Tormenting children is un-American

I have been a social worker for 41 years.  For most of that time, my mission was to ensure the safety of children, many of whom needed protection from the worst kinds of abuse.  What is happening to children on our southern border, to be plain, is the worst kind of child abuse.

We know that tearing children away from their families is a deliberate Republican policy.  We know that the policy is so awful that the Trump administration has been lying about the policy they announce on the record, claiming that it doesn’t exist.  We know the children are being held in horrible conditions, in cages.  We know that every Democratic U.S. Senator has cosponsored a bill to end the practice, and that no Republican Senator has endorsed it.  And we know that a solid majority of rank and file Republicans are behind the policy.

It is shameful that in the 21st Century, we have sunk so low that we have to even discuss this:  harming children is wrong.  Doing it for political gain is even more wrong.  A political party that doesn’t reject this practice wholeheartedly, and impeach its authors, is more than just wrong.  They are permanently disqualified from serving in government.

Our opponents are the party of shameless corruption

We’ve said before that the Republican Party is the party of Trump.  Is that unfair, or painting with too broad a brush?  Nope.  That’s what Republicans themselves are saying.  Katie Arrington, who just defeated Mark Sanford in a Republican primary in South Carolina:

We are the party of Donald J. Trump….

John Boehner, former Speaker of the House:

There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party.

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN):

It’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cultlike situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of, purportedly, of the same party.

Corker talks about a cult of personality like it’s a bad thing.  Not that he’s done anything substantial to stop it, like, oh, vote against Trump’s policies.

So it’s Trump and Trump supporterrs all the way down, and if there’s shameless corruption at the top, the stink of it is on every Republican from Congress down to the Iowa statehouse.

So how about it, Iowa Republican Party?  Care to comment on the latest scandal from the White House, the flagrant self-dealing by Donald Trump’s fake charitable foundation?

[T]here’s quite a bit of evidence that the foundation was used as a piggy bank for Trump’s campaign – with Trump’s direct involvement – to the tune of $2.8 million.

“People have gone to prison for stuff like this, and if I were representing someone with facts like this, assuming the facts described in this petition are true, I would be very worried about an indictment,” Jenny Johnson Ware, a criminal tax attorney in Chicago, told the Times.

Anyone?  Any objection to tax evasion, or is that OK if Republicans do it?

Reynolds administration playing fast and loose with Medicaid numbers

Iowa’s disastrous Medicaid privatization program was supposed to save money.  If it doesn’t save money, Republicans would be exposed as wrong about it from the start.  So you can imagine that Iowa Medicaid Director Mike Randol has a motive to spin the numbers in favor of privatization.  You might not expect him to deliberately mislead:

Medicaid Director Mike Randol said the state is projected to save $140.9 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30, compared to what the state would have spent before its health care program for low income and disabled people was turned over to for-profit companies.

He did not explain why the state’s savings estimate for this year tripled after Gov. Kim Reynolds hired him to run the Medicaid program late last year. Randol also did not offer a cumulative number showing savings since the privatized Medicaid program started in April 2016.

That’s right.  The savings estimate miraculously tripled when Randol was hired, apparently because the Governor needed a bigger number.  We can’t get actual savings figures, not yet at least, perhaps because they wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny in the light of day.

After the meeting, Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, said Randol’s presentation was incomplete.

“He looked back at pre-managed care and then compared it to a projection of 2018, rather than comparing it to some actual real numbers from 2017,” Jochum said.

Yeah, that has a funny smell to it, doesn’t it?

Texas man robs bank so he can get healthcare in prison

What happens when health care isn’t accessible for all?  People get desperate.  It’s not really a funny story, it’s a story that should make us all hang our heads in shame.

We know who stands for universal health care, and we know who wants to repeal it.  This year, you have a chance to vote for the people who think health care is a right, and against the people who think it’s a privilege.

Ted Nugent, Republican spokesperson, calls Parkland survivors “soulless”

Of course Republicans are attacking the articulate survivors of a mass shooting.  What choice do they have, an open debate based on facts?  Here’s a recent comment from Ted Nugent, NRA board member, Republican booster, and sexual predator:

The dumbing down of America is manifested in the culture deprivation of our academia that have taught these kids the lies, media that have prodded and encouraged and provided these kids lies. I really feel sorry for them because it’s not only ignorant and dangerously stupid, but it’s soulless. To attack the good law-abiding families of America when well known predictable murderers commit these horrors is deep in the category of soulless. These poor children, I’m afraid to say this and it hurts me to say this, but the evidence is irrefutable, they have no soul.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Republican Party.  When Ted Nugent is denounced by other Republicans for literally discounting the humanity of people who disagree with him, post the evidence here in the comments.  I won’t be holding my breath.

Marching for our lives

Today the March for Our Lives is taking place in cities all across the country.  Hundreds of thousands attended the Washington DC event to demand common sense reform of gun laws.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24:  Gun reform advocates line Pennsylvania Avenue while attending the March for Our Lives rally March 24,

And this is incumbent Iowa Representative Matt Windschitl, whom you will not be surprised to learn is Republican, in a not at all creepy family portrait.  It would be entirely fair to say his legislative record represents the opposite idea.

 

Republicans fail at governing, again

After passing a bill they were warned would create problems, and overriding the President’s veto of the bill, Republican leaders are now saying that they made a mistake.  You’ll never guess who is to blame.

Republicans said Thursday the White House should have done more to alert them earlier in the process of the bill’s possible consequences.

“That was a good example, it seems to me, of failure to communicate early about the potential consequences of a piece of legislation that was obviously very popular,” Mr. McConnell said Thursday.

Of course they were warned months ago, in writing, that it was a bad bill.  What’s shocking is not that they would ignore good advice.  I could respect them deciding they were right and the President was wrong, and sticking to their guns.  But no, they’re saying (a) the President was right all along, and (b) it is the President’s fault that they didn’t know what they were doing.  This is not how you talk if you’re a political party that knows how to run a government.

Republicans versus the Constitution

Conservatives like to declare their love the the Constitution, but it’s more of an abusive-boyfriend kind of love.  Republicans have nominated a Presidential candidate, with overwhelming support, that would be a one-man constitutional crisis, according to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director.

Trump’s mass deportation scheme would mean arresting more than 15,000 people a day on immigration charges, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  From a civil liberties standpoint, there is no conceivable mechanism to accomplish the roundup that Trump has promised while respecting basic constitutional rights….

Trump’s plan would undoubtedly violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition “against unreasonable searches and seizures.” [It would rely on tactics] like suspicionless interrogations and arrests, unjustified traffic stops, warrantless searches of workplaces and homes, and door-to-door raids of immigrant neighborhoods….

If Trump were to try and make good on his promise to speedily deport more than 11 million people, he could only do so by trampling on the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections….There is no way around it: Donald Trump’s deportation policy would be an unconstitutional apparatus of human misery, which would effectively turn large areas around the Southwest border into a police state….

Trump’s message couldn’t be any clearer: Immigrants and their American-born descendants, particularly Muslims, aren’t really Americans. Worse, they’re a potential fifth column subverting the nation from within. In a nation of immigrants, this sentiment is as un-American as it gets….

By singling out Muslims, his entry ban would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment by explicitly disapproving of one religion and implicitly favoring other faiths….

Trump’s Muslim ban could also run afoul of international law, such as the Refugee Convention and the Convention Against Torture, by refusing asylum to people fleeing persecution and violence….

If a President Trump acted unilaterally — or somehow convinced Congress — to implement a surveillance program explicitly targeting Muslims because of their faith, he would face an impossible task of defending such a policy as constitutional in court….

The Supreme Court has warned that “a law targeting religious beliefs as such is never permissible.” This apparently doesn’t give Trump pause when he calls for unmerited law enforcement attention devoted to American Muslim communities across the country….

He has also said he would authorize torture in a manner that would comply with controlling “laws and treaties.” And if that doesn’t work — and it couldn’t — a President Trump would seek to change the laws to permit torture….That torturing people again is even on the agenda is nothing short of an abomination….

The international legal prohibition of the practice was enshrined in domestic law when the United States signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture decades ago. When President Ronald Reagan sent the convention to the Senate, he wrote that the Senate’s consent to ratify would “demonstrate unequivocally our desire to bring an end to the abhorrent practice of torture.”

During a February campaign stop in Texas, Trump had news for The New York Times and The Washington Post: If he wins the presidency, the Times and the Post will “have problems….”

Despite his lack of legal authority to “open up our libel laws,” a President Trump would almost certainly limit the individual rights enshrined in the First Amendment. Regularly on the campaign trail, he has shown contempt not only for free speech but also the freedom of the press and the right to protest….

Trump’s rhetoric and aggressive policing of his events also call into question how a Trump administration would respond to nonviolent protest. There have been at least 20 incidents of violence at Trump events since last October….

[I]t is important to remember those dark times when the U.S. government — often with public support — conspired against the nation’s most cherished ideals of liberty and equality for all. Among the more unsavory chapters of U.S. history are the Alien and Sedition Acts, Japanese-American imprisonment during World War II, and the long dark night of Jim Crow. Many Americans today rightfully look back at these injustices with horror and shame.

Under a Trump presidency, whole categories of people — Latinos and Hispanics, American Muslims, and reporters and vocal critics of Trump — could potentially be deprived of their constitutional rights because of their immigration status, their religion, their political beliefs, or their livelihoods. This is to say nothing of millions of women who might face prosecution for seeking an abortion if Trump once again changes his mind on this issue.