Republicans Desperately Want A Win And They Want It At Any Cost

CORRECTION: This article erroneously stated that Chris Matthews interviewed Secretary Hillary Clinton.  It was actually Chris Hayes who conducted the interview on ‘All In With Chris Hayes’ on MSNBC.

Well, it has boiled down to this.  Republicans are so desperate for a win that despite the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already humiliated himself earlier this year in an umpteenth effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, highly respected senator Lindsey Graham has decided to take his own last ditch shot at it.  He has decided to sponsor a bill that completely disregards the will of the American people – according to a recent poll only 20 percent of Americans polled support it – and ram it through the senate by midnight September 30, 2017.  He is pressuring his good friend in the senate, Senator John McCain, to vote yes on this bill.

With friends like Senator Lindsey Graham, who needs enemies?  I say this not because Senator Graham does not have a right to his opinion and a right to vote any way that he chooses to on this (Graham-Cassidy Bill), but because he is bound to know that his reason for sponsoring such a bill is totally irrational and it is solely motivated by politics: and to press a friend to support it?  Well, that should explain my friends and enemies analogy.  Both Senator McCain and Senator Graham may be highly respected senators but there is obviously at least one glaring difference between them.  Senator McCain has scruples.  He is an honorable man who places honor and service to country above party and politics.  And as a matter of fact, he would likely frown upon me for even implying that his best friend in the senate does not also possess these qualities.

I’m sorry if such an implication raises your hackles, Senator McCain, but why would a true friend press a friend to support a bill like this when he himself knows that it is completely political and void of any value to his own or his friends constituents?  Why would he do this knowing that there is not only no value for his constituents or yours in this bill but that it would in fact harm them?  Anyway, Senator McCain has said that he will not vote for Graham-Cassidy.  This does not surprise me.  What would have surprised me would have been if Senator McCain had said that he would support the bill.

I watched Senator McCain’s interview on Sunday September 24th when he was interviewed by Lesley Stahl.  I don’t know if you saw it and heard the responses that he gave to her questions; but his overall response embodied scruples, honor, love of country, and service to country and all Americans; Senator John McCain personifies that overall response.  He is that man!  Love him or hate him, like him or dislike him or anywhere in between he is an honorable man who has earned and deserves bipartisan respect.  And accordingly, his position on the various issues that America is faced with and the way forward that our country should choose warrants bipartisan discourse and should be given serious and genuine consideration although we might strongly disagree with him.  Then, even if ultimately he cannot convince the majority of the American people and his colleagues that he is right, there is at least room to seek common ground.

Senator John McCain’s scolding of his Republican and Democratic colleagues on the senate floor and his clarion call for a return to regular order makes perfect sense.  Although most Republicans are ready and willing to vote for Graham-Cassidy – 49 of them voted yes for a similar bill in July that, based on what little information is available to the public, was less cruel than this one – most of them do not know or even care about what is in it.  They freely admit that this vote is based purely on politics and most of them either demur, spin there response or pivot when they are confronted with the strong possibility that their vote is motivated by their hope of sustaining political donations, especially those of mega donors.

They do not want to admit that they are throwing their constituents under the bus in order to help assure that they will have deep-pocket donors who will provide them with all of the cash that they will need to increase their chances of being reelected in 2018 and beyond.  The problem with this is that it will reinforce the thinking of those few billionaires and millionaires who feel that they are the ones who should be running the country.  And that is exactly why America needs to get big money out of politics…  But that is a different article for a different time.  However, I have raised this issue before and will continue to raise it until our elected officials effectively address it.

Finally, being the dyed-in-the-wool Democrat that I am I cannot resist the urge to mention that I also watched Chris Matthews’ interview of Secretary Hillary Clinton, which aired on September 25, 2017.  Secretary Clinton is smart, knowledgeable, articulate, strong, resilient and relentless.  It is not that I was not aware of this before the interview but as I watched her and listened as she responded to Chris Matthews’ questions, the reminder that she possesses all of these attributes combined with her tremendous amount of experience in the political arena, I briefly fell back into that same depressed feeling that I experienced when she lost and  I could not help but to reflect on the enormity of the opportunity that we squandered (I am proud to say that I voted for her).  She had more experience for the job than did any of our presidents in modern history.  Then…we got Donald J. Trump.  And now America is barreling back to the past at breakneck speed while exposing our country’s underbelly and ripping off all of the old scabs that were covering our grievous wounds as we worked to heal ourselves.

There is no doubt in my mind that Secretary Clinton would have made a great president.  There is also no doubt in my mind that the Republican congress would have continued to throw everything that they had at her just as they had when she was Secretary of State.  But just like she withstood their attacks then while continuing to do her job, she would have done the same as president.  Republicans feared Secretary Clinton then because she was strong!  They fear her now because she is still strong!  Both Secretary Clinton and Senator McCain took their service to their country and the American people seriously.  And, without doubt, had Secretary Clinton won the election, in the same spirit of bipartisanship that Senator McCain has espoused in calling for a return to regular order in the senate, she would have gladly worked with Senator McCain and any Republican who was sincere in their desire to serve America.  It is in that same spirit that all Americans should continue to hold out hope that Republicans and Democrats alike will heed Senator McCain’s admonition that without a return to regular order congress cannot effectively conduct the business of the American people.

In the meantime, all of those who are concerned about the Russians meddling in our democracy and want to assure that we get to the bottom of that meddling and assure that we preserve our democracy as we now know it; and all of those who have been battling relentlessly to preserve Obamacare and Medicaid must continue to fight.  Each time that we are knocked down we must get right back up and continue the fight.  We must not grow weary because our adversary will not grow weary.  So whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent always remember; your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

The Rich And Powerful And Politics

Most Americans have always known that the rich and powerful rule in power,  life, politics and, therefore, American governance.  Lest I get countless numbers of Americans who are more than eager to engage in debate with me regarding this comment – just after griping about what a cynic I am, let me quickly add that I understand that it is everyday Americans who put politicians in office (there is a caveat to be added here but no need to get sidetracked with that now).

My statement is not intended to suggest that average American voters have no power or cannot bring pressure to bear on our elected officials that can cause them to change their behavior and do the right thing.  We have recently already witnessed that they indeed possess power vis-a-vis the Republicans failed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.  And neither does it mean that their votes do not matter even though Mr. Trump was elected despite losing the popular vote by an overwhelming margin.  What it does mean is that the entire American system of governance and life in America in general are skewed toward the rich.  By the way, I skipped directly to explaining the governance part of my statement because I doubt that I would get much of an argument as to whether or not the rich and powerful rule in power and, most often, in life in general.

There are many examples in governance and life in general that I can think of where the rich and powerful rule; but in order to be as succinct as possible, I will use one of the prime examples that has a major impact on all people in America whether or not they are citizens; the American Justice system.  Normally, anyone who commits a crime of any kind in America will be punished for it if they are caught.  At least, they are supposed to be punished for it.  Yet, if they are rich and powerful, their chances of avoiding punishment increase astronomically.

For example, let’s take a look at a crime as simple as assault in order to help clarify my point.  The rich and powerful have managed to make assault by them on those without money and power a virtual non-crime.  What they do is assault the character of anyone who dares to stand up to them even when that someone comes bearing the truth and they themselves are blatantly lying.  They use their money and power to destroy these truth bearers by discrediting them.  They hire the best – usually synonymous with the most expensive – lawyers in the world for this work.  And those lawyers are not about the truth, they are about the money and the people whom they represent; usually in that order.

Not only are these rich and powerful people able to get away with the virtual non-crime of assaulting peoples’ character, most of the time they are able to avoid punishment involving any crime.  They are able to do this by keeping their accusers who are not rich and powerful in litigation until they run out of money or simply choose to give up.  And if that doesn’t work, they can keep them in court forever, at least forever as far as finite mankind is concerned.  This is because those folks who are at the top of the financial food chain have more money than they can ever spend.  But we really can’t blame the lawyers for the way that things work because our justice system mandates that clients have the right to the best legal representation that they can afford.

We can question these lawyers’ moral standards, conjecture as to what kind of a person that it takes to traffic in this kind of work and perhaps even laugh at jokes like “what do you call ten lawyers at the bottom of the ocean” with the answer being “a good start” to give us a short respite from this brazen unequal justice under the law.  But this is only a distraction from the real problem, which is our overall justice system.  This puts me back on point and brings me back to that prime example that I mentioned; the American justice system.  The American justice system is the real problem and it is a problem which should be, no, must be addressed now!  Our elected officials can no longer afford to play politics and wink at the fact that not all Americans are receiving equal justice under the law; especially with Mr. Trump in office.

Realistically speaking, the rich and powerful have always been in charge because of the way that our system of governance is set up.  And the way that the system is set up should come as no surprise to any American because, in essence, the rich and powerful set up the system.  Notwithstanding, most of the rich and powerful people who have been elected to high office, especially those who were elected to the highest office in the land, took a sabbatical, even if not a comprehensive one, from their conventional everyday life while in office.  And it is likely that many if not all of them in some way still dabbled in their own personal things on the rich and powerful side of life while in office, but because they were sincere about representing country above all else this was tolerated.

And although most Americans likely were aware of this they accepted it because they were comfortable with the fact that during those times they had a leader who was a true statesman and was sincere about serving country first.  But Mr. Trump seems to be a completely unknown quantity that has broken the mold.  Even while he is in office, rather than taking a sabbatical from his conflicts and confrontations with his rich and powerful adversaries, he is continuing to use his riches and power in the conventional way; he seems to be using them for the betterment of himself and his family rather than for the betterment of America.  It appears that Mr. Trump is one of those rich and powerful people who fears that those without riches and power want to bring the rich and powerful down.  However, the fact of the matter is that most Americans do not want to bring the rich and powerful down but, instead, they want to become one of them.

Mr. Trump does not seem to possess the ability to unselfishly love or empathize with others or to consistently express anyone’s opinions or feelings other than his own.  He appears to have a heart of stone rather than one of flesh and it appears to only have room for love for himself and his immediate and extended family.  And it also appears that even room for his family is conditional.  As a result, if in any dire situation push were to come to shove and he had to make a decision between it ultimately impacting on him or his family…  This is not to imply that he can never acquire a heart of flesh but in order to do that, he must first have the desire to do so.  In other words, he must have the desire to change.  At this point in his life, being rich and powerful and conducting himself in the manner of those rich and powerful people who have little or no scruples is all that Mr. Trump seems to fully comprehend.  Is change possible?  Yes, it is possible.  But whether it is likely is a completely different thing.  Judging from the way that Mr. Trump is continuing to conduct himself, the only possibility at personal change that he will ever face is that change that will run over him if he refuses to either accept it or get out of the way.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line