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As shown in Tweets and press conferences the current Resident of the White House appears to be on a fast track to Making Russia Great Again. This unfortunate choice of a leader in the past national election has the potential to put us all at risk. The risks are more real than many of his staunch supporters realize. The risks: ongoing Russian interference here and abroad, the isolation of America from the unity of NATO and the economic downturn from Tariffs. I have heard many of his supporters in interviews dislike his tweets and the words he speaks in interviews but ignore the underlying issues with His Presidency. The GOP has used him as a pawn to pass legislation which will harm us all along side the lack of pushback on tariffs. This Congress allows his indiscretions to pass while passing an oppressive tax reform bill, dismantling the ACA (aka Obamacare) which many Americans benefit from and enabling dangerous cabinet members whose objectives are contrary to the good of the people. The “People” to be clear is defined in this case as ALL people living within the Continental United States and it’s territories. No matter what you think your politics are, one has pay attention to facts not the fictitious information spewed by our elected officials and their lackeys.

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As feared, suspected and displayed our Titular leader is at sea in the world of international politics. After months of daily leading by tweet, he has managed to insult our long time allies and embraced out long time enemies which enhances their status in the eyes of the world. What has occurred from the beginning of this administration is a deluge of mistakes in selecting unqualified people to serve in the administration. The selections appear to be based on how much praise the resident received from the appointees and how much in step they are with his views no matter how radical or incorrect. This President has brought the office into a different sphere of influence which does not bode well for us. This is not Trump Industries where one can make decisions like a one man band. The United States is more like an orchestra which requires all of its parts to function well and in tune. It is clear that TOTUS has not understood that this position requires new knowledge and actions daily to do the job. We as voters need to keep all of this in mind when voting for ALL officials from local up to the Federal level. It is our duty as employers to have the best employees available.

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Am I alone in thinking (or knowing) that we have a Demagogue in the making with our current Resident. My initial reaction to his election was ” this is the height of hypocrisy”. Our nation has gone rogue or blind with the Dupublican hype. Many may not remember that for nearly 100 years the Republican party (save a few) along with the Democratic party (save a few) have not served us as a country very well yet they have done pretty well for themselves How is it that “struggling” office seeker can become quite well off in two plus terms in office? First look at the fact that years ago the Congress enacted laws that grant them COLA’s (COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS) so they would not have to face the public when trying to pass a salary increase. Add the benefits of this law to the “perks” of the office, an allowance  to decorate the office, housing allowance, staff salaries, committee chair and service fees ( they get paid extra to serve or chair on a committee)  and who knows what else. Using this information where do we need to go from here? Suggestion start a new trend – change the Congress! This will give us (voters) an opportunity to counteract the resident of the White House no matter which party they are a part of. Going back to the Titular “leader” of our country or the Leader of the worst elements of our country . TOTUS has insulted everyone but the dictators of the world possibly because he wants to be one or has been one in his businesses. It seems that his main talent is bullying and lying (with no regret). In what most of us consider the “real” world lying is not a trait we would want in the Country’s leaders yet we have lived with it for years from the local to the Federal levels of Government. Why was he elected?, simply put-APATHY!  This is the time that we can see the true character of our Congress and can beginning in the mid-term elections to turn the tide towards a more reasonable and moderate type of governance that will benefit us all. Think and learn before voting.

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In the year 1948 a child was born to the Trump family, unfortunately it was our current TOTUS! Aside from his vacuous demeanor coupled with  an outsized ego and tendency to bully brings no worthwhile attributes to the office. This is a person who can not think beyond 140 characters and when he does his words belie what his staff says he intended . This is a person who lies about his own lies without a trace of remorse, guilt or any other normal human emotion showing he is a human. The European bloc no longer trusts him (by extension the U.S.), his base  apparently have no idea that his policies will eventually trickle down on their backs in the form of taxes and lack of health care. The so called Conservatives who currently run the Congress do not and have cared about the fate of the Nation (regardless of party). They (the Conservatives) have their own agenda and are using the Ego centric leader as a cover for their own nefarious deeds. A child was born  but not to serve or save America. Make America Great again by electing better people in the Congress and the White House.

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This an extremely political time with many of us being under informed on what our elected officials are actually doing for us and against us. The advent of televised hearings (sometimes hearsay), we have come believe what we see televised is true. It must be remembered that television has a lot more scripted material that we think about. To digress: All reality shows are scripted much the same as the sitcoms, romcoms and soap operas we enjoy. That being said why are we believing the veracity of our elected officials who put on the “show” of hearings while off camera they continue their same party line work often nefarious and counter to what they tell us in the letters and emails they send out to us? Every opinion has value whether it right or wrong, each side always has room for improvement or change. It is this “room” for change or improvement where we need to operate and understand. Adhering to what our elected officials tell us as fact is a mistake and one that will usually haunt us for years. The current administration (State and Federal) has put us on a path of poor governance which will again haunt us for a while. It is well to remember that these officials already have exit strategy and a pension plan (that we pay for) in place. We should avoid the prior ” leaps of faith” we have taken by voting for candidates and incumbents with no investigation of what they have accomplished. The myriad campaign ads are often misleading and are no more than sound bites to rile us up and distract us. The modern campaign ads are similar to product ads, they are put in front of us hour after hour until we believe them. Please do not be taken in by this tactic. A lie will always be a lie and the truth will always be the truth. It is our job as voters to cut through the fog and elect better representatives, this applies no matter whether you consider yourself, right, left or center of any political sect.

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It’s Definitely Time To Pack The Supreme Court, But For Entirely Practical Reasons
An expanded Supreme Court would be more effective, and make each appointment less of an apocalyptic event.

By Kyle Sammin
July 13, 2018

President Trump called his decision to nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court “the most important decision a U.S. President can make.” That is true, but it shouldn’t be. Once considered the “least dangerous branch” of government, the judiciary has taken on more power than the Founding Fathers ever imagined. As a result, the nine justices have gained far more control over American lives than they should have, making each of their nominations an increasingly contentious event.
One solution to this problem is for Congress to do its job and resolve more issues with legislation and constitutional amendments, rather than leaving them up to the least democratic branch of government. But that’s not going to happen any time soon. In the meantime, changing how the Court functions could make it work more efficiently, while calming the roiling political scene that accompanies each new justice’s accession to the bench.
Angry People Make Bad Choices

Many on the Left continue to be disappointed with Trump as president, none more so than those who put the most trust in the courts. Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 2017 angered them, but Kavanaugh’s nomination this month is spinning some folks around so hard that they are able to convince themselves of all manner of bizarre conspiracy theories about the new nominee and the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
It has also led some prominent voices on the Left — though none in a position of power, just yet — to call for court-packing when the Democrats return to office someday. The idea that more seats should be added to the Court until there are a majority of justices who vote the Democrats’ way is a bad one. As Josh Blackman wrote for National Review last week, “It is not difficult to see how such a plan would irreparably alter the way our polity views the Court: If five justices rule against your favored position, simply add two more who would rule the other way! […] This downward spiral would quickly unravel our polity.”
The idea is not completely out of bounds — the Constitution sets no limit on the Court’s size. But it is a bizarre idea for the party in control of neither the presidency nor the Congress to call for the norm-breaking expansion of the Court. Republicans will reject the idea at first, but if it gains popularity on the Left, what is to stop the Right from agreeing? And, more importantly since they actually have the votes, what is to stop them from doing it right now? In their fury, the Left is normalizing something that will, like the destruction of the filibuster, almost certainly end up harming them more than their opponents.
The politically motivated expansion of the Court is a bad idea, one that will destroy any remaining semblance of the idea that a judge’s job is to rule impartially about what the law says. A Court that is packed by one party, then re-packed again when they lose, then re-packed once more ad infinitum will have no pretense of objectivity. Nor should it: such a politicized Court would be encouraged to take more power from the elected branches of government, because its newest members would have been put there for that explicit purpose.
The Court’s Size Has Changed Before

Politically motivated expansion would be destructive, but not all expansions are the same, nor has the Court always been made up of nine justices. As originally constituted in 1789, it had six seats. It grew to seven in 1807, nine in 1837, and ten in 1863. Every time Congress added a judicial circuit, they added a Supreme Court justice, so the Court expanded with the country. The changes in the Court’s membership were pragmatic, not political, which made sense for a body that was still by far the least powerful branch of our government.
Changes — and attempted changes — that followed were not so non-partisan. In 1866, relations between the Republican Congress and President Andrew Johnson were so bad that they resolved to eliminate Supreme Court seats rather than let him appoint new justices. One seat was already vacant and was eliminated immediately under the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866, which was passed over Johnson’s veto, like much of the Reconstruction legislation. Justice James Moore Wayne died the next year, and the Act arranged for his seat to be automatically eliminated too. The Court shrank to eight.
Johnson survived impeachment in 1868, but neither party nominated him for election to a new term and he left office in 1869. With Ulysses S. Grant taking over, Reconstruction was in good hands, and Congress restored one of the two eliminated seats, but not the other, giving the Court the nine seats it currently has. (If you want to get technical, Congress created a tenth associate justice seat in 1870; seats number five and seven remain abolished.)
But that is not the end of the story. In 1937, frustrated with a Supreme Court that repeatedly struck down his New Deal legislation, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed to “fix” the problem by adding seats to the court, which he would then fill with judges who shared his expansive view of federal authority. The proposed Judicial Procedures Reform Act of 1937 would have permitted Roosevelt to nominate a new federal judge for each judge with ten years’ service who did not retire after turning 70 — up to a maximum of six new seats on the Supreme Court and two each on any lower court.

In 1937, there were six such justices on the Court, which meant the measure would have allowed Roosevelt to appoint 40 percent of the expanded Court at once. Most Americans, though, even those who supported Roosevelt for reelection the year before, thought the bill went too far. Democrats held 76 out of 96 Senate seats, but the Senate voted 70–20 to send the bill back to committee, where the court-packing section was deleted.
Roosevelt eventually got what he wanted. By the end of his second term he made five Supreme Court appointments. But the Senate had proved its point, too — expanding the Court for ideological reasons was out of bounds, even for a president of their own party whom they supported in every other area of legislation.
The Court Is Too Small, Though
In all of this madness over forcing the Court to one political ideology or another, however, there is a good point being made: the Supreme Court is too small. For one thing, the country has grown tremendously since the Court’s membership was last expanded in 1869. America’s population in 1870 was 38 million. In 2010 it was 308 million, and the Census Bureau’s most recent estimate from 2017 is 325 million. There are 8.5 times as many Americans and the same number of Court seats.
More importantly to the Court: there are more laws than there used to be and, consequently, more legal disputes. In 1789 or even 1869, the federal government made a small impact on the average American’s life. Since then, the kind of laws Roosevelt wanted to pack the Court to uphold have multiplied. With that explosion of federal law and regulation comes a vast increase in federal litigation. The Courts of Appeal resolve these as best they can, but if the Supreme Court does not hear a case, the result is often one that leaves one circuit contradicting another in interpreting a given law. This means federal law is not uniform across the country. The Supreme Court’s most important job is to resolve such circuit-splits. But with limited manpower, they cannot possibly keep up with it all.

From a political perspective, the Court’s small size has the troubling effect of making each justice’s nomination an event of apocalyptic proportions. Replacing one Republican appointee with another, as Trump is doing with Kavanaugh, has provoked widespread wailing and gnashing of teeth. Attempting to replace a conservative with a liberal, as Obama tried to do in 2016, ground the process to a halt altogether. Should Trump have the opportunity to replace either of the octogenarian Clinton appointees on the Court, paroxysms of rage will sweep the Left like nothing in the history of court appointments.
Why? The fault is two-fold. First, Congress has ceded too much control over our lives to the courts. Expanding the Court will not stop that, but it won’t make it worse, either. The other reason, though, is that with so few justices, each vote is all the more important. More members would dilute the influence of each one. Court-watchers and politicos would still get excited, just as they do over appellate court nominations, but regular folks could relax a little knowing that each nomination is not a make-or-break affair for their favorite issue.
Expand It, But Gradually
Even if you agree to all that, it still leaves the problem of court-packing. Any expansion of the Court will be treated — correctly — as a grant of power to the party controlling the White House. Expanding the Court to thirteen justices this year or next would be a political disaster, just as Roosevelt’s attempted power-grab of 1937 was.
The expansion would have to be gradual, spaced out over a generation. If Congress acts soon, the tenth justice could be added after January 20, 2021, with three more new seats spread out over the next few years in 2025, 2029, and 2033. This would ensure that the benefit does not automatically accrue to one party, since the winners of those future elections are unknown. Having the four picks spread over four presidential terms would also mean that they would almost certainly be divided among multiple political parties. Democrats last won more than three straight elections in 1948; Republicans have not done it since 1908. Since presidential term limits were added to the Constitution, only once has a party won even three elections in a row.
Dividing the appointments this way makes it clear that the goal is making the court more efficient, not advancing one party’s agenda. Having the winner of each election pick a justice, even as each justice’s vote becomes less important, will also remind the electorate of one of the president’s most important duties, and will hopefully make them consider how much power they are putting into the chief executive’s hands. By the end of the process, a larger Court will lessen the impact of each nomination and make it more capable of performing its duties, all while maintaining the tradition of keeping partisan politics out of the debate over the Court’s size.
Kyle Sammin is a lawyer and writer from Pennsylvania. Read some of his other writing at kylesammin.com, or follow him on Twitter @KyleSammin.

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Mid term elections are coming up  in many states and the on the national level, this could lead to a shift in power in Governance. This shift could possibly give us a more stable Government overall and perhaps repair relations with our long term allies. We need to have a better government than we currently have and the way to get it is to become better voters through reading and listening to multiple sources of information. To be clear there is not ONE source of information that is all inclusive as far as the information being absolute. The upcoming mid terms are crucial in moving ahead and becoming better than we are as a country at this time. We should be aiming to get past the Presidential superlatives that have no meaning while continuing to belie his words compared to his actions. Our 500 plus seat fillers apparent have no power or refuse to use it to avoid being called out by TOTUS. These are OUR representatives and should be our advocates but they are not. If you hired an attorney to represent you and that attorney sided with the prosecution, would you keep him (her)?, This is where we are with Congress whose push for “Tax Reform” has gotten gains for the top earners and corporations. Their push to repeal and replace the ACA has left many with little to no Healthcare coverage (which they are still changing a piece at a time). The midterms are the chance begin a positive shift towards better government after all we deserve it and we are their bosses.

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Meyerson on TAP
Germany a “Captive of Russia”? How About America a Captive of Texas? Germany, President Trump charged yesterday at the NATO summit, is “a captive of Russia.” He was referencing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which, when completed, will enable Germany to get much of its natural gas from Russia.
By any other criteria, Germany might be said to be less of a Russian captive than Trump himself, though what Russian bounty has flowed to Trump over the years remains the subject of investigation—and is not the subject of these jottings.
Because the phenomenon of energy dependency upon a politically backward state compromising a nation’s values is one Americans should know all too well. If Germany is a captive of Russia, then America is a captive of Texas.
The baleful influence of the oil industry on U.S. policy extends well beyond the climate-worsening policies of the Trump administration and the Republican Party (and some of the Democratic Party) generally. Dating back to the Hunt family and beyond, the oil fortunes of Texas, Oklahoma, and the rest of the fossil-fuel belt have funded generations of reactionary campaigns against liberal and moderate candidates in races where energy policy didn’t figure at all.
For that matter, energy dependency has been the basis of U.S. support for the repressive monarchy of Saudi Arabia since 1945, even though the Islamic fundamentalism that the regime has supported and fostered has helped spawn the very terrorist organizations the U.S. has spent a fortune combating.
So Trump should be careful about alleging that energy dependency can compromise a nation’s values and safety. By that metric, it’s us—not the Germans—who are the club champions. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON

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The antics of TOTUS continues and the world is paying attention. After a spectacular rant on Europe not paying enough for security and overblowing how much the U.S. is paying, DJT had a rare un scripted press conference where he walked back some if not all of his previous days claims. This is essentially the Trump style of management. This plays into the hands of the majority party who consistently uses the faux pas’ of this Resident to do their dirt and the dictatorial leaders of the world are using his words as  fodder for their own propaganda. As I have stated many times a well read voter is a road to a better government. There are perhaps 5 to 10 percent of the current serving Congress that are worth keeping in office , the long time servers need to go! Since Trump arrived in the White House he has tacitly and openly made Racism mainstream, encouraged anti government activities, reduced health coverage for the middle to the poorest of us and last but not least increase environmental hazards which also increase health issues for many. All of this to play to his supporters as an entertaining savior. A world leader has no need or time (if they are doing the job properly) to entertain. We are in the grips of wannabe dictator who is checked only by our Constitution not by the 500 plus feckless Congressional members.  What we have in the wings are two leaders in Congress who like the Resident are seeking to leave a legacy that will haunt and harm us for decades. There is no upside in keeping  this Congress and Resident in office.

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The current administration promised to “drain the swamp”. That is a great promise to rally his base however he neglected to state that he would be putting his own “swamp” in place in the form of his cabinet members. he revolving door of staffers has been destabilizing at best and making for an inability to deliver a clean message. He has held on to his “attack” group which gives his words life as it is apparent that he can’t string two coherent and reasonable words together. He has diminished our relations with our long time allies with under thought utterances that belie the facts. His recent excursion to a meeting with North Korea leader, Kim which he declared as  productive was basically a failed play which elevated Kim’s status as a world leader rather than the despot that he is. This is the type of play that TOTUS has done all of his life. The play is to utter some half truth and move to an initial start , then stop short because his attention to detail is non-existent. Unfortunately this trait leave the nation’s fate to his appointee’s whose abilities to negotiate on the world stage is suspect and undeniably lacking. Now he has pushed our long time allies aside with insults, innuendo and lies for the company of a known dictator (who he admires). He has pardoned felons just to show that he has done something “Presidential”. He has imposed tariffs on allies and foes alike with no thought of the immediate and long-range effect on American Citizens while extolling the virtues of a “trade war”. Again this is a Trumpism. It is worth noting that there appears to be no tariffs on the goods and services used by his family members. It is possible to think that what we have in place now is a live puppet controlled by staffers whose agenda is no good for any of us , including them but they have become so imbued with the power tacitly given to them by a minimally informed leader whose main strengths are bullying and name calling  to get his way. This has been effective even to point of cowing Congress who seem to want to get their own agendas (again which are not good for the voters) in place. Our option is simple, forget what the parties tell you and look at the people who are running for office (first time or for re-election) and think “what has this person done while in office”. It easier to vote some one out than to remove them after they are elected. Pay attention to multiple sources of information and perhaps read the Constitution again. Our democracy used to be a model for others but now we are becoming a joke with our adversaries having a good laugh about it. Remember North Korea and Russia among others are not our friends.

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