ease fair housing regulations for local governments throughout the country, the latest effort to scale back sweeping Obama-era rules meant to crack down on segregation.