Here we go America

Not even two full weeks into the new year, and Congress is already going for the throat.  Figuratively and maybe even literally on down the road.

From Reuters:

Republicans on Wednesday passed a bill in the House of Representatives that touched on nearly every step U.S. agencies take in creating and applying new rules, continuing their blitz to radically reform “abusive” federal regulation of areas from the environment to the workplace.

In a 238-183 vote, the House passed the “Regulatory Accountability Act,” which combined eight bills aimed at changing how the vast government bureaucracy runs. Only five Democrats voted for it.

The legislation would give President-elect Donald Trump tools “to wipe out abusive regulation,” said Bob Goodlatte, the Judiciary Committee chairman who is among the many House leaders calling for lighter regulation and saying the costs to comply with federal rules are too high.

Republicans say there is little accountability for regulations that apply to almost every aspect of American life because they are created by appointed officials and not elected representatives. Federal agencies operate either independently or under the president’s authority.

The crux of their argument, based on that last paragraph above is that there is no accountability for regulations because they’re not created by elected representatives.  If we don’t have enough with the incoming Ego-In-Chief already, now Congressional Republicans feel that things are not kosher unless they write it.  This is the same dysfunctional Congress that probably couldn’t pass legislation to get themselves out of a burning building.  There’s one major flaw in their thinking however.

The Constitution is filled with checks and balances along with separation of powers.  The power to legislate is delegated to Congress, and they’ve been quite adamant about that power with the numerous lawsuits filed against President Obama over his two terms.  That same Constitution also delegates the power to enforce laws to the Executive Branch, the very same branch filled with those appointed officials who are currently responsible for writing out those regulations.

You see, Republicans gripe about regulations to the point where most people don’t have a clue as to what a regulation is.  All we hear is how they cost businesses so much and they’re overburdensome.  We never hear Republicans actually explain how regulations come about and what their purposes are.  For those who don’t already know, here’s a quick rundown.  My apologies to those who already know this.

Legislation begins in Congress as bills.  The bills get voted on by both houses of Congress.  If they pass both houses, those bills then go to the president to either be signed or vetoed.  If the president signs the bill, then it becomes law.  The laws that are passed and signed are then codified and placed into the U.S. Code.  According to the definition at Wikipedia, “The Code of Laws of the United States of America[1] (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, or U.S.C.) is the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statutes of the United States.”  The U.S. Code currently consists of 52 titles, and each title is broken down by subject matter.

Now, once that statute is published, the agency(s) responsible for enforcing that law have to come up with a set of rules to enforce the law that Congress passed and the president signed.  Take a wild guess at what those rules are called?  They’re called regulations.  Those regulations, once approved, end up in the Code of Federal Regulations which is often abbreviated as CFR.  The CFR is contained in 50 titles, and just like the U.S. Code, those titles are broken down by subject matter.

I don’t know of a single person who has read the entire U.S. Code or CFR, so there may indeed be unnecessary entries in both compilations.  That said, I don’t think a Congress that has sued the outgoing president for overreach has a leg to stand on when trying to claim they should have more say in regulations.  If you’re that concerned about the costs of regulations, then pay more attention to the legislation that you write.  Instead of allowing ALEC or other outside groups or lobbyists write legislation, go back to doing your own job that you get paid $174,000 a year to do.  It’s not like Congress has passed much legislation in recent years anyway, so there’s not a whole lot of writing to be done.

I don’t see any good intentions behind this.  If Republicans want to deregulate everything, then write legislation to rescind the laws in place and get your president to sign it.  If there’s no law on the books, then the agency(s) don’t need regulations to enforce them.  It’s a win-win situation for Republicans.  I seriously doubt they’ll go that route because that would actually shine the light on what the ultimate goal appears to be, which is to make things easier for their financial backers to make more money.  That’s always the prevailing argument about how businesses are hampered by regulations, so it would make sense that the goal is to get businesses to making more money.

Quit lying to people and just be honest about what your intentions are.  We’ve already seen that many in the voting public don’t give a rat’s ass about what politicians do.  A party has campaigned for years on ending the ACA, and people who voted them into office are now acting surprised that they’re ending the ACA.  Words don’t describe the abject despair I feel when I read story after story about this.  Part of me wants to call people stupid, but I honestly think people are more swayed by personality than what the people are actually saying.  Trump proved that by winning this election after all he’s said.

This year is only beginning, and it’s Year One of our four year journey through Trumpland.  I hope things such as this doesn’t put us back to having flammable rivers and air you can slice with a knife.  I still refuse to be the crier of doom, but the blocks appear to be falling into place for some of the more frightening predictions to have a chance of coming to pass.  God help us all.


Method or message 

My family received this mailer to remind us of the runoff election for county commissioner chairwoman* that takes place on Tuesday.  Two things quickly came to mind.

First, why do politicians have to resort to stoking fear to gin up support?  If you want me to vote for you, then I have to be comfortable with your policies and decision-making skills. Governing from fear is not effective in the long run and usually leads to mistakes that harm more than they help.

Next, where are there liberal Democrats in the South?  This is Georgia, and my Democratic Party representative, Rep. David Scott, supported the incumbent Republican Senate candidate Johnny Isakson over the Democratic Party nominee Jim Barksdale in the election that just took place.  How liberal is that?

If you’re always afraid of every little thing that crosses your path, how do you intend on governing a fast growing county?  I know this is local politics , but it’s the same tactic that plays out on the national level.

I don’t live in fear, and I don’t want decision makers who do.  I want people who have the ability to see a situation and be able to find multiple ways to solve the problem without causing more damage than doing good.  America wouldn’t be what it is if we let fear dictate our choices.

I guess I could say that she tried to reach out to me as I didn’t receive anything from her competition.  Then again, maybe the Democrat running already knows that I hate getting political junk mail and is really more in tune with my feelings.

*The race is for chairwoman as it’s two women running for the position.

Post 2016 Election: First thoughts

My first thought at 2:50 am on November 9th, was “What the f**k!?” when I rolled over in bed and heard the words “President-elect Trump” come from my TV.  I had always figured it was a very distinct possibility considering that we were voting for two of the most disliked candidates that I could ever remember.  I just wasn’t completely prepared to hear that announcement.  I knew all along that, no matter who won, I wouldn’t be skipping with joy over the thoughts of my incoming boss.

I wanted to write this yesterday, but it literally took more than 24 hours for me to get my thoughts together.  So, here goes…

Take our country back = Make America great again

White America got their country back.  We minorities got the message loud and clear.  Some have called this a “change” election, but I don’t buy that.  This was all about anger and resentment, plain and simple.  Trump basically rode that anger and resentment and used it to his advantage to end up in Washington DC.  The fact that he had minority support does not negate the fact that angry White America is what put Trump in office.  If you wanna accuse me of playing the race card, then that’s you and your opinion.  I’m just calling it as I see it from my perspective, and there are far many more Americans who agree with my assessment.

Look at the increased attacks on Muslim looking people.  Look at the increased intimidation of Blacks by people waving Confederate battle flags.  That stuff isn’t from patriotic duty to country.  That’s from people who hate minorities.  Trump fed that anger, whether intentional or not, and those who supported him are going to expect him to act on those promises he made from the southern wall to banning Muslims.  Interestingly, the ban Muslims part of his platform has disappeared from his campaign website.

America is angry, and rightfully so

As I said, this election was all about anger.  Trump stated “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer” as part of his victory speech.  Reading social media, some have taken that to be a *wink, wink* to middle America, aka White America in flyover country, among other things.  I’m going to take him at face value as I’ve done for the entire campaign and not read anything extra into it.  The angry people for the most part, however, have been White America though, so there may be some truth to this.

People are angry because of a perceived lack of economic growth and job loss.  Trump has promised expansive growth and bringing jobs back.  That’s not going to happen though.  The only way those jobs come back is if the wages paid in China are paid here.  I don’t see Americans working for $5 a day or something lower.  Immigration has also been an issue.  Immigrants are not the ones passing laws that have led to the top income percentile taking most of the benefits of our economic growth.  Trump has also promised to do many other things, some of them being very unconstitutional from the jump.

The bad thing about acting out in anger is that you usually regret those actions later on down the road.  I hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling this will be the case for many people.  I don’t worry as much about the damage that a President Trump with a GOP Congress can do as much as I worry about the backlash when Trump screws his supporters.  People have overlooked his blatant lies and snake oil salesman presentation and have put faith that he’s going to do what he said.  What I don’t get is how does a large group of Americans buy the argument that Donald J. Trump is going to get rid of corruption, or “drain the swamp”, in Washington DC when he has a verified history of less than ethical behavior himself.  We’ve basically sent a billionaire who has taken full benefit of everything he could as part of that 1% to end the corruption that enabled the 1% to make out like bandits.  In other words, America sent the fox to not only guard the hen-house but to live there as well.

Republicans have to govern now

I know this is a long stretch, but it’s been one in the making.  Read any comment section, and GOP supporters brag about how many governorships, legislative seats, and other positions they hold.  Now, they control Washington DC.  There’s no Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Hillary Clinton to blame anymore.  The GOP has full control of it all, and the results are theirs, and theirs alone to be responsible for.  If we see growth based on their governance, then kudos to them.  If we see downfall, then it’s theirs to own as well.  They can’t simply say “No” or uphold legislation now and call that governing.  They have to actually do the jobs they get paid for.

I’m sure that anything negative will come with the “it’s Obama’s or Democrats fault” for the next four years, but that dog won’t hunt.  If Democrats play opposition to the effect that Republicans did against Obama, then it will still mean that Trump’s policies are failures.  That’s what we’ve seen since 2010, so the GOP has already set the precedent.  As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around.  If Democrats act just like Republicans have, I’ll have my criticisms about their actions, but I’ll still blame Republicans for not getting things done as they’ve blamed Obama.

In Conclusion

Do I expect change?  No.  Nothing will change from this election.  America is still going to be America.  Do I expect Republicans to effectively govern?  No.  They couldn’t pass legislation before, and they won’t do it now because the legislation they want to pass will directly affect the very people who put them all into office.  They won’t have Obama or the Democrats to blame for them screwing their own supporters.

At some point, Americans will have to come to grip with the changes that are happening around us.  We lost jobs that are not coming back.  Our economy has gone from a manufacturing based engine to one that is service based.  The wages in the service industry will have to change to reflect the new norm, or we’ll all continue to suffer economically.  We can’t continue to demand change in Washington DC and keep sending the same people back expecting different results.  In other words, the things that we’re angry about are directly caused by the actions we keep doing over and over.  We’re going to have to accept our changing demographics and know that we’re still America.

I’m praying for those who are angry and hope their situations get better.  I know that America will survive and keep going.

WTF America

I haven’t been posting much because real life has been keeping me busy.  Even though I haven’t been writing, I’ve had tons of stuff going through my brain just itching to get out.  First and foremost, I have to ask, “WTF America?”

How in the hell did we end up with the impending election we have?  In a country of more than 300 million people, we couldn’t find or convince people to run who would actually be desirable to vote for president?  In 2015, I decided that I didn’t want another Bush or Clinton in office because I loathe political dynasties.  I prefer to have different people from different backgrounds as candidates to give us something different to consider or other viewpoints to ponder.  I guess I should have been more specific about different, because I ended up with Trump as the “different” choice, and boy is he ever different.

From the numerous verbal gaffes to the number of unconstitutional policy positions, Trump’s campaign jumped the shark long ago.  I gave up on considering him as a serious candidate long ago, and as his numerous “sarcasm” statements show, he’s not serious either *(except for when he’s serious).  I can’t find any point of agreement with him, and his own advisers appear to be having similar issues.  Given the choices of advisers he’s made, I find his judgment skills to be completely lacking and not capable of making the serious type of selections needed to run this country.

On the opposite side, there’s the “scandal plagued” candidate in Hillary Clinton.  Thing is, most of the scandals are nothing more than hot air that amount to nothing.  The major problem that I have with Clinton is that she appears to have judgment issues herself considering that she’s been living in a fishbowl under the microscope for the last 30 years plus.  I would think that she would be far more discerning and disciplined in the decisions she makes given the scrutiny she’s subject to for the most minute of things.

I have two months plus to make up my mind, although there only appears to be one plausible choice in this race.  Those who appear to gain the most financially are those who keep trying to give semblance of a close, two person race.  Trump is not what America needs, not at all.  Between the unconstitutional policy and inability to admit when he’s wrong, he would likely get us into far more issues than he’d solve in my view.  With a Clinton presidency, I see nothing more than the continued grandstanding that we’ve seen under Obama.  In addition, there would be the constant scandals and other what nots to keep the media making money for the next four years.

Either way, America is going to be the ones to suffer.  That’s why I have to ask again, “WTF America?  Of all the possible choices, this is what we decided upon?”

Justice vs Politics

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has conjured up a firestorm of political posturing.  I don’t even think his body had hit room temperature before Republicans were spouting off that Obama should not nominate a replacement for that seat because of the election year.  From sitting Senators to candidates for the White House, I’ve seen and read countless quotes backing that idea.  In my honest opinion, that position is preposterous, and it shows how much politics can ruin or poison anything that it touches.

The Supreme Court is supposed to be above politics and partisan bickering.  The integrity of the court relies on that perception, and some politicians are doing everything they can to drag the reputation of the court to sub-zero levels.

With Republicans and their supporters seemingly eager to take on this election year fight, I see a few different outcomes possible with most stacked against the GOP.

#1:  Republicans win the White House and retain control of the Senate

With this outcome, the gamble pays off.  For this to happen, however, the GOP has to have a better get-out-the-vote campaign than the Democratic Party.  As we’ve seen in past presidential year elections, that has not been the norm.  The Republican candidate would have to win every red state as well as flip a few purple or blue states to get to 270 electoral votes.  In addition, the GOP has to defend twice as many seats in the Senate with at least 9 seats in battleground states.  They will have to retain those seats while also trying to continue to impede the current president from doing his duties as POTUS.

#2:  Democrats win the White House and Republicans retain control of the Senate

In this outcome, there’s nothing gained and likely some ground lost.  The battle will still remain as to who is nominated by the new president.  With a brand new Democratic president (Clinton or Sanders), there’s less likely going to be a middle-of-the-road nomination as they would get from Obama right now.  That would lead to a protracted fight to see who’s going to give first.  Using the “people voted mandate” thing, it’s likely that the president will eventually emerge as the victor.

#3:  Democrats win the White House and win control of the Senate

In this scenario, the voters get tired of the politics and get pissed off at Republicans trying to hijack the system for political gain.  Having to defend delaying a nomination hurts the Republican Senators running in battleground states.  This would be a major blow to the GOP because now it’s very likely that a super, duper liberal judge gets appointed to the SCOTUS.  I see this outcome as the early favorite, not because of the voters getting pissed off, but because of the built-in advantage the Dems have with the electoral college and the number of seats the Republicans have to defend in the Senate.

Regardless to what happens, I think the American citizens end up losing.  We’re going to see confidence in the court eroded and confidence in Congress reduced even further (if that’s possible).  This should be a time where we show the rest of the world how our government and Constitution works to ensure the continuation of government.  We’re supposed to be the leaders of the free world, and we’re about to squander a golden opportunity to show true leadership.

The president is tasked by the Constitution to appoint replacements when there is a vacancy.  There is no asterisk stating that responsibility is muted because of what year it is in his term.  Obama will be the president until January 20, 2017.  If we allow the vacancy to remain until the next president is sworn in, we go two SCOTUS sessions with only 8 justices.  That would be an abdication of Constitutional duties by both, the president and the Senate.  Why anyone, especially the members of the party that is supposed to be all about the Constitution, would purposefully sabotage the workings of the Constitution is beyond me.  This is just another example of why I loathe politicians.  They have a way of screwing up anything they get involved with, and this is no exception to that.