Nancy Pelosi and Democrats Block Bill to Stop Infanticide For 77th Time

We, the People…

Yes, that’s what the preamble to our Constitution says.  It’s all about us.  Not the Senators or Representatives we vote for to represent us.  So why don’t they work for us?

One of the most aggravating things I see going on in Washington D.C., and there are plenty, is the ability of those people NOT to vote on a bill.  I don’t like it.  I don’t get it.

I recently watched an incredible movie, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.”  I wish everyone saw it but that’s on my “Never Gonna Happen Wish List.”  (When an important movie like this one takes in just $3.7 million, there’s definitely something wrong with our priorities.  But that’s for another article.)

This monster refused to provide medical care to babies actually born but was convicted of first degree murder in the death of three of the babies he or his staff intentionally killed after the infants were born alive following a failed abortion.  He was also convicted of dozens of other charges resulting from his abortion mill.

How could any doctor choose not to provide medical care to a baby actually born alive?  But that’s exactly what Gosnell chose to do and I’m sure there are other Gosnells out there.  But should we, as a society, sanction this type of inaction? This isn’t about abortion.  It’s about a baby being born alive and in distress.

Well, Nancy Pelosi and her crew don’t seem to have a problem with it.  As of July 25th, she and House Democrats continue to refuse a request to allow a vote on the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” legislation that would stop infanticide and provide medical care and treatment for babies who survive abortions 77 times!

How is this possible?  I’ve tried to figure out the procedures in the House of Representatives and they’re incomprehensible for the average person to decipher.  Filibusters, parliamentary tricks, fast-tracking – how do we, the people, understand all this and the day-to-day workings of Congress?  To say it’s a mystery, is an understatement.

The Senate’s rules are just as complicated.  Why was Mitch McConnell able to block Kate’s Law, named after Kate Steinle, the woman who was shot and killed in San Francisco on July 1, 2015, by an illegal immigrant who’d been deported five times and had seven felony convictions? He’s managed to block hundreds of other conservative bills from ever reaching the floor for a vote.

I don’t get why bills can be blocked.  I don’t get why we, the people, are not allowed to know how each Representative or Senator votes on a particular bill.  If it were up to me, the entire system would be simplified and every bill would be voted upon.  If it’s time consuming, so be it.  It wouldn’t be as time-consuming as filibustering.

Members of Congress should be working as much as the average man and woman in the United States.  They shouldn’t be traveling overseas as much as they do on so called “fact-finding missions.”  There’s plenty of work to be done for the American people and we’re entitled to it.  We pay these folks big bucks and every day I read about this one or that one traveling here and there for God only knows what reasons – most of time absolutely nothing to do with the American people.

And now Congress is off the entire month of August.  Where do they think they live?  France?  The average person gets 10 days of vacation a year, some sick leave plus holidays and the vast majority don’t make the salaries we pay these do-nothings in Congress.  Members of Congress work an average of 18 hours a week – maybe 145 days a year.

I want to know which House member would vote against the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.  As long as Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts prevent the bill from ever seeing the light of day, we, the people will never know.  It’s shameful.  It’s not transparent.  We have a right to know.  It’s against the edict of “We, the People.”

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.




Let’s Not Confuse Showmanship for Transparency

 

The film Creed II hit theaters a few weeks ago, and those who’ve seen it were treated to a smorgasbord of Rocky IV nostalgia that included everything from a satisfying one-on-one table conversation between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago, to an amusing cameo from an eccentric actress we haven’t seen on the big screen in over 30 years.

But it was the world of American politics that got me thinking about the fourth Rocky film again yesterday, particularly the press conference scene between Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago:

As many of us will remember from the scene, there’s a lot of showboating and loud trash-talking from Apollo (played by Carl Weathers) that leads to an animated argument. Finger-pointing and hurled insults eventually provoke a reaction from Apollo’s stoic soviet opponent (played by Dolph Lundgren). Apollo shouts out threats as frenzied reporters snap pictures and audience members egg on the confrontation. Apollo is restrained and finally escorted off the stage.

The second Apollo turns away, however, he breaks character and calmly asks Sly Stallone’s Rocky, “How did I do?”

Rocky, who throughout the press conference expressed silent dissatisfaction with Apollo’s conduct, answers, “A little loud for my taste.”

“But good?” Apollo asks.

“Oh yeah. Very good,” Rocky replies.

One has to wonder if President Trump and Vice President Pence shared a similar exchange as they left yesterday’s contentious Oval Office meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. After all, the display was cut from the same cloth — an overblown, theatrical performance that served only as a self-gratifying media spectacle for the participants.

Well, I suppose it additionally offered a little something to partisan supporters on both sides of the aisle. Trump, once again, got to present himself as “fighter,” while the Dems got to call out the president on some fibs and even baited him into a politically dumb comment about shutting down the government.

Also, Pence managed to fit in a nap while wishing he was somewhere else, so the get-together wasn’t entirely unproductive:

Seriously though, the meeting was largely pointless. What surprised me, however, was that a number of people latched onto a particular remark from Trump.

When Schumer and Pelosi suggested that the three of them (four if you include poor Mike Pence) move their discussion on the border wall to behind closed doors, Trump said, “It’s not bad, Nancy,” referring to their public exchange. “It’s called transparency.”

I laughed when I heard the comment. I mean, the notion that people watching the discussion at home were witnessing governmental “transparency” was as silly as framing the Creed/Drago press conference as an intimate look into U.S. relations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Let’s be clear. Showmanship is not transparency. It’s just performance art.

While there certainly have been examples of Trump commendably granting transparency into the inner workings of his administration, this wasn’t one of them. Yet, a number of people on the political right took Trump’s words seriously and even managed to lend the narrative credibility.

“I would think that at the very least, people who don’t like Trump, and don’t like the stuff that he says, would at least applaud the fact that he is… shall we say transparent,” said Charles Hurt on Fox News’s Special Report. “He doesn’t mind the press in these meetings.”

Memo to Mr. Hurt: Trump more than “doesn’t mind” grandstanding in front of the cameras. He lives for it, and not as a public service.

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein wrote that Trump had the “right response.”

Klein explained:

“Too often, political leaders in pitched battles will appear before cameras ahead of high-profile meetings and have nothing but kind words to say, which obscures actual tension, political differences, and real policy disputes. Pelosi, Trump, and Schumer have very real differences over funding for a border wall that could lead to a government shutdown. As those differences played out in front of the national media that was on hand for what is typically nothing more than a photo op, those differences became apparent.”

While I think Klein’s point is valid in theory, I’m not sure how the clown-show that played out on national television could have been mistaken for a “real policy” dispute. Tossing recycled platitudes back and forth (many of which had nothing to do with the issue) and pointing fingers at each other certainly wasn’t a traditional “photo op,” but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any less phony.

And of course, Trump’s biggest supporters on social media ran with the theme:

As a conservative, I want a good amount of transparency from our governing leaders. I would love to hear all kinds of open debates on border security and a variety of other issues. I like town hall events where constituents get to grill their reps. I think such things are good.

But expecting anything other than showmanship to come out of a televised meeting between seasoned performers like Trump, Schumer, and Pelosi is like watching Rocky IV for the hundredth time and expecting Apollo to miraculously rebound from his injuries and knock out the Russian.

It’s just not going to happen, and we shouldn’t pretend that it happened yesterday, just to prop up our political narrative of choice.




Trump’s Shift to the Path of Least Resistance

It’s been nearly a year since Donald Trump won the election, and it seems that most people, at this point, understand why. He took the GOP primary because he channeled the anger of frustrated voters, tore “the establishment” a new one, and rode a wave of overwhelming media coverage against a ridiculously bloated field of mostly traditional politicians.  In the general election, though his populist messaging was certainly helpful, his biggest advantage was simply not being Hillary Clinton.

Sure, some still insist that it was his positions that earned him the presidency — most notably his vow to build a “big and beautiful” wall across our nation’s border with Mexico. But the reality is that throughout both the primary and general elections, Trump changed his positions on issues a number of times (as he has continued to do as president). And when voters were asked in phone and exit polls which issues were most important to them, the border wall was always toward the bottom of the list.

So, even though the Trump base was rattled earlier this week when the president came to an immigration agreement with the Democrats that preserves DACA and doesn’t include the border wall, it’s hard to imagine that the Trump Train won’t stick with him. Because…again, their support isn’t based on policy stances. It’s based on a persona and an attitude:

Trump is an anti-establishment outsider, and as long as he’s sticking his thumb in the eye of the ruling class in Washington, he’s doing his job.

Unfortunately, that stance isn’t particularly helpful to the American people. If a policy or legislation is tethered to a political vendetta instead of a successful outcome for the nation, problems aren’t going to get solved. They’ll only worsen.

The conservatives who had warned the GOP and the Republican base about Trump throughout the election have felt particularly vindicated lately, as our president keeps folding like a cheap suit whenever he puts himself in a room with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. To these critics, this turn of events hasn’t been surprising at all, and it’s not because they knew all along that Trump was a reflexive liberal — a longtime Democrat and Democratic donor who didn’t change parties until he considered running for president. It’s because they understood that Trump has never been interested in draining the swamp, but rather feeding his own ego.

There’s been very little tangible evidence to suggest that Trump has ever really believed in this populist, anti-establishment philosophy that launched his political career and helped him achieve an unexpected win last November. But it was a useful tool, and it continues to be one.

For example, when Trump caved to the Democrats on the debt-ceiling, the move was framed by many in the president’s camp (including notable media-conservatives) as proper payback for the GOP congress’s failure to deliver on a healthcare reform bill. It didn’t matter if the debt deal was bad policy, or even that it made Trump’s own agenda harder to accomplish. It embarrassed “the establishment” (in this case, the GOP establishment), so it was good. Additionally, as far as Team-Trump was concerned, the move proved that the president really was the master deal-maker that he had promoted himself as during the election.

Only, it wasn’t really a deal, of course. If someone walks up to you and smooth-talks you into handing them your gold watch, that’s not a deal. That’s an instance of you being duped. Schumer got the gold watch, and Trump walked away with nothing he wouldn’t have gotten anyway.

It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. For years, one of the loudest gripes of the conservative movement and the Republican base was that the GOP gave into Obama and the Democrats too often. It was that anger that cost Eric Cantor his House seat, ousted John Boehner from his speakership, stoked hatred for Paul Ryan (who had previously been widely respected by Republicans), and eventually led to the willingness of voters to turn to Trump.

As president, however, Trump (the master deal-maker), with party majorities in the House and Senate, has already capitulated more to the Democrats than any of the aforementioned individuals. And somehow, it’s not his fault, but rather — you guessed it — the fault of the GOP establishments.

Sean “Build the Wall” Hannity even blamed the GOP for Trump not including the wall in his immigration agreement, tweeting, “If reports true 100%. I blame R’s. They caused this. They wanted him to fail and now pushed him into arms of political suicide–IF TRUE.”

Pushed him into the arms of political suicide? Sounds like the plot of a Lifetime movie.

Let not your heart be troubled, though. Later on, Hannity no longer saw Trump’s move as political suicide. He saw it, instead, as pragmatism. The Fox News host tweeted: “The failure by Congressional GOP to govern is forcing President Trump to seek alternative ways to get things done.”

You see, folks… Trump was just ‘getting things done.’ No harm, no foul.

While it’s doubtful (though certainly not out of the realm of possibility) that Trump will drop his Republican affiliation down the line, there’s a more immediate concern that he will continue handing the Democrats in congress easy victories. Trump’s extraordinary ego, after all, is tied directly to a perception that he is a winner. Remember, as a candidate, he told the country time after time that if he became president, we were going to get “sick and tired” of all the winning.

But there hasn’t been a whole lot of winning.

Nearly every legislative initiative Trump has pursued since taking office has gone down in flames, along with his approval ratings. He’s desperate for a win, and he’s undoubtedly tired of looking like a fool. So if he can get something — anything — accomplished by following the path of least resistance (surrendering to the Democrats), it seems pretty clear that he’ll do it. It’s not as if he has any guiding ideology standing in his way, and if he ends up breaking more campaign promises, what does it matter? The liberals won’t complain, and Trump’s base won’t hold him accountable. Future flip-flops will just be blamed on the “establishment GOP,” using whatever weird reasoning the pro-Trump pundits and other mouthpieces can come up with.

Winning, baby. That’s what it’s all about…even if the prize is terrible.

Just imagine all the winning we’ll see if the Democrats take back the House in 2018.




Trump Sides with the Dems; RINOs Apparently to Blame

On Wednesday, President Trump entered into federal debt-ceiling negotiations with congressional leaders from both parties. In a move that surprised many, he ended up bucking the recommendations of Republicans (including his own Treasury Secretary) and accepting an offer from Democratic minority leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, to raise the debt ceiling for a mere three months. The deal was in exchange for a quick $8 billion for Hurricane Harvey relief (which would have assuredly received bipartisan support anyway).

The length of the extension was an easily-identified political ploy by Democrats, who hoped to set up a fiscal cliff scenario in December, which would give them leverage going into end-of-the-year budget talks. Conversely, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell wanted to extend the measure well into 2018 (or perhaps beyond) to better focus on tax reform and other pressing initiatives before Christmas.

Trump looked at the dueling proposals, and chose to give Pelosi and Schumer exactly what their party wanted (but likely never dreamed it would get). He tossed congressional Republicans overboard, and in doing so increased the likelihood of a government shutdown, for which the GOP would assuredly be blamed.

Yes, the great negotiator folded like a cheap suit for his Democratic opponents, and though it caught a number of people off guard, it really shouldn’t have.

Trump has never had much interest in the Republican platform, or even the party itself, other than what it could do for him. A lifelong Democrat and longtime Democratic donor, he didn’t change his party affiliation until he started to think seriously about running for president. As a candidate, he ran on universal healthcare, thumbed his nose at entitlement reform, opposed free trade, and parroted Code Pink talking points and far-left conspiracy theories on 9/11 and the Iraq War.

When you think about it, Trump could have just as easily run in the Democratic primary. But with Fox News having long lent him a soapbox from which to weigh in on current events (thus granting him political relevance), he already had the makings of a base on the Right — a base that has now spent over two years maligning conservative Trump critics as “RINOs” (Republicans in Name Only) and “liberals.”

No, the application of such labels doesn’t make any sense in this context, but few things do these days.

Some conservative pundits are suggesting that Trump’s decision to needlessly throw GOP leaders under the bus on the debt ceiling marks our president’s return to his Democratic roots. While that’s certainly possible, the explanation could be much more simple. Trump may have just decided that his party has expended its usefulness — especially in terms of advancing our president’s primary interest: himself.

After all, if we’ve come to know anything about President Trump, it’s that he values his ego above all else. It has compelled him to say and do some pretty astounding things. And if you keep that in mind when evaluating Wednesday’s action, it makes perfect sense.

From Trump’s perspective, the GOP leadership has continually embarrassed him. Party leaders have publicly spoken out against him (both during the campaign and as president), the Republican congress failed to pass healthcare reform legislation (which Trump promised), many refuse to defend or rationalize his self-inflicted wounds, and their approval ratings are even more abysmal than his. Everyone expects an opposition party to make a president’s life difficult, but for someone like Trump, who demands loyalty from those he perceives to be on his team, the displays of internal defiance must be unbearable.

When leaders are guided by ego above principles, no one should be surprised when their tenure turns into a game of waging personal vendettas and choosing the path of least resistance. In this case, Trump’s aim may have been to show Ryan and McConnell how easily he can make them irrelevant. That’s certainly how Fox Business host, Lou Dobbs, sees it.

On his show Wednesday, Dobbs referred to the debacle as the “death of a RINO.” Only in his view, the “RINO” wasn’t the Republican who had just given away the store to the Democrats. The RINO was — you guessed it — Paul Ryan.

Dobbs, who is one of Trump’s most devoted media-advocates, delighted in the Pelosi/Schumer victory, declaring that “The president not only took RINO Ryan to the woodshed, but eliminated any need for any Republican to ever pretend again that Ryan is a real Republican in any way, or that any RINO has a political future after Mr. Trump simply booted the hapless fool of a speaker out of the way of those trying to get the nation’s business done.”

Yes, those words were actually spoken by a grown adult — a paid political pundit and a self-described conservative, no less. Dobbs’ sentiment was quickly parroted by other notable voices in the pro-Trump media, and now appears to be the prevailing talking-point of the Trump faithful on this matter.

In case you’re having trouble following the logic, let’s examine it:

The guy who fairly recently joined the GOP out of convenience, ran for president on liberal policies and rhetoric, and just gave a huge Christmas present to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and the Democratic party (for no substantive reason), is the “real” Republican.

Conversely, the lifelong Republican activist, who has been the nation’s leading Obamacare opponent, and leading proponent for conservative budgetary and entitlement reform, is the “fake” Republican.

And somehow, this all makes perfect sense to Trump loyalists, who claim to despise Schumer and Pelosi (and liberalism in general)…all while swearing that they haven’t been taken in by a cult of personality.

Go figure.




Let’s Shut Down The Government!

As I sit here, it’s the 8th of December and I have no idea if the government will be shut down before the end of the month. For my purposes, it hardly matters because the threat of a shutdown is always lurking in Washington. That is especially true now that the two parties are hunkered down in their respective trenches as if reenacting the bloodiest days of World War I.

For a long time, as my wife just reminded me, I opposed such shutdowns. But I only opposed them because the media is always quick to blame it on the Republicans and because in one case, the 2013 shutdown did lead to the Clintons’ bagman, Terry McAuliffe, defeating Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. That was because northern Virginia is home to so many federal bureaucrats that they took the work stoppage personally.

My own inclination is to bring the federal government to a halt as often as possible, if simply to slow down the rate at which Obama and Congress are destroying the nation. One of the problems with a shutdown, however, is that it’s the president who gets to decide how the available money is spent. And Obama being Obama, he loves to shut down things like the World War II Memorial and the national parks, knowing how much normal Americans resent such closures.

At the risk of being labeled a flip-flopper, I have changed my mind. That’s because I finally came to the realization that it’s only the mass media that blames the GOP, and fewer and fewer people, including Democrats, are paying any attention to the NY Times and the major TV networks.

Furthermore, I came to see the upside of the two major shutdowns in the recent past. The first took place in 1995, the second in 2013. In both cases, the GOP got the lion’s share of the blame, but so what? In 1996, although Clinton won re-election, defeating the zombie-like Bob Dole, the GOP picked up two seats in the Senate and only dropped two seats in the House.

In 2014, less than a year after the second shutdown, the GOP picked up nine seats in the Senate and a dozen more in the House. So perhaps I’m not the only one who approves of politicians having less opportunity to stick their noses into our business.

Speaking of politicians, I would love to have reporters conduct the same sort of exit polls after those in the House and Senate cast their votes for majority and minority leaders that they do during normal elections. For instance, I’d love to know why the Democrats keep re-electing Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. I mean, why would anyone wish to have his party represented by Reid, a guy Hollywood would typecast as a mortician? As for Mrs. Pelosi, she speaks like a backward teenager and has had so many facelifts, my friend Steve Maikoski fears that the day will come when her face will snap in front of the TV cameras and roll up like a window shade.

The Republicans are no better. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner may be nice guys, but they are equally boring to listen to and have the personal magnetism of a pair of sheep. I know that my more conservative readers don’t like them because of their middle of the road politics and their unnatural desire to compromise with liberals. Still, politics aside, wouldn’t you think that with 54 members in the new Senate and 246 members in the new House, they would come up with a couple of people easier on the eyes and ears than two fellows who should be bottled and sold as surefire cures for insomnia?

I’m not a Washington insider, so I have no way of knowing, but is there an unwritten law which states that to be a Congressional leader, you have to be able to pass for an attraction at the waxworks?

In the aftermath of the demonstrations over the recent incidents in Ferguson and Staten Island, there were so many statements by politicians, so-called race leaders, demonstrators and commentators, to refute and despise, I hardly know where to begin.

But as I have already covered the first two groups in previous articles, it’s time to rat out the latter two. Not since the Occupy Wall Street movement was in full swing have I seen so many self-righteous creeps out in full regalia. Show me a group of chanters and I’ll show you a pack of morons. And what could be more moronic than chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot” when Michael Brown, as the grand jury witnesses testified, not only never raised his hands, but decided it would be a good idea to rush a cop who had stopped firing his gun?

Then we have the commentators who kept telling us that those marching on behalf of Eric Garner were peacefully demonstrating while the cameras showed us the lunkheads tying up traffic on streets and bridges and preventing Christmas shoppers from entering Macy’s Department Store. What is peaceful about doing everything you can to frustrate innocent bystanders trying to get to work or home to their families, raising the blood pressure of thousands of people who are already mentally and physically frazzled by the holiday season?

And of course even those disseminating the peaceful protest propaganda had to eat their words when the thugs in Berkeley began hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at the cops.

Chris Rock, the black comedian, summed up the case for the aggrieved by quoting W.E.B. Dubois: “A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.”

For me, the question Rock raises is just how stupid do you have to be before you think the real problem facing blacks in America isn’t lack of education and a nonexistent work ethic or men refusing to marry the mothers of their children; and it isn’t a generational reliance on welfare and thousands of blacks murdering and raping their fellow blacks. Instead, Chris Rock and his like-minded enablers in show business and the media would have us believe the problem boils down to a couple of white cops killing a pair of black scofflaws.

These days, if you hold the victims even partially to blame, it makes you a bigot. But inasmuch as it only takes speaking out against Obama, Al Sharpton or Eric Holder, to be branded a racist these days, the term for some of us has inevitably become a badge of honor.

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©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.