Alaska

Time For DC Statehood: Long Overdue

The Democratic controlled House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a Washington DC statehood bill, the first time it has come up for a vote since 1993.

Only a handful of Republicans supported it, and it is clear why that is so. A slight percentage of residents in DC are African American, (47 percent) but whites are 45 percent of the population, and it is likely that a majority in DC in the future will be white, or that the population mix will be the most balanced of any part of the nation.

Right now, it is assured that if Washington DC became a state, it would have two Democratic Senators and one Democratic Congressman or woman.

But that should not be the issue regarding representation, and it only adds to the view that Republicans are unwilling to care about anything affecting African Americans, as they look more than ever as if they are Confederate sympathizers a century and a half after the Civil War.

Donald Trump spends more time defending Confederate statues and monuments than he does working on dealing with the Covid-19 Pandemic, which has killed more American in four months than in World War I, or in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined.

DC has more population than Wyoming and Vermont, and not much behind Alaska and North Dakota, and it deserves to have proper representation for its citizens.

Hopefully, with a Democratic President and Democratic controlled Congress next year, we might see DC become a state!

It Is Time For Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, And Red State Democrats To Put Nation Ahead Of Their Own Senate Seats

It is perfectly understood that all people who work like to keep their jobs and earn their income.

But there is no member of the US Senate that is “desperate” and “needy” to keep their jobs.

What is needed now is, as John F. Kennedy wrote, “Profiles in Courage”.

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, so called “moderate” Republicans, need to stand up and say, “NO WAY”, would they support Brett Kavanaugh to fill the available seat on the Supreme Court, since he clearly has a record of being anti abortion, and both women Senators claim they are pro choice, so they must refuse to support him.

It is clear that Brett Kavanaugh has committed perjury a number of times in earlier hearings before the Senate while under oath, and he should not be promoted to the Supreme Court, with his record of pursuing Bill Clinton with Ken Starr 20 years ago; his advocacy of torture in the Iraq War; his promotion of an anti gay marriage amendment under George W. Bush; and his unwillingness to say he would recuse himself from any case involving Trump and the scandals that have erupted in the past two years.

But even if Collins and Murkowksi were to back off on Kavanaugh, the requirement also is for Red State Democrats, who are running for reelection, to vote against Kavanaugh in unison, even if it leads to their defeat, which seems unlikely in the present political climate.

So that means West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, Montana Senator Jon Tester, and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill MUST save the nation from a Right Wing extremist Supreme Court, even if they lose their seats, putting the nation ahead of their own ambitions.

The Crucial Role Of Two Republican Pro Choice Women Senators: Susan Collins And Lisa Murkowski

It is going to be a major pressure point brought against two women Republican Senators—Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—that will likely decide if Donald Trump gains the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee before the midterm elections.

Both women are pro choice, and wanted to keep ObamaCare, and are considered moderates of the Republican brand.

Both come from small populated states, mainly rural and poor, and needing ObamaCare, with no alternative offered by the Republican majority in Congress or Donald Trump.

Both have, however often voted with their party under pressure, even on support of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court last year.

Both have often disappointed observers who wanted to believe they had courage and guts.

Both are broad based social moderates, but they have been unwilling to defy party leadership, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

So the odds that they will do the right thing is a long shot.

Particularly in the case of Susan Collins, who disappointed many when she testified in favor of the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, because they were Senate colleagues, and “friends”, as if that is justification for supporting the most bigoted, racist Attorney General in American history!

Supreme Court Battle Most Contentious Since Robert Bork And Clarence Thomas Nominations In 1987 and 1991

It is already clear, just two days after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, that the battle to confirm a replacement will be the most contentious since Robert Bork was nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1987, and Clarence Thomas was nominated by George H. W. Bush in 1991.

Both times, the Democrats, however, controlled the Senate, and this time, they do not, which is a massive difference.

Bork was defeated in a roll call vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The Democrats have limited ways to stop the confirmation of a replacement for Anthony Kennedy, as no longer can the filibuster tactic be used, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unwilling to give an inch to the Democrats.

The only hope for the Democrats is to convince Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine to back up their strong support of abortion rights, but both voted for Neil Gorsuch last year, as the first Supreme Court choice of Donald Trump.

But it is certain that the fireworks over this nomination, whoever it might be, will make the 2018 midterm elections even more a reason for all Americans to pay attention and to vote, as clearly, voting can change the course of history, and non voting has consequences!

Likely Changes In Electoral Votes And Congressional Seats As Result Of 2020 Census Figures

We are two years away from the 2020 Census, which will determine:

Electoral Vote Changes for 15 or 16 states
Congressional Seat Changes for 15 or 16 states
Federal Funding of Domestic Programs for all states

With Donald Trump’s attempt to cut population growth in the Census by putting fear into undocumented immigrants filling out the Census forms, it could affect all of the above.

As things now stand, 6 states are certain to gain electoral votes and Congressional seats, while 9 other states lose electoral votes by 2024, and Congressional seats by the 2022 midterm elections.

Interestingly, California, which has regularly gained multiple seats for decades, has not grown enough in comparison to the total population of the entire nation, so will for the first time ever gain no seats at all. Of course, with many undocumented immigrants, more than any other state, there is a theoretical possibility that California could, conceivably, lose a seat if enough of this group do not fill out Census forms.

The state of Virginia also has not grown enough, just like California, so is unlikely to gain a new electoral vote or Congressional seat.

Texas will likely gain 3 electoral votes and seats, while Florida will gain 2, and with Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Oregon all gaining one each. All these states are in the Sun Belt, except Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.

So a total of 9 seats and electoral votes will be gained by a total of 6 states, which means those 9 seats will come from 9 different states, with 7 coming from the Northeast (Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania) and Midwest (Ohio, Michigan Minnesota, Illinois), and two from the South (West Virginia, Alabama).

It is also possible with changes in population in the next three years, that an additional seat could be lost by Illinois, and gained by Montana in the Pacific Northwest, which has lost a seat before, and might gain it back.

So at a maximum, 16 states will see their electoral votes and Congressional seats change, 7 gaining as a maximum and 9 losing as a maximum. The other 34 states will have no change at all.

Also, with Rhode Island about to lose a seat, it will be left with only one Representative At Large, joining Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Delaware, assuming Montana gains a seat. Otherwise, the total number of states with only one House seat would grow from 7 to 8.

Off Shore Drilling Prevented In Florida By Rick Scott Intervention: Time To Prevent All Off Shore Drilling On All Coasts Of United States!

The Trump Administration and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke have called for open offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and in the waters surrounding Alaska, a violation of past environmental policies.

Favoring the oil and gas industries over the preservation of our coastlines is an outrage, and all Governors of the states affected have protested, rightfully.

But already, Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida, who plans to run for Bill Nelson’s Senate seat this fall, has joined Nelson and Republican Senator Marco Rubio in pressing for leaving Florida out of the offshore drilling edict, and the Trump Administration and Zinke have caved in, clearly for political reasons.

But that is not enough, as all states with ocean shoreline should be freed from this cave in to the oil and gas industry, and we do NOT need such exploration of our oceans, and too many oil spills and accidents have occurred, which kill of ocean life and pollute the waters.

The problem is that most of the coastal states are “blue”, or Democratic states,in New England, the Middle Atlantic, and the Pacific Coast. This includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, with only the latter three being Republican states, as is Florida. The Pacific Coast states include Washington, Oregon, and California, along with Hawaii and Alaska, with all but Alaska being Democratic states. Alaska, Florida, and California are the top three in coastline waters.

This should not be a political issue, and the fight to protect our wetlands is one that must be fought in a vehement, no holds barred, manner.

It should also include any new drilling in the Great Lakes area and along our various river systems, as we need to move toward alternative sources of energy, as so many nations in Europe, particularly Germany as an example, are doing.

Republican Senators Who Can Stop Tax Legislation, Which Is Fraudulent For The Middle Class Future In America

Once again, a few courageous and principled Republican Senators have an opportunity to stop fraudulent tax legislation, which will dramatically undermine the middle class, and only be a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, including Donald Trump and his family, despite the crooked President’s denials.

A few Republican Senators stood in the way of destroying ObamaCare without any replacement, and this legislation on taxes also is another attempt to destroy ObamaCare without any alternative for millions of Americans.

So one can hope that Senator John McCain of Arizona, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will stand strong.

But additionally, there is hope that Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, and Senator Dean Heller Of Nevada may also fight the legislation, with the first two not running for reelection in 2018, so free to be independent, and Heller, the most endangered Republican Senator running in 2018, under great pressure to oppose legislation that will harm most of his constituents.

Also, on different motivations, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin could vote against the legislation.

All that is needed is three Senators, and the tax plan fails, and IF Doug Jones wins the Alabama Senate seat on December 12, then only two Senators on the Republican side are needed to derail the legislation, and cause a massive defeat for Donald Trump, who will have accomplished nothing by legislation in Congress in his first year, making him a total failure in that regard.

The Graham-Cassidy Last Ditch Attempt To Destroy ObamaCare: Proof That Republicans Do Not Care About Americans Having Health Care!

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana are trying to ram through a last ditch attempt at destroying ObamaCare, and putting up to 32 million people off of affordable health care.

This proves that Republicans do not care about Americans having health care, and yet they are supposedly Pro-Life, but only until a fetus is born, and after that, if you are poor, tough on you!

Graham is outrageous enough to say that ObamaCare is “Socialism”, which most certainly is NOT so!

It is very similar to RomneyCare in Massachusetts and to the American Enterprise Institute–Bob Dole–Newt Gingrich plan of 1993-94 in opposition to HillaryCare, promoted by First Lady Hillary Clinton.

It keeps the health care system under private insurance companies, so how is it “Socialism”?

But Graham must think that Social Security and Medicare are “Socialism”, but vast majorities of the American people like both programs, but of course, the Republicans would love to destroy both, even though the middle class and the poor benefit from them.

The battle must be continued to keep ObamaCare, but work to IMPROVE it, as all government programs can certainly be improved over time.

It now seems that Senator John McCain of Arizona has come to the rescue once again, as he stated today that he could not, in good conscience, support the bill, even though it is sponsored by his closest friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham. Now that is principle, a rare virtue in the Senate in recent years.

It is also believed that two women, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who joined with McCain a month ago on the earlier rejection of a similar bill, will do so again, and Rand Paul of Kentucky is a definite NO vote this time, but because he feels the bill keeps remnants of ObamaCare, which he wishes to reject completely. So he is NOT a hero, but then he and his dad, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul are both libertarian whackos!

Donald Trump’s Assault On The Environment A Battle Worth Fighting!

Donald Trump has declared war on the environment, and is out to promote development, including opening up national parks and monuments to industrial development, putting economic growth above the great natural treasures protected by Presidents of both parties since Theodore Roosevelt.

Trump has also worked to undermine and eventually to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency created in the administration of Richard Nixon 47 years ago.

And Trump has withdrawn America from the Climate Accord negotiated in Paris, making our nation the pariah of the world community in that regard, and causing a loss of faith in American leadership.

His Interior Secretary threatened Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski on the issue of protection of Alaskan natural resources when she refused to vote for the demise of ObamaCare this part week, but Murkowski showed she could not be cowed by the Trump Administration.

Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretary, and Scott Pruitt, EPA head, are committing crimes against our national treasures, and there are many organizations and lobbyists who are working to prevent the Trump agenda, seeing the assault on the environment a battle worth fighting.

One of those organizations is the Conservation Lands Foundation, central office in Durango, Colorado, and this blogger is proud to report that his son David is working in Washington DC for this crucially important group, fighting alongside others for the preservation of our natural environment and national treasures!

Three Profiles In Courage: John McCain Of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski Of Alaska, Susan Collins Of Maine

It is appropriate to salute three Republican Senators who stopped the destruction of ObamaCare, due to their feeling that despite the shortcomings of the program, that to just repeal it and leave millions of Americans with no health coverage was intolerable.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, a true independent and maverick, has often exasperated many political observers, and this blogger was upset earlier last week when McCain voted to promote votes on various alternatives, including repeal without replacement, but then voted to kill the idea once there was the opportunity to do so.

We now learn that former Vice President Joe Biden, a good friend, and former Senator Joe Lieberman, the Vice Presidential running mate of Al Gore in 2000, contacted McCain and convinced him that this was the right thing to do.

This kind of bipartisanship is precisely what is needed, and is missing from today’s political scence.

The courage of the two women Senators, who could not have alone stopped the Republican plan to destroy ObamaCare, must also be acknowledged, and sadly, some misogyny was utilized against them by the right wing, but Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska showed how principled and decent they were, and deserve great credit.

Both Collins and Murkowksi are tough, and they are not intimidated, with Collins having always been independent oriented, and Murkowski losing the party primary in 2010, running as a write in Independent candidate, and winning over her Republican and Democratic opponents, and then winning in 2016.

The outrage that the Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, at Donald Trump’s orders, threatened Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, the other Alaska Senator, with cuts in funding for Alaska in the Department budget did not intimidate Murkowski, as she postponed committee hearings and votes in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which she heads. She knows how to play Hardball, and Trump has met his match in her, as well as Collins.

Disappointing, however, was the third woman Senator thought united with them, Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, but caving in to pressure from Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, quite shocking since West Virginia has more people on Medicaid and in poverty than almost all states in America.