Well, here we are, another Sunday, a long day ahead of us to read the best-written, most interesting articles from the week. Once again, there was no lack of topics being written about this week. Pace yourself, and make sure to read the other items too. We finish out the Declaration of Independence today and I'm sure to upset a lot of you with the Question of the Week that I pose...Happy reading!
White House Issues
Ivanka Trump is going to have a more official unofficial role in the White House.
Another White House worker bites the dust...
The next census will not contain questions asking about sexual orientation or gender identity.
North Carolina has reached a "compromise" on their transgender bathroom bill, but the details of the compromise don't seem to change much of anything.
Cities are making preparations to band together against the administration as sanctuary cities.
The city of Seattle is suing the president over his attacks on sanctuary cities.
The state of things with Russia.
Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn is currently offering to testify in the Russia investigation in exchange for legal immunity for any wrongdoing on his part.
The latest wrap-up of This Week in the Russia Investigation. This thing is playing out like a soap opera...
The Great Wall of Mexico
Here's an article about the White House's plan on how to pay for the Great Wall of Mexico.
The Great Wall of Mexico appears to have hit a few snags...
One of the anti-apartheid greats of South Africa has passed away...
Trump's wrath is currently falling on the Freedom Caucus as fallout from the failed healthcare bill last week continues to spread.
Tim Eyman is being sued by Washington state.
Wells Fargo has reached a deal on how much money they'll pay as punishment for fake accounts.
Scientists have discovered a new dinosaur species that might change how we look at the evolution of dinosaurs.
This article about the Democrat vote for or against Gorsuch really shows just how much politics is involved in politics. Strategy, give and take, and constituent wishes, among other things all go into how a Senator decides how they will vote. And then of course, there's the looming nuclear option that could change the rules for the worse...See my Question of the Week section of this blog to explore this topic in further depth.
This week, we finally finish out the Declaration of Independence. It was a long journey, and a lot to take in, but then again, so was breaking away from Britain! Make sure to read the names of the signers. Some of the names should be familiar.
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton"
Question of the Week:
Should the Democrats vote to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court or should they fillibuster?
Chicago Tribune article
Fox News article
The only consensus I can seem to find in all my research on this topic, is that, the nuclear option is something neither Democrats nor Republicans really want to see used. Democrats are hoping that they can push this issue and keep the Republicans from using it, and Republicans are detarmined to see Gorsuch confirmed, no matter what. Unfortunately, both parties are playing a game of chicken with this, and the American people and the functionality of the Senate are truly what's at stake here. What I am sure of, is that none of this is actually about confirming a person to the Supreme Court. And I am also sure, if the nuclear option is used, nothing good will come of it for the American people.
So, what is the "nuclear option"? In case you haven't been researching this issue, you might not be aware of it beyond it being a scary-sounding term. The Senate is the group of people who vote to confirm a person to the Supreme Court. Currently, the Senate needs 61 votes out of the 100 total Senators to confirm a person to the Supreme Court. However, changes can be proposed, voted on, and enacted quickly to change that rule from a total of 61 votes, to a simple majority of 51 votes. This is helpful when you need to push something through and can't get the votes you need from the other side of the political aisle. But it's also a double-edged sword, because it can be used by whichever party is currently in the majority and shuts out the minority party even more. This is not conducive to bipartisanship and generally leads to a larger amount of gridlock and people refusing to work with each other. One of the big issue items when America was being founded, was the concept of the tyranny of the majority over the minority. The nuclear option does not help this issue, whatsoever.
Here are some other terms you might have heard or seen a lot lately:
Filibuster: When the Senate cannot reach its necessary 61 votes, and the debate continues in hopes of swaying people to change their vote, this is known as a filibuster. This is what is expected to happen when the vote for Gorsuch takes place. This adds time to the process and can force the entire process to grind to a halt.
Cloture: This is a call to end a filibuster by taking an immediate vote in hopes of getting to the 61 votes. This is where the nuclear option comes in. Prior to this call, other calls can be made to change the majority from 61 to 51, and then the cloture vote is called on, and that's the end of the debate. The filibuster is over and the vote to confirm Gorsuch takes place where he is elected to the Supreme Court.
"We will never confirm anybody until we get a chance to vote for Merrick Garland!" "We won't pull our nominee, you'd better vote for him or we'll go nuclear!" This is pretty much what I have heard from both sides. Neither is a good or valid argument or form of combat.
The Democrats, while I understand their anger at what the Republicans did to Obama last year when he tried to put forth a Supreme Court nominee, are acting like children. This is a temper tantrum. Sometimes life sucks and rarely is it fair. Suck it up and deal with it. We cannot become the very thing we hated about the Republicans for the last six years: obstructionists. Obstruction for the sake of obstruction might make us feel powerful, but it doesn't help the country. Tit-for-tat isn't power, and it doesn't move people forward. All it does is create a vicious cycle of people getting revenge on each other for past wrongs. Working together to compromise on the things that can be compromised is always how this country moves forward. We have to decide if we are fighting this just to spite Trump or if we are truly fighting this to make the country a better place. When we see compromise as losing, we have already lost.
The Republicans, though, seem unwilling to turn Gorsuch down and tell Trump to pick somebody else. They want to be seen as winners. They want to be seen as able to do anything after six years of being obstructionists. They have to save face, especially after the horrible trouncing they just experienced over the healthcare fail. Perhaps there really are some major issues with Gorsuch that they refuse to entertain. It's their way, or the nuclear highway.
My personal gut feeling is this: Based on what I have researched, we could be a lot worse off than having to vote for Gorsuch. Gorsuch will not alter the outcome of the Supreme Court votes, for now, at least. It will merely restore it to the way it was when Scalia was still alive. Gorsuch isn't the nominee to fight. Sure he's conservative, but you know what? Any nominee in the next four years, is going to be conservative. But this guy isn't the devil people are making him out to be, he's just a conservative that Trump nominated and that eats away at us. Even if the GOP pulled Gorsuch, I suspect the Democrats would nitpick and disagree with every single nominee put before them. They'd say it was because they don't like the stance the person has, but it's really about Trump and sticking it to him in any possible way, regardless of the consequences. People need to put their feelings away for a minute and really look at the situation with their heads for a while. I would recommend this for both the Senate, and the American people. The nuclear option will always loom over our heads while it still exists, and it will be used by somebody, eventually. This isn't the time to force the GOP's hand. That time will be for the next nominee, or the one after that, or the one after that. This might not sound very "liberal" or "progressive" of me, but sometimes you have to lose a battle in order to win a war.
What are your thoughts on all of this? No matter what happens, this is a situation that will truly take the wisdom of Solomon to solve...
Do One Thing:
So, my one thing this week was to walk every day. I did this nearly so. I was out of work on Monday for a sick day, so I didn't walk that day, but I did manage to do some level of walking every day other than that. I definitely want to keep up with this.
For this week's one thing...I want to get my apartment cleaned up, in hopes of keeping it under control. Spring cleaning time!