Image from Wikipedia of the 1856 Republican National Convention
Is anyone out there? Anyone with power to end the Trump presidency nightmare? Legally, ethically, quickly?
The world knows he is unfit to be president. Every day is another swing through Alice’s Looking Glass. The list of actions, inactions, and sleazy moves seems endless. He is ignorant, arrogant, insecure, inexperienced, unethical, a racist, misogynist, Nazi and white supremacist sympathizer, a temperamental toddler, a flim-flam man, and probably an active asset of Russia.
We are dancing with the possibility of a nuclear war with North Korea. He has goaded the conflict with juvenile abandon. He may have unilaterally launched an international trade war. Historians note that trade wars often result in worldwide recession or depression followed by shooting wars. He refuses to engage Russia’s cyber war on our democracy. He ignored Putin’s recent raising of a nuclear arms race illustrated by drawings of atom bombs raining down on Florida. Our children are organizing to demand to be protected from mass shootings in school, and his answer is to put more weapons in school. Doctors and local business leaders and upstanding Americans who have not completed naturalization steps are being ripped from their families by out of control I.C.E. agents. He lies daily. He alienates our long-time allies. He courts the favor of some of the world’s most notorious totalitarian thugs.
He actively disparages every institution of the rule of law – the FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department, his own Attorney General, judges and courts, the FISA process, the idea of police restraint. He and his family members openly leverage their positions of trust to enrich themselves, while cabinet members treat their public servant roles as if they are Earls and Barron’s of old. Their excesses paid for by citizens.
We all know this! There may be additional secrets, but what we do know is plenty! Enough evidence, more than enough public evidence, to begin impeachment. Where is Congress? Why do they tolerate flagrant violations of the Constitution, administrative chaos, conduct unbecoming an officer, violations of security rules, providing highly classified intelligence to our adversaries, attacks on the First Amendment, incompetence, nepotism, and obvious “high crimes and misdemeanors?”
Republicans secured their tax cut for the rich. They have implemented their strategy to destroy access to health care. They have opened our national treasures to mining, and drilling, and given our public lands to private raiders. Do they really want the United States to fall apart? What is WRONG with them?
There is one option for citizens. Survive until November. Work locally and assure your precinct by precinct election process is safe. Make sure everyone who is eligible to vote has the right to vote, and then that they get out and vote. Make sure there is a local paper ballot, and a local system to audit voting.
Then vote EVERY REPUBLICAN OUT. The consequences must be unequivocal. You can vote again for Republicans when they have regained their sanity. But right now, in November, citizens must vote to save democracy, peace, our relationships with allies, economic stability, and to restore civility. Republicans have the power to check this president, to remove him from office, and they chose not to act. So citizens must make a clear statement that this presidency cannot hold.
Below are 20+ suggestions of what Congress could do, now. Perhaps if they showed some leadership, some seats could be saved for those Republicans who truly love this country and want to serve.
SUGGESTED ACTIONS REPUBLICANS CAN TAKE TO SAVE AMERICA –
AND THEIR SEATS IN GOVERNMENT
Enact Legislation to Secure Systems of Democracy
- Establish a bi-partisan/non-partisan, independent commission of respected citizens to propose legislation to protect America’s electoral system, and to regulate the manipulation of social media. Quickly pass the recommendations into law.
- Affirmatively empower our security services, CIA, FBI, NSA etc. to immediately protect the elections in November and in 2020.
- Train and fund local election officials to assure free and fair elections and expansion of access to voting. Provide technical consultants to inspect and confirm electronic voting systems are not compromised.
- Declare election day a national holiday, allow for absentee ballots without a cause, provide for early voting, require extended voting hours, develop a formula for the number of voting sites per population, implement easy voter registration (such as automatic registration when securing or updating a driver’s license)
- Demand implementation of the Russian Sanctions, or hold the President to Contempt of Congress
- Demand President Trump and his appointees tax returns to determine any conflict of interest or opportunities for blackmail by outside interests.
Respond to Propaganda
- Require television and social media companies to develop and run ongoing media education to help Americans become discerning consumers of television and social media
- Within Constitutional limits, develop strategies to identify “news” from “propaganda” and hold media companies to some basic standards of truth telling. Empower, perhaps fund, a neutral media watchdog to immediately inform Americans of outright lies being pushed by internal demagogues and external enemies.
Reclaim the Power of Congress as a Check on an Out of Control Presidency
- Remove Devin Nunes as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee and sanction Representatives who leak secret data, subpoena witnesses on their own, hold secret one-party strategy sessions to protect the object of their investigation, collude with the people they are investigating, or otherwise undermine the fair investigatory role of the Committee.
- Adequately fund the House and Senate Committees investigating the Russian war on America, and develop a timeline for completion of their work. Make the Committee reports publicly available and implement their recommendations
- Demand witnesses called before the investigatory committees answer questions. If they refuse, subpoena them to witness. If they refuse to answer, hold them in Contempt of Congress and impose legal sanctions. Take them to jail
- Legally protect the Mueller investigation
- Enforce the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and require the Trump family and minions to divest themselves of their business interests
- Institute and enforce anti-nepotism laws
- Increase the power of the Office of Ethics, and provide increased sanctions for violations of ethical standards
- Quit playing political games by manipulating the legislative process to party advantage, and follow the normal process of policy development. Provide for public hearings for all major policy changes or creation of new policies
- Require all governmental departments to commit to implementing data-based decision-making and support scientific research
- Develop minimum requirements for individuals to be appointed to leadership of major administrative roles, including knowledge about the area of governance, experience in managing large organizations, and ethical standards of conduct. Enforce these requirements by denying every outrageous appointment such as Trump’s personal caddy, Ivanka’s wedding planner, Trump’s personal pilot, Melania’s best friend, to areas of responsibility.
- Begin the process of ending Citizens United to get big, dark, money out of our politics
- Consider other campaign finance reforms such as: limiting the amount of time for political campaigns; public funding with a cap on the amount that is spent; requiring equal time on television and social media for major party candidates; and revitalizing politically independent third sector watch dog organizations such as the League of Women Voters.
- Solve the problem of political gerrymandering so that the “one person, one vote” ethic is reality.
- Publicly support: a) the first amendment and the rights of a free press; and b) the FBI, CIA, and the institutions of the rule of law.
Act as if you care about our democracy.
The choice is critical. Because they are in the majority in both houses of Congress, the Republicans must act – or they must all go. We need to demand it.